Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:17 pm

This special still amazes me to this day, no doubt the greatest rock & roll performed by anybody. Nobody can say any unflattering things about this special, he was that great in every sense of the word. In the 39 years, that performance still hasn't lost that edge, still rocks like there was no tomorrow.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:19 am

Otherworldly is not too extravagant a term to apply to this program.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:26 am

I would just like to add, for me, one of the many high points of this special is his amazing version of one of the cornerstones of Rock and Roll his perforamance of 'Jailhouse Rock'. Unfortunatly this is the only time that Elvis invested so much in this song since that magical year of 57. One only yeans for the same kind of commitment to the lyrics in his 69 performances. Although until a live version from the 50s surfaces this live performance is most definative, in a special that is loaded with definative performances.

Burning Love

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:35 am

Burning Love wrote:I would just like to add, for me, one of the many high points of this special is his amazing version of one of the cornerstones of Rock and Roll his perforamance of 'Jailhouse Rock'. Unfortunatly this is the only time that Elvis invested so much in this song since that magical year of 57. One only yeans for the same kind of commitment to the lyrics in his 69 performances. Although until a live version from the 50s surfaces this live performance is most definative, in a special that is loaded with definative performances.

Spot-on! Elvis only began doing "Jailhouse Rock" on the October 1957 tour, so precious few performances exist from that year, if any. Maybe we'll hear one before 2057.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:22 am

Hey Greybeard: thanks for the artifacts from TV Land (good ol' channel 28...!)

Outside of Rich, I hope others have taken a listen to the Sirius radio interviews regarding the '68 Special that I posted about earlier:

And for those of you who haven't visited
Elvissessions' page on '68: check out these
great audio files from Sirius Radio,
featuring the likes of::

Producer Steve Binder
Drummer D.J. Fontana
Musical Director Bones Howe
Writer Alan Blye
Writer Chris Beard
Ernst Jorgensen on the RCA/BMG "Tiger Man" CD..:



http://www.elvissessions.com/68ComebackSpecial.html



Another thing I'm struck by with this anniversary: it's 39 years ago. That's a long time ago now (nearly 40 years) but also still close enough to be within the range of the "thirty years ago" tag (the last year we can say that)...as just this year we marked the 30 years since his death in '77 with such fanfare.

I guess I'm realizing how quickly that final year came after his final triumph, as I was born shortly after the special's first broadcast but certainly remember and mourned his '77 death.

If I'm making any sense at all, I mean that we are reminded that the high of '68 effectively came in the same decade (or rather same ten years) as his sad '77 death. "Anniversaries" of this kind remind of us of how quick it happened.

And next year (the 40th anniversary) will seem that much further along, whereas that it's still just "39" (" and holding") makes it feel like yesterday.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:36 am

"Trying to get to you" is thee single, greatest vocal performance, i have ever heard. "Lawdy miss clawdy" is a very close second!!

Absolutely SUBLIME!!!
Last edited by Promocollector on Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:39 am

Promocollector wrote:"Trying to get to you" is thee single, greatest vocal performance, i have ever heard. "Lawdy miss clawdy" is a very close second!!

Absolutely SUBLIME!!!

No argument!

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:09 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:it's 39 years ago. That's a long time ago now (nearly 40 years)

i bet your parents are happy to see that private education didn't go to waste :lol:



i think the '68 comeback is the greatest performance by anyone i have ever seen, his voice is so rough and the power is great i could (and have a few times) watch this all day, it proved to us all(and to himself) that he was/is still the KING.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:14 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Promocollector wrote:"Trying to get to you" is thee single, greatest vocal performance, i have ever heard. "Lawdy miss clawdy" is a very close second!!

Absolutely SUBLIME!!!

No argument!


He was attacking the guitar, in his own world, just oblivious to everything but the music. It truly was a brilliant idea from Steve Binder for this set-up, because nobody could deny his genius! Our boy was free, free from that Hollywood jail cell, and back where he belonged, on stage and knocking them dead!

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:35 am

ben wrote:
Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:it's 39 years ago. That's a long time ago now (nearly 40 years)

i bet your parents are happy to see that private education didn't go to waste :lol:


Sure, newbie, take me out of context! :roll: I was making a point about the proximity of the 30th anniversary of his death and the 39th of this high point...Oh, never mind.

By the way, both parents are gone and it was a quality public education (as we call it here) all the way, including under and graduate degrees, pal-o-mine!

Cue "Poor Boy"...
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:45 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
ben wrote:
Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:it's 39 years ago. That's a long time ago now (nearly 40 years)

i bet your parents are happy to see that private education didn't go to waste :lol:


Sure, newbie, take me out of context! :roll: I was making a point about the proximity of the 30th anniversary of his death and the 39th of this high point...Oh, never mind.

