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Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:29 am

Elvis was at a crossroads during this period of time.

The editing of the massive amount of footage taken for the production would tell the story. But what was the story? And who was telling it?

Reference:
Guralnick, Careless Love, pgs. 462-469.
Schilling, Me and a Guy Named Elvis, pgs. 238-248.

The producers of EOT carefully edited the footage to tell the story they decided to tell.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:43 am

monkboughtlunch wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:On the other hand, he might have just had an off-day, or was tired or whatever. It is only twelve minutes of footage - if we had similar footage over a longer period of time, then we might be able to come to some real conclusions about what was going on.


Presley talks like he is medicated in this additional On Tour outtake (see below).

On the other hand, The King's sense of humor was still intact, despite his apparent narcotic intake. A member of the Memphis Mafia jokingly requests that Elvis sing the song "Melancholy Baby." Presley cleverly retorts: "I got your 'Melancholy Baby.' Son of b*tch. He's built like a melon and a face like a collie, man."

phpBB [video]





I would suggest that the retort with regards to Melancholy Baby was rehearsed in some way, or an old joke that they had been fooling around with for years. That Elvis would come back with a relatively clever line in the state he appears to be in during this clip is unlikely, I would say.

Again, more material that would be unusable for a Special Edition.

And it should be said that this raw footage shows what state much of the film is going to be like before restoration - washed out colours, bad sound. Expensive.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:02 am

poormadpeter wrote:
monkboughtlunch wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:On the other hand, he might have just had an off-day, or was tired or whatever. It is only twelve minutes of footage - if we had similar footage over a longer period of time, then we might be able to come to some real conclusions about what was going on.


Presley talks like he is medicated in this additional On Tour outtake (see below).

On the other hand, The King's sense of humor was still intact, despite his apparent narcotic intake. A member of the Memphis Mafia jokingly requests that Elvis sing the song "Melancholy Baby." Presley cleverly retorts: "I got your 'Melancholy Baby.' Son of b*tch. He's built like a melon and a face like a collie, man."

phpBB [video]





I would suggest that the retort with regards to Melancholy Baby was rehearsed in some way, or an old joke that they had been fooling around with for years. That Elvis would come back with a relatively clever line in the state he appears to be in during this clip is unlikely, I would say.

Again, more material that would be unusable for a Special Edition.

And it should be said that this raw footage shows what state much of the film is going to be like before restoration - washed out colours, bad sound. Expensive.


I agree. The filmmakers tried to convince themselves that they were filming "raw" reality. In reality, they were being fed and, in the end, they knew it. So much for the ideal of cinema-verité.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:33 am

MaryAnn wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
monkboughtlunch wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:On the other hand, he might have just had an off-day, or was tired or whatever. It is only twelve minutes of footage - if we had similar footage over a longer period of time, then we might be able to come to some real conclusions about what was going on.


Presley talks like he is medicated in this additional On Tour outtake (see below).

On the other hand, The King's sense of humor was still intact, despite his apparent narcotic intake. A member of the Memphis Mafia jokingly requests that Elvis sing the song "Melancholy Baby." Presley cleverly retorts: "I got your 'Melancholy Baby.' Son of b*tch. He's built like a melon and a face like a collie, man."

phpBB [video]





I would suggest that the retort with regards to Melancholy Baby was rehearsed in some way, or an old joke that they had been fooling around with for years. That Elvis would come back with a relatively clever line in the state he appears to be in during this clip is unlikely, I would say.

Again, more material that would be unusable for a Special Edition.

And it should be said that this raw footage shows what state much of the film is going to be like before restoration - washed out colours, bad sound. Expensive.


I agree. The filmmakers tried to convince themselves that they were filming "raw" reality. In reality, they were being fed and, in the end, they knew it. So much for the ideal of cinema-verité.


