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My Mom and Dad

Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:08 am

My Mom and Dad were both fans from 1956 on wards. They both saw Elvis in 1976 and were shocked. Since they were going by album covers and didn't read movie magazines, they had no idea about how much weight he had gained or how weak his voice had gotten. When we asked them how they liked the concert the only thing they said was, "Disappointing."

Re: My Mom and Dad

Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:51 am

johngael wrote:My Mom and Dad were both fans from 1956 on wards. They both saw Elvis in 1976 and were shocked.

This part I can understand.

they had no idea about how much weight he had gained

Still with you.

or how weak his voice had gotten.

Now you've lost me. Elvis in 1976 had a very powerful voice. Please elaborate.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:00 am

Hey, Johngael, how've you been? Hope things are going well for you, and pm me sometime, I've got some cool stuff to tell you about.

Like Rob, that's odd for me, too - since my dad and my sister were at that concert (I wasn't born yet - 1980) and they've said that he didn't look as good, but said his voice was still powerful and that he put on a good show.

You're talking about the Ames 76 show, right?

Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:43 am

I find it interesting also that "World's Fair" is mentioned as well. Dave Marsh lists it as one of the worst all-time performances by a rock star in a movie. To me, Elvis seems professional but nothing more. Still there are several sign posts like Elvis singing "One Broken Heart For Sale" backed by a group of old men. That's still a disconcerting moment. Bajo did people comment on that in the theater?

Trevell- as a latter day fan I have always seen a drop off in the 1958-1959 singles even though I have "Fool Such as I" down as a highlight. I think it's a wonderful parody type tune, very funny and not the worse for that.

Rockin- The main issue I take with hardline original fans like Lennon and Carr and Farren is the natural assumption that pop is bad or somehow inferior. Tracks like "Are You Lonesome To-Night?" and "It's Now Or Never" may have been pop tracks but they were great pop tracks. That Elvis is singing in a different style does not translate into a lack of commitment on his part. Even some vintage fans like Paul Williams, who was a little young but sentient in 1956, who recognize the intention still dismiss the work because it is not work that they enjoy. "Most of his hits were ballads" wrote Williams dismissively.

TJ- I'm largely with you about Elvis abdicating. However, I feel that his popularity would have taken some dent in 1964 with the Beatles but especially with the shift in generations. The story goes that Beatlemania wiped away all the pre-existing pop music. What it really did was pretty much wipe out the remaining '50s rockers. Performers who came into popularity the early 60s like the Beach Boys, Brenda Lee, Gene Pitney, the Four Seasons, Phil Spector etc. suffered far less than people who came up during the 1950s like Fats Domino, Dion, Ricky Nelson, the Platters, Jackie Wilson etc. I think that was partly due to a generational shift especially since acts like Domino and the Platters were starting to struggle in the years before the Invasion. The original fans were starting to grow up and drift away from music and their brothers and sisters wanted their own idols. I have noticed that pop stars usually have a chart life span of between two to seven years except for the super super stars. The shift in generations is why I think that happens.

Now with Elvis' army of loyalists and the respect with which he was held by the Brit bands he might have been able to hang on with better records. His very respectable chart positions in 1964-1965 indicate that. But he was 30 years old in 1965 making it that much harder to relate to the 11-12-13-14 year olds just then buying into the pop scene.

Not touring definitely hurt Elvis' studio recordings as it limited their exposure.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:42 am

I became an Elvis fan in 1960 and to me the best Elvis albums were and still are: Elvis Golden Records Volume 3, Something For Everybody and Elvis Is Back' His greatest single of all time is His Latest Flame/ Little Sister - The greatest Elvis movies to me are: GI BLUES, FLAMING STAR, BLUE HAWAII, KID GALAHAD and FUN IN ACAPULCO. From 1960 to 1964 Elvis sings like a bird and to me the superb HIS HAND IN MINE is the Greatest Gospel album of all time. I also enjoyed Elvis of the 50s and 70s but for me still the early 60s Elvis is dearest to me. The biggest disaapontment came in 1965 to 1966 but Thank GOD the songs US Male , Big Boss Man, Guitar Man and then the 68 NBC TV Special brings the great Elvis back again. The rest is history!


