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Question For The Ol' Timers

Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:11 am

At what point in the 60's did you think Elvis was beginning to get his act together musically? The bonus songs on Spinout? The How Great Thou Art lp? Singles such as Indescribably Blue or Big Boss Man? Try to pin it down to the moment when you knew he was beginning an upswing.

Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:34 am

Pete!
You mention the breaking points. Even though how good songs like Love Letters and Indescribably Blue were, they were off target, at that time.
Love Letters actually did reasonable well, at least in the UK.
But, when you look at the sessions that produced those songs.
One from the How Great Thou Art sessions and the other a vocal overdub for a prerecorded session, there weren't actually any obvious singles choises on there.
Down In The Alley, which were held for the Spinout soundtrack as a bonus, c/w Tomorrow Is A Long Time might have stirred some interest as a single?
It seemed as if Elvis was all tired when the Beatles hit the arena.
The soundtrack that followed Spinout (Double Trouble) used bonus tracks from '63, including the Blue River single side.
For me, it wansn't until I heard the Big Boss Man single that I really felt something was going to happen. Followed by Guitar Man, which I felt should have been an even bigger hit, it was clear something was underway. U S Male followed and was something different. Soundtrack wise, the flip Stay Away was a long step forward. It sounded as if Elvis had got back some of the real feel for making music again!
And then there was the '68 NBC TV special and he was all over the arena again!
To me, the absolute low was late '65, '66 and early '67.
You could hardly find a single or album in the top of the charts anymore.
That was a tough time!
And even if the movie formula had all dried up, I found myself beeing pleased by watching Stay Away Joe, Live A Little..., The Trouble With Girls and Charro. Because they differed from the formula in some way.
It took years before I saw Change Of Habit. But, even that one was a step in another direction. Not least do I think Elvis looked much better in his later 60's moves than around 1966. Recalling the opening scene of PHS, which shocked me. He was heavy at that time too!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:18 am

Pete -

Well, we knew he never 'lost' his touch completely.

There were always 'b' sides of singles or bonus tracks on albums to remind us of what he could do, even in his darkest days.

The arrival of Felton Jarvis in 1966 was a turning point.

And he seemed to get things 'in gear' again both musically and in his appearance, following his marriage in 1967.

He regrew the sideburns and his records started to get that gritty sort of 'bite' again !

By 1968, he looked the part again, and by 1969 all the old magic was back !

Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:24 am

You're right Colin! We, the fans, knew it was in there! But, at the time, the world at large couldn't care less! Still, the How Great Thou Art album sold well without making much fuzz in the charts!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:24 am

I don't know that I ever thought of it in those terms. I never thought that he "lost" it. He just got "sidetracked" during the movie years. But, even then there was some really good stuff.

If I have to pick a time I'd say from the HGTA sessions onward thru all the non movie stuff up to the TV Special. Maybe it wasn't all great, but it was damn good.

Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:32 am

During the movie years he got bored and restless, he knew that what he was doing was not what he wanted to be doing but he did them anyway.