1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:07 am

I´m Happy As Hell That The Man Took My Songs
by Val Wilmer
Time Out (UK), March 1981

It was not a very good year for Elvis, 1981, and the writer is not very kind to Elvis. But here it is, for those who are interested in these articles...
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Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:14 am

Thanks, The fool.

I opened this topic with very good expectations, but I'm sorry to say that it's a very disappointing article in all respects.

Just when I was forgetting about Will Friedwald, here comes Val Wilmer, another jazz / blues writer with a patronizing attitude towards rock and roll.

Too bad she chose to perpetuate those false racist lines in the opening paragraphs of her article. Classless in extreme.

She also showed musical ignorance in some spots : Little Willie John was not copied by Elvis, nor by Peggy Lee. The original version of "Fever", as anybody who has listened to it can attest, is vastly different from Lee's and Presley's versions, from arrangement and vocal performance to lyrics (rewritten by Lee herself, not by Blackwell).

Oh well... Let's move on. :)

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:13 am

Disgusting. Who would print a "quotation" with no citation, and then moan that it was "conspicuously absent"?!!!!?!!!!!

And then! And then she tells yet another lie! Elvis did not "support" Wallace. That is false, malicious, and just said to bolster her first lie to declare Elvis a racist.

This is not journalism; it's just lying with malice.

I'm very sorry, The Fool, but I cannot bring myself to thank you for this one.

I do really appreciate all your work in bringing us all these rare articles; please understand.

rjm

Sent via mobile

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:58 pm

It's horrible what happened to Elvis a few years after his death. It was like everybody just piled on!

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:39 pm

1981 was also the year of the Goldman's book. Tragic, Elvis in that year was so unfairly criticized.

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:59 am

These kind of articles are part of history as well. Thanks for sharing! (As well as for all the other terrific articles) :smt023

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:25 am

The fool wrote:I´m Happy As Hell That The Man Took My Songs
by Val Wilmer
Time Out (UK), March 1981

It was not a very good year for Elvis, 1981, and the writer is not very kind to Elvis. But here it is, for those who are interested in these articles...

Image

Image

Image


Val Wilmer may be a legendary critic and photographer, but her deep love for the African-American experience allowed her to shut off her ability to discern truth from fiction.

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

As noted, the opening paragraph contains a completely false and profane quote attributed to Elvis Presley, and debunked as far back as his interview for Jet Magazine in 1957. In nearly the same breath she falsely paints Presley as a supporter of George Wallace, infamous for his segregationist, racist policies as governor of Alabama. Elvis only publicly supported one politician in his adult life, Adlai Stevenson, running for president in 1956. To say such vile and ignorant prose invalidates anything else in the essay almost goes without saying. It does show that even intelligent critics can be complete morons in print, often due to their hubris.

Further, the comments that Elvis' musicians were "unable to read music" is ridiculous, and that Blackwell's demos were copied "note for note" is another lie. For example, where on Otis' demo is that percussive slap on the back of the body of an acoustic guitar? Nowhere, because Elvis added that to the arrangement during the session. Did Elvis "copy" Little Willie John's "Fever"? No. He did follow much of Peggy Lee's cover, which, unlike what Wilmer writes, preceded the Presley master in 1960.

Even Otis gets his facts wrong, claiming to know nothing about Elvis in the middle of 1956. Really? He was in the eye of the storm by then. And when he learns "Don't Be Cruel" is slated for a Presley session, he mentions Peggy Lee's "Fever" as something he's got cooking. Um, her single came out in 1958. Willmer follows this with a most ironic "The rest is history." Really? Not in your essay, lady.

The best part of the article is that no matter how hard Wilmer tries to draw Blackwell into the "I hate Elvis" club, he does not bite. He remains a realist, and appreciates very much his association with Presley. A more careful critic might have taken a moment to wonder why.

Although this is Time Out: London from March 6-12, 1981, I wonder if the same piece ran in the other versions, such as in New York?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Out_%28magazine%29

Some of the assertions Wilmer makes seem to imply there may have been some kind of connection to what New York hipster Albert Goldman was in the final stages of writing at that time, down to the errors of fact, the smearing of Elvis and his legacy, and the vulgar language attributed to him. Did they know each other? I'd put a bet on it.

Thanks, The fool for another fascinating and revealing upload. I have learned a lot from your dedicated contributions to FECC and I will always be grateful.


