Category Archives: CDs / RECORDS

Remembering Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry Photo and Record

I know I’m a little late doing this tribute to Chuck Berry, but I’ve spent the past two weeks in computer hell. It was so bad I had to skip the regular post two weekends ago, and I hate doing that. Anyway, I have loved Chuck Berry’s music for over 60 years, so his passing will get a well-deserved mention on ElvisBlog.

Chuck Berry's One Dozen Berries

This is the very first album I owned in my life. Not an image off the internet – this is my album, purchased in 1958 and in my possession ever since. It contained three of Chuck Berry’s hits – “Rock and Roll Music,” “Reelin’ and Rockin’,” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.” Surprisingly, the album disc is still in pretty good shape, but the cover is split along the top and bottom seams.

I bought my first 45 singles in the summer of 1956, and the collection grew until I went off to college. There were several Chuck Berry records in there, but when my son went to college, he “borrowed” my collection. He and his buddies loved this treasure trove of 50s rock and roll, and they played the heck out of them. Somehow, I never got that collection of 45s back, but the records were probably so beat up by then that they weren’t worth having.

 

Elvis-Presley-Chuck-Berry Together

Normally, when I do one of these Remembering… posts, it’s about someone who had a substantial connection with Elvis. Truth is, there is very little connection between Chuck Berry and Elvis. The main tie is their roles in the birth and explosion of Rock and Roll. I like the opening of Berry’s biography on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website:

“If Elvis Presley cracked open the door for rock & roll, Chuck Berry kicked it wide open.”

Click here to see everything the Rock Hall had to say about Chuck Berry. Both he and Elvis were members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction class in 1986.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - Class of 1986

What an outstanding group! I can’t believe the RockHall’s webmaster cropped the pictures of the thumbnail images so severely that parts of the heads of most are cut off. When you click on the thumbnail to go to the artist’s biography, the photos show everybody’s head.

Kieth Richars intorducing Chuck Berry at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony

This is a shot of Chuck Berry’s induction ceremony into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   None other than the Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards introduced him. Then they jammed together on “Roll over Beethoven.”

 

Chuck Berry at Chicago Show 2011

This is a picture of Chuck Berry performing in Chicago in 2011. Can you believe people were still paying to see him doing his thing at 84. Think what it might have been like if Elvis had kept on performing to that age.

 

Nine Chuck Berry Albums

Here are nine other Chuck Berry albums that are in my collection. He wrote so many songs. Did you know that Elvis covered four of Chuck Berry’s songs: “Memphis,” “Promised Land,” Johnny B. Goode,” and “Two Much Monkey Business.” If you’d like to read a great article on this subject, click here for my friend Alan Hanson’s post on Elvis-History-Blog back in 2011.’’

Here’s an interesting trivia thing about Chuck Berry’s songs. In addition to the four Elvis covered, the Beatles covered two and the Rolling Stones eight. But they all chose different songs. No duplication.

 

Three Later Chuck berry CDs

These are the three Chuck Berry CDs I own. The CD on the left is titled Chuck Berry – You Never Can Tell. It contains 108 songs he recorded for Chess Records from 1960-1966. When I got it out to take the picture, I realized I had never finished listening to all four discs. That will be corrected very soon. The CD at top right is the one album Chuck Berry did on Atlantic Records in 1979. He recorded and produced it in his home studio. The CD liner notes say it is his little-known and most under-appreciated recording. Not by me.

In between Chuck’s time with Chess Records and this Atlantic release, he also recorded five albums for Mercury Records between 1966 and 1969. His legacy of recorded songs is not as large as Elvis’, but Chuck Berry wrote the music and lyrics for every one of his.

I guess by now I have established my bonafides as a Chuck berry fan, so let’s move on to other stuff.

 

The King of Rock and Roll

This is an interesting website that supposedly determines who is the “King of Rock ‘N Roll.”  Chuck Berry won in categories like Song Writer, and Guitar Player, but Elvis prevailed at the end.

 

Marty McFly doing Duck Walk

Remember Marty McFly singing “Johnny B. Goode” and doing Chuck Berry’s famous duck walk in Back to the Future? Here is Chuck doing the real thing:

Chuck Berry Duck Walk 2

And he was still doing it at age 84:

84 year-old Chuck Berry Duck Walk

 

Chuck seemed to favor that Captain’s hat in his later years. Here’s a rare image of grey-haired Chuck Berry performing without it.

Older Chuck berry

 

Chuck Berry was honored with a star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 8, 1987. Here he is at the ceremony when his star was added.

Chuck Berry Star on Walk of Fame Ceremony

I’ve never seen the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but it must be really long. Chuck Berry was the 1,857th person honored, and that was thirty years ago. If you want to see Chuck’s star, it is on the west side of the 1700 block of Vine Street.

 

Rock. Rock. Rock. 1956

Did you know that Chuck Berry appeared in three movies? All of them came about because he was the lead act in famed DJ Alan Freed’s traveling rock ’n’ roll troupes for years.

This is Rock, Rock, Rock! from 1956. Alan Freed starred as himself, and there was a bit of a plot. But the film served mainly to high-light the performance of 21 songs by a long list of artists. Chuck Berry lip-synced “You Can’t Catch Me.” Although Chuck already had hits with “Maybelline” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” I guess the song choice for the movie was to promote his latest release.

Mister Rock and Roll 1957

Alan Freed was the title subject of this 1957 film. Chuck Lip-synched two of his lesser recordings, “Oh Baby Doll” and La Juanda.” Strange choices.

Go, Johnny, Go! 1959

This is the one movie with Chuck Berry in it you might want to check out. The music of Johnny B. Goode plays over the opening credits. Chuck performs “Little Queenie” and “Memphis.” But he also has a good, low-key acting part as Alan Freed’s partner.

 

The following picture needs a little explaining. It comes from the popular movie and TV data base IMDb.

IMBd Elvis Movie RankingsChuck Berry Songs in Movies 2015-16

This is a list of Chuck Berry songs that have been heard on movies and TV in just 2015 and 2016 alone. The total list comes to over 235, dating back to 1956. I wonder what kind of royalty income Chuck Berry has received from the use of his songs. It has to be a lot.

And he got money when other artists covered his songs on their recordings. According to USA Today, “more than 75 artists have done Chuck Berry songs. ‘Johnny B. Goode’ alone has seen at least two dozen versions.”

 

Rise of the Teenage Culture

This tribute to Chuck Berry has jumped around a bit, and it hasn’t told the whole biography as so much other media has done this past week. You’ve probably already read it, but if you’d like some more, please check out my friend Alan Hanson’s excellent article “Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry – Connections and Disconnects.”

