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Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:27 am

poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Some miss the point here.

"Running Scared" was a Billboard US #1 Pop hit in June 1961. Although the excerpt from Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004) is truncated, the point Dylan makes is clear. Orbison's single was something new, both exciting and terrifying, a song a listener needed to sit up and pay attention to. When Dylan speaks of "nobody" listening to Elvis, what he means is Presley's recent output is not as compelling, Elvis is not willing to take his audience to an unfamiliar place in the manner that Roy does with "Running Scared."

So, Elvis was not "long gone and ancient history." But, in comparison to Roy's #1 Monument 45, single cuts like "Lonely Man," "Wooden Heart" or "I Gotta Know" sounded more than a little empty.

And things got worse soon after. I listened to Something for Everybody and Pot Luck recently, having not heard them for a long time. The singing, playing, production and technical aspects are nigh-on perfect - they sound gorgeous. But my reaction to the two albums is more "that's nice" than sitting up and taking notice. Just For Ol' Times Sake is a pretty tune and beautifully sung, but I almost want to ask "what's the point?" I feel that, during these studio sessions, Elvis was concentrating more on sounding pretty than he was in getting to the emotional heart of the song and communicating with the listener. There are exceptions, of course, such as There's Always Me or That's Someone You Never Forget.


Are Roy Orbison's albums of the early 60s better than Something For Everybody and Pot Luck though?

I always thought the early 60s Elvis and Roy Orbison had some similarities in that they both recorded a lot of ballads.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:32 am

OK, I'll play your game. Who of the great actors who we all know went to World War II, and Korea, then Vietnam, or any of the wars that came after, happen to be at their zenith of their careers, when they entered the Army? Give me one. As to Williams, his drafting in 1939 would have been the equivalent of Presley having been drafted in 1956. Now, would have Parker tried to do for Presley what Williams lawyers did for Williams. In fact, it was once he went into action, in 1942, that he became the great soldier he did become, serving brilliantly and earning so many medals that books could be written about them.

But, I'm sorry to say, the Presley in March of 1958, when he first went to Fort Chaffee for that haircfut, was not just a world known person by his first name ALONE, but the number one in his profession not since a year, but since two years, each year more promising than the next, while Williams, in 1939, in spite of winning the triple crown, was not just, in 1939, less important to the game of baseball than at least three other baseball players, but was not known around the world. Now, if his entering the Army in 1942 had REALLY cut his career in half, why he even did better, and was seen by everyone as being better in the coming years, the moment of his return? The answer is simple. Because baseball didn't change as much because of him, or in his absence, while the music business did, inspite of, or because of Presley. And Elvis was the first victim of the changes he'd help to bring about. If not, how to judge Dylan's ludricous take on him in the early 60's, or Lennon's mention that perhaps they'd cut his balls in the Army, as if he'd ever served with ANY Army.
Last edited by Jaime1234 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:36 am

being drafted hurt both Ted Williams and Joe Dimaggio's careers.

Both being drafted it took time away from the primes in their careers.
Being drafted didn't hurt Elvis' career.

I don't think having been drafted hurt Elvis' career in the early 60s either.

I still don't know what Elvis' being drafted has to do with the Civil rights movement of the 60s.

Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted and got his boxing license suspended for three years.

That hurt his career.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:45 am

brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Some miss the point here.

"Running Scared" was a Billboard US #1 Pop hit in June 1961. Although the excerpt from Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004) is truncated, the point Dylan makes is clear. Orbison's single was something new, both exciting and terrifying, a song a listener needed to sit up and pay attention to. When Dylan speaks of "nobody" listening to Elvis, what he means is Presley's recent output is not as compelling, Elvis is not willing to take his audience to an unfamiliar place in the manner that Roy does with "Running Scared."

So, Elvis was not "long gone and ancient history." But, in comparison to Roy's #1 Monument 45, single cuts like "Lonely Man," "Wooden Heart" or "I Gotta Know" sounded more than a little empty.

And things got worse soon after. I listened to Something for Everybody and Pot Luck recently, having not heard them for a long time. The singing, playing, production and technical aspects are nigh-on perfect - they sound gorgeous. But my reaction to the two albums is more "that's nice" than sitting up and taking notice. Just For Ol' Times Sake is a pretty tune and beautifully sung, but I almost want to ask "what's the point?" I feel that, during these studio sessions, Elvis was concentrating more on sounding pretty than he was in getting to the emotional heart of the song and communicating with the listener. There are exceptions, of course, such as There's Always Me or That's Someone You Never Forget.


