These are some good songs, but when were they "found" in Elvis' jukebox? 1958?
Unbelievable, this was the same guy that recorded The Last Farewell late in his career. The King should have gone back to his roots instead of the songs chosen for his last few albums.
We've heard about Elvis' record collection, seen them in photos, but in all these 30+ years and countless books no one has ever said what was in there until now. Sure we heard he liked this artist, that artist, etc but this is the first time we get to see what he actually played a lot. I agree with scudder here. He should have taken this collection, recorded 12 of them, then release an LP called Elvis' Jukebox. Wouldnt that have been a trip! And a concept LP to boot! The artistic side was really lacking in Elvis & The Colonel as far as LPs go.
Well, I for one LOVE "The Last Farewell". I'm glad Elvis diversified throughout his career rather than just staying static. How boring would that have been?
Elvis did of course record three of these songs (if you count C C Rider as a recording) and indeed one of them (I Got A woman) twice - once at Sun at the other at his first RCA session. It is very easy to distort a true picture of Elvis record collection when focusing only upon one tiny aspect of it, even assuming these are actually part of his own record collection, as there is nothing wihich definitively attests that - for example there is no Brook Benton, no Patti Page, no Mario Lanza, no Roy Orbison, no Jake Hess (or otehr gospel), all of which were among his favourite singers. Elvis was way too much of a gifted singer to focus his career-long output on stuff like this, he was eclectic in taste and nearly as much in his choice of music to perform. Besides frankly some of this stuff is absolute garbage and Elvis verison of Fools Fall In Love just a throw away, which really was an anachronistic piece of 'fluff'. It amazes me how The Last Farewell receives so much criticism - this is an excellent contemporary English folk song and Elvis' version of it, although clearly not folk, is miles better than much of the stuff he recorded at the Graceland sessions. Face it, Elvis was the greatest singer ever, across all genres - indeed, his ability to trascend genres is part of what made him so unique - not just 50's Rock 'n' Roll or Rhythm 'n'Blues.
If you check Vee-tones-records web-site you will see this is volume 1, so i assume as soon as they get clearance to release other volumes 2,3,4 and so on then we will get more of the so-called Elvis jukebox songs from these people...........
There will be many more records from his jukebox to be made known. The list will vary I am sure. but it would have been nice and I think a career boost had Elvis returned to his roots and recorded some good old fashioned R&B, country & rock and roll. Rick Nelson did, Dion did , Everly's did, and all with success. Songs like The Last Farewell put me to sleep as did most of that album besides the single on it. Sorry.
I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this one more than most of Elvis' 70s albums...
Boogie Woogie Country Girl....the perfect Glen Hardin piano number for the Seventies...Just a guess: was it considered for the later Today-album with T-R-O-U-B-L-E on it...? Same type of song...would have been a smash album with Elvis returning too the roots...yess Sir! Or imagine a fifties recording of it...although it would have been quite close to A Big A Hunk O Love by then...
elvisfan1958...I agree with your comment, surely these weren't on his jukebox in 1977? Especially not forgettable tunes by Ricky Nelson and the El Dorados. Lex, I don't see why you see a need to use every discussion on the website to put down Elvis in the 70's. We get it, you don't care for most of his work in the 70's. I love the fact that Elvis recorded a song like "The Last Farewell". It shows he matured and wasn't just a one trick pony like Chuck Berry, Little Richard and most of the other 50's rockers who are nothing more than relics forced to do their same routine over and over again. (I remember seeing Chuck Berry on the Tonight show still trying to do his duck walk and he had to be 60. It was very sad he couldn't escape what he had been 30 years earlier). And as for the success of Dion, Rick Nelson and The Everly's, what is your definition of success, dgirl? After 1964, Rick Nelson scored exactly five chart hits, two of which hit the top 40 and one the top 10 and it (Garden Party) was his plea to be excepted as more than just a nostalgia act. He had only 5 charted albums after 1964 and only one of those cracked the top 40 (Garden Party #32 in 1973). Dion managed six charted hits after 1963 and only one top 10 (the other five peaked no higher than #63). He also had six charted albums after 1963 and the highest peak was #128. The Everly Brothers cracked the Hot 100 twice after 1964 and had a little more success with five charted albums since that year, but only one of those found much success, "EB84" which peaked at #38 and spent 17 weeks on the charts. "From Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis, Tennessee" peaked at #41 on the album chart and had 17 week run on that chart and a four week stay at #1 on the country LP chart. So it basically had the same success as as these artists' biggest success for that period. From 1965 until his death, Elvis had 64 charted hits, 33 top 40 hits and five top 10's. On the album chart he had 44 charted albums, 17 of those in the top 40 and was awarded 22 gold albums for albums released during those years. This is compared to 0 gold albums for the three artists mentioned above. Yes, Elvis could have made an album where he returned to his roots and it would have been a good album, but the chances of it being overly successful in the years of 1975-77 are very slim. Disco was the in thing, along with more mellow sounds of Barry Manilow, Elton John and Barbara Streisand. Elvis was shaping his music more toward the country field where he had great success in his last years including five #1 albums from 1973 to 1977 and several top 10 hits. The chances are very good that if Elvis had lived into the 80's he would have become one of the , sorry to the Elvis 50's purists on this website, biggest country music stars. As I said before on another article to those fans who were alive in the 50's, 60's and 70's and were buying music. If you wanted Elvis to stay a rocker why did you buy "It's Now Or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight" 3 to 1 over "Little Sister" and "I Feel So Bad"? If you didn't want Elvis in movies like "Girls! Girls! Girls!, why did you go to see "Blue Hawaii" and "G.I. Blues" and stay home for "Wild In The Country", "Flaming Star" and "Kid Galahad"? If you liked his studio recordings so much better than his soundtrack recordings, then why did you buy "Blue Hawaii" 10 to 1 over "Pot Luck"? Why did your pocket books open up to buy a budget LP like "Almost In Love" when for a dollar or two more you could have bought "That's The Way It Is"? When Elvis did try to return to his roots in 1967 and 1968 with four straight great singles ("Big Boss Man', "Guitar Man", "U.S. Male" and "You'll Never Walk Alone") why did they sell about the same as "Spinout" and "Frankie And Johnny" and less than songs like "Puppet On A String" and "Love Letters"? And finally when Elvis tried to update his concerts in Vegas in 1974 and early 1975 with more mature songs and less oldies, why did you shun that Elvis and just want him in a spangled jump suit singing a throwaway version of "Hound Dog". It is easy now to say this or that about a soundboard recording or have an opinion of this 70's album or that 70's song, but when you had a chance, what way did you push Elvis' career? He gave us what you bought. I thank God that even though he steered away from recording a lot after 1971, that when he did record, he for the most part sang what he wanted. "Lovin' Arms", "My Boy", "Promised Land", "Shake A Hand", "It's Midnight" "It's Easy For You", "Love Coming Down", "Danny Boy" and yes "The Last Farewell".
Now we're talking !!!! Very well said Deano1 ! Always El.
Deano - success comes in 2 ways, chart success & critical successs. In the 80's The Everly's scored a huge critical success with 2 great albums produced by Dave Edmunds with one of the best songs they ever recorded written by Paul McCartney. They sold well but of course not equaling their 50's/60's success. Dion's recent efforts of bare bones blues albums are hailed by critics. Rick Nelson's 80's albums were also critically acclaimed. It seems people on this site are very hung up on chart success (when will Elvis get his next gold record, etc). over anything else. I am very glad you have all those stats and they are important to you. I think it is more important his work be critically acclaimed and most of his 70's work was not because most of it was not very good. Guitar Man & Big Boss Man were both hailed as a return to his roots and received well by the media. The reason they didnt sell well was because by that time Elvis almost killed his career with crappy singles, movies & soundtracks. Many long time fans & radio turned away and Elvis did not automatically sell anymore. The TV special saved his butt. But by the mid-70's the rust was there again just as it had been in the mid 60's It would have been nice for a return to his roots. For those of us who were around at the time, the Raised On Rock album was supposed to be that return, but we all know it fell short. No, I didnt want Elvis to be Chuck Berry at 60 trying to do his wiggle & shakes. But why not Bruce Springsteen at 60 who can rock better than most, or John Fogerty? Elvis once told Bobby Darin not to abandon Splish Splash & Dream Lover because these were the songs & music that got him to the top. Too bad he didn't listen to his own advice.
Have to agree Steve_V, critical aclaim is one thing Elvis just doesn't have and that is really sad. Even people such as Johnny Cash are given more aclaim for their work. Ask Joe public to name an Elvis album other than a movie soundtrack and i bet they couldn't. I'm sure most people can name a Beatles, Dylan or Bruce Springsteen album. How sad is it that the same can't be said for Elvis.