 

Chuck Berry Close-up

 

Good bye, Chuck Berry. We’ll miss you. Say Hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

© 2017  Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Elvis’ Special Christmas Radio Program

Elvis Special Christmas Program Reel-to-reel Tape

Do you know what this is? Until this week, I had never seen it, so it was a surprise to me. Here’s a newspaper clipping that will give you an idea.

 

3,00 Stations Carrying Elvis Special Christmas Radio Program

The year was 1967, and Col. Parker dreamed up the idea for the Elvis Presley Special Christmas Program. A year later, Elvis would present his famous TV special, but this one was for radio. The picture above is a reel-to-reel tape recorded by RCA that Parker had sent to radio stations all over the country.

 

At this point, Elvis had recorded just one album of Christmas music: Elvis’ Christmas Album in 1957:

Elvis' Christmas Album

 

For the special, they used six of the twelve songs on it:

Here Comes Santa Claus
Blue Christmas
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Silent Night
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
I Believe

 

In June 1966, Elvis recorded the single If Every day Was Like Christmas, and it also appeared on the Special Christmas Program:

Elvis Presley - I wish Every Day Could be Christmas

 

The radio special also included the title songs of these two albums:

Elvis Presley - How Great Thou Art

 

Elvis Presley - His Hand in Mine

 

But the special had more than just songs. Here is the sequence as shown on the box came in:

Elvis Special Christmas Program Sequence

Everything was planned out: a five-second musical intro, then the disc jockey talks for 27 seconds, then a song, and so on.

 

Elvis Special Christmas Program Season's Greetings from Elvis

This is the front page of the complete DJ script for the special. Here are the rest.

Elvis Special christmas Programming Script Page 1

Elvis Special Christmas Program Script Page 2

Note that the tape included a long message from actor Dale Robertson for Christmas Seals.

1967 Christmas Seals

 

The script frequently reminds listeners to buy those Elvis Christmas and sacred albums at their local record dealers.

Elvis Special christmas Program Script Page 3
There were no breaks for regular ads, but the DJ script got in plugs for Elvis records and even his current movie Clambake. I believe Col. Parker wrote this script, and he got his name into the text twice. He also was clever to allow one minute at the end of the program for local public-service announcements.

 

Elvis Special Christmas Program Poster

This is a poster that went out to record stores to promote the special. It says “more than 2,000 stations” but the news article above says 3,000. I guess the number was hard to determine because airing the special was up to the stations. However, to help motivate them, Col. Parker sent station managers 100 Elvis Presley Christmas cards, fifty 1968 Elvis Presley calendars, a package of Christmas Seals, and catalogs of Elvis albums and 8-track tape cartridges. That would have motivated me.

Graceland is big on celebrating anniversaries of all things Elvis. Maybe next year they will present a 50th Anniversary edition of this radio special. With today’s technology, they could have George Klein do the DJ part and offer it as a new download available through an app to our smart phones. That would be cool, too.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis and the Grammy Awards — Revisited

Grammy Awards

Something weird happened on ElvisBlog two days ago. I can’t figure out why, but I’ll sure take it. Thursday, March 17, 2016, will forever rank as the day when the most people came to the blog – 11,370 visitors!!!

 

ElvisBlog March 17,2016 Stats

This chart shows the ElvisBlog visitors for the past month. Look how March 17 dwarfs the others (which represent the normal daily totals of 700-900 visitors).

 

ElvisBlog March 17, 2016 Pages Viewed

My blog software showed that about 95% of the total came from searches for “Elvis won only three Grammy Awards,” which is the exact wording in the first line of a 2006 ElvisBlog article. The search results had the article, Elvis and the Grammy Awards, at the top of the list.

I did some research to see if there was something in the news about Elvis’ Grammies that would have sparked this spike in interest. I found nothing.

Then I realized a lot of todays’ regular readers might not have ever read the post from 2006, so I am reproducing it here. Several formatting changes and new pictures have been added to bring it up to the style used today.

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Elvis and the Grammy Awards

 

Elvis Presley's Three Grammy Awards

Most fans are aware Elvis won only three Grammy Awards, and that they were all for Gospel recordings. There’s a lot more to the story.

How could the King of Rock & Roll not win any Grammys for his rock & roll records? One big reason is that the Grammy awards did not start until 1958. In 1956 and 1957, Elvis changed the sound of popular music and had hit after hit. If there had been Grammy Awards for those years, Elvis surely would have won a cabinet full of trophies. There is no way he could have been denied the award for these categories:

Best Vocal Performance, Male

Best Performance by a Top 40 Artist

The same goes for his hit singles. An Elvis song would have been a shoo-in for Record of the Year in 1956 with choices like:

“Heartbreak Hotel,”
“Love Me Tender,”
“Hound Dog,”
“Don’t Be Cruel.”

The Album of the Year for 1956 would undoubtedly have gone to Elvis’ first RCA album, Elvis Presley.

 

In 1957, there would have had to be a winner in this list for Record of The Year:

“Too Much,”
“All Shook Up,”
“Teddy Bear,”
“Jailhouse Rock”.

Elvis’ Christmas Album was the definitive rock & roll Christmas album of the period and would have been a strong contender for Album of The Year in 1957.

 

Elvis was off in Germany in the Army when the Grammy Awards were created in 1958, and he had no nominations. However, the next year he received three.

 

Elvis Hit - A Fool Such as I

“A Fool Such As I” was a 1959 nominee for Record of The Year, but got beat by Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife,” a really huge hit.

 

Elvis Hit - A Big Hunk of Love

“A Big Hunk of Love” received two nominations in 1959. However, Nat King Cole won Best Performance by A Top 40 Artist for “Midnight Flyer” (I can’t say that I even remember the song), and Dinah Washington won Best R&B Performance for “What A Difference A Day Makes.”

 

Elvis Hit - Are You Lonesome Tonight

1960 was Elvis’ best year for Grammy nominations with five, but he was up against Ray Charles who was having a huge year. “Are You Lonesome Tonight” had three nominations: Record of the Year, Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist. “Theme From a Summer Place” by Percy Faith won the Record of the Year, and Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles took the other two categories. He won a total of four Grammys in 1960.

 

Elvis presley - G.I. Blues Album

Elvis also had two album nominations in 1960, both for GI Blues. However, Ray Charles beat him again. The Genius of Ray Charles took the award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, Album. The Best Soundtrack Album award went to Ernest Gold for Exodus.