Are Roy Orbison's albums of the early 60s better than Something For Everybody and Pot Luck though?

I always thought the early 60s Elvis and Roy Orbison had some similarities in that they both recorded a lot of ballads.

I am a big fan of Roy's but his LPs usually had a degree of filler on them. I would say his early sixties albums were as good as those albums but not better. I still think Bob is confusing times here because as I mentioned he did cover Can't Help Falling In Love, and Elvis' recording is as good as Running Scared, What I would gladly admit though is that Roy's singles through the sixties stayed very good and Elvis' didn't.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:48 am

To Clarify:

Clinton Heylin wrote:I asked him about “Went To See The Gypsy” and he told me it was about going to see Elvis in Las Vegas. —Ron Cornelius (guitarist on New Morning), Melody Maker 1971 In the winter of 1970, Dylan and his wife took a trip to Las Vegas, where his uncle Vernon may or may not have still been living, apparently scouting out possible places to relocate his clan in Nevada and/or Arizona (where they would settle for a while in 1972). While there, the couple caught one of Elvis Presley’s shows at the International Hotel, part of a four-week residency at the famous watering hole. Elvis was one of the few living legends who could still inspire awe in the boy from Minnesota, and Dylan seized the opportunity to go backstage and meet the singer without whom—as he observed on the man’s death—“he would never have gotten started.” Back in January, Elvis seemed to have pulled off the most difficult trick in the book—a comeback that restored his critical standing and commercial preeminence a decade after he had turned the world upside down, doing the

Heylin, Clinton (2009-04-01). Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973 (Cappella Books) (Kindle Locations 9184-9194). Independent Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.

hip shake. He had consolidated all the good press a Christmas 1968 TV special had accumulated with two albums of pure Memphis stew, while producing a pair of chart-topping singles culled from that crop: “In the Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds.” So when Dylan ventured backstage, part of him was doubtless wondering how he might do the same himself. Long before a posthumous cult grew up around the man, Dylan imbues this “gypsy” with mystical powers—specifically an ability to “drive you from your fear / [and] bring you through the mirror.” Afraid that he might never be able to do consciously what he used to do unconsciously, he perhaps feared a future as a Vegas act, playing the old hits to baby boomers with corporate credit cards. The result is his first song to address the creative drought that now had begun in earnest. At least one late editor of a Dylan fanzine believed the “mirr’r” of “Went to See the Gypsy” was a direct allusion to Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf, in which the hero, Harry, another Gemini character—half man, half wolf—is shown a looking glass at a magic theater so that he may be brought “through the mirror” and made to face his fearful other self. Mr. Bauldie was surely right, given the two references in the song to the “pretty dancing girl.” This pretty dancing girl is Hermine, the “heroine” of Hesse’s novel (Dylan later mimics the

Heylin, Clinton (2009-04-01). Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973 (Cappella Books) (Kindle Locations 9194-9205). Independent Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.

first meeting between Harry and Hermine in “Tangled Up in Blue”). So when he starts writing about the kind of “fear” that has driven him to seek out the gypsy, he is alluding to both a real-life meeting with the man who made all things possible in Pop and a fictional meeting with the mystical Pablo.

Heylin, Clinton (2009-04-01). Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973 (Cappella Books) (p. 405). Independent Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.


I'll catch the "art teacher" later. It's not in this one, which ends with songs of '73.

rjm
P.S. -- As for Ted Williams, he was one of the greats, and I'm not going to down one of my dad's big heroes to make it seem as though Elvis was some kind of war hero! That's a game that's not worth playing. Elvis was treated unjustly, in my view, for a REASON, and that's the difference: it was getting even for everything he'd done. I agree that he upset the applecart, and that's why it happened, but later on, no matter our understanding, he did SELL HIMSELF OUT! How can you deny this? He said it himself! "It's nobody's fault but my own." (1972) That's an oversimplification, but it's partly true. He never stood up to the Col. He just never did; even on COH, when the interviewer said the name of the Col., Elvis took off running!

