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Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:16 pm

I meant that anything post-72, it becomes difficult for me to listen to a full show all the way through (there are a few exceptions, naturally). So, for the most part, the number of songs I skip over is far larger than the number of songs I actually want to listen to.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:04 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
joekro1977 wrote:I'm sure we all have songs that don't quite do it for us, for whatever reason.

The songs that I hit the skip button for:

1) Polk Salad Annie - I don't know if I just don't dig the funky vibe of this song, or the lyrics, or what, but it aggravates the hell out of me.

2) Fever - Too much nonsense going on in most of the performances of this song for me. Can't get through a single performance, even Aloha.

(Dis)Honorable Mention

3) If You Love Me Let Me Know (will listen to this one about half the time)
4) Hurt (some performances were great, some not so much)


Your choices seem a bit arbitrary.

"Fever" is a top-shelf song, and Presley's 1960 studio master perfection. But he does not give it the respect it deserves when played on stage in the 1970s. The beautifully syncopated LP arrangement is pared down, and even the no-nonsense versions we know about (before he began to throw in the "jokes") usually skip the bridge, which is a highlight.

The winter and summer 1970 performances of Tony Joe White's marvelous "Polk Salad Annie" are acclaimed as sexy, showstopping experiences. After that, it unfortunately turns into yet another amped-up, treadmill exercise.

In essence, songs I "wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live" from 1969 to 1977 would be:

- any number where he didn't care about
- most (but not all) the "contemporary" covers

Elvis had one of the richest catalogs in rock history, yet he shunned most of it for the entire time he graced the stage in his later career. Only in 1969 and early 1970 did the focus remain on his music, old and new. That should have never changed.

I could list out fifty Elvis Presley hits or album tracks, done with care, that would have brought fans to tears. Imagine seeing this kind of performance, what a thrill it might have been.


The emboldened section is actually untrue. If we pick post-1970 concerts out at random, we find that the vast majority songs are those which he had previously recorded in a studio setting.

Random example, from April 27, 1976:

C. C. Rider / I Got A Woman - amen / Love Me / If You Love Me Let Me Know / You Gave Me A Mountain / Tryin To Get To You / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / Heartbreak Hotel / America / Polk Salad Annie / Band Introductions / Hurt / Hound Dog / Help Me / How Great Thou Art / Little Darlin' / It's Now Or Never / Funny How Time Slips Away / Can't Help Falling In Love

The songs in bold were either past or present hits. That's 11 songs out the 20 performed. Add to that C C Rider, You Gave Me A Mountain and Polk Salad Annie, all of which were associated with Elvis by this point, although they had not been hits for him in the USA. Add to that Help Me (a B-side), Funny How Time Slips Away (album track) and How Great Thou Art, the title number of a Grammy-award winning album, and you have a show where 17 out of the 20 tracks have strong Elvis associations. That's 3 songs without Elvis associations, that's the same amount as performed in some of the 1969 shows (Runaway, Johnny B Goode, Yesterday and Hey Jude were performed in most shows but did not have Elvis associations at that time)

Another random show, June 2, 1975:

See See Rider / I Got A Woman / Love Me / If You Love Me / Love Me Tender / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog / The Wonder Of You / Burning Love / Bridge Over Troubled Water / T-R-O-U-B-L-E / I'll Remember You / Let Me Be There / An American Trilogy / Funny How Time Slips Away / Little Darling / Mystery Train - Tiger Man / Can't Help Falling In Love

This time I've emboldened all songs with a strong presley association as outlined in the previous example. Only two songs, If You Love Me and Little Darlin', were not part of Presley's "catalogue" at that point.

Yes, we can bemoan how badly some of those songs were sung, but Elvis nearly always drew on his own back catalogue for his repertoire (perhaps the exception to this was the addition of a number of new songs in January 1972, and the ultimately-aborted August 1974 revamp of the show). Considering most attending the shows were "deep" or casual fans, most would have known even the non-hit songs he included from his back catalogue.
Last edited by poormadpeter on Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:07 pm

"Vast majority"? Do you know what those words mean?

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:11 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:"Vast majority"? Do you know what those words mean?


I would say 17 out of 20 is a vast majority, wouldn't you? Check out the Jan/Feb season in 1970, and see if there are more or less non-Elvis-related songs in each performance...

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:16 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:"Vast majority"? Do you know what those words mean?


I would say 17 out of 20 is a vast majority, wouldn't you?


