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Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:07 pm

rjm wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:Some good points. Kind of shows also that the black music charts discriminated against white or non black artists at the same time that they were fighting for equal rights. RCA not promoting Elvis' music though was due to Parker not wanting to spend the extra money it would take.


The charts, correct me if I'm wrong, were created by Billboard, not by anyone "fighting for equal rights." It was a marketing/targeting decision. And later on, in the '70s, did effect Elvis's career quite a bit. And his career was only a footnote to what the narrowcasting did to music from the mid-'70s to the early 1980s.

I was going to post a topic asking "how did Elvis become 'strictly country'?" Which he did, in the few years just before his death. And even in the sales AFTER his death, he was relegated, on the charts and radio, quite a bit to country.

Elvis started out tearing up country music from within, and it wasn't appreciated. (That's an understatement.) And the Country Music Hall of Fame kept him "officially" out, for the longest time. (Though their exhibits were filled with Elvis, he was not inducted for many, many years after his death.) Yet, he was treated like a country singer once radio became completely narrowcasted. Before that, pop/rock AM stuff could co-exist. At least up through the early '70s. It's clear from this that the process began earlier, although other artists may have broken through during the '60s. It's unclear why some of his Comeback era singles didn't break through, when they were very soul-flavored, and were excellent.

But a little later in the '70s? That was primarily narrowcasting.

Good question. But I think looking at Elvis exclusively won't solve it. I would like to know which white performers made the R&B/Soul charts when Elvis did not.

rjm


I wouldn't call Elvis at the end a "strictly country" singer. He still covered R&B and pop music and did Rock, R&B, Pop and Gospel during his live shows. It's no secret that Elvis was influenced by Country western music because of the era and location that he grew up in. But he was never strictly a country musician.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:14 pm

brian wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:Some good points. Kind of shows also that the black music charts discriminated against white or non black artists at the same time that they were fighting for equal rights. RCA not promoting Elvis' music though was due to Parker not wanting to spend the extra money it would take.


I wasn't discrimination.

Billboard changed how the chart was compiled because they felt too many non R&B songs were hitting the chart.

I agree with them if you have an R&B chart it should have mostly R&B and soul songs on it.

Most soul and R&B singers happen to be African American in the same way that most country & western singers are white.

Elvis coming out with about six R&B recordings between 1965-1977 wasn't going to start getting him played regularly on those stations again.


But it was the black listeners who requested Elvis' music on their radio stations that put those records on the R&B charts. Not Billboard. Also, Elvis had way more than just 6 R&B recordings to chart. Try 24 top 10, 6 of which were #1's, and several others that were borderline top 10.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:17 pm

There's crap and then there's...crap. Do The Clam and The Love Machine are total crap. What'd I Say is still not the crap that was coming. It's OK but a lot of other VLV material is better.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:20 pm

What does "Yoga Is As Yoga Does" classify as?

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:38 pm

Rob wrote:What does "Yoga Is As Yoga Does" classify as?


Crap on top of crap.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:21 am

SuspiciousMind wrote:
brian wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:Some good points. Kind of shows also that the black music charts discriminated against white or non black artists at the same time that they were fighting for equal rights. RCA not promoting Elvis' music though was due to Parker not wanting to spend the extra money it would take.


I wasn't discrimination.

Billboard changed how the chart was compiled because they felt too many non R&B songs were hitting the chart.

I agree with them if you have an R&B chart it should have mostly R&B and soul songs on it.

Most soul and R&B singers happen to be African American in the same way that most country & western singers are white.

Elvis coming out with about six R&B recordings between 1965-1977 wasn't going to start getting him played regularly on those stations again.


But it was the black listeners who requested Elvis' music on their radio stations that put those records on the R&B charts. Not Billboard. Also, Elvis had way more than just 6 R&B recordings to chart. Try 24 top 10, 6 of which were #1's, and several others that were borderline top 10.


Pay attention Suspiciousminds.

I was quite clear i said about six R&B songs from 1965 -1977.

I even listed them as the songs that might have had a chance to chart in a previous post of mine if Elvis was getting play on those stations.

I was very much of aware of Elvis' success on the R&B chart earlier in his career that's not what i was talking about.

Any other songs besides the ones i listed had no chance of charting because the R&B stations did not generally play anything except soul music.

It was both a combination of Billboard deciding to change their chart reconfiguration and R&B and rock splitting into two entirely different genres of music with little crossover.

