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Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:14 pm

The reviewer had every right to state what he HIMSELF thought about Presley's vocals, unintelligible to him as they may have been. A little bit like another reviewer expressing, six decades earlier, his failure to understand, or comprehend, (LOL), James Joyce's dismissal of all commas and punctuations in a particular chapter in "Dubliners". And there were many who took that stand when the book first came out. Now, as the work of both Messrs. Joyce and Presley surely attest to, it would take more than one, or two, or even a hundred similar reviewers to counter the true weight and validity of those which duly exist, on record and from thousands upon thousands of others whose expertise in the matter at hand, be it literature, or music, not just point to exactly the opposite, but qualify them much more to make a substantive, meaningful comment, or even an informed guess about it. In Presley's case, thankfully (LOL), the research about his qualities as a singer is not just already done, but is readily available.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Elvis_Pres ... ut_Presley

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:56 am

Jaime1234 wrote:The reviewer had every right to state what he HIMSELF thought about Presley's vocals, unintelligible to him as they may have been.


Though we may never know who wrote the words, or when or where they appeared.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:27 am

I gave you a reference where the article is. It's in Tunzi's "Elvis '69' book on page 8 - it's obviously a review of the recent telecast of the '68 Special, though no by-line is provided for the reviewer, nor any reference on the page to where it was taken from. The article ends with the note "Esse" -- perhaps his name / nick-name?

I'm not trying to pick on the '68 Special, I'm just surprised that 13 years after his first big hit, and lots of wonderful performances, the reviewer's opinion is that Elvis still can't sing. As somewhat else said, if Elvis can't sing, who can.

I remember my parents (who had Elvis' gold records volume 1) and watched many of his movies with me over the years returning from a trip to the beachfront when Elvis was closing the rerun of his '68 Special with IF I CAN DREAM. My mom was NOT impressed at all. She did very much enjoy seeing him in Niagara Falls with me, as did my dad later in 1977. So, perhaps it was an age thing and became an acquired taste over the years -- or until he died.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:21 am

It was on Variety:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=47060#p653841

The Variety review got all Freudian:
“He still can’t sing...
But that was never very important (because) it is Presley’s suggestion of simple, unthinking, illiterate sex, his intimation that he isn’t going to bug you with hangups because he doesn’t even know he has them that gives him his appeal to the inexperienced.”

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:52 am

At last, we're getting closer to having a credible look at this review.

Variety has an online archive, but it isn't free. However, I dug out a bit more of the review and the date it was published:


Radio & Television - Thurs., Dec. 5, 1968
Television Review SINGER PRESENTS ELVIS (NBC 8-9 p.m) As the opener in NBC's one-two punch of specials about nearly legendary entertainers, Elvis Presley's hour made interesting viewing. Reactions were undoubtedly varied, as they have always been about him ...

... of illiterate sex, his intimation that he isn't going to bug you with hangups because he doesn't even know he has them, that gives him his appeal to the inexperienced. He still can't sing. The words are still unintelligible. But that never was very important in his saga. He had the country-boy grace to point out that pop music has ...

... Presley was an easy winner in the Trendex 30-city overnight with a rating of 30.1 for 50% share. Opposing were Red Skelton and Doris Day for a combined 12.9 and 22; "Takes a Thief" and "NYPD" coupled for 11.9 and 20. In the Nielsen overnight for the N.Y. area, Presley was checked off at 27.4 and 41.

Variety Magazine, Thursday, December 5, 1968, p18
http://www.varietyultimate.com



What seems clear is that Variety magazine was never a bastion of credible pop music journalism and, from the excerpts above, had an axe to grind with Elvis Presley.

There you go.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:41 pm

Christopher Brown wrote:
I remember my parents (who had Elvis' gold records volume 1) and watched many of his movies with me over the years returning from a trip to the beachfront when Elvis was closing the rerun of his '68 Special with IF I CAN DREAM. My mom was NOT impressed at all. She did very much enjoy seeing him in Niagara Falls with me, as did my dad later in 1977. So, perhaps it was an age thing and became an acquired taste over the years -- or until he died.

How did you like If I Can Dream at the time Chris?

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:44 pm

stevelecher wrote:
Christopher Brown wrote:I remember my parents (who had Elvis' gold records volume 1) and watched many of his movies with me over the years returning from a trip to the beachfront when Elvis was closing the rerun of his '68 Special with IF I CAN DREAM. My mom was NOT impressed at all. She did very much enjoy seeing him in Niagara Falls with me, as did my dad later in 1977. So, perhaps it was an age thing and became an acquired taste over the years -- or until he died.


How did you like If I Can Dream at the time Chris?


That one has somewhat screaming vocals ...

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:26 pm

Which do you prefer Doc, the single version or the show closing vocal? I'd have to go with the single. I'm on record as saying, IMO, they didn't even use the best show closing take of the three complete takes they taped.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:55 pm

stevelecher wrote:Which do you prefer Doc, the single version or the show closing vocal? I'd have to go with the single. I'm on record as saying, IMO, they didn't even use the best show closing take of the three complete takes they taped.


