All posts with more than 3000 Hits, prior to 2008

Marcus Knows Best

Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:19 pm

Delboy wrote:I would hardly describe "Tonight Is So Right For Love" as 'ghastly'.

You may substitute "hideous," "dreadful," or "terrible" if you wish. I must confess, I unintentionally semi-borrowed this critique from the greatness that is Greil Marcus. In "Mystery Train," his notes took A Legendary Performer, Volume 1 as a "map" of the Presley career. As he astutely observed:

Then to "(Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I," from 1958, where Elvis distances himself from his style with outrageous parody; then to "Tonight's All Right For Love," a ghastly number from the 1960 film G.I. Blues, where we find that the parody has become the style.


Yes, I know, he's referencing the slightly different recording made for the foreign market, but it still fits. The 25 year-old genius that was Elvis should never have been cutting such crap.

Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:12 am

Marcus said that that Fool Such As I parody?! Don't agree with him there.

Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:32 am

Nah, Shoppin Around and Doin The Best I Can are the winnders from that film, and stand alone outside the film.

Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:26 am

Ciscoking wrote:
Spellbinder wrote:
KHoots wrote:There's an alternate take of "Blue Suede Shoes" on the Collector's edition CD which came out several years ago that kicks ass.


Perhaps he means the live version on Too Much Monkey Business with new rhythm tracks..??


Sorry, boys. My bad. I meant the track recorded on April 28, 1960. It appears on this CD, which features a number of alternate takes...

Image

Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:41 am

JLGB wrote:Marcus said that that Fool Such As I parody?! Don't agree with him there.


Neither do I. As insightful and eloquent as Greil Marcus generally is, he can be a little overanalytical at times and find things that aren't there. Elvis was just singing the song the way he felt it.

Re: Marcus Knows Best

Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:21 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:The 25 year-old genius that was Elvis should never have been cutting such crap.


This should then be qualified by saying the 25 year-old genius that was Elvis should never have been making such crap movies. The song is what it is. For Marcus to make a comparison to 'A Fool Such As I' is unfair. The song was was never intended to follow that on an album. It is what it is, a pleasant song, peformed well, that fits well in a pleasant movie. End of story.

Further, 'such crap' greatly outsold 'Elvis is Back'. Therein lies the problem.

Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:29 am

JLGB wrote:Marcus said that that Fool Such As I parody?! Don't agree with him there.

TJ wrote:Neither do I. As insightful and eloquent as Greil Marcus generally is, he can be a little overanalytical at times and find things that aren't there. Elvis was just singing the song the way he felt it.

What you two are unable to recognize is that where Elvis was comfortable sending up his famous vocal mannerisms with "Fool" in June 1958 -- how anyone can miss it is beyond me -- it was OK because it wasn't the whole game. The rest of the session proved that.

With "G.I. Blues," he was using these mannerisms to cover up the fact that the songs were mostly garbage, ergo, the parody had become the style.

And, Delboy, we're speaking of the music, not the film, which is why we're not extending the argument in that fashion.

Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:03 pm

KHoots wrote:Sorry, boys. My bad. I meant the track recorded on April 28, 1960. It appears on this CD, which features a number of alternate takes...



There are no alternate takes of Blue Suede Shoes on that (or any other) CD.

Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:08 pm

some people tends to forget that the ONLY reason we listen to many elvis songs is because elvis sings them... I mean, would you ever consider buying GI Blues or Blue Hawaii or PAradise Hawaiian Style if the singers were the beatles, sinatra, or jimy hendrix. Would you picture springsteen releasing gi blues after evil and dust album? Rod Stewart singing queeenie wahine papaya??


As the Doc pointed, Gi Blues should have been a one of a kind. I even will be a little more indulgent, but anyway the movies should have been few, they SHOULD have stopped at viva las vegas. And many soundtracks shouldn't have been released at all. A single now and then and that's all.
Anyway, it's so easy to see it now...

Doin' the best I can is a good song, and will have been so much better if recorded in nashville. Could have been a nice B side to those early 60's monster hits. Won't trade it for any of the is back track though.. .

Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:09 pm

I do agree that "A Fool Such as I" is a kind of send up. However just because Marcus says something doesn't make it so. While he is a brilliant writer, theoretician and analyst, if we went solely by his recommendations we would miss classic tracks and albums like "Viva Las Vegas", "It Hurts Me", "Memphis Tennessee", "Hard Headed Woman", "Mean Woman Blues", Elvis Country etc.

