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In The Ghetto - Part 2



The Story So Far : The 1968 Albums
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The snappily titled 'Singer Presents Elvis Singing Flaming Star and Others' was released by RCA Records in October 1968. It spent five months available only at select retail stores featuring products by the Singer Sewing Machine Company as a promotional tie-in with Presley's upcoming Christmas television special, 'Elvis' on the NBC network, which Singer had sponsored.

It was reissued for normal retail channels as 'Elvis Sings Flaming Star' in April 1969, becoming the first Elvis Presley budget album on the RCA Camden label. Due to the chart success of this album upon reissue in 1969, RCA Records elected to release more Presley titles on the Camden label through 1972. These budget LPs were shorter than the standard running time - clocking in at around 20-25 minutes - and featuring some unused soundtrack recordings and previously released items.

All tracks were compiled from sessions for Presley film soundtracks, with the exception of "Tiger Man" from the Singer Christmas Special. The song was not shown in the initial broadcast of the NBC television special, but it replaced "Blue Christmas" for the repeat broadcast of the special in the summer of 1969. This track has the distinction of being the first live recording by Elvis ever commercially released.

The cover of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business" was a warm-up at a session for film songs to Stay Away, Joe. Excepting "Flaming Star", the title song from Presley's 1960 movie of the same title which had been released on an extended play single in February 1961, all tracks were previously unreleased.

The "Texas" medley and "All I Needed Was the Rain" appeared in Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Stay Away, Joe (1967), respectively, while "Wonderful World" appeared over the opening credits to Live a Little, Love a Little (1968).

 

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'Elvis', the album of the Elvis TV special, was released by RCA Records in December 1968. It was recorded in Burbank, California at Western Recorders between 20-23 June 1968, and at NBC Studios on 27 and 29 June 1968. It peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200. The album consists of a mixture of studio and live recordings, the live material itself a mixture of "sit-down" tracks with a small group and "stand-up" tracks with an orchestra.

 

Unlike the drudgery of the feature film soundtrack recordings, Presley was genuinely excited by the project. For the album, the musical format presented Presley in three different settings: production numbers featuring medleys of his material; an informal small band featuring full songs in front of a live audience; and the two original numbers with Presley backed by an orchestra in front of a live audience.

 

Side 1 consisted of the medleys : 'Trouble / Guitar Man' and Lawdy, Miss Clawdy / Baby, What You Want Me to Do / Heartbreak Hotel / Hound Dog / All Shook Up / Can't Help Falling In Love / Jailhouse Rock / Love Me Tender

Side 2 opened with a bit of dialogue followed by a gospel medley : Where Could I Go but to the Lord / Up Above My Head / Saved; a 'sit-down' medley followed consisting of Blue Christmas / One Night . Memories was next, and then one of the big production number medleys - "Nothingville / Big Boss Man / Guitar Man / Little Egypt / Trouble/Guitar Man".

The album, like the TV special, closed with "If I Can Dream" - which had been released earlier in the month, backed with "Edge of Reality" from his current movie 'Live a Little, Love a Little' - making it a double promotion on one record. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, his highest charting single since 1965. Going one better, it peaked at #11 in the UK in April 1969. "Memories" was released over two months after the broadcast, backed with the title song to his next film, "Charro!".

 

By making it to the top ten on the album chart after his previous album had charted at a dismal #82, this LP resuscitated his recording career at a time when it seemed practically moribund. Presley insisted the mono mixes for these songs were retained for the album.

 

The 1969 Films - part 1 :
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'Charro!', Elvis Presley's twenty-ninth movie, was filmed in Arizona during July and August of 1968. At the time, Elvis had just finished taping his 1968 television special, 'Elvis', which would air in December. He grew a full beard for this rugged role. Elvis' entourage, as well as his manager Colonel Parker, got into the spirit and also grew beards.

Elvis Presley stars as Jess Wade in this offbeat western which features no musical numbers. The storyline finds Wade, a reformed badman, pitted against the members of his old gang. The gang is now led by Vince Hackett, played by character actor Victor French, who takes delight in terrorizing a small Mexican town. The gang has stolen from the town a gold-plated cannon that was used by Emperor Maximilian in his ill-fated fight against popular Mexican leader Benito Juarez. The gang's motive is to force a ransom from the town for the cannon, but the gang also uses the cannon to hold the townspeople at bay. Only Wade can save the people from his former gang. European star Ina Balin co-stars as Tracy Winters, a dance hall hostess in love with Wade.



