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put on a shirt his mother made, and went on the air
January 8, 2012 9:26 PM   Subscribe

Well, bust my britches, here it is January 8, Elvis Presley's birthday! Now, a mere 20 days after the young rock crooner had celebrated his 21st, back in 1956, he stepped onto the stage at CBS Studio in New York City and made his US national television debut, on the Dorsey Brothers show. Seems he was hot property from the get-go, cause he was back on that stage, straightaway, for five more appearances, on February 4th, 11th and 18th, then again on March 17th and 24th. And, yeah, heck, he was pretty good.
posted by flapjax at midnite (42 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Elvis is everywhere
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on January 8, 2012


Also the birthday of a certain Mr. David Robert Jones as well!. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:33 PM on January 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apropos of nothing whatsoever, I hereby declare that on February 25, I'm gonna make the ultimate Faron Young post.

Elvis is great and all, but I wanna live fast, love hard, die young, and leave a beautiful memory.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:04 PM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aw, HELLS yeah, BOP, Faron is the smoooothest oily-headed country boy that ever donned a Nudie suit. I'm looking forward to that post.

It should be noted, however, that since ol' Faron lived to the age of 64, he didn't quite, um, live up to his stated goals in that particular song there...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:12 PM on January 8, 2012


It should be noted, however, that since ol' Faron lived to the age of 64, he didn't quite, um, live up to his stated goals in that particular song there...

True. But he did, um, take matters into his own hands, so to speak.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:20 PM on January 8, 2012


But he did, um, take matters into his own hands, so to speak.

Yes, it's very sad. From Wikipedia: "Young apparently felt the industry had turned its back on him. That, and despondency over his deteriorating health, were cited as possible reasons why Young shot himself with a 38-caliber pistol on December 9, 1996."

For all its congratulatory 'down home - basic human values - jes good simple folk' self-mythologizing over the years, the country music industry has been every bit as heartless and cutthroat as any other part of the entertainment biz. Hell, considering the longevity of certain rock artist's careers, probably even more so than others. Merle Haggard can't get no respect in Nashville, either, and that's fucking criminal.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:28 PM on January 8, 2012


Nobody can get any respect in Nashville (at least not from the suits on Music Row) these days unless they're Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Paramore, or the Black Keys. Respect for Elvis anymore is limited to the life-size plaster likeness of him (doesn't even really look much like him) outside Legends Gifts on Broadway and Fifth. Happy 77th, sir.
posted by blucevalo at 10:39 PM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would say Nashville, if anything, has been MORE cutthroat. So many great artists have been used up and spat out, while the machine continues to grind out pap for the God-fearin' masses. Outlaw country and alt-country (and the sweet, soulful solace of Muscle Shoals) have all tried end runs around Nashville, with varying degrees of success. Hell, you know that WAY better than I do, flapjax.

I guess we can take some comfort in the fact that given the panoply of independent labels and avenues for distribution, Merle is finally in a position to tell NashVegas to go fuck themselves. Like Robbie Fulks said, fuck this town.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:43 PM on January 8, 2012


First rockabilly guitar lesson. Not exactly what Scotty is playing but the basic shape will get you there.
posted by Ardiril at 10:44 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's kind of random, I guess, but my favorite Elvis song has always been one that's not really very 'Elvis-y,' I guess: it's Lieber & Stoller's nice little tune "Trouble," which as far as I know wasn't on any of his proper albums, appearing only in that movie "King Creole."
posted by koeselitz at 10:46 PM on January 8, 2012


That February 11th 'Heartbreak Hotel' is sure something.
I heard George Jones being interviewed a few years back and he talked about how horrendous Nashville had become in comparison to when he was riding high. So if anything, it's getting worse.

And, here's a little thank you from Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin to the goat licking piglets in charge of Nashville when he won a Grammy for 'Unchained' in 1998.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 10:49 PM on January 8, 2012


Elvis is dead.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:49 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Respect for Elvis anymore is limited to the life-size plaster likeness of him (doesn't even really look much like him) outside Legends Gifts on Broadway and Fifth.

Limited to the one at Broadway and Fifth? I dunno... there's also this one in Birmingham, Alabama...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:57 PM on January 8, 2012


Phlegmco(tm), your thank you link goes to this charming little message:

"You're getting this page because someone tried to link directly to an image or sound on my site. I'm glad you like the stuff I have. Really. But I am not here to serve as your personal server. My stuff is here as part of my pages. You can link to the pages, and use it from there, but if you attempt a direct link, you will be denied. If you really want to use something, the Johnny Cash ad being the most common, you can put it on your own server and link to that."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:01 PM on January 8, 2012


Hey, that's Jim Reed's store! Yay, Reed Books!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:01 PM on January 8, 2012


BOP, actually, it's not Reed's, it's a few doors down from Reeds. I think it's called "2nd Avenue Antiques"?

But I do know Reed's (and Jim Reed himself) and that is one hella store.

I've done a fair bit of shootin' in there too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:08 PM on January 8, 2012


Anyone interested in the Johnny Cash ad Phlegmco(tm) tried to link to just upthread, it's this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:16 PM on January 8, 2012


Oh. Well, it LOOKS like Reed Books. Jim Reed is a great guy. I wish he had the space to display ALL his stuff. The man has a warehouse full of ephemera, esoterica, and exotica that deserves to see the light of day.

And now I will stop derailing this thread.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:29 PM on January 8, 2012


And now I will stop derailing this thread.

Haha! Hey, it's all related, maaan.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:36 PM on January 8, 2012


Phlegmco(tm): “And, here's a little thank you from Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin to the goat licking piglets in charge of Nashville when he won a Grammy for 'Unchained' in 1998.”

flapjax at midnight: “Phlegmco(tm), your thank you link goes to this charming little message...”

