Saturday, April 4, 2009

Elvis Presley - Fame And Fortune

Elvis had 145 records in the top 100 between 1956 and 1977. This collection is missing 20 of them. For the record, they are:

· Steamroller Blues
· My Boy
· Where Did They Go, Lord
· I’m Leavin’
· Until It’s Time For You To Go
· Please Don’t Stop Loving Me
· It’s Only Love
· Life
· There’s Always Me
· Take Good Care Of Her
· Bringing It Back
· Mama Liked The Roses
· Let Yourself Go
· Your Time Hasn’t Come Yet, Baby
· Money Honey
· Judy
· Fool
· Only Believe
· For The Heart
· Blue River

For the record, I have some of these elsewhere.

Elvis Presley:

Treat Me Nice – The B side of Jailhouse Rock reached was in the top 20 in the fall of 1957. This plea for kindness turns into an ultimatum before it’s over.
Young And Beautiful – A piano ballad, and a hoaky one. It comes from the Jailhouse Rock EP.
I Want To Be Free – Not The Monkees song. I’m not sure what he wants to be free from. Is he in jail? Well it is from the Jailhouse Rock EP…
(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care – This song about his square girlfriend is anything but square, a real rocker. Another track from the Jailhouse Rock EP, Buddy Holly did this, and did it well.
Blue Christmas – This is Elvis’s Christmas perennial, a radio staple every year, and it NEVER MADE THE TOP 100. Alright. Sorry. Interesting that Elvis puts a downspin on Christmas, making it sad. From Elvis' Christmas Album.
I Beg Of You – This is Treat Me Nice with different pajamas. It was Elvis’ introduction to 1958, a hit in the winter of that year.
Don’t – A ballad, but the sentiment is kind of adolescent. Doesn’t take much imagination. “When I feel like this…” This went to number 1 in the winter of 1958, the A side of I Beg Of You, but you don’t hear it often (ever?) on oldies radio.
Wear Your Ring Around My Neck – You have to think about that… A hit in the spring of 1958.
Doncha’ Think It’s Time – The B side of Wear Your Ring Around My Neck, also a hit in the spring of ’58. Timing is everything.
Hard Headed Woman – From the movie, and soundtrack from, King Creole. The New Orleans association inspired someone at RCA to throw horns into this, and they sound terrible. Number 1 in the summer of 1958. A philosophical treatise about evil women. Not the Cat Stevens song.
Don’t Ask Me Why – The flip side of Hard Headed Woman, and a track on the King Creole album, this song reached the top 30 in the summer of 1958.
King Creole – The title track from the movie / soundtrack. A tribute to a fictional jazz hero, who seems to bear a slight resemblance to our hero (“hip shakin’ King Creole?”) At least they didn’t put horns on this one. A top 20 hit in UK in fall 1958.
As Long As I Have You – Another track from King Creole. I don’t know what it is exactly about this ballad, but it seems to work better than most of Elvis’ period ballads. A precursor I think of Can’t Help Falling In Love
Trouble – Elvis as the bad guy. From King Creole.
Crawfish – Yet another track from King Creole, really getting into New Orleans culture.
Young Dreams – A track from King Creole. All these tracks were on The Other Sides, that’s why they are here.
Dixieland Rock – Yes, from King Creole. Kind of summary of what’s going on here. They are trying to capture the sound and mood of New Orleans without sacrificing any of Elvis, but it doesn’t work.
Lover Doll – From King Creole. Very sparse accompaniment on this one.
New Orleans – Not the Gary US Bonds song. From King Creole.
I Got Stung – From the end of 1958. This is where Elvis is really starting to cannibalize his stuff.
One Night – Elvis gives this the pile driver treatment, and it’s one of the highlights of his career. He originally sang “one night of sin,” changed it to “one night with you” but the meaning doesn’t change, just the moral context. The A side of I Got Stung, and a hit in December 1958.
Elvis Sails – The EP was called Elvis Sails, the track was called Press Interview With Elvis Presley. But on the LP it’s called Elvis Sails. Recorded in September of 1958, and released in December.
(Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I – This one gets into a groove. A bit country. From the spring of 1959. Bob Dylan did this on Dylan.
I Need Your Love Tonight – The B side of A Fool Such As I, also a hit in the spring of 1959. Another of those “let’s do it tonight” songs. Buries Rod Stewart…
A Big Hunk O’ Love – Ok this one’s a bit gimmicky. Frantic. A piano solo that sounds like Jerry Lee Lewis on drugs. From the summer of 1959, number 1.
My Wish Came True – The B side is just as unfrantic. The vocal chorus here is kind of weird, a women’s chorus that sounds like it wandered into the wrong studio by mistake. Reached the top 20 in the summer of 1959.
Stuck On You – From the spring of 1960, reached number 1, just as Elvis’ armed forces tenure ended.
Fame And Fortune – One thing Elvis knew about. The B side of Stuck On You reached the top 20 in the spring of 1960.
Fever – The arrangement is almost a carbon copy of Peggy Lee. The truth is that I prefer Peggy Lee. I got this from the Pure Gold collection. This is from Elvis Is Back, released in April 1960, and considered a highlight of Elvis’ career.
Such A Night – An R & B hit for The Drifters circa 1953. Another track from Elvis Is Back, kind of Las Vegasy. RCA put it out as a single in 1964 and it was a top 20 hit in August.
A Mess Of Blues – This was the B side of the next song, a top 30 hit in the fall of 1960.
It’s Now Or Never – A number 1 hit in the fall of 1960. It’s said that this is the song that changed everything. It was an adaption of something called O Sole Mio, and Elvis became the Las Vegas shlock artist as soon as he recorded this. Not so simple, I don’t think. A lot of his stuff had schlock written all over it well before this, and Elvis was a complex artist, maintaining so many different personas, often at the same time, that no one can say with any accuracy that this or that was the turning point.
GI Blues – Title track from GI Blues, the movie and the soundtrack. I don’t know how he could stand the trivialization of his military experience.
Tonight Is So Right For Love – Another of those Las Vegas types tracks. From GI Blues.
Wooden Heart – From GI Blues. This was released as single in Europe in 1964. It has a kind of German polka thing going on. Joe Dowell covered this and rode it to number 1.
I Gotta Know – A top 20 hit at the end of 1960. I love that couplet: “I’m lonesome and I’m lovesick, Got my mind on lipstick.” The B side of…
Are You Lonesome Tonight – Elvis looks back on a relationship that’s ended, wonders if his former partner is doing the same. This is a bit corny, but it works, the arrangement is understated, but not overly so. Number 1 in December, 1960. Pat Boone did this, not so well, and so did Brian Hyland, also not so well.
I Believe In The Man In The Sky – I will leave aside the theological questions regarding “a man in the sky.” This is a track from Elvis’ first gospel album: His Hand In Mine, released in November, 1960.
Surrender – Another song of seduction. So many of them seem to have that slightly Latin beat. Number 1 in the winter of 1961.
Lonely Man – The B side is a ballad about searching. It reached the top 30 in the winter of 1960.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page