Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:33 am

Steve Binder, visionary producer/director of Elvis' 1968 TV Special, saw Presley in Las Vegas in August 1969, but wasn't able to get backstage, and further attempts at renewed contact failed.

All signs pointed to management's desire to keep the young, creative director away from their client.

When Jerry Hopkins published Elvis: A Biography in 1971, interviews with Steve made clear all the roadblocks management put up during the making of the show.

But in this 1971 Billboard article, he really let it rip! "F the Colonel," it seemed to say.

Dig that haircut, too. Well, it was 1971, after all.


Image

Billboard - Nov 6, 1971


Image

Billboard - Nov 6, 1971 (part 2)


Get well soon, epf!

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:04 am

Thanks for posting. Ah, one can only dream of 20 Christmas songs...that Tom Parker was quite the visionary.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:38 am

Great article, thanks for posting!
I really liked his mention of the Good Vibrations From Central Park TV special, I am a fan of that.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:08 am

Yeah that is a good show. Ike and Tina are great and the Beach Boys were never better.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:12 am

Thanks for posting!
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:20 am

Thanks Doc

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:33 am

Thanks
A good, if not the best, example of elvis thriving despite the short-sighted greed of his manager

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Very interesting thank you.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:26 pm

Great article, very interesting.

It is clear that, by the end of 1969, Elvis should have been in touch with people like Binder or Moman. Instead, he would be back to Vegas and to the old habits...

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:49 pm

Thanks DrJohn,Enjoyed reading this.

The written contract-20 christmas songs and no talking.

Binder was the manthe catalyst

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:48 pm

RareElvisPresley.com has a nice section on the '68 Special.

Nice articles and some rare photos too.

http://www.rareelvispresley.com/
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:13 pm

What a kick in the pants that Binder never got backstage to re-connect with Elvis. I wonder if Elvis even knew if he (Binder) was in the audience. Was Elvis on some level however, disappointed himself in the 68 Special? I recall reading, but cannot recall the source (book) that Elvis wasn't knocked out by the "production" (I am using that word as that is what I read and in quotes), hence when it came time for Aloha From Hawaii he wanted a straight stage setting. Maybe on some level Elvis felt he could benefit no further with Binder or was management that vindictive? Same story with Chips Moman, whenever someone challenged Elvis' system they were cut off forever, but surely if Elvis felt a connection to either Binder or Moman don't you think he could have reconnected if he had the desire?

Sorry if I seem rambling (I am at work, ha-ha)and Doc thanks for the great info to this board as always!

JosephC

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:59 pm

Thanks doc for the good wishes and another interesting article.

One wonders how he must have felt after discovering that he was not being able to get close to Elvis. Apart from F*ck Parker, he must have been disappointed in Elvis as he had been a witness of how things worked. He surely must have felt that Elvis was once again 'protected' by his cocoon and that, despite his success (or thanks to?), went along with it.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:01 pm

Great find, Doc.

Nice hair, Steve.

While not wanting to appear sacreligious at the altar of the '68 Special, Binder's comment on a Christmas show being a "career-killer" (whether or not that might have been the outcome) makes him sound like a blowhard.

He encouraged Elvis to be Elvis, and we have him to thank for the arena shows. But, the production numbers (outside of the open) were ridiculous. They were little more than "mini Elvis movies."

As far as losing touch with Elvis, people always blame the guys, or the Colonel. If Elvis wanted you involved, you were involved. He let his people be the buffer between Binder, Moman and many others. Poor decision? Could be, but we don't know Elvis' side of the story, and in our 34th year of revisionist history.

Binder made a comment in the early 70s, well before Elvis' problems became apparent, that if creative challenges, like '68, failed to come his way, Elvis would be "used up and dissipated down to the grave." Gotta give him props on that one.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:39 pm

elvisjock wrote:As far as losing touch with Elvis, people always blame the guys, or the Colonel. If Elvis wanted you involved, you were involved. He let his people be the buffer between Binder, Moman and many others. Poor decision? Could be, but we don't know Elvis' side of the story, and in our 34th year of revisionist history.

Binder made a comment in the early 70s, well before Elvis' problems became apparent, that if creative challenges, like '68, failed to come his way, Elvis would be "used up and dissipated down to the grave." Gotta give him props on that one.


