sábado, 30 de junio de 2012

The Killer and The King…



The Killer and The King
Jerry Lee Lewis vs. Elvis Presley

                                                                                Alan Hanson
 
Elvis Presley wasn't anointed the "King of Rock 'n' roll" by unanimous consent. In the fifties, other contenders vied for the title. Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis were two other frontrunners. All three contenders had their personal demons. In the end, Elvis ascended to the throne, in no small part because he had the sense to conceal his demons from rock 'n' roll's young citizens.
Chuck Berry was different. He was black, older, and recorded in Chicago. Elvis and Jerry Lee, however, were of a shared age and upbringing, which led them both to Sam Phillips's doorstep in Memphis.

Jerry Lee Lewis Ferriday was Jerry Lee's Tupelo. He was born in that Louisiana town on September 29, 1935, just about 10 months after Elvis's birth a couple of hundred miles to the northeast in Mississippi. Both were born into poverty, raised in the tenets of Christianity, and drawn to music at an early age.
During his school years, a nickname attached itself Jerry Lee—the Killer. "That's what all my friends called me," he explained years later. "I hated that damn name ever since I was a kid, but I been stuck with it. I don't think they mean it killer like I'd kill people. I think they meant it music'ly speakin'." (Unless otherwise stated, all Jerry Lee Lewis statements herein come from Hellfire, Nick Toches's acclaimed 1982 Lewis biography.)
The two future rock 'n' rollers experienced similar musical influences in their teenage years. In 1954 Jerry Lee played piano nightly in a band at the Wagon Wheel, a club on the banks of the Mississippi. "We played everything, man," recalled band leader Johnny Littlejohn. "We played everything from 'The Wild Side of Life' and 'Slippin' Around' to 'Big Legged Woman' and 'Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee.' Hell, we did 'Stardust.' Whatever we did, we did it honky-tonk style, hard-core barroom style." That same year, Elvis started his career at Sun Records, melding together the multiple musical styles to which he too had been exposed.
 
• Jerry Lee moved to Memphis
In an interview included in the DVD issue of Elvis: The Great Performances, Jerry Lee explained the life-changing decision he made in November 1956:
"I was reading a lot of magazines about Sam Phillips and Sun Records … so I told my dad, this is the man we need to go see. And we did. We drove down from Ferriday into Memphis and pulled up in front of Sun Records. I came in and auditioned for Jack Clement, who said I could never make it playing the piano. He said rock 'n' roll was out, cause Elvis had it all tied up. He said I could forget that. Well, I said, 'I don't think so.' I said, 'I'm a hit.' He said, 'They all say that, son.' I said, 'I'm not all. I'm different.'"
Sam Phillips was out of town, so Clement, then an engineer at Sun, taped Jerry Lee playing the piano and singing a few songs. One of them was Ray Price's recent hit, "Crazy Arms." According to Tosches, when Sam returned to the studio, Clement played that recording for him. "I can sell that," Phillips declared, and Jerry Lee Lewis was about to hit the big time.
Million  Dollar Quartet
Just a month after Jerry Lee first walked through the door at Sun Records, a legendary gathering occurred there. On December 4, 1956, Sam asked Jerry Lee to play piano at a Carl Perkins recording session. Johnny Cash came to the session at Carl's request, and when Elvis unexpectedly showed up, the players for what became known as "The Million Dollar Quartet" were all in the studio. At the time Jerry Lee was generally unknown outside of the local area, while Elvis had become a national phenomenon in the year since Sam had sold his contract to RCA.
During the recorded jam session that followed, Jerry Lee and Elvis took turns singing. When Lewis sang a bit of "Crazy Arms," Elvis said, "The wrong man's been settin' here at this piano." Jerry Lee responded, "Well, I been wantin' to tell you that. Scoot over!" In Robert Johnson's newspaper article the next day, Elvis praised Jerry Lee. "That boy can go," he said. "I think he has a great future ahead of him. He has a different style, and the way he plays piano just gets inside me."
 
