In this section you can submit questions to people that knew Elvis, or to other important people in the Elvis World.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:04 am

http://www.seanshaver.com/

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:49 am

let's clear this one up right away:

i saw the sean web address in the previous post so i went there and it appears sean is no longer with us.

i immediately sent to that site:

… have been posting some stuff on an elvis site (practice for the book i'm working on). a fan queried me about sean and i replied with a tongue-in-cheek response that was intended to amuse. i called paul dowling to see if he approved before posting it and he said sean has a good sense of humor and to go ahead (paul knew sean well, i only met him once). paul then said sean might have passed away.

i was sent your website address and that appears to be so. sad. sean was a character, all right, but a nice guy. over-the-top regarding elvis, true, but not a "kook" as many of the people are who fit that description.

i thought it important to contact you right away and assure you that my "ribbing" of sean was entirely good-natured and let you know no offense was intended, as can be seen by my closing comment.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:03 am

Vic...

As far as I know Sean Shaver was in Memphis in August for the 30th Anniversary. Are we really sure he's passed on?

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:28 am

i went to seanshaver.com and read

this website is in honor of Sean Shaver, by his biggest fan Suza B.
Note: This website is not finished and will be added to and changed regularly.

THIS WEB PAGE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF SEAN SHAVER AND TO HIS OBSESSION OF CAPTURING THE NUMBER ONE ENTERTAINER OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY ON FILM. SEE THROUGH THE EYES OF THE MAN CALLED ELVIS' "UNOFFICIAL OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER."
Sean Shaver spent a good deal of his life trying to get Elvis Presley on film.…

sure sounds like sean is gone. i doubt "in honor of" and "dedicated to the memory of" and "spent a good deal of his life" would refer to someone still around. be nice if it did but i fear the worst.

we'll know soon, someone out there must have some details. shucks and fooey. sean was younger than me and certainly in robust good health when we met. alas, that was ten years ago.

my best friend growing up was a fellow named rick franzen. we were in vietnam at the same time. rick came back, went to yale and became a lawyer, married, started a family, cancer, gone. many is the time i have said, "i miss you my friend, you didn't even get as many years as elvis."

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:32 am

Your not the only one to think he has past on (well...on the site)...there was a post on here a few years back,and by the end of the tread,no one new if it was true or not if S.SHAVER was still on the go.

LD?...you know or heard he was in Memphis (07)?.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:35 am

viccolonna@gmail.com wrote:i went to seanshaver.com and read

this website is in honor of Sean Shaver, by his biggest fan Suza B.
Note: This website is not finished and will be added to and changed regularly.

THIS WEB PAGE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF SEAN SHAVER AND TO HIS OBSESSION OF CAPTURING THE NUMBER ONE ENTERTAINER OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY ON FILM. SEE THROUGH THE EYES OF THE MAN CALLED ELVIS' "UNOFFICIAL OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER."
Sean Shaver spent a good deal of his life trying to get Elvis Presley on film.…

sure sounds like sean is gone. i doubt "in honor of" and "dedicated to the memory of" and "spent a good deal of his life" would refer to someone still around. be nice if it did but i fear the worst.

we'll know soon, someone out there must have some details. shucks and fooey. sean was younger than me and certainly in robust good health when we met. alas, that was ten years ago.

my best friend growing up was a fellow named rick franzen. we were in vietnam at the same time. rick came back, went to yale and became a lawyer, married, started a family, cancer, gone. many is the time i have said, "i miss you my friend, you didn't even get as many years as elvis."


Sean is doing fine !

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:53 am

well that's a relief. kev, you gave me a start. kindly report to the dunking stool. we need to wet you down while we are heating up the tar and plucking the feathers. nothing too good for you, me bucko. and bring that lassie with you who runs the site so we can instruct her on the meaning of tense and proper use of verbiage before placing her on the pyre.

hi sean, drop me a line.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:07 am

I must admit I am truly chagrined. I fancy myself a bit of a wordmeister; that I know a few uncommon words is simply the result of looking up every one I could not define to my satisfaction for the past thirty plus years. Even someone with a room temperature IQ like me can add to the vocabulary that way.