Indeed. I am angry at Elvis, or rather his ability to stand up for himself. It seems that - as i mentioned in another thread - too nice, soft, easy, lazy, whatever you want to call it, to effectively protect his interests.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:49 pm

cant believe what is being said ,left to his own devices ,and with Parker in charge controlling everything,we can see how it turned out,endless touring,lousy material,then Elvis died.Damn what more proof does one need.

BTW Elvis loved the Special and was totally inspired,no matter what many say here writing all their negativity regarding everything Binder, his special is widely regarded as the best ever./

Human nature i suppose, refusing to give full credit to anyone,let alone see the full picture.

No doubt you think Elvis didnt need Binder.LOL

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:00 pm

elvisjock wrote:He encouraged Elvis to be Elvis, and we have him to thank for the arena shows. But, the production numbers (outside of the open) were ridiculous. They were little more than "mini Elvis movies."


I was not going to reply but after thinking about it, I will.

They were FANTASTIC!

How can you say they were “ridiculous?”

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:02 pm

EPA4368 wrote:
elvisjock wrote:He encouraged Elvis to be Elvis, and we have him to thank for the arena shows. But, the production numbers (outside of the open) were ridiculous. They were little more than "mini Elvis movies."


I was not going to reply but after thinking about it, I will.

They were FANTASTIC!

How can you say they were “ridiculous?”


Cause that's how I see them?

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:00 pm

elvisjock wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:
elvisjock wrote:He encouraged Elvis to be Elvis, and we have him to thank for the arena shows. But, the production numbers (outside of the open) were ridiculous. They were little more than "mini Elvis movies."


I was not going to reply but after thinking about it, I will.

They were FANTASTIC!

How can you say they were “ridiculous?”


Cause that's how I see them?


Now I understand.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:18 am

midnightx wrote:Thanks for posting. Ah, one can only dream of 20 Christmas songs...that Tom Parker was quite the visionary.

Someone told me not too long ago that Christmas specials like this were quite popular at the time and that a christmas album to go with it could have sold well for years to come?
But still I ask: Did the Col consider such a special to be comeback material? Or did the Col indeed see the NEED for a comeback for Elvis?
I have always - well, since I learned about this in the early mid-80's - considered totally OFF target to want a Christmas special at that point in Elvis' (or the Col's?) career. What went through his mind (and I guess the reply I got about the popularity of Christmas programmes was an attempt to explain just that...).
The Singer company wanted it to be watched by ladies who buy sewing machines... That makes sense from that sponsor's perspective, yes, but...sob, sob, how NEAR-tragic!
Well..if he HAD ended up with Christmas songs, he might still have been alive....because he probably wouldn't have revived his career, but become a has-been??!

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:50 am

EPA4368 wrote:RareElvisPresley.com has a nice section on the '68 Special.

Nice articles and some rare photos too.

http://www.rareelvispresley.com/

Thank you for that link!


JosephC wrote:What a kick in the pants that Binder never got backstage to re-connect with Elvis. I wonder if Elvis even knew if he (Binder) was in the audience. Was Elvis on some level however, disappointed himself in the 68 Special? I recall reading, but cannot recall the source (book) that Elvis wasn't knocked out by the "production" (I am using that word as that is what I read and in quotes), hence when it came time for Aloha From Hawaii he wanted a straight stage setting. Maybe on some level Elvis felt he could benefit no further with Binder or was management that vindictive? Same story with Chips Moman, whenever someone challenged Elvis' system they were cut off forever, but surely if Elvis felt a connection to either Binder or Moman don't you think he could have reconnected if he had the desire?

Desire is one thing, control is another. Elvis had the former, he lost the latter.


elvisjock wrote:While not wanting to appear sacrilegious at the altar of the '68 Special, Binder's comment on a Christmas show being a "career-killer" (whether or not that might have been the outcome) makes him sound like a blowhard.

I disagree -- Binder was right on the money with that statement.

elvisjock wrote:He encouraged Elvis to be Elvis, and we have him to thank for the arena shows. But, the production numbers (outside of the open) were ridiculous. They were little more than "mini Elvis movies."

Both the opening ("Trouble" / "Guitar Man") and closing ("If I Can Dream") production numbers were incredible visual moments in the TV Special. If only more of Elvis' movies had been that great.

elvisjock wrote:As far as losing touch with Elvis, people always blame the guys, or the Colonel. If Elvis wanted you involved, you were involved. He let his people be the buffer between Binder, Moman and many others. Poor decision? Could be, but we don't know Elvis' side of the story, and in our 34th year of revisionist history.