• There was a "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" at Sun Records
Memphis booking agent Bob Neal, who had been Elvis's manager when Presley was at Sun in 1954-1955, began booking Jerry Lee as a separate act at venues throughout the South. Soon, though, a Lewis Sun recording propelled him onto the national stage. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" did for Jerry Lee Lewis what "Heartbreak Hotel" had done for Elvis Presley. Released in April 1957, "Shakin'" reached the top of the C&W and R&B charts. It then spent 29 weeks in Billboard's "Top 100" pop chart, peaking at #3. Jerry Lee performed it on The Steve Allen Show on July 28, 1957, a year after Elvis's controversial appearance on the same show.
Other hits on the Sun label followed for Lewis. "Great Balls of Fire" reached #2 on Billboard's singles chart in early 1958. It led to another appearance on The Steve Allen Show and one on American Bandstand. Best of all, from Jerry Lee's point of view, Elvis had been drafted into the army, leaving rock 'n' roll's throne open for Jerry Lee to occupy. "Breathless," Lewis's fourth single for Sun, was another top 10 record in 1958. It was written by Otis Blackwell, who had penned Elvis's two biggest hits, "Don't Be Cruel" and "All Shook Up." May 17, 1958, was declared "Jerry Lee Lewis Day" in Ferriday. The town's favorite son was on hand to receive the key to the city, as Elvis had on "Elvis Presley Day" in Tupelo on September 26, 1956.
Jerry Lee Lewis book cover At the very moment that he stood on rock 'n' roll's summit, however, Jerry Lee's career suddenly collapsed. On May 22, 1958, Jerry Lee arrived at Heathrow Airport in London to begin a concert tour. When reporters asked about the little girl accompanying him, Jerry Lee told them she was his wife. He gave her age as 15. It turned out that Myra Gale Lewis was actually 13 and was Jerry Lee's second cousin. To make matters worse, he had married her five months before his divorce from his second wife was final. The press in both England and the U.S. turned alternately nasty and comical toward the singer. Columnist Hy Gardner, who had conducted a high profile interview of Elvis in 1956, announced, "The Jerry Lee Lewises are going to have an addition to the family. He bought her a new doll." Dick Clark even banned Jerry Lee from American Bandstand.
During an interview at the Brooklyn Army Terminal before his departure for Germany, Elvis was asked his opinion on the controversy. "He's a great artist," Elvis asserted. "I'd rather not talk about his marriage, except that if he really loves her, I guess it's all right."
 
• Fall from Grace brought bitterness toward Elvis
Elvis's sympathy could not help revive Jerry Lee's career. There were no more hit records, no more TV appearances, no more big paydays. As he traveled around the country over the next few years, he played for hundreds of dollars a night instead of thousands. When he returned to Memphis from a tour of England in 1963, a reporter asked if the British compared him with Elvis. The question brought to the surface a bitterness toward his old rival. "I really wish people would stop tryin' to compare me with Elvis," Jerry Lee said. "We are entirely different performers. 'Bout the only thing we got in common is that we're from Tennessee."
Despite his fall from grace, Lewis was not about to give up his music. "I'm workin', and I'll keep workin'," Jerry Lee told a British interviewer in 1964. "I'll play dance halls, clubs. I'll do TV, movies. I'll work any way I can get it, as long as it's decent."
In the mid-sixties, Jerry Lee began to build a new, successful career in country music. The hits in that market kept coming, and by 1970 his concert price had risen to $10,000 a night. He bought an airplane, and in May 1970, flew to Las Vegas to record a live album at the International Hotel, where Elvis had returned to live performances the year before.
With both men having revived their careers, the old competition between them revived as well, at least in Jerry Lee Lewis's mind. In 1975, when they ran into each other in Las Vegas, Jerry Lee told Elvis, "You don't know what you're doin'. You're just Colonel Parker's puppet." Elvis responded, "Well, if I'm so dumb and you're so smart, how is it that I'm playing the main room and you're playin' the lounge?"
Still, Jerry Lee retained his old swagger. In August 1976, he told an interviewer, "There's very few great talents left. You got Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Charlie Rich, B. B. King. I'm not sayin' that I'm one of 'em—I'm sayin' that I'm the main one."
Later that same year, a drunken Jerry Lee pulled his car up against the front gates of Graceland at 3 in the morning. "I want to see Elvis," Jerry Lee shouted. "You tell him the Killer's here." When word came back to the security guard that Elvis didn't want to be disturbed, Jerry Lee exploded, "Git on that damn house phone and call him! Who the hell does that sonofabitch think he is? Doesn't wanna be disturbed! He ain't no damn better'n anybody else." As Jerry Lee yelled and waved his gun toward the house, Elvis had his gate guard call the police. They came, pulled the Killer from his car, cuffed him, and took him away
 
• On Elvis's death … "Just another one outa the way."
That was nothing, though, compared to the insensitive statement Jerry Lee Lewis made to a country music magazine writer following Elvis's death nine months later.
"I was glad. Just another one outa the way. I mean, Elvis this, Elvis that. All we hear is Elvis. What the shit did Elvis do except take dope that I couldn't git ahold of? That's very discouraging, anybody that had that much power to git ahold of that much dope. All I did was drink whiskey.
"You expect me to sit here and tell a lie about something? Look, we've only got one life to live. We don't have the promise of the next breath. I know what I am. I'm a rompin', stompin', piano-playin' sonofabitch. A mean sonofabitch. But a great sonofabitch. A good person. Never hurt nobody unless they got in my way. I got a mean streak in me. Elvis did, too. He hid his. I don't hide mine. I gotta lay it open sometimes.
"Elvis. That sonofabitch died on dope. His heart was twice the size as normal. That's how much dope he took. I'm tellin' you what he done. He was a dope addict. I am an alcoholic."
Jerry Lee Lewis is now 76 years old. Hopefully, he has learned to control his demons since he made the preceding comments 30 years ago. I'd like to believe that Sam Phillips properly judged how the two rock 'n' roll icons felt about each other. "For two monumental people, you know you're gonna have a little jealousy," Sam once said, "which is really good if it doesn't go beyond the bounds of reasonable taste. Elvis Presley, everytime he had a chance to listen to Jerry Lee, he did. Every time Jerry [had a chance to listen to Elvis], he did. It wasn't just camaraderie. Total respect for each other. Great musicians." 
 
