Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Elvis Presley - Flaming Star

Elvis movies are a lot of fun. The critics don’t get it. The critics analyse these movies as if they were, like, real movies. But the point is that they are Elvis movies.

Yes they are dumb. Yes Elvis was a great actor. Yes his talent was wasted. Yes it was a total and complete prostitution of a gift. All beside the point. Elvis movies are a lot of fun. That’s the point.

The first few were serious, or semi-serious at least. The rest were cannon fodder, B movies whose sole purpose was to earn money. But, I say, they were fun. Watching Elvis was just plain fun.

I saw Love Me Tender, his first movie, a western. I saw Jailhouse Rock. Those were okay. After he got out of the army, though, that’s when the fun really starts. Viva Las Vegas, that was with Ann Margaret. I remember The Walls Have Ears.

Girls! Girls! Girls!, I think I saw that one. I remember the scene where he did Return To Sender. But the truth is that I can’t remember for sure which ones I’ve seen, and I can’t remember what they were about. I do remember Change Of Habit, with Mary Tyler Moore; well I remember seeing it when I was about 12. And Charro, another western. The worst, though, was Frankie And Johnny. Elvis was so bored in that one; he’d obviously stopped trying.

Given that I don’t have a working TV at the moment, it’s not likely that I’ll see any more Elvis movies anytime soon. Still, I’d rather watch Girl Happy than Lord Of The Rings any day…

Elvis Presley:

Flaming Star – A strange song about destiny, with an odd rhythm – vaguely Bo Diddley – for an Elvis record. A hit in the spring of 1961.This was from an EP called, you guessed it, Flaming Star
I Feel So Bad – It doesn’t sound like he feels bad at all. In fact he sounds kind of exuberant. From the summer of ’61.
Wild In The Country – Nothing wild about this, it’s a subdued ballad. The song is about vegetation, and it goes on from there. From the summer of 1961, the B side of I Feel So Bad
Little Sister – Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind, sang The Lovin’ Spoonful. Elvis has made up his mind, went for the Younger Girl, but all is not well. Get Jim Dandy out of the picture. A top 5 hit in 1961, and Ry Cooder covered it.
(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame – I heard this first by Sha Na Na; it wasn’t on Worldwide Gold Hit Awards. I heard the Elvis version, though, when I got my hands on The Other Sides, and it blew me away. It still blows me away. It’s one of the most underrated Elvis records. The A side of Little Sister, it was on the chart at the same time.
Can’t Help Falling In Love – Another signature song, though it didn’t get to number 1. This is the song he ended every concert with. Featured in the movie, and soundtrack LP, Blue Hawaii. Winter 1961 - 1962.
Rock-A-Hula Baby – The B side of Can’t Help Falling In Love, it reached number 23 on Billboard in its own right. That was in January 1962. This is from Blue Hawaii.
No More – A track from Blue Hawaii. Slightly in the Now Or Never vain.
Good Luck Charm – Yet another way of objectifying one’s love interest. Be my little good luck charm. Yet another number 1 hit, this one from the spring of 1962.
Anything That’s Part Of You – Slightly country, with piano that may or may not be Floyd Cramer. The B side of Good Luck Charm, reached the top 40 in the spring of ’62.
Follow That Dream – Has a slightly gospel feel to it. This is from the summer of 1962, and it comes from an EP called Follow That Dream.
Kiss Me Quick – A bit like Such A Night, and a bit not like Such A Night. It was the lead off track on the Pot Luck With Elvis album, released in June, 1962, and for some reason released as a single in 1964. It reached the top 40 in the spring of that year.
(Such An) Easy Question – This was a top 20 hit in the summer of 1965. I’ve never heard it on the radio, and it has never been on best of or anthology until it showed up on From Nashville To Memphis, The Essential 60s Masters. RCA. Morons. It comes from Pot Luck With Elvis, and it’s anybody’s guess why RCA raided this album in 1964 – 1965 for random singles.
I’m Yours – Another track from Pot Luck, and another track that made the charts in 1965, this one in the fall. Muted organ / guitar accompaniment on this romantic outing.
Suspicion – The prototype, one supposes, for Suspicious Minds. This is another track from Pot Luck, but RCA didn’t put this out as a single until 1964 when it was the B side of Kiss Me Quick. It was the Crusader label that made it a hit, and they didn’t have Elvis, so they got Terry Stafford to do it, and it was Stafford’s version that reached the top 10 in 1964.
She’s Not You – Get over it Elvis. Like, there’s only one right person. From the fall of ’62.
Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello – The record label, my copy anyway, said “him,” Just Tell Her Him Said Hello. Hello? This was the B side of She’s Not You, and so it’s not surprise that it was a hit of sorts in the fall of ’62, though it only reached number 55. This is rather whistful…
Return To Sender – This only made number 2. Aww. I like this one, must be the sax. I remember watching the movie, Girls! Girls! Girls!, on the soundtrack of which this was, and I was happy I’d finally learn the story surrounding the song. But there was none; the movie showed Elvis performing this on stage. What a copout. From the autumn of 1962.
Where Do You Come From – The B side of Return To Sender, and another track from Girls! Girls! Girls!. A piano ballad, a bit over the top. Reached number 99 on the top 100, in the fall of ’62.
• Girls! Girls! Girls! – Title track of the movie, and of the LP. The original, I understand, was done by The Coasters, though I haven’t heard it. The Fourmost did a totally goofy version, which makes sense. Elvis did a straightforward version, which doesn’t, though it does have a good sax break.
One Broken Heart For Sale – Poor Elvis. From the winter of 1963. From the soundtrack LP It Happened At The World’s Fair
They Remind Me Too Much Of You – Another tale of a broken heart. The B side of One Broken Heart For Sale made the top 60 in the winter of 1963. From the same soundtrack.
How Would You Like To Be – A track from It Happened At The World’s Fair. Very pop, typical of the type of song that would appear with increasing regularity on his soundtracks.
(You’re The) Devil In Disguise – One of Elvis’ better known songs. From the summer of 1963.
Please Don’t Drag That String Around – Sure I’m a puppet on a string, says Elvis, just don’t abuse the situation. The B side of Devil In Disguise. Finally a B side that didn’t make the chart. Times were changing for Elvis…
Bossa Nova Baby – All the rage, The Girl From Ipanema and all that. This was faux bossa nova anyway. From the LP soundtrack Fun In Acupulco, this was in the top 10 in the fall of 1963.
Witchcraft – After singing about the devil, his girl is using witchcraft. His head is spinning. The B side of Bossa Nova Baby, this was a top 40 hit in the fall of 1963.
Kissin’ Cousins – This tale of incest was a hit in the winter of 1964.
It Hurts Me – The B side of Kissin’ Cousins. It’s amazing that these songs could be two sides of the same single. This one is a beautiful performance of a beautiful song, looking ahead to what he would do in the 70s. It only reached 39 in the winter of 1964. One of the most underrated of Elvis’ recordings.
Guadalajara – This is from Fun At Acapulco. I got it from a cheap anthology of movie songs.
Tender Feeling – A not bad ballad from Kissin’ Cousins.
Viva Las Vegas – From the movie with Ann Margaret. It may have been the first Elvis movie I saw. A hit, but not a huge one, in the summer of 1964. It was the B side of…
What’d I Say – Elvis does Ray Charles. The truth is that his version isn’t as good as covers by Bobby Darin or Jerry Lee Lewis. From the summer of ’64. Left off just about every compiliation. Included on Elvis Golden Records Volume 4, which is where I found it…
If You Think I Don’t Need You – From the Viva Las Vegas EP.
Ain’t That Loving You Baby – This was a good piece of rock and roll, recorded in the late 50s, but not released until September, 1964, shortly after which it became a top 20 hit.
Ask Me – The flip side of Ain’t That Loving You Baby actually did a bit better in the charts than the A side. File it with Love Me, Let Me etc.
Do The Clam – From the soundtrack LP Girl Happy. Often cited as an example oh how “out of touch” Elvis was. Well it’s silly, but is it sillier than, say, Wooly Bully, or Twine Time? A hit in the spring of 1965. The song reached number 21 on Billboard, but it’s another one that never made to a Elvis’ Golden Records, or World Wide Hit Awards, or any anthology.
You’ll Be Gone – The B side of Do The Clam, from Girl Happy. Another let’s make love tonight song, with that darn Latin beat again.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page