Man. Some people who host web sites still appear to be using the internet in 1998, and have crappy hosting plans to match. Here, I put the image on imgur (which the person who hosts the website could easily have done, too, if they'd wanted to save bandwidth without being jerks about it.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:46 PM on January 8, 2012


Hey sorry about that flapjax at midnite, it worked fine from my computer, and thanks for posting the correction.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:47 PM on January 8, 2012


Ah, flapjax got it...
posted by koeselitz at 11:47 PM on January 8, 2012


That third appearance, blue suede shoes and then heartbreak hotel with the TV show's horn section... wow, what a treat.
posted by Catblack at 12:09 AM on January 9, 2012




Despite the era when this was performed, in the second song (I Got a Woman) I was pretty surprised at the lyric "She know's a woman's place / Is in the home". Kinda made my skin crawl.
posted by Brentusfirmus at 3:45 AM on January 9, 2012




Earliest known footage of Elvis, Buddy Holly (plus Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins)

"This video contains music from The Orchard Music, UMG and INgrooves, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds"

:(
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:23 AM on January 9, 2012


Limited to the one at Broadway and Fifth? I dunno... there's also this one in Birmingham, Alabama...

Sorry, I meant to say "Respect in Nashville." I know that many other places still pay the proper respect.
posted by blucevalo at 4:49 AM on January 9, 2012


Take a loot at the March 17th show. Holy hell, that is the definition of sex appeal, right there.
posted by oddman at 5:03 AM on January 9, 2012


I'm confused by all the Nashville references. Surely y'all mean Memphis, right? Tennessee is really 3 states (east, middle, west) that often as not would rather have nothing to do with one another. The Nashville music screen is very different from Memphis'.
posted by grimjeer at 5:05 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Elvis! I always thought he was something of joke, but then I visited Graceland in 2008 and it was an amazingly transformative experience despite the hokey merchandising. But I finally understood why people loved Elvis and continue to have a fierce passion for him today.
posted by Calzephyr at 5:20 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Elvis
was a hero to most
posted by Renoroc at 5:26 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was a child, probably about eleven years old, my uncle took me to the pet store and bought me a parakeet. It had a blue belly with black stripes on its wings. On the way home, in the car, we heard on the radio that it was Elvis' birthday, so I decided to name the bird Elvis. That night, the bird began to squawk. It moaned and it howled. I did not understand why it seemed so unhappy despite the clean water, nice cage, and food I had provided it. I asked if we could take the bird to the vet, but my uncle said if anything we should "return it" instead because it was "defective." He said that given the bird's low price, it wouldn't be worth the vet bill. A day later, it was lying on the bottom of its cage, howling and pushing itself around. I watched it and felt sad and powerless. Then it stopped. We gave it a nice burial and I felt empty. I remember this bird every year when I hear that it's Elvis' birthday.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 5:28 AM on January 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


That February 11th 'Heartbreak Hotel' is sure something.
I heard George Jones being interviewed a few years back and he talked about how horrendous Nashville had become in comparison to when he was riding high. So if anything, it's getting worse.


I think the good news from this is that George Jones still has memories of what Nashville was like when he was "riding high."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:42 AM on January 9, 2012


I hate to be that nerd, but did they really just use one microphone to broadcast the entire band? It's incredible to me how balanced the instruments are, even when Elvis is standing right in front of the mic.
posted by swift at 6:02 AM on January 9, 2012


I'm confused by all the Nashville references. Surely y'all mean Memphis, right?

The Nashville part of this discussion started with the exchange between myself and BitterOldPunk about country music and the cold nature of the nashville music business machine. So, no, no one is confusing Nashville with Memphis. It was just a side discussion that cropped up here in the thread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:13 AM on January 9, 2012


I hate to be that nerd, but did they really just use one microphone to broadcast the entire band? It's incredible to me how balanced the instruments are, even when Elvis is standing right in front of the mic.

This was a CBS studios soundstage, and my guess would be that there were a couple more mics on big boom stands overhead, for catching Presley's band as well as the Dorsey Brothers band. I mean those BIG boom stands that looked like little cranes: the kind of thing you could swing over the string section of an orchestra or a big band or whatever. Out of the camera sight lines.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:16 AM on January 9, 2012


It's kind of random, I guess, but my favorite Elvis song has always been one that's not really very 'Elvis-y,'

Elvissey
posted by aught at 6:27 AM on January 9, 2012


I'm confused by all the Nashville references. Surely y'all mean Memphis, right? Tennessee is really 3 states (east, middle, west) that often as not would rather have nothing to do with one another. The Nashville music screen is very different from Memphis'.

The three separate states thing is very true. But Elvis's first recording sessions for RCA Victor in January 1956 were in Nashville, and many if not most of his sessions after that as well. He spent a lot of time in Nashville. Many of his session musicians grew up in or were based in Nashville. Elvis was all about Memphis, but he was also all about Nashville.
posted by blucevalo at 7:30 AM on January 9, 2012


Blucevalo, it is true that Elvis recorded for RCA Victor in Nashville, but you omit the reason: he had to. Sam Phillips sold his Sun recording contract to RCA to keep his business afloat. Otherwise, I wonder if Elvis would have gone to Nashville.
posted by grimjeer at 7:39 PM on January 9, 2012


Otherwise, I wonder if Elvis would have gone to Nashville.

Perhaps not. No way to know. But musicians gotta go where the work is!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:54 PM on January 9, 2012


A propos of nothing, I just remembered Bob Dylan's great song about meeting Elvis: "I went to see the Gypsy..."
posted by koeselitz at 10:24 PM on January 9, 2012


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