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Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:56 am

Elvis Presley attended many rehearsals in his professional career, from 1954 up until early 1976, but NONE compare to those from the summer of 1968.

Fans read about a Burbank dressing room jam, during the making of his NBC-TV Special, in the 1971 Jerry Hopkins biography, but most heard nothing until this stunning bootleg LP release in the early 1980s:


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Play It Hot (Laurel, 1983)


Oh boy! Indeed, Elvis was ON FIRE, and this jam session was like a message from God. Blues, rockers, Elvis playing lead electric guitar, it was amazing! Suddenly we had even more of the elusive "sound" captured on video for the TV show, and more. A blazing version of Billy "The Kid" Emerson's "When It Rains It Pours" blew minds -- and still does.


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Billy "The Kid" Emerson, "When It Rains It Pours" (Sun 214, January 1955)


Where in the world did that thrilling new Presley vocal come from? It sounds nothing like his 1955 Sun or 1957 RCA outtakes. Wow. How about Elvis storming through "I Got A Woman" as if his very life was at stake? Cool!

Three years later, this same wonderful tape was somehow upgraded, and reissued on this classic bootleg LP:


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Elvis Rocks... And The Girls Roll (Pink & Black, 1986)


Here we had the template for what director Steve Binder captured as the "sit down" jams -- portions of which he included that made the 1968 holiday broadcast one of the most eventful in the history of rock 'n' roll.

In fact, if Binder had gotten his way with the network, nearly the entire show would have featured them exclusively. The jams are still considered today perhaps the very greatest rock 'n' roll ever recorded. And the rehearsals are simply more of the same!

Elvis' love for bluesman Jimmy Reed is evidenced not only by "Baby What You Want Me To Do" but also by several instrumental stabs at a 1962 Reed single, "Baby What's Wrong."


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Billboard - January 6, 1962



There are interesting conversations between Elvis, Binder and writer Chris Bearde, and lots of crazy jokes and laughter. At one point Elvis details the simple doo-wop chord progression that launched a thousand singles back in the 50s, pulling out, as one of a few examples, a hit from his high school years, Don Howard's indie smash, "Oh, Happy Day."*


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Don Howard "Oh, Happy Day" (Essex 311, 1952)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pja79Slowow

"Oh, Happy Day" (not to be confused with the gospel hit of the same name) was known as the "people's hit" since it became a national US hit song as well as an international hit without any initial support from the music industry. The song reached US #3 (Cashbox and Billboard national charts), United Kingdom #4, and Australia singles charts #1. Time Magazine called it the "Mystery Hit" and described it as the "rarest kind of hit, unplanned and unplugged." It was first released on record by Don Howard in early November 1952. Within two months, Don Howard's Oh Happy Day was still going up the charts, when two other versions of the same song by Lawrence Welk and The Four Knights, respectively, also went up the US hit charts, Lawrence Welk's version reaching #5 (Billboard US national charts) and the Four Knights' version reaching #8 (Billboard US national charts).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh_Happy_Day_(1952)



Research into the 90s proved that the Burbank jam tape was made on Monday, June 24, but there was another recorded the next day that included a few different songs, most importantly, a super-rare run down of Sun 209, "Blue Moon of Kentucky"!

Binder must have gotten better mics set up on this second day, as the audio quality is really good. It was never bootlegged, but it's a moot issue these days, as both rehearsals have been officially released, one in 1999 and the other in 2006:


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Let Yourself Go (FTD 2006)
Burbank, CA - Monday, June 24, 1968
I Got A Woman
Blue Moon / Young Love / Oh, Happy Day / Baby What's Wrong (instrumental)
When It Rains It Pours
Blue Christmas / Baby What's Wrong (instrumental)
Are You Lonesome Tonight? / That's My Desire
That's When Your Heartaches Begin
Peter Gunn Theme (instrumental) / Baby What's Wrong (instrumental)
Love Me
When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
Blue Christmas / Santa Claus Is Back In Town


