Elvis Presley Reviews and Articles by David Adams
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The man who brought it all into focus and made the world catch on fire with rock and roll was Elvis Presley. He also generated those fires in me and my friends. We all thought we could be like him.
On stage during the filming of 'Elvis: That's The Way it Is
' Elvis joked and teased the 'Sweet Inspirations' that you would bring in the Supremes, with Mahalia Jackson singing lead. He did not have to go that far, he had an ideal group in front of him (as Elvis fans know), but the person to bring in, or rather bring back was the groups founder, Cissy Houston
. Emily 'Cissy' Houston was the real killer feature of the group, certainly when listening to this CD, and she was backed by three very competent singers in Myrna Smith
, Sylvia Shemwell and Estelle Brown who managed a great mix of a gospel sound and Atlantic soul music.
The Memphis Recording Service
(MRS), the producers of this DVD
, boldly state on the front cover that never before have we ever had live film footage (i.e., with synchronized sound) of an Elvis concert from the 50's ... until this time. Well, we certainly do now! Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don’t Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. This is an excellent release no fan should be without it
Interview with Richard Davis a longtime member of Elvis' Memphis Mafia. Richard started working for Elvis after Elvis returned from the Army and continued to work for him until 1971 as a body guard, a stand-in in 23 movies and eventually a wardrobe manager. He remained friends with Elvis until the end. Known among the other Memphis Mafia members for his quick wit and for being a bit of a prankster he once dropped a water balloon on Elvis' head as he walked out of his trailer in fresh makeup for a movie shoot.
Richard Davis : There's so many things it's hard to pinpoint. Well I got one thing. I don't remember what year it was. And one thing that happened is back in the dressing room before he went on one night, somebody came back and told Elvis, 'Muhammad Ali
is in the audience and he would like to meet you'. And Elvis said, 'Oh, yeah, yeah, bring him on back', 'cause Elvis loved Muhammad Ali. So Muhammad Ali comes back there and he's got his entourage with him and -- big old guys, man. You know, and big bodyguard guys.
Well, my first meeting with Elvis was the pre-production meeting. I got a call from Tom Diskin who was the Colonel's associate, and he said they were thinking about me conducting the show for Elvis Presley. And someone had preceded me there for the first show.
Interview with Hal Kanter, screenwriter and director for the Elvis Presley movie Loving You
. Previously Hal had written for variety shows, graduating to screenplays and specializing in comedies. He wrote for Bob Hope as well as the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Over the years, Hal Kanter received six Emmy Award nominations, winning the last two for his writing on the annual Academy Awards telecast. He also wrote the script for Elvis Presley's 1961 hit film Blue Hawaii
, which garnered him a 'Best Written American Musical' nomination from the Writers Guild of America.
Freddy Bienstock is not a household name, he is famous to many as the music publisher and plugger for Elvis Presley. But still, even to Elvis fans, he is something of a mystery figure. We know about James Burton
, Scotty Moore
, Red West
and Colonel Parker
, but who can tell you much about Freddy Bienstock? And yet look in the index of any Elvis Presley biography
and you will find references to him. He runs through Peter Guralnick's definitive biographies, and, quite clearly, he is an essential component in the Elvis story. Just how important becomes clear when he said, quite matter of factly, 'For the first 12 years of Elvis' career with RCA, he wouldn't look at a song unless I had seen it first'.
Interview with Sheila Ryan who was was Elvis' girlfriend after Linda Thompson. Sheila was the Oct.'73 Playboy cover girl and married James Caan in '76 (divorced in '77). Elvis had qualities that no other human being has, had, will have. Some of them are so hard to describe because the charisma, the qualities that he had were almost not of this world, you know. They were, a lot of times, angelic. He knew things before I knew things. He knew things that I was feeling before I was feeling them.
Interview with Myrna Smith, one of the Sweet Inspirations, the backing group who sang with Elvis in concert from 1969 to 1977. 'His voice was a lot more remarkable than it ever came off on record. He was just a much better singer than could ever be captured, some great singers voices are just too big.
Somehow, I scraped together enough money to buy every new Presley release so that I could play them in the privacy of my bedroom - all the better to study his unique singing style.
