|mid April, 2005
Currently in the news: Songy/BMG UK's release of Elvis Presley singles
Go to earlier articles
- Historian claims Quantrill's death greatly exaggerated
By Dave Ranney
(LJWorld.com, April 19, 2005)
Some cannot accept that Elvis died. Others suspect Marilyn Monroe escaped death's clutches and is living blissfully with John F. Kennedy. Now, according to an Arkansas researcher, there's proof William Quantrill, Lawrence's historical archenemy, actually survived the Civil War and lived into contented old age. David Kennedy, of Beebe, Ark., says after 15 years of research he can prove Quantrill staged his own death, went on to raise Cain with the notorious bank robbers Frank and Jesse James, and later married and settled down in Arkansas. ...
- Thompson TV Targets Elvis' Female Fans
(subscription required for full article)
By Jim Lovel
(AdWeek, April 18, 2005)
ATLANTA Graceland, Elvis Presley's former home in Memphis, Tenn., will air television ads for the first time this month to attract fans and tourists to the mansion. Thompson & Co., an independent Memphis shop, has produced two 30-second spots that use vintage home movies of The King, including some footage never shown publicly before. The ads will begin airing on Dish Network satellite channels HGTV, Lifetime, Food Network, Style, Discover Home, WE, Lifetime Movie Network, Discover Health, DIY, Wisdom Television and SoapNET.
- Favre, Hefner, Oprah Lead 'Greatest American' List
(Zap2it.com, April 18, 2005)
From George Washington to George Washington Carver, from Babe Ruth to Michael Jordan, from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra and from John Wayne to Tom Hanks, the Discovery Channel and AOL unveiled a list of the 100 Greatest Americans on Monday (April 18). It's a list that is sure to stir up plenty of discussion as Discovery prepares to launch its "Greatest American" series this summer. Matt Lauer will host "Greatest American," which will premiere Sunday, June 5 on Discovery after AOL users get a second chance to vote on their favorites
Although such founding fathers as Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin make the list, it shouldn't be surprising that American Online users are fairly convinced that politics, art and sports have all reached their peaks in the past 100 years. ... Being president recently is apparently a mark of greatness. Gerald Ford was shunned, but even Richard Nixon seems to be one of the 100 Greatest Americans. However, moving back through history, such chief executives as Woodrow Wilson, James Madison and James Monroe weren't worthy of mention.
... How can a list have George Lucas, but not Frank Capra, John Ford, Martin Scorsese? Who thinks that Madonna, faux British accent and all, is a greater American than Bob Dylan? Sure, Hugh Hefner is a great American man of letters, but where is Walt Whitman? Michael Jackson may be facing child molestation charges, but he makes the Top 100 and no matter how much personal scandal Rush Limbaugh and Martha Stewart have had to deal with, they're here too. Mel Gibson and Michael Moore had two of the most controversial films of the past year, but both men can stake a claim to being one of history's Greatest Americans. Tom Cruise? Ellen DeGeneres? Pat Tillman? John Edwards? Dr. Phil?
Let the discussion begin.
- Elvis wannabes shake, rattle and roll
(South African Times / AFP, April 18, 2005)
A group of 100 Elvis Presley impersonators gathered in a London department store for a unique world record attempt. Their task: singing Viva Las Vegas all at the same time. Britain's Selfridges department store, on Oxford Street in central London, was the venue for the bizarre gathering on Sunday, designed to get the participants into the Guinness Book Of World Records.
They were also competing for the chance to win a gig in Las Vegas as part of the store's Vegas-themed shopping celebrations this month.
- Britain's Tory Candidate Running as Mr. Congeniality
By ALAN COWELL
(New York Times, April 18, 2005)
The candidate has switched his navy blue suit jacket for a sweater and a blue rosette with his name: Michael Howard. "Hello, how are you?" he asked strangers on Saturday as he propelled himself and a retinue of camera crews and reporters briskly down High Street in this seaside town - past Stead & Simpson's shoes, the King's Head pub, Pepper's Health Food and Sharon's music, where a statue of Elvis Presley was on display. ...
- The Annotated Elvis
(Power Line, April 17, 2005)
Like John, I grew up in the '60s idolizing the Beatles. It took me a long time to hear the music of Elvis Presley with fresh ears attuned to its riches. I've written a lot here sharing my discoveries and am easily prompted to return to the subject. If I had to choose male and female artists of the century in popular music, Elvis and Ella Fitzgerald would be my picks.
