All posts with more than 3000 Hits, prior to 2008

Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:23 pm

Again, why does everyone give Elvis a free pass? Parker didn't have Elvis tied up in a dungeon somewhere with a whip barking commands. Elvis never took a stand and demanded a tour of Europe. He could have. And when he brought it up and Parker tried to persuade him against it, Elvis could have told him he didn't care about the difficulties of staging the oversees shows and that he wanted it done. Elvis never did. Elvis also was not a complete fool. Parker made it seem so difficult, yet many other major entertainers were touring internationally and Elvis saw that. In the end, the blame has to go to both Parker and Elvis.

Elvis wasn't the only artist with a heavy-fisted and controlling manager in the 1970's. Look at what happened to Peter Frampton under the guidance of Dee Anthony. They made a lot of money, but Frampton ultimately lost all artistic credibility for a time. On the other hand, guys like Elliot Roberts, Howard Kaufman and Irving Azoff also had a lot of influence over their clients, but it is hard to imagine anyone telling Don Henley what to do. Would John Lennon take no for an answer?

And while Elvis obviously needed an intervention by 1977, there was no sign of that coming from anywhere. The train wreck was going to continue to derail. And with no real creative resurgence in sight, an oversees tour was the only logical next step option for a lifeless career. So there is a very good chance that Parker would have carted Elvis oversees for a series of very lucrative shows. Sadly, it was so late in the game; it may have caused further scrutiny. Fans would have loved it, but the press would have seen Elvis In Concert-type of shows and the reviews would have been poor.

There were better options than Sam Phillips as management replacements. Phillips was not a player in the business in the late-60s and 1970's. Elvis was a first class artist and he needed a first class manager. Certainly some fantastic options would have been available had Elvis actually looked into it right after his blow-out with Parker in 1973.

Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:37 pm

Ignore "Luuk" -- he's a Tom Parker apologist.

LesterB wrote:I think the fact that a 50s concert wasn't recorded is more than understandable (reasons covered in this thread) but is a terrible shame. ...

The May 6, 1956 Las Vegas concert is a professional, in-line recording, even if Elvis' management had nothing to do with it.

Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:41 pm

Elvis gets a break from me for two reasons. One is that I don't know how he was supposed to know these things. He deserves blame for not networking and finding this stuff but how was a person who has never been overseas in his life except in the army know how a foreign tour is mounted? The other reason is that the manager is there for the artist not vice versa. If an artist says, "I want this" a manager should try and make it happen.

Maybe Elvis should have canned Parker but it's a bit unreasonable for him to know all the show biz ins and outs without any kind of mentor especially in that less media savvy age.

For all that Parker does not deserve blame for this. As has been pointed out, in 1961 this did not seem a major event. Two years earlier, RCA had thrown of dozens of Elvis tapes out including some masters to save money on storage space. That's how important in the cultural long view he seemed in 1961.

Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:58 pm

Maybe Elvis should have canned Parker but it's a bit unreasonable for him to know all the show biz ins and outs without any kind of mentor especially in that less media savvy age.


LTB, we have discussed this one before. Elvis was somewhat of a reclusive figure (and there are many factors that contributed to that fact), so he didn't socialize with other entertainers or industry executives that could have educated him a bit on how the system worked. But, Elvis didn't need to know the ins and outs of all the intricate factors of the business. He knew other major artists were staging world-wide tours. He was aware of that. He didn't push Parker to make it happen. Artists make demands all the time, and they did back in the 1970's as well. There are many occassions where a manager doesn't want to proceed in a certain direction, but the Artist pressures them to make it work. Elvis didn't need to have any real understanding of the innerworkings of touring, he just needed to be persistent.

Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:49 pm

midnightx wrote:
Maybe Elvis should have canned Parker but it's a bit unreasonable for him to know all the show biz ins and outs without any kind of mentor especially in that less media savvy age.


LTB, we have discussed this one before. Elvis was somewhat of a reclusive figure (and there are many factors that contributed to that fact), so he didn't socialize with other entertainers or industry executives that could have educated him a bit on how the system worked. But, Elvis didn't need to know the ins and outs of all the intricate factors of the business. He knew other major artists were staging world-wide tours. He was aware of that. He didn't push Parker to make it happen. Artists make demands all the time, and they did back in the 1970's as well. There are many occassions where a manager doesn't want to proceed in a certain direction, but the Artist pressures them to make it work. Elvis didn't need to have any real understanding of the innerworkings of touring, he just needed to be persistent.


