domingo, 13 de julio de 2014

Graceland history


On August 27,1957. Elvis left Memphis for a quick concert tour of the Pacific Northwest and some recording work in Los Angeles. He returned to Graceland on September 11.
The next morning the Graceland gates were locked because gatekeeper Uncle Travis was in the hospital. While he was recovering, the house behind Graceland where he and his family lived was redecorated. Workers put up new wallpaper and refinished the floor.
A few days later, two Whitehaven Welcome Wagon ladies showed up at the Graceland gates to welcome the Presley family to the neighborhood. Mrs. Norma Provost and Mrs. Carol Godwin were pleasantly surprised when they were shown into the house. "What we saw of the Presley home was perfectly gorgeous," Mrs. Provost told the Press-Scimitar, "not gaudy as we had thought it would be from reading about the colors. The living room has red rug, blue walls and white draperies, and there's gold trim on practically everything. Elvis' music room is right off the living room, and it's mostly white."
The two women presented two big baskets of welcoming gifts to Gladys Presley. "We carried gifts from 15 merchants," explained Mrs. Provost. "Fourteen of them wanted to give something special. The other one said no, they should be treated like any other newcomers." The gifts included a gold planter, tea-aprons, a sheet and pillow case set, a set of tea towels, and a large ashtray.
While the two ladies were talking to Gladys, her son came in to see them. "It was 3 in the afternoon and he was wearing black satin pajamas," said Mrs. Provost. After presenting Elvis with a teddy bear as a welcoming gift, the women were told it was the 623rd teddy bear Elvis had received. Mrs. Provost told the newspaper that the Presleys were very appreciative of the special welcome they had received from the Welcome Wagoners.

martes, 8 de julio de 2014

April 1957 Canada

Bill Black and Elvis
Tuesday, April 2, 1957 Evening Show
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
2 above Ottawa April 3, 1957


3 above are fromOakland, CA on June 3, 1956.
2 above are from outside New York's Hudson Theater, July 1, 1956, after his Steve Allen appearance.

Eating lunch on the set of "Love Me Tender"

