Sammy takes all the chips in Elvis Trivialities #16

A trickily-worded question did not fool Sammy, and he became a first-time winner when he correctly answered Elvis Trivialities #16 yesterday.

And the answer is…

Elvis Presley included the song “What’d I Say” from Viva Las Vegas, his 1964 movie with Ann-Margret, in 1969 concerts at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

Elvis’ take on the Ray Charles tune was the B-Side of “Viva Las Vegas.” As for the A-Side, Elvis never once performed “Viva Las Vegas” live in Las Vegas or anywhere else, as far as has been documented. He did reference the movie title on occasion during his career monologues in his 1969 shows.

Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley in VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964, MGM)

For whatever reason, “What’d I Say,” the B-Side of the 1964 single, got slightly more traction, though it was inferior to the A-Side, “Viva Las Vegas.” “What’d I Say” hit #21 and “Viva Las Vegas” unfortunately only made it to #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Viva Las Vegas” and “Blue Suede Shoes” are probably Elvis’ best-known songs that failed to become top ten hits upon initial release.

Sammy takes home a big bucket of chips from the bragging rights table. He also becomes a member of that esteemed group of certified Elvis trivia experts, The Mystery Train’s Night Riders. Congratulations to Sammy!

You never know when the next Elvis Trivialities question will arrive. Will it be in seven minutes? Seven days? Seven years? Hedge your bets now by subscribing to The Mystery Train Blog. Then, you will be notified whenever there is a new post. “All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel” to win Elvis Trivialities.

The Mystery Train’s Night Riders

  • October 7, 2020: Sammy (3:18)
  • June 14, 2013: Alec (0:18) | Honorable Mention: Wellsy (3:01)
  • February 22, 2013: Thomas (13:36)
  • January 11, 2013: George Millar (4:19)
  • December 23, 2012: Thomas (0:36)
  • October 9, 2012: David (14:38) | Honorable Mention: John (22:06)
  • February 4, 2012: Thomas (13:52)
  • February 3, 2012: Thomas (2:18)
  • December 21, 2011: Wellsy (2:37)
  • October 31, 2011: Thomas (17:32)
  • October 1, 2011: Jimmy Cool (1:01)
  • September 9, 2011: Steve Brogdon (0:17)*
  • August 6, 2011: Thomas (2:26)
  • July 9, 2011: Thomas (5:26)
  • June 23, 2011: Fred Wolfe (0:18)
  • June 22, 2011: Ty stumps the train (no winner)

*Record time

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14

Elvis Trivialities #16

Welcome back to Elvis Trivialities! It has been over seven years since our last question. Here we go again!

Elvis Trivialities On

Your question is…

What song from a 1964 movie with Ann-Margret did Elvis Presley include in 1969 concerts at the International Hotel in Las Vegas?

If you’re the first person to answer this question correctly in the comments below, you will win more bragging rights than you can imagine.

Only one answer per person, so make it a good one.

Good luck!

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
Proverb 13:20

The Elvis Movie Awards (The Edge Of Reality #9)

What if the “Elvis movie” genre had its own awards show? Take a walk down the sepia carpet into. . . the edge of reality.

The Edge Of Reality

Below are the winners of the Elvis Movie Awards. Each winner takes home a prestigious Hal statuette.


“Jailhouse Rock” from Jailhouse Rock — Lyrics by Jerry Leiber; Music by Mike Stoller


Elvis—That’s The Way It Is — Herbert F. Solow and Dale Hutchinson, Producers


King Creole — Herbert Baker, Michael Vincente Gazzo

Actress In A Supporting Role

Dolores Hart in LOVING YOU

Dolores Hart in LOVING YOU

Dolores Hart — Loving You (“Susan Jessup”)

Actor In A Supporting Role

Walter Matthau in KING CREOLE

Walter Matthau in KING CREOLE

Walter Matthau — King Creole (“Maxie Fields”)


Ann-Margret in VIVA LAS VEGAS

Ann-Margret in VIVA LAS VEGAS

Ann-Margret — Viva Las Vegas (“Rusty Martin”)


Elvis Presley in CHANGE OF HABIT

Elvis Presley in CHANGE OF HABIT

Elvis Presley — Change of Habit (“Dr. John Carpenter”)


King Creole — Michael Curtiz

Best Motion Picture

Jailhouse Rock — Pandro S. Berman, Producer

Winners are now on their way to the most exclusive after party of them all, located somewhere deep in the heart of… the edge of reality.