We've debated this before, but I tend to appreciate the live vocal Steve Binder chose to close the TV Special. It was likely the one people heard first, and Elvis never sounded more committed to his art than during those four blazing minutes on June 30, 1968. The director made the perfect choice from the three complete live vocal takes, start to finish.

Of course, imagine how much better it might have been without screaming vocals ...

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:03 am

Christopher Brown wrote:It's been more than 35 years since Elvis left us, but he's the one I still listen to the most. I had the great joy to hear Elvis in person many, many times where I truly got to hear and experience his greatness. "America the Beautiful", "Hurt", "T-R-O-U-B-L-E", "How Great Thou Art", "Tryin' To Get To You", "One Night", and oh the horrors, I've always enjoyed "If You Love Me" and "Let Me Be There". "And I Love You So" and "Love Letters" always had me enthralled. Once the dutiful oldies were over, it was time for "my" part of the show. And of course "Unchained Melody" (even failing the last note) was a highlight for me.

Nicely said. Me too (for the most part).

Johnny2523 wrote:I agree with that, On some songs elvis is ''Overdoing'' elvis
Songs coming to mind are ''One Night'' & ''Lawdy Miss Clawdy''

Dear, sweet Jesus!

I'm afraid I have no choice but to ask you to get the hell out of town.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:41 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
stevelecher wrote:Which do you prefer Doc, the single version or the show closing vocal? I'd have to go with the single. I'm on record as saying, IMO, they didn't even use the best show closing take of the three complete takes they taped.


We've debated this before, but I tend to appreciate the live vocal Steve Binder chose to close the TV Special. It was likely the one people heard first, and Elvis never sounded more committed to his art than during those four blazing minutes on June 30, 1968. The director made the perfect choice from the three complete live vocal takes, start to finish.

Of course, imagine how much better it might have been without screaming vocals ...

You are right. This is a conversation we've had before. You like take 4 best and I prefer take 3. Visually, take 4 is stunning also and what a riveting close to the Special. A legendery moment in music history!

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:49 am

Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Mine is that Elvis never did those songs like "One Night", "Trying To Get To You" or "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" better than during the sit-down shows.
If I were to show anyone the greatness or coolness of Elvis, this is the real deal. Everything is right about it, his look, his voice, his guitar.. still the most amazing (well, certainly among the greatest..) live performances ever captured on film IMO.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:50 am

James27 wrote:Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Mine is that Elvis never did those songs like "One Night", "Trying To Get To You" or "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" better than during the sit-down shows.
If I were to show anyone the greatness or coolness of Elvis, this is the real deal. Everything is right about it, his look, his voice, his guitar.. still the most amazing (well, certainly among the greatest..) live performances ever captured on film IMO.


Very good opinion!

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:48 am

stevelecher wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
stevelecher wrote:Which do you prefer Doc, the single version or the show closing vocal? I'd have to go with the single. I'm on record as saying, IMO, they didn't even use the best show closing take of the three complete takes they taped.


We've debated this before, but I tend to appreciate the live vocal Steve Binder chose to close the TV Special. It was likely the one people heard first, and Elvis never sounded more committed to his art than during those four blazing minutes on June 30, 1968. The director made the perfect choice from the three complete live vocal takes, start to finish.

Of course, imagine how much better it might have been without screaming vocals ...

You are right. This is a conversation we've had before. You like take 4 best and I prefer take 3. Visually, take 4 is stunning also and what a riveting close to the Special. A legendery moment in music history!


I agree with you. Yes, we all had this conversation before. Take 3 was the best, but I beleive the reason it wasn't used was because of the way he dropped the mic
to his side real fast and you could hear the clunk. He made sure he didn't do that on take 4.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:23 am

James27 wrote:Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Mine is that Elvis never did those songs like "One Night", "Trying To Get To You" or "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" better than during the sit-down shows.
If I were to show anyone the greatness or coolness of Elvis, this is the real deal. Everything is right about it, his look, his voice, his guitar.. still the most amazing (well, certainly among the greatest..) live performances ever captured on film IMO.

Couldn't agree more. There is nothing, NOTHING about these performances that I wouldn't show to a non-fan. I love watching him play that guitar.

He knew more than three chords -- that rascal.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:10 am

Here's a nice little piece of ephemera: a full page ad from Variety 24 December 1968.

Variety Advert 24 Dec 1968.JPG
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Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:36 am

I was probably 6 years old when I watched Elvis for the first time singing "If I Can Dream". I did not have enough knowledge to know if he was good singing or not but I was blown away by his performance.

At this age, Elvis was like a super hero for me and I would usually bring a tape with me to school to show my friends how Elvis sang. I remember 2 guys on school (they worked on security) and they were Elvis fans. They were probably surprised with my enthusiasm with Elvis and also my brother was always telling them how much we liked Elvis.

"If I Can Dream" was the favorite of both of them. Coincidence or not, it is my favorite today. :D

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:56 am

George Smith wrote:Here's a nice little piece of ephemera: a full page ad from Variety 24 December 1968.

Variety Advert 24 Dec 1968.JPG


I found part of the advert, nice to see all of it.

Sadly, Parker never chose to "do it again" with TERAM or Finkel.

