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