Well, by 1972, I'm sure this was a "known issue," you might say, of cinema-verité. Unless the cameras are hidden, they will effect the film. There's no way to grab reality, unless you're spying. Still, though, they saw plenty. And I think it was their decision to paint a more subtle, sensitive portrait of what they found, rather than just splattering the viewer with the more unsettling scenes. That's not a film; that's an exposé, and that's not what they wanted to do. They wanted a film with some meaning. And they did that well, and won the Golden Globe, deservedly so. They wanted to look at his whole career in the context of the present. In fact, as I understand it, they wanted to take an even harder look at the movie years, but were not permitted to do so. Elvis didn't seem to mind talking about it at all. If they had been able to run with that, it would have made an interesting counterpoint to the "present." Because it's clear he was in a rut all over again, and everything he said could equally apply to what they were filming in 1972.

What they saw in the present was probably not what they expected, but they had to realize that this was a better story than what they had seen in TTWII. I'm not sure a wide release of bonus material on EOT would necessarily be a good thing for the film. It might cause the DVD (Blu-Ray, what have you) to do well, but for the wrong reasons. It might garner significant media attention; most people do not hunt this stuff down on YouTube, or buy bootlegged material. To the vast majority, including critics and writers, this would be new. And the original film might well be forgotten. All it takes are a few scenes such as the one in the first post, and everything the filmmakers worked so hard to do might well be obliterated.

They told a moving story, and if Elvis played up for the cameras, they were also very selective. It works both ways. But they had compassion for their subject in a way that Dennis Sanders apparently did not. (Sanders' film turned into a commentary on the values of Las Vegas, and consumer-celebrity society, treating Elvis as just another piece of meat to sell. Literally, as the cameras focused on actual raw meat, among other things. Which is why it was appropriate to re-cut it, even if it isn't what everyone would want.) TTWII-SE should have been a lot more expansive, because the material is so good. It didn't need such a tight new edit.

EOT was already edited tightly, and very carefully. And all this other material might wreck the original intentions. (As for "washed out colors" - well, that gives it a more "realistic" feel, and I don't think that would be the problem.)

One thing they should definitely do is to liberate the long interview he did, with his comments about his film career. Not many people have heard it, and they should. It's in Guralnick, but it's another thing to hear it. And in the interview, he spoke of many things, including his intentions regarding Trilogy, and audience reaction to it. People need to hear him talk about these things, and not in an obscure corner of YouTube - or wherever it may be found bootlegged.

Sure, there may be interesting individual concerts, released to collectors - but perhaps the integrity of the film should be preserved.

rjm

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:19 am

rjm wrote:
MaryAnn wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
monkboughtlunch wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:On the other hand, he might have just had an off-day, or was tired or whatever. It is only twelve minutes of footage - if we had similar footage over a longer period of time, then we might be able to come to some real conclusions about what was going on.


Presley talks like he is medicated in this additional On Tour outtake (see below).

On the other hand, The King's sense of humor was still intact, despite his apparent narcotic intake. A member of the Memphis Mafia jokingly requests that Elvis sing the song "Melancholy Baby." Presley cleverly retorts: "I got your 'Melancholy Baby.' Son of b*tch. He's built like a melon and a face like a collie, man."

phpBB [video]





I would suggest that the retort with regards to Melancholy Baby was rehearsed in some way, or an old joke that they had been fooling around with for years. That Elvis would come back with a relatively clever line in the state he appears to be in during this clip is unlikely, I would say.

Again, more material that would be unusable for a Special Edition.

And it should be said that this raw footage shows what state much of the film is going to be like before restoration - washed out colours, bad sound. Expensive.


I agree. The filmmakers tried to convince themselves that they were filming "raw" reality. In reality, they were being fed and, in the end, they knew it. So much for the ideal of cinema-verité.


Well, by 1972, I'm sure this was a "known issue," you might say, of cinema-verité. Unless the cameras are hidden, they will effect the film. There's no way to grab reality, unless you're spying. Still, though, they saw plenty. And I think it was their decision to paint a more subtle, sensitive portrait of what they found, rather than just splattering the viewer with the more unsettling scenes. That's not a film; that's an exposé, and that's not what they wanted to do. They wanted a film with some meaning. And they did that well, and won the Golden Globe, deservedly so. They wanted to look at his whole career in the context of the present. In fact, as I understand it, they wanted to take an even harder look at the movie years, but were not permitted to do so. Elvis didn't seem to mind talking about it at all. If they had been able to run with that, it would have made an interesting counterpoint to the "present." Because it's clear he was in a rut all over again, and everything he said could equally apply to what they were filming in 1972.