UPDATE—Keeping It In the Family: On March 9, 2012, Jerry Lee Lewis married for the seventh time. The 76-year-old Lewis tied the knot with Judith Ann Coghlan Lewis, 62, in Natchez, Mississippi. The bride was previously married to Jerry Lee's cousin Rusty Brown. Myra Gale Brown, Rusty's older sister, became Lewis's third wife in 1957 when she was 13 years old.

jueves, 28 de junio de 2012

JANUARY 1956 The Most Significant Month in Elvis’ Career

JANUARY 1956

A Look Back,  At What Could Be The Most Significant Month in Elvis' Career
 by Phil Arnold
 
On January 2, 1956, Elvis performed at a high school in Charleston, Mississippi.  It was an event similar to more than a hundred others in 1954 and 1955 when Elvis toured extensively throughout the south and southwest.  But things were about to change for Elvis – in a big way.
 
Back in late November 1955, Sam Phillips sold Elvis' contract to RCA Records for $35,000, but nothing changed in Elvis' life immediately.  He still had a string of previous concert commitments to fulfill, and there was the usual downtime over the Christmas holidays.  Right after his 21st birthday, however, things got very busy for Elvis. 
 
On January 10, he and Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and Bill Black did their first recording session at the RCA studios in New York City.  Floyd Cramer, who had played piano behind Elvis on some Louisiana Hayride shows and Chet Atkins, guitar virtuoso and RCA Nashville studio chief, augmented the small group.  This first session produced "I Got A Woman," a hit for Ray Charles a year earlier, and "Money Honey," and earlier hit for the Drifters.  Both would end up in Elvis' first LP album, Elvis Presley.
 
The big accomplishment of the day was recording "Heartbreak Hotel," a song that sounded unlike anything Elvis had recorded before.  It would ultimately become his first hit for RCA and would stay at # 1 for seven weeks.
 
image                    image
 
After one of his last performances at the Louisiana Hayride on January 15, Elvis started a six-day tour through Texas, as part of Hank Snow's All Star Jamboree.  Col. Parker was Snow's manager before taking over Elvis' career, and he put Elvis on thirty-two of Hank Snow's shows.  On January 20 in Fort Worth, Elvis did his last appearance as a supporting act.  From then on, he would always be at the top of the bill.
 
image                        image
 
Hank Snow and Elvis                                                Seventh Billing
 
On Saturday, January 28, Elvis made his first appearance on national television.  He and the boys performed on CBS' Stage Show, starring Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.  Elvis sang "I Got A Woman" and "Shake, Rattle, and Roll / Flip, Flop, and Fly," two Joe Turner hits he often performed on stage.  Although Elvis' first TV exposure was on a rather low-ranked show, it was the start of the buzz about him that grew to a roar later in the year.
 
image                               image
First TV Show – January 26, 1956                                  Elvis with Dorsey Brothers
 
Elvis finished January on a tremendous roll.  Next up, in quick succession, were more recording sessions at RCA, more television appearances, a two-week tour through Virginia and the Carolinas as the headliner, the release of his hugely successful first album, and a screen test with Hal Wallis at Paramount. 
 
In spite of all this, bigger things were still ahead for Elvis.

miércoles, 27 de junio de 2012

PICTURES 55-56-57


Elvis' second Joy Drive-In appearance in Minden, LA that month, on Friday, July 22, 1955.
Buffalo, NY. Memorial Coliseum : April 1, 1957
April 16, 1956 - Memorial Coliseum, Corpus Christi, Texas

THE NEARLY FORGOTTEN ORIGINAL SONGS


THE NEARLY FORGOTTEN ORIGINAL SONGS

by Phil Arnold 
 
Elvis' first commercial recording session at Sun Recoerds, on July 5 1954, produced three songs.  That's All Right (Mama) started a musical revolution.  What's the story on the other two songs?
 
We've all heard the tale many times.  Elvis and Scotty and Bill were playing a few songs that first night, but nothing really clicked.  Then, Elvis started cutting up with That's All Right (Mama), a blues song released eight years earlier by Arthur (Big Boy) Crudup.  Scotty and Bill joined in, and in no time the three musicians were cookin'.
 