Elvis’ Christmas Album Drew Harsh Criticism in 1957

Elvis' Christmas Album Drew Harsh Criticism in 1957

Elvis fans, of course, embraced "Elvis' Christmas Album," as they did every record he released in those days. However, to those adults who were already convinced that Elvis threatened the morals of the nation's youth, an album of Christmas songs from him was especially troublesome. For Elvis to sing rock 'n' roll was bad enough, but for him to step outside that category and into the traditional, religious field of Christmas music was frightening to many.
Elvis' Christmas Album Before looking at how critics reacted to "Elvis' Christmas Album" in 1957, let's take a quick look at the LP's content. Four of the album's 12 cuts were recycled recordings of non-Christmas religious hymns that Elvis had recorded in January 1957 and released on an extended play album in April of that year. They were "Peace in the Valley," "I Believe," "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," and "It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)." Elvis used traditional arrangements on all four songs, and so, beyond the quality of his voice, critics found little to disparage in those recordings when they were included in Presley's holiday album.
What incensed critics was Elvis's treatment of the eight Christmas songs he recorded in Hollywood from September 5-7, 1957.
What emerged were eight varied recordings. It's difficult to understand how anyone could have gotten upset over Elvis's versions of the carols "Silent Night" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem." He sang both in traditional style, but his temerity in even recording them at all angered his critics. Two other recordings, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Here Comes Santa Claus," had a bit of a rhythm and blues edge, but not much. The other four tunes received Elvis's "sexy, rock-it-up approach," in the words of Elvis historian Ernst Jorgensen. They were "Blue Christmas," "Santa Claus Is Back in Town," "Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)," and "White Christmas."
Elvis first spoke publicly of his Christmas album during a press conference in San Francisco on October 26, 1957. In what a San Francisco Chronicle reporter called "chilling" news, Elvis announced his Christmas album would be released soon. "It'll be a rock 'n' roll Christmas," he told the assembled press, adding that "Silent Night" was the only song he hadn't "monkeyed" with.
A few examples will suffice to demonstrate how this news was received within the music industry. Time magazine reported that bandleader Sammy Kaye said Elvis's album "borders on the sacrilegious. Presley has gone too far this time." Then, the Ohio Penitentiary News, representing a captive radio audience, condemned Elvis's treatment of "White Christmas," which the paper called "a song beloved until this creature recorded his barnyard version of it."
Elvis's treatment of "White Christmas" drew the most criticism
Elvis's version of "White Christmas" closely followed an earlier recording of the song by The Drifters. Irving Berlin was said to have been so upset by this arrangement of his song that he tried to have it banned from being played on radio stations.
Some stations went along with his request. One was KEX in Portland, Oregon. On December 10, 1957, the station's all-night disk jockey, Al Priddy, was fired for intentionally playing Elvis's recording of "White Christmas" on the air in violation of station policy. Variety reported that station program manager Mel Bailey "had forbidden all KEX jockeys to play the RCA Victor platter because he felt that this treatment of the song is in 'extremely bad taste.'"
It was from radio stations north of the border, however, that "Elvis' Christmas Album" received the most criticism and banishment from the airwaves. This was despite Presley having played to huge crowds earlier in the year during concerts in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver. In the latter city, all six of the town's radio stations agreed to a proposed ban on Elvis's holiday recordings.
Elvis Presley Christmas Album Radio station CKXL in Calgary also banned Elvis's album. "Presley's latest release has, we feel, no place on our station," said a CKXL spokesman. "We have the album for audition—it speaks for itself. Presley sings the Christmas songs exactly as we expected he would. It is one of the most degrading things we have heard in some time." He described Presley as "panting" through the hymns "Silent Night" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Another Calgary station, CFCN, denied an official ban, but stated Elvis's album "would not be played because it happens to be in lousy taste."
In Toronto, station CFRB banned the album, declaring, "there are better interpretations of Xmas hymns." Gordon Sinclair, columnist for the Toronto Star, condemned Presley's rock 'n' roll treatment of Christmas carols. "Only Mahalia Jackson could jazz the hymns," he said. Sinclair added that he disliked censorship, but found Elvis's treatment of Christmas songs to be "wildly inappropriate."

The nationwide Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, however, took a progressive stand on "Elvis' Christmas Album." A spokesman stated, "We have no objection if listeners want to hear the Presley albums and CBC disk jockeys want to play the numbers."
Of course, back in the U.S. "Elvis' Christmas Album" racked up big sales. On October 7, Billboard reported that advance orders for the LP far exceeded RCA's planned production of 200,000 copies. An RCA exec called it, "the greatest advance album order in the history of the company."
"Elvis' Christmas Album" eventually reached gold record status
"Elvis' Christmas Album" reached #1 on Billboard's album chart during the 1957 holiday season. Elvis's version of "Blue Christmas," now considered a rock 'n' roll holiday classic, is played on radio stations across the country every December.
Of course, "Elvis' Christmas Album" was reissued every holiday season after its first appearance in 1957. During the Yule season of 1963, sales of the album finally reached the $1 million mark, earning it gold record status. It was Elvis's sixth gold album at the time. In the 45 years since then, Elvis's first Christmas LP has continued to sell in a multitude of repackaged recording products. The popularity of Elvis's first Christmas recordings has outlived most of those critics who condemned them over 50 years ago.