What they saw in the present was probably not what they expected, but they had to realize that this was a better story than what they had seen in TTWII. I'm not sure a wide release of bonus material on EOT would necessarily be a good thing for the film. It might cause the DVD (Blu-Ray, what have you) to do well, but for the wrong reasons. It might garner significant media attention; most people do not hunt this stuff down on YouTube, or buy bootlegged material. To the vast majority, including critics and writers, this would be new. And the original film might well be forgotten. All it takes are a few scenes such as the one in the first post, and everything the filmmakers worked so hard to do might well be obliterated.

They told a moving story, and if Elvis played up for the cameras, they were also very selective. It works both ways. But they had compassion for their subject in a way that Dennis Sanders apparently did not. (Sanders' film turned into a commentary on the values of Las Vegas, and consumer-celebrity society, treating Elvis as just another piece of meat to sell. Literally, as the cameras focused on actual raw meat, among other things. Which is why it was appropriate to re-cut it, even if it isn't what everyone would want.) TTWII-SE should have been a lot more expansive, because the material is so good. It didn't need such a tight new edit.

EOT was already edited tightly, and very carefully. And all this other material might wreck the original intentions. (As for "washed out colors" - well, that gives it a more "realistic" feel, and I don't think that would be the problem.)

One thing they should definitely do is to liberate the long interview he did, with his comments about his film career. Not many people have heard it, and they should. It's in Guralnick, but it's another thing to hear it. And in the interview, he spoke of many things, including his intentions regarding Trilogy, and audience reaction to it. People need to hear him talk about these things, and not in an obscure corner of YouTube - or wherever it may be found bootlegged.

Sure, there may be interesting individual concerts, released to collectors - but perhaps the integrity of the film should be preserved.

rjm


I have listened to the late July audio-only interview many times. This powerful interview was conducted without the Colonel's involvement or blessing. It didn't surface until after Elvis's death. The interview was specifically requested by the EOT team and Jerry Schilling went out on a limb and arranged it. Yet, Abel and Adidge made a conscious decision to ignore it.

I agree that they didn't set out to make an exposé, and I agree that they wanted to make a film with meaning (i.e. truthful). But in the end, faced with too much truth, they decided to make a film that would win the Golden Globe Award.

I enjoy the film, but being familiar with the references I noted in a previous post, I do not view EOT through rose colored glasses.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:50 am

The producers of THIS IS ELVIS had that interview in 1980. I could be mistaken, but I believe there is some film of it as well.

I'm trying to remember, we're going back more than 30 years now. I think it was 16mm black and white work print footage. I saw it when I was at the Solt/Leo production offices on Sunset Blvd.

The film (and much of the EOT outs) were stored in large canisters at an underground facility by MGM and later Turner.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:03 am

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:The producers of THIS IS ELVIS had that interview in 1980. I could be mistaken, but I believe there is some film of it as well.


My "go to" source for the late July EOT interview is:

keithflynn.com / Essential Lists / Interviews / 1970's / July 1972 / click on 44:23

http://keithflynn.com/essential_lists/interviews-1970s.html

As far as I know, this is an audio-only interview and no video equipment was present.
Last edited by MaryAnn on Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:05 am

I'll ask my brother, he worked on the film full time.

I'm pretty sure there was at least some film shot of the interview segments.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:38 am

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:I'll ask my brother, he worked on the film full time.

I'm pretty sure there was at least some film shot of the interview segments.


The 44-minute late-July '72 interview is not to be confused with the March 31,1972 interview (11:03 minutes) which was video taped. Two different interviews by Abel and Adidge for EOT.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:03 am

Ah, that's probably what I saw.

I'm sorry for the confusion!

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:03 pm

ARLT also richmond

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:08 pm

Well, there are two points: The first is, as has already been said, much great art has been made out of sadness. And secondly, millions of people get divorced, but they still go to work and do their job. Ok, so Elvis didn't have a normal job, but I'm not quite sure why that makes a difference. Theoretically, Elvis could have been able to delve into music and express himself through that, but didn't.