Just curious: did you go all-in on the Variety archive plan?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:07 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Just curious: did you go all-in on the Variety archive plan?

No, I use an occasional monthly subscription when I have stuff to look for.

Generally speaking, Variety is nowhere near as interesting as Billboard when it comes to EP research.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:27 am

The person who wrote the review was clearly beyond help

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:58 am

keninlincs wrote:The person who wrote the review was clearly beyond help


Especially since he'd probably be about 110 years old by now. :smt005

rjm

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:27 pm

Johnny Cash described Elvis' rhythm guitar playing:

"I remember Elvis' show at the Eagle's Nest as if were yesterday. The date was a blunder, because the place was an adult club where teenagers weren't welcome, and so Vivian and I were two of only a dozen or so patrons, fifteen at the most. All the same, I thought Elvis was great. He sang That's All Right, Mama and Blue Moon of Kentucky once again (and again) plus some black blues songs and a few numbers like Long Tall Sally, and he didn't say much. He didn't have to, of course; his charisma alone kept everyone's attention. The thing I really noticed that night, though, was his guitar playing. Elvis was a fabulous rhythm player. He'd start into That's All Right, Mama with his own guitar alone, and you didn't want to hear anything else. I didn't anyway. I was disappointed when Scotty Moore and Bill Black jumped in and covered him up. Not that Scotty and Bill weren't perfect for him - the way he sounded with them that night was what I think of as seminal Presley, the sound I missed through all the years after he became so popular and made records full of orchestration and overproduction. I loved that clean, simple combination of Scotty, Bill, and Elvis with his acoustic guitar. You know, I've never heard or read anyone else praising Elvis as a rhythm guitar player, and after the Sun days I never heard his own guitar on his records."

Source: "Cash : The Autobiography"

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:32 pm

I was 13 when I first saw the ’68 Special. If the movies and “Spinout” (particularly the title track) had hooked me, the ’68 Special hauled me in and made me the fan I am today. (Though I may not like the stuff I “should”.)

The soundtrack to the show was the first LP I ever bought. I had to buy another as I literally wore the album out. I cut out the album pictures and pasted them into one of many scrapbooks I created over the years. (I would later buy the 8-track tape version, the cassette tape version, and several various CD versions.)

I purchased a jacket (pale blue) similar to what Elvis wore when he performed IF I CAN DREAM, and wore scarfs in the early ‘70s. I did not look anything like Elvis.

My next album was a Christmas present from my brother, Gordon, entitled FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS. Wow! Later I was able to buy more albums, LET’S BE FRIENDS, FLAMING STAR, VEGAS/MEMPHIS double album, THAT’S THE WAY IT IS, ELVIS COUNTRY – Elvis’ voice was getting better ALL the time.

ELVIS ON TOUR (great vocals) and ALOHA FROM HAWAII provided current live material that excited me.
Even with a dip in album total quality during the mid-70s, there were still enough individual tracks that heightened my pleasure in listening to virtually nothing but Elvis.

The Memphis ’74 album came out shortly after I got to experience Elvis in person for the first time – and was another album that I wore out (although I was very grateful FTD fixed the mess that featured turning the audience response up and down).

His voice – what I liked to listen to – was getting better, richer, fuller. PROMISED LAND and ELVIS TODAY provided more great tracks, and MOODY BLUE finally provided tracks I had heard in person many times (two of them, the actual tracks), plus HE’LL HAVE TO GO – a song pointing to more musical greatness from Elvis as his rich baritone voice was terrific – I wanted more.

Therefore, as I progressed through the 1970s with Elvis, I enjoyed his vocals on each successive album, expecting / hoping to hear him into his ‘50s and ‘60s.

So – horrors of horrors – and perhaps some blasphemy, I enjoy Elvis’ ’70s vocals more – I even choose TRYIN’ TO GET TO YOU from the 1977 TV Special over the 1968 TV Special version as did a number of people in a poll a few years ago. But that’s all opinion. Some will say “yeah, right on” others will say “not a chance.” But it’s still Elvis.

He still can’t sing? One of the last “new” songs I heard was I REALLY DON’T WANT TO KNOW on June 25, 1977 – and it was outstanding and powerful. I had hope for more.

Again, this isn't a debate out the '68 Special, I realize its general importance and its specific importance to me. It, along with much of the '50s material, is not the Elvis I listen to (regularly) -- but I do listen to it all! I was just surprised that someone in 1968 thought Elvis still couldn't sing -- and it jumped out to me when I was reading the new Tunzi book.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:27 pm

George Smith wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Just curious: did you go all-in on the Variety archive plan?

No, I use an occasional monthly subscription when I have stuff to look for.

Generally speaking, Variety is nowhere near as interesting as Billboard when it comes to EP research.


Variety seems better for doing research on Hollywood, television and film-making.

Re: "He Still Can't Sing"

Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:28 pm

Christopher Brown wrote:So – horrors of horrors – and perhaps some blasphemy, I enjoy Elvis’ ’70s vocals more – I even choose TRYIN’ TO GET TO YOU from the 1977 TV Special over the 1968 TV Special version ...


:shock: