All posts with more than 3000 Hits, prior to 2008

Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:38 am

As far as being committed, I think the times when he didn't show commitment are in the minority. Listen to Gi Blues who else could have given so much to those songs?


Agreed.

I agree King on the promotion. Another good example is the fact that RCA slapped together a soundtrack for every pedestrian soundtrack Elvis made. Yet dropped the ball when they had one Viva Las Vegas that contained much interesting music.


Amen.

I'll add to the list of strong movie songs "Puppet On A String", "Today, Tomorrow and Forever" (Duet), "You're The Boss", "Clean Up Your Own Back Yard" (don't know if that really counts) to name a few. I was hoping that the DSD "movies" release by BMG would be an attempt to present a positive compilation of movie tracks rather than just all the title themes.

Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:04 am

Just for fun I came up with a quick tracklist BMG could've used for the movies disc- focusing solely on Elvis's 60's movie output that I feel could cast the movie era in a positive light and would've been stronger than the title song collection they released:

Doin' The Best I Can
Pocketful Of Rainbows
In My Way
Can't Help Falling In Love
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Bossa Nova Baby
C'mon Everybody
If You Think I Don't Need You
You're The Boss
Today, Tomorrow and Forever (Duet)
Little Egypt
Puppet On A String
Am I Ready
The Girl I Never Loved
You Don't Know Me
Suppose
Let Yourself Go
A Little Less Conversation
Clean Up Your Own Back Yard
Swing Down Sweet Chariot (Trouble With Girls version)

Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:19 am

I tend to agree with you King, here's my list:
1. We’re Gonna Move
2. Mean Woman Blues
3. Baby, I Don’t Care
4. New Orleans
5. Shoppin’ Around
6. Flaming Star
7. I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell
8. Beach Boy Blues
9. Plantation Rock
10. I Got Lucky
11. What A Wonderful Life
12. Relax
13. I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here
14. C’mon Everybody
15. Little Egypt
16. Tender Feeling
17. Do Not Disturb
18. So Close, Yet So Far
19. Hard Luck (DF mix)
20. This Is My Heaven
21. I’ll Be Back
22. City By Night
23. You Gotta Stop
24. Stay Away
25. Egde Of Reality
26. Let Yourself Go
27. Clean Up Your Own Back Yard
28. Charro
29. Change Of Habit

Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:12 am

Good discussion, guys.

But I don't think the thread should be reduced to just focusing on movie songs (as it appears to be heading). Moreover, as per my original comment, 50's movie songs aren't really in dispute. EP and the people around him were firing on all cylinders back then. I think it's the 60's songs where we need to filter (and I don't think anyone would disagree with that). I don't think you're being as scrupulous as I suggested. For example, while "Pocketful Of Rainbows" is well arranged and sung, I don't think it really compares with the best album cuts, whereas something like "Return To Sender" or "All I Needed Was The Rain" just might; rather, for sake of acknowledgement, "Pocketful Of Rainbows" falls into that next category I alluded to (in essence, good or very good, but not great).

I'm not sure if that sounds too harsh, especially as I rather enjoy most of his movie songs, including the entire "G.I. Blues" soundtrack, and I think I'd put a lot of those songs on a "best cuts" movie collection, if the quota averaged out to 2-3 songs a movie, BUT .... if it only averaged out to one song, then it would have to be "Doin' The Best I Can". Perhaps a more potent example is "King Of The Whole Wide World". When you hear how long and hard Elvis worked on it, and the ensuing transformation it went through, you realise he did bring it up to non-movie-album level -- and that's really something. It's exactly the kind of cut I was talking about. Even nice cuts like "C'mon Everybody" or "Little Egypt" sound more like show tunes, unfortunately. What are the truly great movie songs -- so great that, if we didn't realise they were made for feature films, could actually believe resided on real studio albums? That's all I was after.

LTB ... you're also correct in that Elvis cut a staggering amount of material. But given his talent and thirst for new things (watch the Sullivan shows; I think he was tiring of "Hound Dog" even then, as an example of his restlessness), I think he could have gone on and done even more. The lack of a blues album is an example. He did gospel and country albums, but left off the third pillar of rock 'n roll. I'm not trying to sound ungrateful -- I, like you, believe it's a great catalogue -- but there are examples and gaps to consider. It seems that as great as Elvis was, he could have been greater. I have to say that as much as I defended EP, I also agree -- to some extent. The cohesion wasn't always there. And the lack of a blues album is a good example, for Elvis was at least onto something at Stax, and then abandoned it half way through. I guess you can take a half empty/half full approach to his career, including that example: on the one hand, he stopped halfway through, but on the other, at least it shows he was consciously working towards something. I'm not sure I'm putting this across too well. We'll see.

