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Sams lost crooner

Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:09 am

»As far as my own listening pleasure goes, I’d just as soon listen to someone else sing a ballad. I could not sing a ballad like Pat Boone.“
Elvis, March 1956

There is one thing I don’t like Sam Phillips for. Elvis comes in the Studio with a big set list of famous ballads from The Ink Spots, Dean Martin and others. But Sam was searching for other things and was not impressed from the crooner Elvis. For me this was a big mistake. Elvis never want to be a »King of Rock’n’Roll«. He like and wish to sing ballads. Sadly, old Sam gives him no chance and so Elvis recorded the songs that the listener want to hear and pay for. That makes the money!

The Rock-Songs bring him to the top of the charts. But when you listen to his early interviews you can hear him say that I Was The One and Don’t are his own favorite performances. He loves the way Dean Martin sings his songs. And Mario Lanza was absolutely great for him.

In 1972, he told the press before his grandiose gigs in New York that It’s Now Or Never is his own favorite. In his later years, he was in love with the big numbers like Hurt. Elvis has the ability to cover someone else’s song in such way that it becomes his own. However, with a few famous examples he never touches the catalogue from Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra.

He do not was a sucker for show tunes unless a singer he admired had recorded them. That is the thing with Roy Hamilton and You'll Never Walk Alone. There are so many private recordings at home released after his passing. There are ballads after ballads, suggests that, left to his own devices, he might have been a much lower-energy performer.

These are my favorites:

Blue Moon
This is the song Elvis’ ghost will sing if he haunting America and hitchhikes the long lonely highways.

I Need Somebody To Lean On
This is a fantastic but unusual ballad that Elvis croons in gentle late-night melancholy. This song is a real work of genius.

I’ll Hold You In My Heart
Elvis do not want to stop this song from Eddie Arnold. Give it a real deep listen. He gives himself so completely in the suspicion that his darling might not wait for him. What a fantastic performance.

The Wonder Of You
Elvis wanted to record this great hit for Ray Peterson in 1967. However, it was sadly cancelled. Therefore, he delivered it instead with a great power and conviction lives in Las Vegas. Listen to James Burton on guitar. Wonderful!

Where Did They Go Lord
Elvis belts out this super strong ballad from Dallas Frazier. Give the line about his heart not being bitter, just empty, a big listen.

There’s A Honky Tonk Angel
This is a so great and passionate rendition of a hit from Conway Twitty. He might never recorded it, if his father has not told him about the song. He warmed himself up in the studio with the words: »Get mad at it«. Then did just that and it works.

Re: Sams lost crooner

Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:55 pm

Winston wrote: However, with a few famous examples he never touches the catalogue from Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra

So was "My Way" really "His Way"? :smt017

Re: Sams lost crooner

Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:28 pm

Which proves what? Elvis didn't really like rock and roll but was forced to record it because of the teen market?

Re: Sams lost crooner

Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:16 pm

r&b wrote:Which proves what? Elvis didn't really like rock and roll but was forced to record it because of the teen market?


Yes.
And since he wanted to really be a ballad singer or member of a gospel group, this made him unhappy after a while, especially as he also wanted to be a serious actor and became a travelogue-silly-songs-actor.

Re: Sams lost crooner

Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:24 pm

Winston wrote:There is one thing I don’t like Sam Phillips for. Elvis comes in the Studio with a big set list of famous ballads from The Ink Spots, Dean Martin and others. But Sam was searching for other things and was not impressed from the crooner Elvis. For me this was a big mistake. Elvis never want to be a »King of Rock’n’Roll«. He like and wish to sing ballads. Sadly, old Sam gives him no chance and so Elvis recorded the songs that the listener want to hear and pay for. That makes the money!


So you're upset that Sam helped launch the career of one of the greatest entertainers in show business?? And you are way off the mark about his apparent distain for rock music... have you seen any of his television performances from 1956-57?? I'm sure Elvis' career would have sky-rocketed covering hits from his favorite crooners... :facep:

Winston wrote:There are ballads after ballads, suggests that, left to his own devices, he might have been a much lower-energy performer.

And that's a good thing?? I think you'd better switch to the Pat Boone or Perry Como forum... :lol:

Re: Sams lost crooner

Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:50 pm

promiseland wrote: ... So was "My Way" really "His Way"? ...

I have not written that. In my post stands ...with a few famous examples! Maybe I must write exceptions. :smt017

Re: Sams lost crooner

Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:01 pm

zolderopruiming1 wrote: ... Yes. And since he wanted to really be a ballad singer or member of a gospel group, this made him unhappy after a while ...

Thank You! Some people don't realize that "The King of Rock'n'Roll" has to sing some stuff to become famous that he don't really like. I don't say that Elvis have no fun to be a rocker. But he says that he sing this kind as long as they buy it. He says not that he sing it because that is the music he loves.

Re: Sams lost crooner

Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:32 pm

elvis-fan wrote: ... So you're upset that Sam helped launch the career ... have you seen any of his television performances ... I think you'd better switch to the Pat Boone or Perry Como forum ...

