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"Rolling Stone" review Shrugs Off "Close-Up&q

Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:05 pm

It's nice to see the new Elvis "Close-up" box set get a prominent review in the latest issue of ROLLING STONE magazine (Angelina Jolie is on the cover). Predictably, however, reviewer Anthony DeCurtis adopts a snide "Elvis was washed up by 1960" attitude, if I read it right. (The review is on newstands only, and is not yet on-line.)

To top it off, a film shot of the King in G.I. Blues" has the caption, "Elvis-losing the taste war in 1960's "G.I. Blues." Hah- hah.

More evidence that 1960s-rock-obsessed RS has all too often trivialized Elvis, with some recent exceptions...

Re: "Rolling Stone" review Shrugs Off "Close-

Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:25 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:More evidence that 1960s-rock-obsessed RS has all too often trivialized Elvis, with some recent exceptions...


They seem to go thru phases. I remember in June 1987, the 20th anniversary of SGT PEPPER'S LHCB ("It was 20 years ago today..." get it?) only received a tiny top corner blurb on a Robert Cray portrait cover. (remember him?)

Judging by the disinterest in celebrating Pepper - the ultimate 60s album - they weren't 60s obsessed then.

but I think the whole RS generation dismisses Elvis by 1958 probably due to that incorrect b***sh*t statement/insult from the overquoted Lennon about "Elvis died when he went in the army."

Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:38 pm

By the '80s, RS was trying to re-position itself away from the aging boomer audience that dug "Sgt. Pepper"...and began featuring fewer musicians on the cover and more pap...I remember "wall to wall" media coverage of "Pepper's" CD debut, so if anything, RS didn't have to pile on.


I'd bet if you check into RS' DeCurtis, he's not really a big Elvis fan of any period, hence the tone. Other articles recently have been more positive to Elvis recently.

On the other hand, "new" Elvis releases do inevitably invite sarcasm from critics....

-GN
P.S.And the name of the artist you refer to is "Robert Cray." He had his 15 minutes with "Strong Persuader" but has since gone on as a well-established (if lower profile) blues/ soul singer-guitarist still at it, many albums later. He still is a hell of a bluesman - when he wants to be.)

Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:49 pm

It's like saying the Beatles lost their vitality with Sgt Pepper.They were too stoned to play or compose a damn after that !

PS : I have several Beatles albums and very few after that overated load of Beatleshit: Let it Be.

Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:56 pm

jbgude wrote:It's like saying the Beatles lost their vitality with Sgt Pepper.They were too stoned to play or compose a damn after that !

PS : I have several Beatles albums and very few after that overated load of Beatleshit: Let it Be.



Ummm,,, there were no more Beatles albums after "Let It Be."


Greg - I remember Cray having a hit with "Smoking Gun" in '87 but at the time I thought the Pepper album deserved full cover and Cray a mere corner blurb.

Re: "Rolling Stone" review Shrugs Off "Close-

Wed Jul 23, 2003 10:18 pm

Graceland Gardenoid wrote:I think the whole RS generation dismisses Elvis by 1958 probably due to that incorrect b***sh*t statement/insult from the overquoted Lennon about "Elvis died when he went in the army."


Lordy. Your words carry no weight when given even a modicum of thought. The declaration -- made after being asked by the press many questions about Elvis after Presley's untimely death -- wasn't meant as an insult and it's not entirely without merit. No one loved Elvis more than John Lennon. Elvis is the reason he chose to pick up a guitar and start a band called the Quarrymen. Even you know what happened after that. If anything, John's words indicate the deep sense of betrayal he felt after Elvis turned his back on the revolution he started in 1956.

If anyone from "the whole RS generation" dislikes Elvis it's because he sold out his talent to make crappy musicals in Hollywood for the majority of the decade, while basically enormous cultural changes went on throughout. Why is this FACT so hard for people like you to accept?

That the Beatles were at the forefront of these changes is probably at the heart of your singling out John Lennon. Jealously is such a petty, limiting emotion -- lose it.

On the other hand, I'm sure you DO love the "other" famous Lennon "overquotation":

Before Elvis, there was nothing.


God bless!

Wed Jul 23, 2003 11:34 pm

Funny how the beatles tried going down the same track with movies etc. I wonder what influenced them that way?




