Rags to Riches

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Rags to Riches

Post by MikeFromHolland »

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Rags to Riches was written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross in 1953.

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RAGS TO RICHES

I know I'd go from rags to riches
If you would only you say you care
And though my pocket maybe empty
I'd be a millionaire

My clothes may still be torn and tattered
But in my heart I'd be a king
Your love is all that ever mattered
It's everything,
so open your arms
And you open the door
To every treasure that I am hoping for
Hold me kiss me and
say you'll be mine ever more

so open your arms
And you open the door
To every treasure that I am hoping for
Hold me kiss me and
say you'll be mine ever more

*Must I forever be a beggar
Whose golden dreams would not come true
Or will I go from rags to riches
My fate is up to you

I know I go from rags to riches
If you would only you say you care
And though my pocket maybe empty
I'd be a millionaire

so open your arms
And you open the door
To every treasure that I am hoping for
Hold me kiss me and
say you'll be mine ever more

so open your arms
And you open the door
To every treasure that I am hoping for
Hold me kiss me and
say you'll be mine ever more

Must I forever be a beggar
Whose golden dreams would not come true
Or will I go from rags to riches
My fate is up to you


Songwriters
RICHARD ADLER, JERRY ROSS

Published by
Lyrics © THE SONGWRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA


The best-known version of the song, recorded by Tony Bennett with Percy Faith and his orchestra, was number one for eight weeks on the Billboard chart in 1953 and became a gold record.

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In the same year, a version by David Whitfield with Stanley Black & his Orchestra reached number three in the British charts.

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A beautiful version, also from 1953, by Billy Ward and His Dominoes with Jackie Wilson. Elvis went to see them in Vegas in 1956:

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Later recordings by Sunny & the Sunliners (#45 in 1963)

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and Elvis Presley (#33 in 1971)

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also made the Billboard charts.


A recording by Lee Howard with orchestra conducted by Frank Cordell was made in London on November 14, 1953. It was released by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog number B 10610.

Tony Bennett's version was used at the beginning of the film Goodfellas, just after Henry Hill closes the trunk of the car and says in voice-over, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster."

Image


The song was also used in an episode of Columbo.

The opening line of the song was sung regularly and exuberantly by the character Carmine Ragusa on the television series Laverne & Shirley, typically when he had good news. Here's a version from Laverne & Shirley Season 1: Episode 14 (From Suds to Stardom) as sung by the cast:

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"Rags to Riches" provided the basis for an unusual moment late in Elvis Presley's career. Near the end of the New Year's Eve concert on December 31, 1976, Elvis announced he would sing the song - which his band evidently had not rehearsed and did not know. Playing piano, and giving chord instructions to his surprised band members, Elvis sang a surprisingly strong version, especially considering he had not recorded it since 1971, five years earlier. This rendition earned a loud ovation from the audience in Pittsburgh's Civic Arena. This was the only time Elvis sang the song in live performance. The moment was captured on a recording by an audience member that was bootlegged:

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In 2006 Barry Manilow included "Rags to Riches" on the album The Greatest Songs of the Fifties.

..



Main source used: http://www.worldlibrary.org/articles/eng/Rags_to_Riches_(song)

.


Mike

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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Ciscoking »

Excellent..always had soft spot for this song and I love the live rendition from Pittsburgh.


Thanks to Ernst Joergensen, Roger Semon and Erik Rasmussen for the great work. Keep the spirit alive !


r&b

Re: Rags to Riches

Post by r&b »

It amazing how the bombast started after the great Chips Moman sessions. That someone thought this would be a good idea for a single roughly 20 years after it was hit, was very misguided especially after the successful 1969 comeback. How quickly the quality of the singles had changed. I guess Marty was right.



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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by MikeFromHolland »

r&b wrote:It amazing how the bombast started after the great Chips Moman sessions. That someone thought this would be a good idea for a single roughly 20 years after it was hit, was very misguided especially after the successful 1969 comeback. How quickly the quality of the singles had changed. I guess Marty was right.
No, this shouldn't have been a single roughly after 20 years it was a hit. I agree. But man, how I love this song played out loud. Just like From A Jack To A King, Surrender, Hurt and It's Now Or Never. Also songs one should here alone in privacy, with the volume high. :D

Ciskoking wrote:Excellent..always had soft spot for this song and I love the live rendition from Pittsburgh.
Love the surprising live rendition as well. I imagine him singing this song behind his piano at Graceland more often...
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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by fn2drive »

This September 1970 session was the turning point. While Snowbird was delicate and sweet the other 3 tracks were cut after seemingly the amphetimines kicked him into overdrive. He was totally manic on all 3. His disdain for Jarvis and disgust with recording was on full display. Rags To Riches might be the low point of his recording career- song he wanted to record or at least enjoyed- and this was he turned in.