A few days ago I read a very nice comment and have been meaning to look up a word. Finally did. A Gaelic word it is, "seanchai", pronounced shana–key. Never knew that one. A traditional storyteller who traveled around old Ireland sharing tales of adventure and magic. Quite a compliment. In Africa they call him a griot (silent t) or jali and he is a walking encyclopedia of oral tradition; in American English he is a raconteur, one who tells stories with skill and wit.

Thanks, I'll do my best to keep you entertained. Just don't set the darned bar too high or I might get hurt when I fall off my stool.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:21 am

Since one of you out there likes my posts (and thanks for the check but could you make it a little bigger next time?) I will carry on, sally forth, and if carrie and sally are reading this please call.

They can't all be strictly about Elvis; they can, but I hope so long as they pertain to music you won't mind if I just bemusedly muse now and then.

Just a Boy

Watching “Rock and Roll Invaders” on DVD, the part where they talk about the disc jockey having to get involved with the community, be part of the community, reminded me of a time when I was 15. I wanted to be a disc jockey, but knowing even a mere mention would evoke scorn and derision from my parents I never mentioned it. This was, after all, the 50’s. I did, however, trek down to Hartford one afternoon after school (without calling my mother and telling her where I was or was headed—a Class A felony) and boldly marched into the headquarters of WPOP and asked to speak with Joey Bishop, the highest–rated deejay at the station. His show went on at 7 PM and I hoped he would be there late in the afternoon. He was, and within a few minutes I was shown into his office. I remember there were 45s everywhere. It was probably a broadcast booth, not an actual office, and I was a kid in a candy store. I no doubt pummeled him with inane questions and he treated me like visiting royalty. Not knowing playlists were preordained, thinking he decided what to play, I asked him if he listened to all the promos that the station received and picked what he thought would be a hit. He gladly took credit for that and even gave me a 45 by The Quails (“My Love”) when I told him of my love for doo–wop. A really nice fellow, whose silver tongue and mellifluous tone were ideally suited for radio. We always form an image of someone we speak to but do not see. Joey didn’t quite fit the picture I had painted: he was close to 300 pounds, if not over, and as nice a guy as you would ever want to meet (that part I expected). I spent my fifteen minutes in the same room with fame and will never forget it. Joey even had a hit song that probably never sold a copy outside of his listening area but many of us bought it. It was called “Rats in My Room” and since Joey couldn’t sing a lick he talked his way through it with a heavy backbeat. The lyrics? How could I ever forget?

“Rats in my room.
Oh I am bothered by these rats in my room.
Guess I’ll have to get some cats in my room.
To get rid of all these rats in my room.”

“Pie in my eye.
Oh I am bothered by a pie in my eye…”

Just about anything passed for a hit then if it got airplay. That much has not changed. Think Billy Ray Cyrus’ first hit. Yccchhhh. He belongs in the Country Hall of Luck.
And so it went: Once upon a time in the fifties when my heart was as young as my body, all dreams were possible, I believed in miracles, and people said hello to one another when they passed on the street. I still believe in miracles. I’ve witnessed four: Patrick, Lisa, Kaitlyn, and Colin.

Addendum

The segment on Border Radio is mind–boggling. One million watts! And to think it gave birth to Wolfman Jack; that answered a question I never thought to ask. I tuned him in many a night in West Hartford, CT to hear his show beamed from Buffalo, NY. Syndicated? I never considered that. 1500 stations? Wow. Never heard him in Vietnam, but I left in ’67 and things heated up a bit after that. The Wolfman would have been just the one to take your mind away from the game of war (bet he played “The Game of Love” a few times). And that’s the name of that tune.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:39 am

Just another bit of reverie before reveille:

Great Voices

Just riding along on the bus listening to a live album and wondering, as I have before, if I heard that voice before his first hit. I must have, he sounded too familiar. When “You Send Me” rocketed to the top I thought that, but the songs were probably attributed to The Soul Stirrers; it was late at night; reception fuzzy; me on the cusp of dreamland. That made me think of other memorable voices of the time: Lee Andrews (& the Hearts [“Teardrops” & “Long, Lonely Nights”]); The Flamingos lead singer [“Golden Teardrops”]; Belafonte, Orbison, & Mathis; and, a bit later, Jackie Wilson (I touted him when I heard “Reet Petite” before “Lonely Teardrops” made him a star). Those guys could sing; and Connie Francis and little Brenda Lee were no slouches either. With golden throats like these advancing the cause of rock ‘n’ roll it is no small wonder that the “new music” did not go away. Even without Elvis at the forefront things would have progressed much as they did despite the best efforts of the establishment to return all to the status quo of Tin Pan Alley. With Elvis it was a foregone conclusion: the singer, not the song was key. Amen and thank goodness for that, for no words can ever convey how much I detested “Your Hit Parade” and those bland renditions by nondescript studio stooges.
The powers that once held sway did not succumb easily, however, for in those early years from 1956 to 1959 the record bins were crowded with albums and EPs that featured the hits of the day by anyone who could (or could not) carry a tune. They tried, Lawd how they tried, to convince us that it was the song that mattered. I bought one of those bargain–priced EPs just once and it was simply abysmal. A mockery, shameful, but they had no shame—corporate greed dictated their moves. We fought hard, we won, but it was an uphill battle as evidenced by how long it took before the Grammy Awards considered rock deserving of consideration and the constant appearance of tripe such as “A Summer Place” winding up on top of the Top 40. I didn’t buy it, no one I knew did, my parents had stopped buying records long ago, but it was billed as #1 song of that year and must have sold a copy or two on that assertion. Of course, that was back in the day when people thought rankings were based on sales. It was much later when I discovered that airplay dictated chart position and airplay was malleable. You could not stand in record stores with a bludgeon and force customers to buy records but their buying habits could easily be subverted by constantly assaulting their eardrums with banality and DJs and station managers could be bought.
I have often wondered why the establishment fought so hard to keep things as they had been. Did they not see the huge increase in record sales, record players (especially when stereo took hold in 1959), and even instruments was directly fueled by the new phenomenon? That the answer is no I believe lies in the fact that the larger the industry the more opposed it becomes to change. Change is upsetting, causes turmoil, forces retooling and rethinking of proven concepts, and, most of all, threatens. Don’t rock that boat, stay clear of uncharted waters, and nothing but blues skies and smooth sailing will continue indefinitely is the prevailing sentiment. That the record industry did not go the way of U.S. Steel or the railroads is not for lack of trying; they were simply fortunate enough to have a product that foreign competition could only enhance and whose technological improvements were layered onto existing models and did not require vast restructuring. Japan has bullet trains; we do not. We both have futuristic recording studios. Our rail infrastructure was in place before WWII; theirs built after. The recording industry worldwide has not had a cataclysmic upheaval such as a World War that enabled one country to enjoy a tactical advantage since the most sweeping changes have occurred during and since the 1950’s. By contrast, the Hollywood film industry, which had serious competition in both technology and production values from Europe during its formative years, was twice afforded the opportunity to leap ahead while other nations concentrated on the more important matter of annihilating non–celluloid heroes. Even now, sixty years after the guns fell silent, “foreign films” are not regarded by the masses as equal to the domestic disasters that pass themselves off as cinema. If you like cinema and do not keep up with releases in other countries you are doing yourself a disservice. Thanks to pioneering work by some major rockers (and fox–trotters) world music has not suffered the same fate. Paul Simon, Ry Cooder, Bono, David Byrne and a host of others have escorted singers from other countries into the rock pantheon and as American as rock 'n' roll is, it is now truly World Music. That is a good thing.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:17 pm

As i said,Sean Shaver is a mystery guy...

But if my BEST mate E-Cat say"s he is still on the go...?

As why the site sounds like a memorial :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:22 pm

Kev: We cannot lie in wait and wonder; the time to act is now. Drop what you are doing faster than a fleeing felon and stop by my offices at 221B Baker Street and I shall outfit you with a tweed Deerstalker, matching coat and cape, magnifying glass, gloves, and Meerschaum. You will begin a quest forthwith using the pseudonym Binx Bolling. The fate of the world now rests squarely on the tip of your nose; bring us back proof that Sean is not just an urban legend. If I am out on a case my secretary Sharon will square you away. Please take my office boy Diogenes with you; he needs to learn how to find things. Godspeed.