By the way, both parents are gone and it was a quality public education (as we call it here) all the way, including under and graduate degrees, pal-o-mine!

Cute "Poor Boy"...


Oh pay no attention to Ben's sense of humour Greg .. he's 16 and a real keen fan... you know what teenagers humour is like lol .. I'm sure he''ll apologise when he realises what he's done :wink:

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:47 am

I've just watched this again tonight and come to realise .. it's timeless. After watching Nirvana Unplugged this week .. it dawned on me tonight .. was this Elvis doing the first Unplugged??

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:30 am

Doc, thanks for posting this. Yours and others' comments are spot-on about the importance of these performances in Elvis' career and musical legacy. A real joy to read that fine review....

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:39 am

Little Darlin wrote:I've just watched this again tonight and come to realise .. it's timeless. After watching Nirvana Unplugged this week .. it dawned on me tonight .. was this Elvis doing the first Unplugged??


Yes !

Elvis started the whole 'unplugged' thing !

Strange, isn't it, that his very first performance with a 'plugged in' guitar should have spawned such a thing !

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:17 pm

Yes, LD, it has been said on more than one occasion that Elvis started the whole "unplugged" thing that took off on MTV for a time.

Specifically, starting in I think 1985, HBO in the US played a terrific one-hour "sit-down" show from '68 they entitled "One Night With You" over and over to great acclaim. Many of my non-fan siblings and even my father was bowled over by this contagious special. I don't know how much later, however, that "Unplugged" debuted on MTV.

After all, small group, sit-down jam sessions have been around forever and they might just as easily have been picking up on some of the blues and folk sessions that were popular in the '60s blues and folkie booms.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:15 pm

Elvis was the 1st to go "Unplugged", indeed.

Before anyone did anything, Elvis did everything.

Hey - I like the sound of that :wink:

Rich

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:18 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:In a career that knew many peaks, this was the pinnacle.

And it will last as long as people have ears, eyes, hearts and souls.

Perfectly said. Great article.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:23 pm

Rich_TCB wrote:Elvis was the 1st to go "Unplugged", indeed.

Before anyone did anything, Elvis did everything.

Hey - I like the sound of that :wink:

Rich



Well, are we to believe Ed Sullivan or Johnny Carson or the Smothers Brothers or other TV shows didn't have a duo or trio playing acoustically? Even in the "square" world of mainstream TV, I gather someone had one of the folkie bands on in the early '60s at the very least.

"There's nothing new under the sun," as they say.

Undoubtedly, it was a risky route pushed by either Steve Binder or Bones Howe to get a chance to air what they had witnessed backstage: stripped-down, "raw", jam sessions and for a "Christmas Special" as it was first meant to be, it was a pretty revolutionary thing for prime-time, I'll grant that.

But "firsts" are tricky things and depend on how you define your terms.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:00 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:Well, are we to believe Ed Sullivan or Johnny Carson or the Smothers Brothers or other TV shows didn't have a duo or trio playing acoustically?
Even in the "square" world of mainstream TV, I gather someone had one of the folkie bands on in the early '60s at the very least.
"There's nothing new under the sun," as they say.
Undoubtedly, it was a risky route pushed by either Steve Binder or Bones Howe to get a chance to air what they had witnessed backstage: stripped-down, "raw", jam sessions and for a "Christmas Special" as it was first meant to be, it was a pretty revolutionary thing for prime-time, I'll grant that.
But "firsts" are tricky things and depend on how you define your terms.


Well, as I pointed out, the 'acoustic' bit is a misnomer really.

Elvis [for once] didn't play his acoustic guitar for most of the sessions.

It was the informally sitting-around-without-any-backing-vocalists & a stripped-down band consisting of just a few mates which was how Elvis inspired the MTV 'unplugged' format.

They introduced the acoustic bit themselves.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:32 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
Rich_TCB wrote:Elvis was the 1st to go "Unplugged", indeed.

Before anyone did anything, Elvis did everything.

Hey - I like the sound of that :wink:

Rich



Well, are we to believe Ed Sullivan or Johnny Carson or the Smothers Brothers or other TV shows didn't have a duo or trio playing acoustically? Even in the "square" world of mainstream TV, I gather someone had one of the folkie bands on in the early '60s at the very least.

"There's nothing new under the sun," as they say.

