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Re: Elvis in the '60s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:17 pm

Sorry, but Elvis's version of 'Frankie and Johnny" seems to me boring, uninspired and mediocre at best. (like "Down by the Riverside/When the Saints go marching in" medley from the same soundtrack)

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:20 pm

brian wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:I think it's vital we stop referring to the 60's as a lost decade - that's a mile wide of the mark. If we're being honest, we're referring to 64-65, and the first hald of 66 as the potentially lost or wasted years. There's great work that any artist would be proud of either side of these years. What we do know is that Elvis never "gave up".


1967 was Elvis' worst year as a recording artist in my view.

He recorded the Clambake and Speedway soundtracks as well as the song ''Dominick the bull'' during 1967.

He recorded the Double Trouble and Easy come, Easy go soundtracks during the second half of 1966.

Elvis recording 7 or 8 good songs during 1967 doesn't make up for the bulk of bad material he recorded during that year or 1966 either.


Those "7 or 8 good songs" you mention must count towards making 1967 a better year than what I consider his worst - 1965. Personally I also think that the Speedway soundtrack was an improvement, crisper and better recorded than all post Roustabout albums with the possible exception of Spinout. Elvis sounds more commited on Let Yourself Go, Your Time Hasn't Come Yet Baby, together with the title song. Apart from Dominic, which Elvis requested never to be released, the remainder of Stay Away Joe was also an improvement.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:22 pm

jurasic1968 wrote:Sorry, but Elvis's version of 'Frankie and Johnny" seems to me boring, uninspired and mediocre at best. (like "Down by the Riverside/When the Saints go marching in" medley from the same soundtrack)

Alright... so you're strengthening my case for 1965 a little bit more.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:00 pm

jurasic1968 wrote:Sorry, but Elvis's version of 'Frankie and Johnny" seems to me boring, uninspired and mediocre at best. (like "Down by the Riverside/When the Saints go marching in" medley from the same soundtrack)


I think it's a great cut, so different to anything else in his canon. Very cool.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:01 pm

Chris Roberts wrote:
brian wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:I think it's vital we stop referring to the 60's as a lost decade - that's a mile wide of the mark. If we're being honest, we're referring to 64-65, and the first hald of 66 as the potentially lost or wasted years. There's great work that any artist would be proud of either side of these years. What we do know is that Elvis never "gave up".


1967 was Elvis' worst year as a recording artist in my view.

He recorded the Clambake and Speedway soundtracks as well as the song ''Dominick the bull'' during 1967.

He recorded the Double Trouble and Easy come, Easy go soundtracks during the second half of 1966.

Elvis recording 7 or 8 good songs during 1967 doesn't make up for the bulk of bad material he recorded during that year or 1966 either.


Those "7 or 8 good songs" you mention must count towards making 1967 a better year than what I consider his worst - 1965. Personally I also think that the Speedway soundtrack was an improvement, crisper and better recorded than all post Roustabout albums with the possible exception of Spinout. Elvis sounds more commited on Let Yourself Go, Your Time Hasn't Come Yet Baby, together with the title song.


I don't know i always thought of Speedway as being a bad album regardless of those two songs.

I don't think the song Speedway was a good song.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:05 pm

brian wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:I think it's vital we stop referring to the 60's as a lost decade - that's a mile wide of the mark. If we're being honest, we're referring to 64-65, and the first hald of 66 as the potentially lost or wasted years. There's great work that any artist would be proud of either side of these years. What we do know is that Elvis never "gave up".


1967 was Elvis' worst year as a recording artist in my view.

He recorded the Clambake and Speedway soundtracks as well as the song ''Dominick the bull'' during 1967.

He recorded the Double Trouble and Easy come, Easy go soundtracks during the second half of 1966.

Elvis recording 7 or 8 good songs during 1967 doesn't make up for the bulk of bad material he recorded during that year or 1966 either.


Have to agree, and a huge disappointment too. Elvis started to get recognition again for making music after what he had achieved in his HGTA Sessions... fans and DJs were excited. But unfortunately it didn't last long. Didn't help hearing Elvis' contract with RCA is negotiated by Parker through '74 and rumor going around that Parker got a raise. Fans were saying, "Instead of getting a raise, Parker should be let go." I think a lot of Elvis fans lost interest after Clambake. After hearing "Dominick," many fans didn't know what to think.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:09 pm

likethebike wrote:
Matthew wrote:Beggars belief.


