Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy New Year, Elvis

 

Thanks to Charmain Jenson Voisine for creating this photo

and allowing Elvisblog to display it.

Caption Contest # 18 — Winner

Jean Pyle has done it again, but this may be the best caption she has ever come up with.  As usual, she has re-worked the lyrics of an Elvis song to fit the picture.  This one is from “I'll Be Home for Christmas.”

“I won't be home for Christmas.
You can't count on me.
Here are a couple of reasons,
Beside my Christmas tree.”

Merry Christmas From Elvisblog

 

To honor Elvis this Christmas, here are a few candid shots of him celebrating the holidays at Graceland.

 

 

 

 

     

1957          

 

            

1968                                             1970

 

                

In Front of Christmas Tree                    Looking at Christmas Tree

 

Priscilla and Elvis in Front of Graceland Manger Display

 

 

                 

Black & White Tree Shot                     Color Shot With Tree

 

Elvis and Christmas Tree in Graceland Living Room

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

A Christmas Eve Poem

 

There is one ElvisBlog reader who makes a submission to every Caption Contest.  She is Jean Pyle from Hawthorne, New Jersey, and her ideas are quite unique.  She finds a few lines of lyrics from an Elvis song that fit the picture.  Or, more frequently, she changes the lyrics a bit to work even better.

So, I'm not surprised Jean was able to rewrite the classic poem “The Night Before Christmas.”  She was kind enough to include me and this blog in the message, and I am proud to present it here.  I hope you enjoy, “'Twas the Night Before a Blue Christmas 2009” by Jean Pyle.

 

A Merry Christmas and a hunk of burning love to everyone.

A Look at Elvis' Christmas Albums

You’ve probably been listening to Elvis Christmas songs for the past three weeks or so.   Do you know how many he recorded?  The answer is twenty.  Eight were for Elvis’ Christmas Album back in 1957 and are shown below.  The other four songs on the LP were gospel standards recorded at the same session on September 5-7 in Hollywood.

              
                        

Nine years later, Elvis recorded a single titled, “If Every Day was Like Christmas.”  It was written by his friend and bodyguard Red West and was recorded on June 10, 1966 in Nashville.

 
1966 45 RPM Single

 

Elvis recorded his second Christmas album on May 15-16, 1971 in Nashville.  ELVIS sings The Wonderful World of Christmas contained the eleven holiday songs listed below. 

         
               

Did you know that nine of Elvis’ Christmas recordings had never been released by any other artist previously?  The songs that were written just for him include the 1966 single and two from Elvis’ Christmas Album: “Santa Claus is Back in Town” and “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me.”   The Elvis original Christmas songs on his second album were all but the first two and last two and “Winter Wonderland” on the list above.

When CDs became the dominant format for recorded music in the 70s, RCA started a steady string of repackaging of Elvis’ Christmas songs.  The following is probably not the complete catalog, but it’s got most of them.

 

           

1982                                  1990                                    1992

 

               

1992                                  1994                                       1997

 

             

2000                                   2000                                    2001

 

                 

2003                                   2006                                    2007

 

         

2007                                            2008

So, hopefully you own one or more of these Elvis Christmas albums and have played them a lot this season.

Have a Merry Christmas everybody.

      Phil Arnold
      Original Elvis Blogmeister,
      ElvisBlog

©  2009    Philip R Arnold    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ignores TCB Boys Again

The Rock & Fall Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2010 inductees today, and for some reason, they skipped the Sidemen category.  This means that Jerry Scheff, Ronnie Tutt, Glen D. Hardin and John Wilkinson will have to wait at least another year to join TCB band leader James Burton in the Rockhall.  Frankly, I cannot figure out the logic the selection committee uses, but they continue their stupid record of keeping Elvis’ bandmates on hold.

 

Elvis, Charlie, Jerry, Ronnie, James and John (Glen is off frame to left)

 

As we have discussed on earlier blogs, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Sidemen category has a strange history.  It was started in 2000 with five inductees including Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore.  The next year, two more musicians were honored, including James Burton.  So, things started out good for Elvis’ bandmates.