Steve V, I understand that critics liked some of those albums put out by Ricky Nelson, Dion and the Everly's long after their commercial success, but critical success without commercial success equals your record contract being voided. The critics almost never liked Elvis. In the 50's, most critics would tell you he couldn't sing, we know better. If young kids had listened to critics in 1956 we would have gotten an album or two and he would have faded away. Movie critics told us he couldn't act in "Loving You", but that he could in "King Creole". Really because I just watched "Loving You" recently and I don't see where his KC performance was substantially better. They panned "G.I. Blues" in 1960, but now I often see the movie get three stars in reviews. In 1960, his album "Elvis Is Back" was panned and this is a great LP. "Something For Everybody" which gets little critical praise today, was roundly applauded by the critics in 1961. Billboard, one of the industry leaders, liked his singles "Long Legged Girl" and "Let Yourself Go", but the fans sure did steer clear of them. The fact is the critics almost have never understood Elvis or known what to think of him or his fans. The albums "Elvis Country" and "That's The Way It Is" are ususally given 4 1/2 stars (out of 5) when reviewed today, but the critics sure didn't fall over themselves with compliments when they were released and I remember more than one positive review of the LP "Raised On Rock" which is not considered one of the lesser LP's. Critics loved his opening Vegas shows and then quickly turned on some of his Vegas shows by '71. ("they were too much of the same thing"...guess what critics? Elvis was performing for his fans, not you). I also find it funny that Elvis fans almost never said anything bad about the LP "Moody Blue", but when "Rolling Rag",,,err "Rolling Stone" said "never have so many people bought such a shoddily put together album" or words to that effect, some Elvis fans who worry about being accepted by "music lovers" and critics changed their tune on the album. I don't listen to critics or people who claim they know music, I judge by what I like. I like "Aloha From Hawaii" better than the 68 TV Special (which I love) and I don't need some so called critic telling me why I should like the 68 Special better. The fact that Elvis continued to hit the chart with each release and usually hit the top 50, meant he kept recording and giving us music. Elvis could have stayed a rocker in the early 60's, but he would have faded away quickly. Muscial tastes had changed and Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard were replaced by Bobby Rydell and Frankie Avalon. Elvis was not just a rocker like Little Richard, Chuck Berry or even Bruce Springsteen, he was a true singer. Much more vocally gifted than those three and don't even get me started on comparing the vocals of Elvis vs Rick Nelson. Elvis never abandoned his early stuff, he was never embarrassed by it like some artists (Dionne Warwick comes to mind) and it was good advice he gave Bobby Darin who at times loathed his early work getting so much attention. Elvis never forgot where he came from in any regard. He even said in the early 70's he would like to record more rock and roll, but there wasn't much of it being written. I know his breezy concert renditions of "Hound Dog", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Don't Be Cruel" and some others draws criticism at times, but at least he still sang a little of the song and then tried to move to something a little more challenging and interesting. One can only imagine how tired he was of the song "Hound Dog". There is a happy medium between "Garden Party" (loathing your early work because you can't escape it) and Chuck Berry doing the duck walk at 60. That place was Elvis in concert from 1969-75. In '76, we all know he turned into a little bit of a parody of himself and I think that is why he used the Graceland sessions to record some very personal, autobiographical songs about his life. Some of my personal favorites came out of those sessions, "Way Down", "Love Coming Down", "Hurt", "Danny Boy", "It's Easy For You" and "For The Heart" among others.
AndyUK...so if Joe Public can name an album how does that equate to critical success??? Ask Joe Public to name the two Everly Brothers albums in the 80's? Watch most of them under 40 ask who are the Everly Brothers? and the ones over 40 will say after a long pause "Wake Up Little Susie"? Ask Joe Public under 40 who Rick Nelson is and they will tell you he is the group Nelson's Dad. Because Johnny Cash gets more critical praise than Elvis that means anything??? You think Johnny Cash is a better vocalist??? So a critics voice is worth more than the record buying public? Johnny Cash sold 15 million albums in his career at the time of his death. Elvis had 15 million albums sold by 1962 and close to 30 million singles sold by 1958? Wasn't Elvis 2nd gold hits album called "50,000,000 Million Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong"? Wasn't that the Colonels way of saying we don't care what the critics say, the fans are what is important.
