Backtracking: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash on 'Sun Gospel' CD
By General Jabbo
(Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2009)
It has long been assumed that Sun Records founder Sam Phillips didn't like gospel music because he discouraged his greatest discoveries, including Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, from recording spiritual music for his Memphis label in the 1950s. But it turns out Phillips loved gospel music -- he just didn't think he could successfully market it in the mid-1950s when his rock and country records were exploding onto the charts.
"It certainly wasn't intentional neglect," Phillips says of Sun's lack of gospel focus in the liner notes to "Sun Gospel," a CD retrospective from Germany's invaluable reissue label Bear Family Records. "But you have to compromise. There is no telling what I could and should have done with gospel music from the Memphis area. I'm ashamed to say I barely touched the surface."
"Sun Gospel" contains 31 gospel recordings from Sun's vaults, most rarities, as well as a previously unreleased inspirational recitation by Phillips.
These historic recordings make you wish Phillips, who died in 2003 at the age of 80, had recorded more gospel music because he tried to draw just as much individuality and character out of these sessions as he did in his rock, blues and country selections. Phillips' other discoveries included Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Charlie Rich, each of whom is represented on this CD.
Heartbreak Hotels burned, Sillerman exits real estate biz
By James Doran
(New York Post, July 26 2009)
Bob Sillerman, the billionaire entertainment mogul who owns the rights to Elvis Presley's Graceland, Muhammad Ali and a big share of Simon Fuller's hit TV show "American Idol," is getting out of the real-estate business after losing hundreds of millions of dollars on just two failed projects.
"I think I have shown conclusively that I am not knowledgeable enough about the real-estate business," Sillerman told The Post in an exclusive interview. "I think I should leave it to other people to pursue."
Sillerman's decision comes amid a flurry of lawsuits surrounding the construction of one of the two projects -- a luxury golf course and resort on the Caribbean island of Anguilla.
The project has failed and is in default on loans and guarantees -- some of which are looked after by Credit Suisse.
"That project has stopped," Sillerman said.
Credit Suisse last week filed a lawsuit seeking repayment of more than $21 million in personal guarantees by Sillerman.
A second company -- Anguilla Equity partners -- filed a suit seeking more than $25 million in relation to that same failed project.
Sillerman said that he has spent so much of his fortune on the Anguilla project that he should not have to pay Credit Suisse much of the $21 million the bank demands.
"I was originally asked to invest somewhere around $15 million in the Anguilla project," Sillerman said. "But since then I have put in about $200 million more of my own money just to keep it going."
Sillerman said his decision to get into the real estate business was spurred by his love of Anguilla, where he keeps a home with his wife, the writer Laura Baudo.
"The government of Anguilla asked me to do something to help the island so I went in for the right reasons but at the wrong time," Sillerman said.
Sillerman's costs are and include more than $200,000 a month just to water the $12 million Greg Norman-designed championship golf course, court papers show.
The golf course is complete but the hotel and villas are not.
Without constant watering, golf courses in the Caribbean are doomed. Once the grass dies, they have to be reconstructed virtually from scratch.
The fate of the golf course became a bone of contention in a series of e-mails between a Credit Suisse banker and Paul Kanavos, Sillerman's business partner in developing the project.
In the final e-mail on the subject, Kanavos wrote: "Bob Sillerman is unwilling to provide further money to preserve the golf course.
"Tragically it will now be lost and will need to be completely rebuilt."
Credit Suisse declined to comment about the lawsuit other than to say they are agents for a consortium of lenders that invested in the Anguilla project.
Lawyers representing Anguilla Equity partners declined to comment about the other lawsuit.
Sillerman's Anguilla woes come hard on the heels of the failure of a $475 million Elvis-themed Las Vegas hotel being planned by FX Real Estate, a publicly traded property company controlled by Sillerman, of which Kanavos is the CEO.
"The plans for the Elvis Presley Hotel and casino have been cancelled," Kanavos said.
"Las Vegas is in a depression and I do not think there will be any need for additional hotel rooms in the city for at least the next five to seven years," Kanavos added.