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george harrison on elvis....unfair?

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:09 am

here are George Harrison comments on elvis (taken from "writing for the King")

"I met him at MSG - it must have been 1972. And at that time, I had my uniform: the worn-out denim jacket and jeans - looked like a ragged man - and I had a big beard and moustache, and long hair down to my waist (.....) finally he came out of the back and he was....inmaculate. I felt like this real grabby little slug and he looked like Lord Siva or something. he seemed to be about eight feet tall and his hair was black and his tan was perfect and he had this big white suit, a gold belt about four feet wide and he was toering above me (....) I wanted to say: why don't you just come out on your jeans and your black shirt, get rid of all them horrible woman singers in your band, all them horrible trumpet players and just have [the rythm section]? Just go there and do That's all right. But instead he cam out and did "I did it my way..."(...) it was sad what happened to him"

well, I really have no words, except one. Disrespect.

first: elvis loved the show he was doing at that stage of his career. I am sure he loved the orchestra, the sweet inspirations, etc.

second: the sweet inspirations aren't horrible

third: he did that's all right

forth: he didn't perform my way

fifth: I think many people (even here in the board) would wish elvis did what george says. And other people maybe wish he had recorded a sinatra kind of album. And so on. But elvis was elvis.

I mean, one thing is to bitch over hollywood, the soundtracks, and even many songs recorded in 70-76, or the show he presented after aloha. But I believe that the way george speaks of elvis means that he didn't understand a damn about elvis. You can't project you own dreams and pretend that someone else lives them. if you were elvis you could have done so many things george, but you aren't. If elvis was the beatles he maybe hadn't sung any of the songs on sergeant pepper, but he wasn't the beatles.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:40 am

well to be fair to George,this quote was takin from the anthology dvd and he didn't seem to me to be putting him down he was smiling and kind of joking,he seemed like it was a good memory to him if you look at his face and his body language.he was basically daying that he wished Elvis could have gotten rid of the horns and the women singers but he sould have JUST had the TCB band (as we call them) and went back to rock n roll,I didn't see it as being disrespectful just his opinion on how he wished elvis could have gone back to singing rock n roll.........The fact that he placed Elvis with vishnu says alot!!!!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:46 am

My Way at Madison Square Gardens? Must have been his only ever encore, just after RCA turned the tapes off, thinking he'd left the building.... 8)

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:49 am

well from the footage I saw it seemed like George was making a statement in general about that time period (vegas elvis) he never said elvis sang "my way" at the MSG,he was commenting on the style elvis was going for....

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:52 am

Yeah, I guess you're right.

But then, in 72 george had hair down to his arse, a guy fawkes beard and weird dress sence and was singing Indian mantras - quite a way away from "Don't Bother me", "If I Needed Someone" and "Do You Want To Know A Secret?". Times change - music changes - styles change.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:09 am

The thing I've always admired about Elvis more than anything was his versatility. He could sing virtually anything and he DID it.

So George Harrison wishes Elvis would have been a '50s rocker forever.
Good for him.

Personally, I'm glad Elvis chose not to be a one trick pony.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:16 am

JerryNodak wrote:The thing I've always admired about Elvis more than anything was his versatility. He could sing virtually anything and he DID it.

So George Harrison wishes Elvis would have been a '50s rocker forever.
Good for him.

Personally, I'm glad Elvis chose not to be a one trick pony.


What kills me, is that we fans are supposed to be upset if any of the Beatles weren't completely enamored with Elvis, that their opinion of him was the end all.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:40 am

Its easy to forget that Elvis was operating at a different level to these other entertainers. George seems to acknowledge yet not understand, that this also applied to the Beatles.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:44 am

While I enjoy George Harrison's work (for the most part), he seemed to showed a tendency for other artists to live in their past while he steadfastly refused to do the same. In addition to his above description of meeting Elvis, there is a story that when he and Bob Dylan were rehearsing for the Concert For Bangla Desh, Harrison told Dylan that the audience would love it if he (Dylan) did Blowin' In the Wind. Dylan responded by sarcastically asking Harrison if he was going to sing I Want to Hold Your Hand.

For his only US tour in 1974, Harrison had to be talked into doing his Beatles songs by Indian maestro Ravi Shankar who knew the audience would be disappointed if Harrison didn't do Something, Here Comes the Sun, etc. Harrison did perform them but changed some of the lyrics to reflect his spiritual perspective. He also made some snide remarks in 1976 about people wanting the Beatles to reform should go and see Paul McCartney and Wings, although he did more Beatles songs during his 1990 tour of Japan than McCartney did in his US tour of 1976.

