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

Elvis’s Fool’s Gold Loaf

Supposedly on February 1, 1976, Elvis Presley boarded his private jet (The Lisa Marie) from Graceland to Denver for one reason…a Fool’s Gold Loaf sandwich. He flew some buddies he was entertaining to the Colorado Mine Company restaurant who served these 50 dollar sandwichs. They actually only landed at the airport and were met by the owners of the restaurant with Nick Andurlakis the cook with 22 of these sandwiches to be consumed on the plane. Nick and the pilots were invited to stay and dine with Elvis…After the meal was finished…Elvis and his friends flew back to Graceland.

ColoradoMineCompany

The Colorado Mine Company is now sadly closed but Nick Andurlakis now owns a restaurant called Nick’s Cafe and still sells these to anyone brave enough to try. … better have some cholesterol pills and a couple of defibrillators would not hurt. 

Here are the ingredients and instructions if you dare. Nick has said…make these at your own risk. One should feed 8-10 people and a bite or two would not hurt… but again supposedly, Elvis could knock one down by himself…

2 T margarine
1 loaf French white bread
1 lb / 450 g bacon slices
1 jar of smooth peanut butter
1 jar of grape jelly

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Spread the margarine generously all over all sides of the loaf. Place it on a baking sheet in the oven.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a bit of oil until it is crisp and drain it thoroughly on paper towels.

Remove the loaf from the oven when it is evenly browned, after approximately 15 minutes. Slice the loaf lengthwise and hollow out the interior, leaving as much bread along the walls as desired. Slather a thick layer of peanut butter in the cavity of the loaf and follow with another thick layer of grape jelly. Use lots of both.

Arrange the bacon slices inside the cavity, or, if desired, layer the bacon slivers between the peanut butter and jelly. Close the loaf, slice and eat.

Here is much more about the event… “Thank You Very Much

https://www.messynessychic.com/2015/09/15/elvis-presleys-legendary-midnight-sandwich-run-on-his-private-jet/

 

 

 

 

Elvis Presley – That’s All Right

This is the song that started it all for Elvis. After trying many songs on the same night and not coming up with much, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Elvis Presley started to play this song and Sam Phillips knew he had recorded something different. Sam didn’t know what to think of the song…or how to classify it. That ni

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.

Phillips was a pioneering DJ who played a mix of black and white music that attracted a large and diverse following. Elvis recorded “Blue Moon of Kentucky” the next night and it was the B side to this single.

The song didn’t chart nationally in 1954 but it was re-released in 2004 and peaked at #3 in the UK Charts. Scotty Moore’s solo in this record is fantastic. It’s simple but very effective.

From Songfacts

This was Elvis’ first single, and it came out of his first recording session. Elvis was a 19-year-old truck driver when he came to Sun Records in Memphis to record a song as a gift for his mother. Sun was owned by Sam Phillips, who his assistant, Marion Keiser, knew was looking for a “white man who sounds like a black man.” She alerted her boss to Elvis, and Phillips arranged some sessions with some local session players: bassist Bill Black and guitarist Scotty Moore.

The trio tried a few different songs in various styles, finally hitting the mark when they informally started playing Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s obscure 1946 blues song “That’s All Right,” in a fast, innovative style. Phillips liked what he heard and had them record the song this way. This uptempo Blues variation led some music historians to consider it the first rock song.

Presley told Rolling Stone magazine, “I said if I ever got to the place where I could feel all old Arthur felt, I’d be a music man like nobody ever saw.”

This song was only the second time Elvis and lead guitarist Scotty Moore played together. It was also the first song Elvis played in concert: On July 30, 1954, Elvis opened for Slim Whitman in Memphis’ and performed “That’s All Right, Mama,” “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” and “I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’).” >>

According to Scotty Moore, this session wasn’t so smooth. He says Elvis started jumping around, “acting the fool,” which drew the ire of Sam Phillips, who owned the label and recording studio. Phillips made them start over, and it was this second take that was the keeper.

I slipped in the Beatles version in…

That’s Alright Mama

Well, that’s all right, mama
That’s all right for you
That’s all right mama, just anyway you do
Well, that’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

Mama she done told me
Papa done told me too
‘Son, that gal your foolin’ with
She ain’t no good for you
But, that’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

I’m leaving town, baby
I’m leaving town for sure
Well, then you won’t be bothered with
Me hanging ’round your door
Well, that’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

Elvis Presley – Promised Land

I had a hard time deciding which version to use…Chuck Berry’s who wrote the song or the Elvis version. This is the version I know the best. The many reasons I really like this version is the clavinet and Ron Tutt’s drumming…and of course, that guy named Elvis does a good job. He also did a really good job on the charts. Altogether he had 109 songs in the Billboard 100, 25 top ten hits and 7 number 1 hits.

I heard this song a lot growing up along with his other hits.

Promised Land peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100 and #9 in the UK Charts. Chuck Berry wrote this when he was serving time in jail for violating the Mann Act. He had to borrow an atlas of the US from the prison library to plot his hero’s journey from Virginia to California.

 

Promised Land

I left my home in Norfolk Virginia
California on my mind
I Straddled that Greyhound,
and rolled in into Raleigh and all across Carolina

Stopped in Charlotte and bypassed Rock Hill
And we never was a minute late
We was ninety miles out of Atlanta by sundown
Rollin’ out of Georgia state

We had motor trouble it turned into a struggle,
Half way ‘cross Alabam
And that ‘hound broke down and left us all stranded
In downtown Birmingham

Right away, I bought me a through train ticket
Ridin’ cross Mississippi clean
And I was on that midnight flier out of Birmingham
Smoking into New Orleans

Somebody help me get out of Louisiana
Just help me get to Houston town
There are people there who care a little ’bout me
And they won’t let the poor boy down

Sure as you’re born, they bought me a silk suit
Put luggage in my hands,
And I woke up high over Albuquerque
On a jet to the promised land

Workin’ on a T-bone steak a la carte
Flying over to the Golden State
Oh when The pilot told me in thirteen minutes
We’d be headin’ in the terminal gate

Swing low chariot, come down easy
Taxi to the terminal zone
Cut your engines, cool your wings
And let me make it to the telephone

Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia
Tidewater four ten O nine
Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin’
And the poor boy’s on the line