All posts with more than 3000 Hits, prior to 2008

Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:25 am

Nik Cohn is one of my absolute favorite rock writers of all time. It's a shame that some are letting the genius of a piece like this slip by them because it is not 100 percent complimentary to Elvis.

It is very clear that Cohn loved Elvis but there are different kinds of love just as there are different kinds of compliments. The praise that Cohn gives here, for a figure he'd almost lost faith in, that he literally felt was dying, is worth so much more than an empty triumphant rant. I understand why Cohn chose a show like this as the greatest even though he had seen Elvis in the early '70s and on that tv special and on tv. Compared to those shows when Elvis was in Cohn and James Burton's words "lean and mean", this triumph was so hard won. Read this back to back, with Cohn's great Phil Spector essay in the RS History of Rock. That Cohn gives you and warts and all makes you appreciate the greatness in the genius that much more.

To me the piece is emblematic of all that is good in Cohn's work. He never has all his facts straight because he writes from an emotionally impressionistic standpoint. This is what things seemed like to him at that time. The use of language is so strong and extraordinary. Comparing Elvis to a dying man shaking off his life support for a last incredible stand gives such an indelible image. This is why I love Nik Cohn above all rock writers with the possible exception of Greil Marcus. Cohn absolutely submerges himself and lives or relives the event and makes you live it yourself. So much what passes for criticism today and in the past refuses to take a stand, is content in its mediocrity. Cohn is just the opposite. His work is alive in most writers never touch. Whether you agree or not, his stuff sets off a spark in you that makes you come alive. If you miss that because you don't like or agree with every word he's saying, it's your loss.

Thanks for that Bray. I had no idea this piece existed.

Fri Jan 26, 2007 6:30 am

likethebike wrote:Nik Cohn is one of my absolute favorite rock writers of all time. It's a shame that some are letting the genius of a piece like this slip by them because it is not 100 percent complimentary to Elvis.

It is very clear that Cohn loved Elvis but there are different kinds of love just as there are different kinds of compliments. The praise that Cohn gives here, for a figure he'd almost lost faith in, that he literally felt was dying, is worth so much more than an empty triumphant rant. I understand why Cohn chose a show like this as the greatest even though he had seen Elvis in the early '70s and on that tv special and on tv. Compared to those shows when Elvis was in Cohn and James Burton's words "lean and mean", this triumph was so hard won. Read this back to back, with Cohn's great Phil Spector essay in the RS History of Rock. That Cohn gives you and warts and all makes you appreciate the greatness in the genius that much more.

To me the piece is emblematic of all that is good in Cohn's work. He never has all his facts straight because he writes from an emotionally impressionistic standpoint. This is what things seemed like to him at that time. The use of language is so strong and extraordinary. Comparing Elvis to a dying man shaking off his life support for a last incredible stand gives such an indelible image. This is why I love Nik Cohn above all rock writers with the possible exception of Greil Marcus. Cohn absolutely submerges himself and lives or relives the event and makes you live it yourself. So much what passes for criticism today and in the past refuses to take a stand, is content in its mediocrity. Cohn is just the opposite. His work is alive in most writers never touch. Whether you agree or not, his stuff sets off a spark in you that makes you come alive. If you miss that because you don't like or agree with every word he's saying, it's your loss.

Thanks for that Bray. I had no idea this piece existed.


:smt023

Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:00 am

Fantastic writing, pretty much sums up the extraordinary gift that Elvis Presley had.

Elvis sitting at the piano, without the s##t, without the hype, making every single person in the audience feel as if he's singing for them and them only. 8) 8)

"Music that bleeds" could be used on so many more occasions with Elvis, most (for me anyway) usually involve him sitting at the piano.

Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:06 pm

likethebike wrote:It's a shame that some are letting the genius of a piece like this slip by them because it is not 100 percent complimentary to Elvis.

There is absolutely nothing "genius" about anything he has written about this show. I don't care if it is 100% complimentary of Elvis or not. Again, the part that gets me is Elvis was seen as ancient history, a curiosity at best. Instead of Madison Square Garden, he was reduced to playing Long Island, an hour's drive and light years from Manhattan.
He wasn't seen as "curiosity at best." Try telling that to 19,000 people who were at the shows I saw.

Why was Elvis "reduced" to playing Long Island? Don't make it sound as if that's the only place that would have him. If you're going to make a comment like that, tell the reason behind it. Tell them it was because Parker wouldn't pay the asking price for the Garden.

I see absolutely nothing "genius" about anything he had to say. I don't care how many of you try to say what a fan this man is. If he was a fan, he wouldn't be writing this stuff for the world to see. Some of you say it's an honest review. That's fine. I say it's BS at it's best. Had I not attended a couple of shows myself, I may be more open-minded to his review. But I did attend and I know how Elvis was received.

I guess what gets me most are the words "curiosity" and "reduced."