Where was Jerry Weintraub in all of this? He owned Concerts West, did he try to put together a tour overseas?

Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:38 am

Where was Jerry Weintraub in all of this? He owned Concerts West, did he try to put together a tour overseas?


Not without direction from Parker. A promoter will not route an entire tour and secure venue deals unless they are directed to.

That is also why the story that Parker contacted Peter Grant about overseeing European dates makes sense. Grant had booked many artists all over the world and especially Europe since the late-60's and most importantly he had taken care of touring powerhouse Led Zeppelin and their European bookings all throughout the 70's. He could have pulled it off. Grant had better working relationships with the promoters in Europe than Weintraub did.

It also shows that while Parker was out of touch in many ways, he still know who to contact for assistance with international dates.

Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:43 am

The X factor there was Elvis' level of fame was so much greater than any previous performers before him. What's more the Colonel could have used the problems the Beatles had on tour in '64-65, as ammunition as to why a world tour would be problematic. The Beatles went and people came out in droves but security was a big hassle. Anyway it's an odd decision by Parker since a foreign tour would have been extremely lucrative. Perhaps he was afraid Elvis' drug habit would have been exposed by foreign touring. (Even though a lot of that could have been bought off.)

I'm not saying Elvis shouldn't share in the blame but it's like 60-40 the Colonel. I definitely agree '77 wasn't the time. After the Aloha show whetted everyone's appetite would have been the moment to strike.

I think the one area where both Elvis and the Colonel deserve blame throughout Elvis' post-50s career is the fact that they didn't recognize that the industry had changed so radically. The sad irony is that Elvis ushered in many of those changes. When you think about it, establishing Elvis as a movie star made sense. It was what Sinatra did and what Crosby and others did and many long faded less talented performers like Rudy Vallee still worked as actors into the 1960s. What's more the movies where the money was at, the height of stardom. Yet what Elvis did and the Beatles solidified was to make the rock star the biggest star in the universe. They didn't recognize things had shifted. The publishing deal is the same thing. It made sense in the '50s but things changed and they didn't recognize it.

Wed Sep 27, 2006 1:08 am

The X factor there was Elvis' level of fame was so much greater than any previous performers before him. What's more the Colonel could have used the problems the Beatles had on tour in '64-65, as ammunition as to why a world tour would be problematic. The Beatles went and people came out in droves but security was a big hassle. Anyway it's an odd decision by Parker since a foreign tour would have been extremely lucrative. Perhaps he was afraid Elvis' drug habit would have been exposed by foreign touring. (Even though a lot of that could have been bought off.)


He was hugely famous, but in the 70's, touring was a much more evolved industry compared to the process The Beatles went through in 1964. Security was not as much of a legitimate issue that it once would have been. The models applied to the huge tours by Zeppelin, The Who, The Stones, Hendrix, Wings, and others certainly could have worked. Elvis' drug habit was with mostly prescription medication, those drugs could have been justified at customs. Other bands had much worse illegal drugs surrounding their tours and rarely did anything happen.

It is amazing that Parker waited until 1977 to even consider approaching the subject of international dates. Obviously, it was driven by money and the fact that he was considering having Rock's biggest manager handle it for him shows the desperation. EThe scale of Elvis' Madison Square Garden run would have been duplicated multiple times in many cities had he went to foreign countries. The touring and merchandising revenues would have been record-setting. Meanwhile, Parker had Elvis sell off his future royalties to RCA for a few million instead of collecting endless millions from international touring. No other compitent manager in the business would ever have allowed that to happen.

Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:56 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:The May 6, 1956 Las Vegas concert is a professional, in-line recording, even if Elvis' management had nothing to do with it.


Who authorized this recording and why? And how did Joan Deary acquire this tape (or acetate)? Thanks, Mike C

Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:30 am

Either way it's just perverse he didn't do it because the European and Japanese markets were so lucrative. What's more performers like the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison who hadn't hit the Top 40 in years could still pull in buckets of money by touring Europe. It's just strange. Maybe it was just something that seemed like you could do it tomorrow. That tomorrow never came because of Elvis' early death. Things can get put off. I think Bing Crosby went something like 33 years without a tour of any kind.

Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:43 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Ignore "Luuk" -- he's a Tom Parker apologist.

LesterB wrote:I think the fact that a 50s concert wasn't recorded is more than understandable (reasons covered in this thread) but is a terrible shame. ...

The May 6, 1956 Las Vegas concert is a professional, in-line recording, even if Elvis' management had nothing to do with it.