In terms of making great art out of sadness, he just cut two of his most heartfelt songs, Always On My Mind and Seperate Ways, introduced other songs such as For The Good Times, It's Over and You Gave Me A Mountain in to the stage act, all of which were sublimely delivered. Add to that the drama of American Trilogy, the force of Big Hunk Of Love, Never Been To Spain and others, and you can hardly say he was apathetic towards his stage show.

This rehearsal footage we've been looking at here isn't classic Elvis by any stretch, but it's just a run down of the oldies section of the show. As a contract, look how he comes alive singing Lead me, Guide Me and Bosom Of Abraham on a different date - the fun he's having with JD in Bosom Of Abraham leaps of the screen. For that matter, I John from the Buffalo rehearsal makes the movie, quite rightly, as again, he's out of any stupour and enjoying himself.

is that the crew being fed? I'm not so sure. Look at in another way - this is maybe the most honest Elvis ever was on camera - where he's feeling fed up, he's not trying to cover it up! If we all agree one of the defining images of the movie is an isolated, lonely Elvis, the same Elvis who in the 50's said he often felt lonely in a crowd, staring out of the window alone with his thoughts, then on that basis alone, honesty has been captured.

The timing of the filming of the movie is key here - by summer, he was looking healthier, if a little heavier, and the June tour delivered some of his best ever shows, along with the MSG press conference giving us an Elvis in complete control, not slurring or hesitating at all. Elvis On Tour for me is a success, showing all the elements we've discussed here.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:24 pm

DarrylMac wrote:
Well, there are two points: The first is, as has already been said, much great art has been made out of sadness. And secondly, millions of people get divorced, but they still go to work and do their job. Ok, so Elvis didn't have a normal job, but I'm not quite sure why that makes a difference. Theoretically, Elvis could have been able to delve into music and express himself through that, but didn't.


In terms of making great art out of sadness, he just cut two of his most heartfelt songs, Always On My Mind and Seperate Ways, introduced other songs such as For The Good Times, It's Over and You Gave Me A Mountain in to the stage act, all of which were sublimely delivered. Add to that the drama of American Trilogy, the force of Big Hunk Of Love, Never Been To Spain and others, and you can hardly say he was apathetic towards his stage show.

This rehearsal footage we've been looking at here isn't classic Elvis by any stretch, but it's just a run down of the oldies section of the show. As a contract, look how he comes alive singing Lead me, Guide Me and Bosom Of Abraham on a different date - the fun he's having with JD in Bosom Of Abraham leaps of the screen. For that matter, I John from the Buffalo rehearsal makes the movie, quite rightly, as again, he's out of any stupour and enjoying himself.

is that the crew being fed? I'm not so sure. Look at in another way - this is maybe the most honest Elvis ever was on camera - where he's feeling fed up, he's not trying to cover it up! If we all agree one of the defining images of the movie is an isolated, lonely Elvis, the same Elvis who in the 50's said he often felt lonely in a crowd, staring out of the window alone with his thoughts, then on that basis alone, honesty has been captured.

The timing of the filming of the movie is key here - by summer, he was looking healthier, if a little heavier, and the June tour delivered some of his best ever shows, along with the MSG press conference giving us an Elvis in complete control, not slurring or hesitating at all. Elvis On Tour for me is a success, showing all the elements we've discussed here.


i think the issue with the divorce songs in the March 72 sessions is that it was all done and dusted in a couple of days or so. And yes, the stage show had some new material in Jan 72, but once it's in there is nothing more to do with it except sing it (and I don't think Trilogy, Big Hunk or Never Been To Spain can be viewed as Elvis drawing on his divorce to make great music). What I'm trying to say here is that Elvis drew on his personal situation for a couple of songs at a recording session - it wasn't like he was drawing on it to make a wonderful classic album of heartbreak songs that stood the test of time. He drew on it to make...a single. Compare this to, for example. Fleetwood Mac turning their problems into the "Rumours" album.

I'm also worried once again that the idea crops up that Elvis "not slurring" is something to be celebrated. It isn't; it's called normality.

