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Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:59 am

Anyone else ever noticed that Elvis' voice and his performance style seems to undergo radical change between 1968 and 1970? What I mean is, for example, at the '68 Comeback Special, he's still got that higher, "raspy" sort of "Rock N' Roll" voice, and is much more into it, energetic...Come '70 and onward he has the deeper, more operatic voice that colored most of his later performances both on stage and on record. You don't really hear that raw, higher, raspy sort of vocal again or get the raw power of the '68 Special....

Anyone else noticed this change in a very short period of time?

Anyone know why his voice changed so quickly, and why his energy or passion seemingly decreased by '70? Don't get me wrong, I love '70s Elvis but even '70, '72 are removed from the guy who came back in '68....Elvis in '68 is closer in voice and spirit to the guy who lit up the world in the '50s.

It's not like he was sickly or out of shape in 1970, 1971, 1972 or even '73...Yet he seems a lot more tired, less energized and his voice seems deeper and less raw than in '68.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:20 am

Errol Flynn wrote:Anyone else ever noticed that Elvis' voice and his performance style seems to undergo radical change between 1968 and 1970? What I mean is, for example, at the '68 Comeback Special, he's still got that higher, "raspy" sort of "Rock N' Roll" voice, and is much more into it, energetic...Come '70 and onward he has the deeper, more operatic voice that colored most of his later performances both on stage and on record. You don't really hear that raw, higher, raspy sort of vocal again or get the raw power of the '68 Special....

Anyone else noticed this change in a very short period of time?

Anyone know why his voice changed so quickly, and why his energy or passion seemingly decreased by '70? Don't get me wrong, I love '70s Elvis but even '70, '72 are removed from the guy who came back in '68....Elvis in '68 is closer in voice and spirit to the guy who lit up the world in the '50s.

It's not like he was sickly or out of shape in 1970, 1971, 1972 or even '73...Yet he seems a lot more tired, less energized and his voice seems deeper and less raw than in '68.

Sure. By the summer of 1970, Elvis knew he had the audience in the palm of his hand, no matter what he chose to do on stage. In addition, his one hundred-plus Nevada performances had slowly began to turn him towards more ballads ("adult" songs) rather than the rock 'n' roll which made him famous ("kid" stuff). He didn't want to be Little Richard anymore, he wanted to be Tom Jones.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:38 am

I don't think a comparison with June 1968 with anything else is entirely fair; the Special was special in every way, including his singing. It's hard to put into words without thinking about those words for a while. We'll bracket that one for now.

So, let's flip over to '69, instead. His voice is somewhat deep, but had a rough, very youthful quality that ripped into any kind of material with vigor, strength and fun. He was a little crude, a little sweet, a bit callow, kinda smart, mostly loose, and sometimes a bit out-of-control. Sometimes even wild. And in a setting where that was not the norm. He was everything you wanted if you went to a concert by a solo rock star, I guess. Yes, there were sentimental ballads, but "Memories" from '68 was sentimental, too, as were ballads from day-one. He was IT, in 1969.

The following engagement, in January-February of '70 had much the same quality, but more polished, more in control. The audience recording I've heard of the Astrodome in '70 is raw rock 'n' roll, and I love it. Wish it were available in somewhat better sound. But no major difference, really - he seemed still the Elvis he'd recently been. As I said, somewhat more controlled. But Elvis was more controlled, in some ways, in '57, than he was in '56. There was more polish, more sophistication, that comes with getting used to it. (There WAS the Pan-Pacific in '57, but we can't talk about that. ;) ) So, in '69-early '70, he had to go through the whole process again. It was a brand new career.

By the summer, I think you see a change, but I wonder if he changed so much, as the circumstances changed, and he adapted. There was a feature film of his 3rd engagement, and he was required to deliver a soundtrack to it. And I guess he made certain decisions about what that should be like. Not everyone agrees with those decisions. It was not a "do or die" recording session, and I think he expected success, without having to do anything truly special. He'd just had a string of hit records, including top fives, top tens, and a number one record. And this in a time when there was very serious competition from SO many great records -- this was no longer 1956; great bands, great musicians, were all over the charts, and after a number of years locked away in Guantanamo Bay - or was it Hawaii, Acapulco, Hollywood, someplace, he came back and took 'em all on, and did great. So, he expected success. Perhaps that's never the right attitude.

