Elvis Presley – All Shook Up

I was still on my blogging sabbatical when August 16 came around and I missed the anniversary of Elvis’s death in 1977. So I wanted to include an Elvis post.

This is one of those songs that I grew up on and I would play over at my relative’s house. I mean…how could you ever not listen to a song that starts off with:

A well’a bless my soul
What’sa wrong with me?
I’m itchin’ like a man in a fuzzy tree
My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug
I’m in love
I’m all shook up

Not exactly poetry but the Big E made it flow so well. This is the Elvis that I like a lot…the pre-army Elvis. He was THE rock star at the time. Don’t believe me? He had 12 number 1 songs from 1956 through 1959. After he entered the Army…he wasn’t the same…still good…but the danger was gone quicker than you could say, Colonel Tom Parker.

Otis Blackwell wrote this on a dare. One of the owners of Shalimar Music (Blackwell’s publishing company) wandered into Blackwell’s office as he struggled to create a follow-up to Don’t Be Cruel. Al Stanton approached Blackwell, Stanton was shaking a bottle of Pepsi. Stanton said to Blackwell, “I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you write a song called All Shook Up? Otis then finished the song a couple of days after that.

All Shook Up peaked at #1 on the Billboard 100, in Canada, in the UK in 1957. It was ranked #352 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Although Otis Blackwell is listed as the sole composer, Presley shared the songwriting credit. The reason is that it was demanded by Colonel Tom Parker. Parker had said…Elvis doesn’t record the song unless he gets songwriting credit. The same thing happened with Don’t Be Cruel. Personally, I think this was wrong on many levels but unless the songwriter had money and clout…if he wanted it recorded by Elvis…he had to go along with it.

Speaking of the Colonel…there is a famous story about Dolly Parton’s song that she wanted Elvis to record. It happened in 1974, just after the release of Parton’s hit single I Will Always Love You. Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker made an effort to reach out to Parton with an offer in exchange for Presley recording her song. Again Parked demanded that Elvis get the co-writer credit on the song. She turned Parker down and kept the song to herself. That was a smart decision that paid off when Whitney Houston recorded the song and it made millions for Parton.

Dolly Parton: “I was desperate for Elvis to sing my song and I’d told everyone he was going to sing it, but I couldn’t let that happen. It’s my song, my publishing rights. It broke my heart but I had to turn him down.”

A well’a bless my soul
What’sa wrong with me?
I’m itchin’ like a man in a fuzzy tree
My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Well, my hands are shaky and my knees are weak
I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet
Who do you think of when you have such luck?
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Well, please don’t ask me what’sa on my mind
I’m a little mixed up, but I’m feelin’ fine
When I’m near that girl that I love best
My heart beats so it scares me to death!

Well she touched my hand what a chill I got
Her lips are like a volcano when it’s hot
I’m proud to say that she’s my buttercup
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

My tongue gets tied when I try to speak
My insides shake like a leaf on a tree
There’s only one cure for this body of mine
That’s to have that girl that I love so fine!

She touched my hand what a chill I got
Her lips are like a volcano that’s hot
I’m proud to say that she’s my buttercup
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay
I’m all shook up

Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas

ELVIS….otherwise known as The Big E, King Of Rock ’n‘ Roll, The Memphis Flash, The Jumpsuited One, The Vibrating Valentino, Ol ’Snake Hips, The Tennessee Troubadour, Mr. Sideburns, The Hillbilly Cat, The Cool Cat, or just EP. I think The Vibrating Valentino wins in the nickname department.

Viva Las Vegas was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman as the title song for the film of the same name starring Elvis Presley…. better-known AS…no I won’t go through that again. Pomus and Shuman wrote several other songs for Presley as well. Among them: “Little Sister,” “Suspicion,” and  “Surrender.”

In the movie, Elvis plays a race car driver who has to wait tables at a hotel in order to pay off a debt (no doubt to Colonel Tom Parker!). He performs this song at the hotel’s talent competition accompanied by various Vegas showgirls. Viva Las Vegas was the most successful of the 31 films Elvis starred in, returning more than $5 million to MGM Studios on an investment of less than $1 million.

I do remember this movie on TV. Why do I remember this Elvis movie more than others? No other than the co-star Ann-Margret.

Elvis and Ann-Margret Dance Together In Scene From 'Viva Las Vegas' |  Country Rebel – Unapologetically Country

The song peaked at #29 in the Billboard 100, #14 in Canada, #4 in New Zealand, and #17 in the UK in 1964. It did re-chart at #15 in the UK in 2007.

Billy Strange played guitar on this track. According to Strange’s son Jerry, musician’s royalties for the song came in for years thanks to slot machines that play the song.

The song was revived by ZZ Top, who took it to #10 in the UK, #16 in the Billboard Rock Charts, #34 in Canada, and #17 in New Zealand in 1992. 

Everything that is famous about Las Vegas comes up in the song…such as roulette, neon, hot dice, pretty women, blackjack, one-armed bandits, and bright lights. The song has served as an advertisement for the city although having a small consolation for losing everything…If I wind up broke up well
I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time…
Oh OK! A swinging time is worth it!

The Dead Kennedys also did a cover of the song…in their own unique way.