Gratefully,

Bulldog Drummond

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:54 pm

Good man...

Now were is my bike (push).

:oops:

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:18 pm

iamhekev wrote:As i said,Sean Shaver is a mystery guy...

But if my BEST mate E-Cat say"s he is still on the go...?

As why the site sounds like a memorial :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:


The web master told me it's in memory of his time shooting Elvis. Sean is alive and I have bought pictures and magazines from in since the site is up. Never spoke to him myself though.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:41 pm

re: mr shaver
i always presumed that the site meant -
in memory/tribute to his days shooting elvis, not his actual life though it is very mis-leading & can easily be construed ! it would be nice to know what hes up too & doing in life though!

Vic - i gotta new name for ya buddy - COLNOEL SLADE !
- hows ya skin son ?
(i like my aides to be presentable) 8)

vic - just to clarify - i did really enjoy seans storys in his 'elvis in focus' book though i do wonder about some of them -
are u actually saying that in your opinion sean was:
*off an inflated ego
*a bit of a B'shitter
(i wonder how could he afford to follow Elvis full time w/out working for starters?)

*not much of a photographer
( i can kinda agree with that in some cases though i believe he never regarded himself as 'Edward Weston' anyway but in vegas in particular, he was shooting under tricky circumstances !
* doesnt actually have 100's off stellar aud recordings sitting on his bedroom shelf ?

i just wondered if he did in fact have superb recordings u may have been offered some or tryed to obtain some back in the day , i know some of rick rennies have been released & i figure sean's would at least be that good, according to his own descriptions - if they exist!
does anyone know ????????????

now give me 40 -
then ya gonna give me 40 more !

take it easy amigo

Re: vic colonna

Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:46 pm

just got off the phone with al pacino and yes, i am thrilled to say that it will be me, from this moment on, sniffing out cherchez la femme.

that settled, back to the ss caper:

as i mentioned, i only met sean once and found him to be a likable sort, a bit obsessed with elvis but not the type that makes one want to run out the door screaming (and there are one or two of those). overall impression––favorable

did he exaggerate? don't we all at times, especially when we are trying to impress. it was in memphis at a convention that i saw him and he was known to many as one who chronicled elvis with his lens, a la bob heis, and he was out to make a buck selling his wares. in accordance with that he had a certain persona to project. i have no idea what he was like if you knew him and went out for drinks and a movie. overall impression––favorable

photographic acumen: i can't say as i ever did more than glance at a few of his shots. the only time in my life i ever spent any appreciable amount of time looking at pictures of elvis was when i was culling through an assortment for possible inclusion on an album cover. the rest of my viewing experiences have been devoted to oogling femme fatales and, luckily, that has yet to prove fatal.

quality concert tapes? if so, where are they? why hoard them? sean was perfectly willing to share his photos so why not recordings? i suspect this is a bit inflated, perhaps to bolster his image. additionally, it is virtually impossible to get a quality tape of a concert without tapping into the line feed. i doubt he would have been able to point an array of directional microphones hooked up to some sophisticated equipment without drawing the attention and ire of the arena staff.

again, the tapes: we were never offered any, not that i recall, and if sean had something worthy of release paul would have been relentless and dogged sean until he forked them over. alternatively, paul would simply have supplied me with sean's address and it would have been a fait accompli. i would have tied him securely while i ransacked the house and then loosened the bonds just enough to give myself time to fade into the sunrise.

rick rennie is an unknown quantity to me. how good are his tapes? compared to rca releases, the hawaii '61 boot, and the new year's boot, with rca being a ten, hawaii an 8 1/2 and new year's a seven, what ranking would you assign them? early hayride a nine for further comparison.

i'll give you an even 100. i haven't called any of them in ages, they all despise me. why i cannot fathom since i always bought them all they could drink before falling down. i wish you luck with them. photos and phone numbers will be delivered by special courier. a word of caution, every single one is a buymegetmegimmegirl so bring a pocketful of cash.

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:43 am

i can't post?