Then, Sam Phillips rushed out of the control room and asked Elvis what he was doing.   Sam told them to do it again, this time with the tape player going.  A short time later, Elvis had the song for his first 45 RPM release in the can, and the rest is history.
 
So what were the two songs they did before catching magic in a bottle? 
 
Harbor Lights was the first song put on tape, and Sam Phillips was not happy with it.  Elvis' voice was high and thin, as though the song should have been played at a lower key.  The instrumentation is sparse and at a surprisingly low volume.  Even Elvis' chorus of whistling in the middle did nothing to enhance this generally weak ballad.
 
Sam Phillips filed the tape away as nothing more than a warm-up effort, where the boys got used to working together.  When RCA bought Elvis' contract and his entire Sun catalogue of 19 songs, they apparently saw little value in Harbor Lights.  It remained unreleased for the next twenty years.
 
Even when RCA released "The Sun Sessions" in 1975, Harbor Lights was still in bad favor and was not included.  The producers correctly assessed it would distract from the cohesive Rockabilly sound of the rest of the Sun songs.  "The Sun Sessions" album was compiled to present a top quality package, so Harbor Lights would have to wait for use as a curiosity item.
 
And curiosities were exactly what RCA featured in the 1976 double LP, "Elvis – A Legendary Performer, Volume 2."  Even back then, record producers realized the strength of the public's demand for never-before-heard Elvis songs.  This album contained a little bit of everything:  an alternate version of I Want You, I Need You, I Love You, in which Elvis reversed the lyrics; unreleased live versions of Blue Suede Shoes and Baby What You Want Me To Do from the "68' Comeback Special"; an alternate version of Blue Hawaii from the "Aloha from Hawaii" TV special; in addition to the nearly forgotten song from that first Sun recording session.
 
Harbor Lights was also selected for the six-record boxed set, "A Golden Celebration."  Released in 1984, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Elvis' birth, this album also tapped into the deep vein of fan yearning for something different in Elvis songs.  It contained outtakes from the Sun sessions, as well as songs from "The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show", "The Milton Berle Show", "The Ed Sullivan Show", and the ever-popular "Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show."
 
Harbor Lights also appeared on the four-disk "The Complete Sun Sessions" in 1987 and the five-disc "Elvis, The Complete 50's Masters" in 1992.   It has probably been on several other CD's since then, but it's been hard to keep up with everything that's coming out these days. 
 
Its not surprising Elvis chose this song.  It had previously been a popular number for Guy Lombardo, Bing Crosby, and Ray Anthony.  The Platters had a top-ten hit with Harbor Lights in 1960.
 
The second song recorded on July 5, 1954, was I Love You Because, previously released by Ernest Tubb, Gene Autry, Eddie Fisher, and Patti Page.  Although Elvis and the boys improved with their second effort, Sam Phillips wasn't crazy about this song, either.  There still wasn't any spark in Elvis' voice, and more whistling certainly didn't help.  At least he instrumentation was better, indicating the three musicians were starting to get comfortable with each other. 
 
Sam had five takes, but he deemed none to be worthy of commercial release.  However, when Elvis' fame skyrocketed, RCA saw it differently.  In early 1956, they created a hybrid version using splices of takes #3 and 5 from the Sun tapes and included it in Elvis' first album, "Elvis Presley."  Later that year, RCA put I Love You Because on the flip side of a 45 record featuring another previously unreleased Sun recording, Trying To get To You.
 
A different version of I Love You Because showed up in 1974 on "Elvis – A Legendary Performer, Volume I."  This time it was take 2.  Both the spliced version (now called the 'master') and take 2 appeared on "The Sun Sessions" in 1975.  This album was re-released on CD in 1999 and is now considered a must for serious collectors of Elvis music.  VH1 named "The Sun Sessions" number 20 in their ranking of the Top 100 Rock & Roll Albums Of All Time.
 
The most dedicated Elvis collectors were enticed by 1987's four-disc set, "The Complete Sun Sessions," which must contain every single minute of tape Sam Phillips recorded when Elvis was singing.  It has outtakes galore and a numbing quantity of alternate versions, including all five takes of I Love You Because.  If that sounds like overkill, the album contains seven alternate takes of I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone.
 
When Elvis went home the night of July 5, 1954, he must have been excited about the prospects for his first single release.  He and Scotty and Bill were back the next night, and they clicked again on Blue Moon of Kentucky.
 