As Cryo points out that there apparently was a line drawn in the sand after GI Blues as it was immediately followed by Flaming Star and Wild in the Country. After the staggering success of Blue Hawaii which had a then history making soundtrack and was one of the biggest box office successes of that period in film, it appeared that from a commercial and financial sense (very important to someone from Elvis' background) that Parker was right and Elvis was wrong. Elvis' decision was pragmatic not a sign of weakness.

Back to the main point of the thread, "Pocketful of Rainbows" is a nice little song. I also remember being taken aback by that E.P. versions alternate when it appeared on an album called Rare Elvis Volume three.

The charm of Gi Blues is that Elvis was fresh from the army and bursting with creativity and even this substandard environment couldn't drown it. I agree that "Doin' the Best I Can" is probably the only studio level song though "Pocket" is close. Elvis' phrasing is so sensuous and there is a huge vocal influence in the arrangement.

The weakness of the soundtrack can in some ways be attributed to the somewhat misguided desire to make Elvis a family friendly artist. Family friendly in Hollywood unfortunately often means cutesy which gave us "What's She Really Like", "Wooden Heart", and "Big Boots" the weakest Elvis tracks to that time. But at that time what grounds did Elvis have to complain? At the time, this was the biggest album in his entire career. It set an Elvis standard, uneclipsed by any record since, for length of time on the charts.

Still even on the crap Elvis sings the sand out of it and his voice is just gorgeous. He elevates "Frankfort Special" and "Shoppin' Around" to decent pieces, listen to that disdainful "hunh" he gives before the final phrase in "Shopping Around". Even the crap is listenable. Maybe the edge is off "Blue Suede Shoes" to align it sonically with the rest of the songs on the soundtrack. Perhaps Elvis did not enjoy going back.

I don't think L&S would have helped that much. They found "King Creole" to be creatively stifling. Imagine what they would have thought of a latter day Bing Crosby vehicle set in Germany featuring at least one children's song. [/b]

Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:34 pm

A little off track maybe, but this is all part of the history which enables us to sit here and try to change it!
G I BLUES along with all the rest happened. And for better or worse were part of making Elvis the icon and historical figure he's become.
We don't know what would have happened otherwise! Without the movies, Elvis might even have faded completely at the arrival of The Beatles.
The history and statistics are there! The G I Blues movie and soundtrack were extremely popular at the time and it can't be changed!
We can't even change the mind and taste of all those people who made Camden/Pickwic albums like Frankie And Johnny a Gold Record.
The fact remains that Elvis sang songs he even didn't like to sing.
Still they manage to sell millions! How could it be?

Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:32 pm

Spellbinder wrote:There are no alternate takes of Blue Suede Shoes on that (or any other) CD.


I know, Spelly. That's why I apologized and said it was "my bad." That CD has several alts; however, "Blue Suede Shoes" is not one of them.

Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:32 pm

GIRL HAPPY BOY wrote:Elvis also re-recorded LOVE LETTERS in 1970, dont know why...
i prefer the original 1966 version! more tender, soft & romantic
sincerely
LIOR :wink:


Of course!! I forgot that one. I Agree! The 1970 version is oversung. The 1966 version is very intimate and delicate.

//björn

Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:38 pm

TJ wrote:
dreambear wrote:Ezzz & Daryll Mac!

I have to buy new glasses :oops:

Otherwise it´s one of the few occasions where Elvis re-recorded a studio track (live versions not counted). The other examples in my mind are the Tonight´s all right for love-copyright-story, Swing down sweet chariot, You don´t know me and the new september 1969 vocals for Let us pray (is the later rumour confirmed?).

Regards//Björn


Not forgetting Don't Leave Me Now :)


:oops: And now I really needs to avoid more people reminding me :)

One night was re-recorded with softer lyrics
A whistling tune was re-recorded for Kid Galahad (planned for Follow that dream)
Ask me and Memphis Tennessee was re-recorded.

But those versions wasn´t released twice in Elvis life time.

//björn

Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:46 pm

How about You Don't Know Me - recorded twice, and released in Elvis lifetime!!!

Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:30 am

likethebike wrote:However just because Marcus says something doesn't make it so. While he is a brilliant writer, theoretician and analyst, if we went solely by his recommendations ...

While no one has advocated either of these positions, Marcus is dead-on regarding the "G.I. Blues" soundtrack, the subject of this topic, more or less.

likethebike wrote:After the staggering success of Blue Hawaii ... it appeared ... Parker was right and Elvis was wrong.

What is seldom mentioned is that Presley management in many ways worked against the potential success of the "serious" films. Parker did not want to see Elvis succeed as an actor, at the expense of the sure-fire film+soundtrack formula. If one looks into the promotion of these 20th Century Fox films, there's a clear lack of enthusiasm at the very least.

likethebike wrote:Maybe the edge is off "Blue Suede Shoes" ...

You're being very kind here.

likethebike wrote:I don't think L&S would have helped that much.

You're denying reality here. Leiber and Stoller were hitting their stride in 1960, with powerful productions on Ben E. King, the Drifters and the Coasters. They would most certainly have improved "G.I. Blues," but management didn't want Elvis involved with independent, creative musical partners. It was his loss, and ours, too.

Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:13 am

In terms of regular studio stuff, L&S would have been a benefit no doubt but the soundtracks are a different story. When they did their great work with Ben E. King and the Drifters they were only under the constrictions of their own imaginations. With GI Blues they would be operating under a different set of rules. They were very frustrated with even King Creole which was much closer in tone to what L&S were all about. The structure of GI Blues demanded a children's song and a shower song among other things. L&S would not have been happy in this context.

I 100 percent agree that management particularly Parker worked against the success of the dramatic films. In particular, the modest box office profits of both Flaming Star and Wild in the Country were actually not bad in context. My point is and always has been how was Elvis to know this? It's not as if Elvis was some industry insider. I think it's a mistake to interpret his ignorance for weakness. You can criticize him for sticking in his circle of buddies and not networking. However, it he did his stake his ground and in the terms that Parker presented to him, he failed.

My Marcus comment was not meant to put words in your mouth Dr. Carpenter. My apologies if that was the interpretation. My comment was that as an authority, occasionally you have to take him with a grain of salt. He missed a lot of Elvis' best stuff.

As to whether the 25-year-old Elvis should have been recording this stuff depends on what side of the fence you're on. It was important to Elvis to have a career in movies. Sometimes being a movie star with a career rooted in music means singing songs you wouldn't normally sing. Sinatra did it, Crosby did it etc. In 1960 these were the only models Elvis had.

Frus- Viva Las Vegas should have/could have been the model formula film rather than the last. If all Elvis' films had been like that one the reputations of Elvis' movies would be much higher today. The problem was not the light musical format but the fact that they were often done in such a slipshod manner especially in 1965. The most baffling decision of Elvis' career came after 1964. In that year, Elvis made two major hit films. One was Viva Las Vegas a class production with real locations, a good director and a major co-star. The other was Kissin' Cousins which cost about two cents and was literally tossed together in two weeks. The films were MGM's #1 and #2 box office draws of the entire year. However, apparently Elvis' deal which gave him a cut of the profits drew a little more for the cheaper film. However, the more expensive film grossed nearly 20 percent more than the previous high Elvis movie indicating that the market for Elvis films could expand and conceivably Elvis could make more money than ever. Yet Parker sold Elvis and himself out for the certainty of what amounted to pennies.

If Viva Las Vegas had been the template-good songs, director, locations, co-stars- Elvis' movie career would be much better appreciated today even if he had never scored a big dramatic hit. Even Blue Hawaii and GI Blues would be better appreciated as their reputation has suffered even worse

Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:01 pm

DarrylMac wrote:How about You Don't Know Me - recorded twice, and released in Elvis lifetime!!!


Of course! I´m really having a tough time here now! :D

Perhaps we can count in the re-recording of "Black star" to "Flaming star". But BS was released in 1993, I think.

Now moving to the extreme: "Love me tender" was re-recorded as "Violet" in 1968. Short one, but done in studio.

//Björn

Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:04 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
likethebike wrote:However just because Marcus says something doesn't make it so. While he is a brilliant writer, theoretician and analyst, if we went solely by his recommendations ...