:D well ok. Although in Las Vegas they are known as shows and on the road known as Concerts. I was really thinking of a proper Elvis 50's concert with a proper Elvis audience not a Las Vegas audience.

Does that get me off the hook :lol:

Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:31 pm

Perhaps Colonel Parker saw what happened to Bill Haley concerts in Europe.
They had to run for their life when the crowd began to throw chairs and anything they could lay their hands on.
Or what happened during the first show of The Rolling Stones in Scheveningen where the venue was mobbed by the crowd.

Yes, The Everly Brothers did tour Europe at the time, 1964/1965. They were so popular, their stage was 1 meter high at the most and nobody tried to get on stage. Tickets were very cheap too! I paid more for my roll of film than for the entrance ticket.

Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:54 pm

Perhaps Colonel Parker saw what happened to Bill Haley concerts in Europe.
They had to run for their life when the crowd began to throw chairs and anything they could lay their hands on.
Or what happened during the first show of The Rolling Stones in Scheveningen where the venue was mobbed by the crowd.

Yes, The Everly Brothers did tour Europe at the time, 1964/1965. They were so popular, their stage was 1 meter high at the most and nobody tried to get on stage. Tickets were very cheap too! I paid more for my roll of film than for the entrance ticket.


It doesn't appear that a European tour would have even been discussed in the 60's. Parker wanted RCA to bankroll an extensive tour of the U.S., but with the intense annual movie filming schedules, international tour dates were not part of the equation.

If was during the 1970's that international tour dates were discussed and were a real possibility. There were no real legitimate security issues to be concerned with. Maybe for Rock festivals there were still security problems, but Elvis would have been playing arenas or possibly stadiums. What happened to artists in the 1950's and early to mid-1960's was irrelevent by the 1970's.

Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:57 pm

midnightx wrote:
Perhaps Colonel Parker saw what happened to Bill Haley concerts in Europe.
They had to run for their life when the crowd began to throw chairs and anything they could lay their hands on.
Or what happened during the first show of The Rolling Stones in Scheveningen where the venue was mobbed by the crowd.

Yes, The Everly Brothers did tour Europe at the time, 1964/1965. They were so popular, their stage was 1 meter high at the most and nobody tried to get on stage. Tickets were very cheap too! I paid more for my roll of film than for the entrance ticket.


It doesn't appear that a European tour would have even been discussed in the 60's. Parker wanted RCA to bankroll an extensive tour of the U.S., but with the intense annual movie filming schedules, international tour dates were not part of the equation.

If was during the 1970's that international tour dates were discussed and were a real possibility. There were no real legitimate security issues to be concerned with. Maybe for Rock festivals there were still security problems, but Elvis would have been playing arenas or possibly stadiums. What happened to artists in the 1950's and early to mid-1960's was irrelevent by the 1970's.


Wasn't there a plan to have EP do a month solid at Wembley stadium in England, and wasn't Joe Esposito and Jerry Schilling sent there to check out security details?

Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:44 pm

Wasn't there a plan to have EP do a month solid at Wembley stadium in England, and wasn't Joe Esposito and Jerry Schilling sent there to check out security details?


Never heard that one. There was a loose Wembley offer, but Esposito and Schilling going to the UK to scope things out does not ring a bell.

Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:24 am

midnightx wrote:
Wasn't there a plan to have EP do a month solid at Wembley stadium in England, and wasn't Joe Esposito and Jerry Schilling sent there to check out security details?


Never heard that one. There was a loose Wembley offer, but Esposito and Schilling going to the UK to scope things out does not ring a bell.


If I remember correctly (it was 30+ years ago!) some magazine in the seventies mentioned people around Elvis were in Europe to check out things and it was rumoured it would be for a European tour of Elvis.
Meantime a wellknown Dutch promotor claimed to have a contract for Elvis to do a show here in The Netherlands but he was laughed at as being attention seekers as he did not want to show the document(s).

parker

Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:15 pm

I agree with a lot of what is being said here but just wanted to add my thoughts;

Parker may have been the right man in the 50's to get Elvis the National exposure and secure lucrative deals but he was the never the man for getting the best out of Elvis creatively. Even in the 50's he tried to alter the mix on the Big Hunk Of Love sessions as the band were too loud! As we all know and Elvis knew then, the sound from Elvis and the band was top notch. In fact it arguably set new standards in the industry at that time.

