Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:42 am

Cryogenic wrote:It is a cool review (jn fact, much more than cool), but Jon Landau also wrote the following piece about "Aloha From Hawaii":


The reviewer's Aloha comments are pretty on the ball if you think about it. It was Elvis' 4th concert album in a little over 3 years and came only about 8 months after "Madison Square Garden". Nevertheless it was inevitable considering the event. "An American Trilogy" does loose something when experienced only by audio. The Aloha performance is fantastic - to see, as well as hear.

"Burning Love" does pail in comparison to the single. The best live versions came from April 1972, before the orchestra got their hands on it. In Aloha it is almost a parody. "Suspicious Minds" never match the single live, although the 1969 recording from "In Person" was a close as it got.

And as great as many of the vocal efforts Elvis brought to the table during this show it doesn't escape the reviewer that essentially Las Vegas has been brought to the world stage with numbers you'd expect to hear in a Vegas showroom such as "What Now My Love", "You Gave Me A Mountain", "It's Over", and "My Way".

We need to remember that the reviewer is commenting on the Aloha album, not the Aloha broadcast. Indeed the review (or the magazine) is dated March 29th, 1973 - before the show was broadcast on US televisions so it is most likely the reviewer hasn't seen the TV concert at this point, unless he was elsewhere around the globe and happened to watch it live. On record "Aloha from Hawaii" isn't half as interesting as watching it.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:45 am

One of the most perceptive reviews on record.

* It's always good to have someone praise Ronnie Tutt, "the only true Big Band rock drummer" in action.

* Landau keenly observed how Elvis tended to downgrade Charlie Hodge's contributions in his introductions. Bill Hicks was misled by that, and went on to do an entire routine about Elvis being so decadent that he employed a lackey just to give him his water and scarves.

* Landau is probably the first (and only?) critic to have postulated that Elvis's experience making bad movies actually contributed (positively) to his live act, by honing Elvis's instincts as a musical comedian. It's a brilliant idea but I'm not sure if I really believe it. As Landau notes, Elvis remained sane because he had a good sense of humor, and used it to distance himself from the demands of stardom. That sense of humor--of distance--is also what surfaced in his later live work, as he kept the screaming fans in perspective. (As Landau beautifully put, "He must undercut their adulation of him just as he must undercut his own narcissism, if for no reason than to preserve his own sanity.") His movie work may not have really contributed to that sense of distance. And yet maybe Elvis would have lived longer if he went insane once in a while.

* Landau is spot on when he says that Elvis's onstage control was a way of denying emotion, in both his audience and himself. That is why the raw, animal passion of 1968 never reappeared again. I think that control did falter several times during the later years, as his body and mind grew more unreliable, whether in the shocking monologues of 1974 or the apocalyptic, self-transcending stabs at "How Great Thou Art", or "Hurt", or "You'll Never Walk Alone" or "Unchained Melody," where he sings like a man wanting to use up his body in one go.

* "He does not have much lingering affection for the older numbers, and does them as if they came out of a chapter in a book that he has already closed and only reopens for visitors who insist on taking a peek." Best description EVER of those tossed off oldies. I can't help thinking that Elvis would have probably grown further as an artist--and become less bored over the years--if he'd had less respect for his audience, if he'd been a little bit more selfish, if he'd said to himself, "You know what, these people would just as soon applaud if I took a dump onstage. So I'm just going to do what I please and not bother singing 'Hound Dog' for the millionth time."

* I remember reading Greil Marcus's lines about how jaded New York critics went wild over Elvis's version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and wodnering who those critics were. After reading Christgau and Landau I know. Incidentally, Paul Simon's sniffy opinion on Elvis's cover remind me of why I consider Simon the poor man's Bob Dylan. Is Simon really so dense as to not know that Elvis's version is gospel? Or is he to prissy in his taste? Franklin's version is great, but it's also low-key and tasteful--what Simon thinks gospel ought to be. Elvis's is huge and swaggering and blaring, like the voice of God. It's not in "good taste" and offends his soft sensibilities.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:10 am

Brilliant and insightful replies, Matthew and Revelator.