I certainly agree about critical acclaim. Cash is loaded with it for his latter work. Elvis should have been also given the right songs & producer. Didnt we all feel great when From Elvis In Memphis and those singles got rave reviews? Unfort, Elvis did not insist about waiving the publishers rights again during the 70's and that resulted in spotty material at best. A new young songwriter got a good song in now & then (TROUBLE, For The Heart) but mostly it was Spanish Eyes, and weepy country covers. Sorry not my cup of tea. And you want to put down these songs in the jukebox CD as relics and if Elvis recording them as a sign of not moving forward? Think of the great job he did on Berry's Promised Land and the good reviews it got, then come back & say it would not have been worth the effort to revisit these types of songs. I certainly think it would have been great and led to critical acclaim. One thing I do agree with Deano on, Im glad Elvis didnt succumb to the disco craze.
I'd say let Deano1 enjoy the out of breath weak performances by Elvis from which the lack of interest drips. Even I do every now and then, but in the meantime I enjoy music that was recorded with a thought and passion behind it, and sorry to say, often that's not Elvis...
Deano1, Please if you would be so kind as to limit your comments so I can digest them, without falling asleep. In a previous life were you the guy that wrot War & Peace ? Just kidding. On a serious thought I have to agree with dgirl comments. By the way did I mention dgirl looks like a young Hillary Brooks?
Lex, there is nothing weak about the album "From Elvis Presley Boulevard...". Judging my the fans on this website that rate his songs, almost all the songs from this album get four stars so I don't think I am alone, just the most vocal. Dgirl, I did not say the songs above were relics, I said Chuck Berry, Little Richard and most of the other 50's rock artist became relics and nostalgia acts. Even Ricky Nelson after the failure of his "highly" acclaimed material went back out on tours with Fats Domino singing nothing but his 50's and 60's hits. Elvis tried his best not to become that artist, but finally somewhat succumbed to it in 1976 and 77 concerts (although he still tried a few "new" songs like "Unchained Melody"). I agree "Promised Land" was a great record, but so was "It's Midnight", "My Boy" and the ones I mentioned before. Theoldscudder, sorry for the long comments, I didn't realize how long they were until I pushed save. I guess for you guys it is good that Elvis didn't live, because it definitely appeared his future was in the country music scene, which by the way was just as much a part of his roots as gospel and r & b.
Deano1: I completely share your point of view. I've been an Elvis fan for over more than 54 years now, and love each period of his musical history., 50s, 60s and 70s . As for he weaker studio-and live recordings : well, it's part of his legacy and I take the good with the "less-good", I'm deliberately NOT writing " the good with the BAD". Always El.
Elvis did not want to become a nostalgic act as you say the other artists became, but he became a sad parody of himself in the silly jumpsuits and never really progressing musically much. So whats worse? I saw Rick Nelson a year before he was killed. I only wish Elvis gave a show like that. He sang the old hits (full rocking versions!) covered the Stones, Dylan, and did a new song or two. Played the guitar & piano. I was thinking that exact thought that night. Why couldnt Elvis ditch the jumpsuits, ditch Guercio, ditch everthing except his rythym section and put on a show like that, which got rave reviews by the way.
