Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Elvis in 1956

1956, the pivotal year, the year after which Elvis could never turn back.

Two songs:
Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog. Watch Heartbreak Hotel first and dig his crazy energy. Watch him get gone on that instrumental break. He's playing with his audience, but not too much--it's a pretty straight performance. Ignore the half-ass horn section added on in the background by the TV people.

Now watch another TV appearance, this time singing the Big Mama Thornton number Hound Dog. He's got the Jordanaires backing him up; their job is mostly to clap and look spiffy. This time Elvis is definitely full of himself here--watch him tease his audience, grinning and goofing, telling them "this song here's one of the saddest songs we've ever heard." Check out how he pretends to start the song, then pauses, just to crank up the screaming from the audience. I love it. This man is having fun.


Beth said...

So glad someone is honoring The King today! I meant to do an Elvis post, but instead did my 100 @ 400th.

Long live The King!

Johnny Yen said...

You probably know that Heartbreak Hotel was written by Mae Axton, Hoyt Axton's mother.

The Blasters hired the Jordanaires to sign background on a couple of their songs on the 1985 Hard Line album.

Thanks for posting those. I like to remember Elvis for the phenomenal talent he had. God help us all if we were remembered solely for our troubles and weaknesses and not the good things we did.

WendyB said...

I heart him.

Bubs said...

Wendy, we do too. Thanks for visiting, and please stop by again!

Johnny, yeah...I didn't know about the Blasters though. I ended up looking up stuff on the Jordanaires and was amazed at how many artists they recorded with!

Elvis is something. I generally avoid posting pics or video of the late (post-1972) Elvis because I find it genuinely heartbreaking. The boy went from his parent's home to icon to tragic figure so quickly. I find the arc of his career to be a decent metaphor for America, actually, from young vitality and rebellion to unparalled success and on to bloating, paranoia and decay. With a big dose of religion thrown in.

Beth, thanks! I gotta stop by and check out your place.

Erik Donald France said...

So strange, he woulda been just a little younger than my parents today had he lived.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

My oldest sister still has a picture of Elvis above her bed. So, yeah, he made an impact all right.