RCA has facilitated the efforts of latecomers like me to Elvis's artistry by bundling Elvis's principal popular work into three beautifully presented boxed sets organized by decade, with separate sets devoted to his gospel and film work. The boxed sets are revelatory; perhaps most surprising to me is the magnitude of Elvis's accomplishment continuing into the '70's, represented in the third of the three boxed sets.
Having immersed myself in this music over the past several years, I offer ten great songs of Elvis Presley and a comment or two on each, purely for illustrative purposes. The first five derive from Elvis's initial recordings for Sun Records and are available on the magnificent "Sunrise" or on the first of the RCA boxed sets. . ...
- Tom: The day I nearly ended it all...
By Leah Oatway
(icWales, April 17, 2005)
TOM Jones almost killed himself just weeks before becoming a superstar because he was afraid of failing Wales. The Pontypridd crooner, who celebrates his 65th birthday in June, says he almost threw himself under a London Underground train just before he hit number one with It's Not Unusual. Jones, who was already married and a father, having got his 16-year-old girlfriend Linda pregnant when he was 17, had been forced to leave his wife and son Mark at home in Wales while he did numerous unproductive rounds of record companies in London.
Last night he recalled being at a tube station watching a train approach as he stood on the platform, and thought how easy it would be to end it all by throwing himself in front of it. He said: "For a split second I thought, 'Aww, f*** it, if I just step to the right it'd be over'. I felt so down because I didn't know what to do. That very rarely happens to me. I didn't want to go back to Wales without proving myself. I wasn't making any money." But luckily, Tom says, thoughts of his family saved him: "Things flash through your mind. What about your wife? What about your son? What about your mother and father? How would they feel? But for that split second - that's as low as I've ever got. Just before It's Not Unusual." A month on, Tom's single was at number one and he became an instant star.
Forty years later, Tom, who counted Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra among his closest friends, says he is surprised he still has sex appeal. ...
- Tom Jones: The devil in Mr Jones
By Andy Paradise
(The Independent, April 16, 2005)
... Forty years on from his first and greatest hit "It's Not Unusual", and countless albums and greatest-hits collections later, Tom Jones is still going strong, still just there - though he's now reaching pensionable age (he celebrates his 65th birthday on 7 June). ... When he first started singing in the clubs of south Wales, people would tell him he sounded black and later when he was first played on the radio, people thought he was black. In America he broke on black radio. "I was listening to the BBC radio in the late Forties, early Fifties, when I was a kid," he explains. "And anytime a gospel or blues song would come on, I would think: 'What is that?' It was rubbing off on me. I didn't know why, I just liked it. In school I sang the Lord's Prayer, and my teacher said to me, 'Why are you singing this like a negro spiritual?' I didn't know what the term was; I was very young, seven, eight. It was very natural for me to do it."
... How did the underwear thing start? "It was in 1968. I was booked into the Copacabana in New York. An American agent had seen me at The Talk of the Town in London in '67 and asked me if I wanted to play the Copa and I said, 'Yeah, America, why not?' So we came in '68. It was a club where there's no stage; you're singing on the dance floor on the same level as the audience. So I'm doing my thing, and I perspire when I sing, and these women are handing me these table napkins, and I'm wiping myself and giving them back. Then all of a sudden one woman stands up, lifts her dress and takes her panties off. You learn when playing in rough places to try to make the most of it. Don't get offended, don't get thrown. So I said, 'Careful not to catch a cold.' All of a sudden it was written up in the papers, and there's underwear all over the place. But the original thing was a sexy thing."
A string of hits followed each other, and Jones's fame grew larger and larger until he was too big for England and moved to America. He played the Ed Sullivan Show and was told, nine years after Elvis was filmed from only the waist up, that if he did his by-now trademark snake-hips shake when singing, the camera would come off him. He continued to play the legendary Copa, and of course Vegas, where he befriended Sinatra and Elvis and straddled the Strip as an equal colossus.
And the mafia loved him, which, let's face it, is a lot better than the alternative. [Presley in the Press's emphasis] "Thank God, they always said, 'Hey, Tommy, you're a man's man. Fuckin' beauuutiful!'" In Vegas, Jones and Sinatra played Caesar's Palace, and drew a lot of high rollers, and the mob. "Frank told me himself, 'You know we got things wrapped up. When we're not here, they can shoot cannons off the stage and it won't fucking hit anybody.' He'd tell me, 'You know who is in the audience?' and I'd say, 'Oh, I see 'em,' and he'd say, 'They love you. They've taken to you like you're me.' I always thought I was closer to Elvis Presley, but in that Vegas thing, I was closer to Sinatra in terms of the people we were drawing."