You have to remember the PR at the time! That Elvis willingly went off to Germany, all happy and smiling. A lot of what we know now, wasn't known at the time! And that PR lasts in people's minds. It's as though Elvis "sold out" by getting drafted, when that was not the case, and never did come back, until the FAR FUTURE, 1968. It wasn't really that long, but the '60s were like a train wreck in so many ways, and it seemed very long. Just put yourself in the place of people who were that age, who were also musicians, and who really, really cared! And felt just blown away by "Harum Scarum" or "Spinout" or . . . the imaginary album "Kismet." (Which was a song.) And also afraid that something like that could happen to them. It really couldn't, exactly, because it was a special situation, but it may have seemed that way at the time. Looking at Elvis in the movies must have been terrifying. Just terrifying to the people of that certain age to see what could happen - could it happen to them? The war babies, and pre-war babies who were his first fans. (Dylan was born before Pearl Harbor, so is not officially a war baby, though Lennon is, because he's from the U.K., though he was older.)
Last edited by rjm on Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:53 am

brian wrote:being drafted hurt both Ted Williams and Joe Dimaggio's careers.

Both being drafted it took time away from the primes in their careers.
Being drafted didn't hurt Elvis' career.

I don't think having been drafted hurt Elvis' career in the early 60s either.

I still don't know what Elvis' being drafted has to do with the Civil rights movement of the 60s.


As to what Elvis did for the civil rights movement, without even trying, read Eldrige Cleaver "Soul on Ice". Now, as to Elvis being drafted not being a huge problem for Elvis' career, go ask those who were with Elvis when he got drafted. It hurt his possibilities tremendously, in the movies, in the recording studio, including the use of a couple of new recording techniques (one was stereo), which he could only use on his return. In fact, it is now known that Presley was terrified of his return, hearing stuff in Germany which was clearly much better sounding than most of the stuff he'd recorded but without the possibility of going to a recording studio and give stereo a try, even as a way to feeling less horrified, as this would be impossible for him to do, while serving in Germany.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:10 am

Jaime1234 wrote:
brian wrote:being drafted hurt both Ted Williams and Joe Dimaggio's careers.

Both being drafted it took time away from the primes in their careers.
Being drafted didn't hurt Elvis' career.

I don't think having been drafted hurt Elvis' career in the early 60s either.

I still don't know what Elvis' being drafted has to do with the Civil rights movement of the 60s.


As to what Elvis did for the civil rights movement, without even trying, read Eldrige Cleaver "Soul on Ice". Now, as to Elvis being drafted not being a huge problem for Elvis' career, go ask those who were with Elvis when he got drafted. It hurt his possibilities tremendously, in the movies, in the recording studio, including the use of a couple of new recording techniques (one was stereo), which he could only use on his return. In fact, it is now known that Presley was terrified of his return, hearing stuff in Germany which was clearly much better sounding than most of the stuff he'd recorded but without the possibility of going to a recording studio and give stereo a try, even as a way to feeling less horrified, as this would be impossible for him to do, while serving in Germany.


It didn't turn out to be a huge problem nor did he end up missing much.

Elvis still recorded enough songs to be released while he was away and he had several hits.

I think he would have made another rock n' roll musical in 1959 had he not be drafted.

But that's no big loss to me.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:09 am

Jaime1234 wrote:
TkoTzer wrote:Dylan and many of the folk artists of the early 60s that would influence the later music to come out in the 60s stood for something. They were using their music as a political tool or a search for higher meaning. The civil rights movement was gaining momentum by the mid 60s. What exactly did Elvis stand for? Wat exactly was he influencing at this point? I can't fault people like Dylan for feeling this way during the 60s. The seismic shift in the musical landscape from Elvis is Back to the sound of 1964 or 65 is staggering.


That's a quite comfortable position, on the one hand, judging what others did for the civil rights movement without first finding out, from those who really suffered through that era, about what THEY felt Presley meant for the advancement of civil rights. Too bad "Soul on Ice"" only came out in 1969, but what Presley did, that made such an impression on the African American who wrote it, Eldridge Cleaver, preceeded by about 7 years anything Dylan ever did for the movement (LOL).

