All posts with more than 3000 Hits, prior to 2008

Mon Jun 09, 2003 10:09 am

Graceland Gardener -

You've got it wrong about 'Flaming Star' & 'Wild In The Country'.

They were less successful than the lightweight musicals but not because of the fans.

The fans [including the 'giddy fickle teenage girls'] went to see them but it was the wider public [who went to 'Blue Hawaii' & 'G I Blues'] who stayed away.

This situation might have soon changed if Elvis had been given some more 'serious' roles.

But the Colonel thought that this was the blueprint for the future and the pattern of Elvis' film career was decided then.

So short-sighted !

Mon Jun 09, 2003 11:43 am

No, Elvis certainly wasn´t lazy - but taking to many drugs and being depressed isn´t good for your creativity either... he needed new input, a new challenge now and then. And in the last few years, there was no-one there to challenge him (or to guide him) when he should have worked with great producers like Steve Binder and Chips Moman.

I have a feeling Elvis didn´t trust his own instincts after "Aloha", like he didn´t know what to do. August ´74 is a good example. After a great opening show with almost all-new material, he changes back to a more "normal" set-list the very next day. Something seems to have happened there, as his behaviour suddenly becomes very strange (the long monologues, looking very stoned in some backstage photos) and even worse on the following tour.

But really; I´m not disappointed in anything Elvis did - If Elvis had been a well-behaved Phil Collins-type of artist we would not be discussing him like we are on this messageboard!


Mon Jun 09, 2003 9:59 pm

Colin B and Graceland Gardener I think the truth is somewhere in between your contentions. The hardcore fans know doubt went to see both "Flaming Star" and "Wild in the Country" but there was a larger group of casual fans in the teenage demographic who stayed away from it. And it is true that the serious film fans and adults that the two movies were aimed at stayed away. However, it is unlikely that they went to "Blue Hawaii".

I'm not sure the casual fans abandoned him for other Elvis idols but grew up and had less time for the movies and records. The people who went to see "Blue Hawaii" were the older brothers and sisters of Beatles fans. The Beatles and Monkee fans were different people for the most part and the Colonel and the suits didn't recognize that. They liked different things then the teenagers that went ape over Elvis.

As for what I would change about Elvis, I would make him more aggressive in pursuing new challenges and opportunities. I would also as Prince Dragna notes give him more faith in his abilities. If the show flops in 74, well maybe it was a bad audience. If "Flaming Star" flops but the next even better movie won't.

The husband thing doesn't bother me a lot. When you're the most famous man in the world and stunningly beautiful women throw themselves at you around the clock, even the strongest man could be forgiven for caving.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:10 am

Likethebike -
With all due respect there is a world of difference between "caving" to temptation and actively persuing the pleasures of the flesh. Monogamy was not exactly Elvis' strong point! He had a truly fine woman in Linda Thompson and he still could not be faithful to her. He was a creature of habit. He developed this particular habit in the early, youthful years of his career, but never seemed to attain the maturity to outgrow it!

Tue Jun 10, 2003 6:57 am

It's a little unfair for people in our position to judge a person in Elvis' position. The average person has maybe one or two temptations a lifetime. A person like Elvis faced temptation every minute of every day. This is really an off subject thing but I don't know if monogamy is a natural state in a situation like that. I mean nearly all the biographies, I've read of famous men and even women is that when the opportunity presents itself they take it. The one/man, one woman celebrity politician is an extreme anomaly.

The main criticism I have for Elvis in that situation is that if you want to chase women; why get married?

Tue Jun 10, 2003 7:41 am

If records don't sell it's because no one is buying.

No offense Carolyn, I believe your contention that you weren't buying Monkees records...but someone was!

It was schoolgirls' babysitting $$$ that went straight to the bank accounts of Lennon & McCartney & Dolenz & Jones & Jagger & Diana Ross (and their respective labels Capitol, Decca, ColGems, Motown etc.)
Those acts like the Beatles, Monkees, Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, The Supremes and Beach Boys were all enjoying million-sellers during a time when RCA's cornertstone Elvis Presley was not.


Reading Jorgensen's Day By Day, I was disappointed to see the U.S. sales figures for each release during the 1960s. Elvis' musical product (usually tied-in with a film) was not gold-worthy.
NOT GOLD-WORTHY. (far less than 500,000 units sold)

Was this Elvis' fault?
I don't think so. I think it was the fault of the general public who went to the record store and did not purchase Kissin Cousins LP but they did purchase A Hard Day's Night LP.

They chose not to buy Harum Scarum LP but they did buy Pet Sounds.

They didn't buy "Indescribably Blue" but they did buy enough copies of "Daydream Believer" to push it to #1.

It's as simple as that. A certain consumer demographic (whether that be giddy teenage girls or not) decided that each new Presley LP and 45 was not worth the investment - but all these other bands were.

That's the facts. In the 1960s, a substantial number of people quit on Elvis!

It's The Rise And Fall Of The Elvis Fan.

(Not Elvis himself)

Ever heard the 1970 radio spot for TTWII? The voice-over says, "Elvis didn't come back. We did."

