Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Couldn’t help but notice that Elvis is hitting it big again in the UK, nearly a half-century after the fact, this time with a No.1 hit for the new single reissue of One Night with You, first released in 1959.

Reading that article brought back memories of how the nuns in our high school utterly loathed Chuck, Little Richard, Fats, Jerry Lee, Elvis and Rock’n’Roll in all its rhythmic entirety for what it was doing to the straitlaced fabric of society, but perhaps even worse (through Elvis the legitimizer), to grammar; how assiduously for all those years we had been instructed never never never to use “ain’t,” and here was Elvis (who’d previously hit it big with You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog) not only using “ain’t” as a lyric in a sexy hit song that must have caused great gnashing of grammatical teeth that can only be imagined, at hearing the triply antigrammatic line from the mother-superior-mortifying One Night with You:

"Always lived / very quiet life, / I ain’t neva / did no wrong..."

Suddenly, horrible grammar was cool. I use "ain’t" comfortably now (it still gets greenlined in WORD), especially when I sing along with Elvis, who sounds as good as ever when cranked on Pure Land Mountain.

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