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Re: The same damn place the band is

Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:11 am

Xaykev wrote:
Chris Roberts wrote:I have mentioned this before. Several years ago I used to discuss rock'n'roll with a young (at the time 18) work colleague. He didn't like Elvis and argued that most singers were better at it including Cliff Richard :shock:

Cliff Richard IS a great rocker and singer.

He was England's answer to Elvis, and surely a favorite of many, but as far as great rockers and singers, he doesn't make the top twenty, perhaps not even the top fifty.

Re: The same damn place the band is

Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:52 am

Good Time Charlie wrote:The Beatles are great, but they ain't no Elvis.


Exactly, although I know you mean it differently. This is what I mean: The Beatles are The Beatles, and Elvis is Elvis. I wouldn't say they were apples and oranges. But definitely different: oranges and tangerines, at least.

Let me explain.

Elvis was a solo star, and the Beatles were a self-contained band, not a backing group with a lead guy. There may have a been a few like that before them, but none that particularly stand out, and certainly none that "exploded." Because of the explosion, everyone who picked up a guitar wanted to be in a band. IN a band, not necessarily fronting a band. It makes a big difference, because for one thing, it attracted A LOT more kids (who were, by now, in greater numbers due to the baby boom) to playing rock and roll. You didn't worship the Beatles, so much as one tried to BE a "Beatles." They ran out of names pretty quickly, and have had to be very creative ever since.

There were no "garage bands," I think, before the Beatles. To be a solo star is a whole different proposition: one's PERSONAL identity is on the line, in a manner it just isn't in a band. And solo stars, real solo stars, want to be loved, and adored in a completely different way. If they go down, if anything happens, they cannot break up with themselves!

It's probably better to be in a band. (I think Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band are a hybrid form. A real solo star, and a real band, at the same time. There was that time he went without them, and . . . well, you know.)

The Beatles or the Stones just couldn't grab studio musicians on the road, and add them. They were who they were, or they weren't, anymore. A band can change a member, or two, but there's a limit before they just don't exist anymore. If one of the Stones dies, as with Brian Jones, who was fired and soon after, died, the BAND GOES ON. (Unless they lose more members, and then, they're done. It's over. They must "reunite.") This is completely different to what happened with Bill Black, or with Scotty playing on sessions in the '60s. Elvis was NOT a "Blue Moon Boy." And that's very significant. (As much as we'd like to think of them as a real band, they just backed up Elvis. Just as the Jacksons, I think, finally got it through their heads that they were ALWAYS only backing vocalists to a megastar. Well, maybe they never did get it, but that was the truth.)

His relationship with his musicians was that of a boss. Period. Not even a frontman, but a boss, and they, hired hands.

When kids get into music, they want to be in a band; I'm not sure they want to be a hired studio musician. (Maybe some do, but I don't know: I don't think so.) I suppose the highest aspiration is to be THE STAR: the guy in the hottest spotlight. The guy who is "A Prince From Another Planet." Who is SO "not like other guys" that people have to insist "he's human." The guy who glows in the dark. Whose very presence sends chills. Who is the center of the known universe in an arena or stadium. One guy (or Madonna - sorry), who makes your heart stop, just looking at him standing there, maybe with a golden cape, or with something else of that extreme iconic stature.

It's a different ballgame. Like comparing Tiger Woods to a member of a team. Any star in a team sport is just a little bit less of a star, because the team is . . . a team. It's what differentiates Muhammad Ali from all other star athletes of his time, even when some team stars were GIGANTIC, and culturally meaningful in very important ways. Joe Namath was a Jet, even though he was a cultural force in the sixties, bringing show biz into sports. Into team sports. You cannot compare them, because what they did was necessarily different. Ali had to retire, due to time and illness, sure, but he could NOT be "put on waivers." Which is what happened to Joe. After being this "big stars," in the end, he was just another player on the roster, who seemed to be holding them back. So they didn't even trade him: just put him on waivers. (That like to kill me when it happened! But I didn't understand then what I do now.) Similarly, you could fire Brian Jones, and still be the Rolling Stones.

But that's more on the level of fantasy for all but . . . about two or three people, ever. Whereas, you CAN be in a band. Not The Beatles, but a band, and have that sense of respect for that.

Let's see: the Beatles brought young people IN to the musical world they created; Elvis, in his "Other-Planet-ness," kept people out. He was unique, whereas the Beatles offered an invitation. With Elvis, you couldn't "be like him" except maybe in your fantasies. (Well, there were one or two . . . who scaled the heights, but it's really just a fantasy. Being in a meaningful band is not a fantasy.)

