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Little Richard Covers - But why promote on National TV?

Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:26 am

Regarding the second album, I often read reviewers almost bag Elvis for covering three Little Richard tunes. More often than not, these cover versions are justified by suggesting Elvis' publishing companies could not come up with new, quality material. With this in mind, how does one justify Elvis' performances of Ready Teddy and Tutti Fruiti on national TV when he's still new to scene and he has other songs he could have pushed? Perhaps maybe there was a push by the suits for him to promote these tracks (I guess Tutti Fruiti was a single; wasn't it the B side of Blue 'Ssshhhuede Shoes'?) but perhaps like in a Pat Boone kind of way, a'la the white guy covering the blackman's sound "but only better/a more whitened version"?

little richard

Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:35 am

... They were, as you know, huge hits of the day. No big deal...

... The Beatles and Stones would perform Little Richard and Chuck Berry songs on their Tv performances in the 60s as well...

... These songs kicked ass, and they knew it 8)

Re: Little Richard Covers - But why promote on National TV?

Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:11 pm

Jim Dandy wrote:More often than not, these cover versions are justified by suggesting Elvis' publishing companies could not come up with new, quality material.

I've seldom read this, and it's completely false in this case.

Jim Dandy wrote:... how does one justify Elvis' performances of Ready Teddy and Tutti Fruiti on national TV ... ?

Here are three reasons: he loved them, he recorded them, and they were great rock and roll tunes.

Jim Dandy wrote:Perhaps maybe there was a push by the suits for him to promote these tracks ...

There was no "push."

Jim Dandy wrote:(I guess Tutti Fruiti was a single; wasn't it the B side of Blue 'Ssshhhuede Shoes'?) ...

"Tutti Frutti" was first issued as part of an EP which also featured "Blue Suede Shoes," "I Got A Woman" and "Just Because."

RCA did not immediately put "Blue Suede Shoes" out as a single, honoring Steve Sholes and Elvis Presley's wish to allow Carl Perkins' SUN disc to run its course on the charts.

Near the end of the year "Shoes" and "Frutti" were coupled as a single along with 12 other songs on 6 other singles.

DJC

Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:23 pm

Elvis didn't necessarily hawk a new single every time he was on TV. The Dorsey Brothers' shows feature several album tracks and some old numbers. The final Sullivan show featured the as yet to be released "Peace in the Valley" and the year old "Heartbreak Hotel".

Further "Ready Teddy" was about finished with its chart run- a Richard B-side by the way (one of the all time great flips to "Rip it Up")- when Elvis performed it on television and unlike Pat Boone at no time did he release a cover single to ace his song off the charts. Elvis' main offering at the time of the Sullivan show was still the blockbusting "Don't Be Cruel/"Hound Dog" and the upcoming "Love Me Tender". He had no reason to ride another performer's coat tails. The same could be said for "Tutti Frutti" which came out in August of 1956 eight months after Little Richard's record made the Top 40 and about three months after it left the charts. The version of "Blue Suede Shoes" that made Top 20 in the US was from the EP. Elvis never covered a song in the Pat Boone sense. The original record always got its shot at a chart life.

He simply liked those songs.

Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:11 pm

As the Doc mentioned, he liked them & they were good examples of the new r 'n' roll phenomenon which was sweeping the nation !

So why not sing them on national TV ?

More of a puzzle is Heartbreak Hotel !

His very first single recorded on a national label, it is shipped to the stores on 27th January.

On the very next day, he appears on national TV, and doesn't perform it !

A week later, he is back on TV, and still doesn't do it !

Not until his third Dorsey show on 11th February does he finally get to sing the song !

He doesn't do it on the 18th, but performs it again on the 17th March, after it had entered the charts [at No.68] on 3rd March.

How weird !

Re: Little Richard Covers - But why promote on National TV?

Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:34 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:RCA did not immediately put "Blue Suede Shoes" out as a single, honoring Steve Sholes and Elvis Presley's wish to allow Carl Perkins' SUN disc to run its course on the charts.
DJC


Technically true - but RCA promoted the life out of the EP and don't forget the TV exposure which would have been deliberate.

They thought, at the time, Blue Suede Shoes had more potential than Heartbreak Hotel.

More intriguing is the treatment of Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Shake, Rattle and Roll. Masterpieces thrown away by RCA so to speak :!:

Re: Little Richard Covers - But why promote on National TV?

Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:26 pm

KiwiAlan wrote:...More intriguing is the treatment of Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Shake, Rattle and Roll.
Masterpieces thrown away by RCA so to speak :!:


Both songs had already seen fairly recent chart action with other artists.

RCA looked on these two as album fillers.

As you say they did throw away the single which was released along with six others [his 1st album in single format] and got completely overlooked & forgotten amongst so much other Elvis product !

Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:07 pm

I think the Dorsey Brothers or their staff may have rejected "Heartbreak Hotel" as not up to snuff. By the time of the third show the record was taking off. Elvis' Dorsey reprertoire was fairly diverse and included "Baby Let's Play House", "I Got a Woman", "Shake Rattle and Roll/Flip Flop and Fly", "I Was the One", "Money Honey" and "Tutti Frutti". Except for "I Was the One" none of these were current singles. Maybe he was just performing the stuff that worked well on stage.

It made a lot of sense at that time to do "Blue Suede Shoes" on television as it was a nationally known hit and the only other national pop hit Elvis had at the time was "I Was the One". At that time many artists just sang what was popular. Reportedly Bo Diddley was asked to do "Sixteen Tons" on the Sullivan show rather than his own hit single "Bo Diddley". This may have been the reason Elvis did "Shake Rattle and Roll" because in Bill Haley's version it may have been a song the producers recognized.

Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:23 pm

Yes, it's difficult to know, after all these years, how much influence the TV people had over Elvis' choice of material on their shows.

He got away with quite a bit, really !

All the songs he performed on air were pretty 'adult' and many had a black origin.

As for Heartbreak Hotel, it's possible the Dorsey orchestra didn't have an arrangement.

They completely ruined it with a totally unsuitable 'big band' backing the first time they tried it !

It was so at odds with the song, Elvis had problems picking up the tune again after the 'ott' trumpet solo midway through !

Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:07 am

Is there a problem here?