In 2002 Chet Atkins was the lone honoree, and in 2003, three more musicians were added.  Fans started wondering when Bill Black and DJ Fontana would join Scotty, and when the rest of the TCB guys would join James in the Hall of Fame.  Five years later they were still wondering, as there were no new Sidemen inducted in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

In 2008 the Sidemen category was revived with a strange selection.  Little Walter was an exceptional blues talent and harmonica wizard, but his fame as a bandmate was with Muddy Waters, not any rock singers.

Finally, in 2009 DJ Fontana and Bill Black won their long overdue recognition and were installed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Nine years after Scotty Moore was honored, Elvis’ full band from the 50s was finally together in the Hall.  It was then that I started to hope the same thing would happen the next year for the TCB Band.  Surely Jerry Schell Ronnie Tutt, Glen D. Hardin and John Wilkinson would join James Burton in a Class of 2010 Sidemen after their own nine year wait.

Ronnie Tutt, Glen D Hardin, and Jerry Scheff

 

I’m afraid not.  By skipping the Sidemen category again, the Hall has put off the other TCB guys’ worthy induction for yet another year.  That will make it a full decade of waiting.  This is so frustrating.  These guys deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.  It’s hard to tell if EPE is doing any promotion on their behalf, but they should.  If they would use that huge mailing list of fans they’ve got to organize a letter-writing campaign on the fellows’ behalf, maybe we could get this thing done.

I’ll say it again.  Jerry Scheff, Ronnie Tutt, Glen D. Hardin and John Wilkinson BELONG in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Opening Night – VIVA ELVIS

(Ed. note)  The official opening of Viva Elvis was on February 19, 2010.  Click here to read the ElvisBlog article covering our favorite on-line reviews of the show.

 

The long awaited trial run opening of Cirque du Soleil's new show VIVA ELVIS is just three days away.  On Friday, December 18, 2000 fans will file into the specially built theater at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to view this wonderful tribute to The King.  Regular ticket prices start at $99 and go up to $175, but during the preview period through the end of January, all are subject to a 25% discount

 A basic room at the Aria is $149 per night.  If you want a spectacular view of CityCenter and the strip, it will cost $199.  If you want to celebrate Elvis' 75th birthday by catching VIVA ELVIS and staying at the Aria on January 8, those room rates jump to $259 and $309.

The Aria website has a link with information on showtimes, prices, and a seating chart.  It looks like the show will happen even on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  The site has this to say about VIVA ELVIS:

Viva ELVIS™ by Cirque du Soleil®, a harmonious fusion of dance, acrobatics and live music, is a tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley. Nostalgia, modernity and raw emotion provide the backdrop for his immortal voice and the exhilaration and beauty of his music.

Created in the image of The King of Rock 'n' Roll – powerful, sexy, whimsical, truly unique and larger than life – the show highlights an American icon who transformed popular music and whose image embodies the freedom, excitement and turbulence of his era.

Significant moments in his life – intimate, playful and grandiose – blend with the timeless songs that remain as relevant today as when they first hit the top of the charts. Viva ELVIS focuses on the essential humanity of the one superstar whose name will forever be linked with the history of Las Vegas and the entire world of entertainment: Elvis Presley.

 

 

Here are some interesting tid-bits from Reed Johnson's LATimes.com article earlier today.  They are from quotes attributed to Gilles Ste-Croix, Cirque Senior V.P. of Creative Content, and Stephanie Mongeau, Viva Elvis Executive Producer.

Evoking an extraordinary man and his shape-shifting times.

A retro-contemporized tribute that unfolds like a live concert.

None of the show's 75 artists actually will portray or represent Presley on stage.

Those unmistakable purrs and growls will be set to punchy new musical arrangements – like “Black Eyed Peas meet Elvis”

I will be interested to see the reviews of these Black-Eyed-Peas-like arrangements of Elvis' music.  Personally, I'm rather fond of the Scotty Moore and James Burton sounds.  There will surely be a soundtrack CD coming out soon (like just in time for Elvis Week, maybe?), so we can listen to the music even if we can't get to Las Vegas to see the show.

 

It may be a few years until I get out to Las Vegas and see Viva Elvis, but you can be sure that trip will be on my Christmas wish list every year until I do.

 

(C)  2009   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

The Tiny Elvis-head Challenge

I have grumbled here before about small Elvis toys, dolls, figurines, etc, that do not look like Elvis.  Of course, I understand the difficulty of reproducing the features of a familiar face on a one inch glob of plastic.  However, I keep hoping someone will pull it off – hoping they will meet what might be called the tiny Elvis-head challenge.

