Category Archives: LISTS

Elvis Movie Madness — Handicapping the Final Four

Elvis Movie Final Four

You can see the survivors of Round 3 voting above.

King Creole knocked off Loving You 71% to 29%.

Viva Las Vegas topped GI Blues 67% to 33%.

Jailhouse Rock slammed Girl Happy 73% to 37%.

ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is got by Blue Hawaii 55% to 45%.

 

I would like to make my predictions right now. The Final Four losers will be Viva Las Vegas and ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is, meaning they tie for honor of third best Elvis movie. King Creole and Jailhouse Rock battle it out in the finals with King Creole coming out on top.

King Creole Poster 3

In list form, the Top 4 Elvis movies will look like this:

#1 – King Creole

#2 – Jailhouse Rock

#3 (tie) – Viva Las Vegas, and ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is

That’s my prediction. I made it primarily on my gut feelings, then decided to do some research on the three websites used for the Worst Elvis Movies post two weeks ago. There was much agreement on the worst, but their rankings for the best four Elvis movies were more disparate. That wasn’t enough to bolster my picks, so, I added one more source and the pattern became very evident. Here’s what they showed.

IMBd Elvis Movie Rankings

 

 

 

#1 – Follow That Dream
#2 – Loving You
#3 – Flaming Star
#4 – Blue Hawaii

Follow That Dream - Lobby Card

These folks seem to be taking a contrarian point of view, but all of their picks showed strength in the Elvis Movie Madness voting. Loving You and Blue Hawaii made the Elite Eight, and Follow That Dream had 47% of the vote against Loving You in the first round. It’s a shame they had to be paired up so early. The same could be said about Flaming Star that had the misfortune to go against Love Me Tender in the first round, but still got 43% of the vote
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For what it’s worth, here’s where my favorites ranked on IMDb: Jailhouse Rock – 6, King Creole – 7, and Viva Las Vegas – 18. IMDb included only Elvis acting movies in their ranking.

 

Ranker Elvis Movie Rankings

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – Viva Las Vegas
#2 – King Creole
#3 – Jailhouse Rock
#4 – Blue Hawaii
#5 – ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is

Viva Las Vegas Lobby Card

Not bad. Ranker got all of the Final Four in that list.

 

USA Today Elvis Movie Rankings

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – King Creole
#2 – Jailhouse Rock
#3 – Loving You
#4 – Flaming Star

King Creole  Poster 2

Another good list. Viva was #6. No concert films included on the USA Today list.

 

King Creole and Jailhouse Rock showed a lot of strength in the listings above. However, when I added one more respected ranking source, things became perfectly clear.

MovieFone Elvis Movie Rankings

 

 

 

#1 – King Creole
#2 – Jailhouse Rock
#3 – ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is
#4 – Elvis On Tour.

MovieFone placed Viva Las Vegas at #7

So, based on these four listings, I feel confident in my Elvis Movie Madness picks. King Creole will be named Elvis’ best movie.

King Creole Poster 1

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© 2015 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.

Crummy Elvis Shit

Crummy Elvis Shit -- Elvis Blog

Back in 2007, I wrote an ElvisBlog post about Elvis’ 1964 movie, Live A Little, Love A Little. In the text, I used the words Elvis, crummy, and shit. They were in three different sentences in three different paragraphs.

Then in 2008, somebody Googled “Crummy Elvis Shit.” The Google algorithm went searching out in the internet for those three words, and it found my little blog article. Out of 6,330 results. ElvisBlog ranked #7 in Crummy Elvis Shit. I mentioned this strong performance in a subsequent Mini-Nuggets post. I didn’t know it at the time, but that section’s subtitle, “Crummy Elvis Shit,” would have consequences.

In 2012, I Googled it again. Wow, what a change. They now had over one million results for Crummy Elvis Shit. I wrote a post about this sizable jump, noting, “It would appear the worldwide supply of Crummy Elvis Shit had grown appreciably in four years.” I also bragged because ElvisBlog had moved into the highly coveted #1 position, probably because of that 2008 section subtitle named “Crummy Elvis Shit.”

2012 Mini-Nuggets Post

 

Well, curiosity got the best of me in March, 2014, so I Googled it again. The total results dropped a little, but were still over a million. The big change was that Google now had ElvisBlog #1 and #2 in “Crummy Elvis Shit.” Hey, we’re on a roll. Up we go. That old 2012 post (under two different URLs) had moved to the top of the list. So, of course I had to write another Mini-Nugget section to tell the news, and it too was titled “Crummy Elvis Shit.” I said to myself, “OK, Google, here’s another one for you.”

