Happy 75th Birthday Elvis!!
All the news and articles surrounding The King's 2010 Birthday Celebrations
- An EIN Spotlight -
Happy Birthday Elvis!!!
Jan 8th 2010 marks what would have been Elvis’ 75th birthday. The world’s media has again risen to the occasion and a significant number of Elvis articles, reviews and stories have been published in the lead up to 8 January.
EPE marked the milestone with a special commemoration ceremony at Graceland on "Elvis Presley Day" in Memphis and Sony has released a fitting 4CD tribute box set: Elvis 75 Good Rockin’ Tonight (read EIN’s detailed review here).
EIN hopes you enjoy the special set of
rticles and photos below
to mark what is a special Elvis birthday.
Where Elvis goes in the remaining 25 years of his first century is a story yet to be told but today we can all reflect , smile, and enjoy the wonderful music, memories and personal impact that Elvis has had on each of us and the world at large. Thanks Elvis!
On his 75th birthday, Elvis lives on in hearts of fans: His timeless music endures as many continue to relate to his success, failure.
Elvis Presley’s pompadour is not carved into Mount Rushmore. He never dressed up as Uncle Sam to sing “Hound Dog” or “Love Me Tender.” His cherubic likeness does not grace U.S. currency. Yet there are few iconic images that are as quintessentially American as Elvis: the swivelling hips, the unlikely devotion to both rockabilly and gospel, the carefree movies, the Las Vegas monarchy, the millions of records, “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the military service, the photo with Richard Nixon, the sad and too soon finale...
Michael Ventre investigates Elvis' longterm endurance with EIN friends including Cory Cooper & Larry Geller.
Go here to the full article & photos.
(Spotlight, Source;msnbc/CoryCooper) .
|Elvis: The King of Rock 'n' Roll Turns 75: Teenagers in the 1950s and '60s turned Elvis Presley into an icon. His shaking hips and curled lips sent rock 'n' roll shockwaves reverberating around the world and challenged prevailing notions about sex, race and class. As we celebrated what would have been his 75th birthday on January 8th, we should take note of the impact he had on the culture.
He emerged from his impoverished childhood in Tupelo, Mississippi to become America's pop culture superstar in the wake of the US Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education on May 5, 1954 which rocked the South. His controversial singing style, mixing blues, country (at the time called "hillbilly"), and black and white gospel music with a sexually charged stage presence, made Presley "Public Enemy Number One" for those who felt threatened by the tsunami of the changes that were occurring.
Presley unwittingly became the poster boy for the first round of the culture wars.
"Without meaning to, and really without understanding it, he's a point of conflict because it's not just the mingling of blues and rock, it's also his reliance on a music that is in the minds of some really sinful," said John Seigenthaler, the retired founding editorial director of USA Today, who covered him as a young reporter for The Tennessean.
|Elvis was a target of preachers and segregationists such as Asa Carter who headed the White Citizens Councils. Carter had been using his Birmingham, Alabama radio show since 1954 to talk about how the Jews and blacks were bringing down the South. In early 1956, he targeted the growing popularity of the music made popular by Elvis. Carter's views about music were captured in a short film.
While preachers, parents and the Council warned about the evils of Elvis, the kids couldn't get enough.
It started to become clear that things were changing when Elvis came back home to Memphis for a July 4th concert for the Cynthia Milk Fund in Memphis at the Russwood baseball park. The crowd of 14,000 people at his benefit dwarfed the audience that Senator Eastland drew for a segregationist rally held across town that same night.
Click here to the complete article.
- Michael Rose director of the celebrated DVD 'Elvis: Return To Tupelo' wrote this excellent article for Elvis' recent birthday.
|Priscilla talks about Elvis on his 75th birthday: Elvis Aron Presley would have been 75 years last week, and his former wife has no doubt that if he were alive, he’d still be singing — and maybe doing a little preaching, too.
"I think Elvis would always be a part of music, no matter what," Priscilla Presley told TV’s Matt Lauer from Elvis' Graceland home. "It was in his blood. I don’t know if he’d be doing rock ’n’ roll right now; I think that maybe he’d be going into gospel. Maybe even preaching a little bit. He loved to teach and loved the Bible. He always would have been dedicated to his music, that’s for sure.
"He gave us so much, with his movies, with his concerts, with his touring," Priscilla continued. "I can’t see him ever stopping that. That’s truly who he was. He was born to be the entertainer that he was. I can’t imagine life without him being larger than life. He lived a larger-than-life life."
Some 3,000 people had purchased tickets to visit Graceland on Elvis’ birthday. Priscilla said that they would be treated to the opening of a yearlong birthday celebration and a number of exhibits created especially for this milestone.
The mansion itself is decorated for Christmas with the living room done all in white, including a white Christmas tree with red ornaments. Elvis used to leave the tree up until the day after his birthday, but now the holiday decorations are left up until the end of January.
Priscilla was responsible for pouring money into Graceland and building the Elvis legend into the Elvis brand. As part of his yearlong 75th birthday celebration, Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas troupe is performing a "Viva Elvis" show.
