Anything about Elvis
More than 30 Million visitors can't be wrong

Re: Mystery Train

Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:08 pm

I just find it very intriguing from a sort of social history perspective that considering the reverence the song is held in these days it played second fiddle to both I Forgot To Remember To Forget and Baby Let's Play House when it was originally released.

Leads me to ask two more questions.

1. I know his Sun recordings were included in early albums but did the fans know they weren't RCA recordings or did that knowledge and hence their appreciation come later when music and Elvis fans 'grew up'?

2. I can't think of another track that is retrospectively revered like Mystery Train as all others were instant hits and classics. Is there another example?

Re: Mystery Train

Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:58 pm

MayDayMalone wrote:I just find it very intriguing from a sort of social history perspective that considering the reverence the song is held in these days it played second fiddle to both I Forgot To Remember To Forget and Baby Let's Play House when it was originally released.

Leads me to ask two more questions.

1. I know his Sun recordings were included in early albums but did the fans know they weren't RCA recordings or did that knowledge and hence their appreciation come later when music and Elvis fans 'grew up'?

2. I can't think of another track that is retrospectively revered like Mystery Train as all others were instant hits and classics. Is there another example?


No comment at all on the many views your request elicited? I am surprised.

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:16 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
MayDayMalone wrote:I just find it very intriguing from a sort of social history perspective that considering the reverence the song is held in these days it played second fiddle to both I Forgot To Remember To Forget and Baby Let's Play House when it was originally released.

Leads me to ask two more questions.

1. I know his Sun recordings were included in early albums but did the fans know they weren't RCA recordings or did that knowledge and hence their appreciation come later when music and Elvis fans 'grew up'?

2. I can't think of another track that is retrospectively revered like Mystery Train as all others were instant hits and classics. Is there another example?


No comment at all on the many views your request elicited? I am surprised.


Hmmm. I don't know how to interpret that.

My first instinct is that its chide for not thanking posters. Your posts are amongst those I admire the most because they are usually always backed up by references and evidence to a virtual academic level. It was that sort of evidence I wondered if anyone out there possessed re. Mystery Train's popularity and critical acclaim in 1955/56.
I have already thanked yourself and other posters earlier on in the thread so perhaps I should have preceded my previous post with thanks too. I've no wish to offend you or anyone so I'm sorry if I've made a forum faux pas. I can assure you it was unintentional. So I again thank you and all the others who have contributed for your very illuminating replies.

But if it was meant as a motivator to get me to comment and form a conclusion then here goes...
It was just another good (but not yet great) song in 1955/56. It was well-enough received as evidenced by the Billboard chart but there was a better audience reaction from Baby Let's Play House and the DJs preferred to spin I Forgot To Remember to Forget. And it was fascinating to discover it was almost immediately covered by The Turtles. Were they a R&B outfit or a white covers band? (The irony if the latter).
Being a child of the 1970s from NE Scotland I could hardly be further away from the American south of the 1950s. Mystery Train was already revered (and the key thing is I knew it was) by the time I first heard it as a teenager in the 1980s so I have no knowledge or insight into its contemporary appeal and I'll repeat again that's the sort of evidence I wondered if anyone out there had.

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:52 am

I have already stated that I revered it at the time in late 1956 when I first heard it. True at that point in time I hadn't heard 'I Forgot To Rember To Forget' and wouldn't until October 1958 when it was released on 'Elvis' Golden Records' RCA RB 16069. The first time that I heard 'Baby, Let's Play House' was March 1957 when it was released as the flip side of 'Rip It Up' HMV POP 305. However, at that time, as now, 'Mystery Train' is still the favourite. It was an instant classic.

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:02 am

MayDayMalone wrote:I just find it very intriguing from a sort of social history perspective that considering the reverence the song is held in these days it played second fiddle to both I Forgot To Remember To Forget and Baby Let's Play House when it was originally released.

Leads me to ask two more questions.

1. I know his Sun recordings were included in early albums but did the fans know they weren't RCA recordings or did that knowledge and hence their appreciation come later when music and Elvis fans 'grew up'?

2. I can't think of another track that is retrospectively revered like Mystery Train as all others were instant hits and classics. Is there another example?


Hmmm,while not exactly revered Viva Las Vegas springs to mind a a fairly minor hit( Like Mystery Train a B side) that has become more well respected in the ensuing years and certainly is now a very well known Elvis song.

norrie

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:10 am

Chris Roberts wrote:Mystery Train is most definatly in my top 10, along with Baby,Lets play House. Mystery Train was a single in its own right in the UK backed by Love Me, HMV POP 295. It was released in February 1957, but had already appeared on the first LP HMV CLP 1096 ELVIS PRESLEY(ROCK'N'ROLL) released in (the UK ) in October 1956. I was the proud owner of an original 78rpm single, which has since been broken. A true classic that sounded so fresh when first released over here, the sound of which we had never heard before.


Thanks Chris Roberts and apologies for the oversight of not digesting your above post properly and missing the fact you owned the track when first released in the UK.

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:39 am

norrie wrote:
MayDayMalone wrote:I just find it very intriguing from a sort of social history perspective that considering the reverence the song is held in these days it played second fiddle to both I Forgot To Remember To Forget and Baby Let's Play House when it was originally released.

Leads me to ask two more questions.

1. I know his Sun recordings were included in early albums but did the fans know they weren't RCA recordings or did that knowledge and hence their appreciation come later when music and Elvis fans 'grew up'?

2. I can't think of another track that is retrospectively revered like Mystery Train as all others were instant hits and classics. Is there another example?


Hmmm,while not exactly revered Viva Las Vegas springs to mind a a fairly minor hit( Like Mystery Train a B side) that has become more well respected in the ensuing years and certainly is now a very well known Elvis song.

norrie


Sorry,I was too quick to dive in,I take it it's just the Sun tracks you are refering to?

norrie

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:02 am

MayDayMalone wrote:Hmmm. I don't know how to interpret that.

My first instinct is that its chide for not thanking posters. Your posts are amongst those I admire the most because they are usually always backed up by references and evidence to a virtual academic level. It was that sort of evidence I wondered if anyone out there possessed re. Mystery Train's popularity and critical acclaim in 1955/56.
I have already thanked yourself and other posters earlier on in the thread so perhaps I should have preceded my previous post with thanks too. I've no wish to offend you or anyone so I'm sorry if I've made a forum faux pas. I can assure you it was unintentional. So I again thank you and all the others who have contributed for your very illuminating replies.

But if it was meant as a motivator to get me to comment and form a conclusion then here goes...
It was just another good (but not yet great) song in 1955/56. It was well-enough received as evidenced by the Billboard chart but there was a better audience reaction from Baby Let's Play House and the DJs preferred to spin I Forgot To Remember to Forget. And it was fascinating to discover it was almost immediately covered by The Turtles. Were they a R&B outfit or a white covers band? (The irony if the latter).
Being a child of the 1970s from NE Scotland I could hardly be further away from the American south of the 1950s. Mystery Train was already revered (and the key thing is I knew it was) by the time I first heard it as a teenager in the 1980s so I have no knowledge or insight into its contemporary appeal and I'll repeat again that's the sort of evidence I wondered if anyone out there had.


My bad on my original statement, I was too quick to dive back in as well, since you did chime in after your original post. But more tangents did pop up after that, and more dialogue is always a joy in any case.

As for your new queries, my assumption would be that only the deep fans knew which of his RCA LPs offered Sun tracks, starting with the debut platter in March 1956. Regarding the ten Sun sides, it does seem like "Mystery Train" has received more later love than any other track. It might have helped that Elvis did feature it in many of his 1970s concerts.

Thank you again for creating some thought-provoking discussion.

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:23 am

This album certainly helped music lovers realise that Elvis existed before Heartbreak Hotel.The music press certainly noticed,esp in the UK
Elvis_Presley-The_Sun_Sessions_(album_cover).jpg




norrie
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:31 am

According to ELVIS: VEGAS ’69 by Ken Sharp, both John Lennon and Bob Dylan were eager to know whether ‘Mystery Train’ was performed by Elvis at his 7-31-’69 comeback. So it’s fair to assume that it was already a revered track at that point.

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:43 am

Good point, norrie.

Also, Greil Marcus' Mystery Train opened up the world of Elvis' Sun sides to a whole new generation of music lovers upon its publication in 1975.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greil_Marcus


Image

Mystery Train: Images of America In Rock 'n' Roll Music (5th Edition, 2008)
http://theband.hiof.no/books/mystery_train.html


The work is almost single-handedly responsible for rescuing Elvis from the junk heap in any serious discussion of rock and roll and popular music, with Marcus' stunning final chapter, focusing on Presley's music and impact, "Presliad."

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:41 am

Mystery Train and My Baby Left Me are my top two! I LOVED "For LP Fans Only" mostly because of them, and I have the expanded Golden Records and the fairly recent Elvis R&B CD each containing both of those songs!