You misunderstood me. I'am not upset that Sam helped Elvis. Why should I? But singles have two sides, right? And tell me that Blue Moon is bad. It where a wonderful B-side and shows Elvis that there is respect for his wishes. And ask me if I have seen the TV-performances is surely not your earnestness. :facep:

I think I don't switch. It is really cool here. :smt006

Off Topic: Are you the publisher of the wonderful Mystery-Train Blog?

Re: Sams lost crooner

Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:22 am

But what about the opening quotation? He said he'd rather hear someone ELSE sing a ballad. He didn't say he didn't like to listen to rock and roll/R&B. Because he did. His record collection shows that, other comments. Of all the Beatles'songs by summer of '69, he was informally singing "I Saw Her Standing There." Not "Eleanor Rigby."

He liked ALL kinds of music, pretty much equally, it seemed. And I do think "Blue Moon" should have been a "B" side, and "Tomorrow Night," but Sam wanted jukebox country instead for the flip sides.

So, he was not a mere crooner by any means. Did you you ever think those earliest ballads, from July 5, were intended to PLEASE Sam? He'd had recent success with the Prisonaires, and he was originally called down to sing a ballad. I think he wanted to please Mr. Phillips, with whatever he thought he wanted.
When it didn't work, and he knew it, he started in on a song he'd been rehearsing with Johnny Black on the lawn if the Courts. If he didn't like that kind of music, explain that. Are you aware of this?

rjm

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Re: Sams lost crooner

Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:03 am

Winston wrote:There is one thing I don’t like Sam Phillips for...

Winston, there's no need to dislike Sam for his choices.

It's very possible that RCA also wouldn't have been interested in Elvis as a "crooner". His career wouldn't have taken off as it did if Sam had gone the ballad route with him.

Elvis recorded plenty of ballads from 1956 to 1977 to make up for Sam's "missed opportunity"! :wink:

Re: Sams lost crooner

Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:32 am

Also, Elvis may have been singing the type of songs that he thought Sam would like and would give him
the chance to be a recording artist.

And think about this.

Sam didn't bring up "That's all right mama", Elvis did.

Elvis already knew the song as he "liked all kinds".

Re: Sams lost crooner

Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:59 am

ekenee wrote: Sam didn't bring up "That's all right mama", Elvis did.

True, but after that (and "Blue Moon of Kentucky") Sam had a taste of what Elvis was capable of.

Re: Sams lost crooner

Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:51 am

rjm wrote: ... He didn't say he didn't like to listen to rock and roll/R&B. Because he did. His record collection shows that ...

Yes, I know that Elvis liked and listen to all kinds of music. But he started in the studio with Harbor Lights and I Love You Because. Sam said that Elvis gives all he can on the ballads and that he could not say to Elvis that he don't like it.

rjm wrote: ... And I do think "Blue Moon" should have been a "B" side, and "Tomorrow Night," but Sam wanted jukebox country instead for the flip sides ...

That is the reason for my thread. I think Elvis did a great job on this songs and there is no chance for a release of his work because the Producer don't like them. IMO it is first of all Elvis' music. So he gives up and do what the others want from him. That is something I don't understand.

rjm wrote: ... Did you ever think those earliest ballads, from July 5, were intended to PLEASE Sam? ... I think he wanted to please Mr. Phillips ...

You are right! And there is the point I talking about: He makes the music Sam wanted to release and not the music he wanted to record. That is something I thinking about these days.

Re: Sams lost crooner

Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:05 am

And, what finally pleased Mr. Phillips on that hot July night, was hearing the boy relax and sing something he really felt comfortable with! Elvis had already rehearsed "That's All Right (Mama)" but he wouldn't sing it in that studio. When there was nothing left to lose, he cut loose. Phillips later said it was "like peeling an onion," trying to remove the self-doubt in a performer, without directly telling him anything.

The other ballads were cut later, and are very unusual.

I have heard "That's All Right (Mama)" for around 37, 38 years, I dunno, and Elvis IS singing just what he wants to sing! It is the sound of pure, leaping joy. It's all him.

This doesn't mean he didn't also like ballads and so much other music; of course he did. But he was no one's puppet on that first commercial record. It was straight from the heart: his heart. That's all Sam wanted. Heart is something he could sell, because people weren't going to buy "Harbor Lights." Why not? Because it didn't sound authentic; it was just an amateur trying to find something he thought the producer wanted. When all he wanted was for him to just relax and be himself.

rjm

Re: Sams lost crooner

Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:25 am

Winston wrote:Sadly, old Sam gives him no chance and so Elvis recorded the songs that the listener want to hear and pay for. That makes the money!


It wasn't necessarily so.