Boys were jealous of Elvis, and they really didn't have to be jealous of the Beatles. They could get a band together. They'd never be the "top" band ever, but they could work at it, and have either a great little memory of "a career," or actually have a nice career at it. Or become studio musicians. Eventually, there'd be girl bands, too, and mixed bands. A band is not "a group." So the "girl groups" were not bands. And this is why a producer could replace them, or rename them, or lie about their names . . . etc. (As to "The Monkees," I'd rather not go there. But okay, they became a band, of sorts. In fact, the difference between them and the band they pretended to be, is the difference - right there. What you saw was what you heard was what you got. Whereas nobody ever even knew who played on Elvis's records; they didn't even list them on the albums. And in some cases, they WERE the same musicians who played on the Monkees' records.)

I think that's the Beatles' greatest achievement of all: "you can do it, too. Come on, get a band together!" (Heck, "folk singer" Bob Dylan had that very thought! And all he** broke loose!) Now, there is only one Beatles, but what they offered was very democratic. (Not to put down what Elvis did, because he was so socially disruptive, and helped to dissolve the world in which he did what he did.) But he still WAS "the star." And that's antithetical to Sly and the Family Stone's "Everybody Is A Star" which is unthinkable without the Beatles.

I think we can agree on this.

rjm
P.S. -- Don't own any Cliff Richard records, so I wouldn't know. ;)

Re: The same damn place the band is

Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:25 am

Xaykev wrote:
Chris Roberts wrote:I have mentioned this before. Several years ago I used to discuss rock'n'roll with a young (at the time 18) work colleague. He didn't like Elvis and argued that most singers were better at it including Cliff Richard :shock:

Cliff Richard IS a great rocker and singer.


He certainly was, but I don't think too many would say that he is better than his idol.

Some point in 1959 even I changed my allegence for a while, as I was watching him on a weekly basis either on '6.5 Special' or 'Oh Boy' as I thought that he was more accessable than Elvis! I finally saw him live in the pantomine, of all things, Aladin in 1964. Having seen the Shadows in 1961.

Talking of pantomine's for those that don't know, Priscilla is staring in one in Wimbledon this season, not really liking pantomine's I've forgotten which one it is, but I believe she is playing the wicked witch :!:

Re: The same damn place the band is

Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:44 am

rjm, You made some valid points in your above post. But don't forget it wasn't only singers that the early Elvis records inspired. Keith Richards has said about the early records "everybody wanted to be Elvis but all I wanted was to play guitar like Scotty". Elvis himself said something to the effect of "Lets keep it simple boys, nothing too complicated, so that any kid in a group can play it" Before someone asks I can't remember where I read the Elvis 'quote' but I have the Keith Richard quote on DVD.

Re: The same damn place the band is

Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:54 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
LesterB wrote:many thanks for the effort involved in all the replies relating to this story.

Welcome back! What do you think?


What ? no props for having your back Doc ?

It's all good ...

Re: The same damn place the band is

Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:33 am

minkahed wrote:In this particular case, The Doc is absolutely correct.

I heard this for myself on Sirius channel 13, "Elvis Radio", when Dj Bill Rock dedicated a two part special on his weekly ,"Soundtrack Saturday Night" special when director John Rich passed away a few years ago.

He, of course, played the whole "Roustabout" selections and had a great, in depth interview with John Rich about, not only his Elvis directed pictures, but had a cool story or two about other television shows and films he was also responsible for making a huge success and breaking new ground.

Anyhow, John Rich spoke warmly of Elvis and commented on his professionalism on and off the 1964 set, in great contrast to his not so great recollection, fast forward 1967, "Easy Come, Easy Go".

The "Wheels On My Heels" scene is important, let's not forget the real first steady cam, (later reffered and utilized for 1976's, "ROCKY"), but because the filming of this song was done quickly and in ONE take with two cameras. This had not been done before on film and was actually a first in the movie business.

The second was to match it up with Elvis lip synching riding a live motorcycle down the highway to music. Pretty kool stuff there.

What I gathered from this rather intriguing interview with Mr. Rich was that he wanted, or tried to, make a good Elvis Presley picture, for whatever reasons being financially rewarding, what have you. Let's not forget Elvis' previous movie being his most financially rewarding and famous, "Viva Las Vegas".