Of course there is some great footage in EOT, especially the gospel jam footage. BUT, the material posted on this thread shows an Elvis who was not just bored but who was also apathetic towards his shows - and unprofessional in not helping the band to rehearse. Yes, the shows themselves were fine but, for all Elvis's talking about each performance must feel like a first night etc, he was even by this stage just doing a slick routine. And the signs were there for all to see in the film itself, not least the fact that he couldn't be bothered to learn the words to his latest single and yet admitted to spending hours each night singing gospel songs with the group. Had he shown the same enthusiasm for his rehearsals, then he might well have learnt the words. I really don't know of any other singer who would go on stage, promoting their new single, and not knowing the words. In TTWII he doesn't know the words for I Just Can't Help Believin', but we are led to believe that this was a one-off - and he makes a joke of the words just not sinking in for some reason. By EOT this had become routine and normal behaviour.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:39 pm

and I don't think Trilogy, Big Hunk or Never Been To Spain can be viewed as Elvis drawing on his divorce to make great music)


No, me either, but the point I was trying to make is that from Nov 71 through April and in to June, I feel Elvis was indeed highly focussed on his show, adding quality new material, delivering shows of a very high standard. I take your point about Burning Love, although the San Antonio version still gets a reasonable treatment.

What I'm trying to say here is that Elvis drew on his personal situation for a couple of songs at a recording session - it wasn't like he was drawing on it to make a wonderful classic album of heartbreak songs that stood the test of time. He drew on it to make...a single. Compare this to, for example. Fleetwood Mac turning their problems into the "Rumours" album.


But Elvis never really went in to the studio at any point with the idea of cutting "an album" with the possible exception of Elvis Country, which even then was built on a sponataneous moment. He cut each song individually as he felt like it, without really thinking about how it might come together in an album.

I'm also worried once again that the idea crops up that Elvis "not slurring" is something to be celebrated. It isn't; it's called normality.


On this we agree, but given what he was going through personally at the time, I'm more than happy to cut him some slack. He got up on the stage and delivered every night on that tour, while going through a horrible time. I admire him for that. When we speak of normality, then normally people suffering from depression often struggle to get out of bed at all, let alone get up and deliver a show to thousands of fans.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:18 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:
Well, there are two points: The first is, as has already been said, much great art has been made out of sadness. And secondly, millions of people get divorced, but they still go to work and do their job. Ok, so Elvis didn't have a normal job, but I'm not quite sure why that makes a difference. Theoretically, Elvis could have been able to delve into music and express himself through that, but didn't.


In terms of making great art out of sadness, he just cut two of his most heartfelt songs, Always On My Mind and Seperate Ways, introduced other songs such as For The Good Times, It's Over and You Gave Me A Mountain in to the stage act, all of which were sublimely delivered. Add to that the drama of American Trilogy, the force of Big Hunk Of Love, Never Been To Spain and others, and you can hardly say he was apathetic towards his stage show.

This rehearsal footage we've been looking at here isn't classic Elvis by any stretch, but it's just a run down of the oldies section of the show. As a contract, look how he comes alive singing Lead me, Guide Me and Bosom Of Abraham on a different date - the fun he's having with JD in Bosom Of Abraham leaps of the screen. For that matter, I John from the Buffalo rehearsal makes the movie, quite rightly, as again, he's out of any stupour and enjoying himself.

is that the crew being fed? I'm not so sure. Look at in another way - this is maybe the most honest Elvis ever was on camera - where he's feeling fed up, he's not trying to cover it up! If we all agree one of the defining images of the movie is an isolated, lonely Elvis, the same Elvis who in the 50's said he often felt lonely in a crowd, staring out of the window alone with his thoughts, then on that basis alone, honesty has been captured.