The movie was directed and produced by Charles Marquis Warren, who had a long career in western movies. It was shot at the Apacheland Movie Ranch in Apache Junction, Arizona near the Superstition Mountains, site of many paranormal stories including the famous 'Lost Dutchman Gold Mine'.

The role of Jess Wade was originally offered to Clint Eastwood, who turned it down. The budget for the movie was estimated at $1.5 million. Working titles for the film included 'Jack Valentine', 'Johnny Hang', and 'Come Hell or Come Sundown'. Presley signed up to the project with high hopes after reading the serious, song-free script, but was left disappointed when he arrived for his first day of shooting on 22 July 1968 to find that the script he had originally signed up for had been changed beyond recognition.

The story of Charro, which was written by Frederick Louis Fox, contained many violent scenes that were dropped from the film altogether. The original opening scene which featured Ina Balin in the nude climbing from a bath, was dropped in favour of a more gentle bar scene [boo!!].



His singing voice is heard only over the credits performing the title song, 'Charro!', which was written by Billy Strange and Mac Davis. Appropriately for a Western, the studio hired Hugo Montenegro to produce the film's two songs, the recording session taking place at Samuel Goldwyn Studio in Hollywood, California on 15 October 1968. The second song recorded for the film, "Let's Forget About the Stars", was not used, and later appeared on the budget album Let's Be Friends in 1970.

At the time, much was made about the absence of songs in the film, as though that fact proved Charro! was a serious effort. Advertisements for the film declared Charro! featured 'a different kind of role...a different kind of man'. Elvis granted more interviews and generated more publicity for Charro! than he had for any film in a long time. One interview quoted him as saying : "'Charro! is the first movie I ever made without singing a song. I play a gunfighter, and I just couldn't see a singing gunfighter'"

 

Charro! opened nationwide on 13 March 1969. Promotions for this film included twenty-five Southwestern cities which held 'Charro Girl' contests, with finalists appearing in Dallas and Austin. The film, although a hit, was not received as well as Presley's previous films. Fans were put off by the lack of songs, and critics were generally unimpressed with the film as a whole. Despite this, the film made a good profit and Presley received $850,000 for his work.

Roger Greenspun of The New York Times wrote of Presley's performance : "He treats his part rather as a minor embarrassment, and he seems determined not to push himself in a role that could have used a stronger personality to fill the lapses in the story and the wide open spaces in the dialogue."

Variety wrote that : "Presley strolls through a tedious role that would have driven many another actor up the wall ... Even more at fault than Presley, who has occasionally responded in the past to the demands of a good director, is Charles Marquis Warren, who takes credit (or blame?) for the script, the direction, and even part of the production."

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote that in the film Presley : "sings nary a note, which is too bad. A song or two, though arguably inappropriate, would have helped to relieve the tedium of this trite low-budget Western that has quick-sale-to-TV stamped all over it."

Gary Arnold of The Washington Post called it : "the least kinesthetic Western I've ever seen, which seems to have conceived for the small screen. A plot that might suffice for 30 minutes of restless entertainment has been stretched to a somnambulent 98 minutes."

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'The Trouble With Girls (And How To Get Into It)', Elvis Presley's thirtieth movie, was an odd mixture of music, comedy, and melodrama. Unusually for an Presley picture, Elvis is only on screen for about a third of the film. Among the film's working titles had been 'Big America' and 'Chautauqa'.

The story for the film was based on the Chautauqua, which was founded in 1874 by Lewis Miller, an Akron, Ohio inventor (and the father-in-law of inventor Thomas Edison); and John H. Vincent, a Methodist minister and eventual bishop. Their original goal was to provide adult education in the summer for Sunday school teachers. With the success of the program it evolved to include academic subjects, music, art and physical education. From the very start it included many religious denominations. The home base for Chautauqua is the southwest corner of New York State near Lake Chautauqua, where the institute still thrives today.



Elvis stars as Walter Hale, the manager of a traveling chautauqua. Walter is beset with a number of problems as his show arrives in town for one week. He worries that he might have to give the mayor's untalented daughter the lead in the children's pageant to stay in the mayor's good graces. He must contend with his assistant, played by Marlyn Mason, who is constantly harping about the union rights of his employees. Finally, someone murders the local druggist, and a member of the chautauqua is accused. These loose ends are tied together during the final show, when Walter cannily reveals the killer's identity and wins the heart of his pretty assistant.

In the early 1900's, (the era depicted in 'The Trouble with Girls'), the Chautauqua program traveled by train across the country bringing its lectures to the people. With the advent of film and radio programs the traveling stopped. It has been visited by nine U.S. Presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, who delivered his 'I Hate War' speech from there in 1936, and George Gershwin composed his 'Concerto in F' while visiting in 1925.