Every single word of your comments -- SPOT-ON.

I have greatly enjoyed the previous comments as well.

No wonder FECC is the world's #1 Elvis Presley discussion forum.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:50 am

Matthew wrote: We need to remember that the reviewer is commenting on the Aloha album, not the Aloha broadcast. Indeed the review (or the magazine) is dated March 29th, 1973 - before the show was broadcast on US televisions so it is most likely the reviewer hasn't seen the TV concert at this point, unless he was elsewhere around the globe and happened to watch it live. On record "Aloha from Hawaii" isn't half as interesting as watching it.

Perfect assessment. I enjoy the Aloha album experience as much as the next fan, but clearly the audio is greatly augmented with the fantastic visual presentation of the special.

Revelator wrote:* I remember reading Greil Marcus's lines about how jaded New York critics went wild over Elvis's version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and wodnering who those critics were. After reading Christgau and Landau I know. Incidentally, Paul Simon's sniffy opinion on Elvis's cover remind me of why I consider Simon the poor man's Bob Dylan. Is Simon really so dense as to not know that Elvis's version is gospel? Or is he to prissy in his taste? Franklin's version is great, but it's also low-key and tasteful--what Simon thinks gospel ought to be. Elvis's is huge and swaggering and blaring, like the voice of God. It's not in "good taste" and offends his soft sensibilities.

Totally agree. I was always kind of baffled by Simon's short-sighted view of Elvis' great rendition of Bridge.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:27 am

I remember Simon attacking the Rolling Stones in an early seventies article. Kind of like a "who the hell do they think they are" type comment right at the height of their fame.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:37 am

Sometimes it seems Paul Simon's middle name is Envy. Still, he's written some great songs, made some wonderful records.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:48 am

I never saw this article until the RS memorial issue after Elvis' death,when they reprinted it.
An excellent informative review,thanks for posting it Doc!

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:37 am

jbnva58 wrote:I never saw this article until the RS memorial issue after Elvis' death,when they reprinted it.
An excellent informative review,thanks for posting it Doc!

I don't recall it being in the 1977 memorial issue -- Landau did make some contribution, though.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:14 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
jbnva58 wrote:I never saw this article until the RS memorial issue after Elvis' death,when they reprinted it.
An excellent informative review,thanks for posting it Doc!

I don't recall it being in the 1977 memorial issue -- Landau did make some contribution, though.


It may not have been-going by memory here-but it was definatly reprinted either in that issue or a subsequent one.
Either way,great reading!

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:16 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
jbnva58 wrote:I never saw this article until the RS memorial issue after Elvis' death,when they reprinted it.
An excellent informative review,thanks for posting it Doc!

I don't recall it being in the 1977 memorial issue -- Landau did make some contribution, though.

It was in the 1977 issue on the last page. About 60 percent of the original review is there with the same photo.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:57 am

A great review indeed. Thanks for sharing it, Doc.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:36 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:Sometimes it seems Paul Simon's middle name is Envy. Still, he's written some great songs, made some wonderful records.


I agree.
Paul Simon has written and recorded some of the greatest songs in history. His favorite rock song is Elvis' version of "Mystery TraIn".
I don't agree that he is a poor mans Bob Dylan. He stands on his own.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:28 pm

Val wrote:I don't agree that he is a poor mans Bob Dylan. He stands on his own.

That's nice, but Dylan's work and influence far outstrip Paul "Graceland" Simon.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:47 pm

Great post Doc.

These kind of posts deserve to be preserved in some way for new and current users to easily find time and time again. The site's search function, i find, is too wide encompassing and unless you know specifically who, when or what an item was posted...I don't think a person would come across this thread by a simple browse--especially months and years down the road when this thread would be buried further and further down the pile of threads. A bit of a shame. Not sure of the solution either...