Viva Las Vegas

Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn,
So get those stakes up higher
There’s a thousand pretty women waitin’ out there
And they’re all livin’ the devil may care
And I’m just the devil with love to spare, so
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas
How I wish that there were more
Than the twenty-four hours in the day
Even if there were forty more
I wouldn’t sleep a minute away
Oh, there’s black jack and poker and the roulette wheel
A fortune won and lost on ev’ry deal
All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas with you neon flashin’
And your one arm bandits crashin’
All those hopes down the drain
Viva Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime
Turnin’ night into daytime
If you see it once
You’ll never be the same again
I’m gonna keep on the run
I’m gonna have me some fun
If it costs me my very last dime
If I wind up broke up well
I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time
I’m gonna give it ev’rything I’ve got
Lady luck please let the dice stay hot
Let me shoot a seven with ev’ry shot, ah
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas,
Viva Las Vegas, viva, viva Las Vegas

Elvis Presley – Good Rockin Tonight

When I think of Elvis …I admire him on one hand and on the other I pity him for how he ended up. When the big E was coming out of the Memphis radios on Sun Records…there was not anyone around that could touch him as a live rock and roll performer. Then came Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis became a huge star but with a steep cost.

Roy Brown first wrote and released this song in 1947. Elvis covered it and released it in 1954. His release was his second Sun Record release and the B side was a song called “I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine.” I wish Elvis could have stayed on Sun a little longer. Soon he would be gone to RCA. Great records but he had a sound on Sun that he never got back. His band was Scotty Moore on lead guitar and Bill Black on the double bass. The song didn’t chart many places but it did peak at #10 in Sweden.

His first single for Sun was “That’s Alright Mama.” On June 7, 1954, WHBQ Radio in Memphis became the first station to play this song when their disc jockey Dewey Phillips aired it on his Red, Hot and Blue show the day after Elvis recorded it. It soon built up regionally after that.

A Sun Records Tribute Assembles Old Timers of Rock & Roll - Frank Beacham's  Journal

On November 20, 1955, Elvis signed with RCA and after that, his records were everywhere. RCA could give him distribution all over the world but I wish they would have kept recording the Sun Studios with Sam Phillips. Mr. Phillips owned Sun Studios since 1952 and he would have a star-studded roster of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and more.

He was also an early investor in the Holiday Inn chain of hotels and an advocate for racial equality, helping to break down racial barriers in the music industry.

The B Side I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine

Good Rockin Tonight

Well, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight
Well, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight
I’m gonna hold my baby as tight as I can
Tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty, mighty man
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

I said, meet me and a-hurry behind the barn
Don’t you be afraid ’cause I’ll do you no harm
I want you to bring along my rockin’ shoes
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna rock away all our blues
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

Well, we’re gonna rock
We’re gonna rock
Let’s rock
Come on and rock
We’re gonna rock all our blues away

Have you heard the news, everybody’s rockin’ tonight
Have you heard the news, everybody’s rockin’ tonight
I’m gonna hold my baby as tight as I can
Well, tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty, mighty man
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

Well, we’re gonna rock, rock, rock, rock
Come on and rock, rock, rock, rock
Let’s rock, rock, rock, rock
Well, let’s rock, rock, rock, rock
We’re gonna rock all our blues away

Elvis Presley – I Forgot To Remember To Forget

It’s been too long since I posted about the big E. How could someone, not like a song with a title like that?

Elvis didn’t want to record this song because he thought it was too Country, so drummer Johnny Bernero from Memphis was added to the mix. Up until this time, there was only Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Bass on bass, and Elvis on rhythm guitar. This added an up-tempo beat…Elvis liked it and recorded the song, which became a Country hit. I know Elvis is Elvis, but his backing band was just as special to me. Scotty Moore was one of a kind.

This song was released twice. The Sun Records release first charted the following week (September 17, 1955) at #14 on Billboard’s Country Charts.  On November 21, 1955, it was released yet again. On that day RCA Victor purchased Elvis’s contract from Sam Phillips. As part of the deal, RCA obtained the rights to all of Presley’s Sun recordings. Soon after, RCA pressed and distributed a single of “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” and “Mystery Train” on its own label.

This was Elvis’ first #1 on any chart. It peaked at #1 in the Country Charts and #2 in Canada in 1955.

The Beatles never recorded this song in the studio, but they did it for the BBC with George singing lead.

The song was written by Charlie Feathers and Stan Kesler.  Kesler had already written Presley’s “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” when he had the idea for this song.

Stan Kesler: “At that time, I was on the kick of catchy titles,” Kesler recalled. “When I began to think about that phrase, it just expanded into ‘I forgot to remember to forget her.’ From there, I started working on it, and it all fell together.”

The Beatles version… live in the BBC studios.

I Forgot To Remember To Forget

I forgot to remember to forget her
I can’t seem to get her off my mind
I thought I’d never miss her
But I found out somehow
I think about her almost all the time
The day she went away
I made myself a promise
That I’d soon forget we ever met
But something sure is wrong
‘Cause I’m so blue and lonely
I forgot to remember to forget

The day she went away
I made myself a promise
That I’d soon forget we ever met
Well, but something sure is wrong
‘Cause I’m so blue and lonely
I forgot to remember to forget

Elvis Presley – Don’t Be Cruel

I would hear this song over at my relatives when I was young. They had two or three Elvis greatest hit albums so I got to know his music pretty well.  Before Elvis entered the army he was as about has hot of an entertainer as you could get. He was rock and roll to many people…the Big E, the King, The Hip Shaking Man…

Elvis released this in 1956 and it was the B side to Hound Dog. That is a pretty good single to say the least! According to Joel Whitburn  It is the only single in history to have both sides reach #1 in the US.

Don’t Be Cruel  written by Otis Blackwell, a songwriter who came up with a lot of hits for Elvis. In addition to this, he also wrote “Return to Sender,” “All Shook Up,” and “One Broken Heart for Sale” for Elvis. He also wrote “Fever,” which was made famous by Peggy Lee, and “Great Balls Of Fire” for Jerry Lee Lewis. Blackwell died in 2002 at age 70.

