Tag Archives: Jailhouse Rock

Ramblings of a Lifelong Elvis Fan – Part 65 – Elvis Refurbished with the Philharmonic Orchestra

(Sorry I missed last week. The past few weeks have been insane. It’s the first week I’ve missed in the more than a year since I started this weekly blog. I didn’t even do a re-post :()

A new Elvis album is releasing October 30th with several of his recordings reworked to include the Philharmonic Orchestra. I have mixed feelings about this, but for the most part, I don’t enjoy it. I was going to blog on another Elvis related topic, but when I got into my car this morning and turned on Elvis Radio, Priscilla was a guest DJ and they were playing tracks from the soon to be released ‘If I can Dream.’

Before I knew that’s what the program was about, the first thing I heard was the last part of ‘In the Ghetto,’ except something was a little off. It didn’t hit my ear right. For one, the song ended with female back up singers singing several repetitions of the words in the ghetto. I didn’t care for it, and I knew that wasn’t they original version. Then, I understood when I heard Priscilla and the regular DJ, Argo, explain that it was a track from this new release.

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Don’t get me wrong, some of the songs are great, although I can’t say they’re an improvement, not by any means. As I’ve mentioned before, Elvis had a knack, an ear for arrangements and he knew how to make his music the best it can be. The Philharmonic Orchestra is phenomenal, no doubt about it, but Elvis music is ALREADY the best it can be. They just aren’t needed. Elvis loved the Joe Guercio orchestra, and he hired them to play for him. If they were good enough for him, they are good enough for me.

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I would have liked to listen to the entire show, but was unable to. I think it’s repeating at 9 p.m. this evening, but not sure if I’ll be able to hear it then. I will have to say, I did enjoy Priscilla’s comments when she introduced ‘Steamroller Blues.’ She said Elvis’ performance of the song was sexy, sex appeal, sexy, sexy. She said he was ‘naughty’ all the way through. (I paraphrase, but that was the gist). She sounded almost giddy. 🙂 See, he has that kind of impact, even over his ex-wife after all these years. 

December 1969, Beverly Hills, California, USA --- American rock legend Elvis Presley with his wife Priscilla. --- Image by © Frank Carroll/Sygma/Corbis

Here are a few samplings from the album. In this one, ‘What Now, My Love,’ to me the orchestra drowns out his voice:

This is ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’ and here, they are not as intrusive as they are on some. Just look at that sexy performance, though. I love the way it starts out with Elvis’ back to the audience…

Here is a complete list of the tracks:

Disc: 1
1. Burning Love
2. It s Now Or Never
3. Love Me Tender
4. Fever (Duet With Michael Buble)
5. Bridge Over Troubled Water
6. And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind
7. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
Disc: 2
1. There’s Always Me
2. Can’t Help Falling In Love
3. In the Ghetto
4. How Great Thou Art
5. Steamroller Blues
6. An American Trilogy
7. If I Can Dream

All in all, while I love that the world is keeping Elvis’ music alive and going strong, although actually, the music itself could do that, I wish they would remaster his original versions simply by using whatever new technology they have for sharper, clearer sounds, but leave them unaltered. After all, why try to improve on perfection?

What do you think? Am I over-protective and way off base, or do you agree? 🙂

 

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EOLS Charity

Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.

Learn more here, including how to donate:

http://www.graceland.com/epcf/

END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!

On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_FINAL

All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Click Here for Kindle

Click Here for Nook

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Ramblings of a Lifelong Elvis Fan – Part 64 – Elvis and His Instruments

While Elvis was not known for being a musician, he actually could play a few instruments. Of course, he did not need that talent. His phenomenal voice, charisma, stage presence, and incredible knack for entertaining were plenty. Not to mention his acting and his talent for producing. (He had a big part in producing his music and had an ear for picking out the perfect songs)

Some Elvis instrument facts…

In the recordings for the movie, Jailhouse Rock, when Elvis sang ‘Baby I Don’t Care,’ he was the one playing electric bass. Bill Black played only the upright bass and didn’t feel comfortable yet with the electric.