It worked. On New Year’s Eve, 2014, I Googled it again. Would you believe ElvisBlog now occupies the top three spots on their results for Crummy Elvis Shit? Did you notice that is also the title of this post? I’m not leaving anything to chance. Next time I check, I want ElvisBlog to fill up an entire first page of Google results for “Crummy Elvis Shit.”

Google Top 3 for Crummy Elvis Shit

 

Oh, by the way, Bing now has 7,350,000 results for “Crummy Elvis Shit.” And ElvisBlog has the top three spots over there, too.

What a great year.

 

Happy New Year from ElvisBlog.

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

Keep Those Links Coming In

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody 2

My family and friends all know I am a big Elvis fan and have been doing ElvisBlog for ten years. So, when they come across something Elvis-related on the internet, they send me a link by email. Sometimes one of these will result in enough good stuff to turn into a blog post. Most don’t. However, the four links I’ve received over the past month are interesting, so here they are all together in one post.

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Unchained Melody:

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody 3

How many of you have seen this footage of Elvis singing “Unchained Melody” on April 24, 1977, barely four months before he died? If you have, you’ll never forget it. Elvis was bloated, sweating profusely, and performing through a cloud of painkillers. And yet, he gave an utterly moving rendition of the song. A great triumph for Elvis.

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody

I’ve seen it several times over the years, so it seemed like old news when both my son and an old high school friend sent me links to it recently. However, there was something new. Instead of just the film of Elvis singing to his own piano accompaniment, the new video included two minutes of Elvis getting ready to sing. He and Charlie Hodge talked, got the coke cup put where Elvis wanted, fiddled with the mike, and other little stuff. Realizing the delay, Elvis asked the audience, “How do you like it so far?”

So, the plan was to give you readers a link to see this very rare video. Sorry, look what comes up now:

Elvis Video No Longer Available

Come on Graceland. Give the fans a break. We know Elvis wasn’t well when this was filmed, but seeing it won’t diminish him in our minds one bit.

At least they haven’t removed the shorter video of Elvis’ performance. Click here to see a video that has been viewed over 1,300,000 times. (However, I believe they show the wrong date)

 

CMT All Time Top 40:

CMT All Time Top 40

Country Music Television conducted a poll among the biggest stars in country music to find out what artists influenced them the most. The top influence was Merle Haggard, followed by Hank Williams and Elvis. Then CMT interviewed some of the country stars that voted for each of the winners. In addition to Lisa Marie, the artists who spoke about their personal Elvis connection were Wanda Jackson, Trace Adkins, Brenda Lee, Charlie Daniels, and a pretty young lady I’m not familiar with named Ashley Monroe. However, when she said she has “Elvis” tattooed on her hip and “Love Me Tender” tattooed on her back, I became a big fan. Click here to view the Elvis video.

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Could Elvis Be Alive in a Parallel Universe?

Sounds like a cover story on the National Enquirer, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, this is the title of an article on BBC online.

Elvis Alive in Parallel Universe

Instead of the article being an absurd tabloid story, this is actually a highly scientific tome talking about fast-moving protons and other boring stuff. They could have used anybody’s name in the title, but there’s nothing like another “Elvis is alive” theme to suck in unsuspecting readers. I’m not going to bother putting a link here.

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Your 10 Favorite Rock ‘n’ Roll Stars of All Time:

AARP  - Ten Favorite Rock and Roll Stars

Over the years, I’ve studied many varied Rock and Roll polls and even posted some articles about a few. One thing, I’ve noticed in that Elvis’ popularity (or his songs or albums) drops lower as the newer voters or selection committees are folks farther and farther removed from Elvis’ heyday. So, I was tickled when my neighbor sent me a link to a poll by AARP members selecting their Top 10 Favorite Rock ’n’ Roll Stars of All Time. I knew there would be no Lady Gaga or Foo Fighters in this poll.

Elvis Seated

I wish I could say that Elvis came in Number 1, but that honor went to the Beatles. It’s hard to see much in the little thumbnail strip above, but it shows the top eight (the first box shows screaming fans). The ten winners are:

Beatles
Elvis
Rolling Stones
Bill Haley and the Comets (obviously some real old-timers voted in this poll)
Little Richard
Chuck Berry
Jerry Lee Lewis
Beachboys
Buddy Holly
Everly Brothers

We can wonder what the list will look like when today’s twenty-somethings grow old and join AARP. I think maybe Elvis and the Beatles will still be on it.

