Ingenious commercial for BBC Radio 2 is pretty damn convincing down to Elvis’s bemused smile when Keith Moon misses his cue.
The commercial is composed of clips from:
Elvis – 1973 concert, Aloha from Hawaii.
Marvin Gaye – Live in Montreux, 1980
Jimmy Page - Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Concert , 1988
Noel Gallagher – The Who and Friends at the Royal Albert Hall, 2003
Keith Moon – The Who Charlton BBC Concert, 1974
Sheryl Crow – The Grammy Awards, 2003
Stevie Wonder – Sesame Street 1973
In spring of 1989, The Residents brought their “History of American Music in 3 EZ pieces” tour to Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York for that year’s “Serious Fun” avant-garde music/performance art festival It was the second time I saw The Residents live and it was a memorable musical theatrical experience, I can assure you. Either the night before, or the night after, I can’t recall, I saw Diamanda Galas in the same theater performing her “Masque of the Red Death” trilogy and nearly bringing the walls down.
Avery Fischer is a plush, intimate(ish) recital hall (approx 2000 seats) that normally hosts the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Because of the “classy” setting, the show promised to be “more” than previous live Residents outings. Seeing The Residents at Lincoln Center seemed irresistible, but I didn’t know anyone who wanted to go, so I went alone [I’ve never been able to rope in a friend to see The Residents with me, not once! The first time I’d caught The Residents, also alone, was a few years earlier, during their 13th anniversary tour at The Ritz nightclub (now Webster Hall). About ten minutes into the show, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat arrived and stood near me on the balcony. About 20 minutes later they said something to each other and left immediately.]
The performance consisted of three-acts: “Buckaroo Blues” told the story of American music through cowboy music, “Black Barry” via slave songs, blues and jazz and in the final Elvis section, “The Baby King,” The Residents essayed a senile Elvis telling his grandchildren (“Shorty” and “Shirley,” two freaky ventriloquist’s dummies) about his life before the British Invasion kills him. The show featured elaborately choreographed dance numbers and back-lit sets. As you might expect, the acoustics were pretty near perfect in a place like Avery Fisher Hall.
The video below comes from the out-of-print Residents box set, Cube-E and features several numbers from the “History of American Music in 3 EZ pieces” tour as they were performed on NBC’s Night Music program, German TV and in 1989 rehearsals shot in San Francisco and New York.
A pair of soiled and stained underwear worn by The King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley, will be going up for auction next month at Omega Auctions. Elvis wore this particular pair of undies beneath one of his flashy white jumpsuits back in 1977.
It’s expected that The King’s fecal-stained briefs could fetch up to £10,000.
Omega Auctions will be live streaming the auction on its website September 8.
01. Return To Sender
02. In The Ghetto
03. Blue Moon
05. It’s Now Or Never
06. Baby I Don’t Care
07. Suspicious Minds
08. I’ll Remember You
09. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
10. Crying In The Chapel
I own a commercially-released and now very rare VHS copy of this trailer compilation. It wasn’t available for very long. Licensing issues? Probably. The quality is of the bootleg variety. Presley fans may consider downloading it. Though the King may come looking for you.
That poster up there for King Creole was created for the French release of the film. It’s 47 x 63 inches. I just had mine framed - I’ve owned if for almost 20 years. It takes up an entire wall in my dining room. I’m not a big Elvis fan but that poster looks awesome when it’s right in front of you. Pop art that pops.
A combination of three online services can make this project possible.
Hair samples of Elvis Presley, bought on eBay were sent to a gene sequencing lab to identify different behavioural traits (varied from sociability, athletic performance to obesity and addiction). Using this information, transgenic mice clones with parallel traits were produced. The genetically cloned models of Elvis (in this case) are tested in a collection of various contemporary scientific mouse model environments, simulating some of the significant biographical circumstances of his life.
Is it possible to quantify our life through a series of conditions and events? What are the aspects of life that are responsible in making us ourselves?
