|mid April, 2005
Currently in the news: Songy/BMG UK's release of Elvis Presley singles
Go to earlier articles
- KING LIVE AT COFI ROC
By Tony Coates
(Yahoo! News / Entertainment - E! Online, April 14, 2005)
FOR the generation unable to experience a live Elvis Presley show, the next best thing is served up at Cofi Roc next week.
Elvis is more popular today than ever before. The obvious problem being that most of today's fans never had chance to witness the King live. With this in mind, Michael King & The King TCE Band have put together a show as close to the real thing as is humanly possible. Over two hours of the very best performances from Memphis to the International Hotel, Las Vegas. All shows are filled with the dynamic energy and power that Elvis himself thrilled his audiences with. Added to this are stunning costume changes and a fantastic rapport with the audience, making 'The Power of Presley Show' unequalled in its field.
Michael King really is Elvis in Wales, and takes great care to reproduce faithfully the format and presentation of the super shows of the sixties and seventies. King has been playing to rave reviews wherever he goes and Cofi Roc audiences are just some of the many North Wales venues that have marvelled at King's closeness to 'The King'. He has played Las Vegas, where he appeared with the Jordanaires - the backing group of Elvis - and was told by them that he was the nearest thing to Elvis they had seen and heard.
He was also presented with the Icon of the Year Award by the United States largest Elvis fan club. Michael King will present his tribute to Elvis at Cofi Roc on Friday, April 23, so it's now or never for a little less conversation, seeing and believing is what its all about.
- Johnnie B. Gone
By Josh Grossberg
(Yahoo! News / Entertainment - E! Online, April 14, 2005)
To paraphrase the old Chuck Berry tune, bye-bye, Johnnie. Johnnie Johnson, the rhythm-and-blues piano wizard whose pioneering partnership with Berry produced such indelible tracks as "Roll over Beethoven" and "No Particular Place To Go" and helped to lay the foundations for rock 'n' roll, died Wednesday. He was 80. According to his agent at New York-based Talent Consultants International, Johnson died of natural causes at his home in St. Louis.
... Johnson, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, influenced generations of rockers through his collaborations with Berry--everyone from Elvis Presley and Little Richard to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. ... Berry wrote his best-known song, "Johnny B. Goode," in tribute to Johnson. ...
- Elvis convention returns to Toms River
(Tritown-News, April 13, 2005)
Andrew Howard and Zanzibarmusic of Old Bridge will present the fourth annual "Friends of Elvis" convention as it returns to the Toms River Ramada Inn, 2373 Route 9, Toms River, on April 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A number of Elvis impersonators will pay tribute to the king of rock and roll during the year of his 70th birthday celebration. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Vetshouse, an organization that helps homeless veterans get back on track from problems with alcohol and drugs. Friends of Elvis donated $815 for cancer patients at its 2004 convention and $1,500 for Ocean County Arc Jan. 5.
- SENIOR MOMENTS: Elvis Lives At Graceland
By Lois Larrance Requist
(vallejonews.com, April 13, 2005)
I wake early and go for a walk, next door to the parking lot at Graceland, a football field size lot. The banners above my head say, "Elvis Lives," and would you believe, in the distance, I hear him singing. I wonder if this goes on all night. Sirius Radio broadcasts Elvis Radio from here.
As I walk, I see the two airplanes that are part of the tour package, one named Lisa Marie. Across the street at Graceland, the gate is open. A guard is at the gate, but he is letting people walk up the long drive. A red-brick mansion with white columns, it sits well back from the road. Along the front is a stone fence, and almost every inch of it has been written on, notes from Elvis fans.
A man with a British accent asks, "Can you go in there?" "Yes. With a ticket. Opens at ten." He smiles. "Have to have a ticket, huh."
I had not realized that he bought the house in 1957, bringing his parents there, owning it for 20 years before his death. Touring it, and the grounds and museums is a saturation-in-Elvis event. Something melancholy about it as well. I think about this young kid from Memphis, who was successful almost overnight, then he became a corporation, and, by the time he died, the business didn't need him anymore, was enhanced, actually, by his death. Still the crowd loves it. The cds and t-shirts and endless other memorabilia fly out the door.