Can you ever manage substance rather than one liners that exist only to indicate how lucky Elvis' music is to have your so wise patronage and how superior your are to your fellow fans? If you don't have anything to really say don't say it.

Now to respond to intelligible arguments.

There is a kind of tendency to equate a moral component to pop record making. This is a result of the self-important style of writing that so dominated early rock criticism. There is no moral component here as to what Elvis should have done. The studios in making movies like Kissin' Cousins, Easy Come, Easy Go Tickle Me, Paradise Hawaiian Style, etc. were trying to give audiences what they wanted based on what they had liked before. They liked the sure thing in the face of competition from television. Your artist grew bored with that formula and approaching ten years in the business started to burn out a bit on recording just as most of his writers after a decade in the business began to burn out as well. You can count the hits of Otis Blackwell, Don Robertson, Leiber and Stoller, etc wrote after 1965 on one hand. You burn out. It was not a healthy situation. Elvis eventually burned out and recharged his batteries with great stuff from 1966-1969.

The idea that if he would have only followed this trend or that trend maybe it would have all been cherries is mostly wishful thinking. Because I don't know any artist particularly in 1950s/1960s rock n' roll, which demanded multiple singles and LPs per year, who maintained a decade plus long career of consistent excellence. Bob Dylan released ten LPs in the 1960s with one a double. That's 11 LPs. The basement tapes make up another two LPs. And you could throw in the live double that never came out. That's a max of 15 LPs in eight years, at the peak of his powers. Elvis had a two year head start but his quantity of excellent material is not that far behind. You have equivalent of at least 10 plus LPs of excellence as much excellence as Dylan released in total. There was a lot more junk that came out but what matters was that Elvis to connect but connected a lot.

Brian you mention Ricky Nelson. What Nelson Lps in the decade stack up to How Great Thou Art? What Nelson single from 1968 is a good as "Guitar Man"? Consistency is a bit overrated.

One thing that always bothers me on this board is that so few fans recognize that it is not 1964 anymore. The rules have changed and also the circumstances have changed. Nobody forces you to listen to Paradise Hawaiian Style, or Easy Come, Easy Go, etc. You know going what those albums are. Now that Elvis' career is complete we can see the good work that was done. It has been captured and contextualized. And it's evident that in the 1960s there was a lot of good work. That's what matters in the end. There's a tendency with great artists to take great work for granted and you just can't do that especially for an artist like Elvis. The "feel" is what's important beyond all. Sometimes that feeling is not going to be there. That he got it so much is a tribute to his talents.

Again there's no need for excuses when the body of work is there. That you had to go through crap to get at it all, is largely irrelevant because it is there. That artist that made these great records continually, consistently over the course of decades does not exist, maybe, maybe Sinatra. That Bob Dylan I mentioned before by 1970 his fans were holding pitchforks over Self-Portrait. Those same fans would not fully embrace an entire Dylan LP until Blood on the Tracks almost five years later.


As always a lot of good points.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:24 pm

brian wrote: ... i always thought of Speedway as being a bad album. . .

Maybe so, but not as bad as Harum Scarum, F & J, and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. :wink:

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:18 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
likethebike wrote:Well then what do contemporary artists do when they don't record at all for years on end. At least, Elvis still came up with some good stuff once in awhile.

In what career is there no slump? That's why this whole argument is moot. If no one else does it why do we think it's reasonable that Elvis would? And I'm not talking this one album every three to five years jazz, but on Elvis' standards three quality albums every year and a similar of singles. I just don't see any artist keeping up with that pace over the course of decades.

Excuses, nothing but excuses from you.


The main problem with his 60's career is the fact that despite the
amount of great songs he recorded, we known he could have done much better
and we also expected from him to do so.

It's more the disappointment of our expectation wich makes actually any
shortcomings in his career beeïng magnified and critizised.
Let's not forget that most artists would envy the amount of quality
material he recorded during the 60's.

It's not to arque if he still could compete with other artists at that time,
vocally he had little to none competition.

It's more the fact that by the mid sixties he stopped beeïng the artist
as we would like to see him.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:36 am

jurasic1968 wrote:Sorry, but Elvis's version of 'Frankie and Johnny" seems to me boring, uninspired and mediocre at best. (like "Down by the Riverside/When the Saints go marching in" medley from the same soundtrack)

agreed. poor arrangement also.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:15 am

It's 2012, and we still have fans staunchly defending the decade that almost killed Elvis Presley as an artist. Priscilla Beaulieu was around the man, living in his home as girlfriend -- and then wife -- throughout the core period of artistic suicide (mid-1963 to mid-1968).