Meanwhile, he thought about what the film should look like. And I think that was a major factor. We were very lucky to get those country/soul jams out of the sessions. But the sessions were filled with big pop ballads that I guess he thought more appropriate for what was to come. The country ballads, the ones that had soul, were fine, and in keeping with what he'd always loved, but he started to veer into another territory, substituting slick for soul. Or thinking he could have both.

Except for those jams, it wasn't raw anymore. And it just didn't have the do-or-die quality that he had in the studio in early '69, fresh off the Special, with everything still to prove.

Once he hit Vegas for the filming, he really was different than a year before. He was not crude, and he was not out of control in any way. He wasn't wild, either. So, I guess you could say he was tamed. They wanted to tame him, and apparently, they did. (In the '69 monologues, he talked about his first TV appearances: "On the Steve Allen show, they . . . tamed me down." You could do that with Elvis, I guess.) But.

He was still fantastic during the filming: as in '57, his moves were cool and sophisticated, and difficult. We lost his guitar, for the most part, but we got some good feets going. He was still sweet, and funny, and fun. And great. But it was under control.

After the cameras left, serious changes began to happen, some rapid, some that took 'till the end of the year. By the time he returned in '71, he was, in many ways, the Elvis he would continue to be - or become. It is said to be a good year, '71, compared to what followed. But, it was also the dawn of jumpsuits and and Also sprach Zarathustra. And portentous things like "The Impossible Dream." Still, he could really cut a rug at times. But the Elvis of '69 was already long ago and far away. That fast.

I would say it was a combination of factors: he had been tamed for proper display in a certain setting, and then unpredictable things happened in the larger world, and he drew inward, and bad things began to happen, a little bit at a time, until you finally saw it. Until, in 1973, after so many things happened, he began to live on borrowed time.

And that's what I think happened to his voice, among other things.

rjm

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:09 pm

He still has a bit of that '68 edge on 'Wearin' That Loved On Look', especially on the opening line of each verse.. but other than that you don't hear it much in '69.

Didn't he have laryngitis or something around the time of the Memphis sessions? Maybe he shouldn't have been recording so intensely with throat problems, and it had a lasting effect on his voice.. (pretty thin theory I know..)

Interestingly, you don't really hear that raspiness at all in the run up to the '68 special either.. though having said that, it probably wouldn't have suited 'Your Time Hasn't Come Yet Baby'!

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:03 pm

I can just imagine his '68 voice on a quicker, faster and more rockier version of a song like Promised Land. With the same '70s textures and updated from Chuck's version but with the Elvis touch and faster.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:22 pm

Elvis could still call up the driving edge in his voice in 1970. He just uses it less starting at the August Vegas run. But listen to See See Rider and Long Tall Sally from the February Vegas recordings or Got My Mojo Workin'; Cindy, Cindy and I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water from the June Nashville sessions. The aggressive, rough-hewn '68 Special vocal attack is there on all these tracks. It's in 1971, the May Nashville sessions in particular, where his voice begins to sound markedly different from the previous three years.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:51 pm

It was still raw, and rock n' roll in 68.
I think he had more control and power and polish in his voice by summer 70, and then he started his steady decline unfortunately........

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Errol Flynn wrote:Anyone else ever noticed that Elvis' voice and his performance style seems to undergo radical change between 1968 and 1970? What I mean is, for example, at the '68 Comeback Special, he's still got that higher, "raspy" sort of "Rock N' Roll" voice, and is much more into it, energetic...Come '70 and onward he has the deeper, more operatic voice that colored most of his later performances both on stage and on record. You don't really hear that raw, higher, raspy sort of vocal again or get the raw power of the '68 Special....

Anyone else noticed this change in a very short period of time?

Anyone know why his voice changed so quickly, and why his energy or passion seemingly decreased by '70? Don't get me wrong, I love '70s Elvis but even '70, '72 are removed from the guy who came back in '68....Elvis in '68 is closer in voice and spirit to the guy who lit up the world in the '50s.