Remembering a picture I had seen in Chuck Panama's house, of him and Elvis, I have to call. Chuck is my son's father-in-law and handled publicity for Fox Studios. "Couldn't help thinking about you," I said. "I worked with him on the first film he did." I also remember my (late) husband, Tom, saying that when he was stationed in Germany, Elvis was in the same area. Tom was in the hospital at some point and, turned out, Elvis was in also with a throat problem. "You better believe, he was getting lots of attention," Tom said.
Let's see if I can put this in perspective. There are more people at Graceland today than there was at the Johnson and Clinton libraries together. Twenty-eight years after his death. "Probably making more money now than it did then," someone commented. Yes, Elvis lives.
- Shure Marks One Year Anniversary of Consumer Audio Business Unit, 80 Years in Professional Audio
Source: Shure Incorporated
(Yahoo! Finance / BUSINESS WIRE, April 13, 2005)
Serving the Professional Audio Industry's Leading Musicians and Engineers for Years, Shure Celebrates New Brand Recognition among Today's Most Discerning Consumers.
Used by the likes of Elvis Presley, Martin Luther King Jr., successful sound technicians, and all U.S. Presidents since Lyndon Johnson, industry leader Shure Incorporated has enjoyed an 80-year history as the premium choice of the professional audio industry. Today, however, the company celebrates an important new milestone: the one-year anniversary of its Personal Audio Business Unit (PABU), a division of Shure specifically designed to put professional-grade audio products into the hands of consumers. ...
- La Dolce Musto
By Michael Musto
(Village Voice, April 12, 2005)
In a particularly frantic mode, Broadway has been coughing up even more revivals than usual, mainly because they seem financially safe, and besides, Broadway loves reindulging in its past triumphs in a Norma Desmond-y reminder of its own eternal value. ...
VIVA LAS VEGAS
More Bard in modern dress comes, believe it or not, with the Elvis jukebox musical All Shook Up, which is an overextended variety show sketch and is dirt-dumb at times, but it does have genius sets, a lot of heart, and an agreeably kinky ending. I was titillated to run into CHEYENNE JACKSON - the show's pec-twitching "caveman with the libido of an Italian soccer team" - at AUBREY REUBEN's Outer Critics Circle party at Tony's Di Napoli. Naturally, we talked Elvis movies, with Jackson admitting he favors the king's hokier flicks like Harum Scarum - and yes, some of them are hokier than others. But Jackson had an in-the-flesh Presley encounter recently when ex-child bride PRISCILLA PRESLEY saw the show and told him Elvis would have approved. "She could tell I didn't take myself too seriously," Jackson said, "and she was glad I wasn't doing an Elvis impression. She said, 'Lord knows I've seen my share of terrible ones!' " Probably when she saw Harum Scarum. ...
- Paris court rejects French rocker's bid for master recordings
(Yahoo! News / AFP, April 12, 2005)
The Paris appeals court threw out a bid by veteran French rocker Johnny Hallyday to gain possession of some 1,000 master copies of his songs from recording company Universal. Overturning an August 2004 decision by an industrial arbitration board, the court ruled that Universal did not have to hand over the valuable originals of Hallyday's recordings dating back to 1961, which still sell well in France.
... Hallyday, France's most enduring rock icon best described as a French Elvis Presley in leather, is planning a concert tour for mid-2006 to celebrate his 63rd birthday, after a three-year break from live gigs. The court said those shows could be recorded and marketed by another label from 2007, but that company would have to pay a fee to Universal, to be decided at a later date.
Hallyday, who complained that he had been exploited by Universal, left the label in early 2004 and demanded that his master recordings be returned. Universal has maintained that it owns the masters.
- Cher-well: Londoners pack the John Labatt Centre to bid adieu to Cher in a glittering memory-fest before she wraps up her final tour
By JAMES REANEY
(London Free Press, April 11, 2005)
It was Cher-well and farewell at the John Labatt Centre last night. With the arena packed with fans adoring the diva, Cher said her final goodbye for the second time to London. "How important is your life compared to your audience's happiness?" Cher joked after sharing a few death-defying details about the spectacular entrance she uses on the tour. Last night, she descended from an enormous chandelier to her version of U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For without any danger. Sometimes, Cher's been left dangling during that entrance.