Cheap Trick covered this in 1988. Their version peaked at  #4 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, #6 in New Zealand, and #77 in the UK. I did like this version also.

Joel Whitburn (writer):  “As far as the two-sided Presley hit ‘Hound Dog” / “Don’t Be Cruel,’ I’ve always tabulated that single 45 as two #1 hits. ‘Hound Dog’ was the first title to chart and the first one to be listed as the lead #1 song. Billboard’s ‘Best Sellers in Stores’ chart listed the the #1 song on 8/18/56 as ‘Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel.’ It was also shown that way when it first topped the ‘Most Played in Juke Boxes’ chart on 9/1/56. There is absolutely no doubt that the initial sales and ‘buzz’ about this record was for ‘Hound Dog.’ It was a smash #1 hit right out of the box. As airplay began to favor ‘Don’t Be Cruel,’ the two titles were flip-flopped at #1, with ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ actually showing more weeks as the #1 lead song. Again, I have always tabulated these two titles as two #1 songs. There is no way you can consider this 4-times platinum record as one #1 hit. And, neither does RIAA who awards gold and platinum selling records. They show ‘Hound Dog’ / ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ as both receiving platinum designations.”

From Songfacts

On Christmas Eve 1955, Otis Blackwell found himself on the streets in front of the Brill Building in New York City trying to stay warm. Things weren’t going well for Blackwell – it was raining and there were leaks in the soles of his shoes. His friend Leroy Kirkland walked by and asked Otis if he had written any more songs. Otis said yes. Over the next week, he sold 6 of them to a publishing company for $25 each. Management at The Brill Building liked him so much they offered him a full-time job writing, and Blackwell accepted. Not long after, Otis got some very good news: This up-and-coming rock star wanted to record one of his songs. The deal was, the guy wanted half the writer’s fee. Otis said, “No way I’m gonna give up half that song.” His friends convinced him that half of something was better than all of nothing. Besides, this new singer just might “make it” and if he did, Otis’ royalties would be tremendous. Over the next few days, Otis agreed. It wasn’t Elvis who wanted half the “writer’s fee.” It was his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The song became one of Elvis’ biggest and longest running hits. (Thanks to the disc jockey, author and music historian Ron Foster.)

Elvis’ bass player Bill Black released an instrumental version of this in 1960 which hit US #11.

Don’t Be Cruel

You know I can be found
Sitting home all alone
If you can’t come around
At least please telephone
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true

Baby, if I made you mad
For something I might have said
Please, let’s forget the past
The future looks bright ahead
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
I don’t want no other love
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of

Don’t stop thinking of me
Don’t make me feel this way
Come on over here and love me
You know what I want you to say
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
Why should we be apart?
I really love you baby, cross my heart

Let’s walk up to the preacher
And let us say I do
Then you’ll know you’ll have me
And I’ll know that I’ll have you,
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
I don’t want no other love,
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of

Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
Don’t be cruel to who a heart that’s true
I don’t want no other love
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of

Elvis Presley – Mystery Train

Listen to the slap back echo on this song. I could just listen to the intro guitar on a tape loop for eons and eons. Sun records had the best echo of anyone. Everyone since has tried to capture that sound.

“Mystery Train” was written and originally recorded by Junior Parker in 1953 for Sam Phillips’ Sun Records…Phillips got a co-writing credit. Phillips would later claim that he made three major changes to the song, and that these were why he got the co-writing credit. The first was to give the song the title “Mystery Train”, which has been a big part of the song’s appeal ever since. The second was to insist that the number of coaches for the train should be sixteen . Parker had been singing “fifty coaches long”. And the final one was to suggest that the band start the song slowly and build up the tempo like a train gathering steam.

Elvis covered the song. There is a good chance he heard Jr. Parker perform it live.

The song was released as the B side to “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.” One of the best B sides ever. The song peaked at #11 in the Country Charts and #25 in the UK in 1955. RCA bought Elvis’s contract and reissued this single.

Scotty Moore who played guitar on the rack: ‘Mystery Train’ became like a signature thing for me” “That was the first one I played through my custom-made amplifier. It had the same slapback effect that Sam had been using on the overall record.”

Sam Phillips: When Elvis came in I found out that Mystery Train was so embedded in Elvis’ mind that when he started to sing it, it was a natural as breathing. If it’s natural it’s awfully hard to beat, like you’re just rolling off of a log. That’s the feeling you get with Mystery Train.” 

His version was ranked #77 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

From Songfacts

Parker was a renowned Blues musician from Memphis who is best known for this song. He was known more for his singing than for his guitar playing, and never achieved the popularity of players like Buddy Guy and B.B. King. Parker was just 39 when he died in 1971 of a brain tumor.

Elvis Presley recorded the most famous version of this song, also on Sun Records, in 1955.  and is his best-known song that was never a hit – it was released as the B-side of “I Forgot To Remember To Forget.” Other artists to cover the song include Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Ricky Nelson, Tom Fogerty, and The Doors.

Neil Young’s 1983 version on his album Everybody’s Rockin’ has an interesting story behind it. After all, there’s never a short story behind a Neil Young song!
Young came to cover “Mystery Train” by way of performing one of the most sarcastic take-that’s in rock history. As told in Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Young had tried to make up for the PR nightmare that was the Trans album with an album even more countrified than Hawks & Doves, which would become Old Ways. However, Geffen’s record executives rejected Young’s new excursion, demanding that he make an album of “rock ‘n’ roll” songs instead.

