All posts with more than 3000 Hits, prior to 2008

Question for the original fans

Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:22 am

To the folks who were Elvis fans from the 50's on: When did you start to think his career was going downhill? Name the movie or soundtrack or record, and what you thought at the time.

Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:04 am

I think his career started going downhill when The Beatles hit America in January 1964.
It was slowing down for about two years before but he was still the king and no one was close to being more popular. His movies were still drawing big audiences but everything pretty much went downhill starting in 1964 until the end of '68 - early '69.

jeff R

Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:42 am

As far as I can pin point it, I became a big fan in 67/68.
So it was all on the up and up from then (right till the end) in my view at the time.


8)

downhill with Elvis

Sat Jan 07, 2006 9:06 am

Yes I've been a fan since mid-56 when I (at age 9) first heard Hound Dog/Don't be cruel - I thought Wow what a great singer!!!! Then Love me Tender came to town (Victoria BC Canada) and I hadn't seen anything like the pandemonium I witnessed!!!!!! (girls were in the aisles on their knees screaming their heads off everytime Elvis was on screen and then you could hardly hear anything in the theatre with all the screaming!!) This was definitely the start of my obsession with Elvis seeing him in action!!!! MMM he looked great and he was a great singer to boot!!!......We didn't even have a television so I never got to see him when he appeared on all those 50's shows.........anyway that was the start.......I was at every movie premier Elvis made in Victoria after that!!! Even seeing GI Blues and Blue Hawaii at New Years Eve showings and the theatre was packed!!!!!!!!!! That's why I love the movie soundtracks (no matter how bad some of them were - those are precious memories for me!!!!!!!) I only wish Elvis would have recorded other songs besides movie tracks 64-67 and maybe given other artists a run for their money - it's a damn shame they didn't end some of the sessions with great material for single releases!!!

My first indication that something was wrong when a fan yelled out in It Happened at the World's Fair when Elvis was singing "How would you like to be" - he yelled out "Elvis what the hell are you singing?????!!! Let's rock and roll!!!!!" The crowds however were still there and the lineups too until "Harum Scarum"......that was a real low point and the crowds seemed to dwindle after that............just the ever faithful ones were attending.........things picked up I think after the 68 special and lots seemed to be watching Change of Habit but then that was it for the scripted movies - hey just when they started to get better!! (except of course TTWII and EOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! which we fans thought were exceptional!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I remember seeing lots of fans in the theatres for those 2 films.......I even remember going to drive-ins to see them in double features after the initial release)......anyway that's my story as I await my copy of Loving You FTD...............one of my all time favorite movies of Elvis'..........

Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:22 am

I think I'll go with Jeff R on this. But also Barbie when she mentioned the low point when Harum Scarum came to the local cinema. It was Beatlemania all over and Frankie And Johnny, Harum Scarum and Paradise Hawaiian Style just didn't match at that time.
But, when Big Boss Man came out on single, hopes were brighter and movies like Stay Away Joe showed promise.
Actually, not since Tickel Me which packed the local cinema, there were hardly people watching the movies that followed. For some reason Speedway drew enough attention to fill the local cinema, for the last time during an Elvis movie. The next movie to be shown was Elvis On Tour and that one actually drew a lot of attention, but it was nothing like the early sixties, up until Tickle Me, when the house was crowded through every Elvis movie that came to town. This was in Norway.

Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:38 pm

Pete -

My first disappointment regarding Elvis' work came early on !

After the great Elvis Is Back album in 1960, in which he proved he could sing virtually any kind of music, he then followed up with the studio albums Something For Everybody [1961] and Pot Luck [1962].

He had chosen to go the MOR path, with [for the most part] soft, bland, safe, easy-listening kind of stuff.

The music had lost its hard edge; there was no danger, no attitude, no swagger.

We never found out if he would have continued with music like this because the soundtracks took over, and 'proper' albums ceased to appear.

And four young mop-heads were dreaming of the big time in Hamburg................

Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:28 pm

Colin's point is why I think there's a schism at times between the original fans and fans that came on later. For Elvis' original fans, he was more than a singer, he was kind of the leader of a movement. And this movement was a definite step away from pop and showbiz tradition. In saying that I don't mean to indicate later fans don't respect appreciate and understand Elvis' initial impact. (Although, I would think that the original fans have the deepest appreciation of the shock and difference of Elvis.) But from my readings from original fans, it's as if they're in there with Elvis. So, when Elvis did a middle of the road, it seemed like a retrograde step or even a betrayal. And this was in many ways. The MOR culture was what they rejected. And since Elvis, in the opinion of many fans was the best rock and roll singer, it seemed a waste for him to sing MOR stuff since the Sinatra gang and some younger pop performers already had that line covered. To them they weren't getting the best Elvis had to give.

I don't mean to put words in anyone's mouth. I'm just giving my impressions of some of the stuff I've read from critics like Carr and Farren, performers like Lennon and some of the folks on this board.

On the other hand a fan coming in ten or twenty or thirty years later doesn't have that shared baggage or the stake in the initial rock revolution. Actually, many fans born after say 1965 may have been rocked to death. When they hear "There's Always me" they hear a brilliant pop song, there is no sense of betrayal or retrograde unless you're a died in the wool rocker. For a person like myself, who was introduced to "Can't Help Falling in Love", "Jailhouse Rock", "It's Now or Never" and "Don't Be Cruel" all at the same time, there was no need to learn or appreciate a new or different aesthetic. It was the Elvis aesthetic already in whole. They were all cool Elvis songs. Being a little boy, I liked the uptempo songs better but to me they were all good.

I'm not saying the latter approach is better. We all have our own experiences which shape our different tastes. However, coming to Elvis' career in total is a lot different than sharing it goes along. It kind of gets at why newer fans can go on about Elvis' growth in the early '60s and original fans will be like what're you talking about.

Coming later makes it a lot easier to gloss over the flaws. I used to wonder that wrote off Elvis' early to mid-60s work. I used to say "What are you talking about, he did a lot of great songs in that period?" But unlike say Bajo above, I didn't have to slog through the "Girl Happy" soundtrack before discovering "Tomorrow is a Long Time" it was already there. I didn't have to buy the dreadful "Kissin' Cousins" to hear the wonderful "It Hurts Me".

You could say the same thing about Elvis' movies. The original fans basically had to wade through these things for basically seven straight years. Later fans can come in a piecemeal and don't have to wait for the flashes of brilliance. In that context, Elvis' movie career can seem like a harmless sideline.

Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:03 pm

I think when an artist makes an impact and then after a few years decides to go into another direction or at least add different things, this feeling like Colin describes is common among original fans. This happens frequently in the music business, hence the term "selling out". Still, I discovered EP and his brilliance in 1970, not knowing anything about the social impact and the revolution he started in 56, nor about his mid-sixties slump. That's what makes him so loved and why he's timeless, generation after generation find different era's of EP to latch onto, eventually discovering the 1955-77 timeline in which his career covered. As LTB so correctly wrote,
"Coming later makes it a lot easier to gloss over the flaws. I used to wonder that wrote off Elvis' early to mid-60s work. I used to say "What are you talking about, he did a lot of great songs in that period?" But unlike say Bajo above, I didn't have to slog through the "Girl Happy" soundtrack before discovering "Tomorrow is a Long Time" it was already there. I didn't have to buy the dreadful "Kissin' Cousins" to hear the wonderful "It Hurts Me".

You could say the same thing about Elvis' movies. The original fans basically had to wade through these things for basically seven straight years. Later fans can come in a piecemeal and don't have to wait for the flashes of brilliance. In that context, Elvis' movie career can seem like a harmless sideline".

Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:12 am

I'm with Colin on this one.

Something for Everybody, His Hand in Mine and the Pot Luck era, were athe time, huge dissapointments.

The movies from GI Blues only confirmed that the rock and roll king had sold out to the music our parents liked eg Bing Crosby type.

However I hung in there relishing the Rock and Roll nuggets that came alone and was rewarded in '68

Sun Jan 08, 2006 1:27 pm

bajo wrote: the low point when Harum Scarum came to the local cinema. It was Beatlemania all over and Frankie And Johnny, Harum Scarum and Paradise Hawaiian Style just didn't match at that time.


re: reference to "Frankie & Johnny" =
I like this film.