 

Elvis Presley - Blue Hawaii Album

Elvis had another shot at Best Soundtrack Album in 1961 with the nomination of Blue Hawaii. Ray Charles didn’t beat him, but Henry Mancini did with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 

For the next five years, Elvis’ priority was making movies, and none of his songs or albums received Grammy nominations

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Elvis Presley - How great thou Art Album

In 1967, he finally won a Grammy for Best Sacred Performance for the album How Great Thou Art, which sold over a million copies and reached #18 in the Top Albums Chart.

In 1968, he was nominated again in the same category for the single “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” but the award went to Jake Hess for “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.” This was ironic because Hess had been a big influence on Elvis.

As the lead singer for the Statesman Quartet, Jake Hess made an impression on young Elvis at the monthly “All-Night Gospel Singing” at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. Elvis particularly admired Hess’ powerful voice and unique styling. One year before beating Elvis in the singles category, Hess was part of The Imperials who did backing vocals during the recording session for Elvis’ Grammy winning album How Great Thou Art. In 1977, Jake Hess was part of an elite group of Gospel music stars to sing at Elvis’ funeral service.

 

Elvis Prslet - He Touched Me Album

In 1972 Elvis won his second Grammy when his album He Touched Me took the Best Inspirational Performance award.

 

Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis

In 1974 Elvis won this category again for his third and last Grammy. But instead of winning for a single or an album, Elvis won for the live version of the song “How Great Thou Art” from the album Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis.

 

Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

It should be noted that the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences partially rectified their earlier snubs of Elvis by granting him their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.

 

If you would like to read more about Elvis’ Grammy Awards, you can check out the Elvis Awards section on Graceland.com. or the Graceland Blog article Elvis Presley and the Grammy Awards.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

The New Elvis Stamp — Let the Merchandising Begin

Elvis Presley Forever CD

At first glance, you might think that’s a picture of the new Elvis stamp above. Nope. It’s the front cover of a CD the US Postal Service is selling online.  New stamps don’t have a price on them anymore, so the word FOREVER appears instead. Because they used the stamp picture on the cover, the Postal Service has cleverly named this CD “Elvis Presley Forever.”

Song List for Elvis Presley Forever CD

This track listing may appeal to new fans, but everybody who owns other Elvis CDs probably has the songs already, except for the last two. These previously unreleased versions may spark some interest, and the $10 price is not prohibitive.

Forever Elvis Collection Inside

The Postal Service used a similar name on another collectible they call the “Forever Elvis Collection.” For $24.95 you get:

-One mint 1993 Elvis Presley stamp pulled from the U.S. Postal Service vault.

-A sheet of 16 new 2015 Elvis Presley stamps.

-A bold 8 x 8-inch cachet [whatever that is] with an affixed 2015 Elvis Presley stamp and exclusive postmark printed in metallic gold and black inks. (I guess this is in the center behind the sheet of stamps))

-The collectibles are housed in a handsome [USPS lingo] six-panel folio with a die-cut slipcase. The folio panels contain photographs of Elvis shot by Alfred Wertheimer during 1956, as well as a narrative on the 1993 stamp, the 2015 stamp, and the life and music of The King himself.

The Forever Elvis Collection - $24.95

This is the front cover of the “Forever Elvis Collection.” In my opinion, a less washed out photo would make it more handsome.

 

One other note. The Forever Elvis Collection can be purchased at USPSstamps.com, same as all the stamp options covered last week. The CD is not listed there, just at store.usps.com.

 

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album

The idea of a commemorative folio containing Elvis stamp memorabilia was also used in 1993. The folio above was designed to look like a gatefold 33rpm album. Same exact size.

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album Contents

When you opened it up, you could see part of a wonderful color booklet through the die-cut hole.

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album Contents

Here’s the cover of the 16 –page booklet.

Inside 1993 E;vis Stamp Booklet

And this is an example of the content. It is very well done. In addition to the booklet, this collection contains:

10 Elvis stamp sheets in original sealed sleeves

Elvis stamp limited edition print

“First Day” ceremony program

I have seen the whole set listed several places on eBay. Used ones go for $25 and still sealed ones are asking $100-125.

 

Elvis Stamp T-Shirt

Back in 1993, to tied in with the 1993 Elvis stamp release, a new ShopElvis.com catalog showed up containing 28 items featuring the image of the stamp. I bought the above T-shirt, which I still have (in pretty good shape, because I seldom wear white T-shirts). Here are the other items I purchased.

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Elvis Stamp Beach Towell

Beach Towel

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Elvis Stamp Baseball Cap

Baseball Cap

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Elvis stamp Refrigerator Magnet

Refrigerator Magnet

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Elvis Stamp Key Chain

Key Chain

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Elvis Stamp Watch.

I didn’t buy the Elvis stamp watch. My wife gave it to me the following Christmas.

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Here are a couple of other items with the stamp picture on it that I did not buy. Not my kind of Elvis collectible.

Elvis Stamp Bear

Gold Lamé Bear

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Elvis Stamp Collectible Plate

Elvis Stamp Plate

1993  Elvis Stamp Mug

And what would a Graceland merchandising theme be without a coffee mug?  They have put out so many different ones over the years.  If I had pictures of them all, I could do a whole blog post on them.

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I’m sure EPE has worked out some kind of deal with the Postal Service to market all kinds of stuff with the new Elvis stamp on it. There will be another Graceland catalog out before Elvis Week, so we will see pretty soon.

Unfortunately, I’m not as enthused about purchasing anything with the new stamp picture on it. It’s a black-and-white photo, dull compared to the 1993 drawing in brilliant color. But I’ll bet lots of folks will still buy them.

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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The Second Auction at Graceland — Part 3

So far, we’ve looked at the big winners and the items with excessive minimum bids that nobody would pay. This post will be about the items that did way better than expected.

Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster:

lvis Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster, 1964

If you have any high-end Elvis memorabilia that you want to sell, the Auction at Graceland has quickly become the place where you want to sell it. There is no doubt in my mind that you can get more money for your stuff there than at any other auction. Maybe it’s the whole vibe associated with Elvis’ birthday celebration and Elvis Week that energizes the bidders and gets them to loosen the purse strings. Here’s an example.

This 27” by 41” poster in Very Fine condition had a minimum bid of $250, and an estimate of $4-500. This is in line with a sale of the same item in a June 2014 Heritage Auction which went for $418.25. However, twenty-two bids at the Auction at Graceland pushed the price up to $1,750, four times as much.