If Billboard didn't change their chart configuration you would have seen more white acts continue to make the chart.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:05 am

brian wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:
brian wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:Some good points. Kind of shows also that the black music charts discriminated against white or non black artists at the same time that they were fighting for equal rights. RCA not promoting Elvis' music though was due to Parker not wanting to spend the extra money it would take.


I wasn't discrimination.

Billboard changed how the chart was compiled because they felt too many non R&B songs were hitting the chart.

I agree with them if you have an R&B chart it should have mostly R&B and soul songs on it.

Most soul and R&B singers happen to be African American in the same way that most country & western singers are white.

Elvis coming out with about six R&B recordings between 1965-1977 wasn't going to start getting him played regularly on those stations again.


But it was the black listeners who requested Elvis' music on their radio stations that put those records on the R&B charts. Not Billboard. Also, Elvis had way more than just 6 R&B recordings to chart. Try 24 top 10, 6 of which were #1's, and several others that were borderline top 10.


Pay attention Suspiciousminds.

I was quite clear i said about six R&B songs from 1965 -1977.

I even listed them as the songs that might have had a chance to chart in a previous post of mine if Elvis was getting play on those stations.

I was very much of aware of Elvis' success on the R&B chart earlier in his career that's not what i was talking about.

Any other songs besides the ones i listed had no chance of charting because the R&B stations did not generally play anything except soul music.

It was both a combination of Billboard deciding to change their chart reconfiguration and R&B and rock splitting into two entirely different genres of music with little crossover.

If Billboard didn't change their chart configuration you would have seen more white acts continue to make the chart.


Instead of telling someone to "pay attention", how about just making yourself more clearer next time?

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:24 am

SuspiciousMind wrote:
brian wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:
brian wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:Some good points. Kind of shows also that the black music charts discriminated against white or non black artists at the same time that they were fighting for equal rights. RCA not promoting Elvis' music though was due to Parker not wanting to spend the extra money it would take.


I wasn't discrimination.

Billboard changed how the chart was compiled because they felt too many non R&B songs were hitting the chart.

I agree with them if you have an R&B chart it should have mostly R&B and soul songs on it.

Most soul and R&B singers happen to be African American in the same way that most country & western singers are white.

Elvis coming out with about six R&B recordings between 1965-1977 wasn't going to start getting him played regularly on those stations again.


But it was the black listeners who requested Elvis' music on their radio stations that put those records on the R&B charts. Not Billboard. Also, Elvis had way more than just 6 R&B recordings to chart. Try 24 top 10, 6 of which were #1's, and several others that were borderline top 10.


Pay attention Suspiciousminds.

I was quite clear i said about six R&B songs from 1965 -1977.

I even listed them as the songs that might have had a chance to chart in a previous post of mine if Elvis was getting play on those stations.

I was very much of aware of Elvis' success on the R&B chart earlier in his career that's not what i was talking about.

Any other songs besides the ones i listed had no chance of charting because the R&B stations did not generally play anything except soul music.

It was both a combination of Billboard deciding to change their chart reconfiguration and R&B and rock splitting into two entirely different genres of music with little crossover.

If Billboard didn't change their chart configuration you would have seen more white acts continue to make the chart.


Instead of telling someone to "pay attention", how about just making yourself more clearer next time?


I was crystal clear i said from 1965 -1977.

You either weren't reading it clearly enough or not paying attention.

As a matter fact everyone that has posted on this topic has clearly been talking about the R&B charts post 1963.

I don't know where you got the idea that i was talking about Elvis in the 50s and early 60s.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:27 am

SuspiciousMind wrote:Instead of telling someone to "pay attention", how about just making yourself more clearer next time?

I think that is a fair request, one which I, too, have made of brian in the past.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:24 am

The simple reason is that after 1964 Elvis just wasn't considered 'cool' anymore by the musical establishment.

The very first version of 'What'd I Say' that I ever heard was that fantastic 1961 recording by Jerry Lee Lewis b/w 'Livin' Lovin' Wreck'. I also like Elvis's version but believe it would have been better without the Carole Lombard Quartet.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:58 am

In terms of the charts discriminating whatever happened on the R&B charts was nothing compared to what the C/W charts did forever.

Another white artist who charted high R&B was Paul McCartney via his duets with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson in the early '80s but that wasn't Elvis' lifetime.

On promoting Elvis in either the country or R&B fields, when you have pop down you can forgive a little laxity in playing songs up in the other markets because pop is where the big coin is made.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:24 am

Chris Roberts wrote:The simple reason is that after 1964 Elvis just wasn't considered 'cool' anymore by the musical establishment.

The very first version of 'What'd I Say' that I ever heard was that fantastic 1961 recording by Jerry Lee Lewis b/w 'Livin' Lovin' Wreck'. I also like Elvis's version but believe it would have been better without the Carole Lombard Quartet.