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:47 am

keep trying to post and getting "not supported" but i bet this posts like the last little query

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:09 am

You are a riot Vic! In a good way! :) Best,JL

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:22 am

For music fans in general. Not an Elvis post, but he got us to here:

Madonna, Moonwalk, Mecca & MTV
—or—
Rock ‘n’ Roll Invaders: Part II

Mick was the most famous of those who declaimed, “I want my MTV.” Surely there were others, but darned if I can remember a one. The one–hit wonder Buggles presaged the era (“Video Killed the Radio Star”) back in 1979; fittingly, it was the first video aired on MTV in 1981. Before long the kids gathered ‘round the tube like they hadn’t since the early years of American Bandstand; all that glitter left the floor littered with those who could not cut it in the video world. Suddenly, almost overnight, the fledgling cable industry had a huge hit that meant millions of new subscribers. Procrastinating parents gave in to their children’s exhortations and signed up in droves. CNN and HBO had been stirring the pot, lulling viewers away from the networks by offering around–the–clock news coverage and commercial–free films that were not long out of the movie palaces (those marvels were on the cusp on extinction—multiplexes loomed). Cable got a huge boost with the MGM Grand conflagration; CNN covered the debacle from almost the moment it began. Compelling viewing (would they jump?) that meant news reportage would never be the same. Cable, however, was still a novelty. The transition from a quaint alternative to network viewing to a trend–setting force was a few years away; MTV, in retrospect, deserves credit for launching this revolution.

I first became aware of the MTV phenomenon in early 1982 when customers at my record store began requesting new songs/artists/albums that I, one who devoured Billboard, new release listings from the majors, Indies, and importers, Rolling Stone, et al, had simply not heard of. The answer: MTV exclusives, of course. Record companies, normally stodgy, somehow detected the power of this “new” medium, (Nickelodeon had a half–hour program beginning in 1979 that ran from 7-7:30 pm weekdays and played six music videos each show) and used this upstart channel to launch new artists with little other promotion. (1) The power of television to influence record–buyers’ tastes had already been demonstrated when the first Phil Collins’ album, one that did nothing but collect dust on the shelves and was ignored even by Genesis fans, suddenly began to fly out of the store. In fact, so unknown was Phil’s solo effort that customers first came in search of the Genesis album that contained “Something in the Air.” A check of track listings proved futile, of course, and then I remembered Phil’s folly. There it was, and Mr. Collins is but one of many that can thank television (the wildly popular “Miami Vice” was the culprit, having chosen that track for the show’s lead–in) for giving his career the boost it needed at a critical time. (2)

“Give the People What They Want” is not just the title of a Kink’s album, it was my marketing creed (second only to “The customer is always right.”). I shut down the store for five days in the spring of 1982, remodeled, installed a ceiling–mounted projection TV that beamed onto a six–foot screen, subscribed to cable, hooked it all up to an ear–shattering sound system, and it was MTV all day, every day from then on. (3)

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:25 am

Part II

Did it work? You betchum, Red Ryder. Within a month, not 30 minutes after school let out (I was close to Hoover High and not far from Burbank High) the store was unfit for even self–respecting sardines and I worried about the Fire Marshall coming by. Teens were literally lined up on the sidewalk waiting to get in. Over the next few months the crowds thinned—not because of any loss in popularity of MTV but because increasing numbers were now heading home after school to watch. Then they came by to purchase what they had just seen—talk about a win–win situation!

As luck would have it, MTV started a Saturday–night concert show. Many were live, and I seized the opportunity to plaster posters inside and outside saying the store would stay open late and the entire concert would be shown. You got it, the place was packed; I made sure I had extra copies of that week’s group’s catalogue prominently displayed at prices a few cents above my wholesale cost. It was about this time that I received the greatest compliment I could ever have asked for: After thoroughly rifling through the racks for over an hour a customer came up to the counter with his purchases and told me, “This place is better than Tower Records.” And it was. Packed into those puny 900 sq. ft. were what the kids wanted, only what they wanted, all of what they wanted (restocked via a trip to two distributors every day; phone orders to importers and Indies daily; orders with cutout distributors every week), and all priced to beat the competition.