---

P.S. rjm, I think your emotions got the best of you, and an apology is in order. Which forum member, after all, found and shared with all of us the Jet Magazine interview in 1957 which I cite? The fool. It was a revelation.

´The Pelvis´ Gives His Views On Vicious Anti-Negro Slur
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=78456
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=73&t=78417

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:35 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
The fool wrote:I´m Happy As Hell That The Man Took My Songs
by Val Wilmer
Time Out (UK), March 1981

It was not a very good year for Elvis, 1981, and the writer is not very kind to Elvis. But here it is, for those who are interested in these articles...

Image

Image

Image


Val Wilmer may be a legendary critic and photographer, but her deep love for the African-American experience allowed her to shut off her ability to discern truth from fiction.

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

As noted, the opening paragraph contains a completely false and profane quote attributed to Elvis Presley, and debunked as far back as his interview for Jet Magazine in 1957. In nearly the same breath she falsely paints Presley as a supporter of George Wallace, infamous for his segregationist, racist policies as governor of Alabama. Elvis only publicly supported one politician in his adult life, Adlai Stevenson, running for president in 1956. To say such vile and ignorant prose invalidates anything else in the essay almost goes without saying. It does show that even intelligent critics can be complete morons in print, often due to their hubris.

Further, the comments that Elvis' musicians were "unable to read music" is ridiculous, and that Blackwell's demos were copied "note for note" is another lie. For example, where on Otis' demo is that percussive slap on the back of the body of an acoustic guitar? Nowhere, because Elvis added that to the arrangement during the session. Did Elvis "copy" Little Willie John's "Fever"? No. He did follow much of Peggy Lee's cover, which, unlike what Wilmer writes, preceded the Presley master in 1960.

Even Otis gets his facts wrong, claiming to know nothing about Elvis in the middle of 1956. Really? He was in the eye of the storm by then. And when he learns "Don't Be Cruel" is slated for a Presley session, he mentions Peggy Lee's "Fever" as something he's got cooking. Um, her single came out in 1958. Willmer follows this with a most ironic "The rest is history." Really? Not in your essay, lady.

The best part of the article is that no matter how hard Wilmer tries to draw Blackwell into the "I hate Elvis" club, he does not bite. He remains a realist, and appreciates very much his association with Presley. A more careful critic might have taken a moment to wonder why.

Although this is Time Out: London from March 6-12, 1981, I wonder if the same piece ran in the other versions, such as in New York?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Out_%28magazine%29

Some of the assertions Wilmer makes seem to imply there may have been some kind of connection to what New York hipster Albert Goldman was in the final stages of writing at that time, down to the errors of fact, the smearing of Elvis and his legacy, and the vulgar language attributed to him. Did they know each other? I'd put a bet on it.

Thanks, The fool for another fascinating and revealing upload. I have learned a lot from your dedicated contributions to FECC and I will always be grateful.


---

P.S. rjm, I think your emotions got the best of you, and an apology is in order. Which forum member, after all, found and shared with all of us the Jet Magazine interview in 1957 which I cite? The fool. It was a revelation.

´The Pelvis´ Gives His Views On Vicious Anti-Negro Slur
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=78456
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=73&t=78417


Indeed they did. I did say I appreciated all his work, but that it was hard to thank ANYONE for this - is what I meant. But okay, if I hurt his feelings, I do sincerely apologize. It wasn't aimed at him, of course, but at the writer of the article. I just wished I hadn't seen it. But it is a kind of history: falsely written history is a part of the larger history of the phenomenon.

But, geez, I was ready to sock that that writer! It was just outrageous, in that I was outraged. I do apologize to The Fool, who works very hard to bring us everything written that he can possibly find. I thank him, of course, for ALL he does. I think he kinda understands; I hope so. This was a horrifying piece - and it's not from the '50s, either. It had a terrible impact on his legacy for such things to be put into print. Still, today, people believe it. That's kind of the problem: still, today, people believe it. They really do.

Sorry, The Fool, if I hurt your feelings; that was never my intention by any means. In fact, in the original post, I said "I am very sorry," and then explained that my head was exploding. ;) Thanks for the work on this, and more than that, thanks for all you do. It's remarkable cultural archeology.