Long Live The KING

Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:50 am

Just an observation - but Sam Phillips let Elvis cut ballads at his days at Sun but always tried to steer him the other direction - when Elvis went to RCA, he was recording more material that he himself wanted to, and Sam had said later he didn't care for it until Don't Be Cruel came out.

It seems to me that Elvis was such a perfect embodiment of Rock N Roll that he was put on that pedestal(sp) by so many, but wasn't really trying to go for it specifically (though he just went with it, and Parker especially used it for publicity). But Elvis was never a one-trick-pony, and while this major "King Of Rock N Roll" title helped to solidify him in modern culture and has stuck like no other title I can think of - it was also a pidgeon-holing that wasn't fair.

Kinda like he was given a crown that he didn't totally want, though he appreciated it - and as he matured and recorded music in more tastes as he felt able and ready to branch out, he was seen as going "middle of the road" or "selling-out", when it was just a different side of Elvis, and he was just doing what he wanted to do - what he felt at the time - like he'd always tried to do. (not counting all the movie stuff, now, I'm speaking studio work as a whole)

Not touring and doing mainly movie soundtracks for a time weren't his decisions to be sure, and I'm sure he could have had better writers if he wasn't stuck with the Colonel's music tactics - but Elvis' tastes were changing too. It seems that the same type of criticism leveled at "It Happened At The World's Fair" could be also easily leveled at "Pot Luck" and (to a lesser extent) "Something For Everybody".

I don't know if what I'm saying is making any sense, and I certainly mean no disrespect to any fans who lived through it, it just seems that, looking at the media, the public, and the fans over the years - Elvis had so many differing expectations of him from so many different places.. it's staggering to think about, putting one's self in his shoes. Especially when (at his core) all the man wanted to do was sing and make people happy.

Hope that helps, just something that struck me.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:22 am

I think one must take into consideration the fact the many youngsters back then, as now, tend to stick to the trend while it's hot.
Elvis was a different kind of singer/rock-star when he turned out those fantastic 1960 singles. He gained a new generation of fans then, who stuck with him until the British invation came floating in.
I have two older brothers who were in their teens in the late 50's, and they actually forgot about him after the army days.
I made a 70's collection to one of them, and he was actually surprised how good Elvis sounded! He never really paid any attention to Elvis even though both knew that I was a fan.
Elvis gained new fans with his '68 comeback, The Memphis recordings and of course the return to live performances in the '70's.
It's the real hard core fans that stuck with him all the way through. And they have proven to be many!
The real proof of Elvis' popularity, even though he didn't appear in the charts so much in the last part of his career, is the record sales, which have finally been set right with the upgrades done by RIAA lately!
It's a matter of defining "popular" I think!

Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:40 am

That's true Bajo about many die hards sticking it out all the way. I do think Elvis' chart positions at least in terms of album sales in the US would have looked much better in the 1970s had RCA pursued a more sensible release policy.

Jamie A Kelley- I think I get what you're saying. The thing that frustrates me is the refusal by some writers to differentiate between pop songs as if they are all one lump. A track like "Ito Eats" was a sell out but "It's Now or Never" certainly was not.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:04 am

I definitely agree, LTB, that drives me crazy, too. It seems many music genre "purists" are like this, but rockers tend to be the worst. Although, since you mentioned "Ito Eats", it made me think of something else, like to see what your thoughts on this are: I think that if Elvis would have continued making regular records and splitting between movies and tours, the lesser movie songs would have been seen more as just fun movie fluff instead of selling out - kinda like Sinatra and others, some of their movie songs aren't real knock-outs, but since it's a light-hearted movie and he wasn't just doing that, it was different. He could say, "that's just a little fun thing for a movie by my character - this over here is ME." After awhile, Elvis wasn't able to do that, which hurt him. It wasn't Elvis having fun with his image anymore, it simply *was* his image since it's all there was.

But then, the "slump-ish" years (popularity wise - I still enjoy the content) being what they were provided the perfect catalyst for Elvis to attack live performing again the way he did, and for the public to give such surprised attention to Elvis' Comeback...

Funky how so much of Elvis' life can have a real "meant-to-be" quality, depending on how you think about it.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:29 am

It really is a far more complex subject and would take up many hours of typing for me to even begin explaining a life in music.