1. Actually Phillips didn't make any money - not until he sold Elvis to RCA.
2. Elvis recorded a few ballads at Sun, but he wasn't really convincing as a ballad singer yet (and Phillips knew it).
Last edited by BlueGuitar on Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Sams lost crooner

Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:50 pm

promiseland wrote:
Winston wrote: However, with a few famous examples he never touches the catalogue from Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra

So was "My Way" really "His Way"? :smt017

One not-so-famous example is Gentle On My Mind, Dean Martin's version of which was released in November 1968 on an album of the same name and as a single, two months before the Memphis session at which Elvis recorded it.

As will be well known to the older UK contributors to this forum (!), Dean Martin's single did very well in the UK, reaching No.2 in the UK charts in April 1969.

Re: Sams lost crooner

Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:18 am

rjm wrote: ... was hearing the boy relax and sing something he really felt comfortable with! ... It is the sound of pure, leaping joy. It's all him ... it was just an amateur trying to find something he thought the producer wanted. When all he wanted was for him to just relax and be himself ...

Thanks for that great post. I never thinking about it that way. Now I do!

Re: Sams lost crooner

Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:05 pm

Roy Orbison had the same faith on Sun Records, Phillips told him to do Uptempo and Rock & Roll as he wasn't selling ballads. Phillips was running a company made recordings for other labels as Chess, Modern, and other labels who was very big at the time. The teenage market was the aim for his own products. I agree that elvis was not a ballad singer at time with Sun. When listening to his first recording TWYHB wich in my ears is very amateurish and then the masterpiece recorded for Rca it maybe
can give you a clue what Phillips had to work with from the start considering ballads. The Do Wop genre was where the greatest ballad recordings came from, so Sam has no need to deliver another ballad singer, he was looking for something new, and Elvis had the thing Sam was looking for. What if Elvis just recorded I Love You Because backed with Blue Moon? If so, we wouldn't sit here discussing Elvis today. There was much better ballad singers at the 54,55 era than Elvis that is forgotten long time ago, and many one hit wonders from that time. Every person involved in Elvis career mathers, Sam Phillips, Scotty Moore Bill Black & D.J. Hal Wallis Parker the Television Companys to name a few making Elvis the greatest artist of all times.
So, Phillips choise is just on Little Peace in that history and it Went out great!

Re: Sams lost crooner

Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:18 pm

Winston wrote:
rjm wrote: ... was hearing the boy relax and sing something he really felt comfortable with! ... It is the sound of pure, leaping joy. It's all him ... it was just an amateur trying to find something he thought the producer wanted. When all he wanted was for him to just relax and be himself ...

Thanks for that great post. I never thinking about it that way. Now I do!


You are most welcome!

:D

rjm

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Re: Sams lost crooner

Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:43 pm

Winston wrote:
He do not was a sucker for show tunes unless a singer he admired had recorded them. That is the thing with Roy Hamilton and You'll Never Walk Alone. There are so many private recordings at home released after his passing. There are ballads after ballads, suggests that, left to his own devices, he might have been a much lower-energy performer.


That's not necessarily true, as a number of the songs he recorded at home were from shows, not least Make Believe, a song which suggests he knew more show material than we might have first thought. If people know a song from ShowBoat it is generally Old Man River, not this sentimental duet. He recorded If I Loved You on two occasions, True Love was from the film musical High Society, Be My Love was from the film musical Toast of New Orleans, Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha. While Blue Moon wasn't from a film or show, it was written for a film by two of America's most talented film/show composers of the 1930s, Rodgers and Hart. It should also be remembered that the "Without A Song" quote comes from the musical Great Day. It's likely that Elvis knew some of these songs through the recordings of someone like Mario Lanza, but that doesn't explain his knowledge of something like Make Believe. Yes, there was an MGM remake of ShowBoat in 1951, but would someone not interested in showtunes have gone out and bought a recording of it, especially when none of his idols were in the film.

Re: Sams lost crooner

Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:01 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
Winston wrote:
He do not was a sucker for show tunes unless a singer he admired had recorded them. That is the thing with Roy Hamilton and You'll Never Walk Alone. There are so many private recordings at home released after his passing. There are ballads after ballads, suggests that, left to his own devices, he might have been a much lower-energy performer.


That's not necessarily true, as a number of the songs he recorded at home were from shows, not least Make Believe, a song which suggests he knew more show material than we might have first thought. If people know a song from ShowBoat it is generally Old Man River, not this sentimental duet. He recorded If I Loved You on two occasions, True Love was from the film musical High Society, Be My Love was from the film musical Toast of New Orleans, Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha. While Blue Moon wasn't from a film or show, it was written for a film by two of America's most talented film/show composers of the 1930s, Rodgers and Hart. It should also be remembered that the "Without A Song" quote comes from the musical Great Day. It's likely that Elvis knew some of these songs through the recordings of someone like Mario Lanza, but that doesn't explain his knowledge of something like Make Believe. Yes, there was an MGM remake of ShowBoat in 1951, but would someone not interested in showtunes have gone out and bought a recording of it, especially when none of his idols were in the film.


Some of his movie songs were sure reminiscent of show tunes!