Yeah, those damn corny movies the Colonel had him tied up in really did hurt his image. Hard to imagine where he might be today if it wasn't for the comeback and leaving Hollywood.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:32 am

Chris Roberts wrote:The simple reason is that after 1964 Elvis just wasn't considered 'cool' anymore by the musical establishment.

The very first version of 'What'd I Say' that I ever heard was that fantastic 1961 recording by Jerry Lee Lewis b/w 'Livin' Lovin' Wreck'. I also like Elvis's version but believe it would have been better without the Carole Lombard Quartet.


I think it was a lot more complicated than "cool" or "uncool." Clearly from the cover(s) of some of his material by very serious soul/R&B artists, he continued to be well-regarded, at least by other artists. (It's a shame his vocal on "If You Talk . . ." isn't stronger, but that's life.)

Now, here we go.

likethebike wrote:The R&B chart was discontinued in 1963 because Billboard saw it as redundant. The R&B and pop charts very often featured many, many of the same titles. By 1965 it was clear that the pop and the R&B audience was separated again.


I would say it was a process; not entirely separate yet, but definitely getting there. I don't think the MUSIC was so separate, but lines were being drawn. And I will stick with my position that it was a marketing move. A move that went into a direction that in the late '70s, very early '80s, was really awful. These things progress over time, one way or the other.

Most people know the story of how Rick James struggled to get on MTV, pretty much imploding his career in the process. And what happened after that is also well-known. It all has to do with money. And sometimes, a little guts on the part of people with real power, to change things. (CBS threatened to pull ALL its videos, if MTV didn't give in with one, which they did. And a whole new era dawned.)

likethebike wrote:
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the main R&B audience was no longer listening to traditional rock n' roll, so songs like "Burning Love" were out. Jimi Hendrix, for instance, although an African-American, never made the R&B Top 40. He wasn't playing R&B, he was playing rock which by 1967 was a distinctly different animal. His audience was mostly white. Some white acts, when they had the rare song that hinted at an R&B style, had some success on the R&B charts. The Stones made #19 with "Satisfaction" and #32 with "19th Nervous Breakdown" but made the R&B chart only one more time in 1978 with "Miss You" which was in the then dominant disco style. The Rascals, who were a close to pure R&B outfit, had a mini-string of hits with the biggest being "Groovin" which hit #3. No other record hit the Top Ten though. Similarly, the Righteous Brothers, a blue eyed soul outfit had a string of five hits after the chart resumed in 1965 with the biggest being "Unchained Melody" at #6. "Soul and Inspiration" and "Ebb Tide" creeped up to #13 though.


That is EXACTLY what I meant by "the rules." There were now "rules" regarding genre, and were getting quite strict. Elvis' great achievement was to bust open many of those rules. But there is a tendency to gravitate towards the mean, you might say. To gravitate backwards.

What applied to Jimi, later applied to Prince. But, due to the actions described above, a new environment came about, for a while, where Prince, Run DMC, and Bruce Springsteen could mix and match! That was a great time, because of that!

It's just that, earlier, there was a re-segmentation going on, and increasing. And Elvis was hit by it as much as anyone. He was NOT "strictly country," but if you were in a store in '76, '77, he got put in the country sections in the stores. And that's where the radio was playing him, generally. And even after he died.


likethebike wrote:The same year as the Stones "Satisfaction," Roy Head's "Treat Her Right" made it all the way to #2. That was the best performance of any white artist before KC.

Clapton's reggae pastiche "I Shot the Sheriff" made #33.

The biggest act of the 1970s was KC and the Sunshine Band who were the first white act since the chart changed its calculation style to score a number one. As a pure disco act, they were the dominant white artist on the chart in the 1970s with more than a dozen R&B hits including two number ones. They were probably the only serious rival to Elvis as a white artist on that chart. Hall and Oates had a smaller but still significant string of hits with their "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" hitting #1. That's pretty much the successful white artists on the R&B charts post 1965.

Post 1980 as more white artists recorded in the club or dance style some white artists had more success. Madonna for instance has had a handful of Top 40 R&B entries.


Madonna, in all her glory, burst forth after the walls came back down. She knows that. She has a great eclectic musical imagination, which would have been very restricted if those walls hadn't come down in 1983. But yes, there were some, definitely. There were "rules" in place, and they had to be followed. It wasn't a good time for genre-busting. Until the genres were busted.

The great thing about Elvis is that he did so much of it himself, without the backing of huge business forces - at least not in the very beginning. The business tended to follow HIM, which was truly amazing.