 

I love discovering fun things about Elvis on the internet. Keep those links coming in.

 

© 2014 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.

 

More Elvis Photos Worthy of American Cool Exhibition

American Cool Photo - Elvis Peforming at Tupelo 1956

This is the picture chosen to represent Elvis in the American Cool exhibition presented by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition shows photographs of 50 men and 50 women selected as typifying cool during the last century in America. It runs through September 7, 2014.

 

American Cool Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

 

It’s not surprising that many of the American Cool are rock singers or other assorted musicians. The list includes:

James Brown, Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, Madonna, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Deborah Harry (Blondie), Jimi Hendrix, Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Gene Krupa, Willie Nelson, Charlie Parker, Prince, Selena, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Carlos Santana, Tupac Shakur, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Muddy Waters.

One notable omission is Michael Jackson. I guess too many things have happened that diminished his cool factor.

 

Andy Warhol and Elvis Paintings

Andy Warhol also made the list, and look at the photo of him they chose to show the exhibition.

 

In addition to the list and the photos of each cool person, the website and related links have passages explaining what qualities represent cool. I culled out some of the best ideas and matched them up with appropriate Elvis pictures.

 

Elvis - exudes the aura of something new and uncontainable
To be cool means to exude the aura of something new and uncontainable.

 

 Elvis - the opposite of innocence

Cool is the opposite of innocence.

 

Elvis - an original artistic vision carried off with a signature style

[A cool person has] an original artistic vision carried off with a signature style.

 

 Elvis - a charismatic edge and a dark side

Someone cool has a charismatic edge and a dark side.

 

 Elvis - an earned form of individuality

Cool is an earned form of individuality.

 

 Elvis - a recognized cultural legacy

[A cool person has] a recognized cultural legacy.


 Elvis - the opposite of innocence

Cool referrers to a combination of wildness and intensity in men unconcerned with social conformity.

 

Elvis - has situation under control, and with a signature style

A cool person has a situation under control, and with a signature style.

 

Elvis - created an original persona without precedent in American culture

Every individual here created an original persona without precedent in American culture.

 

Elvis - contributed an original artistic vision to American culture symbolic of a particular historical moment

[A cool person] has contributed an original artistic vision to American culture symbolic of a particular historical moment.

 

Elvis - rebellious self-expression, charisma, edge and mystery

Cool carries a social charge of rebellious self-expression, charisma, edge and mystery.

 

Elvis - iconic power, or instant visual recognition

[A cool person has] iconic power, or instant visual recognition.

 

For my money, the National Portrait Gallery could have posted just photos of Elvis for their American Cool exhibition.

 

© 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.

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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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The Elvis Pumpkin Carving Contest

If you are a member of Elvis Insiders or have recently checked the news on Elvis.com, you know that EPE is sponsoring an Elvis-themed pumpkin carving contest.  You can carve your pumpkin, post a photo of it on the Elvis Facebook page, and maybe you’ll win $250 worth of merchandise from ShopElvis.com.

You may be surprised to know how popular Elvis pumpkin carving has been even prior to Graceland getting involved.  Elvisblog did a Halloween photo essay of Elvis pumpkins back in 2009.  I didn’t pick a winner at the time, but probably the best of the bunch was this:

You will notice a big difference between these two styles.  The pumpkin on the contest image is what I guess we would call the old-style carving where the knife cuts go all the way through and light from a candle shines out.  The other seems to be the popular style now where only darker, outer skin is carved out to create detailed designs.

 

Here’s an Elvis pumpkin we featured in 2010 that is a terrific example of a carved-through design.  This is impressive.

 

And here is a more recent discovery that shows an unmistakable image of Elvis using the outer skin cut out style.

 

Now, it seems we have reached a new level in pumpkin-carving technology or skill, or both.  It’s hard to believe the vivid images on these next two were achieved by just cutting away the orange outer skin.  Their creators are real artists.

 

And check out the level of detail on these three.  How do the carvers do it?  I would love to see these pumpkins in person.

 

And, finally, here is an Elvis pumpkin using another unique technique – carving away all the outer skin and using what’s left as an artist’s medium to create a sculpture with depth as well as detail.