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:51 pm

IMETJB wrote:Great post Doc.

These kind of posts deserve to be preserved in some way for new and current users to easily find time and time again. The site's search function, i find, is too wide encompassing and unless you know specifically who, when or what an item was posted...I don't think a person would come across this thread by a simple browse--especially months and years down the road when this thread would be buried further and further down the pile of threads. A bit of a shame. Not sure of the solution either...

Thanks so much. I am about the music -- that's what counts.

You can always bookmark the topic:

In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=50886

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:15 am

jbnva58 your memory is spot-on! Below is the 1977 version of the Jon Landau article. It closes out Rolling Stone #248, their Elvis memorial issue. There is no mention it was truncated.

Elvis: All The King's Splendor
Rolling Stone, September 22, 1977


This is indeed the version many have known and loved for years. I prefer the original work by Landau as seen on page 1.

Now, you may decide for yourself.

Enjoy!


770922_Rolling Stone 248_Landau.JPG

Rolling Stone - Issue 248, September 22, 1977
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:49 am

Great stuff. Doc, did my method of copying the files from the RS CD-Roms directly onto hard drive work?

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:32 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:jbnva58 your memory is spot-on! Below is the 1977 version of the Jon Landau article. It closes out Rolling Stone #248, their Elvis memorial issue. There is no mention it was truncated.

This is indeed the version many have known and loved for years. I prefer the original work, though.

Now, you may decide for yourself.

Enjoy!


Image
Image


Thanks again,Doc.nice to know this (50year old plus)memory is in fair workin order.
You are right,the original is the better reading.One must remember that it was written basically at the beginning of the "Elvis On Tour" era,Landaus perception and lack of prejudice of Elvis are most appreciated,and he was as fair minded as one could be.
Thanks Again!

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:43 am

jbnva58 wrote:Thanks again, Doc. nice to know this (50year old plus) memory is in fair workin order. You are right, the original is the better reading.

One must remember that it was written basically at the beginning of the "Elvis On Tour" era, Landau's perception and lack of prejudice of Elvis are most appreciated, and he was as fair minded as one could be.

Thanks Again!

Nice observations! You are most welcome!

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:58 pm

Thanks so much for this.
What an absolute treasure and fantastic review of one of my favorite shows.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:45 am

:lol: Great post + review THANKS!~ :lol:

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:24 am

People picked up on this today: intriguing. Yes, the original has more detail, and they kept what they felt best for the obit issue (which was rushed out: they had just moved from San Francisco to New York).

Since my copy of the original (picked up at a flea market about ten years after it first came out) is not only yellowing, but is fraying and getting very brittle {haven't kept it in the right conditions, though I have a special group of shelves for this stuff}, I really appreciate this! It's gonna just disintegrate altogether, and now it's on disc. Somehow, I can't get into the Rolling Stone archives, and it says to call. So, many, many thanks.

At the end, all you can say is that a famous Landau review apprently got Springsteen's attention, and it was his gain. In a later edition of Mystery Train, in the end notes, Marcus says Elvis kept this one in his "personal effects." But he didn't make a call or whatever he needed to do.

I have glanced over the details of the Landau-Springsteen story, so I don't know exactly how Landau went from famous reviewer to famous manager. But I do know nothing like that happened for Elvis, and yet he read, clipped, and cherished the review. If Marcus says it was found among his effects, I believe him. Doc, do you know? Was it actually found among "his effects"? I would believe you even more, but I think this one is non-controversial. If only he'd made a call: "hey, thanks, man." Who knows what might have been?

rjm
P.S. -- Now, to find the full text of the TV Special review!!! It's somewhere . . .
P.P.S -- Oh, yeah. One thing they HAD to remove was a comment about how Elvis "outlasted" others and didn't succumb to The World's Worst Retirement Plan. This "benefits" plan usually kicks in before one needs reading glasses.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:49 am

Great post Doc and a most enjoyable thread.