Just as society was changing, and people were choosing up sides in the latter sixties, so it happened in music. It's vital to never look at Elvis (or anyone) in a vacuum. I don't know what else he could have done about "the rumor" than what he did. In '57, it was directly addressed, in an open telegram, in Jet magazine . . . and later, in his social consciousness songs, he made everything clear as day. There were some who would never accept him. His musical peers, those who actually knew him - they had no problem with him at all, ever.

likethebike wrote:
Elvis' reputation with black fans had dwindled by 1965. Tracks like "Such an Easy Question" and "I'm Yours" were traditional pop tracks that had little to do with R&B.


But that had to apply to black artists who did such material, too. Don't have all the charts in front of me, but I certainly hope so. Not so sure, actually. It isn't Elvis who really was harmed by such a process; it was R&B artists, in the long run.

likethebike wrote: In the old days, such a track would make the R&B Top 40 but even then it was an anomaly.


Elvis WAS "an anomaly." Thank heavens! (Other artists crossed over during that time, of course, but he totally led the way.) After him, you could BE "anomalous." You could be an artist who couldn't be categorized.

likethebike wrote:
In the 1950s and 1960s, the white track that made the chart was an exception and still there had to be at least some rocking or R&B element. It's a question of style more than anything. Although again there were exceptions. Also, the black community had become more polarized from the white audience in the late 1960s and the idea of Elvis as cultural thief was just beginning its national prominence at this time. Also, the shoeshine rumor only increased in strength as the decade wore on. If Elvis had played more of a role in the Civil Rights movement, perhaps it wouldn't have stuck. But Parker made a decision to avoid politics and it kind of pinged back to harm Elvis here.


There were people who did participate, and while most were sincere, some were cynical. It wasn't all automatically noble on the part of celebrities who did these things. I can think of a couple. One stands out in my mind, big time.

He DID wish to attend MLK, Jr.'s funeral. (I guess maybe Sammy Davis got him an invite? That's just a guess as to how he thought he could go. I don't know.) He was very upset that he couldn't, and that this thing happened in his hometown, and what would people think of him, and his family? (I think he just meant his immediate family.) He told this to an actress, in the trailer, watching the funeral, during LALLAL. This was simply not "allowed." Elvis wasn't one to stand up and say "let the film studio sue me for this; I'm going!" Because, they wouldn't have sued him; it would have been terrible PR. He could have gone. He just didn't know that. Elvis saw the powers that be, as THE POWERS THAT BE!

You could say it was a failure of nerve, but he came from a background where it was understandable to be afraid of power. The child is the father of the man. And the child lived in a world where you did not challenge power without grave consequences.

That he did all the things he did, and he did quite a few amazing things, some of which were not musical, some that were, was stunning. There's a key passage in Larry's "If I Can Dream" book, where Elvis tells Larry about the business, and "the world." It was after Larry experienced an odd burglary. Elvis had often, back then, speculated about Sam Cooke's death, which he attributed to Cooke not knowing to keep his mouth shut. Yup, that's what he believed. But he told Larry, after Larry's bad experience, "this is a {expletive}ing dangerous world."

That's how he saw it. There is some truth to that.

likethebike wrote:RCA still probably with the right promotion could have pushed "If I Can Dream," "In the Ghetto," and "Suspicious Minds" onto the R&B charts, but the moderate extra sales probably would not have made it worthwhile. It's worth noting that black artists, at least, were still listening to Elvis as both "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds" racked up a handful of soul covers within a few years with Solomon Burke doing a fine version of the latter and Dee Dee Warwick (Dionne's sister) doing a prominent "Suspicious Minds." Percy Sledge (who had previously scored with "Love Me Tender") was on "True Love Travels on a Gravel Road" in a hurry.

During the mid-1960s Elvis wasn't making the country charts either. The regional element of his sound was largely gone. He had gained the adult contemporary audience with tracks like "Love Letters," "Puppet on a String" but lost the R&B and country audience (the latter temporarily). Again, it's more a question of style. When Elvis sang with pop precision he was on the easy listening chart. When he sang with a twang, he was on the country charts. In the 1950s when rock and R&B crossed over, he made the R&B charts because R&B audiences were listening to that sound. Some later tracks could have found an R&B audience, but certainly tracks like "Don't Cry Daddy" or 'Memories" were strictly pop.


But he ended up "country," when finally, radio and the charts became very segmented, and that was my point.

rjm

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:36 am

I remember many record stores, both locally and in New York City, had Elvis records filed under Oldies or Male Vocalists in the 1970's.

