- Freddy Bienstock, Who Published Elvis Presley Hits, Dies at 86
By BEN SISARIO
(nytimes.com, September 24 2009)
Freddy Bienstock, a prominent music publishing executive who had a long association with Elvis Presley as his designated song screener, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 86.
... Born in Switzerland and reared in Vienna, Mr. Bienstock and his family, who were Jewish, fled to the United States in 1939 and settled in New Jersey. Upon visiting a cousin who worked as a Brill Building song plugger - pitching new material to bandleaders and singers ‹ a star-struck young Mr. Bienstock decided to go into music publishing. At age 14 he got a job as a stockroom clerk at Chappell Music and was soon plugging songs himself, turning to R&B music as the big-band era faded. By the mid-1950s he was working for his cousins Jean and Julian Aberbach, whose company Hill & Range had become the dominant publisher of country music. Like them, Mr. Bienstock had a strong Continental accent and cut an unusually debonair figure for the pop-music business, wearing monogrammed shirts and carrying a monocle on a silk cord.
Hill & Range's most promising client was Presley, and Mr. Bienstock was assigned to find him material. Songwriters, eager to be recorded, urgently satisfied Mr. Bienstock's every request, said Jerry Leiber, who with Mike Stoller wrote songs like "Jailhouse Rock" and "Don't" that became hits for Presley. "He'd say, 'I need a Christmas song, guys,' " Mr. Leiber said of Mr. Bienstock in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "Get it to me tomorrow morning; I don't care how good it is.' So Mike and I would stay up all night and write it."
It was also Mr. Bienstock's job to maximize income for his employer, and songwriters were often pressured to forfeit a large portion of their royalties to Hill & Range and Presley, a cut that Alex Halberstadt called "the Elvis tax" in "Lonely Avenue," his biography of the songwriter Doc Pomus.
During the 1960s Mr. Bienstock was charged with finding songs for Prelsey's many films. The pace of production - Presley was making three or four pictures a year, each with 10 or more new songs - wore down any quality control, he said in Ken Emerson's book "Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era." "It was not the best material after a while," he said. ...
- Elvis Ranch Up for Sale Again
By Jackie McPherson
(myeyewitnessnews.com, September 23 2009)
You could own a piece of pop culture, but it'll cost you a pretty penny.
Elvis Presley;s old ranch in Horn Lake is now up for sale. Prudential Realty put up 'for sale' signs yesterday. The asking price for the King of Rock n' Roll's old ranch is 6.5 million dollars. For that amount, you'll get 154.5 acres of land.
Desoto County records show Elvis Presley bought the property back in 1972. It was sold in 1977-- the year of his death. The family that now owns the land purchased it in 1980. Since then, there have been a few attempts to sell it. Seven years ago, it appeared the old ranch would be the site of a Circle G resort - complete with shops, golf courses and hotels.
That deal-- and another one to turn it into a Stars resort-- both eventually fell through.
"We tried to get it sold two times. Stars was the last one, but the money never came through. We got it through the Planning Commission, but the money didn't show" says Prudential Realtor Rodger Motz.
Now, once again, a piece of Elvis' past is up for sale.
The property just went on the market last month. So far, Prudential says they haven't heard from any potential buyers.
The old Elvis ranch sits at the corner of Highway 301 and Goodman Road in Horn Lake.
- Hot 100, but why no gals or Elvis?
By Simon Canning
(theaustralian.news.com.au, September 21 2009)
THERE are no women, Bob Dylan appears just once and Elvis Presley is nowhere to be seen -- it was enough to trigger an investigation by two ABC journalists into JJJ's Hottest 100 countdown that has resulted in allegations of censorship and fears of management reprisal.
ABC insiders expected the story by James West and Kate O'Toole to go to air on Monday night on the youth current affairs show The Hack, revealing how their own analysis of voting had created a very different list and questioning whether the voting results had been manipulated to support sales of the CD compilation available in stores. However, the story was pulled at the last minute, with rumours sweeping the ABC's Ultimo headquarters that management had moved in to censor what had been a damaging piece.
... The storm erupted several weeks ago when journalists at The Hack noticed that not a single female artist had made the list. Also missing were songs some members of the team interpreted as being shoe-ins for the list such as the Cold Chisel classic Khe San. The journalists obtained data from nearly half a million votes cast and after analysing the figures came up with different results to the official poll. ...
