Archive for Elvis Presley

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2009 by 30daysout

One of the greatest songwriters and singers in rock and roll, Paul McCartney turns 67 on Thursday (June 18).  With the Beatles and later as a solo performer and bandleader, McCartney created some of the best (and worst) music in rock and roll history.  He isn’t as cool today as he was in the 1960s, or in the early part of the 1970s, but even at the twilight of his career McCartney is still a formidable talent.  His album Electric Arguments, released as The Fireman late last year, was considered to be one of the year’s best and a return to form for McCartney.  A collaboration with fellow legend Bob Dylan may be in the works – if it happens, that would be another milestone in an incredible career.

In 1965 McCartney wrote “Yesterday,” which the Guinness Book of World Records says is the most covered song ever.  It has been covered more than 3,000 times and in the 20th century alone the song was performed more than 7 million times.  We thought about doing a marathon with different covers of one song (as we did a few weeks ago on Bob Dylan’s birthday) but thought it would be more fun to just dig up songs from throughout McCartney’s career.  So after the jump you have some of McCartney’s best music as performed by others, as well as a few versions of “Yesterday.”  McCartney may be rather unfairly judged by his output over recent years, but most of this shit rocks.  Happy birthday!

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Swine Flu Alert!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2009 by 30daysout

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Seems like we have a little swine flu problem on our hands.  Now you know what to do: call in sick, even if you don’t feel too bad.  No use taking any chances.  Turn on the TV, that will certainly help to calm you down.  Fox News Channel is particularly calming – according to them, it’s all Obama’s fault for not building that wall along the Rio Grande.

OK, you know what the symptoms are.  Fatigue.  Fever.  Chills.  Nausea.  Vomiting.  The same things you get from watching Fox News Channel.  You can’t get it from a pig, you can’t get it from bacon, but you can get it from Barbara Bush (even though she has a pig valve in her heart).  You can also get it from your wife, your kids and all of your friends.  Cover your mouth when you sneeze, listen to all of these songs, take two aspirin and call us in the morning.

MP3: “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” by Huey “Piano” Smith & the Clowns

MP3: “I’m So Tired” by the Beatles

MP3: “Chest Fever” by the Band

MP3: “Calling Dr. Love” by Kiss

MP3: “Shakin’ All Over” by the Swingin’ Blue Jeans

MP3: “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd

MP3: “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” (live) by the Grateful Dead

MP3: “Fever” by Elvis Presley

MP3: “Dear Doctor” by the Rolling Stones

MP3: “Ambulance Man” by the Felice Brothers

MP3: “I’m A Hog For You” by Clifton Chenier

MP3: “Rock and Roll Doctor” by Little Feat

MP3: “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” by the Flamin’ Groovies

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swine flu facts

And from our friends in Mexico, the “Swine Flu Cumbia.”  Gracias!

Great Artists-Bad Albums

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2009 by 30daysout

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Every time a band or a solo artist goes into the studio they are always trying to record a masterpiece.  Occasionally they get it right (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) and many times they get it wrong (Blondes Have More Fun by Rod Stewart).  Many of the greatest artists have had at least one hiccup in their career and here are some of them:

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Undercover — The Rolling Stones:  A mess from start to finish.

MP3: “Undercover of the Night” – The Rolling Stones

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Pop – U2: Compared to The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, this disc is unlistenable.

MP3: “Discotheque”

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Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 8, 2009 by 30daysout
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The King

Elvis would have been 74 years old today – think he would still be rockin’ Vegas?  Probably.  To celebrate Elvis’ birthday we present to you an old newspaper story originally printed by the Port Arthur News on Elvis’ birthday in 1985.  It pretty much says everything there is to say about … The King.

The Night Elvis Became King

Elvis Presley played in the Woodrow Wilson Junior High School auditorium on Nov. 25, 1955.  It was a Friday night.

Come Monday, popular music would never again be the same.

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30 Days Out (From Christmas): Rockin’ Stocking 1950s

Posted in 30 Days Out (From Christmas) with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2008 by 30daysout

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Day 17 – Christmas music in the 1950s might have been about Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and the vocal groups, and singin’ dames like Brenda Lee, Julie London and Peggy Lee.  But it was also about novelty crap like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” which was a monster hit in 1952 for a funny-looking kid named Jimmy Boyd.  We’re not gonna play that one here – instead we have the lesser-known followup where he caught his horny mom doing the mambo with Santa in 1954.   Another kid, presumably Spanish, offered “Donde Esta Santa Claus? (Where Is Santa Claus?)” in 1953 and it’s way more entertaining than you-know-what by that other kid.

MP3: “I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus” by Brenda Lee

MP3: “Mambo Santa Mambo” by the Enchanters

MP3: “Donde Esta Santa Claus?” by Augie Rios

MP3: “I’d Like You For Christmas” by Julie London

MP3: “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Elvis Presley

MP3: “I Want To Spend Christmas With Elvis” by Debbie Dabney

MP3: “Deck The Halls” by Peggy Lee

MP3: “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” by the Cadillacs

MP3: “Yulesville” by Edd “Kookie” Byrnes

MP3: “Christmas In Jail” by the Youngsters

MP3: “El Cha Cha Cha De La Navidad” by Celia Cruz

MP3: “Run Rudolph Run” by Chuck Berry

MP3: “Rockin’ ‘J’ Bells” by Little Bobby Rey & His Band

MP3: “I Saw Mommy Do The Mambo (With You Know Who) by Jimmy Boyd  with Mitch Miller & His Orchestra