I think it's a very intresting cd.But i think they could be on his Jukebox.All the artists on this compialtion could be on it. Also ricky Nelson .Because Elvis recorded Fools rush in . And on this track James Burton are playing the guitar part. Also released in guitar overdub( awesome ). But i agree with Lex. Listen to the hawwii sessions. You'll here the no intrest of Elvis.And i think he's not to blame. But his "fine Manager" who's decided everything. He's the one to blame. Why do something differmt while you get the money?.But elvis was smart enough to not trust this man. i'll think he's was recorded also better things..But this is a very nice compilation with great songs wich elvis liked and should have(maybe) recorded if he has the freedom to do the songs he liked. Also the concerts. Why not promoting his albums ,instead the (almost) same shows in vegas. It's because the same person. But there's is one thing about this all. His voice was still great all those years and also still could make a song as it was his own written song. But this compilation gives me the feeling of what Elvis would like
Thank you Benny Scott...dgirl, I partially agree with what you are saying and I have stated that before on this site. When Elvis did try to progress in August '74 in Vegas with a progressive shows and toned down outfits, he was given a lukewarm reception. I think you could see a gradual decline in his interest level from that point until his death (there was exceptions). I saw Rick Nelson on TV with Fats Domino about a month before his death and he was singing nothing but oldies, but that is not the point. Rick Nelson, Dion, The Everly's, Pat Boone, Chuck Berry, Little Richard all hit rock bottom commercially and they could either try and change or become nostalgia acts. Elvis had slumps, but managed at least two top 40 hits every year (except 76, he only had one single) and at least one LP to hit the top 50. Rick Nelson went back and forth, Dion and The Everly's tried going back to their roots and singing "new" songs with little success to substain a career and Berry and Richard became nostalgia acts. Boone tried to catch on two every fad and couldn't succeed. One of the things that makes the Graceland sessions so great to me is it isn't rhinestone Elvis, it is Elvis baring all his emotion through song. I think he sounds vocally, but songs like "Solitaire" reveal Elvis' soul. I still like most of Elvis' live work in '76 and '77, but it sad, he didn't know what direction to go in musically and didn't know if his fans would follow. By the early 80's country music and taken over a lot of the charts in the U.S. and I think Elvis would have found a home. Elvis new what is was to be on the top of the hill, the others didn't. What is the blue print when you start to fall from #1??? Only The Beatles and Frank Sinatra could even imagine what it was like to be Elvis and you see how arrogancy and greed destroyed The Beatles (not artistically, but breaking the group up). I still say the most pivotal point of Elvis' career was 1973. He had the pinnacle event of his career, "Aloha From Hawaii" and then was put back in a cage (Vegas, a place he had already conquered) for 59 shows in 29 days. His most recent singles which were great, were put on budget LP's. A LP of throwaways was released as the follow-up to the #1 LP "Aloha From Hawaii". When Elvis was dissatisfied by the July of 73 recording sessions, RCA couldn't possibly wait until he recorded again and take the best from both sessions, they had to have their three LP's per year (how about "Gold Records, Vol 5, as a follow-up to "Aloha"?). He was disrespected as an artist by his record label and his manager. One more thing I would like to add. I will take comparisons to The Beatles and Frank Sinatra, they were truly great, but mentioning The Stones and Dylan in the same breath as Elvis and The Beatles is an insult to both.
Deano - yup I agree. The big 3 in music history as far as being on top are Elvis, Beatles & Sinatra. No doubt abou that. I think Dylan was very important influentially on music in the 60's but did not have the idol worship or mad chart sucess and cause riots, that the others had. I only mentioned the Stones and Dylan because Rick had covered their songs in concert when I saw him. Much better than covering Olivia Newton-John (every damn show!) dont you think? I also agree with you about 1973. After ALoha, going back to Vegas was not only a career mistake but also a mental disaster for Elvis. Nothing could have been worse. I think it showed in the spotty album releases and the uninspired shows he gave from time to time. Yes there were some exceptions but for me ELvis was on auto-pilot most of post 1973 and I really dont think he cared about a wrold tour, cutting another great session or whatever. He just went along with the flow of things so to speak. Country music boomed in the 80's and he could have had great success but it was not to be. We just diasgree on the Blvd album. I didnt like it in 1976 and I still dont. Elvis sounds uninspired and tired and the material wasnt great except for the single.
One thing for certain, Elvis fans are the most fanatical. For some reason they cannot see that among the many great songs Elvis recorded were a large amount of mediocre songs. That being said the Blvd LP is one morose bit of morbidity. It's the one album I would never listen to again. I'd even listen to the soundtracks which I despise. At least they are tolerable to a degree.
dirl, as always I appreciate your opinion and sometimes you do have to agree to disagree. Theoldscudder...I know there was mediocre material, look at how I argued against calling the LP "Elvis Now" a classic, look at my reviews on some of the songs from "Harum Scarum", "Kissin' Cousins" and "Paradise, Hawaiian Style". Heck I even was a little taken back by the people who acted like the FTD "Good Times" was the one of his best LP's. This was a largely ignored LP in 1974 and while it has does have several strong songs, it has a few bland ones ("She Wears My Ring" especially). That said, I still love the sound of Elvis' voice and he takes bland and mediocre material better just by singing it. Let's face it, "Hound Dog" is as dumb of a song as you could write and a man singing it is really crazy, but Elvis made it work. I know Beatles fans who defend "I Am The Walrus" and "Yellow Submarine" (among others). Talk about some mediocre material, at best. But again their harmonizing and sound could make any song palatable.