The NBA Memphis Grizzlies are also getting into the act by wearing blue suede sneakers for one of their games. Multiple CD collections of Elvis’ recordings have also been released and there’s even an Elvis iPhone app.
|Hold the phone
And speaking of phones: Elvis was a fan of the Sean Connery James Bond films, Priscilla said. He got particularly excited over a telephone that Bond could use from his car.
An admirer of James Bond-style gadgetry, Elvis had an early-model mobile telephone.
"Elvis went nuts over this. He wanted to know if something like this was available," Priscilla told Lauer.
She pointed to a suitcase-size carrying case behind her that contained one of the world’s first mobile phones. The case was labeled with the King’s name.
"Sure enough, he got the first one," she said. "We travelled in a limo. People would be driving by and he’d be on the phone. There’d be second takes: ‘Is that a phone? Is that a phone?’ "
|His spirit lives on
But the phone is only one among many items in special exhibits at Graceland. Another exhibit contains 30 of his stage costumes, including the wide, gold-studded belts he wore around his jumpsuits.
Another exhibit, "Tupelo to Memphis," traces Elvis’ early years from childhood in Mississippi to stardom. Priscilla showed off a third-grade report card that showed Elvis earning E’s for "Excellent" in all his subjects except arithmetic and math, in which he got an S+ for "Superior Plus."
"He was a really good student. Teachers really liked him," Priscilla said. "Elvis was quite shy as a little boy."
Although a generation has passed since Elvis left the planet, Priscilla spoke as if he were still there in Graceland. From where she sat in the living room, she could see the stairs leading to the second floor.
"I can visualize him coming down that staircase every time I come in," Priscilla told Lauer. "His spirit is definitely here."
Priscilla Presley Interviews at the 75th Birthday Celebration: During Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday celebration, media from all over the world covered the events including the Birthday Proclamation on January 8th, 2010 at Graceland with Pricilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, Riley Keough and Benjamin Keough.
Check out these exclusive interviews with Priscilla Presley here..
Click here to The Today Show
Click here to Entertainment Tonight
Click here to EXTRA!
|Elvis Presley 75th Birthday Celebration Graceland Recap: Thousands of fans from across the globe gathered at Graceland in Memphis to celebrate Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday on a cold but festive winter weekend in the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
The year-long celebration kicked off last Thursday night with the Official Elvis Insiders Fan Club Reception at Graceland Plaza. Over 700 fans packed in to shops, restaurants and exhibit areas of Graceland as a sell-out crowd of Elvis Insiders enjoyed a special evening tour of Graceland decorated for the holidays. Elvis’ Imperials along with Annie Helm, Gavin Koon and Robin Koon, who co-starred with Elvis in Follow That Dream, and Frank Hyland, author of Elvis: A Tribute to The King of Rock 'n Roll, made fans happy by signing photos and autographing books, movie memorabilia and more.
|On the morning of January 8th, Priscilla Presley appeared on NBC's The Today Show in a LIVE interview with Matt Lauer speaking about the 75th birthday celebration and Graceland's new exhibits. Later, Priscilla joined over 3,000 fans along with daughter Lisa Marie Presley in wishing Elvis a Happy Birthday, despite temperatures in the teens and a wind-chill of zero and below. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton declared January 8, 2010, Elvis Presley Day in Memphis.
Two of Lisa Marie’s children, Benjamin and Riley (Photo above), cut Elvis’ five-tiered birthday cake with the help of five children from different non-profits the Presley’s support - MIFA’s Presley Place, Little Kids Rock, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Following the Fan Club Presidents Event at the Memphis Marriott East was Conversations on Elvis, hosted by Tupelo historian Roy Turner. Special guests for Conversations included Barbara Hearn-Smith, who met Elvis in 1954, later dated him and spent time with him whenever he was home in Memphis. Barbara travelled with Elvis to his performance at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show in Tupelo in 1956. Another special guest, Guy Harris, was a lifelong friend of Elvis who grew up with him in Tupelo. Guy's mother and Gladys Presley were best friends. Also appearing was Sam Bell, who was a friend of Elvis in Tupelo. The event, full of rarely heard stories, also featured rarely-seen photos and video of Elvis from his time in Tupelo.
Go here for all the EPE Official photos and full Birthday Celebration Recap:
Go here to EIN's exclusive Interview with Roy Turner.
Elvis 75 Good Rockin' Tonight (CD Review): Is this set really as good as the critics say??
In a searching 4,000 word review, EIN's Nigel Patterson gives you the detailed lowdown on Sony's 4CD box set release commemorating what would have been Elvis' 75th birthday.
From the 100 tracks and Vic Anesini's remastering, to Billy Altman's essay and a number of illuminating sidebars, you will discover all you need to know about Elvis 75 Good Rockin' Tonight.
EIN's review also incorporates the full track listing and the 13 key tracks identified by music journalist, Robert Hilburn, that best illustrate Elvis's artistic progression.
Read EIN's review of Elvis 75 Good Rockin' Tonight
75TH BIRTHDAY EDITION - Here is a new edition of
the book 'Unseen Archives' written by Marie Clayton.
Released by Parrgon books at the end of 2009, the 75th
Birthday edition comes with a special 25 track CD of some
of Elvis' greatest songs of the 50's including...
Baby Lets Play House
Treat Me Nice
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
Hound Dog plus 18 other greats
New JAT release: Coming Soon! Viva Elvis! Viva Ann-Margret! "VIVA LAS VEGAS!"