It's got some memorable lines & situations

It's ok that Elvis did a whole slew of films to appeal to racing enthusiasts.
But it's really nice to see him in a film that has NO CARS whatsoever.

F&J is an ancient (1800's) love story - or love-gone-wrong story,
and many many versions of the song existed on records
before Elvis ever came along.

But Elvis does The Definitive Frankie & Johnny interpretation.

That's cool imo.

(Plus note the ahead-of-the-curve distinction of Elvis dressed like Sgt. Pepper two years before the Beatles did - lol)

Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:00 pm

GG!
It wasn't so much the matter of not liking the movies. But, at the time, one would be blind or deaf for not realizing what was happening as The Beatlemania rolled over the world.
I actually like Frankie And Johnny myself, but the world at large seemed to pay attention to the new wave!
And as such, the decline of Elvis' popularity during '65, '66 and '67 were evident.
The movies and soundtracks I mentioned above, were far cries away from what Elvis Presley used to be all about. Those soundtracks just didn't stand the test of time then.
But, in my personal file, I actually enjoy them! Especially F&J and HS even more, after I heard them on the DF releases.
But, then again Elvis as a whole have proven to stand the test of time.
Even better than many of those that overshadowed him during those mid sixties years.

Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:07 pm

Bajo,

I get what you mean.

Not enough people went and saw F&J - and that's understandable - there was so much more Pop Culture Competition to choose from by 65-66.

I can understand Elvis' frustrations to do a film he thinks is good (not meaning he ever said he thought that of F&J) but I'm sure he had good expectations for it, and each film, but darn that British Invasion!

Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:41 pm

I can understand the disappointment in Something For Everybody; His Hand In Mine; Pot Luck by those who were fans of the 50's 'king of rock&roll' Elvis. Still, there were a number of decent singles and lp tracks to at least satisfy during this period (61-63).

But what about the movies? Particularly when the quality took a nosedive with Kissin' Cousins or Tickle Me or Harum Scarem. And the increasingly low quality soundtracks? And the lack of fresh, non-movie recordings? Did anyone ever think that he was blowing it, that at the rate things were going his big-time career would be done by 1970?

Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:52 pm

I, for one, hold that period very high. Something For Everybody, His Hand In Mine, Pot Luck, Elvis' Golden Records vol 3 and a lot of the singles of the time, still are favourites of mine. His Latest Flame/Little Sister an all time double sided classic in my book!
I've always thought that "The Lost Album" should have been released way back then, instead of ELVIS FOR EVERYONE.

Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:00 pm

bajo wrote:I, for one, hold that period very high. Something For Everybody, His Hand In Mine, Pot Luck, Elvis' Golden Records vol 3 and a lot of the singles of the time, still are favourites of mine. His Latest Flame/Little Sister an all time double sided classic in my book!
I've always thought that "The Lost Album" should have been released way back then, instead of ELVIS FOR EVERYONE.


I agree with you, bajo. And, yes they should have released what's come to be known as the "Lost" album. But, nonetheless I bought Elvis For Everyone and greatly enjoyed it.

Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:04 pm

likethebike wrote:Colin's point is why I think there's a schism at times between the original fans and fans that came on later. For Elvis' original fans, he was more than a singer, he was kind of the leader of a movement. And this movement was a definite step away from pop and showbiz tradition. In saying that I don't mean to indicate later fans don't respect appreciate and understand Elvis' initial impact. (Although, I would think that the original fans have the deepest appreciation of the shock and difference of Elvis.) But from my readings from original fans, it's as if they're in there with Elvis. So, when Elvis did a middle of the road, it seemed like a retrograde step or even a betrayal. And this was in many ways. The MOR culture was what they rejected. And since Elvis, in the opinion of many fans was the best rock and roll singer, it seemed a waste for him to sing MOR stuff since the Sinatra gang and some younger pop performers already had that line covered. To them they weren't getting the best Elvis had to give.

I don't mean to put words in anyone's mouth. I'm just giving my impressions of some of the stuff I've read from critics like Carr and Farren, performers like Lennon and some of the folks on this board.