So, I had great expectations when an e-mail newsletter came in from Elvis.com/news announcing a new Christmas gift item — Elvis Presley Bobbleheads from Funko.  I clicked on the link to shopElvis.com, and saw that there were six of them.  The small photos of each looked somewhat promising.

image

 

The first two celebrated the “Classic 50s Elvis” and the “68 Special Elvis.”  When I zoomed in on their pictures, this is what I got:


image          image
            

So, what do you think?  I think 50s Elvis is better than 68 Elvis because of the hair and the smile – a little touch of the famous Elvis lip curl.  Both would have been improved with blue eyes and smaller eyebrows.  68 Elvis looks like he has two black caterpillars resting on his forehead.

Next came “Nodniks,” which I had never heard of, but the promo said they are the next big thing with young collectors.

image          image

Well, they certainly did a good job on the eyes of Aloha Elvis and Jailhouse Elvis, but the marshmallow-shaped head just doesn’t work for me.  In spite of that, ShopElvis proclaims, “this will be one of the hottest Nodniks ever introduced.”  Obviously, I am not in the demographic they target for these.

The last three bobbleheads were “Jailhouse Rock Elvis,” “Elvis Wacky Wobbler Bobble Car,” and “Aloha from Hawaii Elvis.”

image     image     image

Aloha Elvis is pretty weak, but the other two are okay.  Jailhouse Rock Elvis certainly has captured the look of Elvis’ hair.  But, with the gold lamé coat and the pink Cadillac, Bobble Car Elvis strikes my fancy best.  I am also struck with the thought that Elvis probably holds the world’s record for collectible items depicting its subject in a prison uniform.

ShopElvis.com also offers one other Elvis bobblehead, but in this case the whole body bobbles, not just the head.  Here is the Dashboard Elvis Wobbler:

image

I wish this one was a little bit more realistic.  The hair looks like a football helmet, but the sunglasses and Aloha American eagle jumpsuit make it clear that this little guy is Elvis.

Next, I decided to check out Elvis figurine Christmas ornaments to see how their tiny Elvis-heads compared against the Bobbleheads.  It may not be a fair comparison, because their heads were only one-third the size, making the challenge so much more difficult.  Here are the face close-ups for “68 Comeback,” “Live in Las Vegas,” and “Christmas Gold Lame” ornaments:

image  image  image
       

I’m sorry, but the latter two just don’t cut it for me.  However, considering that the 68 Comeback face is done on about one-half inch of blown glass, they did a pretty good job on that one.  Next we have “Red Jumpsuit,” Viva Las Vegas,” and “Silver Jacket.”

image     image   image

It’s time to start over on “Viva Las Vegas Elvis,” but the other two aren’t too bad.  Say, how come there is no Jailhouse Rock Christmas ornament?  Maybe next year.

So, we have a few items that do fairly well in the tiny Elvis-head challenge.  There is one other Christmas item that definitely does not.  Below is the “Elvis Black Mini Nutcracker.

image          image 

Let’s get real.  If the base didn’t have the word Elvis on it, would you have any idea this was an Elvis collectible?  That face not only doesn’t look like Elvis, it looks like some kind of evil mutant anti-Santa.

To end this article on a high note, I want to show my favorite little Elvis collectible.

image          image


As you can see, it is the Jumpsuit Elvis Pez dispenser.  It’s got the hair and sideburns right, and the high jumpsuit collar helps.  The nose and mouth are on the money, and the sunglasses perfect the look.  Jumpsuit Elvis Pez was part of a three-part set, but young Elvis and Army Elvis didn’t look much like him, so I threw them away. 
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Jumpsuit Elvis Pez sits on my desk and inspires me each time as I write these blogs.  It is still my champ of the tiny Elvis-head challenge.
 
 
©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net
 

In Search of Historic Elvis

 

My son and his fiancé came down from Columbus, Ohio to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  Because they won’t be coming back again for Christmas, they brought all their presents with them.  When my son set the packages down, he asked, “Do you want to open them now or on Christmas?”  I told him waiting until Christmas was fine.