The Book Event Of The Year J.A.T. Celebrates The King's 75th Anniversary with the release Of "VIVA LAS VEGAS!"
A hardback book featuring unreleased world premiere photographs in stunning color and beautiful black and white.
Relive the glory and excitement of Elvis and Ann-Margret on the set and on the town! Swinging, singing action shots and exciting up-close and personal candids. The definitive "Viva Las Vegas" book!
|'On Stage' Legacy Edition 2CD Tracklist: More information on EIN's story yesterday, from the Sony press release.
Our 75th birthday celebration continues with this 2CD set celebrating Elvis' platinum-selling 1970 live album On Stage.
Home to the hit single "The Wonder of You," On Stage has now been upgraded with new liner notes by Presley biographer Ken Sharp and rare photos from the peak of the artist's latter-day career.
The original album's 10-song tracklist is now expanded with three rarely performed songs from the same Las Vegas engagement that produced the album: "Don't Cry Daddy", "Kentucky Rain" and "Long Tall Sally."
The disc's final addition is a unique glimpse of Elvis working on his repertoire, as he runs through "The Wonder Of You" at an afternoon rehearsal, only hours before the original album recordings were done later that night.
The second disc in the On Stage: Legacy Edition package is a newly-
|remastered version of Elvis' first live album, 'In Person' (originally released as one half of the From Memphis To Vegas - From Vegas to Memphis double album in November 1969). Six bonus tracks from the same August 1969 engagement during which the original album was recorded, are included. Like its partner On Stage, the album In Person has also been certified platinum by the RIAA.
Disc 1: "On Stage - February 1970"
1. See See Rider
2. Release Me
3. Sweet Caroline
5. The Wonder Of You
6. Polk Salad Annie
8. Proud Mary
9. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
10. Let It Be Me
11. Don't Cry Daddy
12. Kentucky Rain
13. Long Tall Sally
14. The Wonder Of You
|Disc 2: "In Person - August 1969"
1. Blue Suede Shoes
2. Johnny B. Goode
3. All Shook Up
4. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
5. Hound Dog
6. I Can't Stop Loving You
7. My Babe
8 .Mystery Train / Tiger Man
10. In The Ghetto
11. Suspicious Minds
12. Can't Help Falling In Love
13. I Got A Woman
14. Jailhouse Rock / Don't Be Cruel
15. Heartbreak Hotel
16. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
17. Reconsider Baby
18. Funny How Time Slips Away
|“Elvis was always gentle and polite. The Colonel was a pain in the ass!”: 75 years after his birth, Elvis’s songwriter tells the stories behind the hits.
Elvis Presley would have been 75 this month, and all over the world, from Memphis to Sydney, Denver to London, the King’s fans have been celebrating his legacy. You can be sure that at every one of those celebrations, somebody’s singing “Hound Dog.”
As it happens, the man who wrote it was in New York this week, working on a new Broadway show. Mike Stoller is one half of the legendary rock ’n’ roll songwriting team Leiber and Stoller, whose hits include “Yakety Yak,” “Stand By Me,” “On Broadway,” “Is That All There Is?” and many, many others.
Jerry Leiber wrote the lyrics, Mike Stoller the music.
“About 'Hound Dog' we wrote the song for [blues singer] Big Mama Thornton,” Mike Stoller recalls. “We met her at a recording studio in Los Angeles, and were just knocked out by her. She was tough-looking. She had razor scars on her face, she wore overalls and work boots and she weighed about 300 pounds.
“She was the inspiration for the song. We jumped into the car and went
| back to my house and wrote it in 10 minutes. Then we went back and played it for her. She was not eager to see these two white teenagers tell her how to sing the blues, but she recorded it the next day.”
A few years later, Presley, whose career was just starting to take off, heard Freddie and the Bellboys sing “Hound Dog” in Vegas. They’d turned it into a guy’s song, and Presley decided to record it.
Stoller was in Europe at the time and knew nothing about Presley’s recording. He sailed home on the Andrea Doria, which collided with another ship off the coast of Nantucket and sank. He was plucked out of a sinking lifeboat and arrived in New York on a cargo ship.
“Jerry was waiting for me on the dock. He rushed down to see me and asked if I was OK. Then he said, ‘We got a smash hit! Some white kid named Elvis Presley is singing ‘Hound Dog.’”
Because of the success of “Hound Dog,” Leiber and Stoller were hired to write songs for the film “Jailhouse Rock.”
“We were in New York, and they gave us the script,” he says. “But we didn’t look at it. We were having a great time going to jazz clubs and cabaret and Broadway.”
One day Jean Aberbach, who owned Elvis Presley Music, the King’s publishing company, showed up in their hotel room.
“Boys,” he said in his Austrian accent, “vhere are my zongs?”
Recalls Stoller: “We didn’t have anything. So he put a big overstuffed chair in front of the door and said, ‘I am not leaving this room until I have my songs.’ We wrote ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ ‘Treat Me Nice,’ ‘You’re Square’ and ‘I Want To Be Free’ under duress.”
Presley had never met Leiber and Stoller, but when he heard the demos, he invited them to the recording studio. He was surrounded by a group of men who would later come to be known as the Memphis Mafia. They were all on the payroll of Presley’s manager, Col. Thomas A. Parker.
