LAAADEEEZ AND GENTLEMEN
AND BLUE SUEDE
STANDING 6 FEET, ONE INCH...
WEIGHING 170 POUNDS...
FROM TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI...
THE KING OF ROCK AND ROLL...
Anyone who thinks Elvis Presley's best recordings begin with RCA needs to back up a little and listen to his rockabilly Sun sessions. For his first single release on Sam Phillips' label, Elvis took a song by country blues singer Arthur Crudup, gave it a rockin' beat, and made it his very own.
"That's All Right" - Elvis Presley
(July 1954, uncharted)
Too much of a good thing is never enough and I never get tired of listening to my favorite Elvis song "Too Much." The King recorded it in September of 1956, first performed it on
Ed Sullivan early in 1957, released it on a single, and scored a chart topping million seller that spring.
"Too Much" - Elvis Presley (April 1957,
highest chart position #2)
Nearly a decade before the Rolling Stones created a stir with "Let’s Spend The Night Together," controversy surrounded the Elvis Presley top 5 charting single "One Night." The song had been recorded three years earlier by New Orleans blues man Smiley Lewis with the lyrics, “One night of sin is what I’m now praying for.” Realizing audiences of the Eisenhower 50s weren’t ready for such suggestive language, Elvis had the song rewritten as “One night with you…”
"One Night" - Elvis Presley (February 1959,
highest chart position #4)
Elvis Presley's recording career was put on hold during 1958 and 1959 while he was abroad serving in the U.S. Army. Honorably discharged in March of 1960, Elvis returned to the states and picked up where he left off, releasing high quality records that sold like hot cakes. (Both quality and sales would begin to slip as the 60s unfolded.) "I Gotta Know,"
the killer bee on the back of the smash hit ballad "Are You Lonesome Tonight," is another hip shakin’, butt kickin' Elvis rocker that became a million seller even though it barely made the top 20.
"I Gotta Know" - Elvis Presley
(January 1961, highest chart position #20)
Just as there are records that prove my theory that an artist’s earlier work is better, there are some notable later career exceptions. Knocked for a loop in 1964 by the Beatles and their English comrades, Elvis fought back. He returned to his 50s rock and roll roots with "Ain’t That Loving You Baby" a rambunctious single that plowed through the glut of UK releases on the chart and finished respectably in the top 20.
"Ain't That Loving You Baby" - Elvis Presley
(Dec. 1964, highest chart position #16)
Here's the unreleased faster version of the song that was recorded in June of 1958 during Presley's last studio session of the 1950s before his induction into the Army.
"Ain't That Loving You Baby" - Elvis Presley
(unreleased Twist tempo version recorded
in June 1958)
"Ask Me," the tender ballad released as the B side of Elvis Presley's 1964 single "Ain't That Loving You Baby," performed slightly better on the chart. Radio stations and record buyers seemed to prefer the kinder, gentler side and so did I. Had the Beatles not come along to spoil the party, both sides of this Elvis single would surely have placed closer to the top.
"Ask Me" - Elvis Presley (December 1964,
highest chart position #12)
"Little Sister" was the official A side of my last featured Elvis 45. "(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame," the B side on the American release, was the designated A side in the UK and went all the way to #1. Both sides of the record missed the top spot in the USA and settled for a top 5 finish. It’s argued that RCA made a mistake in placing two strong up tempo songs on the same single because it resulted in confusion and split radio play. In 1987 rising country music star Dwight Yoakam recorded a version of "Little Sister" that rivals Elvis Presley’s. Both the single and Yoakam’s album Hillbilly Deluxe became major crossover hits. Here's the Elvis original.
"Little Sister" - Elvis Presley
(November 1961, highest chart position #5)
Can anybody steal the crown
from Elvis the King?
There's one artist who comes mighty close and I'll introduce the worthy challenger in my next post! Drawing a blank?
I'll help you pick an answer by offering a multiple choice.
When it comes to rockin' and rollin'
and reelin' with the feelin'.....
who's as good or better than Elvis?
A. Disco Tex & the Sex-O-Lettes
B. Tiny Tim
C. Milli Vanilli
D. The Singing Nun
E. Soupy Sales
F. Napoleon XIV
G. All of the above
H. None of the above
Elvis meets his match in Thursday's post.
DON'T MISS IT!
Have a Shady day!