8)

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:07 am

sam wrote:Funny how the beatles tried going down the same track with movies etc. I wonder what influenced them that way?


Not "funny" at all -- it's all about the benjamins, s.a.m. You can probably stretch the idea back to musicals starring Bing Crosby in the thirties, where you took a popular singer and tried to make money with them singing on the big screen.

In the Beatles case, they made just TWO motion pictures -- "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" -- each of which stands miles above nearly all the films Elvis made. In fact, "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) is rightly considered to be the "Citizen Kane" of rock movies. The 2002 DVD is a must-buy!

The only Presley flicks worth mentioning in the same breath as "A Hard Day's Night" are "Loving You," "Jailhouse Rock" and "King Creole."

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:19 am

Thats still 3 Elvis movies to there one, and the movie "Help" is really a stinker, worth mentioning in the same breath as "Harem Scarem" & Kissin Couisins".
God Bless You My SOn........
JEFF d
EPFAN

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:21 am

To jbgude,
You mentioned that Sgt. Pepper's was beatles**t. Well, that is your opinion. Nevertheless, it started a trend in rock music. It's a very good album, but in my opinion, it is not their best.
You mentioned that you don't have any Beatles albums after "Pepper". Boy, you have no idea what you're missing!! Their best stuff came after that album....The Beatles (white album)....Abbey Road....great stuff!

To Dr Carpenter,
I totally agree with you on The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night". Great movie. Great DVD release. The three Elvis movies you mentioned are the only "great" Elvis films. There are a couple others, in my opinion, that are quite watchable, such as "Wild In The Country", Flaming Star" and "Follow That Dream" (good characterization by Elvis).

jeff R

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:23 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
sam wrote:Funny how the beatles tried going down the same track with movies etc. I wonder what influenced them that way?


Not "funny" at all -- it's all about the benjamins, s.a.m. You can probably stretch the idea back to musicals starring Bing Crosby in the thirties, where you took a popular singer and tried to make money with them singing on the big screen.

In the Beatles case, they made just TWO motion pictures -- "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" -- each of which stands miles above nearly all the films Elvis made. In fact, "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) is rightly considered to be the "Citizen Kane" of rock movies. The 2002 DVD is a must-buy!

The only Presley flicks worth mentioning in the same breath as "A Hard Day's Night" are "Loving You," "Jailhouse Rock" and "King Creole."


I agree with all of the above Doc save for one thing: take away the great music and Help is a pretty silly film! It may not plumb the depths of the likes of Harem Scarum, but it is silly nonetheless.

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:38 am

I love it. Doc quit quoting what the critics say. Hard Days Night is not Citizen Kane of the Rock Musicals. Citizen broke new ground in film making. It had camera shots not used before. Hard Days Night was simply entertaining. Jailhouse Rock was perhaps more innovative. Matter of fact the segment itself for JR probably did the trick for all acts to follow. Dare I say the FIRST rock music video. To my eyes, it is at least in the top 5 most memorable. Really is there any point in Hard Days Night that is even in the same league?

Elvis didn't betray nothing. He set the trends. Elvis wasn't part of those anti-vietnam, arteests, feel good hippies. The only thing that stands is the artists great music. The views are dated. Elvis stood on his own...even with subpar material. The fact is that even with him "selling out" he still was the SECOND most successful artist of the 60's. Elvis subject matter will hold for decades. Funny how John's statement denounces Elvis and his praise puts Elvis as only being relevant from 56-58(59?). Yet another moron that just doesn't "get it". Elvis would not be the legend he is today if it weren't for what he did AFTER the army. If John felt betrayed then that is his problem. Elvis revolutionized music in so many ways, including the image. What ever the Beatles did...Elvis was first.

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:43 am

Hey Doc, you are as predictable as the sun coming up. Its so funny scrolling thru the thread, reading the post quoting Lennon, then thinking to myself. ahhh Doc will appear in just a second with his usual Beatles pom poms. and once again u did not fail to dissapoint! Congrats! lol

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:49 am

Who cares what Lennon said? I know myself personally I don't. This is the same guy who let a woman help cause the breakup of the Beatles, where was his frickin backbone?