I wasn't contesting what you wrote, I was simply trying to augment it. It would be fantastic to have a book that properly delves into this legacy. As great as "A Life In Music" is, I don't think it really digs down and deep into the various strands of EP's musical tapestry. In fact, that's what I'd like to see explored in and of itself -- the metaphor of EP's entire catalogue being a tapestry. This is where, for example, I feel the "Essential 70's Masters" boxset was a failure; because of the decision to present the singles, and then assorted masters (edited down; another issue entirely), that thing vital to understanding Elvis was lost -- chronology. Consciously or otherwise, and a bit like, say, Stanley Kubrick and his films, I think Elvis was weaving something big. Every strand is another side to his personality; a clump of neurones or piece of his soul, if you like. His entire legacy really needs further analysis. It would be exhausting, but I feel someone really needs to plumb the entire thing and cite all the influences, naming each influence in every song, and then comparing and contrasting them with the greater whole. We've barely scratched the surface.

Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:00 pm

Consciously or otherwise, and a bit like, say, Stanley Kubrick and his films, I think Elvis was weaving something big.


Absolutely agreed. Taking in the Presley canon chronologically gives you a much better perspective on the evolution of his style, even up to th every end. I prefer to listen to Elvis's material for this reason by session rather than album. Just listen to the last three 70s sessions Stax/6363/Jungle Room and you can hear how each has a different sonic landscape than the last. Songs like "Way Down" and "For The Heart", combining their crazy -but cool- sounds with an early rock n' roll/boogie woogie rhythm section really make you wonder where Elvis would have gone next had he lived.

Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:19 pm

Also cryo,
while agree with you that "Pocketful of Rainbows" and "Little Egypt" don't sound up to the par of Elvis's non-soundtrack recordings, I would argue the same of "All I Needed Was The Rain" and "King Of The Whole Wide World", while the arrangement and performance might be dazzling, the lyrics of both are just insipid and keep either of them from being non-soundtrack quality, although I enjoy both. At the end of the day, I think we have to accept some of Elvis GREAT movie songs as really good showtunes. I mean looking at it from a solely technical standpoint- the recording quality of the Radio Recorders masters is FAR below the quality Studio 'B' stuff from the same time period, so we can't hold the movie masters to quite the same standard.

I do however feel that this is one area of the Elvis catalogue that BMG should try to salvage from a PR standpoint- and the DSD 'movies' release was a missed opportunity.

Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:23 pm

KingOfTheJungle wrote:
Consciously or otherwise, and a bit like, say, Stanley Kubrick and his films, I think Elvis was weaving something big.


Absolutely agreed. Taking in the Presley canon chronologically gives you a much better perspective on the evolution of his style, even up to th every end. I prefer to listen to Elvis's material for this reason by session rather than album.


Me, too! In fact, I tend to regard Elvis' legacy in terms of sessions, not albums. There's a specific mood and feel inherent to each one.

KingOfTheJungle wrote:Just listen to the last three 70s sessions Stax/6363/Jungle Room and you can hear how each has a different sonic landscape than the last. Songs like "Way Down" and "For The Heart", combining their crazy -but cool- sounds with an early rock n' roll/boogie woogie rhythm section really make you wonder where Elvis would have gone next had he lived.


It's interesting how many studios Elvis covered in the 70's, isn't it? Like I said, there's actually a kind of disco feel to "Moody Blue" and "Way Down" -- they're kind of funky, danceable. And I guess "For The Heart" sort of qualifies, too. And we must also remember the unfinished "Fire Down Below". This would have made a quartet of buzzier numbers for 1976. I'm sure, as I think B.B King said, if Elvis had lived, there would have been no end to his inventiveness.

KingOfTheJungle wrote:Also cryo,
while agree with you that "Pocketful of Rainbows" and "Little Egypt" don't sound up to the par of Elvis's non-soundtrack recordings, I would argue the same of "All I Needed Was The Rain" and "King Of The Whole Wide World", while the arrangement and performance might be dazzling, the lyrics of both are just insipid and keep either of them from being non-soundtrack quality, although I enjoy both. At the end of the day, I think we have to accept some of Elvis GREAT movie songs as really good showtunes. I mean looking at it from a solely technical standpoint- the recording quality of the Radio Recorders masters is FAR below the quality Studio 'B' stuff from the same time period, so we can't hold the movie masters to quite the same standard.