Recently, she did something unusual.

Last March, Priscilla Presley sat at the William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles, watching a screening of a 40-year old TV special in which a man in a black leather suit recaptures his lost glory.

Beside her was Steve Binder, the producer-director of that long-ago show, originally broadcast as Singer Presents Elvis, but now better known as The ’68 Comeback Special. Eighteen minutes into the screening, Priscilla leaned over to Binder and said, “You saved his life. You saved his career.”

She was right.


Alanna Nash, "Elvis: The Comeback Special"
Saturday Evening Post, November/December 2008
http://www.amazon.com/Elvis-comeback-special-Presley-Saturday/dp/B001M2FP6E
http://www.ebay.com/itm/THE-SATURDAY-EVENING-POST-Nov-Dec-2008-ELVIS-THE-COMEBACK-SPECIAL-Mint-/200834522326


Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:12 am

Last March, Priscilla Presley sat at the William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles, watching a screening of a 40-year old TV special in which a man in a black leather suit recaptures his lost glory.

Beside her was Steve Binder, the producer-director of that long-ago show, originally broadcast as Singer Presents Elvis, but now better known as The ’68 Comeback Special. Eighteen minutes into the screening, Priscilla leaned over to Binder and said, “You saved his life. You saved his career.”

She was right. (Copied from Doc's thread above)


Pity that there wasn't a Steve Binder around sometime after 1973 to save his life and career again :cry:

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:40 pm

Regarding 1965: Elvis arrived home at October 7 1965 after filming 3 of his worst movies: HS, F&J and PHS. He had plenty of time this year to sing some concerts in Memphis and even playng on tour. It was the only year of the 1960-1968 era that he have so much time free. So maybe a tour in late 1965 could bring him on top of the charts (how great could it be a live version of Crying in the Chapel!!!) and led to future live concerts in the 1966-1968 years.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:33 am

hli wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
likethebike wrote:Well then what do contemporary artists do when they don't record at all for years on end. At least, Elvis still came up with some good stuff once in awhile.

In what career is there no slump? That's why this whole argument is moot. If no one else does it why do we think it's reasonable that Elvis would? And I'm not talking this one album every three to five years jazz, but on Elvis' standards three quality albums every year and a similar of singles. I just don't see any artist keeping up with that pace over the course of decades.

Excuses, nothing but excuses from you.


The main problem with his 60's career is the fact that despite the
amount of great songs he recorded, we known he could have done much better
and we also expected from him to do so.

It's more the disappointment of our expectation wich makes actually any
shortcomings in his career beeïng magnified and critizised.
Let's not forget that most artists would envy the amount of quality
material he recorded during the 60's.

It's not to arque if he still could compete with other artists at that time,
vocally he had little to none competition.

It's more the fact that by the mid sixties he stopped beeïng the artist
as we would like to see him.


See this is where I break from the argument. I think the expectation is too much, beyond what we demand of any other artists. I just don't see any artist making good work all the time. I just don't see how we know he could have done much better. I just think it's misguided to persistently bemoan Elvis' lost potential when his potential was realized with such frequency.

On Elvis' version of "Frankie and Johnny" the other singers in the '60s who had success with this song sang it as if they were afraid of it. Elvis approaches it with irreverence and humor. Even the aside at the end shows that this is not to be taken seriously. I don't think the arrangement is poor, it's quite similar to what Bobby Darin did on his splendid version of "Mame" in 1966. I think it's jarring for some fans because it's Elvis and pseudodixieland and show music. I think it adds to the record's appeal because it makes it unlike the typical Elvis song.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:42 am

The problem with Frankie and Johnny is that Elvis seemingly loses interest in it before he finished the recording. The first take sees Elvis indeed attacking it with the kind of gusto and bravado that Darin does in his Atco swing albums. But Elvis seems almost afraid of taking that line with it, and the take kind of breaks down as the end is sung off-mic. By the time we get to the master, it's just a plain, safe reading. It's enjoyable enough, but that first take shows a great deal of promise which sadly never gets delivered.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:47 am

likethebike wrote:See this is where I break from the argument. I think the expectation is too much, beyond what we demand of any other artists. I just don't see any artist making good work all the time. I just don't see how we know he could have done much better. I just think it's misguided to persistently bemoan Elvis' lost potential when his potential was realized with such frequency.