Sounds like I got it right, oui? Not quite. As obvious as the signs were I still failed to realize just how powerful a force MTV had become in such a short time. (4) I had been meaning to grow up for years; in the meantime I just kept doing what the Doobie Brothers said and listened to the music. Listened, not watched. That was my fatal error. I was the one who said, “That’s going straight to #1.” when Dick Clark played “Hit the Road Jack” as a rate–a–record. And it did. I had been uncannily predicting hits for 25 years now. Sure, I kept my ears open to what others said but my final decision went against the grain more than once—vindication in the form of top ten hits was often the outcome. I tagged Jim Croce before he got airplay thanks to an acoustic guest shot I stumbled upon while cruising the dial on a Sunday night. One of many. (5) Now for the one I missed: When I miss, I miss big–time. Her first album was a paltry eight songs but five of them were released as singles and three were top ten material. Overnight sensation, yes, but how many of those are forgotten quickly? Too many. Her sophomore effort would tell the tale and I had a copy six weeks before it was released (a friend was in charge of the Chatsworth plant where Warner Brothers manufactured cassettes). Radio did not have it yet. The first cut should be the strongest, and it was. Aside from that I did not see much hope for this album. The title cut was weak, nothing like the commanding vocals of my favorite—“Borderline”— from her eponymous first album. Nonetheless, the album “Like a Virgin” was a monster hit, the single “Material Girl” a testimony to the 80’s acceptability of greed and self–indulgence, and Madonna became part of our pop culture. How could I have been so wrong? Simple, I only listened. I did not take into account the image. Image was part of rock, had been since the days of Bill Haley (not quite) and Elvis (just right). David Bowie and Alice Cooper had taken it to extremes a decade ago, but they had great tunes to back their act. Plus, you had to go see them; they were not in your den. What was this all about? Face it, I said, you are getting old, you missed this one by a rock ‘n’ roll mile. (6) These kids were not just watching MTV; they were patterning themselves after the styles they saw. Come to think of it, how much different was this than standing in front of the mirror practicing curling my lip?

But I adjusted. Quickly. Now I had to pay attention to the videos to see if the newbies would click. I did, became quite astute at it, and settled back into my groove. But this is a story about MTV, not me, so let us get back on track. Track one, to be exact, track one of the best selling album ever. (7) It sure did not start out that way. Michael Jackson’s previous album, “Off the Wall,” was a Grammy winner in 1980 and that sold about one copy a month. “Thriller” had a superstar duet with Paul McCartney (“The Girl Is Mine”) to help things out and it was hoped that would build crossover appeal. It did not. Four months after the album was released, three months after radio gave up on it, the album was selling no better than “Off the Wall.”

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:27 am

Part III

Timing is everything. MTV was all the rage and the record companies presented them with the videos they showed gratis. Along came the spoilsports: Everyone wanted in on this act and some group started complaining that MTV was not showing any videos by black artists. True. Why? They simply were not getting any videos of black artists from the record companies. This record/video combination was a new thing, a hefty additional expense that would soon spawn an industry, and smaller companies could not afford it. The majors poured their money into videos by artists that would sell big and black artists were once again a niche market in the early 1980s. There were only a couple black artists that had any chance of crossover appeal who had videos to go along with their singles. MTV did not have them because the record companies had not provided them.
Enter CNN again, hungry for something to fill those 24 hours, and suddenly it was a big story. MTV’s “refusal” to play black videos became news du jour and Columbia, the biggest of the majors at the time with a 24% market share (Springsteen, Streisand, Journey, et al), had no choice but to sound sympathetic to the cause and threatened to stop supplying videos to MTV unless they “changed their policy.” And what was MTV doing during this time? Simply wondering what this was all about and begging the companies to give them some black videos to play so they could put an end to the hubbub that they knew, but the public did not thanks to the crafty spin doctors writing the news, was much ado about nothing—they had nothing to play that would silence the critics.