“Wherever Elvis went, they went. The Colonel wanted it that way. He didn’t want songwriters getting too close to Elvis in case we wrote a song before we signed a contract. Elvis once asked me, ‘Mike, write me a real pretty ballad,’ and I wrote ‘Don’t.’ But it caused a furor because it didn’t go through the proper channels.”
Elvis and Stoller started to strike up a friendship, but the Colonel ended it.
“Elvis invited me up to his suite at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to play some pool. I was aiming for a nine ball, and when I looked up, nobody was there but me. Then Elvis came in and said, ‘Um, Mike, I feel real bad. The Colonel heard you’re here and, um, he don’t like it. So I guess you gotta go.’”
The end of Leiber and Stoller’s association with Presley came when they had an idea of their own for a movie. They wanted Elvis to star in “A Walk on the Wild Side,” based on Nelson Algren’s popular 1956 novel about a drifter.
“We were so excited. Nelson Algren is a hell of a writer. We went to Jean Aberbach with the idea and he said, ‘I must always speak to the Colonel. Will you boys wait outside?’ After about 10 minutes, while we were imagining how they were going to reward us for this incredible project, Jean summoned us in. ‘Boys, the Colonel says if you ever dare try to interfere with the career of Elvis Presley, you vill never work again in Calafornia, New York, London or anywhere.’
“After that, we completely lost interest. The movie could have been something great. We were cut off. We had no communication with him. And Elvis went on to do some unimportant films.”
Stoller saw Presley for the last time in Vegas shortly before his death in 1977. He introduced the King to his wife. “As was his way, he said, ‘I’m very pleased to meet you, ma’am.’ In the early days, he always called us sir — because we were two years older than he was.
“He was always gentle and polite. The Colonel was a pain in the ass.”
|Smithsonian exhibits celebrate Elvis: On the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth, the Smithsonian Institution is showcasing the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s ubiquitous image through exhibits opening Friday in Washington and Los Angeles.
"One Life: Echoes of Elvis" will be on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington through August. The one-room exhibit is devoted to the evolution and influence of Presley’s image after his death.
"Think of all the entertainers you know, and how many of them do you know the names of their homes?" said curator Warren Perry. "Everybody needs to have a moment with Elvis."
The exhibit features portraits, images from Graceland, Elvis merchandise and a reminder that Elvis’ manager put his face on just about anything that could be marketed. The commercial images include an Elvis-imprinted lunch box, nutcracker, action figure and snow globe.
Original artwork from a 1992 Elvis stamp design competition is on view, along with the 1993 stamp with Presley’s likeness that became the most popular U.S. postal stamp of all time, with a printing of 500 million.
A gold bust of Elvis as Julius Caesar by sculptor Robert Arneson anchors another wall.
One of Perry’s favorite pieces is a scrapbook found in an abandoned Chicago warehouse with newspaper headlines and pictures carefully cut out and pasted in a thick book shortly after Presley’s death at age 42 in 1977. "You can tell it was put together by a fan," Perry said.
Presley sat for only one portrait painter. A painting by Ralph Wolfe Cowan, usually on display in the gallery’s entertainment section, is the exhibit’s central image. It was completed from sketches Cowan made in 1969 while creating another portrait that hangs at Graceland.
75 years on, Elvis still heartbreak king in Aussie town: Beneath his homemade jumpsuit and the glinting black of his polyester Elvis Presley wig, Gnarnayarrahe Inmurry Waitairie sweats in the unforgiving Australian heat. Guitar over one shoulder and his official busking pass on one lapel, he adjusts his sunglasses and tunes his strings as he prepares to shake, rattle and roll like his American idol.
"Aboriginals don't have an Elvis, so I thought I'd come and be him. I'm Black Elvis," Waitairie told AFP. "Elvis can be anyone and call to anyone, because Elvis takes your heart away."
Waitairie, an indigenous dancer originally from Western Australia's Yindjibarndi country, has traded his didgeridoo and clapping sticks for polyester and rhinestones to be part of Australia's biggest Elvis celebration.
As fans in Memphis marked what would have been the 75th birthday of the man known as 'The King' of rock 'n roll, thousands converged on the tiny, drought-parched town of Parkes 300 kilometres (186 miles) west of Sydney for the annual Elvis Festival. It began almost two decades ago as the dream of Bob and Anne Steel, who ran a retro-themed reception centre called Gracelands and were desperate to liven up the relentless summer months in the farming and mining town.
"We had hoped that a January festival would bring some business to town, and I think everybody's doing handstands now," Anne Steel told AFP.
"Most people can see what it's doing for the economy and, by God, we needed it."
Home to straight-talking farmers and mining men, it seems an unlikely place for a tribute to the pioneering popstar. The town's only previous claim to fame was "The Dish" -- a radio telescope used by NASA to receive images of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.
But the Parkes Elvis Festival has exploded from a humble town carnival with 200 visitors in 1993 to a national event which this year attracted more than 10,000 people and brought in excess of five million dollars (4.6 million US) to the local economy. Hundreds packed onto the "Elvis Express" train from Sydney on Friday, adorned in their retro best to kick off the festival weekend with serenades by a tribute artist and dancing in the aisles.
