Around the Elvis web in 80 seconds

Today, I want to point you over to some great posts that I’ve recently found around the web.

The Elvis Shuffle, Revisited. A couple of months ago, I told you about the incredible, thought-provoking Elvis essays that have been cropping up lately at The Sheila Variations blog. Well, those high-quality Elvis posts have continued. For example, here is an excerpt from Elvis Shuffle: Notes Taken By Hand On Flight to Chicago:

“‘Solitaire’ – ‘A loonely man’. Who could imagine that the jiggly boy in 1955 could sing like this? No wonder people still have a hard time taking EP whole. They still feel the need to break him down, piece him apart, make him manageable, palatable. He is neither.”

He Touched Me (FTD, 2011)Elvis was focused during the He Touched Me session. Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick would have us believe that Elvis’ attention was wandering during this session, but the new FTD release seems to tell otherwise. Over on Elvis Today Blog, Thomas Melin has posted a well-written review of the FTD Classic Album version of He Touched Me, Elvis’ 1971 gospel album that earned him his second Grammy.

A daily blog on everything Elvis Presley. Finally, I want to mention Elvis Day By Day, a news blog that has been tracking events in the Elvis world since January 2010. As someone who struggles to get a half dozen decent blog posts up a month, I can tell you that trying to compile a daily news blog is much tougher than it looks. It’s not a challenge I would want to take on, I’ll say that. Elvis Day By Day does a fantastic job of compiling news from various sources, doing a service to Elvis fans by giving us a quick, at a glance view of what is going on each day. Highly recommended.

Elvis 1967: Album Release #1 (How Great Thou Art)

How Great Thou Art became Elvis’ first album release of 1967 when it hit record stores that February. The LP, recorded May 1966 in Nashville, featured the following songs:

SIDE 1

  • How Great Thou Art
  • In The Garden
  • Somebody Bigger Than You And I
  • Farther Along
  • Stand By Me
  • Without Him

SIDE 2

  • So High
  • Where Could I Go But To The Lord
  • By And By
  • If The Lord Wasn’t Walking By My Side
  • Run On
  • Where No One Stands Alone
  • Crying In The Chapel (October 1960)

Though he had been nominated ten times in the past, Elvis went on to earn his first Grammy award for the How Great Thou Art album, which won for Best Sacred Performance of 1967. By March 1968, How Great Thou Art had also sold enough copies to earn a gold record.

Billboard article, March 30, 1968

Billboard article, March 30, 1968

After the lean years of 1964 and 1965, arguably the low points of his entire recording career, Elvis fired the opening salvos of what eventually became his comeback during that May 1966 session. How Great Thou Art features many moving performances, perhaps none more so than the title song. It also showcases the raucous energy of “Run On,” a song that rocked more than any of his recent secular efforts.

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Research Sources

  • Elvis Presley: A Life In Music – The Complete Recording Sessions by Ernst Jorgensen, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1998.
  • Billboard, Vol. 80, No. 13, Billboard Publications, Inc., March 30, 1968.
  • ELVIS: His Life From A To Z by Fred Worth and Steve Tamerius, Wings Books, New York, 1992.

Throughout 2011, The Mystery Train is commemorating the 44th anniversary of 1967. Why? Riders of this train love exploring Elvis’ entire career, not just the 1950s. Find out more here.

Elvis 1967: Single Release #1 (Indescribably Blue/Fools Fall In Love)

Elvis’ first record release of 1967 was the 45 RPM single “Indescribably Blue” backed with “Fools Fall In Love.” Recorded in Nashville the previous year, the single shipped on January 10. “Indescribably Blue” eventually made it to #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (February 25, 1967).

While it may not have been reflected in the chart position, “Indescribably Blue” was one of Elvis’ greatest records – showcasing a more powerful voice, yet harkening back to some of his earliest recordings. Elvis’ friend Lamar Fike, who passed away yesterday, apparently suggested that he record the song, which was written by Darrell Glenn.

The flip side was a cover of “Fools Fall In Love,” a Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller song first recorded by the Drifters in 1957. While Elvis’ version is good and manages to overcome a weak, almost movie-tune-style arrangement, I definitely have to give the Drifters the edge on this one.

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Research Sources

  • Elvis Presley: A Life In Music – The Complete Recording Sessions by Ernst Jorgensen, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1998.
  • The Elvis Encyclopedia by Adam Victor, Overlook Duckworth, New York, 2008.
  • ELVIS: His Life From A To Z by Fred Worth and Steve Tamerius, Wings Books, New York, 1992.
  • Billboard, Vol. 79, No. 8, Nielsen Business Media, Inc., February 25, 1967.

Throughout 2011, The Mystery Train Elvis Blog is commemorating the 44th anniversary of 1967. Why? Riders of this train love exploring Elvis’ entire career, not just the 1950s. Find out more here.