The story had a long road to production as a movie. As early as December 1960, Glenn Ford was set to star in the film. By February 1961, Elvis was to join as Ford's co-star. Screenwriters changed over and over and, by July 1961, Glenn Ford was out and Elvis was in as the star. In August 1964, Elvis was out and Dick Van Dyke was chosen to star. After more screenwriter changes MGM sold its rights to Columbia Pictures. In April 1968 MGM bought back the rights to the film and Elvis was back in as the star.

'The Trouble With Girls' was directed by Peter Tewksbury, who also directed the Elvis film 'Stay Away Joe'. Production finally began in October 1968 and was finished by 18 December 1968.



Entering the studio for The Trouble with Girls, Presley found himself in the position of knowing he had the goods in the can with his looming comeback television special but given that his last three singles – "You'll Never Walk Alone," "Your Time Hasn't Come Yet Baby" "A Little Less Conversation" – and the Speedway album all tanked, faced a practically dead recording career.

The recording session took place at United Artists Recorders in Hollywood, on 23 October 1968. "Clean Up Your Own Backyard" by Billy Strange and Mac Davis, their fourth successful submission to a Presley soundtrack in a row, was the only one released concurrently with the film's release, as a single in 1969, peaking at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Almost" would appear in 1970 on the budget album Let's Be Friends, the only other track from the film to be released during Presley's lifetime. His remake of the His Hand in Mine track "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" would not see release until 1983 on Elvis: A Legendary Performer Volume 4.

Other songs recorded for the film included : "Signs of the Zodiac"  /  "The Whiffenpoof Song" (not used in film)  /  and "Violet (Flower of NYU)"



Released in June 1969, The Trouble with Girls (and How to Get into It) performed poorly in cinemas but strongly on the drive-in circuit.

Roger Greenspun of The New York Times called it : "a charming though ineptly titled comedy" with Presley performing "a reasonably developed characterization as the chautauqua company manager, and he sings very well."

Variety wrote : "Elvis Presley is lost in this one. Without star’s usual assortment of 10 to 12 songs, and numbers cut down to a bare three, picture has little to offer. Title suggests a gay comedy but it’s a mass of contrived melodramatics and uninteresting performances that do not jell into anything but program fare."

Margaret Harford of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film : "never makes up its mind where to go and how to get there ... The trouble with the picture is not girls; it's indecision by the writers, Arnold and Lois Peyser about whether we should laugh at the corny entertainment of 40-odd years ago, or cry over the troubles of a lonely widow who drinks too much."

The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote : "The plot's rather curious blend of amateur theatricals, folksy humour and straight melodrama strains credulity even for a Presley film, and the few songs are instantly forgettable. Vincent Price makes an odd and quite appealing guest appearance as an itinerant lecturer known as Mr. Morality, but Presley himself seems uninterested in the whole affair."

While it met with generally poor reviews on release, following Presley’s death critics re-visited the film and started to acknowledge its merits – interesting narrative, strong supporting cast including Vincent Price, authentic period feel and innovative filming techniques.

The 1969 Albums - part 1 :
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'From Elvis in Memphis', the tenth studio album by Elvis Presley, was recorded in Memphis in January and February 1969 under the direction of producer Chips Moman. Following the success of Presley's TV special 'Elvis' and its soundtrack, the album marked Presley's return to non-soundtrack albums after the completion of his film contract with Paramount Pictures. The album cover was a still from the "Trouble - Guitar Man" production number of NBC's Elvis special. Presley is featured with a red electric guitar, wearing a black leather suit with a red scarf around his neck, with silhouettes of guitar players at the back of the set.

 

In 1968, Colonel Tom Parker arranged a deal with NBC for a Christmas television special starring Presley in front of a live audience. Parker originally planned to have Presley sing Christmas carols only, but producer Steve Binder convinced the singer to perform songs from his original repertoire. The high ratings received by the special and the success of its attendant LP re-established Presley's popularity. As part of his decision to refocus on music rather than film, Presley decided to record a new album. After the special he approached Scotty Moore and D. J. Fontana, who had played with Presley during his early hit-making career, and who rejoined him on the television show. Presley asked Moore about using Music City Recorders in Nashville, but that suggestion never came to fruition.