I would say you miss the finer details of my post.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:29 pm

I'd suggest the contempoary covers brought something amazing to Elvis's show in 1970. Elvis putting his own twist on other peoples songs was something he'd always done from the very first time he walked in to Sun records. When we talk about Elvis' music - a unique twist on a known song was often at the heart of that.

I'm delighted to have known Elvis versions of Bridge Over Troubled Water, CC, Rider, Polk Salad Annie, Let It Be Me, I Just Can't Help Believin, Proud Mary, Walk A Mile In My Shoes, Sweet Caroline etc - all of which were added to the show in 1970 when he was perhaps most committed to his show, and the material. I'm glad he didn't just stick to the tried and tested oldies that he relied on so heavily in 1969.

As for a couple of songs I wish he'd never bothered with live - Baby What Do You Want Me To Do never worked in Vegas, and for me, the same is true of My Babe. Having Elvis just shout "oh my my baby, oh my my babe", and " she dont', she don't do nothin...." over an over again isn't something I've ever cared for. I'd agree with those who say Until Its Time For You To Go - never cared for either the studio, or live versions, and I'd maybe through in It's Impossible too. Beautifully sung by Elvis, but a terribly MOR song.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:52 pm

DarrylMac wrote:I'd suggest the contempoary covers brought something amazing to Elvis's show in 1970. Elvis putting his own twist on other peoples songs was something he'd always done from the very first time he walked in to Sun records. When we talk about Elvis' music - a unique twist on a known song was often at the heart of that.

I'm delighted to have known Elvis versions of Bridge Over Troubled Water, CC, Rider, Polk Salad Annie, Let It Be Me, I Just Can't Help Believin, Proud Mary, Walk A Mile In My Shoes, Sweet Caroline etc - all of which were added to the show in 1970 when he was perhaps most committed to his show, and the material. I'm glad he didn't just stick to the tried and tested oldies that he relied on so heavily in 1969.

As for a couple of songs I wish he'd never bothered with live - Baby What Do You Want Me To Do never worked in Vegas, and for me, the same is true of My Babe. Having Elvis just shout "oh my my baby, oh my my babe", and " she dont', she don't do nothin...." over an over again isn't something I've ever cared for. I'd agree with those who say Until Its Time For You To Go - never cared for either the studio, or live versions, and I'd maybe through in It's Impossible too. Beautifully sung by Elvis, but a terribly MOR song.


I'd agree with It's Impossible - even speaking as someone who often stands up for the MOR material, it's an awful, repetitive song that goes nowhere first and seemingly has no shape (there's no climax, no chorus etc). I think the live versions of I'm Leavin' were generally completely bereft of the grace and beauty of the studio recording, too, and would have been better not performed in a live setting unless Elvis could fully commit to it.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:57 pm

Justin wrote:I meant that anything post-72, it becomes difficult for me to listen to a full show all the way through (there are a few exceptions, naturally). So, for the most part, the number of songs I skip over is far larger than the number of songs I actually want to listen to.


Ah, I see. What about pre-1972?

For example, Little Walter's "My Babe," a fiery nod to his love of '50s R&B, is one of many standouts in the 1969 sets. His performances of the 4 American Sound singles, heard in shows between July 1969 and March 1970, are superb. His rundowns of "Tiger Man" in the summer of 1970 are perfect examples of classic rock 'n' roll in the present day.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:03 am

Looking through the list of songs there's not much there I can remember actively disliking upon hearing it for the first few times apart from It's Impossible. But there are plenty of songs which just do not bear repeated listens for me and these are the main culprits.

Love Me Tender
Suspicious Minds (after circa 1971)
I got a woman (circa after 1972)
Fever
Hail Hail rock & roll

One song I wish he had done himself is Walk With Me. I know a lot of you don't care for Sherrill's voice but I've always liked this song and reckon Elvis could have turned in a belter of a performance on this.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:14 am

Polk Salad Annie?! That's my favorite!! One song I hated was the late 70's is Hound Dog! He never sings it all the way through. It bugs the Hell out of me!!

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:27 am

How about these for starters:

If You Love Me (Let Me Know)
Amen/Dive-Bomb
Let Me Be There
The Wonder Of You
Little Darlin'
Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel [during the '70s]
Jailhouse Rock [during the '70s]
Hound Dog [during the '70s]
My Boy
It's Midnight
Suspicious Minds [post 1970]

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:42 am

I'd go with :"The Wonder of You" and "Love Letters." I think "I Really Don't Want to Know" was a much better song for the spot in the show than Love Letters.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:49 am

Elvis had one of the richest catalogs in rock history, yet he shunned most of it for the entire time he graced the stage in his later career. Only in 1969 and early 1970 did the focus remain on his music, old and new. That should have never changed.


