I am sitting at my computer watching a video clip of Elvis Presley performing ‘Suspicious Minds’ at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in August 1970. The clip comes from the film Elvis: That’s The Way It Is,1 Presley’s first non-dramatic film in his career. It chronicles the ‘Elvis Summer Festival’ concerts at the International over three nights along with footage of rehearsals and jams and shots from his first tour in 13 years. I first came to this particular clip when it was screened by the BBC on Top of the Pops 2, and I was immediately riveted by the power and playfulness of Presley’s performance. Like many others, and along with accepted wisdom, my personal tastes veer towards the more rockabilly tone of Presley’s early work before he was drafted in 1958. In this clip, the imagery of Vegas-era Presley is all there but there is still a palpable sense of excitement as Presley guides the band through an extended jam on the chorus to the end. He toys with the backing singers, slipping in adlibs (‘stick it up your nose’), wheeling his arms and striking karate poses throughout a performance which is primarily about Presley’s ability to play with dynamics and swing. Whatever you think of Presley, it is a thrilling piece of film; but in many ways it presages the perceived decline of Elvis over the next seven years as the glitz of the Vegas cabaret circuit largely eclipsed the early feral threat of ‘That’s Alright Mama’ and ‘Hound Dog’. From here on Presley fully became the cartoon entertainer that countless Elvis imitators have since adopted as their performative identity. Elvis: That’s The Way It Is charts the point at which Presley consolidated a regained popularity only largely to drift into nostalgia and kitsch. However, the myth of Presley has endured in many forms and serves a number of uses, particularly since his death. As Greil Marcus points out in the introduction to Dead Elvis, ‘there is another Elvis Presley, a figure made of echoes, not facts’.2 It is this Elvis that haunts the early work of Nick Cave, not in a historical sense, perhaps not even in terms of musical inspiration. But the myth of Elvis recurs in relation to Cave’s work on numerous occasions, and engages with some of the most powerful imagery used not only in Cave’s songs but also through his novel And the Ass Saw the Angel.3