Deano1, I was not referring to you in my previous comments. The opinions you share on this site seem well balanced. Some others on this site walk in lock step & seem to like everything the man ever did.
Regarding all of the banter about mediocre recordings, all of the Big 3 of the entertainment world (Elvis, Beatles & Sinatra) have produced mediocre songs for whatever reason. And it continues today. What is the point? What is the point of dwelling on all the mediocre stuff when there is so much good music to discuss? And mediocre is in the ears of the listener just like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Move on.
Ruthie Take off the rose coloured glasses you are wearing when it comes to your idol. Sure The Beatles & Sinatra recorded some mediocre songs. Most artists have hit & misses. Problem is Elvis has recorded more crap than any other major artist. The majority of the movie soundtracks were mediocre. I was a kid when he first burst upon the scene & he was great. He could change peoples lives at that time. But in time he became a fat cat, a parody of his former sublime self. For that reason I would not recommend Elvis to any young person. It's not 50 years ago & most of them would just not get him.
theoldscudder, young people would not get him? Really? So they would not get "Don't Be Cruel", "Little Sister" or any of the 50's and early 60's hits? They wouldn't get the albums "Elvis Is Back", "From Elvis In Memphis", "Elvis Country", "For LP Fans Only", "A Date With Elvis" and "Elvis Presley"? I have a niece who likes all kinds of modern day music and recently she heard the song "Way Down" and commented that she really liked it. I young lady who is a good friend of mine and only in her 30's loves "Return To Sender". Elvis gave us almost nothing but unquestionably great music from 1954-1962 with only a few tracks on the "Girls! Girls! Girls! and "Blue Hawaii" being the least bit mediocre (and maybe a couple of studio tracks). The Beatles basically recorded for about eight years from 62-70 (John Lennon had actually left in Sept of 69) and produced the same amount if not more mediocre material than Elvis ("Strawberry Fields Forever", "Rocky Raccoon" "Yellow Submarine", "I Am The Walrus" "You Know My Name, Look Up The Number", etc) as well as a lot of great material. But Elvis was not done with that eight year streak, while making movies, he still gave us "It Hurts Me", "Big Boss Man", "Indescribably Blue", the album "How Great Thou Art" and several more and then gave us great recording sessions in Jan/Feb 1969, June of 1970 and December of 73 (and in my opinion Feb of 76). I guess young people should get a mumbling incoherent Bob Dylan or maybe a 60 some year old Mick Jagger still strutting in an absolute parody of himself. The Rolling Stones have had numerous mediocre singles through the years. I think you have insulted the intelligence of young people and greatly misrepresented Elvis' career.
I will speak from experience. When Lilo & Stitch came out my kids were younger and they enjoyed the movie and the Elvis songs in it. Then the remix of ALLC came out and they really liked it. They have now moved onto to today's artists and may still like an Elvis song or 2, but he is not an artist you will find on their iPod or most teens or early 20's Ipods. Dont know about 30 year olds. Even though a song like Dont be Cruel is timeless, so is a song like As Time Goes By but they both sound ancient to the younger generation. As for The Beatles recording crappy songs, yes they have but Yellow Sub & Strawberry Fields are not among them. One is a fun sing-along kids song and a # 1 hit to boot, & the other was an innovative recording at the time when music was really expanding in the studio and The Beatles were at the forefront of that change with all kinds of new sounds. I actually rank Strawberry Fields among their finest recordings. Just to contrast, Elvis was cutting Clambake at the time.
Deano1 I stand by what I say. Young people(25 & under) would not get Elvis. He's passe to the vast majority ( not all) of that generation, just like Bing Crosby was to mine. The younger people are listening to Lady GaGa, Jonas Bros. etc. Elvis had the best voice in R&R. Nobody comes close to him, past & present. However with all that going for him he still sang many bad songs. I'm not saying he sang them badly but the songs themselves were crap. Yoga Is, Ft. Lauderdale, Uncle Not Your Dad. Nobody not even a bunch of heavenly angels could elevate that garbage. It's been said Robert Johnson sold his sold to the devil at the crossroads to further his talent. Elvis sold his soul to the devil (Col. Parker) for commercial reasons. As for Strawberry Fields? It's a great song with a fine vocal.