Elvis Presley explains the insignia on his uniform to fans at the gates of Graceland Sunday evening June 1, 1958. Elvis arrived late Saturday night for a two week leave. He was inducted into the army at Memphis March 24, 1958.(By Robert Williams / The Commercial Appeal)
Elvis holding Donna Harrison aged 5 and Ronnie Brown aged 2, June 1st 1958
(Robert Williams)
Wire description Image
Jo Ann Mullins (Left) and Tudy Harrison (Right) greet Elvis at the gate to his home. Presley made his first public appearance here since he started a two-week furlough on completion of basic training in the Army.
Date Photographed: June 1, 1958
2 AboveAre Candids from the evening of June the 9th 1958,outside Graceland with Red West in his new red Lincoln Continental convertible MKIII,which he picked up from Schilling Motors,Memphis.
Elvis seen outside Studio B, Nashville. Billy Smith can be seen in the background by the car.

Elvis arrived for the session in full army uniform.Asked why was he wearing his uniform the whole time he was on leave?"Simple,I'm kinda proud of it"
For the first time Scotty and Bill Black were not in the studio,D.J. Fontana provided a support to Buddy Harman and the new Nashville musicians,assembled by Chet Atkins dubbed the "A-Team".
Producers : Steve Sholes
Engineer : Bob Ferris

Guitar Elvis Presley
Guitar Hank Garland
Guitar Chet Atkins
Bass Bob Moore
Piano Floyd Cramer
Drums D.J. Fontana
Drums and Bongo's Buddy Murrey Harman

Backup Vocals:The Jordanaires : Gordon Stoker; Neal Matthews Jr; Hoyt Hawkins; Ray Walker

In attendance Tom Diskin,Colonel Tom Parker.Red West and others.

June 10th 1958 7.00pm - 10.00pm
10.30pm - 1.30am

I Need Your Love Tonight
A Big Hunk O' Love
Ain't That Loving You Baby
(Now And Then There's A) Fool Such As I

June 11th 1958 2.00am - 5.00am

I Got Stung:
Take 1-8 and Hank Garland's lead guitar is heard alongside Chet Atkins on rhythm guitar.Take 4 breaks down,with Elvis laughing,and Elvis states just before this "I Like this song".Takes 9-13 just one guitar is audible,(speculating here) maybe Hank Garland has taken over full duties and Chet Atkins has returned to the control room. Take 13 and Elvis use's the S word,and just before take 14 he states,"My brain is getting weaker by the minute".Work is in progress as the take's progress. Take 14 onwards(the lead guitar is no longer heard),and perhaps Hank Garland has moved over to the fender bass which sounds delicious and adds a great sence of rhythm to the track.Take 17 and a voice from the Jordanaires states "......duet , he can watch you see ,in other words we can't hear what you are saying".The end of take 18,Elvis uses the F word and the S word,before shouting some military commands.On Take 23 Floyd Cramer can be heard "Ray (Walker)I had it figured out and as long as I could see what he was doing and now you've hold that paper up!"
Floyd Cramer on Piano
 Buddy Harman Drums 
 Bob Moore Bass Guitar
 Chet Atkins Guitar
Hank Garland Lead Guitar

McFarlane Dolls

McFarland Dolls

The Elvis Gospel Doll  
The Elvis Aloha Doll 

Dale Earnhardt--Elvis Presley Race Car

Mooresville, N.C., home of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. can you see the Dale Earnhardt-Elvis Presley Race Car. Saturday was the last day to see the car before it is shipped to Graceland to be placed in the Car Museum. 
 Everything in this building is either glass or mirrors . It is a gorgeous huge building.
The car is in the Foyer__behind Dale's pictures is a very large room with all of the race cars that belonged to Dale.
Front hood of the car
Side view
Other side of the race car (it was hard to get back far enough on this side of the car)
This is the guitar that has been put up for auction to benefit  charities of Earnhardt & Presley Companies. The auction is on ebay and it started at $ 6.000.00. It is housed in a large glass case. There are a quite a few Elvis items in the case as well.
Black leather jacket Elvis wore in one of the race car movies
Orange jumpsuit Elvis wore in another race car movie
There were many of the clothes that Elvis wore during the filming and free time he had while making the race car movies.