Older Elvis fans had many years of listening to music well before Elvis came on the scene. Reading here what people THINK about us is quite funny. We were not stupid. We knew good music when we heard it whether by Elvis or anyone else.

Elvis just raised our expectations to a level no entertainer could fulfill.

So the dross of the mid 60s (yes there were a few exceptions) left us discerning listeners out in the cold.

Fortunately I discovered classical music and never looked back!

It took a while. Then slowly but surely many of us older fans returned to Elvis as the quality of his recordings improved.

Why are there so few older fans here?

Why are there so few younger fans here?

There are many millions of both. This message board should be far more ENCOURAGING!

http://www.free-press-release.com/news/ ... 67945.html

Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:47 am

Reading here what people THINK about us is quite funny. We were not stupid. We knew good music when we heard it whether by Elvis or anyone else.


Don't let what's been said, particularly what I've said, make you think anyone is calling anyone else "stupid". All fans are great, and many have grown to appreciate all eras of Elvis - you see that a bit on the board, and I see it moreso in other places firsthand. What I'm thinking of is more "perspective at the time".

How big of a hit was "Just Pretend" when it first came out? Hearing it on "The Lost Performances" opened many people's eyes to the song. They'd obviously heard it before, but sometimes hearing something "at the time" does a song or performance justice, and sometimes it doesn't. In 1972, Chuck Berry's "My Dingaling" beat "Burning Love" on the charts - if you played the two songs today, who would believe it?

Look at all the success the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" has gotten over the years. It wasn't so popular when it was released.

That's more what LTB and I were saying, (unless I'm mistaken, LTB, I don't want to put words in anybody's mouth, er keyboard lol).

Sometimes one can get a full appreciation for a song (or movie, etc) right then, others take time and a re-evaluation over time.

It's a very natural thing - it's just a shame that it's the case, because I'm sure Elvis would feel pretty good knowing how many of the songs he must have thought were passed over then have garnered so much praise over the years - who knows, it might have had an influence on his shows.. that's kinda fun to think about, too, actually. :)
Last edited by JamieAKelley on Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:51 am

JamieAKelley wrote:I definitely agree, LTB, that drives me crazy, too. It seems many music genre "purists" are like this, but rockers tend to be the worst. Although, since you mentioned "Ito Eats", it made me think of something else, like to see what your thoughts on this are: I think that if Elvis would have continued making regular records and splitting between movies and tours, the lesser movie songs would have been seen more as just fun movie fluff instead of selling out - kinda like Sinatra and others, some of their movie songs aren't real knock-outs, but since it's a light-hearted movie and he wasn't just doing that, it was different. He could say, "that's just a little fun thing for a movie by my character - this over here is ME." After awhile, Elvis wasn't able to do that, which hurt him. It wasn't Elvis having fun with his image anymore, it simply *was* his image since it's all there was.

But then, the "slump-ish" years (popularity wise - I still enjoy the content) being what they were provided the perfect catalyst for Elvis to attack live performing again the way he did, and for the public to give such surprised attention to Elvis' Comeback...

Funky how so much of Elvis' life can have a real "meant-to-be" quality, depending on how you think about it.


Well, both Elvis and Frank recorded Old McDonald! The situation you describe must have been what it was like in the 60-62 period, I imagine - with movies and great singles coming out, Elvis still being Elvis in songs like "Little Sister", then you go to the movie theatre and cringe when he´s singing "Sound Advice" or "Ito Eats"...

An interesting point about the British invasion is the fact that Elvis left the rock scene at almost the exact moment when The Beatles (and The Stones, etc) entered it, in 1963-64. Do you think Parker or Elvis thought "let´s not fight them, it´s probably time for something new to come along anyway." Because - if Elvis had continued making studio albums and putting out great singles - The Beatles would probably have outsold him anyway... simply because the kids thought Elvis was too old... kinda like listening to Frank instead of Elvis in 1956... The Beatles conquering America seemed easier for them to do because Elvis was in Hollywood making movies, he wasn´t even competing with them. I agree with LTB - he might have been able to hang on a while with good material... but he could never have stayed at the top during the Beatles era.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:13 pm

JamieAKelley wrote:
Reading here what people THINK about us is quite funny. We were not stupid. We knew good music when we heard it whether by Elvis or anyone else.