It's not like he was sickly or out of shape in 1970, 1971, 1972 or even '73...Yet he seems a lot more tired, less energized and his voice seems deeper and less raw than in '68.

Of course every single Elvisfan is aware of the change. And people do change, Elvis also. It wouldn't have been fair to expect him to be like he was in '68 forever.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:29 pm

It's easy to put down the 1968-70 change to playing in Las Vegas, but that still leaves a number of questions unanswered, For example, if the change was due to Vegas why does Let Us Pray from March 1969 sound more like the June 1970 recordings than those from 1968? And, though there was some roughness to the voice in Jan/Feb 1969, the hoarseness of the 68 comeback was not present in either the Charro or the Trouble with Girls sessions from autumn 1968. It's almost as if that harsh sound with the overtones etc was something he could switch on and off at will, depending on the material at hand, rather than a gradual transition.

And there is certainly no gradual transition into that harsh sound either. The LALLAL sessions found Elvis crooning his way through Almost In Love with no real sign of the "comeback voice". True, there is a slight rasping quality to the vocals from the Clambake sessions onwards, but nothing that would indicate the sound that was to come through for the June 1968 sessions

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:48 pm

The earliest I've noticed the rasping, slightly hoarse voice quality is from the September 1967 session, and the last time in February 1971 in Las Vegas. To me it doesn't sound like strictly a chose of singing style, but also an actual vocal change. If you agree with me, what do you think could cause such a change?

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:05 pm

egilj wrote:The earliest I've noticed the rasping, slightly hoarse voice quality is from the September 1967 session, and the last time in February 1971 in Las Vegas. To me it doesn't sound like strictly a chose of singing style, but also an actual vocal change. If you agree with me, what do you think could cause such a change?


Well, the hoarseness in the Clambake sessions was probably down to "medication". That hoarseness is often associated with "downers" - a Judy Garland live TV show from 1955 was affected in much the same way for the same reason, for example. The changes to the voice are remarkably similar to those in the Clambake sessions.

It's also fair to assume that voices go through periods of fluctation. After all, Presley's voice in 1966 sounded little like it did in 1956 or 1976. Elvis could never have sung Never Ending in 1956, for example; his voice was completely different. We can do comparisons with other singers again. Bobby Darin's voice during his Motown albums in 1972/3 sounds quite different to that of half a decade before, having deepened and grown "fuller" quite considerably. Sinatra's voice also got deeper as he went into his Capitol era - although part of that was the result of a vocal haemorrhage. On the other hand, Neil Sedaka's voice sound the same at 73 as it did when he was 23.

Everyone's voice is different, but Presley's certainly changed more than most - and from the mid-60s onwards, almost on a year by year basis!

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:15 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
egilj wrote:The earliest I've noticed the rasping, slightly hoarse voice quality is from the September 1967 session, and the last time in February 1971 in Las Vegas. To me it doesn't sound like strictly a chose of singing style, but also an actual vocal change. If you agree with me, what do you think could cause such a change?


Well, the hoarseness in the Clambake sessions was probably down to "medication". That hoarseness is often associated with "downers" - a Judy Garland live TV show from 1955 was affected in much the same way for the same reason, for example. The changes to the voice are remarkably similar to those in the Clambake sessions.

It's also fair to assume that voices go through periods of fluctation. After all, Presley's voice in 1966 sounded little like it did in 1956 or 1976. Elvis could never have sung Never Ending in 1956, for example; his voice was completely different. We can do comparisons with other singers again. Bobby Darin's voice during his Motown albums in 1972/3 sounds quite different to that of half a decade before, having deepened and grown "fuller" quite considerably. Sinatra's voice also got deeper as he went into his Capitol era - although part of that was the result of a vocal haemorrhage. On the other hand, Neil Sedaka's voice sound the same at 73 as it did when he was 23.

Everyone's voice is different, but Presley's certainly changed more than most - and from the mid-60s onwards, almost on a year by year basis!