... This diva doesn't just wear her heart on her sleeve, like any other star on a farewell tour might do. She has it out there on her Cher-self. A few late-set songs were like that, too. Cher went back to a past hit, Love Hurts, and including Marc Cohn's Walking in Memphis, with video of her in Elvis drag. When she was growing up as a dark-haired kid in a world that worshipped blondes, Elvis Presley and Jimmy Dean were her heroes. So her rocking take on the song was her homage to Elvis. ... This was Cher's 315th gig on the Farewell Tour. The first time she hit London, on Oct. 23, 2002, she wasn't even at the 100 mark. The tour ends -- and Cher says farewell to live performances forever -- at the Hollywood Bowl on April 30 with show No. 325. ...
- John Paul's legacy takes priority, cardinal says: pope john paul II: 1920-2005
By Eric Gorski
(Denver Post, April 10, 2005)
Cardinal James Francis Stafford will carry much with him eight days from now when he and his colleagues file into the Sistine Chapel and begin secret deliberations to choose the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He will carry the memory of an elderly black woman from the Baltimore projects whom he met during his time as archbishop there. Each morning she would wake to the sound of a rooster crowing in a neighbor's yard, and she would pray. The cardinal calls the woman one of the great human beings he has met and "a pillar for my life." He says he will carry "the rock 'n' roll of Elvis Presley" from his experience as bishop in Memphis. ...
- Sir Elton praises rapper Eminem
(BBC News, April 8, 2005)
Sir Elton John has said rapper Eminem is on a par with music legends like Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger. Sir Elton made the comments in the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine, where the controversial rapper comes second in the magazine's Immortals edition. The issue features the 50 greatest figures of rock 'n' roll with appreciations written by other artists. ... The original top 50 Immortals were listed by Rolling Stone in 2004, with the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley coming out on top.
- The Pope: sainthood beckons for the holiest of all men ever
(London News Review, April 8, 2005)
"What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man," sang the massed crowds in St Peter's Square. Hundreds of thousands of mourners from all corners of the world inflated coloured condoms and waved them above their heads as they wept: a somehow hopeful symbol that Pope's lifelong battle against the evil of contraception will continue.
The Pope's funeral was attended by at least seventy presidents and prime ministers, more than a dozen religious leaders, four kings, five queens, three hundred seraphim and cherubim, the archangel Gabriel, the souls of Elvis Presley and Grace Kelly, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, God Almighty, and the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy MP. It has been called the greatest funeral of modern times, and has set the bar high for Queen Elizabeth II. ...
- Dead stars who rain money on the living
By Dan Glaister
(The Guardian, April 8, 2005)
Sale of image rights agency focuses attention on lucrative after-life of deceased celebrities. What happens to celebrities after they die? Well, for an increasing number of them, they are likely to end up endorsing a product they would never have imagined in their lifetime, will have their faces plastered over everything from credit cards to mouse pads, and will find their earnings outstripping their mortal returns.
The news this week that Corbis, the digital image company set up by Bill Gates in 1989, has bought a Beverly Hills company which owns the image rights to more than 50 deceased celebrities, has focused attention once again on the entertainment industry's ability to resurrect the dead.
... recent study by Forbes magazine found that the leading dead celebrity earner was Elvis Presley, who brought in $40m each year, followed by the Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, JRR Tolkien, and John Lennon. Last year Elvis Presley Enterprises was sold by the singer's daughter, Lisa Marie, for $100m.
- Elvis rocked and rolled, birthed an era
By HOWARD DUKES
(South Bend Tribune, April 8, 2005)
Elvis Presley wasn't the first rock star to appear on network television. That honor went to Bill Haley. But in order for rock 'n' roll to transform America's musical landscape, Elvis had to sing and swivel his hips on national television, Howard Kramer says.
Kramer, director of curatorial affairs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, will discuss how Presley's appearances on television in 1956 transformed rock from a fad into America's most popular music. Kramer's lecture will be at the Northern Indiana Center for History at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The ingredients needed to create rock music were coming together before Presley turned the music from fad to phenomenon, Kramer said. Many music experts believe that the first rock song was written and performed by Ike Turner in 1951. But in the early 1950s a song such as Turner's "Rocket 88" was labeled "race music" rather than rock. Kramer said the country was undergoing cultural changes that started to break down the barriers erected to keep people separated socially and musically.