During a January 1969 meeting at Graceland, Presley told his usual producer, Felton Jarvis, that he did not want to record his next album at RCA Studios. Two of Presley's friends, DJ George Klein and Marty Lacker, suggested that he use American Sound Studio, an up-and-coming studio with which Lacker was involved. RCA contacted the studio's producer Chips Moman. It was agreed that Presley's recordings would take ten days and cost $25,000. He would be backed by the studio's house band, the 827 Thomas Street Band (informally known as "The Memphis Boys"), which consisted of Reggie Young on guitar, Tommy Cogbill and Mike Leech on bass, Gene Chrisman on drums, Bobby Wood on piano, and Bobby Emmons on organ.



Recording began on 13 January 1969, when Presley arrived at the studio nursing a cold. In addition to his personal entourage, he was accompanied by publisher Freddy Bienstock, Colonel Parker's assistant Tom Diskin, producer Felton Jarvis, executive Harry Jenkins and engineer Al Pachucki, representing RCA Records. The session, which produced recordings of "Long Black Limousine" and "Wearin' That Loved On Look", which features an electric-bass lead for the first time in a Presley recording, plus several non-album songs, continued until 5:00 am. After the first day's recording, Moman and his colleagues expressed discomfort with the size of Presley's entourage, and the singer was accompanied by fewer people for the remaining sessions.

The next day Presley recorded Hank Snow's "I'm Moving On" and "Gentle on My Mind", leaving the studio while working on the latter to rest his throat. The following night, he did not appear, as his cold worsened, and on 15 and 16 January, the house band recorded backing tracks for subsequent sessions. Presley returned on 20 January, recording "In the Ghetto" in 23 takes. On 22 January, he recorded Eddy Arnold's "I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)" and the non-album single "Suspicious Minds". Presley then took a break from recording for a vacation trip to Aspen, Colorado to celebrate his daughter Lisa Marie's first birthday.

During Presley's absence, Moman was approached by Hill & Range publisher Freddy Bienstock, who was concerned about possible future disputes concerning the songs' publication. Moman and Presley decided not to record Hill & Range compositions, instead using songs by American Sound writers. Bienstock, particularly interested in the non-album "Suspicious Minds" and "Mama Liked the Roses", warned that Moman would have to surrender the publishing rights to release the songs. In response, Moman told Bienstock to take all the recordings and leave the studio. RCA vice-president Harry Jenkins interceded, siding with Moman and ordering Bienstock to stay away from the studio and let Presley work with the staff. Meanwhile, Tom Diskin informed Presley about the publishing issues. Presley supported Moman, assuring Diskin that he and the producer would handle the session work. Diskin contacted Parker, who told him to return to California. Moman retained the publishing rights, and the sessions were scheduled to resume several weeks later.

Presley returned on 17 February 1969, recording "True Love Travels on a Gravel Road" and "Power of My Love", plus Eddy Arnold's "After Loving You" and "Do You Know Who I Am?" the following day. On 19 February, he devoted most of the session to the non-album single "Kentucky Rain", one of the few Hill & Range songs used on the American Sound recordings. Presley followed with a recording of "Only the Strong Survive", a hit for Jerry Butler the previous year, which took twenty-nine takes. On 20 February, he recorded Johnny Tillotson's "It Keeps Right on a Hurtin'" in three takes and "Any Day Now" in six.



'From Elvis in Memphis' was released by RCA Records on 17 June 1969. The twelve tracks on the album were selected from thirty-one which were recorded in the American Sound sessions. The album topped the UK Albums Chart. In the United States, it reached number thirteen on Billboard's Top LP's, and was ranked number seventeen on the magazine's Top Country albums of 1969.

On 12 July 1969, Presley was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, with the album receiving the lead review. Peter Guralnick, the magazine's reviewer, described it as "great ... Flatly and unequivocally the equal of anything he has ever done" and praised the "evident passion which he has invested in this music", adding: "(he) is trying, and trying very hard, to please us. he needs to have our attention ... It is his involvement after all which comes as the surprise."

Following the American Sound sessions, Presley returned to Hollywood. Between March–April 1969, he recorded the soundtrack and starred in his thirty-first and last motion picture as an actor, 'Change of Habit'.

When the album was due for release, Parker arranged Presley's return to performing live. He made a deal with Kirk Kerkorian, owner of the Las Vegas International Hotel for Presley to play the newly built, 2,000-seat showroom for four weeks (two shows per night, with Mondays off) for $400,000. For his appearance, he assembled a band later known as the TCB Band : James Burton (guitar), John Wilkinson (rhythm guitar), Jerry Scheff (bass-guitar), Ronnie Tutt (drums), Larry Muhoberac (piano) and Charlie Hodge (rhythm guitar, background vocals). The band was complemented by the backing vocals of The Sweet Inspirations and The Imperials. His initial Las Vegas show attracted an audience of 101,500, setting a new Vegas performance record.