Can you imagine someone with the audacity to think that they can tell Neil Young what to do? So, Young gave them exactly what they asked for, with the same kind of acidulous derision with which Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground delivered Loaded when Atlantic executives demanded an album “loaded with hits.” Young put together an album of ’50s-style rockabilly songs with a band he assembled and called “the Shocking Pinks.” And what jukebox classics they all are!

Geffen’s reaction was to slap Young with a $3.3 million dollar lawsuit alleging that his music had become “unrepresentative of his previous output.” This is also why Everybody’s Rockin’ is so short – Geffen literally pulled the plug on Young and the Shocking Pinks in mid-recording-session. Young responded in an interview with Musician magazine: “To get sued for being noncommercial after 20 years of making records, I thought was better than a Grammy.” He even told Q magazine that he told Geffen to back off, or his threat was that he was going to play country music forever. Is there a single Neil Young fan out there who doubts – for a fraction of a second – that just to go ‘nyah!’, he would have stuck to his guns and played nothing but country music to this day, had Geffen not backed down? Anyway, it’s a nice little cover of “Mystery Train,” isn’t it?

Mystery Train

Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Well, that long black train got my baby and gone

Train, train, comin’ ’round the bend
Train, train, comin’ ’round the bend
Well, it took my baby, but it never will again
No, not again

Train, train, comin’ down, down the line
Train, train, comin’ down, down the line
Well, it’s bringin’ my baby ’cause she’s mine, all mine
She’s mine, all mine

Train, train, comin’ ’round, ’round the bend
‘Round, ’round the bend
Train, train, comin’ ’round, ’round the bend
‘Round, ’round the bend
Well, it took my baby, but it never will again
Never will again

Elvis Presley – I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone

These Sun records by Elvis are untouchable. Many artists have tried to get the same sound that Sam Phillips achieved with his small studio in Memphis Tennessee. This title makes you want to listen to the song.

This was written by Bill Taylor and Stan Kesler, who were part of a group called the Snearly Ranch Boys, which recorded for Elvis’ label, Sun Records. The melody for the song was lifted by a jingle for Campbell’s soup.

The head of Sun, Sam Phillips, arranged for Elvis to record the tune, and brought in a drummer named Jimmie Lott to play on it, augmenting Elvis’ regulars: guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black.

In February of 1955, Elvis Presley records this as the “B” side to “Baby, Let’s Play House” to be released on Sun Records. This is the record that convinced RCA-Victor to drop $35,000 to buy Elvis from Sam Phillips…plus 5,000 Phillips owed Elvis.

I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone

Well, you’re right, I’m left, she’s gone
You’re right, and I’m left all alone
Well, you tried to tell me so
But how was I to know
That she was not the one for me?

You told me all along
You’re right, our love was so wrong
But now I changed my mind
Because she broke the ties that bind
And I know that she never cared for me

Well, I thought I knew just what she’d do
I guess I’m not so smart
Oh, you tried to tell me all along she’d only break my heart
I’m left, you’re right, she’s gone
You’re right, and I’m left all alone

Well, she’s gone I know not where
But now I just don’t care
For now I’m falling for you

If you’ll forgive me now
I’ll make it up somehow
So happy we will be
In a home just for three
And I’ll soon forget her now I know

Well, I thought I knew just what she’d do
I guess I’m not so smart
You tried to tell me all along
She’d only break my heart

Well, you’re right, I’m left, she’s gone
You’re right, and I’m left all alone
Well, she’s gone, I know not where
But now I just don’t care
For now I’ve fallen for you

Bob Dylan – Froggie Went A-Courtin’

I am amazed at how many covers there are to this song. I remember Kermit the Frog singing it long ago. I didn’t know whether to use Bob Dylan’s or others for today. Jimmie Rodgers did a great version of Froggie Went A-Courtin’.

It is on the  Dylan album Good as I Been to You that was released in 1992.

Who covered it? Here is a partial list: Jimmie Rodgers, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie, Elvis Presley, Tex Ritter, and Blind Willie McTell.

There is a reference in the Stationer’s Register of 1580 to “A Moste Strange Weddinge of the Frogge and the Mouse.” The oldest known musical version is in Thomas Ravenscroft’s Melismata in 1611.

This great old story song has quite a history. Some people claim that it goes back 400 years to England and that the frog is actually a French Duke while the mouse is Queen Elizabeth I. It has been popular in America since colonial times, and it seems to change a little with each person who performs it.

Alternative names for the song per Wiki

  • “A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go”
  • “Crambone”
  • “Die Padda wou gaan opsit” (Afrikaans version in South Africa)
  • “Frog in the Well”
  • “Froggie Went a-Courtin'”
  • “Froggy Would a-Wooing Go”
  • “The Frog’s Wooing”
  • “A Frog Went a-Walkin'”
  • “King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O”
  • “There Lived a Puddie in the Well”
  • “There Was a Puggie in a Well”
  • “Y Broga Bach” (Welsh)
  • “Yo para ser feliz quiero un camión”

Thanks to Observationblogger for helping me to think of this song again.

Froggie Went A-Courtin’

1. Frog went a-courtin’, and he did ride, Uh-huh,
Frog went a-courtin’, and he did ride, Uh-huh,
Frog went a-courtin’, and he did ride.
With a sword and a pistol by his side, Uh-huh.

2. Well he rode up to Miss Mousey’s door, Uh-huh,
Well he rode up to Miss Mousey’s door, Uh-huh,
Well he rode up to Miss Mousey’s door.
Gave three loud raps and a very big roar, Uh-huh.