It's not "revisionist" to note that Moman and the incredible American Sound house band were all set to back Elvis in the summer of 1969, and Presley thrilled with the idea, until management refused to pay them market value for their services.

Or to note the numerous, credible offers in the 1970s for European tours, all killed by management.

And don't get me started about the March 1975 offer to have the co-lead in the remake of "A Star Is Born."

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:59 am

With all this usual Colonel dissing ...one should remember that without Tom Parker there wouldn't have been a Comeback Special.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:12 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:RareElvisPresley.com has a nice section on the '68 Special.

Nice articles and some rare photos too.

http://www.rareelvispresley.com/

Thank you for that link!


JosephC wrote:What a kick in the pants that Binder never got backstage to re-connect with Elvis. I wonder if Elvis even knew if he (Binder) was in the audience. Was Elvis on some level however, disappointed himself in the 68 Special? I recall reading, but cannot recall the source (book) that Elvis wasn't knocked out by the "production" (I am using that word as that is what I read and in quotes), hence when it came time for Aloha From Hawaii he wanted a straight stage setting. Maybe on some level Elvis felt he could benefit no further with Binder or was management that vindictive? Same story with Chips Moman, whenever someone challenged Elvis' system they were cut off forever, but surely if Elvis felt a connection to either Binder or Moman don't you think he could have reconnected if he had the desire?

Desire is one thing, control is another. Elvis had the former, he lost the latter.


elvisjock wrote:While not wanting to appear sacrilegious at the altar of the '68 Special, Binder's comment on a Christmas show being a "career-killer" (whether or not that might have been the outcome) makes him sound like a blowhard.

I disagree -- Binder was right on the money with that statement.

elvisjock wrote:He encouraged Elvis to be Elvis, and we have him to thank for the arena shows. But, the production numbers (outside of the open) were ridiculous. They were little more than "mini Elvis movies."

Both the opening ("Trouble" / "Guitar Man") and closing ("If I Can Dream") production numbers were incredible visual moments in the TV Special. If only more of Elvis' movies had been that great.

elvisjock wrote:As far as losing touch with Elvis, people always blame the guys, or the Colonel. If Elvis wanted you involved, you were involved. He let his people be the buffer between Binder, Moman and many others. Poor decision? Could be, but we don't know Elvis' side of the story, and in our 34th year of revisionist history.

It's not "revisionist" to note that Moman and the incredible American Sound house band were all set to back Elvis in the summer of 1969, and Presley thrilled with the idea, until management refused to pay them market value for their services.

Or to note the numerous, credible offers in the 1970s for European tours, all killed by management.

And don't get me started about the March 1975 offer to have the co-lead in the remake of "A Star Is Born."


I don't consider the If I Can Dream ending to be a production number. It's more like a live performance. And, it's one of Elvis' finest moments, as is the opening sequence, as are the sitdown and standup shows. The production value of the rest of the show doesn't measure up, not by a long shot. Elvis looks and sounds terrific, but these segments haven't held up the way the other parts of the show stand the test of time.

Let's say we could put a "number" on how much of the creative shortcomings blame is attributed to Parker. Is it 80 or 90%? If it is, my belief is the real number is more like 50 to 60%. Elvis, Vernon, RCA and the studio heads account for the rest.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:47 am

KiwiAlan wrote:With all this usual Colonel dissing ...one should remember that without Tom Parker there wouldn't have been a Comeback Special.

Quite true -- Parker played a HUGE role in Elvis' creative and commercial decline in the mid-60s.


elvisjock wrote:I don't consider the If I Can Dream ending to be a production number. It's more like a live performance.

That's fine, but it is most certainly one of the production numbers taped on the final day, June 30. Like many of the others done that day and before, Elvis does a live vocal to the prerecorded Western Studios backing track.

elvisjock wrote:Let's say we could put a "number" on how much of the creative shortcomings blame is attributed to Parker. Is it 80 or 90%?

That would be about right. Parker was all about the "now" money. The rest of the blame should go with SInger, who sponsored the program.

If you reread the Billboard article, you will notice Binder realized after it was all said and done that the small combo and solo stand up performances should have been the whole show, but the sponsors said no to that suggestion.

Re: Steve Binder --> Off The Colonel's List ! (1971)

Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:05 am

We can't blame the Colonel for everything. When Elvis wanted things bad enough he made things happen.. The rest of the time he let things happen to him.