On Elvis' version of "Frankie and Johnny" the other singers in the '60s who had success with this song sang it as if they were afraid of it. Elvis approaches it with irreverence and humor. Even the aside at the end shows that this is not to be taken seriously. I don't think the arrangement is poor, it's quite similar to what Bobby Darin did on his splendid version of "Mame" in 1966. I think it's jarring for some fans because it's Elvis and pseudodixieland and show music. I think it adds to the record's appeal because it makes it unlike the typical Elvis song.

Such indifference to a top tier artist wasting their talent during the prime of their life. Maybe Elvis had more fans with this kinda "shrug" attitude to his work at the time than not - why should he try, when his fans will embrace anything, including a tossed off version Frankie And Johnny, and defend it all with arguments built on sand.

I think the expectation is too little, below what we demand of other artists.
Last edited by Matthew on Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:49 am

I'll agree that HS and PHS were TWO of his worst, but I enjoyed F & J back then and still do today.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:52 am

JerryNodak wrote:I'll agree that HS and PHS were TWO of his worst, but I enjoyed F & J back then and still do today.

I hear Roger Semon's planning an FTD re-issue of the 1976 Pickwick release of Frankie And Johnny - including the correct single master of My Way.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:53 am

Matthew wrote:Such indifference to a top tier artist wasting their talent during the prime of their life. Maybe Elvis had more fans with this kinda "shrug" attitude to his work at the time than not - why should he try, when his fans will embrace anything, including a tossed off version Frankie And Johnny, and defend it all with arguments built on sand.

I think the expectation is too little, below what we demand of other artists.


But isn't this exactly the same mentality to what we're seeing now on the thread about the errors on FTDs?

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:57 am

poormadpeter wrote:But isn't this exactly the same mentality to what we're seeing now on the thread about the errors on FTDs?

It's a vicious circle.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:06 am

Matthew wrote:
JerryNodak wrote:I'll agree that HS and PHS were TWO of his worst, but I enjoyed F & J back then and still do today.

I hear Roger Semon's planning an FTD re-issue of the 1976 Pickwick release of Frankie And Johnny - including the correct single master of My Way.


The Pickwick release of F & J is the one Camden/Pickwick release I didn't buy back in the day.

As for the "My Way" snafu... unfortunate, but FTD mistakes have been made before. and will be again. I have the correct version elsewhere, including the recent Readers Digest 3 CD release. The alternate doesn't spoil my enjoyment of "Hits Of The '70's" as a whole.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:21 am

I always thought, Elvis should have gone to TV, at least once a year in the 60's, just to sing his new single. Once a year only that's not too much to ask. He could have been on the Glen Campbell Show, Red Skelton, Carol Burnett Show, Johnny Cash Show, Tom Jones Show... Rohan & Martin Laughing show and even Dean Martin Show. at least for a song or two. We could have seen him sing Good Luck Charm, or Memphis Tennessee, or Down In The Alley... Too much exposure is bad but not enough is no better. Okay, I stop here, it's too depressing...

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:49 am

Tornado wrote:... Too much exposure is bad but not enough is no better. Okay, I stop here, it's too depressing...

Hope this cheers you up! >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCEDeloINXg

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:04 pm

F&J is only slightly better than PHS or HS. It contains the beutiful "Please don't stop Loving me", but the rest of the soundtrack is forgettable. Maybe Shout it Out (a cute rock rong) and a blues like Hard Luck are good also. But songs like "Chesay, Come Along, Petunia, the Gardener's Daughter, Look Out, Broadway or Everybody come Aboard" are mediocre at best. The medley "Down by the Riverside/When the saints go marching in" sequence is also poor edited. The title song is repeated in the movie but the dance sequence is identical and boring.

Re: Elvis in the '60s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:18 pm

I've said it before and I'll repeat it again, as also Pricilla once declared: The soundtrack recordings were not Elvis Presley music. It was music for that particular movie which Elvis had to do.
It's nothing he choosed to do! He might have had a chance to pick from the least poorest material. One thing may be Elvis' voice and singing. Another thing is the level of poor technical recordings during this period.
It's a fact that HS, F&J and PHS were the lowpoint in his career at that point. At least the DF series somehow managed to lift both F&J and HS to a listenable level compared to the originals.
The ongoing debate about this period is somehow useless. It's stated, it's all in the history, it's all a fact! So, what? There are so much about Elvis' recorded legacy to enjoy. Why bother with remains when you can enjoy the main menu instead? :)