Columbia, while posturing on the side of the protesters, slipped a little ditty titled “Billie Jean” to MTV and put Michael to work making “Thriller.” Warner Brothers, starting to feel the heat, called Prince into the studio and hastily made videos of “1999” and “Little Red Corvette.” MTV put them all into “heavy rotation” and that meant this trio was aired hourly. Bingo. If “1999” did not make you want to get up and dance you were coffin fodder and watching cute little Michael tiptoe from one lighted square to the next, bending and weaving, smiling all the while—that did it. “Thriller” started to sell, at last. A bit reluctantly at first, but within a month Katy and all her comrades could not bar the door. In the first couple weeks teen boys came up to the counter with the album and mumbled something about buying it for their sister. That faded fast and it was off to the distributor daily for a new batch. Prince did equally well and his whole catalogue followed suit. I had purchased 100 copies of “1999” three months earlier from one of my contacts at Warner Brothers for 50 cents each and put it in the cutout bins for 99¢ (this was a double album, $9.98 list [cheap], and my bin price was $7.99). I sold one every week or two and wondered if I would ever get rid of them. I raised the price to $1.99 when I started to sell a couple a week. Then I went to $2.99 when I started to sell a couple a day. Down to 25 copies in no time I got greedy and the last of the batch (did I ever want a hundred more!) sold for $3.99. To this day I think Michael and Prince should begin each day bowing toward MTV headquarters (Michael’s Mecca) and offering thanks.
MTV showed it could make and break artists virtually overnight. Aerosmith, David Bowie, The Kinks, and J. Geils Band, former “heavies” whose sales had become laggard, all came up with spiffy videos and once again were on top of the heap. Of that quartet, the one that really got it right was Aerosmith. Their videos were the most outrageous and the sexiest and one can only wonder just how many elevator malfunctions were triggered by the occupants. Winner: Men at Work. This Australian band vied for the #1 spot in sales with “Thriller” during the Christmas 1983 season. Loser: Billy Squier. He preened and postured sans shirt in front of a mirror in the first video that followed his hit album. I thought it was juvenile, called another one right, and he dropped right out of sight. Nice try: RCA put out Elvis’ “You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care)” which was nothing more than a film clip from “Jailhouse Rock.” Of all the clips they had to choose from they picked that. Black–and–white, yet.

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:47 am

(Added by Jordan (Fecc-Mechanic) by request of vic ------ seeing if a Mod_Security issue can be resolved... If this works, then the issue is resolved :))

MTV evolved, sadly, and it is now nothing but TRW all day long (Please! Bring back "The Grind."). DVDs have filled the void and virtually every major release now is offered as a "deluxe" CD/DVD combo (or a, grrrrrr, Dualdisc). Companies are poring through archives and releasing things we never thought we would see (even Neil Young's voluminous stash was recently opened and a 1970 concert with Crazy Horse was just released). Thanks, MTV, rock fans everywhere are indebted to you and most have little idea just how much you did to change the face of music.

(1) The labels shipped videos to MTV without charge; MTV, with no library to speak of as yet, aired virtually everything that came their way.
(2) That makes me wonder: Just how much does The Who owe to "CSI" and would we ever have had a new Who album had not that show sparked renewed interest in the band?
(3) Six months later Billboard ran an article about the new Tower Records store in NYC that featured TVs throughout the store playing MTV. They called it revolutionary. I yawned.
(4) Powerful enough to add a new word to the lexicon: Veejay. Lines went on forever when they auditioned for new ones. No, I was not in line; I was too busy watching "Downtown" Bobby Brown.
(5) Still at it, I began touting Los Lonely Boys in 2003 when I heard "Heaven" on a live bootleg. That one, admittedly, took a while (they'd been playing the song for over four years before their breakthrough in 2005).
(6) Defined as: 1,760 chords or 5,280 beats.
(7) A title previously held by "Saturday Night Fever" but a dubious one. Counterfeits of that LP flooded the country. They were indistinguishable from the original and Robert Stigwood nearly went bankrupt from the returns, which exceeded sales. Small record stores bought them for $2 and returned them to distributors for $4 credit. Only in America.

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:28 am

BABY I DON"T CARE was also re-recorded except MIA Bill Black and the lead singer of course. I liked it! The sync was better than on original film..but..B/W as you say was not to be IN......................................... until EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE by The Police!

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:02 am

Actually I remember seeing the video more then once on MTV and on the old Nite Flight show.