That's sooooo true.

Elvis was always the cool handsome studly powerful-voiced idol - but during most of the Sixties, young people considered other "rock stars" more scream-worthy and buzz-worth than Elvis.
By 1969-70 the public interest began to shift back to Elvis...and his million-sellers returned. Coincidence? It's all consumer-driven.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 8:09 am

Elvis' singles moved pretty well up to around the end of 1966. Most of them were hits by any standard except the Beatles.

Elvis' albums (except the greatest hits which sold well) definitely were not Gold worthy in that period. I would have bought "Hard Day's Night" over "Kissin Cousins" as well if I only had $3 to spend. (I would have not bought lameo Herman's Hermits if someone held a gun to my head.)That said again they moved fairly decently until 1966.

Like I said I don't think so many fans abandoned Elvis as much as he didn't score with the new breed of fan. "Indescribably Blue" was kind of a transitional record without much of a hook. It's no mystery why it didn't sell.

Elvis' reputation with the new audience and the casual part of the old was in such tatters that he couldn't as a great a record as "Guitar Man" on the radio. But "Big Boss Man", "Guitar Man" and "US Male" were a little ahead of their time as country rock records in a psychedelic market place.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 8:21 am

likethebike wrote:
Elvis' reputation with the new audience and the casual part of the old was in such tatters that he couldn't as a great a record as "Guitar Man" on the radio. But "Big Boss Man", "Guitar Man" and "US Male" were a little ahead of their time as country rock records in a psychedelic market place.

This surely was the problem :!: None of these songs was original and the latter two were clones.

Elvis was no longer perceived as being a leader - he was following on.

Had better writers been allowed , along with better producers Elvis would have done far better.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 8:34 am

he didn't score with the new breed of fan .... Elvis' reputation with the new audience

likethebike, who are the new breed and the new audience? Passangers on a space ship thast landed on Earth?

It's Teenagers Coming Of Age.

Now, to Elvis' benefit, the teenagers coming of age in 1956 spent enough $ on Elvis to give him 4 #1 hits that year. Hooray!
But...the teenagers coming of age in 1966 didn't do that for Elvis did they?
To them, he wasn't cool enough or young enough anymore to be a relevent sensation to them. Life is like that. Times change. Elvis was hitting his 30s and the current pop idol was 24.

The girls who screamed silly for Elvis in the 50s were married with babies by 1965. They didn't have the $ to spend on an Elvis record like they used to.

I suspect the core of all sales Elvis had after 1962 was the Elvis Fan Club members and very little from the average citizen. When a release like "Viva Las Vegas" EP only sells 150,000 units, that's basically to fan club members only. Right?

I don't blame Elvis - or even The Colonel - where sales (and lack thereof) are concerned. It's the responsibility of the public to make hits happen and to make gold records happen. If the compositions are lousy then you can't really blame the public for not buying the records.

300,000 units seems to be the average sold domestically in the mid-1960s.

A few hundred thousand???

Where were those 50 million Elvis fans (who can't be wrong)????

Burping the baby, paying off the mortgage, and/or watching The Monkees.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 9:42 am

Graceland Gardener- I basically agree with you. All I meant by the new breed was fans who came of age in the mid-60s as opposed to those who came of age in the 50s. Teens were still the biggest record buyers but the teenagers from the 50s didn't stay young forever and were replaced by teenagers with different tastes.

Kiwi- I very much disagree about the quality of "Guitar Man" and the other songs from the session. "Guitar Man", "Big Boss Man", "Hi Heel Sneakers", "US Male" and "Too Much Monkey Business" are all very innovative records. For me they are the first country rock records combining country instrumentation and phrasing with a rock and roll sense of aggression. This is one of the few times in his career that Elvis collaborated with another musician Jerry Reed and the results were splendid and original. Elvis made nothing that sounded like them to that point.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 9:49 am

In defense of "Viva Las Vegas" it would have sold more if it were on an album. The EP was a dying format at this time and the four songs included didn't even include the title track. The movie was the 11th biggest hit of the year.

"Ain't That Loving You", "Crying in the Chapel", "Kissin' Cousins", "I'm Yours", "Puppet on a String" and "Easy Question" all moved more than 500,000 in '64/65. So he was scoring with somebody.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 10:03 am

Likethebike, I'm not arguing against your statements - just defining what that "new breed" was and you're right, we're right - kids always like something newer than what their big sisters/big brothers listened to. And they especially dislike what their own parents listened to.

Re: the sales figures I used are referenced from memory. I loaned out my Day By Day book so I don't have it here in front of me but I recall only 6-figure sales under half-million for alot of his soundtrack releases.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 10:08 am

I guess eventually they went Gold so that's the good thing. I'm not sure in 62, '63 or 64 what were normal sales for a successful album. Albums didn't start really moving until the mid-60s.