The trademark quiff and jumpsuit are a staple, and rarely is there a gent to be seen without sideburns and a swivel to his hips. Priscillas and Lisa-Maries are also out in full-skirted force, feather boas and wedding veils in tow. The diehards stake out a street corner to busk, while others try their hardest to impress the lookalike contest judges. There's an Elvis Idol contest, gospel services and "The King's Castle", which hosts the largest collection of Elvis memorabilia in the southern hemisphere.
Waitairie, who has travelled some 600 kilometres to take part, plans to win the street busking crown and renew his wedding vows at the mass "Back to the Altar with Elvis" ceremony in a park.
"Elvis was about love, about peace," he said. "Since I was 14 I liked that about him."
White-suited lookalike contestant Graeme Mackaway, who has made the journey to Parkes four times on the "Elvis Express", said the Main Street parade is always his highlight.
"Every year we come and the crowd gets deeper and deeper and the route seems longer," said the company director who swing dances and collects antique jukeboxes in his spare time.
In just five days the festival brings in more than one-tenth of the 11,000-person town's annual tourism revenue, its third-largest earner after agriculture and mining. Hotel rooms are booked more than a year in advance not just in Parkes, but surrounding towns, and the sportsground, converted into a tent city, is overflowing. Officials say the expanding crowd is getting younger every year.
It may have begun as the brainchild of "two silly people who were Elvis fans", said Steel, but the festival has become a celebration of 60s rock culture and a coming together of city and country life.
"I have been a fan since I was 11 and I'm now 66, but now you don't have to be an Elvis fan, there's something for everyone," she said. "The fella who gets dragged here kicking and screaming by his wife is always the first to book for next year." (News, Source: Amy Coopes, AFP)
For more on the 2010 Parkes Elvis Festival see EIN's detailed article with interviews and photos
No artist of the last 60 years covered a wider range of music. A guide to the best, and the worst.: Hard to believe, but the same guy who recorded a masterpiece like "Mystery Train" also gave us the maudlin "Old Shep." Remember that one? It's a tear-jerker about a boy and his dying dog.
Elvis Presley put everything he had into both songs, and his version of "Mystery Train" eclipses even Junior Parker's original as one of the greatest rock 'n' roll recordings. But even the King couldn't breathe life into a dog like "Shep."
Elvis was like that: the ruler of all he surveyed in one song, a misguided crooner in the next.
On the 75th anniversary of his birth Friday, Presley remains a monumental and monumentally perplexing figure.
When he finally found his voice at Sun Studios in Memphis in 1954 (after more than a year of failed attempts there under the tutelage of producer Sam Phillips), he became one of the key figures in rock 'n' roll, and the type of celebrity icon that comes along only a few times a century.
(Photo courtesy of Joan Gansky)
No artist of the last 60 years covered a wider range of music, from gospel and Tin Pan Alley tunes to raw blues and bluegrass. Presley put the music of lounge crooner Dean Martin and R&B shouter Arthur Crudup on the same plane, because he loved both.
He had great taste in songwriters and stylists (Rodgers and Hart, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Roy Brown, Bill Monroe), except when he didn't. Careers have been ruined by covering songs such as "Do the Clam," co-written by Dolores Fuller, ex-girlfriend of B-movie director Ed Wood Jr.: "Everybody's got that beat/Well, listen to those happy feet." But for Presley it was just another in a string of top-40 hits.
Presley died at age 42 in 1977, but he left behind a trove of music that is continually recycled, refurbished, repackaged and resold to a public that apparently can't get enough of him.
The most recent collection is "Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight" (RCA/Legacy), a decent four-CD overview of his career that nonetheless finds it necessary to include such trifles as the 2002 dance remix of "A Little Less Conversation."
Amid the hundreds of Presley recordings available, land mines abound. Though no collection should be without some of his music, there's plenty that should be avoided at all costs. Here are the dos and don'ts of Elvis music: (News, Source: Greg Kot,
“Elvis is still out there as an important cultural figure” who offers something different to each fan. “For some, he will always be the rockabilly rebel from the 1950s, for other’s he’s very much the Las Vegas Superstar.
For some he is the patriotic American who went into the military in the late 1950s and for others he’s sort of a good-old-boy gospel singer.” (Erika Doss, Professor of American Studies, University of Notre Dame)
|As Elvis turns 75, perspectives on the King... |
“The way Elvis combined these influences [country and gospel] to create a new sound had a lasting effect on music.
It’s so central to our musical vocabulary, the idea of borrowing from other genres or literally creating remixes or mash-ups. That’s really in our DNA now.” (Jeff Melnick, Associate Professor of American Studies, Babson College, Massachusetts)
Why Elvis Presley is still the king of rock and roll: It's a good story, it's a true story and it goes something like this.
It's the summer of '77 and the conflagration of punk rock is catching light all across the UK. But the molten core is still centred on the punk clubs of London's West End. At one, the Vortex on Wardour Street, the DJ interrupts the music that hot August night and announces Elvis Presley has died. A huge cheer goes up from spittle-flecked throng.
Then, out of the baying crowd emerges Danny Baker, later a radio presenter of repute, then a young firebrand on the Sniffing Glue punk fanzine.