In fact he actively introduced policies that would ultimately cripple Elvis' artistic output, namely the restrictions placed on writers and publishing companies. In the medium and long term this resulted in very poor material for Elvis to work from. This in turn may well explain Elvis' reluctance to go in the studio in the 70's and the amount of covers he had to revert to. This no doubt led to a lack of motivation on Elvis' part and is partly to blame (IMO) for his slide into depression.

Yes, I agree that Elvis should shoulder some of the blame for not turning his career around e.g. world tours, concept albums - Blues perhaps written by contemporary writers. However, as a manager Parker should know what makes his protege tick and probably did. A good manager would have seen what was effecting Elvis - quality of songs, need for a new challenge - and addressed those issues. Parker deliberately manipulted Elvis for purely financial gain with no thought for Elvis as a person or creative artist. He knew what buttons to press to raise Elvis' insecurities and played on these. That's where my main problem lays. Elvis needed a manager who understood him and then managed his career to get the best from him. Sam Phillips would have done that but lacked the financial skills to take that to a wider audience. By the 70's it needed someone much bigger than Phillips and someone who would have nutured Elvis not destroyed him.

Parker played on Elvis weaknesses as an individual e.g. his insecurity after his divorce and his incredible loyality based on his poverty in childhood/appreciation of what Parker did for his family. To manipulate someone for your own financial gain stinks. We can all say if Elvis had done this and that, if he had listened to his friends but he didn't. One of the few people who could have potentially raised Elvis' creativity, morale, motivation and wellbeing didn't - worse still I don't think Parker even tried to.

For me Parker played a big part in Elvis' untimely death. Strong I know but the man had no concern for Elvis as a person.

Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:59 am

Returning to the original point raised in this thread:

midnightx wrote:It is easy in hindsight to look back at events and concerts that should have been filmed and recorded. But at the time, these were a couple of benefit concerts. No one knew that Elvis would not perform in concert for over 8 years and that he would never perform with that fantastic band again. So there was no real pressing reason to document those gigs. Parker even wanted RCA to back a large-scale concert tour of America in the 60s which unfortunately did not materialize. So it isn't like Parker had already planned to keep Elvis off the concert stage after 1961.

Secondly, live recordings were tricky back in 1961. Live albums which are known today were almost unheard of in contemporary music/Rock N Roll in the early 60's. Sam Cooke and Otis Redding recorded some live albums a couple years later, but the sound wasn't overly stellar. A lot of Jazz artists were recording live albums, but these were recorded in clubs. Setting up the proper microphone system in large auditoriums/venues for recording purposes would have been a much more complicated and uncertain undertaking. Granted it would have been nice to have some sort of professional recording of one of these benefit shows, but it isn't like Parker and/or RCA dropped the ball.



Playing a little catch up here but I have to say that Midnightx gets to the heart of the original post's contention. The "live" album in popular music was not yet where it would soon be for a variety of reasons, as cited. Even Elvis albums (studio-recorded or not; movie soundtrack or not) were less pivotal than what the next single would be.

And assuming they could have mixed it right, I'd hope they would do something about the over-the-top screaming. :roll: Cool for Elvis, but not for one's ears, even in 2006.

I played the show today as a back drop while paging through the new "Elvis - Hawaii '61" book by Joe Tunzi (the second version I've ordered from Amazon that was missing the CD and ticket) and was really put off by the screaming. That means it was a great show for those there, but like so many '50s shows, it sounded like bedlam at times. It's otherwise a very interesting show that gives you a sense of what he could have been doing more often from '61-'69.

It's also great to hear what were ultimately the last live versions of Elvis and Scotty Moore bangin' away with a full-band on their old '50s hits, joined by some of the newer Nashville cats who had since joined him.

Given the technology of the time, I can't say it's a given the show would even be released. The real problem, then, is not so much that the '61 Hawaii benefit wasn't released, but that Elvis put live touring on the shelf for his movies for so many years to come after this...

Good discussion about "Parker," touring, etc, folks.

Re: parker

Sun Oct 15, 2006 9:38 am

Jamie wrote:I agree with a lot of what is being said here but just wanted to add my thoughts;

Parker may have been the right man in the 50's to get Elvis the National exposure and secure lucrative deals but he was the never the man for getting the best out of Elvis creatively. Even in the 50's he tried to alter the mix on the Big Hunk Of Love sessions as the band were too loud! As we all know and Elvis knew then, the sound from Elvis and the band was top notch. In fact it arguably set new standards in the industry at that time.

