Presleys in the Press

Elvis and Religion
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Elvis and religion

Source: Reverend Howard Finster

  • AFN honors Elvis-loving Fairbanks minister Anna Frank
    By Mary Beth Smetzer
    (, November 1 2009)
    For the Rev. Anna Frank, itıs all about God's plan, with a little bit of Elvis thrown in for fun.

    Anna laughs about the Elvis posters and paraphernalia that fill her office at the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska chancery, which she jokingly refers to as her "Elvis shrine." "I even have an Elvis phone, and I get an Elvis calendar every year," she adds with a laugh.

    Anyone who knows Anna enjoys not only her humor, but respects her lifelong involvement helping out people throughout the Interior and beyond -- first as Minto postmaster and health aide and for the past 26 years in her multiple roles as an Episcopal minister.

    "Anna does lots," said the Rev. Scott Fisher, vicar at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. "It's easier to figure out what Anna doesn't do. She's involved in fundraisers, funerals, baptisms, weddings, flood victims, garage sales, counseling, plus being a grandmother and great-grandmother, and listening to Elvis Presley.

    "She's just good," Fisher continued. "She can be compassionate; she can be tough. She can be the grandmother and say 'do this and don't do that.' She's a great lady."

    In 1983, Anna became the first Native American woman ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. In the intervening years, her work and reputation has spread nationally and internationally and she has been recipient of many prestigious awards. Last month, Anna was honored with the Alaska Federation of Natives President's Award for Public Service at the AFN convention in Anchorage for her years of service and prison ministry outreach. She calls the latest recognition all part of "God's plan." ...

    Rev. Anna Frank poses in the Episcopal Diocese Offices.
    Frank was honored with the President's Award for Public Service at this year's Alaska Federation of Natives Conference in Anchorage.
    Behind her is a portrait of Peter Trimble Rowe, the first missionary Episcopal Bishop in Alaska, who served from 1895-1931.

  • Hip-Hop King shakes The Bank [concert review]
    ( / Sun Media, November 1 2009)
    He's sold more records than Elvis and holds the record for No. 1 albums in the Billboard 200. He co-owns the NBA's New Jersey Nets and swank nightclubs. He's the former CEO of Def Jam Records and he's married to Beyonce.

    Yeah, life's sweet for Jay-Z, and the King of Hip-Hop has paved the way for younger producer-musicians such as Timbaland, Ruff Ryders, The Neptunes and Kanye West, and at last night's big jam at Scotiabank Place, it's obvious Jay-Z isn't done with music yet. ...

  • Music Review: Elvis Presley - How Great Thou Art
    Written by David Bowling
    (, July 13, 2008)
    The 1960's found Elvis Presley cranking out two or three movies and accompanying soundtrack albums each year. By 1967 it had been almost five years since Elvis had issued a true studio album. How Great Thou Art would be a breath of fresh air for Elvis and his fans. Elvis returned to what may have been his strongest musical love and recorded an album of gospel and spiritual songs. The album would win the Grammy as the Best Sacred Performance of 1967. Interestingly while Elvis received many Grammy nominations the only three he would win were all for sacred music.

    I received this album as a present when it was released in 1967. Even in my Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan musical haze, I realized that this was an excellent album. Elvis would never release a bad gospel album. The songs meant something to him and so he would be invested in the recording process. This release was also produced by Felton Jarvis, who from that time onward would produce exclusively for Elvis.

    How Great Thou Art would reach only number 18 on the album charts. However, it would continue to sell and ultimately would surpass every one of his movie soundtracks in terms of sales except for Blue Hawaii.

    The traditional hymn and title song, "How Great Thou Art," was a perfect vehicle for Elvis' voice. A choir introduction leads to just his voice accompanied by a piano for the majority of the song. If anyone wants to hear the 1960's Elvis at his vocal best, this song is the place to start. "In The Garden" continues the focus on Elvis' vocals as there is just a subtle backing which includes piano, bass and strings. "Stand By Me" is a true classic as Elvis comes across as sincere in this smooth performance. "Somebody Bigger Than You and I" is a full blown production featuring an organ out front, a full choir plus some strings with Elvis soaring above the mix. The song continues to build throughout as Elvis brings it to an emotional conclusion.
    Side two of the original LP release was more up-tempo than side one as it contained three faster numbers. "So High," "Where Could I Go But To The Lord" and "If The Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side" are all given a bouncy treatment by Elvis and provide a good counterpoint to the combined seriousness and inspiration of the first side.

    The album concludes with the 1965 hit single "Crying In The Chapel." While it may not be a true gospel song, it certainly fits on this album. It was recorded in 1960 but not included on the His Hand In Mine album. Released as a stand alone single five years later it soared to number three on the charts Elvis strips this old standard down to its basics and gives it a unique interpretation.

    How Great Thou Art is one of the superior releases in the Elvis Presley catalogue. The production was crisp and the vocals, even on my old vinyl LP, are crystal clear. The Jordanaires and Imperials provide stellar backing vocals. The album remains a must for any fan of gospel and especially of Elvis Presley.

  • New religions for all walks of life: starting a new religion can be just a click away
    By Heather Wheatley
    ( / Campus Lifestyles, January 7, 2008)
    Starting a religion is relatively easy. The difficult part is creating scripture and establishing beliefs to convince others to join you. This is not a necessary step, but is an element in other religious groups searching for a different path. Such religions include, but are not limited to, The First Reformed Church of Spongebob; Jedi Church; The Church of Least Resistance; The Disney Bloodline (listed as evil); The Partridge Family Temple and The First Church of Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley. ...

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