Taking the stage, Baker launches into an impassioned diatribe that silences the audience. He tells them they are cretins and that without Elvis there is no punk rock. He was right, as he so often is.
Without Elvis Aaron Presley, there is no rock, no roll, no disco, no heavy metal, no grunge or glitch or grindcore or any one of a million other fragmenting genres. Because pop music begins with Elvis, the King, who'd have been 75 on Friday. Maybe Elvis didn't invent rock and roll. The roots of the music were there in the blues stomping of a previous generation.
But it would have stayed obscure and marginal without Elvis. He took the backwoods music of black America and made it global. And he did it with a musical talent, charisma and the most astonishing raw physicality that white America had ever seen.
Then he met a fairground huckster called 'Colonel' Tom Parker who became his manager. Parker would make him the most popular and successful entertainer in the history of showbusiness but at the price of losing his fire and his soul. Parker was born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk in Holland, a fact he spent most of his life trying to deny.The dubious status of Parker's American birthright is probably what prevented Elvis playing abroad. It is said Parker worried that trying to get a US passport would have revealed his foreign birth and may even have had him deported.
After Elvis, Bill Black and Scotty Moore finished recording That's All Right, Mama at Sam Phillips' Sun Studios in 1954, bass player Black said "Damn. Get that on the radio and they'll run us out of town."
When it was played the reaction was astonishing. Kids besieged the station, demanding the record be played again. A week later, Sun Records had received 6,000 advance orders. Overnight almost, the teenager was invented and the rock era began. The early Elvis shows in Memphis nightclubs were not great successes. But as soon as he started playing where kids could see him, especially young girls, the effect was electrifying, frightening even.
It's become a standing joke that Elvis couldn't be filmed from the waist down for fear of what it might do to the girls. But watch early footage of him and you understand the establishment's fears. Elvis' movements are wild, primal, unmistakably sexual. Ask the purists and they'll tell you that almost straight away the establishment tamed Elvis. He signed to RCA records and went mainstream.
Presley did tour Canada in 1957. But back then you did not need a passport to cross the US-Canadian border.
These were the only shows he performed outside the States. The nearest he reportedly got to us was two hours spent while his plane was refuelled at Glasgow's Prestwick airport in March 1960 during his military service. His time in the army has become part of the myth too. Before it he was raw sex and teen rebellion. Then they cut his hair, like Samson, and took away his powers.
He was never as good when he came out of the army, is the old timers' refrain. But they're wrong. The later Elvis was just as good, but different.
After leaving the army in 1960 he burst back on the scene with a guest slot on a Sinatra TV special.
The movie GI Blues was reasonably received and gave him a quirky hit with Wooden Heart. Increasingly his hits were from the string of silly, cheesy films the Colonel contracted Elvis to.
Tickle Me is as bad as it sounds. Harum Scarum may be the worst. Elvis the movie star kidnapped by an anti-Western Middle Eastern country. The turkey Easy Come, Easy Go was made in 1967 as the rock world exploded with creativity. New sounds, new styles, new faces. From Carnaby Street to San Francisco's Haight Ashbury, music is the soundtrack to a global party.
While the world grows its hair, tunes in, turns on and drops out Elvis is left looking like a hick with an unfashionable oily quiff left over from the last decade. Elvis the rebel is now Elvis the square.
But he was not finished yet. The following year Elvis stormed back. Clad in black leather and clutching a guitar he claimed his rightful place as the king of rock and roll. The 1968 Comeback Special was his first big TV appearance in eight years and the first live show for even longer. Parker had wanted him in a cardie singing religious songs. What we got was Elvis back to his sweating, snarling, sexy best. On 27 June 1968, on a stage the size of a boxing ring, he performs not so much Elvis Unplugged as Elvis Untamed.
The music is raucous and electrifying. Elvis is bathed in sweat, his hair hanging damply across his face. It is the antithesis of the Colonel Tom-sanctioned, glossy Hollywood product. It is a revelation. Truly, the return of the King. Elvis went on to make some of his best music in the next years. In January 1969, he recorded the brilliant From Elvis In Memphis. It was his first gold album since 1965 and set up classic singles such as Suspicious Minds and In The Ghetto.Even his final few films were something of an improvement.
It would be nice to say that the story from here on in was one long comeback. It could have worked out differently.
In a parallel universe, Elvis is revived by doctors that August morning. After a spell of recuperation and rehab, he renounces the drugs, sells Graceland and ditches the hangers-on. He immerses himself in music, begins making thoughtful country-tinged Americana. His live shows are a revelation and he wins multiple Grammies for his duets album with Morrissey (a huge fan), REM, Coldplay and Norah Jones. He visits Britain, falls in love with the place and, like his new friend Bob Dylan, buys a holiday home in the Western Highlands.
We know it didn't end like that. First there was the living death of the Vegas years where a pale, flabby ghost in tasteless clothes sleepwalked through his old hits. And finally it ended with a bloated, tragic, unhappy man dead on his bathroom floor. But we can dream, like he could dream. Happy birthday, Elvis. (News, Source: Stuart Maconie, mirror.co.uk)
Yes, I guess they ought to name a drink after you, Elvis: I'm more of a bourbon drinker myself, but colleague Amy Wang sends along a release from the folks at Three O Vodka (Motto: Yes our motto is a predictable O face crack).
