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"Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:27 am

As some of you may know, young Texas-born songwriter Chris Christian wrote a love ballad called "Love Song of the Year" that got placed at one of Elvis' last studio sessions, held at Stax Studios in December 1973.


820122_Anchorage Daily News_Christian.JPG


"Love Song of the Year" was released on LP about 12 months later. Apparently, Elvis never sang it on stage.


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apl1-0873-1975-orange-side1.jpg
Images: courtesy of the essential Elvis website, elvisrecords.us


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Elvis Presley, "Love Song of the Year," Promised Land (RCA Victor APL1-0873, January 1975)


The song is somewhat polarizing in regards to the hard core Presley fan base -- some love it, some hate it. Apparently, Presley heard the tune shortly before the December session in Memphis, while playing music one night at his Beverly Hills home with his new, personal vocal group Voice.

In this 1982 AP interview with Chris Christian I dug up, read the secret of how it all came about, and a subsequent, previously-unknown meeting with Elvis to listen to the recording together, at the Las Vegas Hilton in January 1974.


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Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter, Monday February 1, 1982


Here is the hit single Chris was promoting at the time:

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Chris Christian, "I Want You, I Need You" (Home Sweet Home Records, 1982)

Information posted on this YouTube page:

Chris Christian (born as Lon Christian Smith in Abilene, Texas) is a songwriter, record producer, and a record label executive. His songs have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Olivia Newton-John, Sheena Easton, Dionne Warwick, The Carpenters, Amy Grant, The Imperials, Sandi Patty and others.

He started Amy Grant's music career in 1976 by playing a demo of one of her songs over the telephone to executives at Myrrh Records after she had gotten a job working Saturdays at his recording studio. He produced her first album and acted as executive producer for her second, handing over production duties to his college friend Brown Bannister.

He has produced for The Pointer Sisters, Patti Austin, Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, Ali Lohan, as well as the song "I Want You, I Need You," which peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1981. Cheryl Ladd sings back-up on the song.

Christian has produced albums that have been nominated for nine and won four Grammy Awards. He has also been nominated for seven Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, winning five. He has also released sixteen albums of his own.

He previously recorded as a member of the trio of Cotton, Lloyd & Christian. Christian also played guitar in the Chet Atkins band.

In 1981, Chris launched his own label Home Sweet Home Records. On that label he produced albums for White Heart, Steve Archer, Mark Heard and many others.

Christian is currently CEO of World Digital Media Group, a joint venture by Radio Shack, Dish Network, Sirius Radio, and CC Entertainment. WDMG owns YMC Records, and CC Entertainment owns Home Sweet Home Records.




820205_Lakeland Ledger_Christian.JPG
Lucky man, that Chris Christian!
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Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:38 am

VERY interesting read Dr. I always loved this song! I've had a hard time finding the orange label pressing too of promised land, copy I bought back in 1975 was tan label, but getting off topic. I fell in love with this song when I first heard it on this lp.Don't know why anyone would dislike it and a real shame Elvis never did this on stage! Never knew the back story. Thanks for sharing this for all of us to read. :D

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:41 am

For sentimental reasons, this (Promised Land) is one of my favorite Elvis albums.

I also like the aforementioned song.
Last edited by Rob on Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:42 am

I love this song!

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:59 am

I have to say I like the song too, although I realise it's actually not good material. Musically it's fine, but the lyrics fail to make sense in places which really doesn't help its cause. That said, it's got a cracking sing-along type chorus which sells it, and Presley's performance is committed.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:30 am

Makes me cry this song

I think it sums up Elvis at that point in his life

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:42 am

The song makes me cry also.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:25 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Apparently, Elvis never sang it on stage.

And that is the greatest tragedy of all.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:37 am

Doc,

I want to thank you for some background on one of my very favorite tunes off the Promised Land LP.