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:55 am

Remember on the off topics Doc. True Feelings for Lisa Marie...true feelings for Elvis...hmm

Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:58 am

As "Tweedle Dum" and "Tweedle Dee" make their usual worthless commentaries one after the other, Pete brings up a good point:

Pete Dube wrote:I agree with all of the above Doc save for one thing: take away the great music and Help is a pretty silly film! It may not plumb the depths of the likes of Harem Scarum, but it is silly nonetheless.


Yes, the music certainly pushes "Help!" up several rungs on the quality ladder. But there's no arguing that it isn't nearly the landmark, innovative achievement that "A Hard Day's Night" remains to this very day.

Of course the Beatles themselves noticed the limitations of "Help!" -- John said they felt like "extras" in their own film. This is why they refused management's desire to do a third film.

Thus, yet another example -- of which there are many -- where the Beatles went their own way. Too bad Elvis didn't make the same decision after, say, "G.I. Blues" or "Blue Hawaii."

Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:05 am

Aww Doc that wasn't very nice. Is that your idea of treating people with respect..more of your famous name calling. Oh well at least one of us is MAN enough, to not resort to such a low course of action. Still, it does seem like usual behavior from you to ignore my intelligent response and continue to self stroke yourself.

I will say again..despite the "mistakes" that Elvis made, he still stands head and shouldiers ABOVE the Beatles in most every achievement. The Beatles were great, but like so many others they fall short of Elvis.

Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:19 am

You're quite good at the condescension and the name calling and skirting the issue at hand arent you Doc?

Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:29 am

genesim wrote:it does seem like usual behavior from you to ignore my intelligent response


One cannot respond to something that does not exist.

God bless!

Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:39 am

Does that mean John Lennon really died when he met Yoko? LOL Elvis did not betray anyone or sell out at all. Elvis did not believe in the same thing the beatles or the late 60's people thought. And that is not the first Time John Lennon opened his mouth before thinking. That was one of his all time stupid ones. No matter what his intention was.

Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:43 am

Anthony DeCurtis is not the perfect critic to review an Elvis album which is not to say he can't a valid opinion on one. In general, he is not really comfortable with the roots type of music. His taste run more towards singer/songwriters and British influenced boomer music. He's an intelligent critic but I've always got the impression that he listened to stuff like the Sun Sessions or Little Richard because they were mandatory rather than out of personal taste.

That said, it's kind of tough to give a rave review to a rarities collection. We already have many glimpses of Elvis in the studio and most casual fans don't even want that. Generally, the rarities sets (as they do with other artists) are good for fans and scholars but an iffy buy for the average joe. Your casual fan just won't take a lot from an alternate of a song like "Doin' the Best I Can" that doesn't deviate a whole lot from the master. (These thoughts are not based on the actual review but the difficulty of providing an accurate assessment of a rarities set.)

I'm not sure how this thread turned into Elvis vs. the Beatles but in many ways it's unfair to use "Hard Day's Night" and Elvis' movie career against him. The Beatles were lucky with "Hard Day's" because they worked with a director who completely got what they were about. Sure a lot of the movie's power comes from their charm and talent but Richard Lester understood perfectly how to exploit that talent. Elvis never really had that.

Also, Elvis wanted to have a legitimate movie career. For the Beatles is was a lark. So for them to move on after one so so movie ("Help") makes sense. For Elvis, it was different. If his movies didn't turn out well that's one thing. But it's important to recognize that A) he had no map to build a successful rock career like the Beatles did in him and B) movies were something he wanted to do. It took a lot more courage for Elvis to go out in "Love Me Tender" and play a character from the 19th century than it did for the Beatles to play themselves.

As for the Lennon comment, it has been taken as gospel by too many fans that don't want to listen for themselves. But, it's important to note that it was shared by many 50s fans including the great writer Nik Cohn. The sense of betrayal was there. But IMO it was not a realistic sense of betrayal. In many ways, Elvis' 50s fans dismissing tracks like "Are You Lonesome To-night?" wanted to fence Elvis in the way the folkies wanted to fence in Dylan. Sometimes our heroes just like different or more things than we do.