 This one gets the ElvisBlog award for the best Elvis pumpkin of 2012.

 

Now, just for fun, here is a four-way tie for the worst.

 

I can’t resist showing the strangest picture that comes up when you Google Elvis pumpkin — some jerk in an ill-fitting Elvis jumpsuit cutting a pumpkin with a chain saw.

 

Check out the belly showing below the too-small shirt.  And the pumpkin is lop-sided and discolored.  This is just wrong in so many ways.

 

Here’s something that’s just right.

NEWS FLASH:   Here is the winner of the EPE Elvis Pumpkin Carving Contest:

©  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.

 

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.

 

Elvis and the Island of Misfit Gifts

Do you remember the Christmas video Rudolph: The Island of Lost Toys?  It was the sequel to the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and it still shows up on television from time to time.

I saw this publicity still on the internet and thought there might be a parallel in Elvisworld.  Over the past fifty-five years, there have been many, many Elvis products introduced – and some were pretty crummy.  I know, because I’ve received some of them as Christmas presents.

So, if there was an Elvis Island of Misfit Gifts, here are some strange items that should be there.

 

Elvis Bikini:  Would any of you ladies really wear this?  Probably not, when you consider where the words “Good Rockin’ Tonight” are positioned when the pants are on.  Remember, terms like Rock and Roll and Good Rockin’ originally were euphemisms for having sex, so some folks who see you in this suit might get the wrong message.  On the other hand, if you are on vacation and looking to make things happen, the old Elvis bikini might just do it.

 

Elvis Guitar:  This one actually freaks me out.  Elvis’ head looks like some kind of mutant growth on the side of the guitar.  I just don’t think any up-an-coming young guitar player would be caught dead with this thing.  Can't you just see a high school kid cringe when Grandma gives him this guitar for Christmas?

 

 

Elvis for Dummies:  This might actually be full of good stuff about Elvis, but so are lots of other books.  If a real Elvis fan owns this, it probably was a Christmas present from some relative who doesn’t have a clue.
 

 

                            

Elvis Toilet Seat Cover:   There is one way this could be an okay gift.  It would work for those really committed fans who have their own Elvis Room — and there is a bathroom right across the hall.  It probably already has a bunch of overflow stuff from the Elvis Room, so the Elvis toilet seat cover will work out there just fine.
 

 

Hunk ‘A  Burnin’ Love Coffee Mug:   I have received other Elvis coffee mugs for Christmas, and they're fine.  But, this mug is a definite misfit.  Why a cartoon Elvis?  Especially one with no nose or mouth.  In this image, Elvis looks like he has a duck bill.  And, it also looks likes he is giving the finger. 

 

 

50s Elvis Hat:  Maybe this hat was cool back in the 50s, but I doubt it.  Dorky and Elvis just don’t mix. It says GALS on the sign, so maybe the Elvis Presley hat looked good on them.

 

Elvis Sex Toy:  Just kidding.  But, the real product description doesn’t make much more sense:  “Elvis Keyboard Cleaner Brush.”   I guess you lift the hair off and it’s the handle for the brush.

 

 

Elvis Airplane Teapot:   I have photos of other Elvis teapots, but they are just variations of Elvis’ head.  This one goes farther and has Elvis in an airplane.  I don’t know what that other little snowman is about, unless he is an alternate lid for the pot.  Not much of an improvement, is it?

 

Elvis Album Cover Necktie:  I actually have this one, and, yes, it was a Christmas present.  Because I wear ties only at weddings or funerals, I guess my Elvis tie will never get out of the closet.  Maybe I’ll have some occasion to wear it as a joke.

 

 

Elvis and Nixon Globe:   Graceland snow globes are nifty.  Elvis and Nixon globes…not so much.

 

Elvis Impersonator Wine Caddy:   The ad on the internet actually calls this “Custom Elvis Impersonator Wine Caddy.”  Why Elvis impersonator and not Elvis?  Maybe they knew it was too ugly for Graceland to make it an EPE licensed product, so they couldn’t call it Elvis.  All I know is, the next time I want to carry some wine around, it won’t be in one of these misfits.

 

Betty Boop Bobbler:   Let’s see, the stand says “Elvis,” and that looks like a white Elvis jumpsuit.  But, what’s with Betty Boop?  Very strange.

 

Elvis Plush Toy:   There must be hundreds of Elvis plush toys out there, and this may be the worst.  And what is that yellow hot-dog-looking thing sitting on his feet? 

