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Elvis’s most sublime vocal performance ?

Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:59 am

“Sublime” is a word few ‘outsiders’ would use to describe Elvis’s vocal abilities. One definition of sublime is, “arousing the sensation of awe, especially by reason of perfection”. To this I would submit that a large element of seemingly effortless execution be added into the equation : natural (and possibly nurtured) genius.

My number one choice has a strong visual aspect to it too, as it is Elvis’s performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water from ETTWII. Elvis was at the height of his vocal and artistic powers, and totally in control. Awe-inspiring, indeed !

Several of my remaining choices have a falsetto part within the song which in itself demands a focussed and controlled performance. Any Day Now is a powerful song but in the bridge, “I know I shouldn’t want to keep you, if you don’t want to stay”, the drama subsides for a few magical bars before a return to the expected and inevitable flight of Elvis’s “wild, beautiful bird”.

Known Only To Him is perhaps the pick of the bunch from the album His Hand In Mine, which contains many songs requiring a delicacy of treatment.

In 1966, Elvis found a new and more mature timbre in his voice and gave us the majestic How Great Thou Art, complete with massed choirs and in complete contrast to the beautiful simplicity of the His Hand In Mine sessions.

I Met Her Today is Elvis in combination with that genius of a romantic songwriter, Don Robertson. “Sublime” would be an apt description for most of his compositions, but Elvis’s delivery of the word “pride”, in I Met Her Today, clinches it.

Finally, I would go for Doin’ The Best I Can, simply because it is perfection from the first note to the last, and I mean that absolutely literally.

The songs I have mentioned are not necessarily what I would list as my personal favourites, nor are they necessarily what I would consider Elvis’s best performances. But, in each case, I can only express intense admiration for Elvis’s performance.

Steve Morse

Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:26 am

For me there's two:

Just Pretend (from TTWII)

Never Been To Spain (from EOT).

Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:30 am

How about:
Crying In The Chapel
There's Always Me
It Hurts Me
Indescribably Blue
Without Love
a.o.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:13 am

"How's The World Treating you" and "First In Line"

Absolutely "Brilliant"!

Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:39 am

I second It Hurts Me. I put forward Tomorrow Is A Long Time and Funny How Time Slips Away.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:55 am

Has to be TIALT. Imo.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:57 am

That's All Right (original)
Young and Beautiful
Love Me
Milky White Way
It's a Sin
Pocketful of Rainbows
Surrender
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Just Tell Her Jim Said hello
Any Day Now
Bridge Over Troubled Water (TTWII)

Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:59 am

In the Ghetto.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:30 am

1950's Love Me, Any Way You Want Me
1960's Sentimental Me, Can't Help Falling In Love
1970's You Don't Have To Say You Love Me

Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:19 am

Let's face it: there are many.

One of my favourites is "Are You Lonesome Tonight?. Another is "Crying In The Chapel". Another is "Known Only To Him." Another is "Aloha 'Oe". The harmonising at the end of the latter gets me every time. Then there is "Bridge Over Troubled Water". "Blue Moon" is fantastic. "Suppose" is surreal. I could go on.

I will really intensely spotlight one: "Danny Boy". Now, this redefines the word "emotional". It is by far the greatest piece of singing I've ever heard. The subtlety and conviction in Elvis' voice is startling. And that falsetto at the end is beyond description. Gorgeous track.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:32 am

Suspicious minds 8)

Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:36 am

I'm surprised that 'Long Black Limousine' hasn't been mentioned yet.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:48 am

Not sublime vocally because of his cold, but emotionally he NAILED IT! 8)

Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:35 am

Although it is very short, "Mamie, Mamie" is truly sublime.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:44 am

The thing about topics like these is that I always think of a better answer later on!

And that answer:

LOVE ME

TJ already listed it. Well done! This song is pure perfection. Elvis' voice is that of an old, elemental soul in a young body. Records like these hint at why he is regarded as a Dionysian figure by many. Of course, a few take it to the extreme of literally regarding him as a demigod, but I'm happy to leave it at the metaphorical.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:19 am

Anything from the 'How Great Thou Art' sessions. In particular 'Stand By Me' is beautifully delivered.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:06 am

Delboy wrote:Anything from the 'How Great Thou Art' sessions. In particular 'Stand By Me' is beautifully delivered.
Yes. No doubt sung with conviction. No acting here or any Gospel music interpreted by he.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:28 pm

One that comes to mind just off the top: They Remind Me Too Much Of You.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:38 pm

Suspicious Minds, Only The Strong Survive (listen to the outtakes!), In The Ghetto, Anything That's Part Of You, There's Always Me, Sentimental Me, Surrender, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Loving Arms

Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:54 pm

Cryogenic wrote:The thing about topics like these is that I always think of a better answer later on!


I know what you mean. 'Lonely Man'........beat that for subliminal. :D

Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:06 pm

Most Live versions from "How Great Thou Art", especially the one from the bootleg "Just Pretend", live in Vegas December 1975, In The Ghetto, It Hurts Me, Pieces Of My Life, It's Easy For You (Jungle Room Sessions), Anything That's Part Of You, Unchained Melody, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Do You Know Who I Am......

Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:20 pm

In my opinion....

50’s: Jailhouse Rock
60’s: Anything That’s Part of you, Surrender, it’s Now Or Never, Beyond The Reef
NBC TV Special: A Little Less Conversation and Let Yourself Go
69’s: Suspicious Minds, Don’t Cry Daddy, Any Day Now, Mama Liked The Roses, Long Black Limousine (Studio) and What’d I Say (live vesion)
70’s Bridge Over Troubled Water (studio),Rags To Riches, Mary In The Morning and My Way, from Elvis In Concert.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:02 pm

JAILHOUSE ROCK
FIRST IN LINE
YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL
SURRENDER
JUST TELL HER JIM SAID HELLO
ANYTHING THAT'S PART OF YOU
LOVE ME TONIGHT
EL - TORO
MARGUERITA
ASK ME
IT HURTS ME
RAGS TO RICHES
and many many more....
I think the only worst elvis' vocal was on : YOGA IS AS YOGA DOES
sincerely
LIOR

Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:39 am

Rock Legend wrote:I'm surprised that 'Long Black Limousine' hasn't been mentioned yet.


I'm also suprised that 'Old Mac Donalds' hasn't been mention yet! :lol:
and Where is the 'Queenie Wahine's Papaya' Fans?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:08 am

I will say "ANY DAY NOW", "ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE", "THINKING ABOUT YOU".