For example, Little Walter's "My Babe," a fiery nod to his love of '50s R&B, is one of many standouts in the 1969 sets.


Are those two statements not a little contradictory. On one hand, you're suggesting he should have focussed more on his own music, as he did in 69/70, then you're saying one of the show highlights was a cover of material he hadn't recorded?

Both in the studio, and on stage, often his best performances were his own interpretations of others songs. I don't see much wrong with that. Would I love to have heard a live version of Suspicion, or Maries The Name - absolutely, but not at the expense of some of the fantastic covers I mentioned earlier.

On Stage, an album of covers,remains one of my very favourites.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:03 am

DarrylMac wrote:
Elvis had one of the richest catalogs in rock history, yet he shunned most of it for the entire time he graced the stage in his later career. Only in 1969 and early 1970 did the focus remain on his music, old and new. That should have never changed.


For example, Little Walter's "My Babe," a fiery nod to his love of '50s R&B, is one of many standouts in the 1969 sets.


Are those two statements not a little contradictory. On one hand, you're suggesting he should have focussed more on his own music, as he did in 69/70, then you're saying one of the show highlights was a cover of material he hadn't recorded?

Both in the studio, and on stage, often his best performances were his own interpretations of others songs. I don't see much wrong with that. Would I love to have heard a live version of Suspicion, or Maries The Name - absolutely, but not at the expense of some of the fantastic covers I mentioned earlier.

On Stage, an album of covers,remains one of my very favourites.


Agreed, and his set-list following the shake-up of his show in January 1972 is also one of the best he had - something for everybody, indeed (except It's Impossible). What the Doc is REALLY saying is that he disliked all covers that weren't rock - his prejudice in this area has come forth time and again, he just won't admit it!

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:56 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Your choices seem a bit arbitrary.



Not really - just the songs that I happen to hit the "Skip" button on my radio or iPod for the most.

I agree with you on the studio version of "Fever" - actually listened to that one this evening while listening to the first disc from the 60s box set. It's not silly or insincere. But the live versions are unbearable (for me at least.)

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:10 am

poormadpeter wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:I'd suggest the contempoary covers brought something amazing to Elvis's show in 1970. Elvis putting his own twist on other peoples songs was something he'd always done from the very first time he walked in to Sun records. When we talk about Elvis' music - a unique twist on a known song was often at the heart of that.

I'm delighted to have known Elvis versions of Bridge Over Troubled Water, CC, Rider, Polk Salad Annie, Let It Be Me, I Just Can't Help Believin, Proud Mary, Walk A Mile In My Shoes, Sweet Caroline etc - all of which were added to the show in 1970 when he was perhaps most committed to his show, and the material. I'm glad he didn't just stick to the tried and tested oldies that he relied on so heavily in 1969.

As for a couple of songs I wish he'd never bothered with live - Baby What Do You Want Me To Do never worked in Vegas, and for me, the same is true of My Babe. Having Elvis just shout "oh my my baby, oh my my babe", and " she dont', she don't do nothin...." over an over again isn't something I've ever cared for. I'd agree with those who say Until Its Time For You To Go - never cared for either the studio, or live versions, and I'd maybe through in It's Impossible too. Beautifully sung by Elvis, but a terribly MOR song.


I'd agree with It's Impossible - even speaking as someone who often stands up for the MOR material, it's an awful, repetitive song that goes nowhere first and seemingly has no shape (there's no climax, no chorus etc). I think the live versions of I'm Leavin' were generally completely bereft of the grace and beauty of the studio recording, too, and would have been better not performed in a live setting unless Elvis could fully commit to it.

No climax?

"And tomorrow should you ask me for the world, somehow I get it
I would sell my very soul and not regret it
For to live without your love
It's just impossible"

Now that's a climax here! :wink:

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:20 am

Why Me Lord?
Hurt
And I Love You So
Amen (I got A Woman alone would be so much better)
You Gave Me A Mountain after 73

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:22 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Justin wrote:I meant that anything post-72, it becomes difficult for me to listen to a full show all the way through (there are a few exceptions, naturally). So, for the most part, the number of songs I skip over is far larger than the number of songs I actually want to listen to.


Ah, I see. What about pre-1972?