As a teenager, at the very height of popularity for such bands as Journey and Styx, I recall many weekends listening to the Promised Land disc. The close of Side A always was powerful, to me, with the one two punch of Mr. Songman and Love Song of the Year. This was me as a young man discovering Elvis piece by piece. Maybe it is, to paraphrase Elvis, "mediocre sh*t" but those songs connected with me then and continue to be part of the soundtrack to my life.

I used to laugh when I should cry.

All the best,

JosephC

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:58 am

Doc, could you give us some background information on another great songwriter, Claude Francois ?

There's not much written about him after a thorough Google search.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:37 am

Nice research, John, good background reading.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:07 am

Thanks John,good reading

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:38 am

Another interesting thread, Dr. John. To me, Chris Christian's biggest recording contributions are his discovery of Amy Grant [Contemporary Christian artist, then straight pop, now Vince Gill's wife] & simultaneous work with B.J. Thomas.

For Beach Boys' fans, it was Christian who produced B.J.'s final Top 20 pop hit, "Don't Worry Baby", which charted shortly after Elvis passed away. And Christian led B.J. into the burgeoning Contemporary Christian field earlier in '77 with the "Home Where I Belong" album.

Since Elvis tended to record gospel albums about every six years, I wonder what would have happened if he had ditched Felton, regained his creative momentum, and entered a Nashville recording studio [Christian was based in the city] in '78 or '79 to do a new gospel record.

Perhaps Christian would have been the producer, since he was the production guru of the genre. Listening to the He Touched Me album, it's obvious that Elvis was foreshadowing the Contemporary Christian movement that B.J. later got a lot of credit for starting & ultimately taking into the mainstream. Just a thought.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:50 pm

Very interresting! Thanks!

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:56 pm

Cool info John thank you. I like the song on the level of servicable filler.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:00 pm

Great post. Thanks.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:02 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:As some of you may know, young Texas-born songwriter Chris Christian wrote a love ballad called "Love Song of the Year" that got placed at one of Elvis' last studio sessions, held at Stax Studios in December 1973.


820122_Anchorage Daily News_Christian.JPG


"Love Song of the Year" was released on LP about 12 months later. Apparently, Elvis never sang it on stage.


apl1-0873-cover-side1.jpg
apl1-0873-1975-orange-side1.jpg
Images: courtesy of the essential Elvis website, elvisrecords.us


phpBB [video]


Elvis Presley, "Love Song of the Year," Promised Land (RCA Victor APL1-0873, January 1975)


The song is somewhat polarizing in regards to the hard core Presley fan base -- some love it, some hate it. Apparently, Presley heard the tune shortly before the December session in Memphis, while playing music one night at his Beverly Hills home with his new, personal vocal group Voice.

In this 1982 AP interview with Chris Christian I dug up, read the secret of how it all came about, and a subsequent, previously-unknown meeting with Elvis to listen to the recording together, at the Las Vegas Hilton in January 1974.


820201_Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter pC5.JPG
Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter, Monday February 1, 1982


Here is the hit single Chris was promoting at the time:

phpBB [video]


Chris Christian, "I Want You, I Need You" (Home Sweet Home Records, 1982)

Information posted on this YouTube page:

Chris Christian (born as Lon Christian Smith in Abilene, Texas) is a songwriter, record producer, and a record label executive. His songs have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Olivia Newton-John, Sheena Easton, Dionne Warwick, The Carpenters, Amy Grant, The Imperials, Sandi Patty and others.

He started Amy Grant's music career in 1976 by playing a demo of one of her songs over the telephone to executives at Myrrh Records after she had gotten a job working Saturdays at his recording studio. He produced her first album and acted as executive producer for her second, handing over production duties to his college friend Brown Bannister.

He has produced for The Pointer Sisters, Patti Austin, Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, Ali Lohan, as well as the song "I Want You, I Need You," which peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1981. Cheryl Ladd sings back-up on the song.

Christian has produced albums that have been nominated for nine and won four Grammy Awards. He has also been nominated for seven Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, winning five. He has also released sixteen albums of his own.

He previously recorded as a member of the trio of Cotton, Lloyd & Christian. Christian also played guitar in the Chet Atkins band.