The 1969 Films - part 2 :
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By 1969, Presley's future in Hollywood was under threat. Although still financially successful, mainly due to the "make 'em quick, make 'em cheap" attitude of Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker, Presley's films had been making less profit in recent years. When Parker had struggled to find any studio willing to pay Presley's usual $1 million fee, he struck a deal with NBC to produce one feature film, and a TV special entitled Elvis. NBC would pay Presley $1.25 million for both features, and Parker was happy in the knowledge that he was still able to earn $1 million for his client.



'Change of Habit' was Presley's thirty-first and final film acting role. The crime drama musical film was directed by William A. Graham and starred Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore. Written by James Lee, S.S. Schweitzer, and Eric Bercovici, based on a story by John Joseph and Richard Morris, the film is about three Catholic nuns, preparing for their final vows, who are sent to a rough inner city neighbourhood dressed as lay missionaries to work at a clinic run by a young doctor.

As Dr. John Carpenter, Elvis stars as a professional man for the first time in his career. Carpenter heads a clinic in a ghetto area of a major metropolis. He is surprised to be offered assistance by three women. Unknown to him, the three are nuns in street clothing who want to aid the community but are afraid the local residents might be reluctant to seek help if their true identities were known. Carpenter falls in love with Sister Michelle Gallagher, played by wholesome Mary Tyler Moore, but Sister Michelle's true vocation remains unknown to Dr. Carpenter. Sister Michelle also has feelings for the doctor, but she is reluctant to leave the order.



The writers based Mary Tyler Moore's character loosely on a real nun, Sister Mary Olivia Gibson, who was in charge of the speech clinic at Maria Regina College in Syracuse, New York. This Catholic College opened in 1934 and closed in 1990. While there, Sister Mary used some of the same techniques as depicted in the film in her work with handicapped children.

Change of Habit was filmed on location in the Los Angeles area and at the Universal Studios during March and April 1969. In an ironic twist, his final film as an actor saw Elvis ending his days in Hollywood with the type of dramatic role he always craved. Though not a particularly profound film, it does represent a change of venue for Elvis. A drama instead of a comedy, the film featured only three songs.

The female vocal group The Blossoms, who had appeared with Elvis in his 1968 TV special 'Elvis', also performed with him on musical numbers in 'Change of Habit'. Among the members for both gigs was Darlene Love, who later made a name for herself as a solo performer and an actress.

Darlene Love : “While we were doing the movie we broke for lunch and I told the girls, ‘Go on ahead, I’ll catch up with you. I had to get my sunglasses and on the way back to my car Elvis was still in his trailer. His door was open and he saw me pass by and said, ‘Oh Darlene, would you come in for a minute?’ He was always surrounded by people so I figured he must want something really important, because there was nobody around. He said, ‘Well, I’ve had this thing on my mind for a while. You know, I’ve never had a relationship with a Black woman.’ Before he could say anything else, I said, ‘…And you ain’t getting ready to have one with this one either!’ We both fell out laughing.”



When Presley entered Decca Universal Studio on 5 March 1969, for two days to record his final dramatic motion picture soundtrack, what would come to be known as the ''68 Comeback Special' had already been broadcast, its attendant album, 'Elvis' had been his first top ten LP in four years, and he had just finished the sessions at American Sound Studio yielding the album 'From Elvis in Memphis' and the top ten singles "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds" that would cement his resurgence as a force in American popular music. He had a month-long engagement at the International Hotel in Paradise, Nevada lined up in August, his first live performances in eight years, and clearly now had turned his career around.

A song recorded at American Sound Studio sessions, "Rubberneckin'", would be used in the film and subsequently issued as the B-side of "Don't Cry Daddy" in conjunction with the movie premiere. Of the four tracks that would be recorded at the soundtrack sessions, "Let's Be Friends" (not used in the film), "Change of Habit", and "Have a Happy" would appear on the Camden budget album 'Let's Be Friends' in 1970, while "Let Us Pray" was issued on the compilation gospel album 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in 1971.



Change of Habit was released in the United States on 10 November 1969. It spent four weeks on the Variety Box Office Survey, peaking at #17.

A. H. Weiler of The New York Times reviewed the film on a double bill with House of Cards and noted that both were : "merely exemplary of professional technique and dialogue rather than memorable characterization and emotion."

Variety wrote that : "its intriguing idea has a well-enough-constructed plotline to flesh out its premise for good family fare ... Presley displays his customary easy presence."