Conversely, how easy (LOL) it must have been for him to dismiss what Presley did in the early 60's, musically, when he'd totally been out of circulation for two years, the only musician to serve his country at the zenith of his career. Dylan could, right now, immmerse himself and spend 20 hours researching on the net, but he's never going to find any other celebrity, in the music, sports, motion pictures or any field under the sun who entered the Army at the ABSOLUTE height of his career. And two years in the US Army takes a toll on, and changes any career, drastically, so how could he just dismiss Presley' EARLY 60'S recordings without making a simple mention of this fact. Orbison? When was his career cut in half by the US Army?



ABSOLUTELY + 1 !!!!

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:18 am

Jaime1234 wrote:Conversely, how easy (LOL) it must have been for him to dismiss what Presley did in the early 60's, musically, when he'd totally been out of circulation for two years, the only musician to serve his country at the zenith of his career. Dylan could, right now, immmerse himself and spend 20 hours researching on the net, but he's never going to find any other celebrity, in the music, sports, motion pictures or any field under the sun who entered the Army at the ABSOLUTE height of his career. And two years in the US Army takes a toll on, and changes any career, drastically, so how could he just dismiss Presley' EARLY 60'S recordings without making a simple mention of this fact. Orbison? When was his career cut in half by the US Army?


Nobody would question that Elvis broke down race barriers in the 1950s. I also would never question his service to the US. However, upon his return from the army (other than EIB), which is the focus of this discussion, Elvis did little to inspire or influence rock n roll music for several years in the 1960s. This can't be argued. He could have and should have done so much more MUSICALLY.

Now, as far as serving your country at the top of your career, it is amazing what Elvis did walking away for 2 years. However your comment about anyone in other fields (ie sports) is off base as mentioned by others. Ted Williams and others interrupted hall of fame careers during a world war and actually experienced combat. I will in no way diminish anyone's service to out country but don't make it sound like Elvis is the ultimate example of falling on his sword for the country. Also...career cut in half???? Please. Elvis' management actually weathered that storm with little impact. His early 60's impact was nowhere near what it should have been and that is nit because of his service.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:48 am

brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Some miss the point here.

"Running Scared" was a Billboard US #1 Pop hit in June 1961. Although the excerpt from Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004) is truncated, the point Dylan makes is clear. Orbison's single was something new, both exciting and terrifying, a song a listener needed to sit up and pay attention to. When Dylan speaks of "nobody" listening to Elvis, what he means is Presley's recent output is not as compelling, Elvis is not willing to take his audience to an unfamiliar place in the manner that Roy does with "Running Scared."

So, Elvis was not "long gone and ancient history." But, in comparison to Roy's #1 Monument 45, single cuts like "Lonely Man," "Wooden Heart" or "I Gotta Know" sounded more than a little empty.

And things got worse soon after. I listened to Something for Everybody and Pot Luck recently, having not heard them for a long time. The singing, playing, production and technical aspects are nigh-on perfect - they sound gorgeous. But my reaction to the two albums is more "that's nice" than sitting up and taking notice. Just For Ol' Times Sake is a pretty tune and beautifully sung, but I almost want to ask "what's the point?" I feel that, during these studio sessions, Elvis was concentrating more on sounding pretty than he was in getting to the emotional heart of the song and communicating with the listener. There are exceptions, of course, such as There's Always Me or That's Someone You Never Forget.


Are Roy Orbison's albums of the early 60s better than Something For Everybody and Pot Luck though?

What a pointless question.

Dylan's comment, the topic at hand, speaks not of albums, but of singles, songs he heard spinning the dial on the radio when he was twenty, looking for revelation. He found it with "Running Scared."

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:54 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Some miss the point here.

"Running Scared" was a Billboard US #1 Pop hit in June 1961. Although the excerpt from Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004) is truncated, the point Dylan makes is clear. Orbison's single was something new, both exciting and terrifying, a song a listener needed to sit up and pay attention to. When Dylan speaks of "nobody" listening to Elvis, what he means is Presley's recent output is not as compelling, Elvis is not willing to take his audience to an unfamiliar place in the manner that Roy does with "Running Scared."

So, Elvis was not "long gone and ancient history." But, in comparison to Roy's #1 Monument 45, single cuts like "Lonely Man," "Wooden Heart" or "I Gotta Know" sounded more than a little empty.