3. Said, “Miss Mouse, are you within?” Uh-huh,
Said he, “Miss Mouse, are you within?” Uh-huh,
Said, “Miss Mouse, are you within?”
“Yes, kind sir, I sit and spin,” Uh-huh.

4. He took Miss Mousey on his knee, Uh-huh,
Took Miss Mousey on his knee, Uh-huh,
Took Miss Mousey on his knee.
Said, “Miss Mousey, will you marry me?” Uh-huh.

5. “Without my uncle Rat’s consent, Uh-huh
“Without my uncle Rat’s consent, Uh-huh
“Without my uncle Rat’s consent.
I wouldn’t marry the president, Uh-huh

6. Uncle Rat laughed and he shook his fat sides, Uh-huh,
Uncle Rat laughed and he shook his fat sides, Uh-huh,
Uncle Rat laughed and he shook his fat sides,.
To think his niece would be a bride, Uh-huh.

7. Uncle Rat went runnin’ downtown, Uh-huh,
Uncle Rat went runnin’ downtown, Uh-huh,
Uncle Rat went runnin’ downtown.
To buy his niece a wedding gown, Uh-huh

8. Where shall the wedding supper be? Uh-huh,
Where shall the wedding supper be? Uh-huh,
Where shall the wedding supper be?
Way down yonder in a hollow tree, Uh-huh

9. What should the wedding supper be? Uh-huh,
What should the wedding supper be? Uh-huh,
What should the wedding supper be?
Fried mosquito in a black-eye pea, Uh-huh.

10. Well, first to come in was a flyin’ moth, Uh-huh,
First to come in was a flyin’ moth, Uh-huh,
First to come in was a flyin’ moth.
She laid out the table cloth, Uh-huh.

11. Next to come in was a juney bug, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was a juney bug, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was a juney bug.
She brought the water jug, Uh-huh.

12. Next to come in was a bumbley bee, Uh-huh
Next to come in was a bumbley bee, Uh-huh
Next to come in was a bumbley bee.
Sat mosquito on his knee, Uh-huh.

13. Next to come in was a broken black flea, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was a broken black flea, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was a broken black flea.
Danced a jig with the bumbley bee, Uh-huh.

14. Next to come in was Mrs. Cow, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was Mrs. Cow, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was Mrs. Cow.
She tried to dance but she didn’t know how, Uh-huh.

15. Next to come in was a little black tick, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was a little black tick, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was a little black tick.
She ate so much she made us sick, Uh-huh.

16. Next to come in was a big black snake, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was a big black snake, Uh-huh,
Next to come in was a big black snake.
Ate up all of the wedding cake, Uh-huh.

17. Next to come was the old gray cat, Uh-huh,
Next to come was the old gray cat, Uh-huh,
Next to come was the old gray cat.
Swallowed the mouse and ate up the rat, Uh-huh.

18. Mr. Frog went a-hoppin’ up over the brook, Uh-huh,
Mr. Frog went a-hoppin’ up over the brook, Uh-huh,
Mr. Frog went a-hoppin’ up over the brook.
A lily-white duck come and swallowed him up, Uh-huh.

19. A little piece of cornbread layin’ on a shelf, Uh-huh,
A little piece of cornbread layin’ on a shelf, Uh-huh,
A little piece of cornbread layin’ on a shelf.
If you want anymore, you can sing it yourself, Uh-huh.

Elvis Presley – Little Sister

This song sounds so good. The mix is great with the bass coming through. Little Sister  was written by the Brill Building songwriters Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. They also wrote the 1959 hit A Teenager In Love.

The song peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in the UK in 1961. Elvis recorded it at the RCA Nashville, Tennessee, studio in 1961. On the recording besides Elvis, was Scotty Moore (acoustic guitar), Hank Garland (electric guitar), Bob Moore (bass), D.J. Fontana and Buddy Harmon (drums), Floyd Cramer (organ), and The Jordanaires (backing vocals).

Dwight Yokum also does a great cover of this song.

 

Little Sister

Little sister, don’t you
Little sister, don’t you
Little sister, don’t you
Kiss me once or twice
Then say it’s very nice
And then you run
Little sister, don’t you
Do what your big sister done

Well, I dated your big sister
And took her to a show
I went for some candy
Along came Jim Dandy
And they snuck right out of the door

Little sister, don’t you
Little sister, don’t you
Little sister, don’t you
Kiss me once or twice
Then say it’s very nice
And then you run
Little sister, don’t you
Do what your big sister done

Every time I see your sister
Well, she’s got somebody new
She’s mean and she’s evil
Like that old Boll Weevil
Guess I’ll try my luck with you

Little sister, don’t you
Little sister, don’t you
Little sister, don’t you
Kiss me once or twice
Then say it’s very nice
And then you run
Little sister, don’t you
Do what your big sister done

Well, I used to pull your pigtails
And pinch your turned-up nose
But you been a growin’
And, baby, it’s been showin’
From your head down to your toes

Little sister, don’t you
Little sister, don’t you
Little sister, don’t you
Kiss me once or twice
Then say it’s very nice
And then you run
Little sister, don’t you
Do what your big sister done
Little sister, don’t you
Do what your big sister done

August 16, 1977

I can tell you what I was doing 42 years ago on August 16, 1977… I was ten years old and played some baseball with the neighborhood guys and went inside in the afternoon. I started to watch Gilligans Island and then the news interrupted the show. Elvis Presley had died.

It really didn’t affect me too much at the time until I saw my mom and stepdad react. My mom was somewhat upset and although I knew Elvis’s music, the impact just wasn’t there until the news items started to roll across. I called my dad and talked to him and it bothered him…he had just seen Elvis a few years before in Murfreesboro Tn.