For example, the invention of the transistor radio changed the way people listened to music. When families owned one console radio, listening to the radio was a communal experience. The transistor radio changed that. For a few dollars, a kid could buy a small radio to play in his room at night. Once the bedroom door closed, a teenager searched for stations that played musical styles that couldn't be heard during the daytime, Kramer said. Because of the country's post-World War II prosperity, millions of teenagers had money and time on their hands.
Howard Kramer will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Northern Indiana Center for History, 808 W. Washington St. Admission to "Elvis Presley, Television and the Explosion of Rock and Roll" is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, youths and college students.
The impact of the political changes that took place in the 1950s also played a role in the growth of rock music. The desegregation of the military and the growing civil rights movement encouraged black and white people to challenge social mores, according to Kramer. So by the mid-1950s, young people were ready for a different type of music. Many musicians were ready to give the public what it wanted.
Haley wrote several rock songs that found popular success before the movie "Blackboard Jungle" helped make the song "Rock Around The Clock" a giant hit in 1955. Haley even appeared on television months before Presley's TV debut in early 1956. "In August 1955, (Haley) appeared on Ed Sullivan's show when it was called 'Toast of the Town,' Kramer said. "But Haley was not nearly as telegenic as Elvis." Presley didn't appear on TV until 1956, but then was on 12 times between January 1956 and January 1957. That includes the famous Sept. 9, 1956 performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Kramer said his presentation will include clips from some of those performances. Those clips will display Presley's talent and the quality Presley used to transform the music industry -- his charisma. Kramer said TV was vital to displaying the impact The King's stage presence had on people. That response may have surprised even The King himself, Kramer said. Presley wanted to become a singer and actor, and he knew that he had talent. "But I don't think he knew what he had until he saw how people reacted to him," Kramer said. Elvis saw that response when he appeared at live venues such as Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, La.
When millions of people saw Elvis perform on TV two years later, the course of music history was forever changed.
- Elvis Online: Official site for the CBS mini
(FilmForce, April 8, 2005)
CBS has launched the official site for their new two-part event miniseries Elvis. The biopic stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the late King of Rock n' Roll.
The cast includes Camryn Manheim as his beloved momma Gladys, Robert Patrick as dad Vernon, Antonia Bernath as Elvis' wife Priscilla, Rose McGowan as starlet Ann-Margret, and Randy Quaid as manager Col. Tom Parker.
Not all of the links on the site are fully working as of yet but the features include a story synopsis, cast credits, videos, still photos, and a community section. The community section includes a sweepstakes entry, "Ask Camryn Manheim," a pop quiz, and a poll.
The logo on the site shows Rhys Meyers in moody profile as Elvis. This is the same image that residents of L.A. may have noticed gracing a billboard on the side of a CBS soundstage on Beverly Boulevard. The tagline on the Elvis billboard reads: "The legend you know. The story you don't."
As the official site reminds us, Elvis was produced with the full cooperation and participation of the Elvis Presley Estate, thus allowing the King's master recordings to be heard for the first time in a biographical film.
- Web only column: Riffs
By Ron Wynn
(Nashville City Paper, April 8, 2005)
Elvis Presley's first two RCA albums are incredibly significant releases and extremely misunderstood documents, even at this late date. The Presley bashers who maintain that he did little more than imitate or borrow completely overlook and ignore the amazing amount of influences that are synthesized into a single, vocally distinctive and remarkable sound. Some of his admirers also either forget or choose to ignore how much he loved blues, country, gospel (black and white) and even pop, and his shrewd awareness that the rock 'n' roll menu could successfully incorporate these things, though only a greatly skilled vocalist could utilize them.
The wonder, joy and majesty of the youthful Presley voice continually comes to the forefront on the latest CD reissues of these two dates Elvis and Elvis Presley (both BMG/RCA). Fortunately, Colin Escott, a truly knowledgeable writer, provides updated notes for these works. He understands the depth of Presley's accomplishments and the role others played in shaping his style. A second plus is the inclusion of bonus tracks that weren't on the vinyl copies but are still connected with the sessions.