On the other hand a fan coming in ten or twenty or thirty years later doesn't have that shared baggage or the stake in the initial rock revolution. Actually, many fans born after say 1965 may have been rocked to death. When they hear "There's Always me" they hear a brilliant pop song, there is no sense of betrayal or retrograde unless you're a died in the wool rocker. For a person like myself, who was introduced to "Can't Help Falling in Love", "Jailhouse Rock", "It's Now or Never" and "Don't Be Cruel" all at the same time, there was no need to learn or appreciate a new or different aesthetic. It was the Elvis aesthetic already in whole. They were all cool Elvis songs. Being a little boy, I liked the uptempo songs better but to me they were all good.

I'm not saying the latter approach is better. We all have our own experiences which shape our different tastes. However, coming to Elvis' career in total is a lot different than sharing it goes along. It kind of gets at why newer fans can go on about Elvis' growth in the early '60s and original fans will be like what're you talking about.

Coming later makes it a lot easier to gloss over the flaws. I used to wonder that wrote off Elvis' early to mid-60s work. I used to say "What are you talking about, he did a lot of great songs in that period?" But unlike say Bajo above, I didn't have to slog through the "Girl Happy" soundtrack before discovering "Tomorrow is a Long Time" it was already there. I didn't have to buy the dreadful "Kissin' Cousins" to hear the wonderful "It Hurts Me".

You could say the same thing about Elvis' movies. The original fans basically had to wade through these things for basically seven straight years. Later fans can come in a piecemeal and don't have to wait for the flashes of brilliance. In that context, Elvis' movie career can seem like a harmless sideline.


Good points LTB.

I wasn’t around when Elvis started, so when I became a fan I was also able to pick my way through the catalogue and evaluate everything at the same time.

For example one of the first albums I heard was “Separate Ways” and I had no idea that the songs included on the album had been compiled from recording sessions that took place in three separate decades. I also remember buying and listening to both “Loving You” and “Aloha From Hawaii” for the first time on the same day, which is a somewhat different experience to the 16 year gap and numerous albums in-between that the original fans had. For me back then it was just Elvis.

For the fans that were there from the start, they obviously got into Elvis because they liked rock ‘n’ roll, and as you say Elvis was the ‘leader’ of the movement. The most explosive, exciting entertainer of his generation.

I think the more cutting comments that were made by the likes of Carr and Farren and Lennon are only made because they were rooting for Elvis. They knew what he was capable of and they (and the fans on this board that lived through those times) must have found it incredibly frustrating to sit through an album like “Spinout” and hear “Down In The Alley” and “Tomorrow Is A Long Time” tagged on to the end of it, and wonder why Elvis hadn’t recorded an album’s worth of this type of material instead.

Of course we can listen to the sixties box now and say that Elvis sixties studio output was pretty consistent, but the recordings were not issued in this way back then. The promotion of movies dominated single and album releases for the best part of the sixties, and it was only the die-hards that got to hear tracks like “It Hurts Me” etc. when they were originally issued.

For the casual observer the rock n roll rebel of the ‘50’s had become a clean cut, family entertainer – part of the establishment. This ultimately gave Elvis a broader appeal, but for those that grew up with the Elvis of the 50’s their idol had become a very different entertainer from the one that had originally inspired them.

Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:12 pm

[quote="Pete Dube"]I can understand the disappointment in Something For Everybody; His Hand In Mine; Pot Luck by those who were fans of the 50's 'king of rock&roll' Elvis. Still, there were a number of decent singles and lp tracks to at least satisfy during this period (61-63).

But what about the movies? Particularly when the quality took a nosedive with Kissin' Cousins or Tickle Me or Harum Scarem. And the increasingly low quality soundtracks? And the lack of fresh, non-movie recordings? Did anyone ever think that he was blowing it, that at the rate things were going his big-time career would be done by 1970?[/quote

If I had to pick my favorite Elvis period in terms of voice it would be"60-'63. His voice is in peak form and his sing ing effortless.

The movies? Quality definitely declined after Girl Happy. Still, I count Kissin' Cousins and Tickle Me among my favorites because for me they were great fun. And that was what an Elvis movie was for. Nothing more or less.

Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:43 pm

To me, the voice change came after january 1964 when he re-recorded Memphis and Ask Me ao.
Tickle Me didn't have a special soundtrack recorded, but used previously released studio recordings.
But, when Harum Scarum came out one could easily hear that there were changes in Elvis' voice. The soundtracks that followed, including How Great Thou Art, had a much deeper voice than the one you can hear from the january '64 recordings.
Since then, Elvis' voice changed many times. Listen to him in the TV Special, From Elvis In Memphis, June '70, July '73 and not least Dec '73.
And then ofcourse The Graceland Sessions in '76.

Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:06 pm

In this timeline of scrutiny I haven't read anyone saying that it was what fans WEREN'T GETTING --- a LIVE SHOW.

At what point did the 50s/60s fans NOTICE that the concerts are over - kapute - none in the foreseeable future?

Or did the absense of live music by Elvis slip by so subtley that it wasn't noticed at all until 1968/69 and then considered a contributing factor to his era of decline?

Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:01 pm

Graceland Gardener wrote:Bajo,

I get what you mean.

Not enough people went and saw F&J - and that's understandable - there was so much more Pop Culture Competition to choose from by 65-66.

I can understand Elvis' frustrations to do a film he thinks is good (not meaning he ever said he thought that of F&J) but I'm sure he had good expectations for it, and each film, but darn that British Invasion!


It's always said that the British invasion knocked Elvis off his pedestal, but really he surrended this position. It's just as the British groups were really gaining popularity that Elvis started recording his limpest material. Had Elvis' output maintained the quality of previous years - or even improved - it would have been a different story. It's the boxing equivalent of defeating an opponent who hasn't trained.

Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:42 pm

My dad is exactly 10 years younger than Elvis (01/08/45) and he's been a fan since '56. He had every single album from 'Elvis Presley' to 'Elvis Is Back'. He kept a little scrap book of Elvis pictures that he'd cut out of magazines. He kept notes in this book as well. Sort of a diary of when he'd acquired a new Elvis album or received one as a gift or saw him on TV or at the movies. I wish I had it in front of me right now, but I remember in some of the notes he was complaining about 'recent' singles like "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" and "Fool Such As I" as being weak and watered down compared to his Sun stuff and earlier singles. So maybe for my dad things started going down hill this early on. I guess he could forsee the coming of the MOR type stuff even then!

He remained a fan, but I'm sure his devotion wore off over the years. He kept up with most of the studio albums and Gold Records series in the 60's, but there's not much in the way of soundtracks. He's talked to me about seeing the '68 Comeback Special when it orginally aired and being blown away. I guess it didn't capture his imagination too much though becasue I think the last album in his original collection was 'From Elvis In Memphis'.

He didn't really get into the Vegas stuff and other recordings from the '70's. He had a chance to see him in Maryland in the mid '70's but decided not to go because he felt he would be let down by his childhood hero. (man I'm pissed at him for that!) But in retrospect I guess he might have been right about that because Elvis gave some of his all-time worst performances in Maryland (College Park, Baltimore Civic Center). I'm still pissed though!! Come on! this is Elvis we're talkin' about here dad!!!

Lately, I've been introducing my dad to live shows from the '70's via my FTD's and he's diggin' it! Got him 'Flashback' for Christmas though because Elvis in the 50's is where it's at for him.

Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:46 pm

I used to work with a couple of older guys who had been fans from 56, bought all the records, and went to see all the films until Worlds Fair came out. That was the film that finished these guys with Elvis, they said it was obvious Elvis did`nt give a sh*t anymore.

Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:41 pm

Ezzz wrote:I used to work with a couple of older guys who had been fans from 56, bought all the records, and went to see all the films until Worlds Fair came out. That was the film that finished these guys with Elvis, they said it was obvious Elvis did`nt give a sh*t anymore.


That's interesting Errol. 'Worlds Fair' is one of the better travelogues in my opinion.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:06 am

Pete Dube wrote:
Ezzz wrote:I used to work with a couple of older guys who had been fans from 56, bought all the records, and went to see all the films until Worlds Fair came out. That was the film that finished these guys with Elvis, they said it was obvious Elvis did`nt give a sh*t anymore.


That's interesting Errol. 'Worlds Fair' is one of the better travelogues in my opinion.


Not for someone who's a fifties rocker, I can very we'll imagine how "sold out" they must have felt ... [although I very like this movie]

Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:51 am

'Big Boots'.