For six years, Donnie Sumner toured with and was a close personal friend of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. His father was a Pentecostal preacher, and his uncle, J.D. Sumner, was a legendary musical figure. Listen to a private recording where Elvis sings 'Let Me Be The One'.
For me, it was a horrible scene, Just horrible. But Elvis turned it all around. I did a Hollywood gossip column for a fan magazine called Teen Scene. You may remember it. Well, Dad had known Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker
, and his wife, Marie, for many years. So Dad was able to get me an interview with the great Elvis who had just come back from Germany and had come out to the West Coast to make movies. The interview was going to take a place on the set of GI Blues
. It really was a fantastic break for a kid like me. I knew it. I bought new shoes. I chose a new dress. I got an appointment with an expensive hairdresser. I was shaking but I was going to look sharp and make a great impression on Elvis.
While it is well known that Elvis Presley and Sammy Davis Jr. were good friends, first meeting in the 1950s, maintaining a friendship through the years, now, we have a fantastic photo via a news paper clipping from Jet magazine, February 27, 1958 showing Sammy in full swing imitating Elvis, and what's more, the clipping tells us that Elvis was sitting in the front row, roaring with laughter. Imitations were a big part of Sammy's shows and Elvis was not left out in this regard, with Sammy singing Hound Dog in concert.
wrote the song, It Keeps Right On A Hurtin'
early in 1962 inspired by the terminal illness of his father. He recorded the song himself and it became one of his biggest hits, reaching # 3 in the US pop chart and becoming the first of his records to make the country music charts, where it peaked at # 4. It earned him his first Grammy nomination, for Best Country & Western Recording, and was later recorded by over 100 performers including Elvis Presley in 1969 at his legendary American Sound Studios Sessions
Jackie DeShannon is an American singer/songwriter with a string of hit song credits from the 1960s onwards and dated Elvis Presley. 'I was lucky enough to first meet Elvis at his house in Bel Air and he used to invite different artists, singers and musicians, to come and jam with him at his house. And in the lower room, we had a jukebox and just played records and sang together and just had a great time'.
Interview with Bill Belew, who has the distinction of having designed Elvis Presley's costumes and personal wardrobe from 1968 until 1977.
When I was with Voice, those were moments when I was actually in there. You sit on the couch around in the house with Elvis. And he'd come and we'd gather around the piano. We'd sing old spirituals and stuff. And he'd play -- he loved to play the piano. And he actually played pretty good. I learned from being in Voice what kind of a guy he really was which is basically just a good southern guy who happened to be really handsome and really could rock the world, you know.
'The Last Farewell' 5 CD / Book set is housed in a stunning pewter box 12" x 12" and 2" high. The set is a one-stop collectors delight containing every recording and outtake known to exist from Elvis' last recording sessions at Graceland, February and October 1976. Included is much interesting banter from the 'King', to interest any fan. Then the book, 11" x 11", is a combination of interesting excepts of interviews with musicians, articles (Starting with the vacation in VAIL Colorado) and unseen photo's, never published before of Elvis. Nice additions are the write-ups about each song, some brief, others detailed.
Interview with Elvis' dentist, Dr. Lester Hoffman who first met Elvis just after he had come back from Hawaii, from making Blue Hawaii. 'It was my day out of the office, the girl called me and said, There's a phone call, somebody said Elvis Presley needs a dentist'.
The connections between Elvis Presley and Australia are few. He never visited us. He never expressed any particular interest in the land 'down under' He was essentially a Memphis boy who, apart from his brief stint in the army in Germany, liked to stay in the Deep South and to spend his time in Graceland. It therefore comes as a pleasant surprise to learn that Larry Muhoberac, the man who played keyboards for Elvis for ten years, is an Aussie citizen and currently lives in a delightful home overlooking a valley full of gum trees on Sydney's northern beaches.
Scott 'Mac' Davis was born Jan. 21, 1942 in Lubbock, Texas. During his early years in the music business, he lived in Atlanta, where he played in a rock & roll band and worked as a regional manager for Vee-Jay Records. Although he had enjoyed a measure of songwriting achievement before, his big breakthrough occurred in 1969-70 when Elvis Presley turned three of his songs into pop hits.