The timing of the filming of the movie is key here - by summer, he was looking healthier, if a little heavier, and the June tour delivered some of his best ever shows, along with the MSG press conference giving us an Elvis in complete control, not slurring or hesitating at all. Elvis On Tour for me is a success, showing all the elements we've discussed here.


i think the issue with the divorce songs in the March 72 sessions is that it was all done and dusted in a couple of days or so. And yes, the stage show had some new material in Jan 72, but once it's in there is nothing more to do with it except sing it (and I don't think Trilogy, Big Hunk or Never Been To Spain can be viewed as Elvis drawing on his divorce to make great music). What I'm trying to say here is that Elvis drew on his personal situation for a couple of songs at a recording session - it wasn't like he was drawing on it to make a wonderful classic album of heartbreak songs that stood the test of time. He drew on it to make...a single. Compare this to, for example. Fleetwood Mac turning their problems into the "Rumours" album.


Interesting observations, and generally spot-on. As to the above, and Fleetwood Mac is but one example, that's the downside to Elvis's spontaneous manner of music-making. He just wasn't going to sit down and analyze his situation and think about how he could express himself musically. If it happened, it happened. But he wasn't going to plan something like that. If he didn't relate to the happy sensuousness of "Burning Love" because he just couldn't at the time, he was still going to go through with it, instead of thinking about an entirely different approach. It's hard to think of a time when he spent the time thinking about how he was going to approach a body of work. He did some of that in '68: he planned to do blues, and asked for a stash of favorites to listen to for inspiration. That was an exception that proved the rule.

He never did set out to make "Elvis Country," the official concept album. It just happened. Much of his best work was the result of happy accidents. If anything, that was the essence of Elvis. This is not to say that he was incapable of other approaches, because I think he was. But he wasn't around anyone who would have encouraged him to go into a new direction. Aside from a few notable exceptions, no one encouraged him to do anything. He didn't even like it when he heard that people thought that this or that song had a personal meaning for him, and he'd deny it. He took it as an accusation.

And yet, he was annoyed by "Burning Love" at this particular time, which is sensible: "I am NOT a hunka hunka burning love!" He did not feel like the object of anyone's desire after just getting dumped for another guy.

It's just hard to even imagine him working along those lines. If he was in a lousy mood, and for a good reason, he'd just as soon do nothing at all artistically. There were a few good break-up songs, but they were not commissioned. They were foisted upon him, in some sense. And he did well with them, but he did not consider an album, exploring the theme. He just never did that, because he didn't like to do that. One thing he definitely didn't like to do was to sit around thinking about his work, rather than just going in and doing it, right there, on the spot.

As good as they were, he could have spent more time thinking about the arrangements - making them even more spare, more direct. There is probably a reason why Willie Nelson had a bigger hit with "Always On My Mind." At least in the very early '60s, he still used his guitar. I think the songs would have worked better that way, but I don't think it crossed his mind. He wouldn't sit around thinking "how can this be as personal as possible, so that others can relate to it? How should I do it differently, so it works best to convey what I'm feeling and thinking?" He didn't do that. He didn't like to do that.

poormadpeter wrote:I'm also worried once again that the idea crops up that Elvis "not slurring" is something to be celebrated. It isn't; it's called normality.


It's a "normal" that doesn't seem normal to those used to "abnormal"; I'm sure the people around him thought along the same lines at the time. "This was good: no slurring. We've had success."

"Normal" became very different.

poormadpeter wrote:Of course there is some great footage in EOT, especially the gospel jam footage. BUT, the material posted on this thread shows an Elvis who was not just bored but who was also apathetic towards his shows - and unprofessional in not helping the band to rehearse. Yes, the shows themselves were fine but, for all Elvis's talking about each performance must feel like a first night etc, he was even by this stage just doing a slick routine. And the signs were there for all to see in the film itself, not least the fact that he couldn't be bothered to learn the words to his latest single and yet admitted to spending hours each night singing gospel songs with the group. Had he shown the same enthusiasm for his rehearsals, then he might well have learnt the words. I really don't know of any other singer who would go on stage, promoting their new single, and not knowing the words. In TTWII he doesn't know the words for I Just Can't Help Believin', but we are led to believe that this was a one-off - and he makes a joke of the words just not sinking in for some reason. By EOT this had become routine and normal behaviour.