While no one has advocated either of these positions, Marcus is dead-on regarding the "G.I. Blues" soundtrack, the subject of this topic, more or less.

likethebike wrote:After the staggering success of Blue Hawaii ... it appeared ... Parker was right and Elvis was wrong.

What is seldom mentioned is that Presley management in many ways worked against the potential success of the "serious" films. Parker did not want to see Elvis succeed as an actor, at the expense of the sure-fire film+soundtrack formula. If one looks into the promotion of these 20th Century Fox films, there's a clear lack of enthusiasm at the very least.

likethebike wrote:Maybe the edge is off "Blue Suede Shoes" ...

You're being very kind here.

likethebike wrote:I don't think L&S would have helped that much.

You're denying reality here. Leiber and Stoller were hitting their stride in 1960, with powerful productions on Ben E. King, the Drifters and the Coasters. They would most certainly have improved "G.I. Blues," but management didn't want Elvis involved with independent, creative musical partners. It was his loss, and ours, too.


Doc is as usually right. I think colonel and wallis (I refuse to put their names in capital letters) wanted a bing crosby. And I believe 20th century had tried to break the contract and that colonel didn't forgive them. What is a fact is that flaming star and witc didn't received half much atention as tickle me. colonel was all for tickle me and 10% for flaming and wild.

Those pictures were something for "take the money and run" for the colonel, while elvis saw them as oportunities to progress.

Elvis needed also supporting roles. He was extremely young and he should have been a son in Katie Elder's Sons (in rio bravo or the alamo too, but he was in the army to fit, but he should have been better than ricky nelson and fabian). Could you imagine the emotion elvis would have felt going to the movie set with john wayne and dean martin in 1964?? A bit more than in tickle me I guess...

Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:10 pm

BTW, did you ever watch ricky nelson in Rio Bravo? It almost hurts because he is trying his best to be ELVIS. It's like the movie secretly telling us "THIS SHOULD BE ELVIS but because of parker we put this imitator instead" (with all respect to nelson). I know in 59 elvis was in germany, but anyway anytime I watch this masterful western and see nelson singing my rifle my pony and me with dean martin and then cindy cindy IMITATING ELVIS I can't help but getting a little upset at parker wallis and all those **&%//(%()=!!!

Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:37 am

Both the L&S quote and the "Blue Suede Shoes" quote are out of context.

Yes Ricky is not exactly brilliant in Rio Bravo although Dean Martin usually an indifferent actor is. Elvis' army stint mucked things up a bit as well. I think Parker distrusted quality and Elvis' talent. However, it is not unusual for Elvis, who unlike Ricky Nelson, had never acted a day in his life before Love Me Tender to do musical work first.

Hal Wallis definitely wanted a Bing Crosby. Hollywood is always dealing with the last idol.

Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:34 am

frus75 wrote:Elvis needed also supporting roles.


This should have started from the beginning, forcing Elvis to work at his craft and earn his place naturally at the top -- for the good of himself and the motion pictures in which he'd have starred. Elvis knew "Love Me Tender" was ridiculous from the start. Unfortunately, despite stronger films to come, a trend was set in 1956 and never broken.

Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:56 am

Cryogenic wrote:
frus75 wrote:Elvis needed also supporting roles.


This should have started from the beginning, forcing Elvis to work at his craft and earn his place naturally at the top -- for the good of himself and the motion pictures in which he'd have starred. Elvis knew "Love Me Tender" was ridiculous from the start. Unfortunately, despite stronger films to come, a trend was set in 1956 and never broken.


Despite his immense popularity, I believe Elvis would have only been too glad to be in a supporting role, especially with the great and famous actors of the day.

Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:41 am

Love Me Tender is a bad example because this is only truly supporting role in his career except maybe Trouble With Girls where he is part on an ensemble.

"Ridiculous" is a bit of an overstatement. It was a MOR western. The insertion of the songs was dubious but a necessity.

The lack of consideration for supporting roles shows again Parker's short-sightedness as many supporting actors walk away with movies if the role has enough potential and they are often a springboard to stardom. Look at Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death or Sinatra in From Here To Eternity. His character is fifth in that movie and it was still a choice role.

Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:40 pm

likethebike wrote:Both the L&S quote and the "Blue Suede Shoes" quote are out of context.

I disagree. They convey the same points in isolation that they do in your full reply.

And anyone interested may simply read your post on the very same page as my reply.