I thoroughly enjoy All Things Must Pass, most of Harrison's Beatles songs, and various songs from his solo career but Harrison struck me as somewhat hypocritical when he spoke about other artists.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:56 am

The real irony here is that just the previous year George Harrison played MSG for the famous concert for Bangladesh. He wore a white 3 piece suit, had a huge band (Eric Clapton, Ringo, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, klaus Voormen, Jim Keltner, Badfinger, backing singers and horns). George's records usually featured the most production of all the solo Beatle's efforts. Lastly, his own post-Beatles concert career consisted of the Bangladesh concert, the not-too-highly-regarded (to put it mildly) 1974 tour, and the shows in Japan (late 80's-early 90's?) that Clapton had to talk him into doing. I like and respected George Harrison, but I take his comments regarding the MSG Elvis with a truckload of salt!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:19 am

George was not being disrepectful and he did not say or think Elvis performed "My Way" at MSG. He truly respected.

I love Elvis and all the music he left behind but if I had my preference, I'd be like Lennon, Harrison, and a slew of other people (famous and not so famous) that would have the King Of Rock'n'Roll continue to be the innovative interpreter of music that he was in the fifties and sixties. By the way Elvis rocked in the fifties and could still perform any type of song he wanted whether it be Country, Gospel, Christmas....etc.

Elvis had a clear vision of what he wanted when he told Hank Snow in the '50's (The Doc can correct me if I am wrong 'cause my memory also keeps popping Bill Monroe's name up.) that he would prefer to perform Country songs. Hank told him to do what the people wanted him to do then and that one day he could do what he wanted and apparently he did just that. Elvis did love & want those back up singers but (my opinion) is that most of the time just Elvis and a rocking band would have been 10 times better.

Most of the songs Elvis did in the Seventies are better absent all the overdubs and background singers.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:40 am

I realize I'm in the minority, but I like the overdubs. I love the horns, strings and voices. i'll admit that sometimes it was a bit overdone, but I can't imagine those songs without them. Even in the '60s I don't care for "Suspicious Minds' without horns and strings at all. I think "In The Ghetto" works in the accoustic setting, but I still prefer the overdubbed single version.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:52 am

I realize I'm in the minority, but I like ...Elvis' career just the way it was... :lol:

Seriously, on one hand I do think Elvis might have done better to embrace his rock'n'roll royalty status and tone down some of his "MOR" aspects, but on the other hand (and most of all), I love that he had an appettite for all music.

Hang around the rock crowd enough and you find out that some of them, to this day, sneer at basic notions of "entertainment" (not a dirty word to me), actual singing and carrying a tune; ballads; horn sections, you name it...

I truly like all aspects of his career, misfires included. :oops:

Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:27 am

Good points Pete about the contradictions in George's approach. Good point Frus about projecting your ambitions and tastes onto others.

I don't blame him too much. Very seldom you find someone who feels their childhood heroes are doing better work now than they did then.

I wonder how dressing like a slob got to equal some sort of authenticity. Personally, I think Elvis' approach to stage wear was the right one. People want to see something when they go out to a show and the way you dress is part of that.

Elvis' stage show in the 1970s was in large part about spectacle and he didn't deprive fans in that area.

I agree with Jerry too a point on the arrangements. On many songs like "Suspicious Minds" the big arrangements fit. On something like "Steamroller Blues" they disrupted a bit of the mood of the piece.

Re: george harrison on elvis....unfair?

Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:29 pm

frus75 wrote:here are George Harrison comments on elvis (taken from "writing for the King")

"I wanted to say: why don't you just come out on your jeans and your black shirt, get rid of all them horrible woman singers in your band, all them horrible trumpet players and just have [the rythm section]? Just go there and do That's all right. But instead he cam out and did "I did it my way..."(...) it was sad what happened to him"


A lot of fans of George's generation, who were turned on to Elvis from his early stuff, do feel like this.

We kinda felt that Elvis 'sold out' after about 1960.

He did have his moments later, and some were great moments, but it was never to be the quite the same again.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:17 pm

JerryNodak wrote:

Personally, I'm glad Elvis chose not to be a one trick pony.