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Burbank 68 (FTD, 1999)
Burbank, CA - Tuesday, June 25, 1968
Danny Boy (instrumental)
Baby What You Want Me To Do (instrumental)
Love Me
Elvis Talks with Steve Binder, Chris Bearde
That's All Right (instrumental) / Peter Gunn Theme (instrumental) / Santa Claus Is Back In Town (instrumental)
Lawdy Miss Clawdy
One Night
Blue Christmas
Baby What You Want Me To Do
When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
Blue Moon Of Kentucky
Elvis Talks with Steve Binder, Chris Bearde

---

Personnel:
Guitar : Elvis Presley
Guitar : Scotty Moore
Percussion : D.J. Fontana
Laughter : Charlie Hodge, Lamar Fike, Joe Esposito, Alan Fortas, Lance LeGault

http://www.elvisrecordings.com/s680624a.htm

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Both of these jam sessions are also on The Complete '68 Comeback Special box set RCA issued in 2008.

If you don't have these, they are ESSENTIAL purchases for any fan of Elvis Presley, or the greatest rock 'n' roll in history.

---

*Not to confused with "Oh Happy Day," the top 5 hit by the Edwin Hawkins Singers (from Oakland, CA!), which Elvis ran down at an August 7, 1970 Las Vegas stage rehearsal and gave a rousing live performance just a few days later, at the August 14, 1970 MS. The former is on video, and issued by RCA in 2000, the latter has been bootlegged for years and best heard on The Man In White, Volume 3 bootleg CD. Elvis is so good doing this kind of deep gospel it boggles the mind why he chose not to cut more of these for his 1971-72 gospel project, He Touched Me.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:14 am

Kool stuff, Doc! These are molten rehearsals, and quite interesting as well in terms of dialogue, as Elvis and the writers hash out the framework and dialogue.
One minor note: I would add the Complete '68 Comeback Special box as a source for those recordings, as it the most readily available mainstream issue.I agree on the quality of When It Rains It Really Pours. Frankly, it is the only rendition of the song that I am very fond of (not too big a fan of the drumming on either of the studio takes, though Elvis is great on both).

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:31 am

Frankie Teardrop wrote:Kool stuff, Doc! These are molten rehearsals, and quite interesting as well in terms of dialogue, as Elvis and the writers hash out the framework and dialogue.
One minor note: I would add the Complete '68 Comeback Special box as a source for those recordings, as it the most readily available mainstream issue.I agree on the quality of When It Rains It Really Pours. Frankly, it is the only rendition of the song that I am very fond of (not too big a fan of the drumming on either of the studio takes, though Elvis is great on both).

The 2008 box set is indeed mentioned!

Some of the track listings for these jams have been confused by both fan and label, but not anymore.

Pretty much everything you need to know about these seminal performances is there.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:41 am

Ya know, somehow I missed that reference, my eye must have read it as a signature. Weird.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:55 am

If you don't have these, they are ESSENTIAL purchases for any fan of Elvis Presley, or the greatest rock 'n' roll in history


ESSENTIAL without a doubt,great stuff Doc,cheers


norrie

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:01 am

Great thread....great music.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:16 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Both of these jam sessions are also on The Complete '68 Comeback Special box set RCA issued in 2008.

If you don't have these, they are ESSENTIAL purchases for any fan of Elvis Presley, or the greatest rock 'n' roll in history.


It remains the king reigning supreme. And my guess it forever will.
Easily one of my favorite box sets.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:17 am

epf wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Both of these jam sessions are also on The Complete '68 Comeback Special box set RCA issued in 2008.

If you don't have these, they are ESSENTIAL purchases for any fan of Elvis Presley, or the greatest rock 'n' roll in history.


It remains the king reigning supreme. And my guess it forever will.
Easily one of my favorite box sets.


And just think of all the similarities it has with Viva Elvis.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:20 am

midnightx wrote:
epf wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Both of these jam sessions are also on The Complete '68 Comeback Special box set RCA issued in 2008.

If you don't have these, they are ESSENTIAL purchases for any fan of Elvis Presley, or the greatest rock 'n' roll in history.


It remains the king reigning supreme. And my guess it forever will.
Easily one of my favorite box sets.


And just think of all the similarities it has with Viva Elvis.


Haha.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:24 am

I think it's a shame that "I Got A Woman" never made its way into the actual special...