Way to shatter my dreams. :cry:

Actually, you raised some very good points.

I hadn't really considered the difference in studios before, but you're right. The Nashville B stuff generally has a thicker, creamier, deeper, fuller, more resonant sound to it. The movie soundtracks sound much brighter and flatter (though maybe proper remastering can turn things around). Those blinkin' soundtracks were definitely made on the cheap. :evil:

And I suppose we have to be truthful and maybe assert what you just did: that none of the numbers can quite stand up to his studio work, even if songs like "Viva Las Vegas" and "Return To Sender" are infinitely more listenable than the likes of "The Girl Of My Best Friend" and "Soldier Boy" (to me). That said ... maybe I just have a strange hard-on for this song, but I feel that "All I Needed Was The Rain" has a great melody and great lyrics. It's very unusual and like nothing else in his catalogue. It could almost call for a new album of folk blues all by itself. And as far as the aforementioned "Viva Las Vegas" and "Return To Sender" go, they're so well done and so brimming with life that most people tend to regard them as veritable classics in their own right, so maybe they actually are.

Always with Elvis ... lots to discuss.

Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:43 am

Juan Luis wrote:Pat Boone could not sing the blues even if he was faced with a firing squad(imo). That is my point. Feeling. On another matter, Elvis loved Mexican music, but like a lot of people at the time was confused with the different types of latin music. Bossa Nova Baby should not have mexican horns(and Mariachi) and neither should Italian(latin) adding mexican horns to It's Now Or Never in the 70's. Not a fusion but a disfusion if that word even exists.



Juan, surely that "disfusion" was what Elvis' music was all about.

Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:48 am

stuart wrote:
Juan Luis wrote:Pat Boone could not sing the blues even if he was faced with a firing squad(imo). That is my point. Feeling. On another matter, Elvis loved Mexican music, but like a lot of people at the time was confused with the different types of latin music. Bossa Nova Baby should not have mexican horns(and Mariachi) and neither should Italian(latin) adding mexican horns to It's Now Or Never in the 70's. Not a fusion but a disfusion if that word even exists.



Juan, surely that "disfusion" was what Elvis' music was all about.


That line could start an entire thesis.

Juan could be right -- but he might also be looking at it too simply.

What do I mean? Look at language. It is always in motion; its nature is defined by its use. And that use happens to involve mistakes; mistakes that can and sometimes do eventually morph into new truths. A lot like biological evolution, in fact...

So, even though Elvis may have gotten things wrong in places, he and others were also inadvertently creating entirely new sub-genres, even if they are bastardisations of more common genres that they were trying to ape / fit into.

Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:13 am

Nice thread hope it keeps rollin.
Cryogenic mentioned the Soft Jazz/Lounge Music that Elvis was so great at doing. Its an often overlooked area of his work. Although there is Jazz radio in the UK, Elvis never seems to get any airplay let alone credit for doing what most respected artists in that field can do only half as well.

There are probably enough Jazz flavoured tracks in the Elvis catalogue to form a new "genre defining album" for him.

Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:56 am

stuart wrote:Nice thread hope it keeps rollin.


It seems to have rejuvenated itself quite well.

stuart wrote:Cryogenic mentioned the Soft Jazz/Lounge Music that Elvis was so great at doing. Its an often overlooked area of his work. Although there is Jazz radio in the UK, Elvis never seems to get any airplay let alone credit for doing what most respected artists in that field can do only half as well.


"The Jazz"? I've listened to that before. Cool station. I guess there might be others. I never heard any Elvis songs played on it.

Although I don't regard Elvis as a great jazz singer ....... he definitely had something going for him in that area. I do think he is more or less the equal and / or superior of some people working in that field today, but that might be more a reflection on where music resides today. (Not to denigrate EP's talents in this or any other area). It would be nice if he was spotlighted in the future. He just had a natural affluency and aptitude for so much music.

stuart wrote:There are probably enough Jazz flavoured tracks in the Elvis catalogue to form a new "genre defining album" for him.


I don't doubt this for a second. Elvis himself was also immensely proud (according to sources) of at least one track that might be considered somewhat jazzy: "There's Always Me". And he was proud of it for the same reason that it would catch first-time listeners by surprise -- that dazzling end hook. That's not jazzy, bluesy, operatic ... or any other term I can think of. It's unique. Really, even as you try to box Elvis into certain places, there always turns out to be more diversity than first imagined.

Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:54 am

Just catching up on threads from the last few weeks. For a second there, Cryo, I thought you were posting repeatedly to yourself. I guess it's "goodbye" again to Promocollector... :D

Cryogenic wrote:It would be fantastic to have a book that properly delves into this legacy. As great as "A Life In Music" is, I don't think it really digs down and deep into the various strands of EP's musical tapestry. In fact, that's what I'd like to see explored in and of itself -- the metaphor of EP's entire catalogue being a tapestry. This is where, for example, I feel the "Essential 70's Masters" boxset was a failure; because of the decision to present the singles, and then assorted masters (edited down; another issue entirely), that thing vital to understanding Elvis was lost -- chronology. Consciously or otherwise, and a bit like, say, Stanley Kubrick and his films, I think Elvis was weaving something big.

Every strand is another side to his personality; a clump of neurones or piece of his soul, if you like. His entire legacy really needs further analysis. It would be exhausting, but I feel someone really needs to plumb the entire thing and cite all the influences, naming each influence in every song, and then comparing and contrasting them with the greater whole. We've barely scratched the surface.


Although I generally champion the '70s box as a well-crafted (if imperfect) critical and commercial success, I otherwise agree with your approach here. You seem to recognize that Elvis' greatness surfaces in songs others are ready to assume are "bad." There is so much sifting to do, and also, the "long shadows" cast by the more famous giant hits that have a way of making it harder to see (or remember) less-known tracks...

I do think we are getting to the area you are talking about, where each song is analyzed and remembered on its own. I'm reading a book from a few years back called "Untold Gold: The Story Behind Elvis' #1 Hits" ( by Ace Collins) that tells the story of each hit single, and then I have Patrick Humphries' "Elvis: the #1 Hits, the Secret History of the Classics." I'm awaiting my copy of "Writing For the King" by Ken Sharp, which also is "song-centric" and an acknowledged triumph from most accounts. Paul SImpson's "Rough Guide To Elvis" has sections throughout that attempts to focus on selected songs in new ways and new lights.

But a book along the lines of the observations of Likethebike's thoughts that begin this thread would be welcome. Now that the stories of the bigger songs are being told, I'd like to see more appreciation of his entire body of work eventually, in the way that you describe so well. I think the casual reader and music fan in general might be surprised to learn that the familiar narrative of Elvis rise, decline, rise and ultimate fall does not always hold on a song by song analysis.
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:56 am

Cryogenic wrote:
stuart wrote:
Juan Luis wrote:Pat Boone could not sing the blues even if he was faced with a firing squad(imo). That is my point. Feeling. On another matter, Elvis loved Mexican music, but like a lot of people at the time was confused with the different types of latin music. Bossa Nova Baby should not have mexican horns(and Mariachi) and neither should Italian(latin) adding mexican horns to It's Now Or Never in the 70's. Not a fusion but a disfusion if that word even exists.



Juan, surely that "disfusion" was what Elvis' music was all about.


That line could start an entire thesis.

Juan could be right -- but he might also be looking at it too simply.

What do I mean? Look at language. It is always in motion; its nature is defined by its use. And that use happens to involve mistakes; mistakes that can and sometimes do eventually morph into new truths. A lot like biological evolution, in fact...

So, even though Elvis may have gotten things wrong in places, he and others were also inadvertently creating entirely new sub-genres, even if they are bastardisations of more common genres that they were trying to ape / fit into.
The simpler the better. Elvis fused the music he could sing and feel and when the Sun period arrived in his life it became second nature cause he probably fooled around quite a bit with what he only thought as "speeding things up". Anyways Elvis was not a dummy. The dummies were those that studied music back then and did all that crap back then. What is not simple is to think that you can mix up whatever you fancy and come up with something good. we have seen it here when people make song lists. Its not definable like 2+2+4. No..2+2=5!! :lol: Back in the 80s remember Jazz fusion? crappola lol!!IMO :)

Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:40 am

Juan Luis wrote: What is not simple is to think that you can mix up whatever you fancy and come up with something good. we have seen it here when people make song lists. Its not definable like 2+2+4. No..2+2=5!! :lol: Back in the 80s remember Jazz fusion? crappola lol!!IMO :)



Juan, did not Elvis repeatedly break every rule about genre boundaries, from 1954 onward? He thought you could "mix up whatever you fancy and come up with something good..." Dig deeper into his song catalog and the eclectisim only continues...

Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:55 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
Juan, did not Elvis repeatedly break every rule about genre boundaries, from 1954 onward? He thought you could "mix up whatever you fancy and come up with something good..." Dig deeper into his song catalog and the eclectisim only continues...


Agreed, just listen to "Elvis Is Back", a complete mix of genres and some of the songs you really couldn't place into any particular genre.