Thank you for the reply. I agree with you: Time, lifestyle, sleeping habits, food, pills, happiness, depression all have effect on a voice. But I've always found the hoarseness that developed in 1967/1968 very striking

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:26 pm

As far as his passion and performance level by 1970 goes, one needs to look no further than this performance from the summer of 1970:

phpBB [video]

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:16 pm

Could Elvis have had acid reflux? and he was a smoker now and then. My husband has both of these problems and his voice while singing has gone from "sandpaper" scatchy to on other days very deep. Both caused by acid reflux and smoking. thank God no cancer! Elvis' voice sounded different after 1968. He still had the old Elvis voice on a song like "There ain't nothing like a song" from the speedway album.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:33 pm

poormadpeter wrote:It's easy to put down the 1968-70 change to playing in Las Vegas, but that still leaves a number of questions unanswered, For example, if the change was due to Vegas why does Let Us Pray from March 1969 sound more like the June 1970 recordings than those from 1968?

The unused March 1969 master of "Let Us Pray" doesn't sound at all like a June 1970 recording. Nor does the vocal re-do done in September 1969, which became the official RCA release in 1970.


poormadpeter wrote:And, though there was some roughness to the voice in Jan/Feb 1969, the hoarseness of the 68 comeback was not present in either the Charro or the Trouble with Girls sessions from autumn 1968.

The material is the clear and obvious reason for this. None of the songs are rock 'n' roll or R&B.

"The Trouble With Girls" sessions, October 1968
Clean Up Your Own Backyard
Swing Down Sweet Chariot
Signs of the Zodiac
Almost
College medley: The Wiffenpoof Song/Violet


"Charro" sessions, November 1968
Let's Forget About The Stars
Charro



poormadpeter wrote:And there is certainly no gradual transition into that harsh sound either. The LALLAL sessions found Elvis crooning his way through Almost In Love with no real sign of the "comeback voice". True, there is a slight rasping quality to the vocals from the Clambake sessions onwards, but nothing that would indicate the sound that was to come through for the June 1968 sessions

As noted elsewhere, after Elvis caught Tom Jones' debut at the Flamingo in April 1968, leading the standing ovation at the end, he adopted the aggressive approach he saw working so beautifully for Jones.

Thank you.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:52 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:It's easy to put down the 1968-70 change to playing in Las Vegas, but that still leaves a number of questions unanswered, For example, if the change was due to Vegas why does Let Us Pray from March 1969 sound more like the June 1970 recordings than those from 1968?

The unused March 1969 master of "Let Us Pray" doesn't sound at all like a June 1970 recording. Nor does the vocal re-do done in September 1969, which became the official RCA release in 1970.


poormadpeter wrote:And, though there was some roughness to the voice in Jan/Feb 1969, the hoarseness of the 68 comeback was not present in either the Charro or the Trouble with Girls sessions from autumn 1968.

The material is the clear and obvious reason for this. None of the songs are rock 'n' roll or R&B.

"The Trouble With Girls" sessions, October 1968
Clean Up Your Own Backyard
Swing Down Sweet Chariot
Signs of the Zodiac
Almost
College medley: The Wiffenpoof Song/Violet


"Charro" sessions, November 1968
Let's Forget About The Stars
Charro



poormadpeter wrote:And there is certainly no gradual transition into that harsh sound either. The LALLAL sessions found Elvis crooning his way through Almost In Love with no real sign of the "comeback voice". True, there is a slight rasping quality to the vocals from the Clambake sessions onwards, but nothing that would indicate the sound that was to come through for the June 1968 sessions

As noted elsewhere, after Elvis caught Tom Jones' debut at the Flamingo in April 1968, leading the standing ovation at the end, he adopted the aggressive approach he saw working so beautifully for Jones.

Thank you.


But surely if the stronger, fuller voice of 1970 was influenced by Jones, to say that 1968 voice was also influenced by him doesn't make sense?

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:24 am

Elvis' voice changed through the years to a point. I've written about it before, but come on. Of course he could decide to sing in a raw style in 1968 and then soften it if he wished. Are you amazed he did Memories and If I Can Dream at the same time? Jailhouse Rock and Love Me Tender? Of course he didn't sing Who Needs Money with the same passion he did Trouble/Guitar Man.