Don't let what's been said, particularly what I've said, make you think anyone is calling anyone else "stupid". All fans are great, and many have grown to appreciate all eras of Elvis - you see that a bit on the board, and I see it moreso in other places firsthand. What I'm thinking of is more "perspective at the time".

How big of a hit was "Just Pretend" when it first came out? Hearing it on "The Lost Performances" opened many people's eyes to the song. They'd obviously heard it before, but sometimes hearing something "at the time" does a song or performance justice, and sometimes it doesn't. In 1972, Chuck Berry's "My Dingaling" beat "Burning Love" on the charts - if you played the two songs today, who would believe it?

Look at all the success the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" has gotten over the years. It wasn't so popular when it was released.

That's more what LTB and I were saying, (unless I'm mistaken, LTB, I don't want to put words in anybody's mouth, er keyboard lol).

Sometimes one can get a full appreciation for a song (or movie, etc) right then, others take time and a re-evaluation over time.

It's a very natural thing - it's just a shame that it's the case, because I'm sure Elvis would feel pretty good knowing how many of the songs he must have thought were passed over then have garnered so much praise over the years - who knows, it might have had an influence on his shows.. that's kinda fun to think about, too, actually. :)


I wasn't getting at anyone with the "stupid" remark.

As for the rest. That's a case of "It goes without saying" we do not need stuff explained to us that we already know:-)

If Elvis had released a top quality song at the height of the Beatles fame it would have been a hit anyway. Not EVERYONE was buying The Beatles. There were a lot of other artists in the charts.

That's another point to ponder. All the Beatles Hype is just that. HYPE..............yes they were very good indeed but ROCK journalists have made them SAINTS:-)

But here we are discussing Elvis and modern day Rock journalists are haunted by him. After writing him off decades ago :lol:

Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:29 pm

Ok, thanks for saying that. I just wanted to clarify to make sure - I'd hate to offend anybody by quoting observations. :)

And that's what the rest of the post was, actually - figured it was "preaching to the choir", but wanted to better explain how I came to my observations just in case someone had taken offense.

Not so sure about the Beatles just being hype, though - I see it more as part of a lasting phase - granted, I think Elvis could have continued to do well with the right material, but the growth in popularity of British music and that other style was a phase that held pretty strong for awhile. I'm sure in the Colonel's mind, the road they took was the more "safe" one, since no-one knew just how long Elvis' popularity was going to last and he'd had a good run by that point, anyway.

It does tend to hurt Elvis' image in the long run, but I guess it doesn't hurt it all that much - like you said, here we are so many years after his entire body of work, still enthralled by the greatest thing ever to hit music (imo). :D

Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:01 pm

likethebike wrote:TJ- I'm largely with you about Elvis abdicating. However, I feel that his popularity would have taken some dent in 1964 with the Beatles but especially with the shift in generations.


I agree and almost said as much in my initial post. He certainly would have taken a dent, but it wouldn't have been the massacre that it was if he'd at least been challenging the Beatles for quality. As it stands, no one can seriously argue that Elvis' mid 60s output was up there with the work of the best of the groups. With the increasingly poor quality of the soundtracks, there's no debate to be had.

Re: My Mom and Dad

Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:53 pm

Now you've lost me. Elvis in 1976 had a very powerful voice. Please elaborate.[/quote][/quote]
They had never seen him before and were sitting at the top of the arena behind the stage so to them, his voice sounded weak. When asked for more information about the concert my Mom's opinion was, good or bad, it was still Elvis.

Jamie- yes, the Ames show. I also know a couple of other people who saw the Des Moines shows in 1974 and 1977 as well as the Ames show and they said the Ames show was the worst of the 3 by far. The Des Moines Register's review was not complimentary either although they thought the 74 and 77 shows were great.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:21 pm

EP's level of music was poorer and sold less in the mid-sixties not because of anybody else, but because of the records he was putting out. If he was alive today, he would most likely say the same thing. Still, look at the incredible music he still cut in the 60's, from 60-62 and from 67-69, not to mention his outstanding gospel album, some of his best work. Most artists would kill to cut the records that EP recorded and sold during this time. Like Maurice said, he set the bar extremely high for himself.

Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:09 pm

Jamie -

I think you have hit on something with Elvis and rock 'n' roll.

It was a case of timing.

As Elvis hit the scene, r 'n' r was the emerging musical force.

So he sung it !

He certainly leant toward country and ballads as his music of choice on his personal acetates, and even early on during his first Sun session.

Sam coaxed a diferent sound from him for the Sun singles.

Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:33 pm

I agree Jamie that the novelty type songs would have been looked at in a better life if Elvis didn't spend so much time on them and the movies.

I certainly didn't mean that anyone was stupid. Just that sometimes it can be frustrating when some Elvis fans (not all original fans by far) act as if pop and ballads are some type of disease. In 1970, Elvis was reaching new depths as an interpreter on "The That's the Way it is" album but Richard Meltzer dismissed it as trash in his Rolling Stone review of the album because it wasn't "Hound Dog" or "Don't Be Cruel".

Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:53 pm

Another point to ponder is the vast majority of original Elvis fans were busy raising families...myself included, so I wasn't going to rush out and buy the latest release or go see the latest Elvis movie. Money was scarce!

We were just disappoined for the most part with Elvis's material, but optimistic...such a great talent just does not fizzle out overnight.

Frankie Laine survived it all, his voice heard on our TV in many of the Western series. Even through Beatlemania:-) He is still singing to this day! What a voice.

http://www.royaturner.com/elvis.html

Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:17 pm

That's a good point Maurice. That's what I meant about the shift of generations and all pop stars suffer through some slumps commercially because their original fans have to focus on other things as they move into adulthood.

I would never bash the original fans as I quite envy them as they were the ones who got the shock of the new something which unfortunately can't be replicated. Plus, the original fans can take credit for being ahead of the curve. Their parents missed it, many in their generation missed it. I've always wondered what those people in 1956 who said he would never last if they could see that in 2002 he was still topping the charts despite not recording a note in more than 25 years.

Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:59 pm

I don't understand why It Happened At The World's Fair has come in for a bit of a trashing. It's no more lightweight, and actually less so, than G.I. Blues and Blue Hawaii. There's no Ito Eats or Didja Ever, no corny pseudo-rockers the likes of Slicin' Sand or Frankfort Special. One Broken Heart For Sale is actually a rather decent tune (particularly the longer version) in the mid-tempo pop-rock vein that Elvis established with Don't Be Cruel. There's the two classy Don Robertson ballads that Elvis sings to perfection. The uptempo pop tunes are pleasant if innocuous. How Would You Like To Be is a children's song, and taken in that context is a charming performance. The film itself is an old-fashioned romantic comedy-light drama, sort of an update of the kind of films Bing Crosby did in the 40's. So why is this film singled out? I don't get it. Enlighten me.

Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:13 pm

Pete Dube wrote:I don't understand why It Happened At The World's Fair has come in for a bit of a trashing. It's no more lightweight, and actually less so, than G.I. Blues and Blue Hawaii. There's no Ito Eats or Didja Ever, no corny pseudo-rockers the likes of Slicin' Sand or Frankfort Special.



G.I. BLUES gets a free pass (by original fans I know) because they were so parched for a new Elvis film, finally! they went in droves (and to show their support) no matter if Elvis was singing to a baby and a puppet.
Which he did. Cringe.

Fans didn't know what to expect with its content,
but by 1961-62 the handwriting was on the wall that Elvis definitely ain't growing back those evil sideburns no mo, and he's clearly now groomed for wholesome entertainment, as wholesome as a Glass of Milk.


Plus 3 films a year can make ticket-buyers cynical of a rut.

"Another new Elvis film? So soon? We just went and saw one last month."


----

You original 50s/60s fans here: Am I right, close to the mark there?
Last edited by Graceland Gardener on Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:13 pm

Pete wrote [about It Happened at the Worlds Fair]:
.....sort of an update of the kind of films Bing Crosby did in the 40's


You've kinda answered you own question there !

Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:20 pm

Colin -
Yeah, but that still doesn't explain why IHATWF gets singled out for a trashing while G.I. Blues and Blue Hawaii usually don't. Why is World's Fair seen as a lesser film than those 2? In my view, it's a bit better.