Does buying a pre-owned item gives one the legal right to another individual’s genetic data?
Can mouse models of ourselves help us prepare for possible futures or will it impose them on us?
Will we make different choices Re-living the same life?
Can a mouse be Elvis? What makes you believe it can be?
In parallel to the works performed by these laboratories, Koby has been studying the scientific mouse model environments that have been used on lab mice over the past 100 years. The cages have been designed to study and manipulate psychological aspects of mice.
Koby then made his own cages. But his were intended to reconstruct some of the most influential moments in the life of Elvis. Each of these cages offers a specific environment that is designed to influence the psychology of the mouse and make it closer to Elvis’.
Some of the main themes that the designer identified as being influential in making Elvis are: his close relationship with his mother (and so the mouse is given a mouse companion), being the victim of bullying when he was a child (in this cage, the mouse is submitted to external stimuli that frightens it), the discovery of his talents, becoming a star (features a distorted mirror that makes the mouse appear bigger), the Graceland period (in every place the mouse pokes nose, it gets a positive reaction in the shape of food or toys and keeps filling the cage to the point making it anxious), the army, the death of mum, the divorce from Priscilla are events that are represented by a cage that functions as an isolation chamber. The last cage embodies the last three years of the life of Elvis, when he worked himself to death, that period is represented by a little treadmill at the top of the cages. The mouse would run, run, run and eventually fall down.
It’s unclear if the Elvis Mouse is only being fed fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches washed down with phenobarbital, when it groggily rings for its cook in the middle of the night.
Also unclear is whether or not there is a mouse equivalent to “Dr. Nick” Elvis’s legendary doctor feelgood, who prescribed the King over 10,000 doses of amphetamines, barbiturates, narcotics, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, laxatives and hormones in the final year of his life alone.
On the heels of Madonna’s half-time spektakular and the new M.I.A. video (torrents of Arabia), may I present the The King of Rock and Roll (the white one) immortally preserved in hi-def.
Elvis on Tour was shot during a 15 city tour of the States in 1972 and Elvis is in fine Vegas form, wearing enough bling, satin, scarves and hairspray to make Liberace look like Bon Iver. Chubbier than in his sleek ‘68 Comeback Special, Presley still puts on a dynamic, though somewhat predictable, show.
The montage (split screen) sequences were directed by Martin Scorsese. I guess the producers thought if they replicated the look of the film Woodstock that hippies would suddenly think Elvis was hip. Had The King’s handlers let him stick to his lean mean black leather look of the ‘68 Comeback Special that might have happened. Afterall, a decade or so later, Morrissey found the look compelling enough to imitate it.
This colour clip was shot silent in 1955 in Oklahoma City while Holly and Elvis Presley were working the two bottom slots on a country package tour headlined by Hank Snow — and apparently represents not only the earliest film footage of Holly but that of Elvis as well (he’s dressed in a neon-bright green shirt and he’s already a physically commanding figure).
Other YouTubers are saying this was shot in Buddy Holly’s high school in Lubbock, Texas, the following year. Whatever the case, you can also catch Carl Perkins, and at :58 seconds in, a really young-looking Johnny Cash.
The legendary Gospel singer and Civil Rights activist, Mahalia Jackson was born 100 years ago today.
In a career that spanned 6 decades from 1927-1971, Jackson recorded over 30 albums, appeared in numerous films and was once described by Harry Belafonte as “the single most powerful black woman in the United States”.
With her rich contralto voice, Jackson was hailed as the “Queen of Gospel”, and her influence crossed musical genres from Rock to Pop, Jazz to Blues, and influenced Elvis Presley, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin.
Mottt the Hoople’s Ian Hunter wrote one of the best books ever written about life on the road, Diary of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, which told the inside story of Mott’s American tour in November and December, 1972. Mott the Hoople were one of the greatest (and sadly under-rated) bands of the 1970s, who were only saved from disbanding, by David Bowie (a fan) gifting them “All the Young Dudes” to record.
During thier five week American tour, Hunter kept a diary detailing the adventures, the tedium, the groupies, the second-hand guitar shops, the performances and meetings with David Bowie, Frank Zappa and Keith Moon. It’s an enjoyable read, more so because of Hunter’s enthusiasm, and child-like wonder of life in the States.
One night, towards the end of the tour, after the band had played Memphis, Hunter (a little worse for wear) decided he wanted to visit Elvis Presley, and begged his driver Ike to take him to “the legendary Gracelands, home of the king himself (his dad lives next door.)”
“We get out at the gate (the one with the notes) and survey total unreality in the cool Memphis night air. One of his many cousins comes out and we ask boldly if we can drive up the little road to his place, but the guy’s not having any. Elvis is in. He’s been here two or three days, and he’s just got back from the pictures an hour and a half ago so they won’t let anybody near the place. The best he can do is open the gate so we can get a clear view and he gives us a picture postcard. In my drunken state I decide this ain’t enough.”
The driver distracted the guard’s attention, and Hunter was pushed up onto a small sidewalk, where he casually made his way to Elvis’s front door.
“...I’m expecting any minute to be pulled back. Miraculously, the guards didn’t notice, and I was wearing an afghan, so they must have been bloody blind and I just went on.”
It was just before Christmas and Prelsey’s lawn had an illuminated nativity scene.
Blue bulbs outlined the driveway, and outside the front of the house were red, yellow, blue, green Christmas trees either side of the main door. It’s not really a huge house, in fact quite modest for the size of the grounds. There seem to be columns by the front door and two huge flashy chrome cars stood outside.
Hunter moved towards the back of the house, where there were more cars, and he heard dogs barking, “but you know what it’s like when you’re pissed.”
I walk across under the patio and there’s the back door. I turn the knob and it opens. Fuckin’ hell! Am I dreaming? I’m in the dude’s house; he’s somewhere within 50 feet of me now, but I daren’t go further. Inside the door there’s two more doors - one on the right looks like a sports room, but I’m a bit too far gone to tell properly, and the one on the left looks more like where he’d be - plush carpeting, a short hall and what looks like a staircase. I’ll never know if these doors opened or not because I didn’t try them. Instead, I knocked loudly. No answer. I knocked again and a black lady, very nicely dressed, peered at me through the window. I’ve since found out that it was probably Alberta, Presley’s maid.
‘I’ve come four-and-a-half thousand miles to see Elvis Presley - is it possible to see him?’
‘I’m sorry, Mr. Presley’s tired and he ain’t seeing anybody.’
‘Are you sure I can’t see him?’
‘Yes, I’m definitely sure.’
‘Well I’m sorry for the inconvenience, and I’ll go back to the gate. Don’t worry, I’m knocked out to have gotten this far. Thanks anyway.’
‘You’re welcome. Good night.’
I felt elated. I didn’t really want to meet the guy - he’d have only gotten angry at me staggering in in the middle of the night and invading his privacy. I felt like a 14-year-old groupie - but I’d done it for the buzz, and it had been great! To tell the truth, I’d get a bigger buzz out of Jerry Lee Lewis, but there I’d been, in the king’s house, and fooled the entire army. Actually I hadn’t fooled them that well because as I wandered round the front a wagon was waiting.”
Bonus ‘All the Young Dudes’ plus short doc on Mott the Hoople, after the jump…
On September 26, 1956 Elvis returned to his birthplace Tupelo, Mississippi to perform a homecoming gig at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. The Tupelo Daily Journal reported…
[...] the fair this year has the strongest grandstand lineup in years. It has Elvis Presley, the current biggest drawing card on the American entertainment scene; and it has an outstanding lineup of livestock and agricultural exhibits.”