I think you would be surprised with what Elvis could have done with Never Ending in the 1950's. Blue Moon is an awful pretty ballad song from Elvis in his very early era. I would hate to hear Never Ending from 1976 more than from 1956.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:38 am

A possible explanation for his voice change could be the neglection of his voice true the years.
A rock 'n roll lifestyle is not really the best way to keep your vocal cords in condition.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:46 am

hli wrote:A possible explanation for his voice change could be the neglection of his voice true the years.
A rock 'n roll lifestyle is not really the best way to keep your vocal cords in condition.


But that wouldn't explain the shift in 1968, as he really hadn't sung in that style since 1961.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:11 am

It's just you never really see something with this sort of sound (voice wise) or energy after '68. That voice sounds intense, almost like his '50s self. Even the level of passion seems unmatched by later performances of the same song, or on other "Rockers" like Hound Dog. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG2hmNObMG4

Compare to here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UD_HCF07i4

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:16 am

Geez, listen to the lack of response from that 1972 audience.

No wonder he didn't try!

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:42 am

poormadpeter wrote:But surely if the stronger, fuller voice of 1970 was influenced by Jones, to say that 1968 voice was also influenced by him doesn't make sense?

It does if one has listened to records by Tom Jones.

Jones, like many talented singers, uses a different voice and style for ballads than he does for rock and R&B. Presley liked Tom's approach, and clearly recognized it was a homage. Elvis set out to reclaim what he invented, and succeeded. For a while.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:15 am

This is a mountain out of a mole hill. The rasp, which did not appear on any studio record until 1956 but can slightly be heard on live versions of "I Got a Woman" prior to that, left Elvis' voice in shreds. Unlike the '68 shows which were a few shows spread over a handful of days, after Elvis resumed live performance full time, it was best for his voice not to push it to those extremes, to work in his more natural tones. Unlike '68 and unlike any year since 1956, from 1970 on he was performing more than 100 shows per year. That averages out to almost a show every other night, twenty songs a night. In Vegas there would be multiple shows per night. There was no he way could sustain performance and use the rasp regularly. And remember the shows in the 1970s were twice as long or longer than the 1950s shows.

RJM- I would argue that the competition was just as great in 1956. You had Little Richard, Chuck Berry, the Five Satins, the Flamingos, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash et al dishing out great records. In pop Dino came out with one of his all time best in "Memories Are Made of This," Sinatra gave us Songs for Swinging Lovers and in the blues there was Muddy, the Wolf, Little Walter, Junior Parker and Lowell Fulsom (n). Sam Cooke was making his last great gospel records. What have the '60s got for all that?

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:23 am

The Beatles.

They surpass them all.

Re: Elvis voice/performance change between 1968 and 1970

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:47 am

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:The Beatles.

They surpass them all.


If you look at the '69 charts (and going back to '68), it was not just the Beatles, although they were certainly part of it. The records that year were extraordinary, and while there were certainly many fine records in '56, the quality and sheer quantity of fantastic records is hard to match. It was building in '68, but in '69, it was really dramatic. You had, in addition to just "bands," now, the works of Jimi Hendrix, an increasingly sophisticated Motown, the Wrecking Crew still banging out classics (many of which did not credit them), American Sound, the Stones fantastic work, Dylan's Nashville recordings (going back to John Wesley Harding, released just as '68 dawned, or a bit earlier), and . . . it's just endless. The songwriting reached new levels of depth, sophistication, and excitement. Not everything was top quality, because that's impossible, but there was so much that was. As I said, it built in '68, reaching a crescendo in '69. (I need to look at some charts to be more specific, but it was an incredible time in music.) And Elvis faced all that, and DID IT!

I would just bracket '68, voice and all, because it resists explanation. Possession, perhaps? (Only half-joking. Really, it's hard to figure.) It doesn't fit in with either his career, or anyone else's, to my mind. It's interesting that it all happened in a very short time-window, and he never did most of those songs ever again. Look at the list: the principal songs in the Special were left untouched in the future. "Guitar Man." "Trouble." (Those were the songs that defined the story-line, and if he did either again, let me know.) Those gospel songs? Didn't touch 'em again. I don't believe he ever did "Let Yourself Go" ever again, and certainly never touched the closer, "If I Can Dream." The opener, the closer, the gospel segment, the "brothel sequence" -- he never touched those again. He knew it was something that could not be replicated, and perhaps should not be replicated. He did do "Memories." And many of the live numbers. But that's it.