However, a few minutes later he asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to open one now?”  It was easy to figure out there was a really good present over there, one I was sure to like.  I told him yes, and, boy was that a good move.  He gave me a four-disc DVD set showing every page of every issue of Rolling Stone magazine from 1967 to 2007. 


 

Because I now own Rolling Stone – Cover to Cover, what would otherwise be a huge pile of back issues in my basement is now 3 discs sitting right next to my computer.  I am going to have so much fun going back through those old issues.

A fourth DVD is a browser you upload so you can search, view and organize the entire archive.  As soon as I got it installed, I went to Search and typed in Elvis.  What else would you expect from the blogmeister at ElvisBlog.  Up popped a list of 1420 Elvis articles.  Wow.  I didn’t think Rolling Stone wrote that much about him.  Then, I discovered that most of the articles merely had a mention of Elvis in the text of a story about another artist. 

Once I zeroed the search in to straight Elvis stories, I needed to decide which one to read first.  I like writing about anniversaries of Elvis events, and I needed a new topic for the next blog.  So, I thought I’d see if they had a story published in December 1969, which would be worthy of a 40th anniversary look back.  Unfortunately, there were no Rolling Stone Elvis articles then, so I just looked for any interesting December story in any year.  I was excited to find, “1981:  A Bad Year for Elvis.”  Hmmm.  How you can have a bad year if you are dead.

 

Once I read the story, I could see author Dave Marsh’s point.  There were three bummer things that happened in 1981 to tarnish Elvis’ image.  There was Albert Goodman’s hatchet job book titled “Elvis.”  There was the Tennessee trial against Dr Nick for recklessly over-prescribing pills for Elvis.  And there was the report filed by a lawyer for thirteen-year-old Lisa Marie against Col. Parker for taking excessive commissions on Elvis’s income.  I decided to save that article to discuss in a December 2011 blog when it would be the 30th anniversary.

Finally, I found a story from December 1989 titled “In Search of Historic Elvis.”  Author Alan D. Maislen shared his theory that depictions of Elvis showed up throughout history in many different cultures and countries.  He asks, “If Elvis is able to make appearances after his death, shouldn’t he have been able to show up before his birth?”

 

Before even reading the article, it was apparent that it would be tongue-in-cheek.  After all, we know none of those huge rock heads on Easter Island had sideburns.  Maislen started out by describing Peruvian mountain carvings in the shape of teddy bears, visible only by aircraft.  Then it was Incan priests with rings on chains around their necks.  The next one actually sounded believable until the last line. “… Rouen tapestry that depicts the martyrdom of Saint Joan of Arc.  The figure in the background was assumed to be a Burgundian bishop, chiefly because of his high collared, gold-sequined robe.”  We realize our leg is being pulled when the embroidery along the bottom of the tapestry is translated to “I want a hunk, a hunk of burning love.”

The next mock historical Elvis appearance was my favorite.  It was an Asian culture that once built ornate temples in the jungle and decorated them with an art form they invented — painting on black velvet.

The Rolling Stone article ended with the so-called diary of Walter Reed, the father of the cure for yellow fever.  I love these entries in his journal concerning his first patient:

Hands: Shaking
Knees: Weak.  Can’t seem to stand on own two feet.
Lips:  Like a volcano when it’s hot.
Patient: Delirious, Acts wildly, as if he were a bug.
Question: Why is he all shook up?

Author Maislen continues this section’s Elvis connection with the revelation that Walter Reed discovered the cause of yellow fever to be a mosquito (a bug).  This all supposedly happened in Cuba, the land renowned for its “fuzzy trees.”

I love to find well-written pieces about Elvis Presley, and “The Search for Historical Elvis” is just that.  In addition, it was illustrated by Anita Kunz who created some great historical renderings.


 

I wish I could give you a link to this wonderful content, but it’s not on the internet.  If your spouse spends close to $100 on you each Christmas, you might tell him/her you would like Rolling Stone – Cover to Cover.  You will love it.  That reminds me.  I need to call my son and thank him for such a really cool present.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

CAPTION CONTEST #17 — WINNER

 

Congratulations to reader Rick Janczac for the winning caption.  A new contest will be posted next week.week.

 

Please step back , sir.  Mr Presley doesn't need any help trying on new pants.