I do not own any Elvis plush toys, but if some relative wants to give me one for Christmas, I hope it is this cool blue ninja Elvis Teddy Bear in a gold lame’ coat.

 

 

©  2010    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.

So, Was “Hound Dog” A Number 1 Hit, Or Not?

If you were asked to guess what Elvis’ ten biggest hits were, would you have “Hound Dog” on your list?  Certainly.  How about one of his five biggest hits?  Very likely, as well.  So, it may come as a surprise to you that “Hound Dog” was never credited as a Number 1 hit on the esteemed Billboard list generally considered the official word on this sort of thing.  How can that be?

I asked myself that question when a recent article appeared on the Elvis-History Blog, written by my friend Alan Hanson.  It was titled, “Elvis's #2 Recordings Help Make Him #1 on the Charts.”  Alan started his wonderful blog two years ago.  He read a number of ElvisBlog columns as part of his research in deciding to start his own site, but he did not go back to my June, 2007 article titled “Elvis – King of the Number 2 Hits.”   So, in our efforts to come up with another new topic each week, we both thought of the same idea — independently and years apart.

The weird thing was that Alan’s list of Elvis’ Number 2 hits and mine had different songs on them.  We both agreed on four songs:

“Burning Love”
“Return To Sender”
“Can’t Help Falling in Love”
“A Fool Such as I”

I had two Number 2 songs in my blog that Alan did not:

“Wear My Ring Around Your Neck”
“Love Me”

And he had three songs in his list of Number 2 hits that I had at Number 1.

“Hard Headed Woman”
“Too Much”
“Hound Dog”

Here’s why this occurred.  On August 4, 1958, Billboard magazine first published their Hot 100 chart, and it has continued for more than a half-century to be the industry standard for reporting hit songs.  However, Billboard originally got into ranking the hits on January 1, 1955, when it started publishing three lists:

Best Sellers in Stores
Most Played by [Disc] Jockeys
Most Played in Juke Boxes

I found a complete copy of the January 26, 1957 issue of Billboard magazine on line, Here is a look at these three charts

These were short charts, containing just 20 or 25 top hits.  Do you remember, in the movie Jailhouse Rock, what job Judy Tyler’s character had when she met Elvis?   She went around and collected the statistics about song plays on jukeboxes.  Although she was reporting to a record company, I imagine it was people like her who provided Billboard with the data they used to compile their Most Played in Juke Boxes chart.

On November 12, 1955, a little more than ten months after the first three lists were born, Billboard added a fourth: the Top 100 chart.  Gradually, over the next few years, this became the most definitive list, because it generally reported the aggregate positions of songs on the other three lists combined.

By the time Billboard changed the name of the Top 100 chart to the Hot 100 chart in August 1958, the other three charts were either recently eliminated or would be soon thereafter.  However, they lasted long enough to confuse the tally of Elvis songs that made it to Number 1.

Alan and I used different references to come up with our reports on Elvis’ Number 2 hits.  He actually went to his local library and accessed the microfiche records for every weekly Billboard Top 100/Hot 100 chart from 1956 to 1977 and recorded the rankings of the Elvis songs.  It took him almost a year to gather all this information.  I simply used a book titled The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn.  Every singer or group who ever had a hit is listed, along with a discography of their hits.  In the book, Whitburn acknowledged that for the period 1955 through July 1958, the highest chart position indicated for each song was its highest on any of the four Billboard charts.

So, to determine the highest rank that Elvis’ early records reached, I referenced all of the Billboard charts.   Alan referenced only the Top 100 chart, which is reasonable because it ultimately morphed into the Hot 100 chart that endures to this day.

                 

Original 1956 Picture Sleeves

I wouldn’t argue adamantly about the proper top ranking for most of the records where Alan and I had it different, but I would for “Hound Dog.”  As you may know, it was half of the biggest two-sided hit record in history.  Depending on how you look at it, “Hound Dog” was on the flip-side of “Don’t Be Cruel,” or vice-a-versa.  For this reason, Whitburn’s book went into great detail about how long both songs stayed at Number 1 on all four lists.  “Hound Dog” was Number 1 for four weeks on the Jukebox chart and five weeks on the Stores chart.