Steve V and the old scudder...A young girl who likes the Jonas Bros is not going to like any acts from the old days (Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, Zepplin,etc). Just like a 15 year girl in the 70's like Shaun Cassidy and even if she liked Elvis, she didn't buy his records (she recorded them on cassettes from her parents and brothers collection like my sister did). A person who likes Lady Ga Ga is also going to be very much into modern stuff. Of course a lot of today's youth are going to like something younger and newer (I have four nephews and two nieces and they none like the Beatles, they like Elvis, but wouldn't buy his CD's and they couldn't tell you who Bob Dylan is). Many young people after their crushes or rebellion ends are looking for good music and it would be a crime if an Elvis fan or a Beatles fan did not introduce them to their music.
The comparison to "Strawberry Fields Forever" to "Clambake" (I actually like most of this album, especially the bonus songs) is silly. Elvis had put out a ton of great material for the previous 12 years (54-66) so compare apples to apples. If you think "Strawberry is one of their best works (I feel considering "Strawberry" one of the Beatles finest works is disrespectful to their good stuff) then compare it to Elvis' best work (whatever you find to be the best). "Strawberry" was on the charts when "Indescribably Blue" was. I will take "Blue" over "Strawberry" any day. (and don't tell me about sales because you are the ones who say we fans worry too much about charts and sales) Steve V, how come you ae giving the Beatles a pass on a song for children, but you blast Elvis for it? "Confidence" vs "Yellow Submarine" vs "High Hopes", any of them would leave a person not accustomed to the artists shaking their head, so where is the difference in this discussion?
theoldscudder, the argument of commercialism has no relevance. Why does any professional recording artist record? to sell records. I love it when people hold up the Beatles as being above commercialism. They certainly didn't. Paul McCartney laughed when the Beatles were lauded for "not being commercial and anti-materialism", here is his quote "That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool." John Lennon had them record "You Know My Name" to prove Beatles fans would buy anything. That isn't crass commercialism??? If someone wasn't commercial, they wouldn't have recording contracts, they would sing for free in the park and never charge for their singing. A lot of artists claim to be one thing, but they are really the same money making machines the "commercial" ones are. You are the generation that bought the soundtracks like "Blue Hawaii" and "G.I. Blues" in much greater numbers than "Elvis Is Back" and "Something For Everybody". Your generation made "Harum Scarum" and "Kissin' Cousins" top 10 albums. Elvis gave you what you bought. When the sales dipped for the LP "Double Trouble", changes were made immediately (Remember DT peaked in August of 67 and Elvis had already recorded the "Clambake" and "Sppedway" sessions). After the DT sales decline, Elvis never did another musical comedy. Elvis was dying to get out of those movies, but his fans kept going to them and buying the soundtracks. If you all had stopped at KC, there wouldn't have been a "Harum Scarum" and some of the ones that followed. Throw out all the soundtrack songs (a little over a 100 songs) from "Girls!x3 to "Speedway" (and some of those were very good) and you still have well over 500 tracks and those are mostly very good, some of them are the best recordings ever. Like "Ruthie" said concentrate on the great stuff.
Finally (I know...oldscudder...Yeah!), I can't emphasize enough that Ricky Nelson, The Everly's, Dion and many others only went back to their roots only when they hit rock bottom commercially. Elvis never did hit rock bottom and the closest he came was the Summer of '68 and that took him back to Memphis for the great American Studio sessions. It is really tough to changed midstream of something successful and take a chance on losing your fans. Did John Wayne do too many cowboy movies and "sell out" as an actor? Did Dean Martin belittle his own talent and do countless mindless movies and pretend to be drunk for laughs? Did Burt Reynolds (the top box office draw of the 70's) watch his movies deteriorate from good (Smokey And The Bandit) to unwatchable (Stroker Ace)? YES. Why? Because they were playing to their fans. The only thing that made them stop was death, age and commercial failure.
I don't say Yellow Sub was a great song, far from it, but compared to Confidence it is Moonlight Sonata, sorry. Confidence was one in a long line of silly songs, (Ito, Queenie, Cotton Candy Land, others) and by this time enough was enough for me. Lennon on Yellow Sub said we wanted to write a kids song for Ringo. It worked on all levels to me, produced well, modern sounding yet childish at the same time. Humor abound especially in the middle break. Miles ahead of Confidence in my opinion and it became a classic cartoon film! So to me, no comparison although I dont consider it a great song, just a fun song. Confidence was just bad. As for the Clambake soundtrack. Elvis sounds bored & uninspired, like he couldn't wait to get out of the recording studio. FTD jumped the shark when they released this as a classic album.