Elvis thought Tom was the greatest singer in the world, and would sometimes walk out on stage when Jones was performing and say exactly that to the crowd. They were great friends too, and often sang together but only in private, just the two of them playing guitars and singing their favourite songs. Once when Jones was touring Hawaii, Elvis, there on vacation, invited him over to his house. When Tom arrived, Elvis was missing. He'd realised he didn't have any guitars at the house and had gone out to buy two, walking into the first instrument store he found and announcing to the dumbstruck shop assistant: "Tom Jones is coming to my house today and I need two guitars."
Jones told me a story about being invited to Elvis's suite one day in Vegas. He walked in to find the King on an exercise bike, one that had the moving handlebars you're supposed to hold to work out your upper body at the same time. Elvis, in a tracksuit, was leaning back, pedalling, the handlebars moving in and out on their own, with a phone in one hand and a devilled egg in the other, a tray of devilled eggs balanced on his large belly and bits of egg between his fingers where he'd mushed them while eating. "Do you exercise, Tom?" he asked. "Yeah, I do Elvis, every day" replied Tom. "Me too," said Elvis. ...
- Meeting set to discuss Elvis celebration
(Sweetwater Reporter [Texas], April 16, 2005)
If you are interested in helping plan a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley's concerts in Sweetwater, please attend an organizational meeting, Tues-day, April 19, at 5 p.m., at the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce, 810 East Broadway. If you have memories, photos, tickets, etc. from either of Elvis Presley's two concerts in Sweet-water in 1955, we want to talk to you. We are planning a commemorative section reflecting on Elvis and his influence on Sweetwater. If you have something to contribute, please contact Brenda Adams at 236-6677 or Lynn Adams at 235-5488.
- Final cleanup starts at AMI: Bio-ONE working with firefighters to decontaminate 305,000 pounds of photos and other paperwork
By Dale M. King
(Boca Raton News, April 16, 2005)
Men wearing white biohazard suits and air-filtration masks will be working the lower levels of the former American Media Inc. building in Boca Raton for the next few weeks to eradicate the last vestiges of anthrax contamination. Cleanup crews from Bio-ONE, assisted by off-duty Delray Beach firefighters, are fumigating tons of building contents that were boxed and stored away last year when the firm decontaminated the interior of the structure. The AMI building, formerly the headquarters of tabloid publisher American Media Inc., was the scene of an anthrax outbreak in October 2001 that killed Sun photo editor Bob Stevens. It has been vacant since then.
... Some firefighters ... have already been inside to help sort the material to be fumigated. Among the tons of material are 4.5 million photos from AMI's archives. The famous picture of Elvis Presley in his coffin is among them. ...
- Story of Jesus as sung by Elvis, John, Jimi, Bob
By Nick Crews
(indystar.com, April 15, 2005)
To hear Claude McNeal tell it, it wasn't Alan Freed, Elvis or Little Richard who gave us rock 'n' roll. McNeal's "Rockspell: The Gospel According to Rock," running at American Cabaret Theatre through May 15, suggests rock's origins go back further -- much further. Think the Bible story when a "rock" miraculously "rolled" away from the door of a certain tomb.
And while no one is saying God predated Elvis as rock's original King, "Rockspell" comes pretty close.
Conceived and directed by McNeal and Mary Lou Szczesiul, "Rockspell" draws on rock songs from the 1960s and '70s to retell the Gospel story. The show, which premiered at ACT in 1998, features rock icons sitting in as deities: Elvis is God (late Elvis, that is). John Lennon is Jesus. Jimi Hendrix is the Holy Ghost. Bob Dylan is John the Baptist. "Rockspell" unfolds its story entirely through classic rock lyrics and a "slide narrative" that flashes onto large screens flanking the stage everything from rock-star pin-ups to pop-art images to Bible verses.
The trippy approach to the Greatest Story Ever Told is problematic. After all, Lennon sang, "Imagine there's no heaven." To equate him -- even by implication -- to Jesus is trivializing and brings the show dangerously close to blasphemy. Besides that, many of the songs come off as a "forced fit." ...