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Tickle Me Movie Poster:

Elvis Tickle Me  Movie Poster, 1965

This one is even harder to believe. Again, same size, condition, minimum bid and estimate as the Viva poster. However, thirty-two bids resulted in a final price of $2,500. On the Heritage Auctions website, a search for Elvis Tickle Me resulted in dozens of these posters selling since 2009, at a top price of $155 for one rated Very Fine. Come on, people. Do your research before blowing away thousands on something.

 

Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge:

Elvis' Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge

Although EPE sponsored this auction, they made it clear that all items came from private owners, not the Graceland archives. They did, however, state that they would be bidding on some items to add to their display of Elvis memorabilia.

Elvis' Law  Enforcement  Badge Collection

Part of Elvis’ Law Enforcement Badges Collection on Display at Graceland

When I saw that the badge up for auction had a minimum bid of $1,500 and an estimate of $2,500-3,500, I thought Graceland might go after it to add to their display of Elvis’ collection of law enforcement badges. Well, it went for $8,750, so I’m guessing they dropped out of the bidding.

 

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register

This checkbook register from 1975-76 was offered at the first Auction at Graceland last August during Elvis Week. However, nobody thought it was worth the minimum bid price of $6,000. So, what did the owner do? He brought it back this year with the minimum bid dropped down to just $1,000. After eighteen bids, it topped out at $3,750. I think this is a bargain. There are 43 pages with Elvis’ writing (not his signature) on them. The auction says, “This checkbook is a treasure trove of examples of Elvis’ generosity.” The checks totaled $89,000, and many of them went to charities and his friends.

 

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975:

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975

This size 46 red wool and black-leather-sleeve, varsity-style jacket had a minimum bid of $2,500, which I thought was a little high because it was not part of Elvis’ personal wardrobe. These jackets were made for his security guys so Elvis could see them from the stage. Even the Letter of Authenticity from his personal nurse, Tish Henley, states that Elvis never wore the jacket. However, it was inside Graceland one night when it was pouring rain outside as she was leaving, and he handed it to her to wear and keep dry getting to her car.

Again, it seems the bidders didn’t read the fine print in the item description, because this jacket’s winning bid was $8,125. Pretty steep price for something that Elvis merely touched.

 

Used Guitar Pick:

Elvis Used Guitar Pick

I can’t believe what this guitar pick went for. Even though it was accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from Graceland Authenticated, there is no way it would be worth $3,125 to me. I have seen many dozens of Elvis items at auction over the years priced less than this, that I would much prefer to have.

 

“That’s All Right” 45 Record:

Elvis' Sun Record #209 45 RPM That's All Right

This record is characterized as a File Copy. I’m not sure what that means, but the item description says it has never been played and is in pristine condition. The reason is because Cecil Scaife, who worked for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, took it home and stored it safely away.

The top bid is actually not a surprise. The estimate was $7,500-8,500, and the bids stopped at $7,500. Of course, the 25% buyer’s premium meant he had to write a check for $9,375.

 

Flashing Blue Police Light:

Elvis-Owned Blue Police Light

Did you know that Elvis was an accredited Captain on Memphis’ police force? All his other badges were honorary, but the one from Memphis PD was official. Elvis took it seriously and bought these flashing blue lights to keep ready in his cars in case a situation arose where his action was needed.

This item is not a surprise with a high bid compared to the estimates. It’s just a surprise to me that it went for as much as it did without a photo of Elvis sitting in one of his cars with this light sitting on top. It went for $2,000, but if that photo had existed and been offered with it, no telling what the bidders would have forked out.

 

Red and White 7-Button Shirt:

Elvis' Red and White Shirt From Homer Gilleland

Of all the Elvis shirts I have seen sold at auction during the past seven years, this one epitomizes him the absolute least. It rates about a 2 on the Elvisishness scale. And no photo was offered of Elvis ever wearing it. In spite of this, someone shelled out $7,500 for it. I would hate for him to know about all the other cool Elvis shirts (with photos) have sold for less than that.

One other note. The item description listed the longest chain of ownership I have ever seen on an Elvis collectible. It went from Elvis to Homer Gilleland (his personal hairdresser) to Thomas B. Morgan, Jr. to the LeBonheur Children’s Hospital to the seller (unnamed before the auction), and of course, it now has the new owner.

 

Four of Elvis’ Personal Telephone/Address Books:

nside pages Elvis Presley’s Personal Address Books

This is another item that failed to generate its minimum bid ($7,000) at the first Auction at Graceland, but staged a comeback at the recent one. This time they showed samples of the open pages rather than the closed books, and it paid off. Somebody got all four of these books for $7,500. If they had been sold individually, I am sure the total would have been higher.

Elvis Address Book

The item description said, “These books are an encyclopedia of his friends, family and acquaintances — today’s equivalent of having Elvis’ iPhone contacts.” I believe showing the books open to sample listings helped make that point and juiced up the bidding.  On the pages above you can see Priscilla, Col. Parker, and Vernon Presley.  Priscilla must have moved a lot.  Note she had five different phone numbers in Elvis’ book

 

Army First Aid Kit:

Elvis Presley’s Army First Aid Kit

I think this is one of the coolest Elvis collectibles to show up at auction. If you owned it and were showing it off to other folks, you could point to the hand-printed “EP” in blue ink at the top. Then you could turn it upside down and show the stamp with Elvis’ Army service serial number “53310761.” Then you could open it up and see the red stamp on the interior stating “SP1 ELVIS PRESLEY – US53310761, 1st Med Tank Bat. 32nd Armor 3rd Div. APO 33.” If all that wasn’t enough, Elvis also signed near the stamp, “E. A. Presley” in blue ink. The supplied Letter of Authenticity from Graceland Authenticated almost seems superfluous.

Elvis’ Army First Aid Kit had a minimum bid of $3,000, but spirited bidding ran it up to $7,500. Well worth it in my opinion.

 

I had a few more items to present, but something came in the email yesterday that deserves to be noted. It came from info@graceland.com, one of four EPE related mailing lists I seem to be on.

Solicitation for next year's Auction at Graceland

Just three weeks after their successful second Auction at Graceland, they are out soliciting collectibles for the next one. They are trying to prevail against the auction houses that frequently offer Elvis memorabilia, and I believe they will be very successful.

Heritage Auctions Ad Solicitation

Here is an ad in the current issue of the record collector magazine Goldmine showing Heritage Auctions soliciting consignments for their next entertainment memorabilia auction. It shows items from past auctions, including an Elvis standee.