Deano1, I'd like to respond but you ramble on & on. It's just too much to digest & comment on. I will just say I'll take Strawberry Fields over Indescribably Blue any day. And it was much more relevant in that period (60's) than I. Blue.
Steve V, I agree that FTD is a bit liberal on calling albums classics. We agreed on "Good Times" being called a classic. Two albums combining the best material from ROR, GT and PL might be classics, but not the albums as they were released.
theoldscudder...Since I "ramble" I will make it easy. If a young person is disenchanted with modern music, don't you think Elvis' best work should be introduced to them? Yes, he won't be the #1 artist today, but his music makes new fans everyday and has been for 56 years! 2)Your "selling his soul" comment concerning Elvis being commercial is ludicrous. To single him out when even the Beatles admitted they were very materialistic and commercial is a bad argument. Wasn't Elvis body of work from 54-62 as good as the Beatles from 62-70? 3)If your generation was so good at deciphering what good music is then why did they buy soundtrack LP's over his studio efforts? If "the "Kissin' Cousins" LP had been a bust sales wise, would the other "quickies" have been made? 4)Have you ever known a performer that had a hit formula and quit that formula while it was still successful? The only reasons a formula is normally abandoned is due to death. age or commercial sales? An artist depends on his/her fans to say what they like about him. Through 1966, everyone of his soundtrack LP's had hit the top 20. 5)Yes, maybe SFF was more relevant in '67, I agree, but I like the fact that Elvis was never identified with the late 60's popular culture. I find SFF to be one of the hardest songs to listen to by The Beatles. I will take "The Ballad of John And Yoko" over it.
The problem is the Elvis fan. They would buy any crap that was put under their nose. I admit I was guilty. I bought every record the King made usually on the first day it came out. I have grown older & wiser & now I see things done in Elvis career that were counter productive to his fully developing as an artist. Therefore many of my comments are critical. He's still the best singer in R&R. Only the choices were bad.
the oldscudder is right. As a person who grew up with Elvis, I bought every release, didnt have to even hear it, I bought it because it was Elvis. So when I got home and put on the Kissin Cousins soundtrack or PHS, I was like, 'oh no, not again, another poor LP'. But I kept buying. I also bought The Beatles records, and 4 Seasons & Beach Boys, & Atlantic, & Motown as did my other friends. And you know what? They were all better than the reocrds Elvis was putting out at the time. Much better to tell you the truth. The reason Elvis made the charts was because of the loyal fan base & people like me and the oldscudder. But even some of these die-hards stopped buying by the time Speedway came out thus resulting in his poorest chart showing to date. Yes we are to blame. I plead guilty.
Well, I guess we have kind of summed up that discussion and I know I strayed from the point of the article. I still think Elvis had a lot of great music in the mid 60's ("It Hurts Me", "Indescribably Blue", "Love Letters", "How Great Thou Art" and the Sept 67 sessions) and I probably would have been guilty of buying every album too that was made if I was alive as they came out. PHS, KC, and HS are the three that hurt the soundtracks more than the others and I just wish that KC would have flopped so that at least the level of quality for the soundtracks would have been that of "Fun In Acapulco" ("Barefoot Ballad" seemed almost a dare by Elvis for his fans to reject it, but the LP hit #6!). I love the Four Seasons (my favorite group along with The Platters and The Duprees) but only one song ("C'mon Marianne") after 1966 comes close to capturing their magical years of 62-66. They like a lot of musical acts faded in quality within a few short years. The Beach Boys never appealed to me very much, I like a couple of their songs, but I would take Elvis' silliest recordings over most of their work. I still would hope that an Elvis fan would introduce a younger music fan to his stuff from 54-63 and his non-soundtrack material from 67-73. The rest of his movie material I know is not going to be as widely enjoyed as those great periods and I am ok with that. I am not going to try and make anybody enjoy "Girl Happy" or "Spinout" as much as I do. Thank you Steve V, dgirl, and theoldscudder, we may disagree on some points, but I enjoy this website and the different perspectives.