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:51 am

billyblues wrote:I think it's a shame that "I Got A Woman" never made its way into the actual special...


I've always thought the ultimate song, the only other great rocker that was perfect for this sit-down segment that he didn't include was "Good Rockin' Tonight". I mean with with the form he was on and that hard as nails bluesy vocal he had going on then, he could've tore this one to pieces and brought the house down. If they'd stuck to the original arrangement of Elvis on acoustic and Scotty on electric it would've been perfect too, I've always loved Scotty's lead on that SUN track with Elvis great underlying acoustic work driving the song along with the bass work. You can just picture him in that leather outfit now in '68 shouting "we're gonna rock all our blues away..."

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:03 am

midnightx wrote:
epf wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Both of these jam sessions are also on The Complete '68 Comeback Special box set RCA issued in 2008.

If you don't have these, they are ESSENTIAL purchases for any fan of Elvis Presley, or the greatest rock 'n' roll in history.


It remains the king reigning supreme. And my guess it forever will.
Easily one of my favorite box sets.


And just think of all the similarities it has with Viva Elvis.


the carnival manager comes to mind:(

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:37 am

billyblues wrote:I think it's a shame that "I Got A Woman" never made its way into the actual special...

Well at least we have all the 1969-77 versions, many with the Great JD doing his Dive bomber routine! LOL

SNG ::rocks

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:41 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Elvis
---

[b]Personnel:

Guitar : Elvis Presley
Guitar : Scotty Moore
Percussion : D.J. Fontana
Laughter : Charlie Hodge, Lamar Fike, Joe Esposito, Alan Fortas, Lance LeGault



.[/size]

Should Charlie also get guitar credit also?

SNG ::rocks

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:59 am

Out a sight Doc love the 68 special outstanding!!!
Cheers

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:13 am

Great stuff, John..thanks..!

::rocks

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:23 am

When It Rains is one real cool version!

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:27 am

Great stuff Doc!!!

68 Special was the greatest.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:31 am

Cool thread, Doc!

I agree completely with BillyBlues: I wish Elvis had performed I GOT A WOMAN during the sit-down shows as the rehearsal is so amazing ("as if his very life was at stake") and breathtaking. I remember first hearing it on "Platinum", next to TIGER MAN, and listening to them several times in a row despite the sound.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:50 am

As often: nice reading Doc, thanx!

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:06 am

Nice reading, just made me want to give the cd's a spin.... its been a while, great music!

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:12 am

Totally agree with many of you about the inadvertent exclusion of "I Got A Woman" from the formal tapings on June 27. The rehearsal version is the sound of a jailbreak, as someone once said. It's quite nice to nail down all the correct song titles, especially Jimmy Reed's "Baby What's Wrong." And it's so cool to hear "Blue Moon of Kentucky" just once more.

If you haven't given the "Oh, Happy Day" YouTube link a click, check it out. It is amazing that it was a chart-topper, it is beyond rudimentary.

It's certain that teenagers like Elvis LOVED this single -- and no doubt its existence on the pop charts in 1952-53 offended many an adult sensibility in much the same way hip-hop ruffles feathers today.

"That's not music ... it's out of tune, and the guy can't even sing!"

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:18 am

Great post, Doc! It made me go and take out those two bootlegs, not to play them, just to look at them. Brought back a lot of memories. Especially the "Play It Hot" LP. Man, that was quite a sensation at the time! Even though the sound wasn't great, I played the hell out of that record back in '83.

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:20 am

Hav-A-Tampa wrote:Great post, Doc! It made me go and take out those two bootlegs, not to play them, just to look at them. Brought back a lot of memories. Especially the "Play It Hot" LP. Man, that was quite a sensation at the time! Even though the sound wasn't great, I played the hell out of that record back in '83.

It took me a LONG time to find a copy. I knew what was on it, but had NO connections.

Oh, the pain!

Re: Elvis --> Plays It Hot, Behind Closed Doors! (June 1968)

Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:35 pm

"When It Rains, It Really Pours" is really freakin' hot, almost forgot about that. I even used to prefer it to the two wonderful studio recordings when I first heard it (on a bootleg called "All About Elvis").

Thanks again for the great thread, Doc!