 On July 19, Sun Records released Elvis Presley's first record, That's All Right (Mama) with Blue Moon of Kentucky on the flip side.  The world was never the same since.

lunes, 18 de junio de 2012

Elvis's Incredible Record Sales Documented in February 1957 Article



Elvis's Incredible Record Sales Documented in February 1957 Article
 
"Memphis' Elvis Outdoes Caruso in Record Sales" was the headline of an article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on February 6, 1957. The article reminded readers that the concept of "golden disks" began when operatic star Enrico Caruso's recording of "Vesta la giubba" was the first to sell more than a million copies. Caruso later received another "golden disk" for "O sole mio," a tune from which Elvis's 1960 gold record "It's Now or Never" was adapted.
The article explained that in a single year Elvis completely eclipsed Caruso's record sales. In 1956 Elvis had five recordings reach million-seller status. They were "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" (3,200,000), "Love Me Tender" (2,300,000), "Heartbreak Hotel" (1,600,000), and "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" (1,200,000). "These and other records pushed his sales to 11 million singles in his first year in the big time, plus two albums," the Commercial-Appeal reported.
It also noted, however, that Elvis was still a long way away from topping the all-time top-selling single. That was Tommy Dorsey's "Boogie Woogie," which sold 4,500,000 copies back in 1938.
The newspaper also reported that Elvis had been chosen by Photoplay magazine as a recipient of its "Stars of 1957" award. Photoplay's award banquet was broadcast live by NBC-TV from the Beverly Hills Hotel the evening of February 7, 1957. On hand were other award winners, among them Rock Hudson and Kim Novak. Elvis, who was filming Loving You in Hollywood at the time, did not attend the banquet.

viernes, 15 de junio de 2012

Elvis Live - Tupelo



 

Tupelo
 
 
Tupelo
 
 
Tupelo
 
 
Tupelo
 
 
Tupelo
 
 
Tupelo
 
 
Tupelo
 
 
Tupelo

domingo, 10 de junio de 2012

THE NEARLY FORGOTTEN ORIGINAL SONGS


THE NEARLY FORGOTTEN ORIGINAL SONGS

Elvis' first commercial recording session at Sun Records, on July 5 1954, produced three songs.  That's All Right (Mama) started a musical revolution.  What's the story on the other two songs?
 
We've all heard the tale many times.  Elvis and Scotty and Bill were playing a few songs that first night, but nothing really clicked.  Then, Elvis started cutting up with That's All Right (Mama), a blues song released eight years earlier by Arthur (Big Boy) Crudup.  Scotty and Bill joined in, and in no time the three musicians were cookin'.
 
Then, Sam Phillips rushed out of the control room and asked Elvis what he was doing.   Sam told them to do it again, this time with the tape player going.  A short time later, Elvis had the song for his first 45 RPM release in the can, and the rest is history.
 
So what were the two songs they did before catching magic in a bottle? 
 
Harbor Lights was the first song put on tape, and Sam Phillips was not happy with it.  Elvis' voice was high and thin, as though the song should have been played at a lower key.  The instrumentation is sparse and at a surprisingly low volume.  Even Elvis' chorus of whistling in the middle did nothing to enhance this generally weak ballad.
 
Sam Phillips filed the tape away as nothing more than a warm-up effort, where the boys got used to working together.  When RCA bought Elvis' contract and his entire Sun catalogue of 19 songs, they apparently saw little value in Harbor Lights.  It remained unreleased for the next twenty years.
 
Even when RCA released "The Sun Sessions" in 1975, Harbor Lights was still in bad favor and was not included.  The producers correctly assessed it would distract from the cohesive Rockabilly sound of the rest of the Sun songs.  "The Sun Sessions" album was compiled to present a top quality package, so Harbor Lights would have to wait for use as a curiosity item.
 
And curiosities were exactly what RCA featured in the 1976 double LP, "Elvis – A Legendary Performer, Volume 2."  Even back then, record producers realized the strength of the public's demand for never-before-heard Elvis songs.  This album contained a little bit of everything:  an alternate version of I Want You, I Need You, I Love You, in which Elvis reversed the lyrics; unreleased live versions of Blue Suede Shoes and Baby What You Want Me To Do from the "68' Comeback Special"; an alternate version of Blue Hawaii from the "Aloha from Hawaii" TV special; in addition to the nearly forgotten song from that first Sun recording session.
 
Harbor Lights was also selected for the six-record boxed set, "A Golden Celebration."  Released in 1984, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Elvis' birth, this album also tapped into the deep vein of fan yearning for something different in Elvis songs.  It contained outtakes from the Sun sessions, as well as songs from "The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show", "The Milton Berle Show", "The Ed Sullivan Show", and the ever-popular "Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show."
 
Harbor Lights also appeared on the four-disk "The Complete Sun Sessions" in 1987 and the five-disc "Elvis, The Complete 50's Masters" in 1992.   It has probably been on several other CD's since then, but it's been hard to keep up with everything that's coming out these days. 
 
Its not surprising Elvis chose this song.  It had previously been a popular number for Guy Lombardo, Bing Crosby, and Ray Anthony.  The Platters had a top-ten hit with Harbor Lights in 1960.
 