 

jailhouse_rock_sessions_elvis_with_electric_bass

Elvis only knew a few guitar lead licks, but he played a unique rhythm guitar. He had so much rhythm in his body, and it transferred to his hands when he played guitar. His special brand of rhythm guitar can be heard on songs like Blue Christmas, One Night, and Reconsider Baby. He did play a little bit of lead in the ’68 special.  Johnny Cash once said that Elvis didn’t really know a lot about the technique of guitar playing, but he was great and Johnny could ‘listen to Elvis play rhythm guitar all day long.’ 

 

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(Black leather and a sweaty chest…oh my…)

One very unique guitar skill that Elvis displayed was when he would turn it over and slap the back of it, almost like a drum or bongo sound. He did this in the recordings of “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck,” “Treat Me Nice,” and it can really be heard in “Don’t Be Cruel.” (video of the recording below)

ElvisGuitarSlap2

 

He also could play the piano quite well.

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Finally, a very little known fact, while this was one area that Elvis definitely did not excel, he played a little drums.

 

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Elvis and Dolores Hart from “Loving You” playing a few drum licks

Drums-with-Boots

Elvis and Boots Randolph

 

Of course, when you sing, dance, and look like he did, and have the star power he had, those other skills are not necessary. They’re just icing on the cake for a man who was the whole incredible, amazing, delightful package. 🙂

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

EOLS Charity

Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.

Learn more here, including how to donate:

http://www.graceland.com/epcf/

END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!

On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_FINAL

All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Click Here for Kindle

Click Here for Nook

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Elvis Presley – Ramblings of a Lifelong Fan – Part 10 – The Movies 1-4

Elvis made four films before going into the army. His earlier works were more serious, more dramatic than the ones that would follow after he returned. Ironically, in the media, and in the movies, he was portrayed as this rebellious troublemaking hothead, but in reality, his costars raved about how polite and kind he was.

The first four movies were:

  • Love Me Tender 1956

About: Elvis plays Clint Reno, the youngest of four brothers in the civil war era. His older brothers come home after the end of the war and the oldest, Vance (who the family had been told died), finds Clint married to the girl he loves.

Side note:  When word leaked that Elvis died at the end, fans were so distraught that the studio decided to add an image of him singing “Love Me Tender” on screen as the movie was ending with the scene of his loved ones walking away from his grave.

My favorite song from the movie: Let Me

One of my favorite scenes: When he’s on the porch singing We’re Gonna Move. He was so cute, with his adorable smile and the way he interacted with his family.

 

LoveTenderGun

  • Loving You: 1957

About: Elvis plays Deke Rivers, an orphan who is discovered by an ambitious woman in the music business. She launches Deke to stardom. Deke thought he’d found true friends after a lifetime of searching, but he is crushed to learn she only cares about success.

Side notes:   Elvis’ parents, Gladys and Vernon, were visiting the set and the director put them in the movie as audience members in the final scene. A year later, Elvis would be in the army, and five months after that, Gladys would pass away. Dolores Hart, who played Susan, also co-starred in King Creole. She would eventually become a nun. Elvis’ band, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, DJ Fontana, and the Jordanaires appeared in the movie.

My favorite song from the movie: Mean Woman Blues

One of my favorite scenes: Deke is in a café and this a-hole is giving him a hard time, insists he sing. Deke does, then he asks the guy what he does for a living. The guy tells him he works for his old man installing seat covers. Deke says, well, I normally get paid to sing. How about you do for me what you do for a living and go out there and put a set of seat covers on my car. The guy says sure, I bet your color is yella. Deke proceeds to beat the crap out of him and knocks him into the juke box. The guy is unconscious, leaning back against the juke box and Deke hooks a foot under his leg and tugs, and the guy slides to the ground. I loved Elvis’ fight scenes, and I thought that one was so cool.

 

Loving you

  • Jailhouse Rock: 1957

About: Elvis plays Vince Everett. Early in the movie, he kills a man in a fistfight and is sent to prison, where he meets a washed up country singer who plants the seed of Vince singing professionally. When Vince gets out of prison, he meets a young woman in the music business who helps launch his career, and Vince becomes famous. The fame goes to his head and he ends up hurting the people he loves. (But, it has a happy ending :))

Side note:   Elvis’ co-star, Judy Tyler, and her husband were killed in an automobile accident on the drive home from Hollywood to New York after filming.

My favorite song from the movie: Don’t leave Me Now

My favorite scene: One of my favorite scenes in any Elvis movie. Watch the clip.

