The King And I

I can still remember the first time I saw Elvis Presley on TV.  (No, it was not his now infamous “Ed Sullivan” appearance.  I was too young for that.)  My mother was watching “Jailhouse Rock” one afternoon and I sat down to watch it with her.  I was not too happy the movie was in black and white, but when I remembered “The Addams Family” was also, along with certain reruns of “Bewitched” I rolled with it.

My mother began to explain the movie to me (“Elvis was not a bad man.  He just tried to help a woman stay safe from a man who was bad except the judge did not believe Elvis…”).  However, before I heard the rest of the story this beautiful but not bad man with the high hair and unbelievably great voice started to sing:  “The Warden threw a party in the county jail…”.   Sa-woon!!!  OK, I was only 6 or 7 so I did not know the meaning of that word then, but now that I do trust me, it fits!!!

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Publicity photo from the movie “Jailhouse Rock” (MGM Inc)

Before I knew it, the not bad man slid down the pole and was doing his hip-shaking, walk-dance amongst the other inmates.  I was mesmerized.  I remember saying to my mother, “Wow, what a great song” to which she replied, “Just wait until you hear him sing a slow song”.  And such was my introduction to Elvis Aaron Presley, not to mention the phenomenal songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  Years later, I watched Presley’s film “Change of Habit” with my grandmother.  I could not believe his co-star was my beloved Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) as a nun!!!  But I digress.

Thanks to my mother’s love for Presley, I grew up listening to albums like “Elvis’ Christmas Album” (I still swoon over “Blue Christmas“), “A Date With Elvis”, “For LP Fans Only”, “Blue Hawaii”,  and the rest of the soundtracks.  As much as I love his rock & roll songs, my mother was right:  his ballads are beyond beautiful.  My personal favorite is “Can’t Help Falling In Love“, my mother’s favorite was “Love Me Tender“, but let’s not forget “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, “Crying In The Chapel“, “The Wonder Of You” or “In The Ghetto” just to name a few more.   I also love the version his daughter Lisa Marie Presley did in 2007 as a duet with her father.

I am profoundly sad to report that my mother’s records were lost when we moved into our house on Long Island.  Sigh.  But I have amassed my own collection of Elvis’ recordings with CD’s and vinyl whenever I am lucky enough to find the latter at garage and estate sales.  And on March 18, a limited edition 60 disc set of Presley’s recording will be released to honor the 60th anniversary of his first album release.  The box set will include three CD’s of rarity recordings and a 300 page book.   I am saving my pennies now.  If that is too much of an investment for your budget, try “Elvis 30 #1 Hits“.

In the meantime, enjoy the King’s performance from “Jailhouse Rock” as we remember him on what would have been his 81st birthday.

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Source:  vagalume.com

I do not own the rights to anything nor have I been sponsored in any way for this post.  I am just sharing some of my favorite music with you.

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!

 

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #6…..& A Happy Anniversary

Before we get to the countdown, let’s take a moment to recognize a happy anniversary-and one of the most important events to occur in music history.

On February  9, 1964 the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  They performed “All My Loving”, “Till There Was You”, “She Loves You” “I Saw Her Standing There” & “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.

Sunday nights, not to mention music itself, was never ever the same again.

For those of you lucky enough to have witnessed the performance the night it took place, you were part of history in the making plus you had a front row seat to the start of the British Invasion.

BONUS:  Congratulations to George Harrison who was honored with a Lifetime Achievements Award for his work as a solo artist at the Grammy Awards last night.

My #6 pick in the countdown is “A Song For You” by Ray Charles written by Leon Russell.

I never thought I could choose from the genius that is Charles.  After all, this is the man who took “America The Beautiful;” and made it seem as if it were written for only him.

Perhaps what made it easy to narrow down was the beautiful marriage of Charles’ voice with simplistic beauty of Russell’s lyrics:

“You taught me precious secrets
Of a true love, withholding nothing
You came out in front and I was hiding
Now I’m so much better
And if my words don’t come together
Listen to the melody
Cause my love is in there hiding

I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I love you for my life
You’ re a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song to you”

This song earned Charles the 12th Grammy Award of his illustrious career in the category for Best Male R & B Performance in 1994.  There is nothing I can write about Ray Charles that has not already been written except that the world became a sadder place when we lost his voice in 2004.  He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame in 1986 by one of his closest friends, Quincy Jones.  Here’s one of my favorite songs the two did together, with a little help from Chaka Khan.

Enjoy!!!

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