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote : "Today we're simply too much aware how agonizing social injustices can be for them to be treated with the breezy, jaunty touch of simple-minded light comedy ... to watch all this frantically bouncy, thoroughly bogus business is as discomforting as listening to chalk screech across a blackboard."

The 1969 Singles :
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"Clean Up Your Own Backyard"  (b/w "The Fair's Moving On") was released in August 1969. It reached #21 in the UK chart in September 1969.

 

Written by Mac Davis and Billy Strange, it featured in the MGM film 'The Trouble with Girls', and was later included on the budget RCA Camden album 'Almost In Love'. Although The Trouble with Girls was set in the 1920s, several lyrics within this song are anachronistic for the era, such as a reference to "armchair quarterbacks", a term not coined until the advent of television sports broadcasting decades later.

   

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"Suspicious Minds" (b/w "You'll Think of Me") was released in August 1969 in the US, and November 1969 in the UK - peaking at #2 in the charts.

 

"Suspicious Minds" was written and first recorded by American songwriter Mark James. James said that late one night, he was fooling around on his Fender guitar and using his Hammond organ pedals for a bass line and came up with what he thought was a catchy melody. At the time, he was married to his first wife but still had feelings for his childhood sweetheart, who was married back in Houston. James's wife had suspicions about his feelings. He felt it was a confusing time for him and that all three were "caught in this trap that they could not walk out of."

At the recording session, James sang the lead vocals and the studio band backed him; Chips Moman produced. After the tape was mixed, James and Moman flew to New York, where James's manager had contacts with Scepter Records. The label loved the song and put it out, but Scepter did not have the money to promote new artists and the song did not make the charts.

Later that year, Don Crews, Moman's partner, told James that Presley had booked their studio to record what would become the From Elvis in Memphis album. Crews kept asking James if he had any songs that would be right for Presley. James thought of "Suspicious Minds" and began urging others to get Presley to hear it. Even though James's recording had not been commercially successful, upon reviewing the song, Presley decided he could turn it into a hit.

"Suspicious Minds" was recorded between 4 and 7 a.m. on Thursday, 23 January 1969. James was in Memphis, but he was not at the recording session. A few days earlier, he had walked into the recording studio during a session and sensed that Elvis was uncomfortable with his presence. James did not want to jinx the song so he stayed away. When he heard the track the day after it was recorded, he initially thought it sounded too slow. When he later heard the embellished version, he said he was blown away.



Production of the song was nearly scuttled over a copyright dispute. Elvis's business people said they wanted half of Moman's publishing rights. Moman accused them of stealing and threatened to halt the recording session. Harry Jenkins of RCA agreed with Moman because he sensed that "the song would be a big hit and there would be plenty to go around".

On 7 August 1969, "Suspicious Minds" was again overdubbed to stereo and mono in Las Vegas, where the final master was produced. RCA staff producer Felton Jarvis made the unusual decision to add a fade-out to the song starting at 3:36 and lasting for nearly 15 seconds before fading back into the song. The first verse then continues repeatedly until the song completely fades out. Moman disclosed that Jarvis was never happy with Elvis recording at American Sound Studio

Chips Moman: "it was a control thing. So when Jarvis took the tape of 'Suspicious Minds,' he added this crazy 15-second fade toward the end, like the song was ending, and brought it back by overdubbing to extend it. I have no idea why he did that, but he messed it up. It was like a scar in the song - a scar not too well-liked. Not that it mattered, though - soon after the song was released, Elvis was back on top of the charts."



Presley first performed the song at the Las Vegas International Hotel on 31 July 1969, and the 45 rpm single was released 26 days later. It reached No.1 in the United States on 31 October 1969 and stayed there for one week. It would be Presley's final No.1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, before his death.

The 1969-1970 Albums - part 2 :
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'From Memphis to Vegas / From Vegas to Memphis' was both Elvis' eleventh studio album and his second live album (following the 1968 TV special). The double album was released on 14 October 1969, by RCA Records. The first album, titled 'In Person at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada', contains the live recordings of Presley's hits at the International Hotel in Winchester, Nevada, while the second album, titled 'Back in Memphis', contains entirely new material recorded at American Sound Studio in Memphis. The album peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200.

 

Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, secured a month-long engagement at the International Hotel, and in keeping with the "clear-the-decks" philosophy of the previous album, Presley jettisoned his long-serving 1960s sidemen in favor of musicians who would become his Taking Care of Business band.