His records were rarely kept in the Rock section. I don't recall ever seeing him filed under Country.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:46 am

Elvis' studio recording of What'd I Say is weak and smells of Hollywood. Shame, as he could have done so much better with it.

His 1969 live performances eat it for breakfast.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:05 am

There could be a regional aspect, certainly. In the south, Elvis's new records were filed under country. (Yes, a lot of his other stuff was in "oldies" or "pop" or "vocalists" {which included much older singers} -- that sorta thing.)

(Sorry, I got caught mid-post by news of the Portland shopping mall shooting. Turn on your TV.)

rjm

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:51 am

''What i'd say'' should have been a #1 hit on the Cashbox R&B chart in 1964.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:12 am

In the Denver area most record stores and big box stores (Target, Kmart etc.) had Elvis in the rock section throughout the 70's. A local chain (Independent Records) had Elvis in the Country section ad that was only only place I ever saw that. National chains like Peaches had Elvis in the rock section but Musicland had Elvis in male vocalist section. In Denver, Elvis was rarely ever in the country section.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:36 pm

SuspiciousMind wrote:
Rob wrote:What does "Yoga Is As Yoga Does" classify as?

Crap on top of crap.

I believe that scene was the first time I actually cried real tears during an Elvis movie.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:01 pm

brian wrote:''What i'd say'' should have been a #1 hit on the Cashbox R&B chart in 1964.


Seriously?

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:02 am

brian wrote:''What i'd say'' should have been a #1 hit on the Cashbox R&B chart in 1964.

Sorry, but not a chance in the world for that wish coming true.

Elvis' single release of "Viva Las Vegas" b/w "What'd I Say" in late April 1964 meant it should have reached the Cash Box R&B Top 50 by late May. Looking at that chart, there is no way Elvis' movie soundtrack recording of the Ray Charles classic could possibly have dislodged anything out of that list, most especially the Top 10. Some incredibly great records are in those slots.


Cash Box May 30 1964 p34.JPG
Cash Box R&B Top 50, May 28, 1964
Note: Irma Thomas, Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells (two singles), Solomon Burke, Mary Wells, Dionne Warwick, the Impressions, and Betty Everett in the Top 10 -- all incredible records. The next 10 are also fantastic.


Even on the Cash Box Top 100, "What'd I Say" was behind its flip-side.


Cash Box May 30 1964 p4.JPG
Cash Box Top 100, May 28, 1964
Note: Elvis is at #21 for "Viva Las Vegas" and #24 for "What'd I Say."
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:15 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:''What i'd say'' should have been a #1 hit on the Cashbox R&B chart in 1964.

Sorry, but not a chance in the world for that wish coming true.

Elvis' single release of "Viva Las Vegas" b/w "What'd I Say" in late April 1964 meant it should have reached the Cash Box R&B Top 50 by late May. Looking at that chart, there is no way Elvis' movie soundtrack recording of the Ray Charles classic could possibly have dislodged anything out of that list, most especially the Top 10. Some incredibly great records are in those slots.


Cash Box May 30 1964 p34.JPG
Cash Box R&B Top 50, May 28, 1964
Note: Irma Thomas, Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells (two singles), Solomon Burke, Mary Wells, Dionne Warwick, the Impressions, and Betty Everett in the Top 10 -- all incredible records. The next 10 are also fantastic.


Even on the Cash Box Top 100, "What'd I Say" was behind its flip-side.


Cash Box May 30 1964 p4.JPG
Cash Box Top 100, May 28, 1964
Note: Elvis is at #21 for "Viva Las Vegas" and #24 for "What'd I Say."



Thanks for posting that. Interesting to see 4 times the amount of Elvis singles compared to that of The Beatles 1 single.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:51 am

SuspiciousMind wrote:Thanks for posting that. Interesting to see 4 times the amount of Elvis singles compared to that of The Beatles 1 single.

Not sure what you are referring to.

The Cash Box Top 100 chart for May 28, 1964 that I uploaded shows 6 Beatles chart placings to 3 Elvis Presley chart placings. That's twice the number of Beatles singles compared to that of Elvis singles.

Again, my main point is that Presley's tepid "What'd I Say" would never, ever have been #1 on the Cash Box R&B chart in 1964.

Re: Elvis and the R&B Charts post 1963

Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:16 pm

When I was buying Elvis' records in the 70's they were usually filed in the pop/rock section, occasionally the male vocal section. I never saw Elvis filed under country. One record store, Merle's Record Rack, even had Elvis' records in their own stand up rack independent of all other artists.