I've always thought his comment odd since I first heard it: the music of this time did not feel like "opening night." It was quite the opposite, it seemed. I kept wondering if he really believed it, and decided that he probably did. Or, anyway, he was remembering what he thought not long before. I guess he didn't notice how things had changed.

rjm

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:00 am

rjm wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:
Well, there are two points: The first is, as has already been said, much great art has been made out of sadness. And secondly, millions of people get divorced, but they still go to work and do their job. Ok, so Elvis didn't have a normal job, but I'm not quite sure why that makes a difference. Theoretically, Elvis could have been able to delve into music and express himself through that, but didn't.


In terms of making great art out of sadness, he just cut two of his most heartfelt songs, Always On My Mind and Seperate Ways, introduced other songs such as For The Good Times, It's Over and You Gave Me A Mountain in to the stage act, all of which were sublimely delivered. Add to that the drama of American Trilogy, the force of Big Hunk Of Love, Never Been To Spain and others, and you can hardly say he was apathetic towards his stage show.

This rehearsal footage we've been looking at here isn't classic Elvis by any stretch, but it's just a run down of the oldies section of the show. As a contract, look how he comes alive singing Lead me, Guide Me and Bosom Of Abraham on a different date - the fun he's having with JD in Bosom Of Abraham leaps of the screen. For that matter, I John from the Buffalo rehearsal makes the movie, quite rightly, as again, he's out of any stupour and enjoying himself.

is that the crew being fed? I'm not so sure. Look at in another way - this is maybe the most honest Elvis ever was on camera - where he's feeling fed up, he's not trying to cover it up! If we all agree one of the defining images of the movie is an isolated, lonely Elvis, the same Elvis who in the 50's said he often felt lonely in a crowd, staring out of the window alone with his thoughts, then on that basis alone, honesty has been captured.

The timing of the filming of the movie is key here - by summer, he was looking healthier, if a little heavier, and the June tour delivered some of his best ever shows, along with the MSG press conference giving us an Elvis in complete control, not slurring or hesitating at all. Elvis On Tour for me is a success, showing all the elements we've discussed here.


i think the issue with the divorce songs in the March 72 sessions is that it was all done and dusted in a couple of days or so. And yes, the stage show had some new material in Jan 72, but once it's in there is nothing more to do with it except sing it (and I don't think Trilogy, Big Hunk or Never Been To Spain can be viewed as Elvis drawing on his divorce to make great music). What I'm trying to say here is that Elvis drew on his personal situation for a couple of songs at a recording session - it wasn't like he was drawing on it to make a wonderful classic album of heartbreak songs that stood the test of time. He drew on it to make...a single. Compare this to, for example. Fleetwood Mac turning their problems into the "Rumours" album.


Interesting observations, and generally spot-on. As to the above, and Fleetwood Mac is but one example, that's the downside to Elvis's spontaneous manner of music-making. He just wasn't going to sit down and analyze his situation and think about how he could express himself musically. If it happened, it happened. But he wasn't going to plan something like that. If he didn't relate to the happy sensuousness of "Burning Love" because he just couldn't at the time, he was still going to go through with it, instead of thinking about an entirely different approach. It's hard to think of a time when he spent the time thinking about how he was going to approach a body of work. He did some of that in '68: he planned to do blues, and asked for a stash of favorites to listen to for inspiration. That was an exception that proved the rule.

He never did set out to make "Elvis Country," the official concept album. It just happened. Much of his best work was the result of happy accidents. If anything, that was the essence of Elvis. This is not to say that he was incapable of other approaches, because I think he was. But he wasn't around anyone who would have encouraged him to go into a new direction. Aside from a few notable exceptions, no one encouraged him to do anything. He didn't even like it when he heard that people thought that this or that song had a personal meaning for him, and he'd deny it. He took it as an accusation.

And yet, he was annoyed by "Burning Love" at this particular time, which is sensible: "I am NOT a hunka hunka burning love!" He did not feel like the object of anyone's desire after just getting dumped for another guy.

It's just hard to even imagine him working along those lines. If he was in a lousy mood, and for a good reason, he'd just as soon do nothing at all artistically. There were a few good break-up songs, but they were not commissioned. They were foisted upon him, in some sense. And he did well with them, but he did not consider an album, exploring the theme. He just never did that, because he didn't like to do that. One thing he definitely didn't like to do was to sit around thinking about his work, rather than just going in and doing it, right there, on the spot.