One of the most recorded guitar players of all time, Reggie Young has played on hundreds of hit songs in multiple genres. His career spans over 50 years and between the years 1967 thru 1971 alone his guitar was on 120 Top 40 pop and R&B hits. He's recorded with Elvis and opened for The Beatles
along with playing guitar on several hundred different artists recordings, playing rockabilly, R&B, rock, pop, country and jazz with some of the greatest of all time: ... Do you have a special memory with Elvis? Well, it's all a special moment. But especially American, the one on one, when we were just sittin' around talking and you know, after the fact I look back and say, man I was just sittin' around talking to Elvis.
Interview with with Anita Wood, Elvis' girlfriend during the whirlwind late 50's. Anita talks about meeting Elvis for the first time WHPQ radio television in Memphis 1957, dating, Elvis being drafted and his mothers reaction, Hollywood, Elvis Presley Jr, Natalie Wood and more.
Throughout the years I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to witness the beginnings of more than one musical legend. One afternoon, we were paid a visit by a young and inexperienced Elvis Presley, who was appearing on an excursion boat, the S.S. Mt. Vernon. Includes Interview with Jimy Dean
Susan Henning was born in North Hollywood, raised in the San Fernando Valley, the blonde, tan, blue eyed California girl epitomized the Healthy All American girl. She won 'Miss Teen USA' in 1965. Susan apeared in Elvis' movie, 'Live A Little, Love A Little' and says her all time favorite was the 1968 'Elvis Special' where 'Elvis and I came together again igniting our chemistry to thrill the fans'.
Jerry Chesnut : I met Elvis through a mutual friend of ours, and so called Memphis Mafia
member, Lamar Fike
... in 1974 Priscilla came to see Elvis perform. They sat in the booth Elvis always reserved for her and when he spotted them, He sang Priscilla's Favorite song 'It's Midnight'. He walked to the edge of the stage, looked at her, and tears were streaming down his cheeks. He was all broke up. She was the only girl he really ever loved ... The Nashville songwriting great originally wrote the clever tune 'T-R-O-U-B-L-E' for singer Little David Wilkins, who really did play from '9 til half past 1' in a Nashville bar, and he had a stroke of genius when he realized he could rhyme certain words if he spelled them out.
I must admit to finding that the 1969
is a remarkable work that should have broad appeal - a big surprise. My initial skepticism was quickly overcome. This concert DVD should appeal to any Elvis fan that likes Elvis music to start with. With full quality normal audio, from CD, anyone can play this via their DVD player preferably then with the audio output via a stereo system. [And this is no diversion from what the format is] This DVD is well worth consideration for inclusion in your Elvis library for several reasons.
I just received the CD, Elvis February 1977, In Concert and not only can I confirm that Elvis is in good form, and the sound quality is top notch, it is indeed a very complete testament to the fact that Elvis still was king in 1977. Even is sporadic. Kicking off with a great version of 'Big Boss Man' [April 29] then in to February 21 starting with 'Are You Lonesome Tonight' while Elvis does forget the words it is another classic with Elvis' banter with Estelle of the Sweets. 'Reconsider Baby' shows he is still the best white blues singer. Moving on we have a ultra rare 'Moody Blue' and it is a good and full version, not a one liner. Audio Sample of this CD
Elvis and the Beauty Queen
is a 1981 made-for-TV film starring Don Johnson and Stephanie Zimbalist about the King's love affair with Linda Thompson
a young beauty pageant contestant who was his girlfriend during the last years of his life. The story begins with their first meeting and traces their years together. The movie is controversial among fans who either dislike Don Johnson and/or his portrayal of Elvis and pick out factual flaws. However on the flip side there are many, like myself, who enjoyed this movie when originally aired, finding the soundtrack songs by Ronnie McDowell making the movie all the more then enjoyable.
Interview with Teri Garr who started out as a background dancer in uncredited roles for youth-oriented films and TV shows like 'Pajama Party', a beach party film, the 'T.A.M.I. Show', 'Shindig!', 'Hullabaloo', 'Movin' with Nancy' (a Nancy Sinatra / Frank Sinatra Special), and nine Elvis Presley movies ...