I really wouldn’t know how they felt until December 8, 1980, when Lennon was killed. It’s a shame what happened to Elvis because he was trapped by his fame, manager, and by his own excesses.  After reading about him more it seemed like it was inevitable…I just wished it could have been different.

 

Elvis Presley – Wear My Ring Around Your Neck

Jim…https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/64726988 asked me to contribute a song to a song lyric Sunday. This weekend I had some time so I told Jim I would be happy to contribute a song. The theme is Wedding/Marry/Diamond/Ring/Cake so I thought of this Elvis song.

The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100 in 1958. The song was written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody and released April. 1, 1958. This was at the period where everything Elvis touched turned to gold. I remember going to my cousin’s home and listening to an Elvis compilation of his 50s songs in the mid-70s when I was around 8-9. This song and All Shook Up, Hound Dog, Don’t Be Cruel and many more.

Elvis recorded this song on February 1, 1958, at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California. The musicians were Guitar: Scotty Moore, Tiny Timbrell, Elvis Presley. Bass: Bill Black. Drums: D.J. Fontana. Piano: Dudley Brooks. Vocals: The Jordanaires.

In this song, Presley wants his girlfriend to wear his ring around her neck. Of course, the ring would be on a chain…as was the custom in the 1950s to signify they are going steady. Hope you enjoyed the song and have a great Sunday.

 

Wear My Ring Around Your Neck

Won’t you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I’m yours, by heck
Let them see your love for me 
And let them see by the ring around your neck

Won’t you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I’m yours, by heck
Let them know I love you so
And let them no by the ring around your neck

They say that goin’ steady is not the proper thing
They say that we’re too young to know the meaning of a ring
I only know that I love you and that you love me too
So, darling, please do what I ask of you

Won’t you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I’m yours, by heck
Let them see your love for me
And let them see by the ring around your neck

Let them know I love you so
And let them know by the ring around your neck

Elvis Presley – Blue Moon Of Kentucky

In 1954 Elvis, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black recorded this song as the B side to “That’s All Right Mama.” Presley’s recording became the best-known version of the song and is an early example of what was to become known as Rockabilly, a combination of Blues and Country together with an uptempo beat.

Bill Monroe wrote this song in 1946 and recorded the first version of the song playing mandolin and backed by his band the Blue Grass Boys. After the Presley version was released Monroe recut the song and added both styles to it.

Elvis Presley got an invite to the Grand Ole Opry soon after this and he was fearful of Monroe’s reaction to his version of the song, he sought out the older Opry star backstage and apologized to him for taking such liberties. Monroe reacted with generosity…Monroe later admitted Presley’s version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” gave him very big songwriters royalty checks.

 

From Songfacts

Monroe, who died in 1996, was one of the most famous Bluegrass musicians of all time (the name “Bluegrass” is derived from his backing band – “The Blue Grass Boys”). Kentucky is his home state, and in this song, he is heartbroken over a girl who left him but wishes her well.

Elvis Presley recorded this as the B-side to “That’s All Right (Mama)” in 1954. It was his first single with Sun Records, recorded during his second Sun session on July 6, 1954. Over the years, Presley recorded many uptempo songs with heartbreaking lyrics – a good example is “I Gotta Know.” 

The state of Kentucky made this their official bluegrass song.

Other artists who covered this include Paul McCartney, Carl Perkins, Ray Charles and LeAnn Rimes. Al Kooper recorded it on his debut solo album I Stand Alone. This is the album with Al’s face inserted over a photo of the Statue of Liberty – and remember, there was no Photoshop in 1968! Kooper’s cover was ill-fated; right about this time was when his former Blood Sweat & Tears bandmates started saying negative things about him in the press. As he puts it in Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, “They depicted me as some demonic egomaniac with whips and chains who kept them all in cages.” The press had never had anything to characterize Al Kooper by up until this point, so they latched onto this. The Statue-of-Liberty photo hacking didn’t help.

I had to include a funny version from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Blue Moon of Kentucky

Blue moon, blue moon, blue moon,
keep shining bright.
Blue moon, keep on shining bright,
You’re gonna bring me back my baby tonight,
Blue moon, keep shining bright.

I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining,
Shine on the one that’s gone and left me blue.
I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining,
Shine on the one that’s gone and left me blue.

Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright,
Wish blown high
Love said good-bye.

Blue moon of Kentucky
Keep on shining.
Shine on the one that’s gone and left me blue.

Well, I said blue moon of Kentucky
Just keep on shining.
Shine on the one that’s gone and left me blue. 
I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining.
Shine on the one that’s gone and left me blue.

Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright,
Wish blown high
Love said good-bye.

Blue moon of Kentucky
Keep on shining.
Shine on the one that’s gone and left me blue.

The Searcher… Elvis Presley

Whenever I start reading about someone (In this case Elvis Presley) I usually dive deep into them. I’ve watched a few documentaries on youtube and the Comeback Special.

Last week Slightly Charming (I highly recommend checking out her blog) recommended this documentary on Elvis and it is the best one I’ve watched about him. It’s an HBO production with commentary by Priscilla Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Robbie Robertson, and many others.

It is a two-part documentary around 3 hours long both combined. Much like the Peter Guralnick books I’ve been reading it is very even-handed but it doesn’t pull any punches.