Tue Jun 10, 2003 5:38 pm

Some of you folks are going to great lengths to overlook the obvious. The primary reason for Elvis' decline in sales in the mid-60's was the drop in quality of the music! His fans at that time were so starved for decent material that they bought singles of 3 year old album tracks (Such An Easy Question; I'm Yours) in sufficient numbers to get them onto the top 15, while the movie singles (Viva Las Vegas; Do The Clam; Frankie & Johnny) were failing to make the top 20. While 2 of these movie tunes did sell respectably, that would change drastically in 66-68!

Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:26 am

I think what people are really looking over is the fact that Elvis didn't record ANY serious NON SOUNDTRACK studio efforts from 1966-1968. Up to 1966 Elvis was doing pretty good on the charts. He still had top 10 songs and was still reasonably popular. The inactivity is what killed Elvis plain and simple. Soundtrack songs are not going to keep viability in a ever increasing competitive time like the 60's.

Wed Jun 11, 2003 1:01 am

Hindsight is a really cool thing. I don't know if any of us could have handled Elvis situation any better than he did. WALK A MILE,MAN! THe only thing I find a little troublesome is the Gun thing. Thank god he didn't kill someone (except Parker maybe).

Wed Jun 11, 2003 1:14 am

Lonnie -

It isn't all hindsight, you know.

There were a lot of us who were concerned at the choice of film roles & singles at the time.

We knew Elvis was capable of handling the more serious roles [because we'd seen him in 'Wild In The Country' etc.].

We knew he was cutting some good tracks in the studio [because they were turning up as bonus tracks on soundtrack albums].

But during the 60's the general public was seeing & hearing a watered-down, sterilised, sanitised, goody-two-shoes Elvis, and his popularity suffered as a result.

We didn't need hindsight - it was happening right there before our eyes [and ears].

Wed Jun 11, 2003 3:20 am

I also have problems with the gun thing. I don't understand but a lot of people including my nephew share that obsession. Still it's kind of unseemly on an artist.

Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:03 am

If Elvis took care of himself as much as he took care of all the takers in his life...he might still be alive today!!!

the squirrel

Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:47 pm

genesim wrote: ....I see what you are getting at R. R. Police, I just think it is too broad a brush stroke. We only look at the post results and pick out the bad. There is more to a man's life than that. I for one have been bad to the people I love...then again I have been very good to. I am sure Elvis had his moments, it is just that people now think it is cool to bash him. The Memphis Mafia do it on a monthly basis. They stayed with him for what...15 years? Elvis must have done something right!

Just my opinon. Don't take me too seriously, you guys know by now...I am full of BS.

Not BS, Genesim. Neither do I fit into the "Basher" category. I normally don't care much for the private life of an artist. And when I post here, it is mostly related to Elvis' music. For good or bad.

This thread, though, was dedicated to "bad". A thread designed for blow-outs and accusations, one might say.

Wed Jun 11, 2003 7:05 pm

Good point R. R. Police. Though it was a thread designed to point out flaws, I am under the impression of "whats the point". I guess it is hard to contribute to the post in that way...I would rather spend my time pointing out the good things Elvis done. Shoot me, but that is how I see it. I would react the same way to a Peanut Butter And Banana post.

Things about Elvis I did not like

Wed Jun 11, 2003 7:28 pm

This is more of a wish than a dislike.

I just wish that in the 70's, on stage, Elvis had treated Hound Dog/ All Shook Up/ Don't Be Cruel/ Blue Suede Shoes and a few others with the respect that they deserved, and remotely in the same way as he had sung the original hit versions.

Those performances just demeaned the originals and robbed some younger fans of knowing what the songs were all about, and why they were such gigantic hits.

On the other hand who (in the 60s) would have thought that Elvis would ever sing Trying to Get To You and A Big Hunk Of Love again, and with a reasonable amount of passion. Let's just take the good with the bad !

Wed Jun 11, 2003 7:31 pm

I think Elvis treated the 50's songs with respect on the 68 comback as well as the first couple of years of the vegas shows...after that it was "speedy" time.

Thu Jun 12, 2003 12:27 am

Graceland Gardener wrote:Ever heard the 1970 radio spot for TTWII? The voice-over says, "Elvis didn't come back. We did."

That's sooooo true.

Elvis was always the cool handsome studly powerful-voiced idol - but during most of the Sixties, young people considered other "rock stars" more scream-worthy and buzz-worth than Elvis.
By 1969-70 the public interest began to shift back to Elvis...and his million-sellers returned. Coincidence? It's all consumer-driven.

Show "Paradise, Hawaiian style" and "That's the way it is" subsequently to a non-elvis-fan and ask him to comment.
I'd bet you my socks that he would notice a difference in the entertainment quality within those two films.
The difference is artist-driven.

Thu Jun 12, 2003 7:47 pm

It is amazing how people cut Elvis slack for cheating on his wife and girlfriends. It was not weakness to temptation. He would go out of his way to do it. He knew exactly what he was doing. Cheating is wrong. And it shows a total lack of respect for your loved ones. In one way he respected women and in another way he did not.

As far as the movies go it was the fans fault for how Elvis movie career went. They prefered Blue Hawaii and Girls, Girls, Girls and Fun In Acapulco over Flaming Star, Wild In The Country. Management and Hollywood always go with a formula that works. They are in the business to make money. it has always been like that.