Nothing could be more untrue. That being said, I'm finished with this thread and with the "genius" of the author.

Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:12 pm

Rob wrote:Again, the part that gets me is Elvis was seen as ancient history, a curiosity at best. Instead of Madison Square Garden, he was reduced to playing Long Island, an hour's drive and light years from Manhattan..

I think you may be overreacting, just a tad.

Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:25 pm

Again, I think you're not reading the paragraph in context:

It took the sneers of New York's hiperati to change my mind. In '75, Dylan and the Stones were the reigning gods of the rock establishment, Springsteen its new rising star. Elvis was seen as ancient history, a curiosity at best. Instead of Madison Square Garden, he was reduced to playing Long Island, an hour's drive and light years from Manhattan. A publicist for 10cc called him a circus freak. I wasn't having that.

He's clearly not speaking of the thousands of people who flocked to his concert as the following paragraph about them spells out in detail.

Regardless, I'm afraid the Doc's diagnosis is right: You may be taking this a little too hard.

Fri Jan 26, 2007 4:20 pm

Frankly, I'm amazed that some regard this review as BS, pathetic, crap, and what have you... Although I shouldn't be, I guess :wink: But - if this isn't a great, positive review of Elvis in July 1975, then I don't know what is?!

Cohn is obviously not talking about the fans present at the show when he says Elvis was regarded as history at the time. He is talking about people in the music business, journalists... and maybe even the general public, to most of whom I'm pretty sure Elvis was seen as an oldies act. The only part of the review I think he could've skipped was the "exploding corset", even if I couldn't help but laugh when I read it. Let's face it; that suit was not one of his more flattering.

If I wasn't a fan already, this is just the kind of article that would make me take interest in the artist, maybe even look up that particular show!

Everyone already knows that Elvis was overweight in his last years, that there was a decline in the 70's. But everyone does not, unfortunately, know that Elvis could still be a great artist in that period. And that last fact comes through loud and clear in the review!

Fri Jan 26, 2007 8:04 pm

Corset popping Zombie! If you get a kick out of reading sh*t like that, good for you.

Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:28 pm

Perhaps if he did the review minus the cheap shots, it would get appreciated more. I thought for a moment the review was done by Tom Jones.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:25 am

Joe Car wrote:Perhaps if he did the review minus the cheap shots, it would get appreciated more. I thought for a moment the review was done by Tom Jones.


Err excuse me, I have seen Sir Tom in concert several times, read countless interviews and watched umpteen DVD'S, Videos and so on and he has only ever said nice things about Elvis.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:38 am

I know Rob said he was finished with the thread so I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning his name here.

I am p***ed off with the comments in that article and I agree with Rob entirely, if I had been a non-fan back in the days of that concert it would have put me off going to see Elvis.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:51 am

It's his impression and as Elvissessions points out it was an impression of what he thought others in the world, others in the culture were thinking. He went to see the show because he couldn't stand a diss of his idol.

Cohn wrote in his book: "Elvis is where pop begins and ends. He's the great original and even now, he's the image that makes all others seem shoddy, the boss. For once, the fan club spiel is justified: Elvis is King." That's not a fan??? He wrote that at the height of the psychedelic era when hipsters weren't busting a gut to praise Elvis. (Cohn's book, a history of rock first came out in 1969 and was updated in 1973. Cohn's writing was done in 1968 as in the original edition he mentions how Elvis has issued a handful of classy records in a row and wonders if it's going to lead to a comeback.)

He is also not a '60s rock first kind of guy. Cohn writes dismissively in his book of both the Beatles and Bob Dylan although he's since modified his judgements. He's definitely not an Elvis '50s over and done guy.

The quote earlier here about blowing other pop away like the chaff is in reference to Elvis' late '60s early 70s stage show.

The genius is in the art of what he is saying. Anybody can go out and say "Elvis did 25 songs and his version of 'How Great Thou Art' was very impassioned.'" Not everyone can turn a phrase and create an image like Cohn does in this piece.

Incidentally, it was an article of Cohn's which led to the movie Saturday Night Fever.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:00 am

likethebike wrote:Incidentally, it was an article of Cohn's which led to the movie Saturday Night Fever.


"Tribal Rites Of The New Saturday Night" -- which Cohn actually faked. Some esteemed journalist.

At least they made a FANTASTIC film out of it! 8)

Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:28 am

likethebike wrote:Nik Cohn is one of my absolute favorite rock writers of all time. It's a shame that some are letting the genius of a piece like this slip by them because it is not 100 percent complimentary to Elvis.

It is very clear that Cohn loved Elvis but there are different kinds of love just as there are different kinds of compliments. The praise that Cohn gives here, for a figure he'd almost lost faith in, that he literally felt was dying, is worth so much more than an empty triumphant rant. I understand why Cohn chose a show like this as the greatest even though he had seen Elvis in the early '70s and on that tv special and on tv. Compared to those shows when Elvis was in Cohn and James Burton's words "lean and mean", this triumph was so hard won. Read this back to back, with Cohn's great Phil Spector essay in the RS History of Rock. That Cohn gives you and warts and all makes you appreciate the greatness in the genius that much more.