In 1981, Chris launched his own label Home Sweet Home Records. On that label he produced albums for White Heart, Steve Archer, Mark Heard and many others.

Christian is currently CEO of World Digital Media Group, a joint venture by Radio Shack, Dish Network, Sirius Radio, and CC Entertainment. WDMG owns YMC Records, and CC Entertainment owns Home Sweet Home Records.




820205_Lakeland Ledger_Christian.JPG
Lucky man, that Chris Christian!


Dr JC just noticed your post number. Not sure how long FECC board has been going but when does your family get to see you?

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:55 pm

Great stuff, John, although, if we remove you and Midnight from the equation, the song is quite a bit less polarizing.

My feedback from radio listeners over the years has been overwhelimngly positive. But, LSOTHY is one of those "He shouldn't be doing stuff like this" songs that drives fans of early Elvis bananas.

Voice was Elvis' real, live toy during the '73/'74 period. He had burned through the ranch, the slot cars, the badges, karate; and now had his very own singing group at his beck and call. Voice would soon be replaced by airplanes and racquetball, but at the December Stax sessions they were very much a focus.

LSOTY exemplifies the middle-of-the-road country-pop to which Elvis was drawn. It was, at least, not a cover. It had a catchy title. It's representative of Elvis' attempt to break free from the constraints of Hill and Range. And, it's Elvis' best work with the Neilsen/Sumner/Baty combo. The vocal outro is very pretty, and Sumner and Baty are not singing flat. What more could we ask for?

Feltone: "Love Song of the Year."

E.P.: "This may be..."

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:26 pm

It's not a weak composition. The verse and chorus both have attractive and catchy melodies. The songwriter didn't simply rely on well-worn formulas. The lyrics aren't as strong, but there are some worthwhile parts. It's not a classic obviously, but it's a solid album track and Elvis sings it well.

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:36 pm

Interesting replies, especially JosephC, jeremylr and elvisjock, and far more love than I expected.

"Love Song of the Year"

Love (9)
sgoodyear62
Rob
Renan
poormadpeter
OnTourCam
JosephC
Mike Eder
elvisjock
TJ


Hate (3)
Matthew
midnightx
drjohncarpenter


Undeclared (6)
TCB-FAN
George Smith
Keninlincs
jeremylr
dreambear
TheMaskedClown


There are a lot of sentimental fans on this forum!

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:51 pm

TCB-FAN wrote:Doc, could you give us some background information on another great songwriter, Claude Francois ?

There's not much written about him after a thorough Google search.

Cher, doux Claude François!

Ironically, the French singer has a co-write credit on a song from the same December 1973 Stax session:

"My Boy" (Claude François, Jean-Pierre Bourtayre, Bill Martin, Phil Coulter)

This is because he cut the original version, in his native tongue, back in 1970:


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Claude François, "Parce Que Je T'aime, Mon Enfant" (Si Douce à Mon Souvenir, Disques Flèche 6450 600, 1970)


IIRC, Richard Harris covered this in an English rendition a year later. Then our dear, sweet Elvis took it to another level in 1973.

Claude was also one of the men behind the powerhouse classic, "My Way," another Elvis favorite:

"My Way" is a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to music based on the French song "Comme d'habitude" composed in 1967 by Claude François and Jacques Revaux, with lyrics by Claude François and Gilles Thibault. Comme d'habitude had in turn originally been written in English, titled "For Me". Anka's English lyrics are unrelated to the original French song or the earlier English version.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Way_(song)


How's that?

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:00 am

This is very inteteresting, and I had no idea he was so young at the time. I wonder who the youngest writer of a Presley-performed song was?

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:59 am

midnightx wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Apparently, Elvis never sang it on stage.

And that is the greatest tragedy of all.


You mean the greatest Love of all !

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:01 am

I love the song too.

Beautiful melody!

Re: "Love Song of the Year" --> Secrets Revealed at Last!

Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:02 am

yes i too like the song!~