And things got worse soon after. I listened to Something for Everybody and Pot Luck recently, having not heard them for a long time. The singing, playing, production and technical aspects are nigh-on perfect - they sound gorgeous. But my reaction to the two albums is more "that's nice" than sitting up and taking notice. Just For Ol' Times Sake is a pretty tune and beautifully sung, but I almost want to ask "what's the point?" I feel that, during these studio sessions, Elvis was concentrating more on sounding pretty than he was in getting to the emotional heart of the song and communicating with the listener. There are exceptions, of course, such as There's Always Me or That's Someone You Never Forget.


Are Roy Orbison's albums of the early 60s better than Something For Everybody and Pot Luck though?

What a pointless question.

Dylan's comment, the topic at hand, speaks not of albums, but of singles, songs he heard spinning the dial on the radio when he was twenty, looking for revelation. He found it with "Running Scared."


My question was directed at a comment made by PoormadPeter not at Dylan's.

I didn't find it pointless if you do i don't care.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:56 pm

brian wrote:My question was directed at a comment made by PoormadPeter not at Dylan's.

Next time, try framing your post with just the person you're referencing, in this case poormadpeter. This will help the rest of us to understand what you are trying to say. Otherwise, you get what you get. Thank you.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:29 pm

brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Some miss the point here.

"Running Scared" was a Billboard US #1 Pop hit in June 1961. Although the excerpt from Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004) is truncated, the point Dylan makes is clear. Orbison's single was something new, both exciting and terrifying, a song a listener needed to sit up and pay attention to. When Dylan speaks of "nobody" listening to Elvis, what he means is Presley's recent output is not as compelling, Elvis is not willing to take his audience to an unfamiliar place in the manner that Roy does with "Running Scared."

So, Elvis was not "long gone and ancient history." But, in comparison to Roy's #1 Monument 45, single cuts like "Lonely Man," "Wooden Heart" or "I Gotta Know" sounded more than a little empty.

And things got worse soon after. I listened to Something for Everybody and Pot Luck recently, having not heard them for a long time. The singing, playing, production and technical aspects are nigh-on perfect - they sound gorgeous. But my reaction to the two albums is more "that's nice" than sitting up and taking notice. Just For Ol' Times Sake is a pretty tune and beautifully sung, but I almost want to ask "what's the point?" I feel that, during these studio sessions, Elvis was concentrating more on sounding pretty than he was in getting to the emotional heart of the song and communicating with the listener. There are exceptions, of course, such as There's Always Me or That's Someone You Never Forget.


Are Roy Orbison's albums of the early 60s better than Something For Everybody and Pot Luck though?

I always thought the early 60s Elvis and Roy Orbison had some similarities in that they both recorded a lot of ballads.


I confess to not knowing Orbison's albums well, but I think you miss the point of what I have written - which is that Elvis stopped connecting with his material and concentrated more and more on experimenting with his own voice and making it sound beautiful. In Presley's best work his connection is with the lyric and therefore with the audience, and perhaps that's why I find songs such as Judy, for example, downright insipid. It sounds beautiful but there is nothing behind that sound - no passion for the lyrics, no connection with the audience. Orbison is almost the opposite - he doesn't care about sounding nice, he is all about wearing his heart on his sleeve. No-one could say that his recordings are of a man not feeling the lyrics of the songs. Orbison is not my artist of choice; I simply don't like his sound or style, but there is no denying passion. There are exceptions to the rule, but on Something For Everybody and Pot Luck I too often here a beautiful voice, but one that is emotionally wanting.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:43 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Some miss the point here.

"Running Scared" was a Billboard US #1 Pop hit in June 1961. Although the excerpt from Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004) is truncated, the point Dylan makes is clear. Orbison's single was something new, both exciting and terrifying, a song a listener needed to sit up and pay attention to. When Dylan speaks of "nobody" listening to Elvis, what he means is Presley's recent output is not as compelling, Elvis is not willing to take his audience to an unfamiliar place in the manner that Roy does with "Running Scared."

So, Elvis was not "long gone and ancient history." But, in comparison to Roy's #1 Monument 45, single cuts like "Lonely Man," "Wooden Heart" or "I Gotta Know" sounded more than a little empty.

And things got worse soon after. I listened to Something for Everybody and Pot Luck recently, having not heard them for a long time. The singing, playing, production and technical aspects are nigh-on perfect - they sound gorgeous. But my reaction to the two albums is more "that's nice" than sitting up and taking notice. Just For Ol' Times Sake is a pretty tune and beautifully sung, but I almost want to ask "what's the point?" I feel that, during these studio sessions, Elvis was concentrating more on sounding pretty than he was in getting to the emotional heart of the song and communicating with the listener. There are exceptions, of course, such as There's Always Me or That's Someone You Never Forget.