So, I rest my case.  “Hound Dog” spent nine weeks as Number 1 on two of the Billboard charts in operation during the period of its run.  They were well-established charts that had over a year-and-a-half of pedigree behind them.    In the summer of 1956, the Top 100 chart was only nine months old, and it is uncertain where it stood at that point in its ultimate elevation to top dog status.  So, if a song achieved Number 1 then on any of the four charts, it should be enough to claim that rank.  “Hound Dog” made it to the top on two of the charts, so that settles it for me.

If you aren’t convinced, call the folks at Graceland and see if they count “Hound Dog” as a Number 1 hit for Elvis.  They will probably laugh that you would even have to ask.


 Re-Release from 1959

[Editor's note:  Alan Hanson has since published a difinitive history of the chart positions of “Hound Dog” and “Don't Be Cruel” on his Elvis-History-Blog.  Check it out.]

 

©  2010    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.

75 Reasons We (Still) Love Elvis

Like all of you, I am a big Elvis fan who recently celebrated his 75th birthday on January 8.  Perhaps you had an experience like I did on that day.  A number of friends sent me e-mails telling me to check out Elvis links on the web they thought would interest me.  You got some, too, didn’t you?

One friend suggested I check out www.spinner.com for their article “75 Reasons We (Still) Love Elvis.”  Spinner.com is a music website, but when I checked it today, their top three stories were about the bands Ting Tings and Mission of Burma and singer Jason Karaban.  So, it is safe to say that their sphere of interest generally doesn’t include music of the 50s, 60s or 70s.

In my opinion, the Spinner staff members who put together their list could not possibly be true Elvis fans.  They simply needed a total of 75 items, and they didn’t know enough about Elvis to come up with that many good ones.  Here are some of their stupidest reasons they supposedly still love Elvis:

#64 The NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies’ blue suede sneakers
#57 Luka Blooms’s version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”
#54 Dexter Romweber, bastard son
#52 Bobbie Ann Mason’s brief “Penguin Live” bio
#41 Eminem, “Without Me”
#40 Other Elvises: Costello, Grbac, Stojko, Perkins
#37 Fine Young Cannibals’ version of “Suspicious Minds”
#36 Dead Kennedy’s version of “Viva Las Vegas”
#29 His sons-in-law: Nic Cage and the King of Pop
#21 Spinal Tap’s harmony-challenged rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel”
#12 Kim Jong Il’s man-crush

OK, they picked five other artists’ versions of famous Elvis songs and four other people who have the same Elvis first name.  What totally lame reasons to say they still love Elvis Presley.  How do you like the two ex-sons-in-law they picked?  Why not the fathers of Elvis’ four grandchildren:  Danny Keough and Michael Lockwood?

I had to Google Bobbie Ann Mason to find out what “Penguin Live” was all about.  It is a book about Elvis that must be terrible, because you can buy it on Amazon.com for 92ȼ new or 8ȼ used (Seriously. Shipping is $3.99).  Likewise, Wikipedia reveals that Dexter Romweber is a modern-day singer who affects an Elvis-style stage demeanor.  Yes, sir, those two certainly make me still love Elvis.

When I Googled Kim Jong Il and Elvis, at least a photo came up.  It was a Photoshopped picture from a parody website called Kim Jong Il Gallery in 2006.  I don’t know how Spinner.com derived a man-crush from this:

 

To be fair, about half of the Spinner.com list did make sense.  Here are some of the ones I like:

#74 Nickname: “The Memphis Flash
#71 Shaking hands with Nixon
#68 Vernon and Gladys
#67 Scotty Moore and Bill Black, hanging on for dear life
#61 Singing to a basset hound
#60 The “Jailhouse Rock” dance
#49 The American Eagle cape
#43 Graceland
#34 Sideburns
#25 The Elvis stamp
#18 “Elvis In Concert”
#16 Buying his black-and-pink “cat clothes” from Lansky’s on Beale Street
#8   “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is”
#6   The Million Dollar Quartet
#5   Grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches
#3   “The ’68 Comeback”
#2   “That’s All Right”
#1   “Thank you… thank you vurry much!”

They actually did a pretty good job on the ones at the top of the list.  But, if you or I were to sit down and make our own list of reasons we still love Elvis, we would have no trouble coming up with more than 75 good ones.

I think I’ll give the list a try on his birthday next year – “The Top 76 Reasons ElvisBlog Loves Elvis.”  I promise you Dexter Romweber, Kim Jong Il and Michael Jackson will not be on it.

©  2010    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.