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Elvis Sings Billy Preston

Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:50 pm

In his Providence Journal Bulletin review of Elvis' May 23, 1977 concert at the Civic Center, critic Tony Lioce wrote that "Elvis' set included a song by Billy Preston, the most pretentious of current rock performers."

That line has always been a mystery to me. I attended the show. I have three different audio recordings of the show, as well as ten minutes or so on film. I was sure Lioce was mistaken. Perhaps the Sweet Inspirations did a Preston song in the opener? I sure didn't hear Elvis sing one.

This morning, my favorite morning radio team was announcing the death of Billy Preston. A bit of Nothing From Nothing was playing in the background. I instantly recognized the keyboard riff as "Bobby Ogdin's solo" from the spring of '77.

There WAS a Billy Preston song in the Elvis show! My apologies for doubting you all these years, Mr. Lioce.

Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:44 pm

Would it have been a reference to Get Back or Something?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:53 pm

KiwiAlan wrote:Would it have been a reference to Get Back or Something?


I doubt it, as it was 1977. The Ogdin riff has been playing in my head all morning. I'm pretty sure that's what he heard.

Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:12 pm

Unless Elvis jumped in during Odgin's solo bit, the reviewer's comment was misleading, a crucial failure in a concert review.

Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:15 pm

Many times these writers new nothing about Elvis or the songs he was performing. Thus these errors resulted. I wouldn't call "Everybody Loves Somebody" or any of those 100 one-liners songs either, to me they are just... snippets.

Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:59 pm

Billy Preston died a few days ago at the age of 59. He had a good vóice and was a splendid keyboard player.

regards//Björn

Re: Elvis Sings Billy Preston

Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:36 pm

elvisjock wrote:In his Providence Journal Bulletin review of Elvis' May 23, 1977 concert at the Civic Center, critic Tony Lioce wrote that "Elvis' set included a song by Billy Preston, the most pretentious of current rock performers."

That line has always been a mystery to me. I attended the show. I have three different audio recordings of the show, as well as ten minutes or so on film. I was sure Lioce was mistaken. Perhaps the Sweet Inspirations did a Preston song in the opener? I sure didn't hear Elvis sing one.

This morning, my favorite morning radio team was announcing the death of Billy Preston. A bit of Nothing From Nothing was playing in the background. I instantly recognized the keyboard riff as "Bobby Ogdin's solo" from the spring of '77.

There WAS a Billy Preston song in the Elvis show! My apologies for doubting you all these years, Mr. Lioce.


Yes, but truth be told, TCB Band member Bobby Ogdin chose "Will It Go Round in Circles," Billy Preston's 1973 #1 hit, as his solo piece on electric piano and clavinet. It does sound a bit like his later 1974 chart-topper, though.

This is the newspaper review:

Elvis Puts on a show at the Civic Center
Tony Lioce, Providence Journal Bulletin
Tuesday, May 24, 1977

PROVIDENCE - There was a point last night, during Elvis concert at the Civic Center, when started to sing "My Way."

The first reaction was to bridle. After all, Elvis? Singing a Paul Anka song? That Frank Sinatra made famous? Elvis?

Once THE symbol of youthful rebellion against all that is shallow and phony, singing the Las Vegas national anthem?

Is this what happens to rock'n'rollers when they get to be 42?

But he was tremendous.

Sure those lyrics about "bitting it off and spitting it out" and stuff are so contrived as to be totally ridiculous, but Presley's performance saved them, hard as that may be to believe.

Singing as though he really meant what he was singing, really putting his heart into it, he reminded us all that he really has done it his way.

The former truck driver from Tupelo, Miss., who scandalized all the 40-year-olds with his hip-shaking and such, who posed such a threat to society as we knew it, is a star now, and a big one.

And he really hasn't changed all that much.

Oh sure, the show opened with a hour's worth of Vegas tripe.

The opening tune of the evening was that horrendous disco version of "Beethoven's Fifth," all done up by a horn section right out of some supper club.

And there was a comic making stupid jokes about marijuana and stuff, before Elvis emerged from backstage.

Even Elvis' set included a song by Bill Preston, the most pretentious of current rock performers.

But there was plenty more.

Unlike last year, when Elvis came out and Tom Jones'd it up disgracefully, spending less time singing that he did throwing scarves to the audience and crooning his tunes more than really delivering them, Elvis was working last night.

Performing a well-balanced selection of really good country and r & b songs, he really got behind them and really put them across instead of setting back into a routine performance of his "greatest hits," he resurrected such classics as "Little Sister" and "I Got A Woman," and all the bite and drive of the original performances was right there, solid and raunchy as ever.

Even the Billy Preston tune wasn't all that bad, and who'd ever think you'd be able to say that about a Billy Preston tune?

The packed house loved every bit of Elvis' hour-long performance, and, by its very makeup, served to underscore the point that he hasn't turned into a parody of his former self.

There were plenty of people out there who used to be rebelious teeny-hoopers but, who wear leisure suits and work in offices now.

But there were a lot of younger, diehard rock'n'rollers out there, too.

Before the show, many said they had come simply to take advantage of the man who started it all to "just to check it out" as one put it.

But they were as moved, as stirred and as excited as their elders by the time the show was over.

http://www.elvisconcerts.com/newspapers/press40.htm



You can hear the show reviewed above on this disc:

Image

Funny How Time Slips Away, (Straight Arrow, 2011)
http://www.elvisinnorway.no/funnyhowtimeslipsaway.html

Re: Elvis Sings Billy Preston

Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:15 pm

Yep, I named the wrong song back in 2006. Is the statute of limitations up? :wink:

Funny thing about Tony Lioce. He wrote that the 1977 show was so much better than 1976, when Elvis "Tom Jones'd it up disgracefully." Yet, Lioce wrote a very positive review in '76. The setlists were nearly identical, and Elvis performed much better than he would nearly a year later.

I'm not complaining, though. There are so few positive reviews from the last couple of years. We'll take what we can get.

Re: Elvis Sings Billy Preston

Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:56 pm

elvisjock wrote:Yep, I named the wrong song back in 2006. Is the statute of limitations up? :wink:

Funny thing about Tony Lioce. He wrote that the 1977 show was so much better than 1976, when Elvis "Tom Jones'd it up disgracefully." Yet, Lioce wrote a very positive review in '76. The setlists were nearly identical, and Elvis performed much better than he would nearly a year later.

I'm not complaining, though. There are so few positive reviews from the last couple of years. We'll take what we can get.


Tony may have been a bit loose with the juice, if you catch my drift.

Re:

Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:34 am

dreambear wrote:Billy Preston died a few days ago at the age of 59. He had a good vóice and was a splendid keyboard player.

regards//Björn

I had the great blessing of seeing him in concert just about a year before his passing. He may have been ill, but it did not show in his performance. He did all the songs I had hoped to hear him do, his voice was strong, and he played great piano and organ all night. And then he signed a couple albums for me after the show.
RIP Billy