Are Roy Orbison's albums of the early 60s better than Something For Everybody and Pot Luck though?

I always thought the early 60s Elvis and Roy Orbison had some similarities in that they both recorded a lot of ballads.


I confess to not knowing Orbison's albums well, but I think you miss the point of what I have written - which is that Elvis stopped connecting with his material and concentrated more and more on experimenting with his own voice and making it sound beautiful. In Presley's best work his connection is with the lyric and therefore with the audience, and perhaps that's why I find songs such as Judy, for example, downright insipid.


I partially agree with you.

I think around 1962 Elvis was already on top and had other things going on in his life that he began to concentrate less on making the best music he could.

I guess it was because of the movies because he really didn't seem to start experimenting and working hard on his music again until around 1968.

I do however hold both Something for everybody and Pot luck in higher regard than you do.

I thought they were both good albums for the early 60s era.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:04 pm

brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Some miss the point here.

"Running Scared" was a Billboard US #1 Pop hit in June 1961. Although the excerpt from Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004) is truncated, the point Dylan makes is clear. Orbison's single was something new, both exciting and terrifying, a song a listener needed to sit up and pay attention to. When Dylan speaks of "nobody" listening to Elvis, what he means is Presley's recent output is not as compelling, Elvis is not willing to take his audience to an unfamiliar place in the manner that Roy does with "Running Scared."

So, Elvis was not "long gone and ancient history." But, in comparison to Roy's #1 Monument 45, single cuts like "Lonely Man," "Wooden Heart" or "I Gotta Know" sounded more than a little empty.

And things got worse soon after. I listened to Something for Everybody and Pot Luck recently, having not heard them for a long time. The singing, playing, production and technical aspects are nigh-on perfect - they sound gorgeous. But my reaction to the two albums is more "that's nice" than sitting up and taking notice. Just For Ol' Times Sake is a pretty tune and beautifully sung, but I almost want to ask "what's the point?" I feel that, during these studio sessions, Elvis was concentrating more on sounding pretty than he was in getting to the emotional heart of the song and communicating with the listener. There are exceptions, of course, such as There's Always Me or That's Someone You Never Forget.


Are Roy Orbison's albums of the early 60s better than Something For Everybody and Pot Luck though?

I always thought the early 60s Elvis and Roy Orbison had some similarities in that they both recorded a lot of ballads.


I confess to not knowing Orbison's albums well, but I think you miss the point of what I have written - which is that Elvis stopped connecting with his material and concentrated more and more on experimenting with his own voice and making it sound beautiful. In Presley's best work his connection is with the lyric and therefore with the audience, and perhaps that's why I find songs such as Judy, for example, downright insipid.


I partially agree with you.

I think around 1962 Elvis was already on top and had other things going on in his life that he began to concentrate less on making the best music he could.

I guess it was because of the movies because he really didn't seem to start experimenting and working hard on his music again until around 1968.

I do however hold both Something for everybody and Pot luck in higher regard than you do.

I thought they were both good albums for the early 60s era.


They are both good albums, which is part of the problem. It is difficult to fault their execution, but I find them remarkably bland for the most part. Elvis Is Back and the Memphis sessions demand your attention, but I can have Something For Everybody and Pot Luck on when I'm working and forget they are even playing.

Re: Elvis quoted in Bob Dylan's Chronicles Vol.1

Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:55 pm

first a side note: dylan unfortunately never played "always on my mind" as someone suggested above.

i think the quote from "chronicles" has to be read in the broader context of dylan explaining his own development from being a rock'n'roll kid to becoming a folkie around 1960. by that time rock'n'roll was practically dead (or at least it was considered dead in the US) and had been replaced by schmalzy teenage music. as part of this "the rock'n'roll elvis" had long vanished too. so i think dylan does not necessarily criticize elvis' music in the early 60s but merely explains the vacuum he felt at that time which pushed him towards folk music.

by the way: i wonder if anybody has read the fascinating dylan interview in the september 27 issue of rolling stone magazine. there dylan distances himself passionately (as he did several times before) from the 60s (counter)culture and insists on how strong he was influenced and shaped by the 50s instead.