Elvis was an interesting person. A poor southern boy who gained fame and fortune quickly and handled it well considering what he was going through until his mother passed away. After that came the Army stint in Germany and from there while his fortune and fame grew his artistic credibility went down. In the mid-sixties, while The Beatles, Dylan, and the Stones dominated the charts…Elvis, a big influence to all three was stuck in a cycle of bad movies and bad soundtracks that he didn’t want to do.

The documentary goes over Colonel Tom Parker his manager, The infamous Memphis Mafia, Las Vegas, and the failed marriage to Priscilla.

The one thing this film does is concentrate on his music and not the parody he turned into at the end of his life. I found myself rooting for him during the 1968 Comeback Special. He had the spark back again and his voice was the Elvis we heard in the fifties. After the dismal movie soundtracks, he made this great comeback special but then it slowly started to go down. There was still good music to come but the end was in sight.

This great documentary is worth the time to check out.

 

 

Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock

I’ve been reading a biography of Elvis and I recently have been watching a documentary about him. My son told me Saturday he was operating the lights for a play in his High School and wanted me to go. Saturday night I go and the play is a musical called…All Shook Up…set in the fifties using Elvis songs. Everywhere I turn there is Elvis.

No telling how many times I’ve heard this song but I really paid attention to it for the first time. Yes, Elvis had a great voice we know that but this voice is untamed and wild. It has a scratchy, driving, and go for your throat voice that he seemed to lose as he got older (well he did find it on the 68 comeback special) and tried to please too many people. This is rock and roll at it’s purest form…

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957 at the time but now it’s not counted as a number 1. I could not understand why it was listed as a #1 record and on the Billboard site, it does not list it as such.

I found this about the change

Billboards latest ruling is based on the fact that the Billboard Hot 100 Chart was first launched on August 4th 1958 and so number one hits counted by other means on differently named charts prior to this date [But still ‘the Billboard chart of the day’] should not be counted.

From Songfacts

This was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also wrote “Hound Dog,” which became a huge hit when Elvis recorded it. Leiber and Stoller excelled at writing catchy pop songs with elements of blues music. Their songs could be very funny and clever, and often take place in unusual situations. Some of their other hits include “Love Potion #9” and “On Broadway.” Mike Stoller played piano on this track.

This was featured in the Elvis movie of the same name, where Elvis plays a wrongly accused convict who becomes a star when he gets out. The film, which is considered one of the best of his 31 movies, is famous for the scene where Elvis performs this song in an elaborate dance number taking place in prison.

The movie score was the first one that Leiber and Stoller wrote. Stoller recalled to Mojo magazine April 2009: “We flew in to New York from LA, where were living at that time, and we had a hotel suite. We had a piano put in, in case the muse struck us, and Jean Aberbach – he and his brother (Julian) owned Hill & Range Songs and they had to deal with Colonel Parker but created Gladys Music and Elvis Presley Music-handed us a script for a movie. We threw it in the corner with the tourist magazines that you get in hotels. We were having a ball in New York, going to the theatre, going to jazz clubs to hear Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, doing a lot of drinking. On a Saturday morning- we’d been there about a week – Jean knocked on the door and said, in a very Viennese accent, ‘Vell boys, you vill haf my songs for the movie.’ Jerry said, ‘Don’t worry Jean, you’ll have them’ Jean said, ‘I know.’ And he pushed a big chair in front of the door and sat down and said, ‘ I’m going to take a nap and I’m not leaving until you have my songs.’ So we wrote four songs in about five hours and then were free to go out.”

The four songs the duo composed were “Jailhouse Rock,” “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care,” “Treat Me Nice” and “I Want to Be Free.”

The movie got its name from this song. When Leiber and Stoller wrote it, the film was titled Ghost of a Chance. The duo had the script and wrote the song for the scene where inmates put on a show in the prison.

After the song was recorded, it was clear that it was going to be a hit, so the movie was renamed Jailhouse Rock. The single was released in September 1957 and reached #1 on October 21. The film was released on November 8.

The line, “Number 47 said to number 3, You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see,” is a sly reference to prison sex but was not offensive enough to create any controversy over the song.

This was a massive hit. It was #1 on the US pop charts for seven weeks, and also reached #1 on the country and R&B charts. In the UK, it entered the charts at #1, becoming the first song to do so.

“Jailhouse Rock” has one of the most memorable intros in rock history: two guitar chords with snare drum hits. The intro last just six seconds, but the pattern repeats throughout the verses, establishing a firm musical hook that remains the envy of songwriters.

ABC television ran a series of educational cartoons called “Schoolhouse Rock” in the ’70s. Millions of kids learned about grammar, history, and astronomy from them. The title was a play on this song.

Ozzy Osbourne played a heavy metal version in 1987 when he did a tour of prisons.

Sha-Na-Na played this at Woodstock in 1969. Very few of the attendees saw their performance, as they didn’t go on until Monday morning (the event was scheduled to end at midnight on Sunday, but ran long). Jimi Hendrix followed Sha-Na-Na to close out the festival.

January 2005 marked what would have been Elvis Presley’s 70th birthday. In commemoration, Elvis’ record label re-released this in the UK where it went straight to #1, making it the oldest recording ever to top the UK charts. It also became the third single to hit #1 twice in the UK, following “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “My Sweet Lord,” both of which were also posthumous re-releases.

In 2007, Chris Rock performed this on the Movies Rock TV special, where modern pop artists performed classic movie songs. Brown re-created Elvis’ scene from the movie.

The Cramps recorded a version of this on the CD The Last Temptation of Elvis. All profits went to a music therapy charity. >>

On November 4, 1957, this topped both the pop and R&B charts. In an odd twist, the next five positions on both charts were also the same songs: “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers, “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke, “Silhouettes” by the Rays, “Be-Bop Baby” by Ricky Nelson, and “Honeycomb” by Jimmie Rodgers.