 

 

  • King Creole 1958

About: Elvis plays Danny Rivers, a young guy from a poor background whose mother passed away when he was young, and his father fell to pieces and lost one job after another, launching the family into poverty. Danny sees his father as a weakling, and he wants to make something of himself. He gets involved with Maxi Fields, a crime boss, and falls for Maxi’s girl.

Side note:   This was the only movie Elvis was really proud of. He did an amazing job, and it was a phenomenal film. He admired actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando, and had hopes of becoming a serious actor, but the roles he was given afterward were pretty much all fluff (However, they were ‘fluff’ that I loved, and he still did a great job in them).

My favorite song from the movie: Don’t Ask Me Why or Young Dreams or As Long as I Have You.

One of my favorite scenes: Danny is in the club sweeping up and these guys are being mean to Roni, who, as it turns out, is Maxi Fields’ girl. They insist Danny sing and he does, then they ask him what he does for an encore. He ignores them and is leaving when the one guy slaps Roni. Elvis turns around and grabs her and is taking her out when the guys start to rush him. He grabs two beer bottles off a table and breaks off the bottoms and brandishes them at the guys. One of the men says, “You’re a pretty fancy performer, ain’t ya kid?” and Vince says, “Now you know what I do for an encore.”

 

KC

 

Elvis made 31 feature films and I have seen each one of them umpteen times. I’m watching them again, as a refresher, and I think I’m enjoying them now more than I did back then. I only own 26 of the 31 on DVD, but will soon have them all. 🙂

 

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Elvis Presley – Ramblings of a Lifelong Fan, Part 3 – The Music

Obviously, I can’t say everything I want to say about Elvis’ music in one post, so there will most definitely be more, so stay tuned. 🙂

In twenty-three years, Elvis recorded almost a thousand songs, although the number that was actually released during his lifetime was just over seven-hundred. Thanks to Elvis radio, I have the opportunity to hear a lot of those rare recordings and outtakes where Elvis was himself, and he was human, and having fun with the guys. I love the ones where he is laughing–his adorable, sexy, infectious laugh. The people who worked with him said he had a talent for arrangements and was a perfectionist, who would keep at it until he had the recording just the way he wanted. They also say he could memorize lyrics more quickly than anyone they’d ever known. It’s funny that, even with Elvis’ unparalleled fame and popularity, the only music he ever won awards for was his gospel. I’ve never been able to figure that out.

One thing I love about Elvis music is that it spanned so many genres. With blues, country, rock, pop, soul, and gospel, there’s something for everyone. I have three children, who all ‘like’ Elvis, but my twenty-one-year-old son, Presley, LOVES Elvis. I didn’t force it on him, even with the name, I promise. 🙂 He actually could have grown up resenting me for the name, but he is proud of it, and truly loves Elvis. He’s on a cruise right now, and he called me last night to ask me about the lyrics to Jailhouse Rock. He wasn’t sure he could remember them all. I remembered them, but not exactly in order. (I know, it’s shameless, but we only had a few minutes to talk, and I was under pressure to hurry, and that song has a lot of short verses. It’s hard to remember the correct order.) Presley was a finalist in a Karaoke contest (in which he’d earlier sung Suspicious Minds) and was going to be singing Jailhouse Rock in the finals. After we hung up, a memory came to me of when he was around fifteen months old, and he was slapping his little hand on the stereo saying ‘Wock, wock,’ wanting me to play Jailhouse Rock. I did, and he started dancing and bobbing his head and snapping his fingers. SO freakin’ cute! (I have it on home video. It’s precious!)

Oddly, some of my favorite Elvis songs are the lesser known ones; many of them only a true Elvis fan would have heard. I re-discovered this one recently, and was struck once again by just how beautiful his voice really was. It gave me chills.

 

 

This is one of my favorites of Elvis’ early recordings, Love Me. There’s something about the way he starts the song, that first line, that makes me weak all over. 🙂 Enjoy this adorable video of him singing the song on the Ed Sullivan show.

 

 

Over the years, Elvis’ music had brought me a great deal of joy. It sounds odd, but if I’m stressed or upset, I can listen to his music, and it makes me feel better.