Next time, tag me, with the tag feature, and I'll get to it quicker. I remember kinda feeling funny about saying that regarding any of his work that he does, but I was . . . very upset about what's in there.

rjm
P.S. -- Maybe we should have a locked-down, members-only section where NO outsiders can see fake, false, and malicious attacks like this - but where serious fans can see it for historical reasons. Like those secret, private Facebook groups. Where you can share stuff that's historical, but you wouldn't dare post it out in the wild. (BTW, I noticed you just saw what I actually said today, when you posted this. I have inflamed emotions frequently . . . LOL!)

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:14 am

Thank you, as always, the fool.

I have read this one before but it's interesting to see it again.

The 80s were often tough on Elvis fans: his incalculable contribution to popular culture was swept under the carpet and replaced largely with gossip, lies and inaccuracies.

Things have improved considerably, mainly due to the work of Ernst, Roger and Peter.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:16 am

If only I had your grace, George. Sigh.

rjm

Sent via my most phabulous phablet, the Galaxy Note 4

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:54 am

rjm wrote:If only I had your grace, George. Sigh.

rjm

Sent via my most phabulous phablet, the Galaxy Note 4

Nah, I'm a cold fish really.

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:55 pm

George Smith wrote:
rjm wrote:If only I had your grace, George. Sigh.

rjm

Sent via my most phabulous phablet, the Galaxy Note 4

Nah, I'm a cold fish really.

Yeah, right. LOL.

rjm

Sent via my most phabulous phablet, the Galaxy Note 4

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:12 am

rjm wrote:
Sorry, The Fool, if I hurt your feelings; that was never my intention by any means. In fact, in the original post, I said "I am very sorry," and then explained that my head was exploding. ;) Thanks for the work on this, and more than that, thanks for all you do. It's remarkable cultural archeology.

Robin, no need for you to feel apologetic at all. You are always the one who thanks me for the articles I post here. And I did understand your initial comment. That article made me feel uneasy as well. The reason I posted it was to show how bad it was for Elvis in the early 80s with Albert Goldman and all that followed. I became interested in Elvis in 1979, I was 14 at the time, and this Goldman thing could have easily destroyed my love for Elvis. But I am stubborn, just like many other Elvis fans are. We survived that. And most importantly, Elvis survived that. It took a while, but now it´s so fantastic to see that Elvis´ memory still lives strong and that he is respected. I love Elvis. His music, his voice makes me feel good. And if I can give something back, in a very small way, with these articles I am posting here on this wonderful forum, I am happy.

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:14 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Thanks, The fool for another fascinating and revealing upload. I have learned a lot from your dedicated contributions to FECC and I will always be grateful.

Thanks, Doc. This made me feel good.

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:35 am

The fool wrote:
rjm wrote:
Sorry, The Fool, if I hurt your feelings; that was never my intention by any means. In fact, in the original post, I said "I am very sorry," and then explained that my head was exploding. ;) Thanks for the work on this, and more than that, thanks for all you do. It's remarkable cultural archeology.

Robin, no need for you to feel apologetic at all. You are always the one who thanks me for the articles I post here. And I did understand your initial comment. That article made me feel uneasy as well. The reason I posted it was to show how bad it was for Elvis in the early 80s with Albert Goldman and all that followed. I became interested in Elvis in 1979, I was 14 at the time, and this Goldman thing could have easily destroyed my love for Elvis. But I am stubborn, just like many other Elvis fans are. We survived that. And most importantly, Elvis survived that. It took a while, but now it´s so fantastic to see that Elvis´ memory still lives strong and that he is respected. I love Elvis. His music, his voice makes me feel good. And if I can give something back, in a very small way, with these articles I am posting here on this wonderful forum, I am happy.


:D

You give a lot more than just "something" back "in a small way." This is a major archive of contemporaneous information. There's nothing else like it! My eternal gratitude. (I used to pore through the microfilm in the early days, and the bound indexes of periodicals, looking, looking, looking . . . and they had virtually none of what you've posted. Just stunning.)

rjm
::rocks

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:54 am

rjm wrote:You give a lot more than just "something" back "in a small way." This is a major archive of contemporaneous information. There's nothing else like it! My eternal gratitude. (I used to pore through the microfilm in the early days, and the bound indexes of periodicals, looking, looking, looking . . . and they had virtually none of what you've posted. Just stunning.)

rjm

Thank you! This makes me so happy.

Re: 1981 Otis Blackwell interview

Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:18 am

Makes me happy too! :D

rjm

Sent via my most phabulous phablet, the Galaxy Note 4