In fact he actively introduced policies that would ultimately cripple Elvis' artistic output, namely the restrictions placed on writers and publishing companies. In the medium and long term this resulted in very poor material for Elvis to work from. This in turn may well explain Elvis' reluctance to go in the studio in the 70's and the amount of covers he had to revert to. This no doubt led to a lack of motivation on Elvis' part and is partly to blame (IMO) for his slide into depression.

Yes, I agree that Elvis should shoulder some of the blame for not turning his career around e.g. world tours, concept albums - Blues perhaps written by contemporary writers. However, as a manager Parker should know what makes his protege tick and probably did. A good manager would have seen what was effecting Elvis - quality of songs, need for a new challenge - and addressed those issues. Parker deliberately manipulted Elvis for purely financial gain with no thought for Elvis as a person or creative artist. He knew what buttons to press to raise Elvis' insecurities and played on these. That's where my main problem lays. Elvis needed a manager who understood him and then managed his career to get the best from him. Sam Phillips would have done that but lacked the financial skills to take that to a wider audience. By the 70's it needed someone much bigger than Phillips and someone who would have nutured Elvis not destroyed him.

Parker played on Elvis weaknesses as an individual e.g. his insecurity after his divorce and his incredible loyality based on his poverty in childhood/appreciation of what Parker did for his family. To manipulate someone for your own financial gain stinks. We can all say if Elvis had done this and that, if he had listened to his friends but he didn't. One of the few people who could have potentially raised Elvis' creativity, morale, motivation and wellbeing didn't - worse still I don't think Parker even tried to.

For me Parker played a big part in Elvis' untimely death. Strong I know but the man had no concern for Elvis as a person.


Excellent post Jamie! You hit the nail squarely on the head.
Even Luuk who seems to have a strange obsession with Parker would have a hard time picking apart this dissertation.

Sun Oct 15, 2006 9:47 am

midnightx wrote:Secondly, live recordings were tricky back in 1961. Live albums which are known today were almost unheard of in contemporary music/Rock N Roll in the early 60's. Sam Cooke and Otis Redding recorded some live albums a couple years later, but the sound wasn't overly stellar. A lot of Jazz artists were recording live albums, but these were recorded in clubs. Setting up the proper microphone system in large auditoriums/venues for recording purposes would have been a much more complicated and uncertain undertaking. Granted it would have been nice to have some sort of professional recording of one of these benefit shows, but it isn't like Parker and/or RCA dropped the ball.


Do yourself a favour and get hold of Live at the Apollo (James Brown, recorded 1962) and Live at the Regal (BB King, 1964)....... neither recorded in clubs and both with sound far and above the Bloch Arena show.

Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:26 am

I have 'em both.

And both represent the beginning of a new trend, but at the beginining, they were both hardly mainstream pop releases at first. Even in the R&B world, 45 rpm singles were still king.

Both Lps, naturally, are now total classics. :D

The early '60s live album by Etta James on Chess is among several other killer R&B / blues live albums tthat come to mind. Also, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, and on and on...

I'm not sure what year it was ('66? ) but the great Sinatra /Basie live album "Sinatra at the Stands" was probably part of the mainstreaming of the live album as well.

Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:11 pm

James Brown's "Live At The Apollo" was a huge success - and as Greg pointed out, it was the beginning of a new trend. Brown's record company didn't want to record the show but Brown insisted even though he had to pay for the recording himself! And "rock" live albums, with a few exceptions, didn't really become a reality until the 70´s. How many live albums did The Beatles release in the 60´s? That's right, none. Also, many live albums from the 60´s were studio recordings with audience noise overdubbed. A "proper" live document of Elvis's 1961 shows would have been wonderful, but I can't agree it was managerial negligence!

Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:53 pm

Do yourself a favour and get hold of Live at the Apollo (James Brown, recorded 1962) and Live at the Regal (BB King, 1964)....... neither recorded in clubs and both with sound far and above the Bloch Arena show.


Great albums, have them both. Both were pioneering albums into unfamiliar territory. Both were recorded at small theaters, not an arena. The Regal and Apollo venues had built-in stages and in-house sound systems. Did the Bloch Arena venue have a built in stage with an in-house sound system? The logistices behind recording in those 2 very different set-ups are vastly different. Does anyone think Parker would have wanted live recordings made in the early 1960's? There were too many uncertainties with the outcome; it is hard to see Parker taking such a gamble on that sort of project. One of the reasons he didn't have Elvis open the Internatinoal Hotel showroom was his concerns over the sound of the PA in a new venue. There were certain risks he was uncomfortable taking.