[With apologies to Serling.]

Victory in Vegas for Elvis the Jedi Master

And now, one from the archives. This is a vintage 2008 post that I wrote for my sci-fi blog, long before The Mystery Train Elvis blog first rolled out of the station.

“I’m the only human who can do it.”
–Anakin Skywalker (on podracing), Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace

Could Elvis have been a Jedi Master? We may never know, but he sure raced like one. When I first saw Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace back in 1999, I remember thinking that the podracing sequence on the planet Tatooine seemed a little familiar. At the time, there were rumors that it was based on the chariot race in Ben-Hur, so I chalked it up to that.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out why the race seemed so familiar. It didn’t hit me until I was watching Viva Las Vegas one day. Though some of these connections are admittedly a stretch, several of the similarities between the two races are quite striking.

In Viva Las Vegas, Elvis stars as Lucky Jackson, a down-on-his-luck racecar driver who enters the Las Vegas Grand Prix race. The event takes place in the Nevada desert. Much of the Las Vegas economy is based on gambling.

In Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace, Jake Lloyd appears as Anakin Skywalker, a young slave who enters the Boonta Eve Classic podrace. The event takes place in the Tatooine desert. Much of the Tatooine economy is based on gambling.

The beautiful Ann-Margret appears as Elvis’ co-star and love interest, Rusty Martin.

The beautiful Natalie Portman co-stars as Anakin’s eventual love interest, Padmé Amidala. I say “eventual” because Anakin is only nine-years-old in Episode I. The real romance for them doesn’t start until Episode II.

As a variety of cars take their places on the starting grid, Elvis is a late entry.

As a variety of podracers take their places on the starting grid, Anakin is a late entry.

Elvis’ main rival, who is favored to win the race, drives a red-orange racecar.

Anakin’s main rival, who is favored to win the podrace, pilots an orange-red podracer.

Elvis’ supporters take a helicopter to watch the race from the air above the desert.

Anakin’s supporters take a viewing platform to watch the podrace from the air above the desert.

In his silver and blue racecar, Elvis concentrates as the race across the desert begins.

In his silver and blue podracer, Anakin concentrates as the race across the desert begins.

Elvis tries to catch up to the leader.

Anakin tries to catch up to the leader.

Elvis checks to the right, wearing a lightning bolt on his helmet. (This actually looks a lot like the TCB lightning bolt that Elvis would later use as a personal emblem.)

Anakin checks to the right, while a lightning bolt helps power his podracer.

Elvis’ supporters watch the race with mounting dread.

Anakin’s supporters watch the podrace with mounting dread.

Elvis finally begins to close in on the leader.

Anakin finally begins to close in on the leader.

Elvis pulls alongside the leader, who has a much bigger racecar than he does.

Anakin pulls alongside the leader, who has a much bigger podracer than he does.

Elvis’ supporters can’t watch, for they fear he will crash out of the race.

Anakin’s supporters can’t watch, for they fear he will crash out of the podrace.

Elvis’ rival crashes and the rest of the field passes by.

Anakin’s rival crashes and the rest of the field passes by.

Elvis’ supporters celebrate as he takes the lead.

Anakin’s supporters celebrate as he takes the lead.

Elvis wins the race!

Anakin wins the race!

And Elvis gets the girl! (Lucky marries Rusty.)

It takes another ten years, but Anakin eventually gets the girl, too! Anakin (Hayden Christensen) marries Padmé in Episode II.

So, there you have it. Evidence that the Force was with Elvis Presley. As for Anakin Skywalker, sure, he may have been one of the most powerful Jedi ever, but could he belt out songs like “Viva Las Vegas” and “What’d I Say”? I don’t think so.

Star Wars and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Lucasfilm Ltd. For official Star Wars information, visit Lucasfilm Ltd.’s Star Wars site.