Finally, the boomer generation has unfairly dismissed Elvis and all the important performers from his generation. If you go to things like the R&R HOF or read most Boomer histories the early rockers are treated as some primitive cavemen: important but not really listenable. This comes from their inflated sense of self-importance. (Yes, I know generalizing but it comes from a lot of the text they themselves have written.) They want their idols to be the best and the fact that something important could have happened before or after them is bewildering to many in their ranks. That sense of self-importance has led to the dismissal of any artist like say Roy Orbison or Dion or Bobby Darin that dared to sway from the boomer model. Only recently have these performers been reassessed.

Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:43 am

Khmm wrote:And that is not the first Time John Lennon opened his mouth before thinking.


How ironic YOUR comment.

Thu Jul 24, 2003 2:48 am

Getting back to the assesment of RS's 60-obsession, they are --- and even "Now" obsessed, what's relevent and hip right now. Remember, for their premiere issue in 67 did they put a photo of the original rock star Elvis Presley on the cover?
Nooooooo.
It was an anti-rock star-looking granny-glasses-wearing J Lennon as he appeared as Pvt Gripweed in a 1966 low-budget anti-war comedy called "How I Won The War"

RS thought that was "now" and cutting-edge.

But who the heck has seen that film (besides me, & most likely The Doc)

Point is...we all have seen "G.I. Blues" and every Elvis 60s movie have become an eternal body of work in the pop culture cinema and that's something RS would deny in 67 and probably even in 2007. Didn't RS just bash Elvis' army movie in this 2003 current issue?? Yes. The mag is consistent in its dismissal of Elvis' work.


It took a lot more courage for Elvis to go out in "Love Me Tender" and play a character from the 19th century than it did for the Beatles to play themselves.


True. Plus "Help!" was a half-assed ego-stroking project. McCartney admitted that "Help!" was just the band's travel whims caught on film. "I never been to the Bahamas....ok let's go there. Right that into the script..." (Beatles Anthology, Part 2 - 1995 ABC-TV version)

Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:48 am

Graceland Grumpus wrote:Getting back to the assesment of RS's 60-obsession, they are --- and even "Now" obsessed


Have you read RS in the past 25 years? The obsession in 2003 is to sell magazines, which is why they now carry US Army adverts and put Justin Timberlake on the cover.

Graceland Galonker wrote:for their premiere issue in 67 did they put a photo of the original rock star Elvis Presley on the cover? Nooooooo. It was ... J Lennon ... RS thought that was "now" and cutting-edge.


What an absurd statement. RS editor Jann Wenner choosing Lennon for the cover debut was undeniably the correct call. John Lennon was the leader of the #1 rock band in the world, Elvis was busy doing overdubs for "Clambake" or "Stay Away Joe." How do these facts elude you?

Graceland Gremlin wrote:... every Elvis 60s movie have [ sic ] become an eternal body of work in the pop culture cinema and that's something RS would deny in 67 and probably even in 2007. Didn't RS just bash Elvis' army movie in this 2003 current issue?? Yes. [ sic ] The mag is consistent in its dismissal of Elvis' work.


An "eternal body of work in the pop culture cinema"? Are you drunk? And "G.I. Blues" is a not especially good musical by any standard. "Help!" is far superior, for example.

The truth of the matter is that RS has <b>praised</b> Elvis' work through the years -- even prior to his death. The From Elvis In Memphis (1969), Elvis Country (1971) and As Recorded At Madison Square Garden (1972) reviews are loaded with superlatives.

And when Presley deserved constructive criticism, they gave it -- see the 1971 Love Letters From Elvis review by Jon Landau.

ALL the above reviews are on-line and viewable for anyone willing to discuss what really happened, rather than just blowing smoke out of their backsides.

God bless!

Pet Sounds

Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:52 am

You Beatles apologists kill me. Once again, you miss it. Sgt. Peppers was lame follow up to the far superior Pet Sounds. Throughout the 60's the Beatles tried to keep up with Brian Wilson and couldn't do it. If it hadn't been for George Matin there wouldn't have been a Beatles. Brian had more talent in one finger than any of the Beatles. They wrote some catchy tunes but couldn't produce and weren't terribly great players. Except for McCartney maybe. Brian did it all and did it better. Even Elvis was a producer, Felton Jarvis notwithstanding. Quit trying to make them out to be something they weren't. The Beatles were a distant third in every phase of the game. Right behind Elvis and Brian Wilson.