To me the piece is emblematic of all that is good in Cohn's work. He never has all his facts straight because he writes from an emotionally impressionistic standpoint. This is what things seemed like to him at that time. The use of language is so strong and extraordinary. Comparing Elvis to a dying man shaking off his life support for a last incredible stand gives such an indelible image. This is why I love Nik Cohn above all rock writers with the possible exception of Greil Marcus. Cohn absolutely submerges himself and lives or relives the event and makes you live it yourself. So much what passes for criticism today and in the past refuses to take a stand, is content in its mediocrity. Cohn is just the opposite. His work is alive in most writers never touch. Whether you agree or not, his stuff sets off a spark in you that makes you come alive. If you miss that because you don't like or agree with every word he's saying, it's your loss.

Thanks for that Bray. I had no idea this piece existed.


Thanks to you LTB. You just summed up the whole reason why I decided to post the link here. Incidentally your own writing is always a pleasure to read.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:53 am

i still hope that this concert will surface someday, as a soundboard recording......... :cry:

marcel

Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:08 pm

Err excuse me, I have seen Sir Tom in concert several times, read countless interviews and watched umpteen DVD'S, Videos and so on and he has only ever said nice things about Elvis.


I couldn't diagree more. I've seen Tom on a few british TV shows, and he never misses an opportunity to put Elvis down, making himself look better in the process. On Jonathon Ross, he was laughing at Elvis karate skills, saying he was never any good, on Frank Skinner, he made out that Elvis never hit any of the high notes at the end of the songs, just standing there with his mouth open. Tom claimed Elvis advided him to do the same, to save his voice, but Tom snidely replied that HE couldn't do that, as it was the big notes he "got off on".

As much as I admire some of his music, I don't think much of the man.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:13 pm

In an in depth look at the article we see the author not only strips a very sick Elvis of all his dignity but also has a gratuitous go at his fans.

I get the feeling he is playing to the gallery.......the Guardian and Observer readers, in a bid to appear, oh so objective and clever

The sad part is, he buried his gem of a description of the Elvis Concert in excrement.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:11 pm

Toms always been an excellent cabaret act. I've heard him put Elvis down on a number of occassions; its not good to listen too.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:13 pm

musicmentor1 wrote:In an in depth look at the article we see the author not only strips a very sick Elvis of all his dignity but also has a gratuitous go at his fans.

I get the feeling he is playing to the gallery.......the Guardian and Observer readers, in a bid to appear, oh so objective and clever

The sad part is, he buried his gem of a description of the Elvis Concert in excrement.


That sums it up very well.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:36 pm

An excellent, heartfelt review 8)

Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:26 am

musicmentor1 wrote:In an in depth look at the article ...

You just don't get it.

The only thing "in depth" [sic] about your comments is how they painfully illustrate that not everyone on this MB -- or in the "Elvis World" -- is sophisticated enough to appreciate or absorb Cohn's magnificent prose.

Perhaps you should seek out your own "music mentor."

Sun Jan 28, 2007 1:25 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:The only thing "in depth" [sic] about your comments is how they painfully illustrate that not everyone on this MB -- or in the "Elvis World" -- is sophisticated enough to appreciate or absorb Cohn's magnificent prose.

Perhaps you should seek out your own "music mentor."


Doc, why do you do this? Really? The sole purpose of almost half your posts is to belittle someone else's opinion. It fascinates me how someone can be thoughtful and insightful one minute and then a complete ass hole the next. Freud would have had a field day.

(Cue "lack of class, blah, blah, blah" response)

Chris

Sun Jan 28, 2007 1:52 am

ChrisM wrote:Doc, why do you do this?

"Do" what? Cause you to froth over your keyboard in indignation over yet another misunderstood reading of one of my spot-on comments? Don't you have anything better to do than make sweeping and erroneous accusations? Get a grip, little man.

The post to which I responded was rude, gratuitous and ignorant. My reply was to the point -- if Nik Cohn's words engender such a response, one really should try to find some help. Evidently, so should you.

Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:43 am

[previous comments deleted]

Doc, you know what, just carry on. After the apparent banning by a fellow Admin of yours on the Nixon thread for disagreeing with the commonly held viewpoint, I really can't be bothered with this. You are absolutely right, I do have better things to do.

Chris

Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:50 pm

stuart wrote:
musicmentor1 wrote:In an in depth look at the article we see the author not only strips a very sick Elvis of all his dignity but also has a gratuitous go at his fans.

I get the feeling he is playing to the gallery.......the Guardian and Observer readers, in a bid to appear, oh so objective and clever

The sad part is, he buried his gem of a description of the Elvis Concert in excrement.


That sums it up very well.


I salute your perspicacity.