Viva Las Vegas film content © Turner Entertainment Company and Warner Home Video. For official information on the Viva Las Vegas film, visit Warner Brothers’ Viva Las Vegas page.

The Mystery Train believes that everything included in this post falls within the fair use clause of trademark and copyright. No infringement is intended.

Perfection, Remixed: Applying the Rules of Elvis to Beyoncé

Beyoncé Knowles live on stage in Las Vegas, 2009

Beyoncé Knowles live on stage in Las Vegas, 2009

So, I recently bought Above And Beyoncé: Dance Mixes, which features remixes of songs from Beyoncé Knowles’ I Am… Sasha Fierce album.

I’m a Beyoncé fan, but my initial reaction to playing the remixes through a couple of times was disappointment.

The dance rhythms became repetitive and the whole listening experience was tiring by the end. Besides, the original versions were better, so why bother?

However, I stuck them on my iPod anyway and they became part of my normal shuffle rotation. I soon found what I should have realized all along: The remixes were much better out of context.

In other words, a remix of “Sweet Dreams” can sound incredible when you’ve not just heard six other remixes right in front of it.

Why should I have realized this? Because I realized the same thing about Elvis Presley remixes years ago. Elvis remixes date back to 1980’s Guitar Man LP. It featured new background tracks for the following songs:

  • Guitar Man/What’d I Say
  • After Loving You
  • Too Much Monkey Business
  • Just Call Me Lonesome
  • Lovin’ Arms
  • You Asked Me To
  • Clean Up Your Own Back Yard
  • She Thinks I Still Care
  • I’m Movin’ On

Though the “Guitar Man/What’d I Say” single hit #1 on the Country chart in 1981, it became fashionable over the years to hate this album for daring to alter the original versions.

In 2000, FTD apologetically re-released the above songs on CD, along with others from the same remix sessions. The sarcastically-titled Too Much Monkey Business entered my CD collection as soon as it became available. The previously unreleased remixes from that album were:

  • Burning Love
  • I’ll Be There
  • I’ll Hold You In My Heart
  • In The Ghetto
  • Long Black Limousine
  • Only The Strong Survive
  • Hey Jude
  • Kentucky Rain
  • If You Talk In Your Sleep
  • Blue Suede Shoes

Between Guitar Man and Too Much Monkey Business, were any of the remixes better than the originals? Probably not, though there may have actually been one or two contenders (“Clean Up Your Own Back Yard” comes to mind).

Why do they have to be better, though? The fact that they are different and sound “new” is what makes them fun. They do not replace the originals, but stand beside them as another interpretation. You see, I already knew this about Elvis remixes. I just didn’t think at first to apply that line of reasoning to Beyoncé as well.

2002’s “A Little Less Conversation” remix by JXL brought Elvis back to the top of the charts for the first time since, well, Guitar Man! To this day, the JXL remix gets tons of airplay in various media.

I loved the Elvis vs. JXL “A Little Less Conversation,” as well as its follow-up, 2003’s Paul Oakenfold “Rubberneckin'” remix. An alternate remix of “Rubberneckin'” by Jason Nevins from that same time period is also fantastic.

In 2008, DJ Spankox remixed Elvis songs for an entire remix album, Elvis vs. Spankox Re:Versions. Rather than taking relatively obscure songs like “A Little Less Conversation,” Spankox took a bolder approach and went after some of Elvis’ better-known songs, including some of the original Sun masters. Since then, he’s even released a sequel album of additional remixes.

Much like Above And Beyoncé, listening to Too Much Monkey Business or Elvis vs. Spankox Re:Versions as albums in their entireties is really not that enjoyable.

Take the remixes out of that context, though, mix them in with your other music, and suddenly remixes of “Lovin’ Arms” or “Too Much” can sound incredibly fresh. Just don’t play all of your remixes back to back.

* * *

A lot of you are already familiar with the Elvis Today blog, but if you haven’t already done so, be sure to read Thomas’ recent reviews of the book Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business and the Sony Legacy CD On Stage. As usual, Thomas is spot-on in his analysis.