This song was covered by the Blues Brothers, and featured at the end of the movie of the same name. The brothers and the band are seen playing this song to their fellow inmates.

Mötley Crüe included a live version recorded at a show in Long Beach, California on their 1987 album Girls, Girls, Girls.

Elvis’ real-life band members DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore and Bill Black played his character’s band in the movie, along with Mike Stoller on piano. 

In the Leiber and Stoller autobiography Hound Dog, written with David Ritz, Leiber explained he was originally supposed to play the role in the movie because the casting director thought he looked more like a piano player than Stoller. When Leiber and Elvis both protested, the man insisted, “All he has to do is run his fingers over the keys. Any fool can do that.” But when the first day of filming started, Leiber came down with a toothache and had to visit the dentist, so Stoller stepped in. Because he wasn’t a member of the Screen Actors Guild, he wasn’t allowed any dialogue throughout the movie. He also had to shave his goatee because it was “a scene stealer.”

Ever wonder how this jail party ends? Possibly with the inmates peacefully returning to their cells, but it could also have a more violent conclusion. In the 10cc song “Rubber Bullets,” a #1 UK hit in 1973, they sing about a similar jailhouse party, but theirs ends with riot police taking action.

Jailhouse Rock

The warden threw a party in the county jail
The prison band was there and they began to wail
The band was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing
You should’ve heard them knocked-out jailbirds sing

Let’s rock everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock

Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone
Little Joe was blowin’ on the slide trombone
The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang
The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang

Let’s rock everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock

Number forty-seven said to number three
“You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see
I sure would be delighted with your company
Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me”

Let’s rock everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block 
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock

Sad sack was sittin’ on a block of stone
Way over in the corner weepin’ all alone
The warden said, “hey, buddy, don’t you be no square
If you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair”

Let’s rock everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock

Shifty Henry said to Bugs, “For Heaven’s sake
No one’s lookin’ now’s our chance to make a break”
Bugsy turned to Shifty and he said, “Nix, Nix
I want to stick around a while and get my kicks”

Let’s rock everybody, let’s rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock

Dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock
Dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock
Dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock
Dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock
Dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock

Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds

This one is probably my favorite of the after Army Elvis songs.  Colonel Parker had no qualms about pushing Elvis to the middle of the road. This one has some bite and is a great song. Elvis had 7 number 1 hits in the Billboard 100 total…this is his last one in his career. I actually thought he had more but he did place 109 songs in the top 100 and 25 top ten hits. Suspicious Minds peaked at #1 in 1969.

Elvis’ publishing company, along with his manager Colonel Tom Parker, tried to get fifty percent of the publishing rights to this song and threatened to stop the recording if they didn’t. Elvis insisted on recording the song regardless.

This was a big comeback song for Elvis. It was seven years since his last #1 hit.

From Songfacts

Memphis singer Mark James and Chips Moman wrote this. James recorded and released his own version, but it didn’t go anywhere. Memphis Soul producer Chips Moman brought this to Presley in 1969, and Elvis immediately fell in love with it and decided he could turn it into a hit, even though it had flopped for James.

This was recorded between 4-7 in the morning, during the landmark Memphis session that helped Elvis reclaim his title of “The King.”

This song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Artists to cover this song include Dwight Yoakam, Waylon Jennings, The Heptones, Candi Staton (#31 UK), B.J. Thomas and even The Fine Young Cannibals, whose 1985 version not only hit #8 in the UK, but was bizarrely referenced on the American TV show Psych, when Shawn tells his partner Gus: “Don’t be Fine Young Cannibals cover of ‘Suspicious Minds.’ We’re going to find her.”

In the UK, Elvis had a hit with this song three times. First in 1969 when it was originally released, then in 2001 when a live version recorded at The International Hotel, Las Vegas, in August 1970 was issued and went to #15, then in 2007 when it was re-issued to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death, going to #11.

Dennis Quaid and Elizabeth Mitchell dance to this in the 2000 sci-fi drama Frequency.

According to Elvis’ good friend Marty Lacker, who convinced him to record in Memphis with Chips Moman, the song’s fake ending was a result of tampering by Elvis’ longtime producer Felton Jarvis. “When Chips cut ‘Suspicious Minds’ and mixed it, the fade and bump at the end was not there,” Lacker told Goldmine magazine. “In other words, the song fades out and then it bumps up again. It’s that part where Elvis is just repeating and repeating the last chorus. In my opinion, it might be good for the stage, a dramatic thing, but it’s not good on a record. What happened was Felton Jarvis took the master to Nashville and started fooling with it thinking he could do better. And he couldn’t. He should have left it alone. He added background voices. The voices that Chips put on in Memphis, Mary Green and all those people, they’re fantastic southern sounding R&B-ish singers. Chips used them on a lot of the hits he had.”

Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter first covered this in 1970 and landed at #25 on the country chart. Their version was re-released to promote the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws, the first country album certified Platinum, with more than a million records sold. This time, the single peaked at #2 and earned the couple a Grammy nomination for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Suspicious Minds

We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
And we can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds

So, if an old friend I know
Stops by to say hello
Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?

Here we go again
Asking where I’ve been
You can’t see these tears are real
I’m crying (Yes I’m crying)

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
And be can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds

Oh let our love survive
Or dry the tears from your eyes
Let’s don’t let a good thing die
When honey, you know
I’ve never lied to you
Mmm yeah, yeah

We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Don’t you know I’m caught in a trap