- Singer CHRIS LOGAN Lays Down Vocals For 'Crazy' Movie Soundtrack
(BLABBERMOUTH.NET, April 15, 2005)
Singer Chris Logan spent time in the studio in February laying down his vocals for the soundtrack to the movie "Crazy". "It is the Hank Garland story," Logan writes on his web site.
"For those unfamiliar with the name, Hank Garland was a prolific guitar player of the '50s and '60s," the singer continues. "A major portion of his work was done with with Elvis Presley, so I did a couple Elvis songs for the movie. Quite an interesting singer, Elvis was. I had always goofed around singing like him as a kid, but I'd never taken a serious approach to it until recording these tunes. The man was quite simply a genious [sic] - an amazing vocalist who was far ahead of his time."
Logan is one of the featured singers on MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP's upcoming 25-year anniversary CD, "Tales of Rock 'n' Roll", tentatively due before the end of the year. Chris also appears on former OZZY OSBOURNE/BADLANDS guitarist Jake E. Lee's "covers" album, "Retraced", due in the U.S. on April 26 via Shrapnel Records (the CD will be released in Europe on April 25 through Mascot Records).
- Skaggs, Harris, Krauss and Others Talk About Being in the Band: Group Mentality Explored in CMT 20 Greatest Country Bands
(CMT.com, April 15, 2005)
A band is a group of musicians, but a great band is much more than that. Top notch musicianship is a plus, of course, but great bands are as much about attitude, energy, chemistry, luck, magic and a thousand other elements -- defined and undefined -- that somehow come together at a given time. And even if you can't fully explain it, you knows when you hear a truly great band.
Several of the most influential bands in country music history are highlighted during CMT 20 Greatest Country Bands, a special premiering Saturday (April 16) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
As a founding member of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Desert Rose Band, Chris Hillman has been involved in three bands that have made a major impact on modern music. ... For [Emmylou] Harris, assembling her first Hot Band with legendary guitarist James Burton was a key reason she drew crowds to her early shows after releasing her major label solo debut album in 1975. Burton's career as a studio musician had already included classic recordings with Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Buck Owens, Johnny Rivers, the Monkees and many others. "When I first started, nobody did know who I was," Harris says. "But I felt having James Burton -- probably the greatest country guitar player, one of the great guitar stylists in the world -- there were people coming just to see him. And that did not bother me at all. In fact, I loved it. It almost took the pressure away." ...
- Who's Bad?
By Brett Pulley
(Forbes.com, April 15, 2005)
Just as he finds himself sitting in a courtroom, pondering the possibility of prison and fighting the legal battle of his life, Michael Jackson is now also facing an urgent financial crisis that could cause him to lose part of his valuable music publishing business.
The onetime King of Pop, whose lavish spending and mounting legal bills have caused him to borrow heavily against his music publishing assets, is being asked to immediately sell part of his business to satisfy debt. Jackson's Mijac Music Publishing, which includes the performer's own hit songs as well as songs from other top acts such as Elvis Presley and Sly and the Family Stone, is valued at about $150 million. But Jackson has borrowed $69 million using Mijac and his Neverland home as collateral. Neverland is valued at $55 million. To service the interest on that loan, which was made by Bank of America, Jackson is required to maintain a pool of $3 million. However, he recently missed a $350,000 payment to the pool, prompting his lenders to threaten to call the loan, according to sources close to Jackson.
As a result, a group, including some of Jackson's business and legal advisers, has crafted a proposal for him to sell Mijac and has given him until early next week to make a decision. ...
- From Elvis' Historic Lauderdale Courts Apartment, Visitors Can Find Themselves Walking in Memphis to Rock 'n' Roll Sites
(Yahoo! News / PRWEB, April 15, 2005)
Historic Lauderdale Courts apartment location offers opportunity to walk in teenage Elvis' Memphis. With private stays year round and public tours twice yearly in August and January, Lauderdale Courts lets visitors relive rock 'n' roll history.
There is only one place on earth you can stay where Elvis lived. That place is Lauderdale Courts. Second only to Graceland, it is the Memphis home he lived in the longest. In 1949, the Presleys moved into 185 Winchester, #328 at Lauderdale Courts shortly after they moved to Memphis from Tupelo. The 689 square-foot, two-bedroom apartment was originally part of the Roosevelt-era WPA housing development that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It was here Elvis met other Memphis musicians, practiced in the basement laundry room and gained confidence by performing for family and friends in the community courtyards. He would cross two streets west to hear Southern gospel concerts in the now-razed Ellis Auditorium. ...