Famous "Peacock Jumpsuit"

by Phil Arnold on 2008

Back in early August, the Elvis websites with news sections all carried the story about his famous Peacock Jumpsuit selling for $300,000.  I printed out a few articles with good intentions of finding a different twist on the story to do on ElvisBlog.  However, those plans got waylaid.  The first thing to distract me was Elvis Week.  Then there was the discovery of some good stuff on the web that encouraged prompt creation of columns on the comic book series "Elvis Shrugged" and on the unique 1955 concert starring Elvis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.
Then my wife had open heart surgery, which meant I didn't even think about writing any ElvisBlog articles for three weeks.  As she slowly recovered, I gradually got back in the old groove by doing easier, less challenging subjects.  By then, I had forgotten about the Peacock Jumpsuit story.  However, a recent effort to clean up the stuff on my desk uncovered the old articles I had saved.  It was time to do something on Elvis' famous Peacock Jumpsuit.

This is the picture supplied by auctioneer Gotta Have It Collectibles that sold the jumpsuit to an unnamed "Big Elvis Collector."  It may be the only jumpsuit design that goes from the back around to the hip and all the way down the left leg.

Here is a front shot.  Although the huge belt covers part of the design, we can tell it is a duplicate of the back design with the tail feathers continuing down the right leg.

Here is a close-up of the peacock.  Look at all those jewels and studs.  No wonder it cost Elvis $10,000 to have it made by Bill Belew, the man who created his stage costumes from 1969 to 1977.  The auction house press release says, "It captured the rock 'n' roll legend's fascination with peacocks as a good luck symbol."  I've looked for some confirmation of this fascination, but all I've found is the beautiful stained-glass peacocks in front of the piano room at Graceland.

Elvis first wore the Peacock jumpsuit on May 11, 1974, at the Forum in Las Angeles.  Here is a list of the other 1974 concerts where it is certain he wore the suit, but there probably more shows that need confirmation:

June 15 – Tarrant City Center, Fort Worth, TX
June 21 – Convention Center, Cleveland, OH
June 22 – Civic Center, Providence, RI
June 23 – The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
June 26 – Fair & Expo C-Hall, Louisville, KY
June 30 – Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, NE
August 19 – Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
September 27 – College Park Field House, Baltimore, MD
October 2 – Civic Center, St. Paul, MN
October 8 – Convention Center, San Antonio, TX

Here are two photographs of Elvis performing at those concerts.  The belt design seems to be different than on the second photo above.
The Peacock Jumpsuit has been featured on the cover of albums, both an official RCA release and bootlegs.  Here is the 1975 release Promised Land.  Note that the back cover features the American Eagle Jumpsuit.

Here is the Live in Louisville bootleg CD and the book Elvis 1935-1977.
The $300,000 paid for the Peacock Jumpsuit is reported to be the highest price for an Elvis collectible, narrowly beating his 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark ll that went for $295,000.  The last two jumpsuit sales we know of went for considerably less.  The Nail Mirror Jumpsuit sold for $125,000 at the Elvis Empire Auction in Beverly Hills in 2006, when Regency Superior auctioned off the entire private collection of Jim Curtain and brought in over $2 million.   In 1999, the famous Aloha Cape was sold at Graceland by auctioneer Guernsey's for $105,250.

Not only is the original Peacock Jumpsuit the most expensive ever sold, the reproduction of it brings a top price, too.  The online catalog for B&K Enterprises lists it at $5,500, beating out four others tied at $4,300: Sundial, Gypsy, Inca, and Alpine.  Here is the picture of the Peacock Jumpsuit from the BK catalog.

I don't know where the cape came from, because none of the photos of the original suit show a cape.  Maybe B&K Enterprises just thought that would be a cool addition to the ensemble.  However, if you want to stay true to the original, you can skip the cape and buy the suit for just $3,750.  Wouldn't you like one of those for Christmas?

©  2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister  
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