Undoubtedly, it was a risky route pushed by either Steve Binder or Bones Howe to get a chance to air what they had witnessed backstage: stripped-down, "raw", jam sessions and for a "Christmas Special" as it was first meant to be, it was a pretty revolutionary thing for prime-time, I'll grant that.

But "firsts" are tricky things and depend on how you define your terms.


After the way the sitdown sessions turned out, do you think that Binder had a good hunch after listening to EP jamming in his dressing room. It's the greatest music ever, period!

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:21 pm

ColinB wrote:
Well, as I pointed out, the 'acoustic' bit is a misnomer really.

Elvis [for once] didn't play his acoustic guitar for most of the sessions.

It was the informally sitting-around-without-any-backing-vocalists & a stripped-down band consisting of just a few mates which was how Elvis inspired the MTV 'unplugged' format.

They introduced the acoustic bit themselves.


Well, Colin, I agree it's a misnomer, and after all, even an "acoustic" duo usually is "plugged in" to an electric mike system, so it's really more about being "stripped down," "raw," and " bare bones" or even akin to being more "natural." (Towards the end of the run, MTV really stretched the format: Tony Bennett's hit 1994 "unplugged" was merely a more stripped-down band. He didnt' play harmonica or the jug or anything! :cry:

I want to believe Elvis influenced MTV's "unplugged" show as much as anyone, but I have a hard-time believing a lot of execs around 1989 had not been to a Greenwich Village "coffeehouse" or "hootenany" in the '60s, so they instantly translated such proposals into their own memories of the folkie / blues booms of the time.

But it is nice to see that Elvis is indeed credited on the open-forum encyclopedia "Wikipedia" as having influenced it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV_Unplugged


Bragging rights for Elvis? I'll take 'em, "I'll tell you for sure." :wink:

*************

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:00 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:I want to believe Elvis influenced MTV's "unplugged" show as much as anyone, but I have a hard-time believing a lot of execs around 1989 had not been to a Greenwich Village "coffeehouse" or "hootenany" in the '60s, so they instantly translated such proposals into their own memories of the folkie / blues booms of the time.

No, it is far more plausible that said MTV executives, such as Alex Coletti, saw the January 1985 HBO broadcast of "One Night With You" and its memory resonated with many others while brainstorming new show ideas in the fall of 1989.

Since 1980, there have been plenty of examples of artists stripping down their material to the core, such as Elvis Costello's much-heralded solo tour in 1983. It seems the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards appearance by Jon Bon Jovi was the final impetus to launch "MTV - Unplugged" in November.

Again, there is no doubt that once a person has seen Elvis' 1968 TV work, no matter how great or distant the fan, they never forget it.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:54 am

Oh, I agree but even I, a pup under 40, thinks "oh, Elvis is doing that old jam session thing" there.

It's a long tradition that pre-dates TV. It can be an "after-hours"-style jam session that people might pass the hat around for to help with the rent money or just a daytime jam session, white or black, usually but not exclusively in the country but often "country people."

At the same time, there is the "busking" tradition to be found in city subways and that surely goes back to the '30s and '40s at least in the US. Such a sit-down portion played on our collective memory of the warmth that a musician alone or with a few friends can generate out of thin air.

There's a great Canadian 1966 TV black and white TV special of Muddy Waters and his various band mates over the years, plus Willie Dixon, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and others, that also is evidence of this tradition. It's also one of the few "must-own" blues videos.

I really don't care that MTV execs might not remember much before '85, but let's not pretend Elvis did the first back porch jam session. As much as we champion Elvis, it's important that we don't fall into the trap of saying he started everything.

I agree, as I imagine you are all arguing, that in a pop culture sense, he helped bring it back to the fore on prime-time television, just as he brought so much roots music in the '50s into the mainstream. And both are worthy of acclaim, of course.

Interestingly, I was saddened to see that Elvis merits just two minor mentions in the new book by Tom Brokaw about the monumental year of 1968, and purportedly it takes in not just the political but cultural happenings of the year. Neither reference the NBC TV-Special at all.

He's no historian but he does have a popular cache with such books.

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:39 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:I really don't care that MTV execs might not remember much before '85 ...

But that's the point!

Re: Happy 39th -> December 3, 1968 - The Little Theater

Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:11 am

For me the 6pm sit down show is far more enjoyable to watch in full than the Special itself. As much as I like Elvis' performances in the stand up shows, the backing is so poor at times that I end up getting irritated. There is none of that in the sit down shows. It's just Elvis and friends jamming and that stripped down approach works far better. The cumulative effect of the songs is very powerful when watching the sit down gigs in full (particularly 6pm), and that is also lost when cut up for the Special.

I think One Night is the most powerful performance. Can't get enough of that :-)