For example, Little Walter's "My Babe," a fiery nod to his love of '50s R&B, is one of many standouts in the 1969 sets. His performances of the 4 American Sound singles, heard in shows between July 1969 and March 1970, are superb. His rundowns of "Tiger Man" in the summer of 1970 are perfect examples of classic rock 'n' roll in the present day.


Indeed. I can't play "My Babe" without repeating it a few times.

Pre-72, a few songs come to mind that I wish he didn't perform: "Let It Be Me", "The Impossible Dream" "Love Me Tender" "Baby What You Want Me To Do" (live '69 full band version never sat well with me).

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:29 am

Sweet Caroline
Yesterday
Bridge Over Troubled Water
The Next Step Is Love
Words

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:32 am

Interesting choices. Always thought Baby What Do You Want Me To Do in '69 and those '72 versions of Bridge always brought the house down (Greensboro) 8)

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:02 am

I do enjoy Baby What You Want Me To Do from '69 - it's '69 man! Not a patch on '68, but still....

One I forgot to mention earlier - Ameriga (sic).

Oh, and another - Softly As I Leave You.

Justin - I agree. Post-72, I rarely listen to a full show without making use of the skip button.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:25 am

Justin wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Justin wrote:I meant that anything post-72, it becomes difficult for me to listen to a full show all the way through (there are a few exceptions, naturally). So, for the most part, the number of songs I skip over is far larger than the number of songs I actually want to listen to.


Ah, I see. What about pre-1972?

For example, Little Walter's "My Babe," a fiery nod to his love of '50s R&B, is one of many standouts in the 1969 sets. His performances of the 4 American Sound singles, heard in shows between July 1969 and March 1970, are superb. His rundowns of "Tiger Man" in the summer of 1970 are perfect examples of classic rock 'n' roll in the present day.


Indeed. I can't play "My Babe" without repeating it a few times.

Pre-72, a few songs come to mind that I wish he didn't perform: "Let It Be Me", "The Impossible Dream" "Love Me Tender" "Baby What You Want Me To Do" (live '69 full band version never sat well with me).


While I enjoy The Impossible Dream (like it or loathe it, it's a showstopper), I totally agree with Let It Be Me - like It's Impossible, he sings it well but it's one hell of a dull song.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:48 am

Sub-theme of this thread is really "what songs you wish Elvis had sung like he cared about them?"

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:31 am

DarrylMac wrote:
Elvis had one of the richest catalogs in rock history, yet he shunned most of it for the entire time he graced the stage in his later career. Only in 1969 and early 1970 did the focus remain on his music, old and new. That should have never changed.


For example, Little Walter's "My Babe," a fiery nod to his love of '50s R&B, is one of many standouts in the 1969 sets.


Are those two statements not a little contradictory.


Is that a question? If it is, the answer is no.

It's all about aesthetic, and in 1969 and early 1970 Elvis understood the music he created that helped turn the world upside down. After that, he slowly turned his back on that view, somehow choosing to forget how crucial and valuable his own work really was. Part of this failure was the prevailing attitude in music then, where anything pre-British Invasion was generally seen as quaint by comparison, and part was due to his being immersed in the entertainment culture of Las Vegas, where value was seldom placed on artistry, or history.

So, during that return to the stage in '69, when Elvis surprised us with a full-tilt "My Babe," one of the biggest R&B hits of 1955, he was reminding us that this was a genre that he embraced and used to revolutionize the world, and his deep knowledge of those great Atlantic, Imperial, Specialty, Chess and Checker singles remained strong.

Conversely, when Elvis later covered mega-hits "Something" or "Bridge Over Troubled Water" he was trying to "prove" that he was a "mature" artist who recognized how much music had "changed," and how the '50s-'60s material was "kid stuff." Yesterday's news? Not him!

Hope this clears up your confusion.

Re: How about 2-5 songs you wish Elvis DIDN'T perform live

Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:11 am

londonflash wrote:I do enjoy Baby What You Want Me To Do from '69 - it's '69 man! Not a patch on '68, but still....

One I forgot to mention earlier - Ameriga (sic).

Oh, and another - Softly As I Leave You.

Justin - I agree. Post-72, I rarely listen to a full show without making use of the skip button.


Yeah I had a hard time putting "Baby What You Want Me To Do" on the list, Flash. I suppose the song works better on its own--without being compared to the Comeback version. That's always been what prevented me from enjoying this version which I know is unfair. The 69 performance is obviously not a disaster but I just don't agree with the arrangement...mainly the Sweets call/response vocal. But obviously, I'd take this song over much of the stuff he performed after '72!