Gotta Have It Ad Solicitation

From the same magazine, here is a solicitation for consignments by Gotta Have Rock and Roll for their next pop culture auction. Notice Elvis’ Peacock jumpsuit at the bottom. Like I said at the top of this post, it seems like people with Elvis collectibles can realize a higher return at the Auction at Graceland. I think EPE made a brilliant move coming up with the idea of auctioning Elvis memorabilia during Elvis Week and the birthday celebrations. They will put a hurtin’ on the competition.

I see this as similar to Graceland’s move into the Elvis Tribute Artist business. For the first two decades after his death, Graceland distanced itself from the hordes of men who performed as Elvis impersonators. Actually, they went farther than that. Ever protective of his ‘image,’ EPE filed a lawsuit against the Legends In Concert in 1983 to prevent the show’s “Elvis” from looking like, dressing like, or moving like the real Elvis.

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

But over the years, it became obvious that the fans liked the ETAs. So, in 2009, Graceland changed its tune and started the Ultimate Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis during Elvis Week. It is now an extremely popular, so I’m not complaining. But it and the auction prove if somebody is making a profit off Elvis, EPE will move in and get their share.

 

© 2014 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis is Dead, Long Live the Beatles

 Elvis is Dead Long Live the Beatles

The above picture shows 13 Year old Irene Katz holding a sign on Feb. 9, 1964, the third day of the Beatles’ blitz of America. She was outside the Plaza Hotel in New York City, along with hundreds of screaming young girls, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Beatles.

Unless you live in a cave, you are well aware the recent media buzz about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America and appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show.

 Beatles on Ed Sullivan

 

No question about it – the Beatles were hot during their two-week stay in the ‘states’ in February 1964. And, unfortunately, Elvis was not. Let’s take a look at the stature of Elvis’ career fifty years ago during the Beatles’ invasion.

 

Hit Singles:

Elvis had a Top Ten hit, “Bossa Nova Baby,” at the end of 1963, and in March 1964 “Kissin’ Cousins” was released, eventually moving up to # 12. But Elvis had absolutely nothing on the charts in February 1964.

On the other hand, that month was huge for the Beatles, who had three hits going at once: “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” I Saw Her Standing There,” and “She Loves Me.”

Hit Albums:

Elvis fared better here — briefly. Elvis’ Golden Hits, Volume 3 came out in late September 1963. It had a twenty week run on the Billboard Top 40 Album Charts, which carried it into the first two weeks of February 1964.

Elvis' Golden Records, Volume 3

So, technically, that topped the Beatles. Their first US album, Meet the Beatles, was released on their second day in the country, February 8. After that, it probably outsold the Elvis hits album by a about million to one, but it wasn’t until the following week that those sales were reflected in the chart rankings.

 

Elvis Movies:

This was another lull period for Elvis. Fun in Acapulco opened in very late November 1963 and was gone from the theaters by the following February.

It’s too bad Viva Las Vegas didn’t premier two months earlier than it did, or Elvis would have had one big success going for him while the Beatles were here.

 

What Elvis Did While the Beatles Ruled:

He took an extended vacation to Las Vegas, bringing several Memphis Mafia buddies with him: Joe Esposito, Alan Fortas, Richard Davis, Billy Smith and Marty Lacker. Plus wives and girlfriends. Elvis and this large group took in many shows, including Fats Domino, Della Reese, Don Rickles and Tony Martin.

Colonel Parker probably was back in Tennessee, but he had the good sense to send the Beatles a congratulatory telegram signed by Elvis & The Colonel.

Elvis Congratulates the Beatles.

 

So, while the Beatles took America by storm, Elvis laid low. He would continue making movies for four more years, but then he started his famed resurrection. First, the ’68 Comeback Special. Then the landmark recording sessions at American Sound Studios that produced huge hits like “In the Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” And the biggest factor of all, his return to live performance in August 1969 at the Las Vegas International Hotel.

Elvis at the International Hotel 1969

 

A year later, the Beatles broke up, but Elvis continued to set attendance records in Las Vegas and on tours around the country. So, Elvis wasn’t really dead in 1964, and the Beatles didn’t live that long.

Long Live the King

 

© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis on the Rolling Stone Lists

Elvis on Rolling Stone  July 12, 1969

Elvis looks pretty good on the cover of this 1969 Rolling Stone issue, doesn’t he? He’s been on four others that I could find, plus several more featuring collages of rock artists. Of course, the magazine didn’t start until 1967, so it missed the years when Elvis ruled the world and was on the cover of all sorts of magazines.

Rolling Stone has also published dozens of articles about Elvis, many of them timed to mark a significant birthday or anniversary of his death. And, Elvis has shown up on ten of the famous Rolling Stone lists, like this one they got completely wrong:

 

100 Greatest Singers of All Time:

Elvis on Rolling Stone - 100 Greatest Singers November 22, 2008

By the looks of this cover, you’d think Elvis was selected #1. Maybe he is #1 for helping sell copies of the magazine, but Rolling Stone actually voted him just the #3 greatest singer of all time.

100 Greatest Singers

Granted, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles are great singers, but putting them ahead of Elvis is just not right. The thumbnail photos are small, so in case you can’t make out the rest of the top ten, they are:

Sam Cooke
John Lennon
Marvin Gaye
Bob Dylan
Otis Redding
Stevie Wonder
James Brown

 

!00 Greatest Artists of All Time:

100 Greatest Artists

Okay, now the category includes groups as well as singers, so the Beatles move into #1 and the Rolling Stones into #4. Elvis stays at #3, but how does Bob Dylan move from #7 singer to #2 artist? Elvis should be at least #2 on this list, and many folks will argue #1. And what made Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles slide down so far? The only answer I can figure is that the lists were selected a few years apart, and maybe they had different judges.

 Elvis on Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Artists

Look at this cover. Ray Charles has slid completely out of the ten artists shown. Pretty shabby treatment for the guy they voted the second best singer of all time.

 

500 Greatest Albums of All Time:

500 Greatest Albums of All Time

Granted, Elvis had a better track record with singles than albums. Here are the only three Elvis albums they picked in the top 500:

#11 Sun Sessions
#56 Elvis Presley
#190 From Elvis in Memphis

What about Blue Hawaii that stayed at number one on the Top 40 for twenty straight weeks? What about Elvis is Back which is considered Elvis’ best album by many fans and experts?