- Tom Jones recalls: 'If trouble came my way I had to deal with it in the best way I could'
By Robin Turner, Western Mail
(walesonline.co.uk, September 21 2009)
TOM JONES has spoken frankly about surviving head butting attacks in the Valleys, the day he nearly threw himself under a train and Elvis Presley's habit of turning off the television with a bullet.
And despite approaching his 70th birthday, Sir Tom has assured his legions of fans that retirement is still a long way off. Speaking to actor and comedian Rob Brydon, the singer said: ³My voice is as strong as ever so age has not caught up with me yet, although, yes, it will one day.
... Sir Tom met Elvis on the Paramount film set where the American superstar was filming Paradise Hawaiian Style. He said: ³Elvis came up and said: 'How the hell do you sing like that?' "I said: 'You're partly to blame, I listened to you and people like you.'"
The pair became firm friends until Presley¹s death in 1977 although Sir Tom told Brydon that Elvis had some "strange habits". He said: "It was before the days of remote controls. Elvis used to shoot the TV off. And I remember whenever he saw Robert Goulet [the Memphis singer] on the TV he used to shoot it, he would actually blow the TV up"
- Tom Jones' shock at Elvis Presley's gun
(newkerala.com, September 20 2009)
TOM JONES was once left shocked when he found ELVIS PRESLEY's gun in his dressing room lavatory.
The veteran Welsh singer struck up a close friendship with The King and they would often spend time together when they were in the same city on tour. But on one occasion, after Jones appeared at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, he was stunned to find a silver-plated Colt .45 automatic pistol on his toilet cistern after Presley had used the bathroom. Jones tried to discreetly hand it back, only to see the Jailhouse Rock hitmaker shrug off the incident. He says, 'I wrapped it up in this towel, took it out and said, very quietly, 'Er, Elvis, you left your gun in the toilet.' And Elvis just goes: 'Aw s**t man, ma .45', and stuck it in his belt. I was trying to be very discreet about the whole thing, but he couldn't have cared less.'
- Elvis raises the roof at Theriault
(thedailypress.ca / Timmins Daily Press, Ontario, CA, September 20 2009)
Known for his swiveling hips and a smooth voice, Elvis Presley will long be remembered as the King of Rock 'n' Roll. More than 30 years after Presley's death, others have stepped up to fill the void left in the hearts of fans. On Saturday, Roy Leblanc dressed in a leather suit and polyester jumpsuits at Ecole secondaire catholique Thériault to bring a little nostalgia to the city and help a good cause. ...
- Doctor had a Caddy from Elvis and a public spirit
(Contra Costa Times, September 20 2009)
Gerald Starkey, a Denver physician who loved public service, devoted nearly two decades to his work as medical coordinator for the city and county of Denver and also served as medical coordinator for the Denver police and fire departments. ...
- Rockin' on Heaven's Door at the Octagon
By Steve Sowden
(thisisthewestcountry.co.uk, September 20 2009)
THE Octagon Theatre in Yeovil will be playing host to Rockin' On Heaven's Door on September 27 a show which will send shivers down the spine with spookily convincing portrayals of musical giants
Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Now in its 12th fantastic year and backed by a superb five-piece band, this show delivers the feel-good factor from start to finish.
The show is on the Octagon from 7.30pm and tickets are priced from £18 to £16.
- ASK MR. KNOW-IT-ALL: Are you laughing tonight?
(indianagazette.com, September 20 2009)
THE Octagon Theatre in Yeovil will be playing host to Rockin' On Heaven's Door on September 27 a show which will send shivers down the spine with spookily convincing portrayals of musical giants Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Jerry Lee Lewis.
ANSWER: The song is "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" Elvis had a hit with the original version of the song in 1960. During live performances, he loved to change lyrics to make them a bit humorous. As the story goes: On Aug. 26, 1969, at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev., instead of saying, "Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there," he sang, "Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair." He saw a baldheaded man in the audience and became so overtaken by the scene that he began to laugh. There are several versions of the story, but I like this one the best. If you go to YouTube.com and enter the song, you can listen. It is available on the album "Elvis Aron Presley: The Silver Box Set," released by RCA in 1980.