MP3: “Rockin’ and Rollin’ With Santa Claus” by the Hepsters

30 Days Out (From Christmas): Elvis

Posted in 30 Days Out (From Christmas) with tags on December 9, 2008 by 30daysout

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Day 12 – On the twelfth day of our countdown to Christmas, we turn our eyes toward Memphis and genuflect in respect to the King.  Elvis Presley probably wrote the book on rock and roll Christmas songs with his monumental Elvis Christmas Album in 1957.  It is, of course, the all-time best selling holiday album (selling about 9 million copies) and it spent four weeks at No. 1 when it was first released.elvis1

You know what is on this monster – “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Back In Town,” both trademark rockers.  And it has E’s version of “White Christmas,” which pissed off its composer Irving Berlin so much that he actively campaigned to stop radio stations from playing anything off the album.  Good luck, pal. 

In 1971 Presley cut another holiday album, Elvis Sings the Wonderful World Of Christmas, which didn’t chart and was pretty standard except for the raucous, bluesy “Merry Christmas, Baby.”  The 20 holiday songs Elvis recorded in his career have been repackaged endlessly in the CD era, and this year saw another marketing ploy: Elvis Presley Christmas Duets, which pairs Elvis with current female country singers (Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, etc.) and is utterly horrible.  The only thing worth hearing on this are the three remastered Elvis-only classics, including “If I Get Home On Christmas Day,” which may be one of the best vocals he ever put on record.

MP3: “Blue Christmas”

MP3: “Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me”

MP3: “White Christmas”

MP3: “Santa Claus Is Back In Town”

MP3: “I Believe”

MP3: “The First Noel” (remastered version)

MP3: “Merry Christmas, Baby”

MP3: “If I Get Home On Christmas Day” (remastered version)

Lost Classics! Jerry Lee Lewis

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on October 6, 2008 by 30daysout

Jerry Lee Lewis, 1980. Photo by Art Meripol

You can call Jerry Lee Lewis a lot of things – but “boring” is certainly not one of them.  Lewis, of course, came up in the late 1950s through Sun Studios in Memphis, and his work for that label is one of the cornerstones of rock.  “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Great Balls Of Fire” and some of the other sides he cut for Sun are true rock and roll classics.

But almost as soon as he became well known, Lewis courted controversy.  He married his second wife before he was divorced from his first, and in 1958 he took on a third wife: his 13-year-old first cousin (once removed).  The resulting scandal basically ruined his career, and while Lewis never has stopped recording the only hits he had after that were on the country charts.

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Church

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2008 by 30daysout

A while back I had a freelance assignment to photograph George Foreman at his church in Houston.  As it was easier to get him after Sunday morning services, I settled in and absorbed a sermon from this fascinating figure.  Even though he opened a Bible and occasionally made reference to the Scripture, George talked about all sorts of things one wouldn’t normally consider church stuff.

“Don’t ever tell anyone how much money you make,” he said at one point.  “They can take advantage of you.”  Another time he said, “Always listen to your Momma.”  Very little talk of Jesus, and sin – and a lot of plain old good common sense. 

That’s what I get too, from the church of rock and roll.  When blues and rock artists turn their attention to the spiritual, it’s often more honest and illuminating than a month worth of Sundays in a church building.  And the work of the great black gospel artists is just as good.  Not only did they sincerely express their faith in an entertaining way, the earlier music contained elements of blues and R&B as well as the DNA of true rock and roll.  As George Foreman would say, “Just listen; the music of God is all around you.”

Amen, brother.  Let’s go to church.

MP3: “Didn’t It Rain” by the Blind Boys Of Alabama

MP3: “John The Revelator” by Son House

MP3: “I Talk To Jesus Every Day” by Johnny Cash

MP3: “Gotta Serve Somebody” by Mavis Staples

MP3: “Man Of God” by Neil Diamond

MP3: “Jesus Christ Is Still The King” by Billy Joe Shaver

MP3: “Dragnet For Jesus” by Sister Wynona Carr

MP3: “How Great Thou Art” by Elvis Presley

MP3: “Jesus Is Coming Soon” by the Dixie Hummingbirds

MP3: “Jesus Christ” by U2

MP3: “Farther Along” by the Byrds

MP3: “Southern Comfort” by Terry Allen

Friday is Boss’ Day: The Boss does Elvis…

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , on August 15, 2008 by 30daysout

Rest in Peace, King….Signed, The Boss.

Rock Moment: Elvis in the Astrodome, 1974

Posted in Rock Moment with tags on August 14, 2008 by 30daysout

Elvis in the Astrodome

In 1974 I had this part-time job at a newspaper in southeast Texas.  I worked in the sports department and I got close to Super Bowl VIII thanks to another sportswriter (see this post).  Little did I know that, thanks to the same guy, a short time later I’d get to see a cool concert in the Houston Astrodome.  For about three weeks in late February-early March, Houston goes cowboy crazy: they hold this ginormous rodeo event with bronco riding, chuck wagon racing, bull stomping, horse pissing, cowboy stomping, beer drinking, barrel racing and other stuff.  I’d never been to one but this sportswriter had an extra press pass for a Sunday afternoon show and he invited me along.  “I don’t care about the rodeo stuff,” he said, “we’re going to see Elvis.”  Elvis Presley was the headline performer that day.

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