 

100 Best Debut Albums of All Time:

 100 Best Debut Albums

I guess it all depends on what the criteria for best is. Seems like record-breaking sales dwarfing every other album before it would be a big factor. Seems like the degree of hysteria for the artist when it was released would be another. #79 is ridiculous. Rolling Stone magazine just blew this one. If you care, the top spot went to Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys.

 

Bruce Springsteen’s 25 Biggest Heroes:

Bruce Springsteens Biggest Heroes

These aren’t ranked, so there is nothing to quibble about. Rolling Stone did something similar about Elvis’ biggest influences, but it was an article, not a list.

.

500 Greatest Songs of All Time:

500 Greatest Songs of All Time

This list really bothers me. Here are the eleven Elvis songs that made the top 500. No Elvis songs in the top ten, and none higher than #19.

#19 Hound Dog
#45 Heartbreak Hotel
#67 Jailhouse Rock
#77 Mystery Train
#91 Suspicious Minds
#113 That’s All Right
#200 Don’t Be Cruel
#361 All Shook Up
#403 Can’t Help Falling in Love
$430 Blue Suede Shoes
#441 Love Me Tender

Gimme a break. “All Shook Up” at #361. Unbelievably stupid. For what it’s worth, they picked the top 3 songs as:

Like a Rolling Stone — Bob Dylan
Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
Imagine – John Lennon

 

Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments:

500 Greatest Songs of All Time

These weren’t ranked, but if they were, the top spot surely would have to be Elvis or the Beatles. The rest don’t come close.

 

25 Greatest Christmas Albums of All Time:

25 Greatest Christmas Albums of All Time

I think Rolling Stone got this one right. Phil Spector: A Christmas Gift for You is an outstanding album. We graciously accept Elvis in second place.

 

40 Essential Christmas Albums:

40 Essential Christmas Albums

This doesn’t make sense. Elvis’ Christmas Album is the second greatest of all time, but only the fifth most essential Christmas album. Believe it or not, #1 is Ella Wishes you a Swinging Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald.

 

22 Weird Creatures Named after Superstars: 

Preseucoila Imallshookupis

I guess after years of doing so many lists, all of the good topics have been used up. Rolling Stone scraped the bottom of the barrel when they came up this one. Here’s what they had to say about the bug named after Elvis: “Gall wasps never had as much swagger as this one. Scientists created a new genus, Preseucoila, based on the name “Presley” – and just to make things extra clear, they named the species Imallshookupis after one of the King’s signature hits.”

I Googled Preseucoila Imallshookupis to see what it looks like. A few bug pictures came up, but they turned out to be something else. This is the best I could find.

 Imallshookuois

© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Results of the First 2013 Elvis Auction

Bidding on the first significant assortment of Elvis memorabilia this year closed on March 30.  The Heritage Auctions “Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction” held in Dallas contained forty varied items for Elvis collectors.  Here are some I liked.

Personal Rotary Phone in Wooden Box:

Portable Phone

This rotary phone attracted eleven bidders, the most of any Elvis item in the auction, and they bid the price up to $16,250, nearly eight times the pre-bid estimate.  Elvis used the phone in his Beverly Hills home in the early 1970s.  Apparently, there were lots of Memphis Mafia buddies around, because he printed a warning inside the cover for them not to use the phone.

Close up of personal note on phone box

Elvis had his Kenpo Karate decal put on top of the wooden box.  He also had it put on one of his guitars.

Portable Phone Box

This item did not come with any photos of Elvis using the phone, but it did come with a letter of authenticity from Charlie Hodge.

 

Elvis Presley Signed High School Yearbook The Herald 1953:

Yearbook

Copies of the 1953 The Herald yearbook from Elvis’ senior year at Humes High School show up at auction fairly regularly.  The last copy to surface was sold in August 2010 at the Ultimate Elvis Auction held in Memphis by Heritage Auction Galleries.  The top bid was $7,170.

Heritage offered another Elvis yearbook this year, and they hyped it up because the original owner was by all accounts the most popular girl in Elvis’ class, Gloria Carmeen.  The auction website description stated she was Miss Humes, Captain of the Cheerleaders, and a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, and several other organizations.  Elvis wrote “best of luck to a very pretty girl – remember me.”

Unfortunately, this copy of The Herald shows some wear at the top and bottom of the spine, and at the tips of the covers’ corners, and the pages are partially loose from the cover.  Quality counts for Elvis collectors and this yearbook sold for $4,375, well below the pre-auction estimate.

 

Tan Suede Coat:

Tan Suede Coat

Based on the amount of wear it had, this coat was probably one of Elvis’ favorites.  In addition to some worn areas and minor stains, is missing its label, and the inner lining is torn in one small area.  On top of that, there is no photo of Elvis wearing it, so it’s no surprise it brought only $2,500, about half of the pre-auction estimate.  Elvis gave this well-worn suede coat to Sunny West, who supplied a LOA.

 

Elvis Presley Complete Sun Singles Set:

Five Sun 45s

It’s fairly easy to find a copy of an Elvis record on the Sun label, but a complete set of all five is a rare find.    Especially if they all grade out from VG-EX 6 (very good- excellent) to NM 8 (near mint).  Collectors of Elvis records bid this top quality set up to $4,687, including the auction’s buyer’s fee.   As the auction website proclaimed, “This is the stuff of legend.”

 

Gold and Diamond Ring:

Gold and Diamond Ring

We’ve watched the prices for Elvis’ rings drop since the economic shutdown started in 2008, but it appears that things are coming back pretty good.  This 14k gold ring with a seven-diamond cluster sold for $15,000.  The price was certainly boosted by the inclusion of a photo of Elvis wearing it on stage.

Gold and Diamond Ring - Wearing

The auction website said Elvis wore the ring before giving it to his cousin Patsy Presley in 1974.  At some point, it seems she would rather have the cash, because she prepared the LOA that accompanied the ring at this auction.

 

Star Ruby and Diamond Ring:

Star Ruby and Diamond Ring

Here’s the second Elvis ring in the auction.  This one is understated, but the10K yellow gold band is crowned by a star ruby, accented on either side by small diamonds.  The ring went for $9,062.  In December, 1976, while a guest of Sam Thompson (the brother of Elvis’ girlfriend Linda) Elvis took the ring from his own middle finger and gave it to Sam as a bonus following a ten-day engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton. According to Thompson, Elvis claimed to have gotten the ring when he visited a spiritual center in Los Angeles which had been founded by Hindu holy man Paramahansa Yogananda.  Sam Thompson provided a Letter of Authenticity.