During the show a teenage girl rushed the stage and practically knocked Elvis off his feet. Later, when she was asked why she’d stormed him, she replied, ‘I want him and I need him and I love him.’
Brief clips from the Tupleo show have floated around the internet for awhile. But they’ve been silent or dubbed with audio from other sources. Here’s the longest version I’ve seen and the first that has sound from the actual performance. It’s a great piece of rock and roll history.
Originally airing on October 3rd, 1977, less than two months after his death, Elvis in Concert, is the final documentation we have of Elvis Presley performing in front of an audience. He would do just five more shows after this. It is never likely to see a proper release. Showing a bloated, druggy, puffy-faced performer who can barely remember the lyrics to songs he has sung hundreds of times before, Elvis in Concert is the very epitome of the “fat Elvis” period. Certainly it’s not the way the singer’s estate would like him to be remembered. Might be bad for business!
The media at the time was luridly fascinated with the King’s rampant Demerol addiction and terrible diet, such as his late night demands for deep-fried peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. A book titled Elvis: What Happened? written by three former members of his Memphis Mafia inner circle, became a best-seller. The National Enquirer even ran a truly tasteless cover photo of Elvis in his casket that was their best-selling issue ever.
And then this came on TV, in the midst of all that. For lovers of the “fat Elvis” era, this is as good as it gets. During “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” the footage the producers had made Elvis look so bad (sweaty, fat, nervous, mumbling, incoherent and unfunny) that they cut away to a fan interview during the song. This footage was later used in the amazing documentary, This is Elvis, to illustrate just how far he’d fallen. (I highly recommend renting This is Elvis on Netflix, it’s a fascinating cautionary tale. In the span of the film’s 144-minute running time, the rapid physical decline of Elvis, as seen from between 1973 and his death four years later is painful to watch)
Speedway is a typical lightweight Elvis romp from the ‘60s co-starring Nancy Sinatra who plays a sexy IRS agent who comes to audit racecar driver Elvis, whose business manager (Bill Bixby) is an idiot addicted to gambling. She succumbs to the King’s charms, natch. There are songs and a plucky homeless family living in their car. That’s the plot in a nutshell.
Carl Ballantine from McHale’s Navy and Gale Gordon, best known as Mr. Mooney from The Lucy Show are also part of the cast. One production number, for a song called He’s Your Uncle, Not Your Dad, takes place in an IRS office! It’s perfectly dreadful, if entertaining, drivel, but it does have two great numbers in it. Elvis does a rocker called Let Yourself Go that was released as a single, but flopped, which is a shame, because it’s one of my top favorite Elvis tracks. And Nancy Sinatra performs a swingin’ little number called Your Groovy Self, complete with minimalist mod choreography, It’s one of her best songs, certainly one of her best performances on film and the sole track by anyone other than Elvis to appear on the soundtrack album to one of his movies.
Two fun facts: First, Speedway was originally written for Sonny and Cher! Second, take a look at the nightclub: Quentin Tarrentino’s set design for Jack Rabbit Slim’s in Pulp Fiction was inspired by the decor of the Hangout, where Speedway’s in-crowd mix in a racecar booth ‘60s disco splendor.
The plot device that gets Nancy to sing is when Carl Ballantine, the maitre’d of the Hangout shines a spotlight on her, and for some arbitrary Elvis-movie logic, she has to “get up and do something.” This is what she does:
From today’s Los Angeles Times, the little known tale behind the famous photo of Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon, including the top page of the letter Presley wrote to Nixon that led to the meeting:
“Dear Mr. President, First I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley.”
In five pages, Elvis explains he loves his country and wants to give something back and, not being “a member of the Establishment,” believes he could reach some people the president can’t if the president would only make him a federal agent at-large so he can help fight the war on drugs.
“Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out. . . . I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent. . . . I would love to meet you just to say hello if you’re not to [sic] busy. Respectfully, Elvis Presley.”
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.