Some very astute observations made by Landau and a terrific contribution from Revelator.

::rocks

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:08 am

Don't think they kept much of this:

"Stardom, of whatever type and in whatever period, is the goal that turns into a burden. Personally, it is killing rock stars too young, crazy and blind to cope with it. And yet while the signs of self-destructiveness in the life style of the rock musician are increasingly obvious to those outside of the arena, fans and the rock press continue to glorify it and musicians continue to live and die by it.

Because stars grow into fixed entities in the public mind, stardom is frequently antithetical to the growth of personal art."
. . .

The paragraph following and describing how Elvis survived this with humor had to go. Little did he know how true that last line would be, and really, already was.

"Silver Bells . . silver bells . . ." NO enthusiasm. And "I HATE 'Winter Wonderland.'" Landau had no way of knowing all this. Or what the springtime of that year had been like. Or that he was watching someone with secondary glaucoma. {sigh}

Elvis: starting out at 19, hitting the highest heights at 21, winning an amazing "Comeback" when quite a few people in his co-hort were starting out (the outlaw country crew, were mostly yet to "hit," and Kristofferson started his CAREER about the same age Elvis started his "comeback") . . . Elvis, therefore: "too young, crazy, blind {geez, literally, almost!} to cope with it." And the rock press and others were also wilfully blind. NOTHING like that could happen to Elvis! He started the whole thing: he had it under control. He wards off the burden with humor . . . and so in condemning "blindness," he was blinded by Elvis's light. And, oh how it shone! "He sings like an angel, dances like a ballerina, and he left me struck dumb." Blindness goes with speechlessness, I would imagine, and you can't blame him. The humor, the gold cape, the flashbulbs lighting up the arena. It was an experience! And the rock press really didn't know a thing, and what's more, absolutely did not want to know. Greil Marcus on the phone, after Elvis's death: "what kind of joke is that?!? Rolling Stone doesn't keep ready-obits." He really was shocked. And he'd read "Elvis: What Happened"!!! For all Elvis's worrying, it didn't make much of an impression.

Early in October, 1977, when people tuned into CBS, all the "shock" was over. Forever. NO ONE was ever again assumed to be out of danger. No one. And yet they kept dying. And they keep dying. Too young, crazy, and blind to cope. Some get a bit more borrowed time than others, but the "pure products of America," as Peter used to quote William Carlos Willaims, continue to "go crazy." And then they die, long before their time. The list is way too long to post here, and Elvis is on it.

So, yeah, they had to edit it. If only to save face. As Landau himself makes clear, when he condemns the rock press for "glorifying" self-destruction, "they were among the ones who put him out to death." And they "awoke in anger, so alone and terrified," looked at the television in October of '77, and "pressed (their) fingers against the glass, and bowed (their) head(s) and cried." (*note below)

rjm
*note: Lines from Bob Dylan's "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine," from John Wesley Harding. Released, 1967,
P.S. -- Gosh, what a great "username" that would have been: "Jane Wesley Harding." But I don't have a "gun in every hand." Like Elvis. EVERY hand. But he never hurt an honest man. Don't think so.
P.P.S. -- Some of those "pure products of America" aren't even from here. But we invented this whole pop-rock stardom phenomenon, so it's our "product" that "goes crazy." And is certainly pure.
There ARE survivors of this process. Hard to believe, but there are. Chuck Berry. Bob Dylan. Jerry Lee Lewis!
Last edited by rjm on Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: In Praise Of Elvis Presley (1971) -- Complete!

Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:22 am

BUZZZZ. BUzzzzzzz. Paging Dr. Carpenter: did "they" find this article in Elvis's "personal effects" and where is Marcus's source, do you think?

Merry Christmas!!! :smt114

rjm
::rocks