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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Brian Quinn »

'Rags To Riches' is my favourite Elvis song. The lyrics could have been written for Elvis and his vocal performance is outstanding.

Brian.



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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by MikeFromHolland »

Brian Quinn wrote:'Rags To Riches' is my favourite Elvis song. The lyrics could have been written for Elvis and his vocal performance is outstanding.

Brian.
Fully agree! Not my favorite, but absolutely one of them.


Nice to see how tastes differ, reading all comments thus far.

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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Juan Luis »

Great song. Good job by Felton Jarvis to assemble a worthy master from a session with an artist in foul mood wanting to get out of town ASAP. The peremptoriness was shown to all his friends present. Not just Felton who by this time, was a friend as well. The benefit from this mood was the song "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". Manic BUT fascinating and a great addition to the country album, is how Jorgensen describes it. I agree.




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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by FredAistair »

fn2drive wrote:This September 1970 session was the turning point. While Snowbird was delicate and sweet the other 3 tracks were cut after seemingly the amphetimines kicked him into overdrive. He was totally manic on all 3. His disdain for Jarvis and disgust with recording was on full display. Rags To Riches might be the low point of his recording career- song he wanted to record or at least enjoyed- and this was he turned in.
Whilst I am not sure if Rags to Riches is that much of a song, Elvis's vocals on this song is outstanding, always a thrill to listen to.




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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Davelee »

Elvis' version is not great. The over the top operatic bellow never impressed me and this song shows that.




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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Davelee »

Elvis' version is not great. The over the top operatic bellow never impressed me and this song shows that.



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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Hobbes »

Davelee wrote:Elvis' version is not great. The over the top operatic bellow never impressed me and this song shows that.
I agree. He had never been this over the top before. Prior efforts like It's Now or Never featured much more finesse. This was just agressive bellowing.



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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by drjohncarpenter »

r&b wrote:It amazing how the bombast started after the great Chips Moman sessions. That someone thought this would be a good idea for a single roughly 20 years after it was hit, was very misguided especially after the successful 1969 comeback. How quickly the quality of the singles had changed. I guess Marty was right.
It should never have been a single A-side, and it's mystifying that was a choice made in 1971 to do so.


fn2drive wrote:This September 1970 session was the turning point. While Snowbird was delicate and sweet the other 3 tracks were cut after seemingly the amphetimines kicked him into overdrive. He was totally manic on all 3. His disdain for Jarvis and disgust with recording was on full display. Rags To Riches might be the low point of his recording career- song he wanted to record or at least enjoyed- and this was he turned in.
It would have been OK as a B-side, or an album track, had the rest of his records have been of a higher standard, and the singles using fresh material.


Brian Quinn wrote:'Rags To Riches' is my favourite Elvis song. The lyrics could have been written for Elvis and his vocal performance is outstanding.

Brian.
Never in a million years would a 1970 cover of "Rags to Riches" be my favorite Elvis song. His own catalog of hits is so rich, the idea simply stuns me. Outside of the deep fan base, no one would ever even know the song existed by him. But it's nice to have a different opinion, I suppose. It makes for vigorous conversations here.

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As far as the song itself, I'm almost sure that the 18 year-old Elvis originally loved the 1953 r&b recording of "Rags To Riches" most. It was a #2 Billboard r&b hit and later one of a pile of 78s he gave Scotty Moore in 1968, to dub onto reel-to-reel for his renewed listening pleasure:

Rags To Riches / Don't Thank Me - Billy Ward and his Dominoes (King 1280, October 24, 1953) [Jackie Wilson - lead vocals]

That said, I wager Elvis never knew it was Jackie Wilson singing lead on that cut. However, I am 100% certain he was aware of Jackie's titanic solo recording, issued in 1965. Why? Because his RCA Nashville recording on 9-22-1970 follows it almost completely, from start-to-finish.

If there was ever an example of Presley cutting a tribute to his friend, it was this cover. He was not really "bellowing" as much as he was paying homage to a legendary and beloved r&b vocalist.



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Jackie Wilson "Rags To Riches" Spotlight On Jackie Wilson (Brunswick BL 54119, September 11, 1965)


Image
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Mon May 02, 2016 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by sweetangeline »

Brian Quinn wrote:'Rags To Riches' is my favourite Elvis song. The lyrics could have been written for Elvis and his vocal performance is outstanding.

Brian.
I need some time with this one...and a lot of meds :shock:




poormadpeter2

Re: Rags to Riches

Post by poormadpeter2 »

drjohncarpenter wrote: Outside of the deep fan base, no one would ever even know the song existed by him.
That's not correct. The song was included on the Hits of the 70s compilation in the UK that sold by the bucket-load.




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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by fn2drive »

Juan Luis wrote:Great song. Good job by Felton Jarvis to assemble a worthy master from a session with an artist in foul mood wanting to get out of town ASAP. The peremptoriness was shown to all his friends present. Not just Felton who by this time, was a friend as well. The benefit from this mood was the song "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". Manic BUT fascinating and a great addition to the country album, is how Jorgensen describes it. I agree.
By this time was a friend. This sums up exactly what was wrong with Jarvis. He ceased to be a producer acting objectively and acted as a friend. A producer would never have released this cut as a single. Overmodulated, bombastic and bellowing. All that was to come was revealed in this 4 song session.


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poormadpeter2

Re: Rags to Riches

Post by poormadpeter2 »

fn2drive wrote:
Juan Luis wrote:Great song. Good job by Felton Jarvis to assemble a worthy master from a session with an artist in foul mood wanting to get out of town ASAP. The peremptoriness was shown to all his friends present. Not just Felton who by this time, was a friend as well. The benefit from this mood was the song "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". Manic BUT fascinating and a great addition to the country album, is how Jorgensen describes it. I agree.
By this time was a friend. This sums up exactly what was wrong with Jarvis. He ceased to be a producer acting objectively and acted as a friend. A producer would never have released this cut as a single. Overmodulated, bombastic and bellowing. All that was to come was revealed in this 4 song session.
Not really. Other than Hurt, Elvis never actually sang another straight-forward bellow from beginning to end. Even Where Did They Go Lord didn't follow that pattern entirely, with Elvis only at full pelt during the chorus. As for Whole Lotta Shakin', if Elvis had sung it another way, people would be moaning that he didn't make the song his own and that it was a boring cover. As it is, manic or not, he completely reinvents it and is completely lost in the music-making process. Another example of us reading too much into the recordings because we know too much information about them.



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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Mike C »

If Rages to Riches had not been chosen as the single in March of 1971, then what should have RCA rolled out? Another single from Elvis Country?


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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by drjohncarpenter »

sweetangeline wrote:
Brian Quinn wrote:'Rags To Riches' is my favourite Elvis song. The lyrics could have been written for Elvis and his vocal performance is outstanding.

Brian.
I need some time with this one...and a lot of meds :shock:
Maybe Brian bought that Hits of the 70s compilation in the U.K. that sold by the bucket-load. Apparently, England went wild over Elvis' recording of it at that point. ;-)


Mike C wrote:If Rages to Riches had not been chosen as the single in March of 1971, then what should have RCA rolled out? Another single from Elvis Country?
If you got nothing good to "roll out" then don't roll out anything. Instead, call a session with some good material, record it, release it. No one at RCA or management evidently thought that was a valid alternative. Money had been spent, musicians hired and taped used in September 1970, man. Don't waste it!

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Anyone given that 1965 cut by Jackie Wilson a play yet? You may learn something. ;-)

::rocks
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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Dan_T »

poormadpeter2 wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote: Outside of the deep fan base, no one would ever even know the song existed by him.
That's not correct. The song was included on the Hits of the 70s compilation in the UK that sold by the bucket-load.
That's true, my partner has it on a compilation , and loves it ! I, on the other hand, will always skip it, as to me it sounds way too forced. don't like it at all.




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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by sweetangeline »

drjohncarpenter wrote:
sweetangeline wrote:
Brian Quinn wrote:'Rags To Riches' is my favourite Elvis song. The lyrics could have been written for Elvis and his vocal performance is outstanding.