 

Motorcycle Belt:

Motorcycle Belt

If you ever wondered where Elvis got the inspiration for his huge, ornate jumpsuit belts, maybe this is it.  The 32″ waist identifies this black leather motorcycle belt as probably from the early to mid-1960s.  The triple-buckle side is 5.5 inches high, and the decorated part is over seven inches high.  If you thought the decorated side would be the front, the low-res photograph of Elvis wearing the belt shows the buckles in front.

Motorcycle Belt - wearing

Elvis gave the belt to his longtime hairdresser Homer Gilleland, who supplied a LOA for the auction.  Bidding topped at $4,375.

 

Suede Jacket:

Suede Jacket

The three-part ElvisBlog series on Elvis’ Circle G Ranch showed him wearing several western jackets, but not this one.  And, although this suede jacket wasn’t pictured in those articles, it was worn by Elvis during the colder months after he first bought the ranch.  Believe it or not, it actually came from Sears.  This might seem strange for someone who purchased custom made clothes from big-name stores in Las Vegas, Palm Springs, and Hollywood.  However, when Elvis bought the ranch, he set out on shopping sprees to a nearby Sears store to buy ranch equipment.  While there, this jacket must have caught his eye.

Elvis Wearing Suede Jacket

This photo shows Elvis wearing the jacket while doing something strange – maybe playing with a Roman candle.  He later gave the jacket to close friend Charlie Hodge, who provided a Letter of Authenticity.  The jacket went for $13,125, nearly five times the pre-auction estimate.

 

Long Sleeved Sport Shirt:

Long Sleeved Sport Shirt

Here’s quite a distinctive but strange shirt. It bears a Nik-Nik label, and is a size Large.  As was the case with much clothing in the wild ’60s-’70s era, the shirt had an unusual color scheme, gray toward the top and cream below, a vivid rainbow stripe, and the image of a striking woman on the upper right side. This is the second item of clothing Elvis gave to Sonny West that showed up in this auction.  In his LOA, West stated that the woman’s face bore a striking resemblance to Judy Garland.  Unfortunately, the auction photo has the collar covering most of the face.  Although the shirt is in very fine shape, it topped out at $1,625, about two-thirds of the pre-auction estimate.

Long Sleeve Shirt image close-up

 

Patent Leather Boots:

Patent Leather Boots

Not only did Elvis give away his shirts, coats and rings to Memphis mafia buddies, he apparently gave away his footwear to them, as well.  Charlie Hodge was the recipient of these black patent leather boots with soft leather inside.  Neither man must have worn them much, because the quality was listed as Fine to Very Fine.

Patent Leather Boots - wearing

A photo of Elvis wearing the boots and a Letter of Authenticity from Hodge attracted spirited bidding, and the bid went to $10,000 compared to an estimate of $1,000 – up.

 

Army Fatigue Shirt:

Army Fatigue Shirt

Back in July 2011, an Elvis Army fatigue shirt sold for $5,069 at a Gotta-Have-It auction, so I can’t figure out why this one went for $27,500, more than double the pre-auction estimate.  Admittedly, it is in better shape and has the Sergeant stripes and “Presley” name patch sewn in (the other had only the company patch and Elvis’ name stamped inside below the collar.  To the successful bidder here (out of just three) that must have made it worth an additional $21,000.  As with the diamond-cluster ring, Elvis gave the shirt to cousin Patsy Presley, and her LOA accompanied it at the auction.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Top 10 Elvis Songs — A Contrarian View

A few years ago, my friend Alan Hanson listed Elvis Presley’s 20 Greatest Recordings on his Elvis-History-Blog.   This past August, another Elvis-blogger-buddy Troy Yeary presented his picks for the top 100 Elvis songs on his Mystery Train Elvis blog.  I noticed only two songs were on both of their top 10 – “Jailhouse Rock” and “Reconsider Baby.”  These two guys are genuine Elvis fans and they really know their stuff, but their opinions differed greatly.

So, I thought about what songs would be on my Elvis Top 10 list.  Rather than trying to make a subjective analysis, my list would just be my favorites.  My personal prejudices would certainly show up.  I grew up in the late fifties and strongly believe Elvis made his best music in the years before going in the Army.  I really don’t care for much of Elvis’ music from the seventies – not really rock and roll, too many horns and fancy arrangements.  And, I have become a great blues fan for the past twenty years, so I have sought out Elvis’ blues offerings over his career and made a playlist out of them.  And finally, I have listened to some Elvis hits so many times that I’ve grown tired of them.

With all that explained, here are the selections for my personal Top 10 Elvis songs

#10:    I Was The One

This song has been a favorite since I was a teenager in the late 50s.  We had lots of parties, and we played records and danced to them for hours.  We’d stack up seven or eight 45s on those little record players.  When the last 45 dropped down and finished playing, we would pick up the whole stack and flip them over.  So, in addition to listening “Heartbreak Hotel,” we would also slow dance to the flip side, “I Was The One.”  I remember getting close and lovey with girls while dancing to this song, an important prequel to the make-out sessions that followed later.  To this day, whenever I hear ‘I Was The One,” I get all warm and fuzzy.

#9:    Santa Claus Is Back In Town

Like most fans, I pull out the CDs of Elvis Christmas songs every December.  There is one song that always stands out for me, “Santa Claus is Back in Town.”  I’m so glad the Christmas season gives me a chance each year to reconnect with this song.  I just love it.

 

#8:    Reconsider Baby

Elvis and Boots Randolph performing “Reconsider Baby” at Pearle Harbor, Hawaii, March 25, 1961

I have always liked this song no matter which artist was singing it.  But my special affection for it began in 2004 during the “Good Rockin’ Tonight” concert at Elvis Week.  I was a gofer for all the singers and players that night, and I got to sit off to stage right with Boots Randolph before he went on for his segment of the show.  He was so nice and friendly, and I couldn’t believe he talked so much to a nobody like me.  Then he went on stage to perform three songs, including “Reconsider Baby.”  Although he was 77 years old, Boots absolutely knocked out the audience with his soulful sax wailing, and he was rewarded with a huge standing ovation.  It was electrifying.  Boots died three years later, but Elvis’ version of the song carries on.  Now, whenever I hear “Reconsider Baby” by Elvis, I flash back to that wonderful evening.

 

#7:    I Want To Be Free

I have admitted that I’ve loved blues music over the last twenty years, so my Elvis top ten list is slanted toward his blues offerings.  The next time you watch Jailhouse Rock , really listen to “I Want To Be Free.”  Maybe it will grow on you like it has on me. Normally, I would never think of the Jordanaires as a group that would fit in a blues song, but they did a great job here.  Of course, Elvis did too, showing off that wonderful vocal range he had.