The second song recorded on July 5, 1954, was I Love You Because, previously released by Ernest Tubb, Gene Autry, Eddie Fisher, and Patti Page.  Although Elvis and the boys improved with their second effort, Sam Phillips wasn't crazy about this song, either.  There still wasn't any spark in Elvis' voice, and more whistling certainly didn't help.  At least he instrumentation was better, indicating the three musicians were starting to get comfortable with each other. 
 
Sam had five takes, but he deemed none to be worthy of commercial release.  However, when Elvis' fame skyrocketed, RCA saw it differently.  In early 1956, they created a hybrid version using splices of takes #3 and 5 from the Sun tapes and included it in Elvis' first album, "Elvis Presley."  Later that year, RCA put I Love You Because on the flip side of a 45 record featuring another previously unreleased Sun recording, Trying To get To You.
 
A different version of I Love You Because showed up in 1974 on "Elvis – A Legendary Performer, Volume I."  This time it was take 2.  Both the spliced version (now called the 'master') and take 2 appeared on "The Sun Sessions" in 1975.  This album was re-released on CD in 1999 and is now considered a must for serious collectors of Elvis music.  VH1 named "The Sun Sessions" number 20 in their ranking of the Top 100 Rock & Roll Albums Of All Time.
 
The most dedicated Elvis collectors were enticed by 1987's four-disc set, "The Complete Sun Sessions," which must contain every single minute of tape Sam Phillips recorded when Elvis was singing.  It has outtakes galore and a numbing quantity of alternate versions, including all five takes of I Love You Because.  If that sounds like overkill, the album contains seven alternate takes of I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone.
 
When Elvis went home the night of July 5, 1954, he must have been excited about the prospects for his first single release.  He and Scotty and Bill were back the next night, and they clicked again on Blue Moon of Kentucky.
 
 On July 19, Sun Records released Elvis Presley's first record, That's All Right (Mama) with Blue Moon of Kentucky on the flip side.  The world was never the same since.

viernes, 8 de junio de 2012

Jimmy Dean and Elvis



 

Jimmy Dean and Elvis

Jimmy Dean and Elvis in 1956
Dean was best known for his 1961 song about a heroic miner, "Big Bad John," which went to number one on the Billboard pop charts and inspired many imitations and parodies. It sold over one million copies, and won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording.  He had several more Top 40 songs on the pop and country music charts, including a Top 10 in 1962 with "PT-109″, a song in honor of John F. Kennedy's bravery in World War II.  He achieved a second number 1 country hit in 1965 with the ballad "The First Thing Every Morning (And The Last Thing Every Night)" and had a Top 40 hit that year with "Harvest of Sunshine". In 1966, Dean signed with RCA Records and immediately had a Top 10 hit with "Stand Beside Me".
Jimmy Dean also had success as a businessman.  In 1969, he founded the Jimmy Dean Sausage Company with his brother Don. The company did well, in part because of Dean's own extemporized, humor-themed commercials.  The success of his sausage led to the company's acquisition in 1984 by Consolidated Foods, later renamed the Sara Lee Corporation.
What is less known about Dean is his early career as a TV personality in the mid-50s. He was the host of the popular Washington D.C. TV program "Town and Country Time" on WMAL at 6:30 PM.  Both Patsy Cline and Roy Clark got their starts on this show.  Elvis was a guest on March 23, 1956, the night he was to perform on a cruise down the Potomac River aboard on the S.S. Mount Vernon.  In his autobiography, Thirty Years of Sausage, Fifty Years of Ham, Dean remembered the interview as "possibly the worst I've ever done."
Jimmy Dean and Elvis on "Town and Country Time"
It is reported that the on-air chat went something like this:
Jimmy:  "So, you're gonna be on the S.S. Mount Vernon tonight, are you Elvis?"
Elvis:     "Yep."
Jimmy:   "Have you ever worked on a boat before?"
Elvis:      "Nope."
Jimmy:   "I imagine you're looking forward to this, aren't you?"
Elvis:       "Yep."
Gee, what's wrong with that interview?  Unfortunately, Elvis was still very quiet and reserved during interviews back in 1956.
When both he and Elvis were Las Vegas regulars years later, Dean recalled that
Elvis apologized for his brevity in the D.C. studio, saying he was simply scared of
the camera.
Jimmy Dean and Elvis in Las Vegas in the 70s.
By then, Elvis was much more talkative and had traded his argyle socks for jumpsuits.

jueves, 7 de junio de 2012

Colonel Parker’s Contracts Kept Elvis Working in Hollywood



 

LONG BUT INTERESTING!!! L.L.