I have a confession to make, though. I don’t ‘love’ every song Elvis ever did. Even some of his most popular ones were not my favorites; such as Love Me Tender, Hound Dog, Blue Suede Shoes. I know, I know, I should be ashamed. 🙂 However, there were plenty of his songs that I DO love, obviously. I could list them, but we don’t have all day, right?

What about you? What are some of your favorite Elvis songs?

 

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Elvis Presley – Ramblings of a Lifelong Fan, Part 2 – The Movies

 

While Elvis’s movies are often regarded as silly and pointless, many people, including myself, find them highly enjoyable. Admittedly, they are not classic, Oscar-worthy films, and Elvis himself wasn’t pleased with the roles he played. He wanted to be a serious actor and admired other actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando. The only movie he was really proud of was King Creole, which was a wonderful film where Elvis was allowed to excercise his acting chops, and he did a fantastic job. After he returned from the army, his movies became no more than a vehicle for his singing. However, I thought they were fun and entertaining. I admit, I’m slightly biased, but even many non-Elvis fans enjoyed his movies. Some of my favorites….

Jailhouse Rock – I recently re-watched this and fell in love with it all over again. Another serious role where Elvis put on a great performance. And, there were some awesome songs in this movie, such as Don’t Leave Me Now, Treat Me Nice, Young and Beautiful, and of course, Jailhouse Rock. Sadly, Judy Tyler, who co-starred with Elvis in Jailhouse Rock, was driving home from Los Angeles to Manhattan with her husband, when they were in an auto accident, and she was killed instantly, at twenty-four years old, before the movie was released. Her husband died in the hospital the following day. People close to Elvis said he took her death hard, and was never able to watch the movie.

This is my favorite scene in any Elvis movie, ever. (Ignore the foreign subtitles and enjoy…)


Fast forward to his final movie in 1969, Change of Habit, where he played Dr. John Carpenter and Mary Tyler-Moore co-starred with him. Yep, still sexy…


Another movie I loved was Live a Little, Love a Little, for many reasons, but a big one is that he said my name in the movie…and hearing Elvis say my name was a thrill! 🙂 A few of my other favorites were Tickle Me and Girl Happy. But, I could go on and on, of course. Because, well, I’m a huge Elvis fan, if you haven’t already guessed. Not only was it fun to watch Elvis in the roles, what made his movies even better was that he starred with a lot of well-known actors, such as Charles Bronson, Nancy Sinatra, Ann-Margaret, Richard Egan, Angela Lansbury, and Bill Bixby.

I remember when we were young, my sisters and I going to the movies at the Chieftan in Oklahoma City and watching Elvis on the big screen. Heavenly!

Listening to Elvis radio now, I hear a lot of interviews with his co-stars and all of them have great things to say about him, about what a nice guy he was, how easy he was to work with, how he didn’t act like a star, and the women say he was a great kisser. I can only imagine. 🙂

As I stated previously, I mention Elvis in almost all of the books I write. So, of course I’m going to mention him a lot in a story set in 1957. Below is a snippet from my upcoming short story, End of Lonely Street, releasing with The Wild Rose Press on January 7, 2015.

 

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_FINAL

Blurb:

All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Excerpt:

Noah glanced around the diner. Toby followed his gaze. The counter was lined with customers. A jukebox sat in the corner. Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight” now belted from its speakers. “What happened to college? I thought you were getting your teaching degree.”

She shrugged and took the dish cloth from her apron pocket. “That was the plan.” She wouldn’t go into how she’d had to put off her schooling to come home and see after her mother. Surely he’d heard the story about Constance falling asleep with a lit cigarette and almost burning down the house—with her inside it—from the town gossip mill. “I finished my three years at University. Now I have to complete my Post-Graduate Certificate of Education. I had to put that on hold for a while, so in the meantime, I’m doing this.”

“Great. That means I’ll see you often. Maybe we can get together for a movie or something? Jailhouse Rock is showing at the Bijou.”

Elvis and Noah at the same time? Her heart wouldn’t take it.

Before the break-up, she’d gone to the drive-in to see Rebel Without a Cause with him. James Dean had died less than a month earlier, and she cried throughout the entire movie. Noah had held her, comforted her. Let her cry on his shoulder. That was their last movie together. The night remained a sad memory for more than one reason.

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Did you like watching Elvis movies when you were younger? Or, even now? What ‘guilty pleasure’ movies have you enjoyed over the years?

 

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