Re: Mystery Train

Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:49 pm

Chris Roberts wrote:Mystery Train is most definatly in my top 10, along with Baby,Lets play House. Mystery Train was a single in its own right in the UK backed by Love Me, HMV POP 295. It was released in February 1957, but had already appeared on the first LP HMV CLP 1096 ELVIS PRESLEY(ROCK'N'ROLL) released in (the UK ) in October 1956. I was the proud owner of an original 78rpm single, which has since been broken. A true classic that sounded so fresh when first released over here, the sound of which we had never heard before.


Mystery Train / Love Me.

Wow, what a single. The UK certainly did get some great pairings.

Re: Mystery Train

Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:30 pm

Doc's assertion that Mystery Train will live on past all of us is spot on. In some ways our modern world with stimulus from every direction makes it increasingly difficult to appreciate the sheer magnitude of the greatness. When i try to really pick the timeless classics from Elvis' catalogue, i usually do it by listening in low light while imagining a very simple world in which a small radio was the sole connection to a bigger imagined but unseen world. Mystery Train not only passes this test but blows away the curve. Not only a top 10 Elvis recording but i would argue in Top 10 songs ever recorded. It allowed the careful listener to reach a place most would never travel when first recorded. Today it is a time machine that can transport the listener to a place we left long ago. This is the mark of great art. Mystery Train is much more than recording; it is part of our historical record as a people.

Re: Mystery Train

Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:16 am

Can't help noticing that once a certain board member opined that mystery Train was the greatest'


All those lemmings on the board rushed to agree .

Re: Mystery Train

Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:33 am

I still remember first discovering Mystery Train. I wasn't a full fledged Elvis fan yet (I hadn't seen him in Las Vegas in Aug. 73 yet) but I loved 50's music and at 11 yrs old I had started buying 50's artist's LPs. I was at Kmart and the only 50's Elvis album they had was For LP Fans Only so I bought it. The 2 songs that immediately jumped out at me were Mystery Train and My Baby Left Me. But Mystery train in particular was like a miracle. It was so other worldly and different and like nothing I had ever heard before. For the next 9 or 10 months they were the only tracks I listened to on the album and I probably listened to them almost every day. It wasn't until I became an Elvis fan after seeing him in August 73 that I started to listen to the rest of the album and started buying all of his records.

Re: Mystery Train

Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:06 am

eligain wrote:I still remember first discovering Mystery Train. I wasn't a full fledged Elvis fan yet (I hadn't seen him in Las Vegas in Aug. 73 yet) but I loved 50's music and at 11 yrs old I had started buying 50's artist's LPs. I was at Kmart and the only 50's Elvis album they had was For LP Fans Only so I bought it. The 2 songs that immediately jumped out at me were Mystery Train and My Baby Left Me. But Mystery train in particular was like a miracle. It was so other worldly and different and like nothing I had ever heard before. For the next 9 or 10 months they were the only tracks I listened to on the album and I probably listened to them almost every day. It wasn't until I became an Elvis fan after seeing him in August 73 that I started to listen to the rest of the album and started buying all of his records.



Hell yeah! For LP Fans Only. Save for "Poor Boy" a flawless LP, and that those two songs are both on it elevates that LP to one of the all time best Elvis LPs.

Re: Mystery Train

Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:18 pm

KiwiAlam, rather than insult, id be far more interested in your perspective on Elvis' most significant tracks and why. I hardly consider myself a lemming. When someeone is right they are right.

Re: Mystery Train

Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:36 pm

fn2drive wrote:Doc's assertion that Mystery Train will live on past all of us is spot on. In some ways our modern world with stimulus from every direction makes it increasingly difficult to appreciate the sheer magnitude of the greatness. When i try to really pick the timeless classics from Elvis' catalogue, i usually do it by listening in low light while imagining a very simple world in which a small radio was the sole connection to a bigger imagined but unseen world. Mystery Train not only passes this test but blows away the curve. Not only a top 10 Elvis recording but i would argue in Top 10 songs ever recorded. It allowed the careful listener to reach a place most would never travel when first recorded. Today it is a time machine that can transport the listener to a place we left long ago. This is the mark of great art. Mystery Train is much more than recording; it is part of our historical record as a people.


Thank you. Your post is a beautiful summation of Elvis' wonderful recording of "Mystery Train."