Colonel Parker's Contracts
Kept Elvis Working in Hollywood

In November 1955, Tom Parker was not yet Elvis Presley's legal manager. He wouldn't achieve that goal until four months later. But Parker already had big plans in mind for the 20-year-old rock 'n' roll phenom. On November 14, 1955, the Colonel informed Harry Kalcheim at the William Morris Agency in New York that he was "interested in making a picture with this boy." From that simple initial inquiry eventually grew the remarkable and controversial Hollywood career of Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley Loving You poster Over the following 16 years, Presley would appear in 31 theatrical movies and 2 documentary films. While Elvis toiled before the cameras of seven different Hollywood studios, Colonel Parker did the contractual work behind the scenes. Between 1956-1972, Parker negotiated 16 motion picture contracts for Elvis. In arriving at those agreements, the Colonel utilized his unique "skill set" of tough negotiating techniques, combined with occasional shady maneuvers, to maximize Elvis's income (and his own). Laying that back story aside for now, let's take a brief look at the details of the 16 contracts that Parker parleyed for his client. Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen's Elvis: Day by Day is the main source for the following information.
Parker didn't have to sell Elvis to Hollywood. Instead, Hollywood came looking for Elvis in the form of Paramount producer Hal Wallis. After seeing Elvis on the Dorsey Brothers national TV program in February 1956, Wallis quickly arranged a screen test for Presley in late March. Convinced that Elvis would lure a multitude of teenagers into movie theaters, Wallis offered the singer a movie contract on April 2. Wallis and Parker then got to work hammering out the details.
 
• Contract #1: Paramount | April 1956
Finalized on April 25, 1956, the contract was for one picture with studio options for six more. The deal was to pay Elvis $15,000 for the first movie, $20,000 for the second, $25,000 for the third, and so on, culminating in $100,000 for the seventh one. Parker would be allowed to contract with another studio for one other Presley film per year. Two films, Loving You (1957) and King Creole (1958), would be made under this contract. In January 1957, Parker cajoled Wallis into paying Elvis a $50,000 bonus on top of his $15,000 salary for Loving You. In November 1957, the Colonel got Wallis to pay Elvis $30,000 in expenses and a $50,000 bonus to go with his $20,000 fee for King Creole.
 
• Contract #2: 20th Century-Fox | August 1956
Unable to find a suitable script for Elvis, Wallis waived his contractual right to produce Presley's first movie. Parker moved quickly to make a deal with 20th Century-Fox. Presley's star had risen considerably since the Paramount contract was signed, and so the Colonel was in a position to ask for a much higher fee for his client. The contract called for Elvis to receive $100,000 and costar billing for his first film, Love Me Tender. The contract gave Fox an option for two more films at $150,000 and $200,000. In October 1958, Parker renegotiated Elvis's fee for the two optional films up to $200,000 and $250,000. The two option pictures made under this contract were Flaming Star (1960) and Wild in the Country (1961).
 
• Contract #3: Metro-Goldwyn Mayer | February 1957
Exercising his right under the existing Paramount contract to one outside Presley movie per year, Parker came to terms with MGM on a single-film deal. Elvis was to receive $250,000 in salary for Jailhouse Rock (1957). Also, for the first time, the Colonel got a 50% share of the film's profits for Elvis written into the contract.

Elvis Presley GI Blues poster • Contract #4: Paramount | October 1958
The 1956 Paramount contract was completely rewritten. For his first film after leaving the army, Elvis was to receive $175,000 (a $150,000 raise over what the previous contract allowed). Wallis got options for three more films, at $125,000, $150,000, and $175,000 "against 7½% of gross receipts after the film has earned out." Only G.I. Blues (1960) was made under this revised contract.
 
• Contract #5: United Artists | November 1960
Colonel Parker negotiated a two-picture deal with the Mirisch Brothers production company. It would pay Elvis $500,000 and 50% of the profits for each movie. Hal Wallis had the right to override the deal by matching its financial terms, but he declined to do so. Follow That Dream (1961) and Kid Galahad (1962) were produced under this contract.
 
• Contract #6: Paramount | January 1961
Wallis agreed to rewrite the 1958 Presley contract. It became a five-picture deal with Elvis getting $175,000 for each of the first three films and $200,000 apiece for the last two. The five movies completed under this contract were Blue Hawaii (1960), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Fun in Acapulco (1963), Roustabout (1964), and Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966). Later, a bonus of $90,000, to be split evenly between Elvis and the Colonel, was added for the last film.
 
Elvis Presley Kissin Cousins poster • Contract #7: MGM | January 1961
Just a few weeks after completing the five-picture Paramount deal, Colonel Parker obligated Elvis to do four movies for MGM. The finances were the same for all the films. Elvis's salary would be $400,000 per picture, plus $75,000 in general expenses and $25,000 for musical expenses. After MGM recouped $500,000, Elvis would receive 50% of the profits. The four films made under this contract were It Happened At the World's Fair (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1963), Kissin' Cousins (1964), and Girl Happy (1965).
 