In honor of Elvis's would-be 75th birthday this Friday, January 8th, Three-O Vodka has put together a few cocktail recipes that will help you remember "The King."
For a more complete celebration, try pairing your cocktails with some of Presley's favorite foods - peanut butter & banana sandwiches, sweet potatoes, cheeseburgers, and burnt bacon.
Then check yourself into rehab. Because if you're washing down peanut butter and anything with vodka, you've got a problem. And I've had a bacon martini before (here), and it was foul. Enough about that. You want the recipes, don't you?
(News, Source: Ryan White, The Oregonian)
|Jailhouse on the Rocks
2 oz. Three-O Mango Vodka
4 oz. Iced Tea
Mix in a glass filled with ice and garnish with lemon wedge
|Blue Suede Shooters
1 ½ oz. Three-O Cherry Vodka
¼ oz. black raspberry liqueur
¼ Blue Curacao
Shake with ice and strain into a shot glass
|All Shook Up
3 oz. Three-O Grape Vodka
½ oz. Blue Curacao
½ oz. grenadine
Splash club soda
Shake first 3 ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Splash club soda and garnish with an orange wedge.
The Hound Dog
2 oz. Three-O Tomato Vodka
Top with Bloody Mary mix
Add a few dashes of hot sauce and sliced jalapenos
Mix in a glass filled with ice and garnish with speared peppers
Blue Suede Shooters.
Strong ratings for Elvis Birthday Celebration on BBC2:
SATURDAY - BBC Two's Elvis week began at 8pm last night with documentary Elvis By The Presleys, seen by 2.35m (9.1%) over 90 minutes. Elvis: Black Leather - The '68 Comeback Special then drew 1.71m (6.9%) between 9.30pm and 10.20pm.
SUNDAY- 1.68m (5.9%) tuned in during the 9pm screening of Elvis in Vegas, which featured home movies and rare archive footage.
|Elvis` 75th birthday keeps his image, earnings shaking: Elvis Presley may have left the building nearly 33 years ago, but a raft of new events and books released this week to mark what would have been his 75th birthday ensure The King lives on — and so do his earnings.
Presley, who died in August 1977 aged 42, is one of the top earning dead celebrities, bringing in USD 55 million in 2009 according to Forbes.com and marketed by Elvis Presley Enterprises which entertainment mogul Robert Sillerman revitalized in 2005.
His birthday, on January 8, will be marked with a cake-cutting ceremony at his Graceland home, a new exhibit of his costumes, movie marathons, a Facebook application, a cruise later in the year, and a new Jailhouse Rock doll in the Barbie collection.
Around the world other events are being held to mark the day, such as a gathering in the Australian town of Parkes where Elvis impersonators will don lame suits and perfect quiffs for an annual Elvis Festival despite temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius.
Three new books about the singer, whose life has been scrutinised in up to 50 other books, will also add fuel to the marketing flame in whose spotlight Presley remains young, hazing over his final years of battling poor health and weight gain.
Author Alanna Nash examined the role of the women in her fourth book on Presley, "Baby, Let's Play House," concluding an unhealthy bond with his mother, Gladys, and the loss of a stillborn twin brother set him up for doomed relationships.
"I think what he wanted from women was to be mothered but he only went out with younger women so that never happened," Nash told Reuters after interviewing a list of lovers, friends, co-stars ad family members for her book.
"But what really suprised me was that I found he remained emotionally aged about 15 to 17. I think this is why he continued to like 14-year-old girls and found a lot of happiness in mentoring them. He was stuck as a teenager himself."
A mother's love - George Klein, a DJ and TV host who outlines his friendship with Presley from 8th grade at school in "Elvis: My Best Man", said the importance of Presley's mother in his life could not be underestimated.
"She had a tremendous power over him. She was the reason he was so polite and such a gentleman. Elvis loved her to death and never argued with her. They had a tremendous bond," said Klein.
Presley's mother died in 1958 at the age of 46.
A third new book, "The King and Dr. Nick: What Really Happened To Elvis And Me," is by Dr George Nichopoulos, also known as Dr. Nick, who was Presley's personal physician for 11 years. The book is written with Rose Clayton Phillips.
Dr. Nick was in the spotlight after Presley's death from heart problems after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs. He had his license permanently suspended in 1995 after a medical board found he had overprescribed to numerous patients for years.
Both Nash and Klein said his death was premature.
"It was a shame he didn't pay more attention to his health and his diet. I don't think he would have ever got off his perscriptions drugs but he could have lived longer if he had inproved his diet," said Nash.
Klein believes that Presley would never had died so young had his mother been around, saying the two people that had most to lose -- his manager "Colonel" Tom Parker and his father Vernon who worked for Elvis -- failed to help him.
"His father was scared Elvis would fire him or kick him out while Colonel Parker was all about making money. They kept their mouths shut and did not step up to help Elvis, not wanting to get into a confrontation with him and be cut off," said Klein.
"It would have been different if his mother had been there." (News, Source: Reuters)
Read EIN's detailed review of Baby, Let's Play House
Read EIN's interview with author Alanna Nash
|ELVIS Radio Specials on the BBC: There are FIVE great programmes available for podcasts on BBC Radi 2 as it celebrates Elvis' 75 Birthday: Listen to these latest programmes before their time runs out.