Brian.
I need some time with this one...and a lot of meds :shock:
Maybe Brian bought that Hits of the 70s compilation in the U.K. that sold by the bucket-load. Apparently, England went wild over Elvis' recording of it at that point. ;-)
...maybe it had a sticker on it proclaiming CONTAINS THE MASSIVE WORLDWIDE ELVIS HIT RAGS TO RICHES!!...only that would explain it :wink:




poormadpeter2

Re: Rags to Riches

Post by poormadpeter2 »

sweetangeline wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
sweetangeline wrote:
Brian Quinn wrote:'Rags To Riches' is my favourite Elvis song. The lyrics could have been written for Elvis and his vocal performance is outstanding.

Brian.
I need some time with this one...and a lot of meds :shock:
Maybe Brian bought that Hits of the 70s compilation in the U.K. that sold by the bucket-load. Apparently, England went wild over Elvis' recording of it at that point. ;-)
...maybe it had a sticker on it proclaiming CONTAINS THE MASSIVE WORLDWIDE ELVIS HIT RAGS TO RICHES!!...only that would explain it :wink:
Sadly the board has gone back into its "only American hits matter" mode. The song reached the top ten in the UK in 1971, as did eighteen other Elvis singles in the UK between 1970 and the end of 1977. But you obviously had to be a deep fan to know that Elvis even recorded those songs. Oh, and let's not forget that it was also on the Elvis75 compilation that a certain someone raves about and reached #8 in the Uk Charts, the European edition of Hitstory, 50 Greatest Love Songs (which reached #21). But hey, only deep fans bought them, too. :roll:




Juan Luis

Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Juan Luis »

poormadpeter2 wrote:
fn2drive wrote:
Juan Luis wrote:Great song. Good job by Felton Jarvis to assemble a worthy master from a session with an artist in foul mood wanting to get out of town ASAP. The peremptoriness was shown to all his friends present. Not just Felton who by this time, was a friend as well. The benefit from this mood was the song "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". Manic BUT fascinating and a great addition to the country album, is how Jorgensen describes it. I agree.
By this time was a friend. This sums up exactly what was wrong with Jarvis. He ceased to be a producer acting objectively and acted as a friend. A producer would never have released this cut as a single. Overmodulated, bombastic and bellowing. All that was to come was revealed in this 4 song session.
Not really. Other than Hurt, Elvis never actually sang another straight-forward bellow from beginning to end. Even Where Did They Go Lord didn't follow that pattern entirely, with Elvis only at full pelt during the chorus. As for Whole Lotta Shakin', if Elvis had sung it another way, people would be moaning that he didn't make the song his own and that it was a boring cover. As it is, manic or not, he completely reinvents it and is completely lost in the music-making process. Another example of us reading too much into the recordings because we know too much information about them.
Exactly!




Juan Luis

Re: Rags to Riches

Post by Juan Luis »

fn2drive wrote:
Juan Luis wrote:Great song. Good job by Felton Jarvis to assemble a worthy master from a session with an artist in foul mood wanting to get out of town ASAP. The peremptoriness was shown to all his friends present. Not just Felton who by this time, was a friend as well. The benefit from this mood was the song "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". Manic BUT fascinating and a great addition to the country album, is how Jorgensen describes it. I agree.
By this time was a friend. This sums up exactly what was wrong with Jarvis. He ceased to be a producer acting objectively and acted as a friend. A producer would never have released this cut as a single. Overmodulated, bombastic and bellowing. All that was to come was revealed in this 4 song session.
Since when did ANY producer have say so on an Elvis Presley single release? And that includes the American single releases. Elvis, Parker, RCA. "Suspicious Minds" for example was held quite a bit of time. Elvis even performed it live before it was overdubbed and released.



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Re: Rags to Riches

Post by drjohncarpenter »

poormadpeter2 wrote:
sweetangeline wrote:...maybe it had a sticker on it proclaiming CONTAINS THE MASSIVE WORLDWIDE ELVIS HIT RAGS TO RICHES!!...only that would explain it :wink:
Sadly the board has gone back into its "only American hits matter" mode.
When discussing the course of Presley's career, the U.S. work always comes first. This is not about aesthetic, but a fact. Elvis is an American recording artist, and what RCA issues in America is how one begins to properly assess his recording career. The release of "Rags to Riches" in the spring of 1971 was a blunder by any measure, given his work in the previous two years, and the U.S. retail and radio market at the time. It's not rocket science.

Here's that Jackie Wilson album track again, for those who want to know what Presley was channeling five years later:



..

Jackie Wilson "Rags To Riches" Spotlight On Jackie Wilson (Brunswick BL 54119, September 11, 1965)


Image


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