• Contract #8: Allied Artists | November 1963
Colonel Parker and the struggling Allied Artists company agreed to a one-picture deal that would pay Elvis $600,000 plus $150,000 in expenses and 50% of the profits. The contract also put a ceiling on production costs at $1,500,000. Thus, Elvis's compensation package of $750,000 would be at least half of the picture's budget. The profits from Tickle Me in 1965 helped keep Allied from going bankrupt.
 
• Contract #9: United Artists | December 1964
Colonel Parker entered into another two-picture deal with United Artists, which had produced Follow That Dream and Kid Galahad in 1962. Under this new agreement, Elvis would receive $650,000 each for the two films, which were Frankie and Johnny (1966) and Clambake (1967).
 
• Contract #10: MGM | December 1964
Parker completed a new agreement with MGM for three more pictures. It called for Elvis to receive $1 million for the first film. A quarter of that was to be paid to Elvis at $1,000 a week over five years. For the other two movies, Elvis was to receive $750,000 each. In addition, the contract gave Presley 40% of the profits from all three films. Made under this pact were Harum Scarum (1965), Spinout (1966), and Double Trouble (1967).
 
• Contract #11: MGM | January 1966
Although only one picture had been made under the December 1964 contract, the MGM agreement was extended to include four more films. Elvis's fee was set at $850,000 for each film with profit sharing increased to 50%. Titles produced under this agreement were Speedway (1967), Stay Away, Joe (1968), Live a Little, Love a Little (1968), and The Trouble With Girls (1968).

Elvis Presley Speedway poster • Contract #12: Paramount | April 1966
With work under the 1961 Paramount contract completed, Parker entered into contentious discussions with Hal Wallis over a new contract for Elvis. The Colonel wanted $500,000 per picture for his client, with 20% of the profits. After seven months of wrangling over details, Wallis finally agreed to those figures. However, Wallis, who had become increasingly disappointed with Elvis's work, made the agreement for one picture only. There were no options. Easy Come, Easy Go (1967), made under this contract, was Elvis's last film for Paramount.

• Contract #13: National General | November 1967
With Paramount out of the picture and only two more films left to do for MGM, Parker scouted other studios to get Elvis work. He lined up a one-picture deal with National General that would pay Elvis $850,000 and 50% of the profits. Parker also got from National something that Wallis wouldn't give him—a commitment to a non-singing role for Elvis in Charro! (1969).
 
• Contract #14: NBC-Universal | January 1968
On January 12, 1968, NBC Vice President Tom Sarnoff announced a deal with Colonel Parker and Elvis had been reached for Presley to make a television special. Given little note in the anticipation of Elvis's return to TV was his commitment under the contract to make a feature film for NBC's subsidiary company, Universal Studios. Elvis received $850,000 for the movie, Change of Habit (1969), and another $25,000 for the music in the film.
 
• Contract #15: MGM | April 1970
Colonel Parker worked out a deal with MGM to have Elvis's Las Vegas show filmed for a documentary movie. The agreement paid Presley $500,000. Elvis: That's the Way It Is was released in November 1970.
 
• Contract #16: MGM | March 1972
Just a month prior to Elvis's fifteen-city tour in April 1972, Parker quickly put together a deal with MGM for another documentary. Apparently, the deal was not completely worked out when filming began, but Elvis reportedly received $1 million for his thirty-third and final motion picture, Elvis on Tour.
 
Certainly, the unprecedented salaries, expenses, and bonuses Colonel Parker won for Elvis in the 16 Hollywood contracts he negotiated were impressive. It's important to keep in mind, however, that throughout Presley's career, his manager received 25% of his acting income, as dictated in their personal contract. If a studio contract called for Elvis to receive $500,000 for a film, Parker took $125,000, leaving his client $375,000. Actually, it was less than that, since Colonel Parker deducted all of his expenses from Elvis's share.

viernes, 1 de junio de 2012

April 2, 1957 Evening Show Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto


4 above..Tuesday, April 2, 1957 Evening Show
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
Canada


"Elvis never left the building like we thought ; you may not be able to see him at the moment..but if you're quiet,long enough..you can still hear him singing..."
 
To order Jimmy W. Johnson "Spirit of Elvis" merchandise please email Starrlyte.SpiritofElvis@yahoo.com
To go to Jimmy W Johnson's website click here. http://thespiritofelvis.beep.com/index.htm
To visit the Blue Ridge Dinner Theater Website go to www.brdt.net

the Norwegian Fan Club, "Flaming Star", presenting Elvis with the Norwegian silver record







Before his matinee show at the Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale (Long Island, NY) on June 24, 1973 - In the photos are members of the Norwegian Fan Club, "Flaming Star", presenting Elvis with the Norwegian silver record for She's Not You/Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello and Aloha From Hawaii. Members of the group included Fan club President Pål Granlund, Erik Lorentzen and artist Per "Elvis" Granberg

Driving around Memphis on his Harley Davidson in July 1972






Driving around Memphis on his Harley Davidson in July 1972