1. "Elvis: The Brand"
Paul Gambaccini explores Elvis Presley's undiminished fame and power as an American icon. 30 mins
2. "Rob Brydon's World of Elvis: The Las Vegas Years"
Rob Brydon explores the time Elvis spent in Las Vegas and his influence upon the city. 1 hour.
3. "Don't Start Me Talking...about Elvis"
Hear about 'The King', in the words of his fans. 30 mins.
4. "Elvis: Movie King or Celluloid Sellout?"
Paul Morley explores the movie career and overlooked film music of Elvis. 30 mins.
5. "Elvis and Dewey"
Paul Gambaccini tells the story of the pioneering DJ who helped to launch Elvis' career. 1 hour.
CLICK HERE to the Podcasts.
EPE 'Birthday Event Guide' and Proclamation change: EPE have provided the Elvis Birthday Event Guide as a tempting download. They also add a Special Note about the possibilty of snow!
>> Due to the possibility of snow flurries and the large crowds expected for Elvis Presley’s 75th Birthday Proclamation Ceremony on January 8th, 2010, the proclamation event with Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley has been moved from Graceland’s north lawn to Graceland Plaza which is directly across the street from the mansion on Elvis Presley Blvd. The ceremony will remain at 9:30AM CT and will be streamed on Elvis.com in addition to the EPTV network throughout Graceland Plaza and Heartbreak Hotel.
The collectible event guide cover features a specially commissioned painting of Elvis is part of Graceland’s 2010 tourism marketing campaign. Also included in this event guide are exciting news articles with details of the year long 75th birthday celebration at Graceland and around the world. More info here.
Click here to download the full PDF document. But Beware it is 7MG in size
Elvis at 75: Can we ever again see the performer, not the punch line?; One of the best articles EIN has read about "Elvis at '75".
From Mark Feeney of The Boston Globe.
Begin with two facts.
First, he was once beautiful, astonishingly beautiful, and that fact contributed so much both to the rapidity of his rise and the awfulness of his decline. Beauty was almost as important to his success as race was. Same voice, same talent, same songs sung by a white Fats Domino? The impact would have been nothing like what it was. Music created and drove the phenomenon that was Elvis, but it was only part of what made that phenomenon so overwhelming.....
Continue here to the full article & images.
UPDATED - Parkes Elvis Birthday Festival 2010 Preview: On January 8th 2010 it would have been Elvis Presley's 75th Birthday. The major celebrations will of course be at Graceland in his hometown of Memphis. However the world’s second biggest celebration will be when 10,000 Elvis fans descend on the small country town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia to party in the King’s name. The Parkes Elvis Festival will be held from 6 - 10 January 2010. Internationally celebrated ETAs such as Mark Andrew, ‘She Is The King’, Mark Anthony and Scott Baker are all scheduled to perform plus there is also the very popular Elvis Gospel Church Service, the famous Street Parade and more than 140 Events over five days of Elvis fun. New Silas Lulic interview added plus performance times.
(Spotlight: Source; EIN)
|Viva Elvis : After two weeks of fixation and the addition of choreography, the cast of the $100 million Cirque du Soleil spectacular Viva Elvis resumed previews over the weekend.
It gave me the opportunity to acquire a ton more fun facts about the show’s stunning statistics. There are 28 acrobats in the production who hail from eight countries and include gymnasts, circus performers and street entertainers.
Musical director and arranger Erich van Tourneau extracted more than 17,765 examples of Elvis Presley’s singing and speaking voice from 914 albums, 33 full-length films and dozens of old home movies, documentaries and audio recordings.
During rehearsals, every member of the cast went to Graceland, Elvis’ home, and even now they are required up until the premiere to answer weekly written tests about their knowledge of the King of Rock and Roll.
Band members during rehearsals played the mega hit “Love Me Tender” to the track of Elvis’ voice exactly 50 years to the day he first recorded it. (News, Source: Brian Quinn)
Rare Elvis 75 Good Rockin' Tonight acetates sell out in 5 hours!!: From the 991.com site:
ELVIS PRESLEY Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight (Official 2010 US Legacy/RCA label 100-track advance promotional FOUR CD-R acetate set for the definitive retrospective release. This
set begins in 1953, when an 18-year-old truck driver fresh out of aMemphis high school recorded a self-financed performance of 'My Happiness' intended as a gift to his mother, and concludes with the 2002 JXL radio remix edit of 1968's 'A Little Less Conversation'. In between there are chart-topping hits, Sold out in 5 hours, 10 minutes.
ELVIS PRESLEY Elvis Presley (Official 2010 US Sony/ATV Music Publishing 60-track promotional only TWO CD-R acetate publishing sampler set issued to celebrate what would have been Elvis' 75th birthday. Includes classic tracks plus live versions of'An American Trilogy', 'I Can't Stop Loving You', 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy', 'Sweet Caroline' and 'Welcome To My World'. Custom printed discs complete with a unique custom promo picture sleeve and title/tracklisting back insert)
Spotlight by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN January 2010. Do Not reprint or republish without permission.