Also, the filming of the song was done actually after the motorcycle accident because of Elvis' insistance to do his own stunts, ie. fighting, kicking, etc etc and after falling and cutting his eye, left a big bruise and they had to work around the swelling.

For what it's worth, "Roustabout" is far, far superior to "Easy Come, Easy Go" in EVERY way, not only from soundtrack material, but from the script, the cast, the production, the lighting, and , of course, Elvis' own appearance. I get the impression that John Rich was not at all impressed with his leading star the second time around because of his drastic decline in films, popularity, reputation, respect and innovation in the entertainment field.

Great post -- and not just because you find my explanation spot-on, but because you bring some very interesting information to the discussion.

Re: The same damn place the band is

Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:04 am

Deke Rivers II wrote:The song was "Wheels On My Heels" from Roustabout. One of the Jordanaires was one of the first to relate the story in a televised interview; I have it on tape (when I get time, it may take a while, I will locate it).

Have you located the tape yet?

Re: The same damn place the band is

Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:16 am

elvisalisellers wrote:Have you located the tape yet?


No need, the case is closed. ;-)

Re: The same damn place the band is

Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:19 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
elvisalisellers wrote:Have you located the tape yet?


No need, the case is closed. ;-)

So true. :wink:

Re: The same damn place the band is

Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:21 am

Incidentally, I just watched "Clambake" for the first time in years, right after I screened "Kid Galahad."

My gosh, what a stunning drop in quality in every single respect --- and in less than 6 years. It's amazing that "Singer Presents Elvis" was just around the corner.

Re: The same damn place the band is

Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:40 am

Shelly Fabares and Bill Bixby bring a certain charm to this movie but yes, things had gone awry since Kid Galahad. The scene with James Gregory, as his father, where they argue and the dad says how proud he is, may be one of the more embarrassing scenes I've ever seen. Elvis is as wooden as a board.

Still, the movie is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me.

Re: The same damn place the band is

Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:06 am

I think the quality for the 4 pictures Elvis did for United Artists decreased such as: Follow that Dream-very good, Kid Galahad-good, Frankie and Johnny-mediocre at best and Clambake-awful. In the last one Elvis looks very bad, overweight, bored even worse than in Paradise, Hawaiian Style.
Last edited by jurasic1968 on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: The same damn place the band is

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:03 pm

minkahed wrote:In this particular case, The Doc is absolutely correct.

I heard this for myself on Sirius channel 13, "Elvis Radio", when Dj Bill Rock dedicated a two part special on his weekly ,"Soundtrack Saturday Night" special when director John Rich passed away a few years ago.

He, of course, played the whole "Roustabout" selections and had a great, in depth interview with John Rich about, not only his Elvis directed pictures, but had a cool story or two about other television shows and films he was also responsible for making a huge success and breaking new ground.

Anyhow, John Rich spoke warmly of Elvis and commented on his professionalism on and off the 1964 set, in great contrast to his not so great recollection, fast forward 1967, "Easy Come, Easy Go".

The "Wheels On My Heels" scene is important, let's not forget the real first steady cam, (later reffered and utilized for 1976's, "ROCKY"), but because the filming of this song was done quickly and in ONE take with two cameras. This had not been done before on film and was actually a first in the movie business.

The second was to match it up with Elvis lip synching riding a live motorcycle down the highway to music. Pretty kool stuff there.

What I gathered from this rather intriguing interview with Mr. Rich was that he wanted, or tried to, make a good Elvis Presley picture, for whatever reasons being financially rewarding, what have you. Let's not forget Elvis' previous movie being his most financially rewarding and famous, "Viva Las Vegas".

Also, the filming of the song was done actually after the motorcycle accident because of Elvis' insistance to do his own stunts, ie. fighting, kicking, etc etc and after falling and cutting his eye, left a big bruise and they had to work around the swelling.

For what it's worth, "Roustabout" is far, far superior to "Easy Come, Easy Go" in EVERY way, not only from soundtrack material, but from the script, the cast, the production, the lighting, and , of course, Elvis' own appearance. I get the impression that John Rich was not at all impressed with his leading star the second time around because of his drastic decline in films, popularity, reputation, respect and innovation in the entertainment field.


I also interviewed Mr Rich and he spoke highly of Elvis. The only thing that he said bothered him was Elvis refused to call him John. I have the Audio interview here if anyone is interested.
JK
http://elvis2001.net/john%20rich.htm