The original full-length Elvis album didn't contain the powerhouse single "Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog," unquestionably the biggest record of 1956 and one of the greatest in modern music history. Those two songs are among the bonus cuts, as well as "Love Me Tender," "Too Much," "Playing For Keeps" and "Any Way You Want Me." Still, hearing Presley put his stamp on "Long Tall Sally" and "Rip It Up,' then shift gears on "First In Line" or "Old Shep" is just as awesome an experience as hearing "Don't Be Cruel" or "Hound Dog" again.
The Sun singles may have had more raw, unbridled energy, but the RCA material contains a polish and flair that sometimes got overlooked due to the sheer ferocity of the sessions with Sam Phillips. Elvis Presley followed close on the heels of Elvis, and leads off with "Blue Suede Shoes," another case of a magical tune given such a dramatic and triumphant revision that Presley's version bowled over Carl Perkins' fabulous rendition. Once more Presley zips through R&B ("I Got A Woman," "Money Honey") country ("I Love You Because") pre-rock pop ("Blue Moon") and anything else he enjoyed and wanted to sing. The bonus tracks include the shattering "Heartbreak Hotel" and ringing versions of "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy" and "My Baby Left Me."
Besides Presley's ground-breaking lead vocals, the songs feature a host of marvelous musicians, among them guitarists Scotty Moore and Chet Atkins, bassist Bill Black, drummer D.J. Fontana, and pianists Floyd Cramer, Shorty Long or Marvin Hughes. Presley added his own guitar licks on some cuts, while the Jordanaires frequently provided inspired vocal backing.
There's so much political and cultural baggage attached to Presley that sometimes those on either side of the divide can forget just how wonderful these songs were and the life-changing impact they had when they came roaring over the airwaves in the '50s. But anyone who heard them growing up will immediately remember where they were the first time they encountered them. The glory of "Don't Be Cruel," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog" and "Love Me Tender" can never be dimmed, no matter how many woeful Elvis TV films come down the line or how often some of his legions engage in absurd hyperbole on satellite radio.
- Pontiac Silverdome To Close: Officials Say Closure Planned After 2006 Super Bowl
(clickondetroit.com, April 7, 2005)
The 80,000-seat Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the Detroit Lions, will close after the 2006 Super Bowl activities in early February, an official says. No more events will be booked and nothing but what is necessary to carry off the Super Bowl will remain after the end of December, said Frances Fowlkes, chairwoman of the Pontiac Stadium Authority. The Lions played Kansas City on Aug. 23, 1975 in the new $55.7 million stadium. Elvis Presley performed there on Dec. 3, 1975 to a sellout crowd. ...
- 'Callas Forever': Ode to a fading opera star
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
(Monterey County Herald / New York Times, April 7, 2005)
"Callas Forever," Franco Zeffirelli's worshipful cinematic tribute to his friend Maria Callas, is the kind of what-if movie you might have expected to be made about Elvis Presley but not about the quintessential opera diva of the 20th century. A lip-synching hall of mirrors, it is essentially a piece of highbrow karaoke. Where Elvis inspired an entire industry of groaning, gyrating impersonators, Maria Callas was vocally inimitable. She may have been memorably portrayed as a woman and voice teacher on the stage in Terrence McNally's play "Master Class," but no one has recreated the sound of her singing voice at the peak of its ferocious majesty. ...
- Briefly Speaking: Elvis exhibit aids Heritage
(The Guardian, April 7, 2005)
Graceland recently opened a new exhibit that explores Elvis Presley's ties to the city he loved and called home featuring several mural-size Don Newman photographs and Elvis artifacts from the Graceland archives. Made possible with the help of Memphis Heritage, whose 18-month calendar focuses on vintage photos that relate to Presley and the Memphis he knew, the "Elvis Presley's Memphis" exhibit will be in place for one year and is in the Sincerely Elvis Museum in the visitor center complex across the street from Graceland. Sales from the calendar (memphisheritage.org) benefit Memphis Heritage.
- Corbis buys agency that still represents Elvis
By Reed Stevenson
(The Guardian, April 7, 2005)
Corbis, the second biggest provider of archived news and advertising images, said yesterday it had acquired Roger Richman Agency, a licensing firm specialising in dead personalities including Elvis Presley, who reportedly still earns $40m (£21m) a year. It also represents Albert Einstein, the Marx brothers and Steve McQueen. ...