 

#6:    Steamroller Blues:

Like I said, I don’t care for much of the Elvis’ music from the 70s, but this song from 1972 is an exception.  Elvis never recorded “Steamroller Blues” in the studio, but who can forget him singing it in Aloha From Hawaii?   You’ve got to love a song with lyrics like, “Well, I’m a cement mixer, a churning urn of burning funk,” and “I’m gonna’ inject your soul with some sweet rock ‘n roll and shoot you full of rhythm and blues.”  Elvis at his baaadest.

 

#5:    I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water

This is the other exception to my indifference for Elvis’s 70s music.  Elvis recorded “I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water” in 1970, and a short version of it was included on the album Elvis Country.  But, the version I like is on the 1996 CD A Hundred Years From Now.  It goes on for five minutes and sounds just like what it is – a free-wheeling jam session.  You can’t possibly listen to this song without getting revved up.

 

#4:    Lawdy Miss Clawdy

I have been a fan of this song ever since Lloyd Price released it in the mid-fifties.  I liked Elvis’ version on his first album, Elvis Presley, and I liked his unplugged version during the ’68 Comeback Special even more.  But what really turned me on was watching Elvis nail “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” on the theatrical showing of the restored Elvis On Tour.  In fact, when the song began, there was a noticeable stirring among the theater audience, so I wasn’t the only one it got to.  Kudos to Glen D. Hardin for an outstanding piano part on the song.

#3:    Tryin’ To Get To You

Elvis recorded this song at Sun Records in 1955, but it was first released on the RCA album Elvis Presley in 1956.  Later that year, it was released as a single, but it did not chart.  However, it must have been a favorite of Elvis’ because he sang it during the filming of the ’68 Comeback Special.  Unfortunately, it was left on the cutting-room floor.  Only a few lucky folks like me who own the bootleg album The Burbank Sessions have heard this terrific raw version of “Tryin’ To Get To You.”  I can’t believe they edited it out of the special.

 

#2:    (You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care

I have mentioned this song numerous times on ElvisBlog as a big favorite.  Why it was never released as a single is a mystery to me.  You will remember “Baby, I Don’t Care” as the song Elvis sang during the swimming pool scene in Jailhouse Rock.  Some people consider the dance sequence with the movie’s title song as the forerunner to the modern music video, but I think it’s a tie.  Same thing goes for “Baby, I Don’t Care.”

#1: Like A Baby

 

If you thought my other selections were a little strange, this one should blow your mind.    Do you even know this song?  You should if you listen to the 1960 album Elvis Is Back.  This album is on just about everybody’s top 5 Elvis album list.  It is rated his best album by many, including me.  The reason it’s so good is because it contains a number of blues songs (including “Reconsider Baby” mentioned above).  For many years “Like A Baby” was my favorite Elvis blues song, but after thinking about it for this article, I’ve decided it really is my favorite Elvis song, period.

Like they say, opinions are like a** holes; everybody’s got one.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my choices.  If you strongly disagree, please comment below.

 

©  2012    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Scotty Moore Returns to Live Performances After 24 Year Absence

When Scotty Moore returned to Nashville after appearing in the ‘68 Comeback Special, he never dreamed it was the last time he would perform on stage for 24 years.

Elvis and Scotty Moore in the famous “Pit Session” of the the ’68 Comeback Special

 

In fact, Elvis had talked about wanting to do a tour in Europe.  Now that he was essentially finished with movies, Elvis was energized to perform live again, and Scotty was excited about getting back on stage with him.  Scotty went home to Nashville and waited for a call from Elvis to say the European tour was on.

Of course, Col. Parker put a quick end to such an idea.  He was an illegal alien from Holland and knew he couldn’t get a US passport, so he could never accompany Elvis to Europe.  And, Parker was not about to allow Elvis to tour over there without the constant presence of his manager.  So the tour idea died.

Scotty went on with his life as a studio sound engineer, work that kept him associated with the music business, without ever performing.  Years later he owned a cassette duplicating company, and followed that by opening a printing shop that made the label inserts for the tapes.

Scotty’s guitars sat essentially untouched for years.  He actually thought of himself as a ‘former guitar player,’ and was comfortable with it.  He did, however, maintain contact with many dozens of folks in the music business – including Carl Perkins.

Perkins underwent cancer surgery in 1991, but in early 1992 it was in remission.  He felt strong enough to record a new album, and wanted to do it in the old Sun Studios in Memphis.  So, Perkins called Scotty and asked him to join the project.  Scotty resisted, repeatedly saying, “I can’t do this.”  However, Perkins persisted, and soon he, Scotty, DJ Fontana and a group of their studio musician friends completed the recording session that resulted in 706 ReUnion.

Cover of CD Re-release, Not Original Album

 

Two years earlier, Carl Perkins had been the headliner at the first “Good Rockin’ Tonight” concert, presented during Elvis Week by Darwin Lamm, editor and publisher of Elvis International magazine.  Perkins was unable to sing at the second annual concert in 1991 because of his cancer surgery, but he was back as headliner again for “Good Rockin’ Tonight 3” in 1992.

Again, Carl Perkins worked on Scotty to join him – this time, on stage playing the guitar. Scotty agreed, and became part of the most exciting line-up in the history of Elvis Week concerts.  Not only did the fans get to see Elvis’ first guitar player, they also got to see his last one, James Burton.

James Burton and Scotty Moore Rehearsing

 

The Sun Rhythm Section, featuring Sunny Burgess and DJ Fontana opened the show and wowed the audience with an excellent Rockabilly set.  Also on the bill were the Jordanaires who backed Elvis on too many records to count and Ronnie McDowell who sang the songs on several Elvis movies and TV biographies.

From left – James Burton, DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore. Behind Carl perkins on stool — Jardanaires, Ronnie McDowell (in black, white belt), and others.

 

Scotty’s long-time friend, Gail Pollock, summarized the show, “It was electric.”  Especially, when Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore were on stage together.

 

After that, Scotty was hooked.  A week after the concert in Memphis, he went to England to perform with the Jordanaires.  He had been away from performing for 24 years, but at age 61, Scotty Moore was back.  Thousands of fans have seen him at concerts in the years since, and Scotty Moore has brought tears of happiness to more than a few of them.

 

Many thanks to James Roy, webmaster for www.scottymoore.net, and to Gail Pollock for their help in supplying the photographs and historical reference material for this article.

 

©  2012    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.