by Greg Akers
Jolly ole England is abuzz today with the BBC Radio 4 broadcast of Bono's 14-minute long poem about Elvis Presley.
The poem, titled "American David," was read to and recorded by a journalist a decade and a half ago, and has now, inexplicably, been exhumed for broadcast. Some of the lines will be very familiar to U2 completists, of which I am one. Part of the poem wound up as lyrics to the Bono-penned song "Elvis Ate America," which was a highlight of the album Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1, a weird, delightfully throwaway collab between the members of U2 and Brian Eno.
The full text of the "American David" can be found here. Included are some annotations by professor. He doesn't hold back. The poem is pretty bad, but the parts that got song treatment in "Elvis Ate America" are still fun. Especially if you have that song's idiot beat in your head as you read it.
After the jump: The lyrics to "Elvis Ate America."
Elvis... white trash
Elvis... the Memphis flash
Elvis... didn't smoke hash
Would've been a sissy without Johnny Cash
Elvis... didn't dodge the draft
Elvis... had his own aircraft
Elvis... having a laugh
On the Lisa Marie in a colour photograph
Elvis... under the hood
Elvis... with Cadillac blood
Elvis... darling bud
Flowered and returned to the Mississippi mud
Elvis... ain't gonna rot
Elvis... in a Memphis plot
Elvis... he didn't hear the shot
And Dr. King died just across the lot from...
Elvis... vanilla ice cream
Elvis... girls of fourteen
Elvis... the Memphis spleen
Shooting TVs reading Corinthian's 13
Elvis... with God on his knees
Elvis... owned three TVs
Here come the killer bees
Head full of honey potato chips and cheese
Elvis... the bumper stickers
Elvis... the white knickers
Elvis... the white nigger
Ate at king burger and just kept getting bigger
Elvis... sang to win
Elvis... the battle hymn
Elvis... the battle to be slim
Elvis ate America before America ate him
Elvis... the public enemy
Elvis... don't mean shit to Chuck D.
Elvis... changed the center of gravity
Made it slippy
Elvis... the pelvis
Elvis... the psalmist
Elvis... the genius
Elvis... forgive us
Elvis... pray for us