Re: Mystery Train

Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:49 pm

Does anyone know why RCA didn't put more promotion into ''Mystery Train'' immediately after they signed Elvis in late 1955?

I always thought ''Mystery Train'' could have been a huge #1 pop hit if it had promotion from a major label.

Re: Mystery Train

Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:17 am

brian wrote:Does anyone know why RCA didn't put more promotion into ''Mystery Train'' immediately after they signed Elvis in late 1955?


Two posts on this topic suggest a very good reason:
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=73987#p1112785
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=73987#p1113130

Re: Mystery Train

Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:32 pm

fn2drive wrote:Doc's assertion that Mystery Train will live on past all of us is spot on. In some ways our modern world with stimulus from every direction makes it increasingly difficult to appreciate the sheer magnitude of the greatness. When i try to really pick the timeless classics from Elvis' catalogue, i usually do it by listening in low light while imagining a very simple world in which a small radio was the sole connection to a bigger imagined but unseen world. Mystery Train not only passes this test but blows away the curve. Not only a top 10 Elvis recording but i would argue in Top 10 songs ever recorded. It allowed the careful listener to reach a place most would never travel when first recorded. Today it is a time machine that can transport the listener to a place we left long ago. This is the mark of great art. Mystery Train is much more than recording; it is part of our historical record as a people.


great post....... :smt006

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:37 am

debtd1 wrote:
fn2drive wrote:Doc's assertion that Mystery Train will live on past all of us is spot on. In some ways our modern world with stimulus from every direction makes it increasingly difficult to appreciate the sheer magnitude of the greatness. When i try to really pick the timeless classics from Elvis' catalogue, i usually do it by listening in low light while imagining a very simple world in which a small radio was the sole connection to a bigger imagined but unseen world. Mystery Train not only passes this test but blows away the curve. Not only a top 10 Elvis recording but i would argue in Top 10 songs ever recorded. It allowed the careful listener to reach a place most would never travel when first recorded. Today it is a time machine that can transport the listener to a place we left long ago. This is the mark of great art. Mystery Train is much more than recording; it is part of our historical record as a people.


great post....... :smt006


That's what I said!!! ;-)

Re: Mystery Train

Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:36 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Bill Tanner wrote:As great as Mystery Train is, I've always thought it took an unfair front seat to Milk-cow and Good Rockin', which to me are superior Sun sides. I'm not saying Mystery Train is over-rated, I just think Good Rockin', and certainly Milk-cow, are underrated in comparison.


"Mystery Train" deserves every accolade it has ever received.

All the Sun sides have their merits, and certainly "Good Rockin' Tonight" is THE template for the rockabilly genre, but neither "Milkcow Blues Boogie" nor "Good Rockin' Tonight" may be called otherworldly. And, in fact, any such comparisons are futile. Elvis, Scotty and Bill, with the Sam behind the board, take "Mystery Train" to a whole nother level.

This is what I meant by the 1955 Sun recording outliving us all.

It's like "Rocket 88" or "Earth Angel," or "Johnny B. Goode," or "A Change Is Gonna Come," or "Gimme Shelter," or "Like A Rolling Stone," or "Strawberry Fields Forever," or "What's Going On," or "Every Breath You Take," or "Smells Like Teen Spirit," or "Lose Yourself."

It stands alone in the canon.

Agree with every word of that, Doc.

Re: Mystery Train

Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:51 am

mysterytrainrideson wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Bill Tanner wrote:As great as Mystery Train is, I've always thought it took an unfair front seat to Milk-cow and Good Rockin', which to me are superior Sun sides. I'm not saying Mystery Train is over-rated, I just think Good Rockin', and certainly Milk-cow, are underrated in comparison.


"Mystery Train" deserves every accolade it has ever received.

All the Sun sides have their merits, and certainly "Good Rockin' Tonight" is THE template for the rockabilly genre, but neither "Milkcow Blues Boogie" nor "Good Rockin' Tonight" may be called otherworldly. And, in fact, any such comparisons are futile. Elvis, Scotty and Bill, with the Sam behind the board, take "Mystery Train" to a whole nother level.

This is what I meant by the 1955 Sun recording outliving us all.

It's like "Rocket 88" or "Earth Angel," or "Johnny B. Goode," or "A Change Is Gonna Come," or "Gimme Shelter," or "Like A Rolling Stone," or "Strawberry Fields Forever," or "What's Going On," or "Every Breath You Take," or "Smells Like Teen Spirit," or "Lose Yourself."

It stands alone in the canon.

Agree with every word of that, Doc.


Thank you!