- Digital Presley commercial unlikely
(bignewsnetwork.com / UPI, April 14, 2005)
If rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley shows up in any future digital projects it will not likely be in a commercial, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Robert F.X. Sillerman -- who recently gained control of Presley's name, image and likeness -- said he doubted Presley would appear in a car commercial, the way the late Steve McQueen recently did. Sillerman also said he didn't think it would be a good idea to do with Presley what was done with the late Conway Twitty recently -- when bits of Twitty's old records were manipulated through a computer program to make it sound like he was singing a new song. I'm not sure you're going to see Elvis in a commercial, Sillerman said. With Elvis, less is more.
George Klein, a pallbearer at Presley's funeral who currently operates an Elvis station on Sirius satellite radio, said he would welcome a new Elvis record. I think it's strictly business and this is 2005, Klein said. He's been dead 27 years, and you have to move on. Market what you got. A duet with Britney Spears or something like that would be great.
- Jim Malloy, The Greatest Sound Engineer of all Time
(PRWeb, April 14, 2005)
Jim Malloy - Playback - A Collection of Stories and Musical Memories. A New and Long awaited Book by Jim Malloy has just been released. Jim Malloy, the Greatest Sound Engineer of All Time, recorded - over 1000 Major Albums - Some of Elvis Presley's biggest hits including his biggest seller,"How Great Thou Art" - 6 Grammy Nominations - Jim worked with some of the biggest artists of all time from Henry Mancini to Frank Sinatra to Johnny Cash.
... Get a behind the curtain and control board look and the recording sessions held with: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Hank Williams, Jr, Ike & Tina Turner, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Ed Brown, Charley Pride, The Statler Brothers, Homer & Jethro, Henry Mancini, Al Hirt, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Chet Atkins, Miles Davis, Floyd Cramer - Boots Randolph, Duke Ellington, Bruno Walter, Nelson Riddle, Duane Eddy, Neil Diamond, Gary Burton, Linda Ronstadt, Eddy Arnold, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Mahalia Jackson, Ray Stevens, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr., Paul Anka, Hugo Montenegro, Igor Stravinsky, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, The Carter Family, The Stoneman Family, Jack Benny, Perry Como, Anita Kerr Singers, Bobby Gentry, Norman Luboff Choir, Hugh X. Lewis, Lefty Frizzell, Lightniną Hopkins, Johnny Tillotson, Mitch Miller Singers, Billy Joe Walker, Jr., Jack Clement, Billy Vaughn, Jake Hess, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Herbie Mann, The Beach Boys, and many,many more. This is a must read book. ...
- Bling it on
By Laura Craik
(Evening Standard / thisislondon.co.uk, April 14, 2005)
Selfridges celebrates the glamour of Sin City from next week. Expect fantasy, rhinestone dust and showgirl garb worth gambling your wages on. THE Government might have backed down from its plans to allow a flurry of megacasinos across Britain, but on a large tranche of Oxford Street the spirit of Sin City is very much alive. The owner of Selfridges, Galen Weston, is gambling that a Las Vegas-themed month of festivities will swell the store's coffers in much the same way that last year's Brazilian festival did. Vegas Supernova will see Selfridges' giant windows transformed into a neon paradise celebrating all that is tacky but tremendous about Las Vegas.
The event kicks off next Wednesday with a lavish dinner in honour of David LaChapelle, the world-famous photographer whose work you might be more familiar with than you think if you own albums by Britney, Whitney and a host of other pop stars whom he has transformed with his ultra-kitsch vision. LaChapelle has created special photographic window displays for the store featuring neon showgirls, flashing dollar signs and everything else you'd expect to find on the Strip.
.. At D&G, Elvis T-shirts and rhinestone-dusted shirts formed part of a show that was kitsch even by Dolce & Gabbana's standards. Meanwhile at Versace, skintight cocktail dresses and high showgirl hair looked like a deluxe take on hooker chic. ... If you want to buy into the look, then Selfridges has all the fake tan treatments, potent cocktails, glitzy fashions and Elvis impersonators a showgirl could wish for. And if you don't, then just enjoy it for the spectacle. And what a spectacle it will be.
- Vegas Supernova runs from 22 April until 15 May.