He also gave special attention to "Let Us Pray." It's easy to see why: it must have felt very personal to him at the time, as it elegantly interleaved spiritual themes with topical statements. Without being pretentious. Just a beautiful little song, and he seemed to really want it to be good, as he felt he had to recut the vocal. I love that song, and he seemed to, as well. But, it was truly of its time, its particular time. That doesn't reduce it at all - a lot of great music is wedded to a particular time, and wouldn't work well at any other time.

The title song was recently covered by someone in the Occupy movement! It was! I couldn't believe it, but it was. And it worked. He performed it so convincingly that he pulled it right out of the strange plot of that film, so that it works as a song, even today.

Even the slight material he cut throughout that year feels nice, generally. And as for the slight material in '68, well, that depended on the time of the year, and to an extent, on the setting. Some is forgettable, some very good ("Clean Up Your Own Backyard"), a bit is regrettable ("The Edge of Reality" -- weird, and not in a good way). But I like a lot of it. "Charro" would be a really good song, I think, if it didn't have plot-specific lyrics in there. When he sings that he'd "been to hell and back again," it's true, and he sings it as though it was. That's exactly where he felt he'd been at the time. And reading too much into it, it's hard to hear him sing "he'll never let you break away so easily/you'll have to fight before you're free" and not think about the events of that summer. A little overblown, maybe, but I really like it.

The COH songs are all very cool. Some are gentle, and "Rubberneckin'" is a lot of fun. It captures who he was at the time: sweet, mischievous, compassionate.

He did very well for himself during that time. I think all of that material gives the lie to the myth that it "was better" he not "compete" in the mid-'60s. He had a LOT to "compete" with, and did so very admirably.

This is not to disparage the best of the summer '70s sessions. The jams, and the soul-inflected country songs are fine, and will always sound fine. Some of the others lend themselves to debate. If one likes that material, fine; I just feel personally, that he decided to do material that "fit" the setting, rather than go through the "heartburn" (well, someone mentioned it) of making the setting fit him. It was convenient to call the strongest songs "country and western" when they were a lot more than that: there were blues in there, some rock, a lot of different things. But it was all put into one bucket: he made a "country and western album." No one felt the need to attach a genre to the American Sound sessions. It was just him. But now, if he did material that was more raw, more rocking, earthier, more soulful, it had to be put in a special category. (In fact, I think that "Mojo Workin'/Hands Off" wasn't included because, even though it was in the same spirit of the other jams, it messed too much with the "genre concept" idea, and was put on an inferior collection. It certainly would NOT have fit on the TTWII soundtrack.)

Right there, you can see how things had changed: he couldn't mix up the music as he did before. They started to be concerned with how to market him to which audiences, instead of just letting him be his eclectic self.

None of this directly explains his "voice change" per se. Part of it is physical; his voice thinned out some, and some of it was definitely physical. The "hoarse" tone of '68 is simply raw, and yes, he pushed his voice to the point of almost losing it, but it was a healthy voice. If you listen to the ballads, they are as honey-coated as you could want. The one thing I do hear in '69 is some congestion, and I guess maybe it was the beginning of problems he would have later. (I'm not sure how the fluidic build-up associated with glaucoma might affect the nasal passages, but it might. Have to investigate that. And on stage in '69, he blurted out how his eyes were burning the he** out of him. But the voice was still so strong!)

Later, you hear the (narcotics) rasp, and the voice completely thinned out. What you hear in '68 is not that.

I tried to address various points, so sorry if the post was a little scattershot.

Just to make a point: these records came out on November 22, 1968, accoring to Wikipedia:

November 22
The Beatles The Beatles commonly referred to as The White Album
Dusty... Definitely Dusty Springfield -
Elvis Elvis Presley Soundtrack to 1968 TV special
The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society The Kinks


And that's just a fragment, a snapshot. You had Otis Redding that year, Aretha, The Band . . . oh gosh. And then there was '69!

rjm