As good as they were, he could have spent more time thinking about the arrangements - making them even more spare, more direct. There is probably a reason why Willie Nelson had a bigger hit with "Always On My Mind." At least in the very early '60s, he still used his guitar. I think the songs would have worked better that way, but I don't think it crossed his mind. He wouldn't sit around thinking "how can this be as personal as possible, so that others can relate to it? How should I do it differently, so it works best to convey what I'm feeling and thinking?" He didn't do that. He didn't like to do that.

poormadpeter wrote:I'm also worried once again that the idea crops up that Elvis "not slurring" is something to be celebrated. It isn't; it's called normality.


It's a "normal" that doesn't seem normal to those used to "abnormal"; I'm sure the people around him thought along the same lines at the time. "This was good: no slurring. We've had success."

"Normal" became very different.

poormadpeter wrote:Of course there is some great footage in EOT, especially the gospel jam footage. BUT, the material posted on this thread shows an Elvis who was not just bored but who was also apathetic towards his shows - and unprofessional in not helping the band to rehearse. Yes, the shows themselves were fine but, for all Elvis's talking about each performance must feel like a first night etc, he was even by this stage just doing a slick routine. And the signs were there for all to see in the film itself, not least the fact that he couldn't be bothered to learn the words to his latest single and yet admitted to spending hours each night singing gospel songs with the group. Had he shown the same enthusiasm for his rehearsals, then he might well have learnt the words. I really don't know of any other singer who would go on stage, promoting their new single, and not knowing the words. In TTWII he doesn't know the words for I Just Can't Help Believin', but we are led to believe that this was a one-off - and he makes a joke of the words just not sinking in for some reason. By EOT this had become routine and normal behaviour.


I've always thought his comment odd since I first heard it: the music of this time did not feel like "opening night." It was quite the opposite, it seemed. I kept wondering if he really believed it, and decided that he probably did. Or, anyway, he was remembering what he thought not long before. I guess he didn't notice how things had changed.

rjm


All good points that I generally agree with. regarding your last point, EOT could be seen as one big advertisement for the tour circuit - that's why I think the statment about opening night was there. It made him look good. Like you, I'm not sure he believed it.

Re: New To Me Footage, from EOT

Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:03 am

DarrylMac wrote:
and I don't think Trilogy, Big Hunk or Never Been To Spain can be viewed as Elvis drawing on his divorce to make great music)


No, me either, but the point I was trying to make is that from Nov 71 through April and in to June, I feel Elvis was indeed highly focussed on his show, adding quality new material, delivering shows of a very high standard. I take your point about Burning Love, although the San Antonio version still gets a reasonable treatment.

What I'm trying to say here is that Elvis drew on his personal situation for a couple of songs at a recording session - it wasn't like he was drawing on it to make a wonderful classic album of heartbreak songs that stood the test of time. He drew on it to make...a single. Compare this to, for example. Fleetwood Mac turning their problems into the "Rumours" album.


But Elvis never really went in to the studio at any point with the idea of cutting "an album" with the possible exception of Elvis Country, which even then was built on a sponataneous moment. He cut each song individually as he felt like it, without really thinking about how it might come together in an album.

I'm also worried once again that the idea crops up that Elvis "not slurring" is something to be celebrated. It isn't; it's called normality.


On this we agree, but given what he was going through personally at the time, I'm more than happy to cut him some slack. He got up on the stage and delivered every night on that tour, while going through a horrible time. I admire him for that. When we speak of normality, then normally people suffering from depression often struggle to get out of bed at all, let alone get up and deliver a show to thousands of fans.


We should remember that we don't know for sure that Elvis was clinically depressed at this point, or whether he was simply in a funk about his current situation. For someone clinically depressed, he sure looks exceedingly well turned-out - even at the rehearsals when he doesn't seem enthusiastic. And,as you say, the press conference really doesn't betray any signs of clinical depression. I don't feel the conference was "putting on an act" in the way that I feel the mini-tour at the end of december 76 was.