But that's exactly what Elvis was from 1970-1977 :D

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:07 pm

Except for Loving You Colin, Elvis never wore jeans and denim in the '50s either. He always wore suits and flamboyant clothes.

Interestingly, I find all the traits that everyone finds fault with existed in the 1950s but everyone ignores them because Elvis was never and cool and more physically beautiful (Although he was arguably handsomer circa 1970.) Look at the Gold lame' suit. Look at the jokes breaking up the performance of "Love Me" on the Ed Sullivan show. He loved ballads just as much. You could say Elvis delivered the early classics live with more mustard then but those songs were fresh out of the oven then not 15 years old.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:34 pm

likethebike wrote:Except for Loving You Colin, Elvis never wore jeans and denim in the '50s either. He always wore suits and flamboyant clothes.

Interestingly, I find all the traits that everyone finds fault with existed in the 1950s but everyone ignores them because Elvis was never and cool and more physically beautiful (Although he was arguably handsomer circa 1970.) Look at the Gold lame' suit. Look at the jokes breaking up the performance of "Love Me" on the Ed Sullivan show. He loved ballads just as much. You could say Elvis delivered the early classics live with more mustard then but those songs were fresh out of the oven then not 15 years old.


Great post LTB! I remember reading where Geraldo Rivera was kind of disappointed after meeting his hero ( Elvis ) during the MSG press conference, reason being, the clothes that he wore for that conference, and his rings and such that he had on. He wished he had come out in jeans and a t-shirt, minus the bling, ( not his exact words btw ). I remember thinking after reading his quote, that Elvis at one point must have wore jeans during his live concerts, which we now know is bogus. I did come to the conclusion that because the movie Loving You had a profound effect on so many of the earlier fans, that perhaps that's how they want to remember their hero.

It's funny that we talk about this, my son who was a huge Blink 182 fan, commented on how much one of the now disbanded group members had changed, sold out, he got married, has a kid, and his approach was no longer the same when performing in concert. Everybody has an image in their head of what their idol should be like on stage, even if sometimes it's not realistic.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:20 pm

it's such a pleasure to read all your comments. really. thanks to all.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:17 pm

Elvis looked majestic in the way he dressed....like the superhero he was!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:41 pm

I don't know which was better dressed as a hippy(Harrison) or pretty damn close for comfort gaudy Liberace!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:36 pm

i dont like the beatles i dont agree with alot of what george Harrison says but i do agree with one thing i would have loved elvis to get shot of the big band backing all the horns and shite and get shot of the backing singers and those awfull stamps and go back to the basics of a live show with just him and the tcb band and more lights like aloha.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:43 pm

likethebike wrote:Except for Loving You Colin, Elvis never wore jeans and denim in the '50s either. He always wore suits and flamboyant clothes.

Interestingly, I find all the traits that everyone finds fault with existed in the 1950s but everyone ignores them because Elvis was never and cool and more physically beautiful (Although he was arguably handsomer circa 1970.) Look at the Gold lame' suit. Look at the jokes breaking up the performance of "Love Me" on the Ed Sullivan show. He loved ballads just as much. You could say Elvis delivered the early classics live with more mustard then but those songs were fresh out of the oven then not 15 years old.


Forget the clothes.

It was his 'attitude' that he lost.

His 'swagger' his constant cocking-a-snoop at the establishment.

After 1960, he joined the establishment........

.....later on he became the establishment...

Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:53 pm

well said ColinB elvis did lose that attitude'. i wish he still had it when he met the 4 mop flops in 65.

Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:00 pm

ColinB wrote:
likethebike wrote:Except for Loving You Colin, Elvis never wore jeans and denim in the '50s either. He always wore suits and flamboyant clothes.

Interestingly, I find all the traits that everyone finds fault with existed in the 1950s but everyone ignores them because Elvis was never and cool and more physically beautiful (Although he was arguably handsomer circa 1970.) Look at the Gold lame' suit. Look at the jokes breaking up the performance of "Love Me" on the Ed Sullivan show. He loved ballads just as much. You could say Elvis delivered the early classics live with more mustard then but those songs were fresh out of the oven then not 15 years old.


Forget the clothes.

It was his 'attitude' that he lost.

His 'swagger' his constant cocking-a-snoop at the establishment.

After 1960, he joined the establishment........

.....later on he became the establishment...


When people get older, they lose the attitude, at least those that mature!