The first album consisted of recordings from those shows, Elvis' first live performances since his March 1961 benefit concert in Hawaii. Signature hits from his 1950s and early 1960s repertoire, including Blue Suede Shoes, Johnny B. Goode, and Hound Dog appeared alongside a cover of "Words" by The Bee Gees, his recent hit single "In The Ghetto" and an extended version of "Suspicious Minds", the single of which had only just been released during the engagement.

 

The songs featured on the second LP consisted of ten recordings produced by Chips Moman from the winter of 1969 sessions at American Sound not used for 'From Elvis in Memphis'. Although drawn from what were basically leftovers, still "Stranger in My Hometown" equaled the intensity of the already issued songs. Other songs included : "Inherit the Wind"  /  "This Is the Story"  /  "A Little Bit of Green"  /  "And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind"  /  "From a Jack to a King"  /  and "Without Love (There is Nothing)"

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'Let's Be Friends' was a compilation album released in April 1970. It was the second Presley budget album to appear on the low-priced RCA Camden label. It peaked at number 105 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Similar to its predecessor 'Elvis Sings Flaming Star', Let's Be Friends collects mostly unreleased songs recorded for Presley film soundtracks. Given the recent work of the revitalised Presley, in the past the Colonel might have objected to this kind of market saturation, but under the terms of Presley's agreement with RCA, budget albums brought extra cash outside of contract stipulations.

   

Two non-movie outtakes appeared from the winter of 1969 sessions at American Sound Studio in Memphis : "I'll Be There" and "If I'm a Fool (For Loving You)". "Mama" was sung in the 1962 film Girls! Girls! Girls! by The Amigos and Presley's version first appeared on this album. "Let's Forget About the Stars" had been recorded for the 1968 film Charro!, but cut from the picture. "Almost" was one of only two tracks from 1968 film The Trouble with Girls to see release in Presley's lifetime.

Three tracks, "Let's Be Friends", "Change of Habit", and "Have a Happy", originated from Presley's then-current film 'Change of Habit', thus casting the album in the additional role as an unofficial soundtrack LP for the film.

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Previously :
62.   |  All Shook Up
64b. |  Party  (Melody Maker 18.)
67.   |  Jailhouse Rock / Treat Me Nice
80.   |  I Got Stung  /  One Night
85.   |  I Need Your Love Tonight  /  A Fool Such As I
99b. |  Stuck On You  (Melody Maker 51.)
106b|  A Mess of Blues  (Melody Maker 57.)
109. |  It's Now Or Never
112. |  Are You Lonesome Tonight
115. |  Wooden Heart
119. |  Surrender
125b|  Wild in the Country (NME 121.)
129. |  Little Sister  /  His Latest Flame
133. |  Can't Help Falling In Love
136. |  Good Luck Charm
140. |  She's Not You
143. |  Return To Sender
154. |  (You're The) Devil In Disguise
197. |  Crying In The Chapel
274bElvis Presley - In The Ghetto (MM 221.) + (NME 271.)       
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« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 02:58:18 PM by daf »

Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2011 on: May 02, 2021, 05:24:25 PM »
God, I love the white suited 'If I Can Dream'. It's such an emotional performance.

daf

  • Action by HAVOC
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2012 on: May 02, 2021, 05:36:27 PM »
I didn't link to it in the main post, but I came across a version they recorded with him in his leathers :

If I Can Dream (Black Leather)

(Probably just a rehearsal, as the sound's a bit off)


kalowski

  • Maclunkey
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2013 on: May 02, 2021, 07:27:01 PM »
I didn't link to it in the main post, but I came across a version they recorded with him in his leathers :

If I Can Dream (Black Leather)

(Probably just a rehearsal, as the sound's a bit off)
I highly recommend the 3 disc Deluxe Comeback Special DVD.

famethrowa

  • mere rhetorical frippery
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2014 on: May 03, 2021, 04:12:03 AM »
'Cos if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another 5pence on a tin of beans
In the Netto (in the Netto...)

Bloody shops closures spoiling jokes.

Possibly Hale & Pace here?:
Face down in the gateau (in the gateauuu)
Black Forest gateau...

Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2015 on: May 03, 2021, 07:47:18 AM »
I'm not much of an Elvis fan.
I appreciate how important he is as a figure in musical history, but there's only a handful of his songs that I actually like.

In The Ghetto is one of them though.

daf

  • Action by HAVOC
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2016 on: May 03, 2021, 10:03:52 AM »
I highly recommend the 3 disc Deluxe Comeback Special DVD.

Cheers - just ordered a copy from Ebay!

Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2017 on: May 03, 2021, 12:02:13 PM »
I'm not much of an Elvis fan.
I appreciate how important he is as a figure in musical history, but there's only a handful of his songs that I actually like.

In The Ghetto is one of them though.
I share the sentiment - and it was used, of course, to great effect by the KFL on 'Chill Out' too.

I get Elvis is crucial to how things panned out, but in terms of the 50s rock n roll stuff, from the "white boy" side of things, I'd much rather listen to some Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly or Eddie Cochran. There's something about Elvis I've always found a bit silly or naff - I suspect a lot of it is the numerous parodies of him over the years.

daf

  • Action by HAVOC
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2018 on: May 08, 2021, 02:00:00 PM »
2033, Cannabis in tea, it's . . .

275.  Zager and Evans - In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)



From : 24 August – 13 September 1969
Weeks : 3
Flip side : Little Kids
Bonus 1 : Original 1968 Truth Records version
Bonus 2 : Beat Club
Bonus 3 : RTS Promo film

The Story So Far : 
Quote
Denny Zager and Rick Evans met at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1962. They were joined by drummer Danny Schindler in the Nebraska band The Eccentrics until Schindler's tour of Vietnam in 1965. Evans also left in 1965 and reunited with Zager in 1968.

 

Denny Zager : "Rick was attending Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I saw him play at a fraternity party. I was in a band that I wasn't really happy with, as these guys were more interested in partying than playing, and I was looking to put a duo together like Simon and Garfunkel. All of Rick’s lyrics had a very unusual nature about them that kind of caught me off guard. I spoke with him after the show and the rest, as they say, is history."

As Zager and Evans, the duo were backed by another Nebraska native, Mark Dalton, on bass. Their first drummer, Paul Maher, was later replaced by another Nebraskan, Dave Trupp. Trupp and Dalton were also the rhythm section in the Liberation Blues Band and backed Evans on some solo demo material.

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Their debut single, "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)", warned of the dangers of technology, portraying a future in which the human race was destroyed by its own technological and medical innovations. The song was originally written by Evans in 1964, but not recorded or released until 1968 on the Truth Records label. After radio stations in Lincoln and Omaha made "In the Year 2525" a regional "break-out" hit record, RCA Records signed the duo and released the song with "Little Kids", also written by Evans, as the B-side nationwide.

Mark Dalton : "Little Kids" was recorded at Tommy Allsup's studio in Odessa Texas  Denny Zager, lead vocals, Rick Evans, guitar and  harmony vocals, Dave Trupp on drums and me on bass.  That trip was so much fun!"

   

"In the Year 2525" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1969, claiming the top spot for six weeks. It also hit #1 for three weeks in the UK in August and September 1969. The record sold over four million copies by 1970 and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in July 1969.

Denny Zager : "Time Magazine actually featured us in their magazine, and wrote "The Beatles would be jealous."  Who would have believed two farm boys from Nebraska would have the No. 1 hit in the world and have Time magazine saying the Beatles would be jealous! I couldn't have dreamed it."

     

Striking while the iron was hot, Zager and Evans immediately recorded their debut album, '2525 (Exordium & Terminus)', again using Trupp and Dalton as the primary rhythm section. Songs featured included "Bayoan", "Fred", and "Taxi Man".

 

After the success of "2525", White Whale Records released an LP titled 'The Early Writings of Zager & Evans and Others' featuring recordings of The Eccentrics on side one and a band called J.K. and Co., who had no connection to Zager and Evans, on side two.

 

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The follow-up single, "Mr. Turnkey" (b/w "Cary Lynn Javes"), released in October 1969, failed to chart in the UK and tanked at #106 in the US, and at #86 in Australia.

   

The song's chart chances probably weren't helped by the rather dark lyrics which are sung from the perspective of a convicted rapist - that old jolly chestnut!

 

Unsurprisingly, after that disaster, no further singles were released in the UK, but they persevered in the US with their next single "Listen To The People" (b/w "She Never Sleeps Beside Me") - which was released in December 1969, and did slightly better - peaking at #100 on the Cashbox chart.

   

A slightly different version of "Mr Turnkey" was included on their second album, 'Zager and Evans', released in 1970. Other songs featured included "In My House", "During REM", and "Reginald Ludwig".

 

The non-album single "Help One Man Today" (b/w "Yeah 3²") followed in March 1970 - peaking at #94 in the Australian charts. In June 1970, two songs from the second album, "Crutches" (b/w "The Plastic Park"), were exhumed and paired for yet another chart-dodging single.

After releasing two albums on RCA, Zager and Evans moved to Vanguard Records in 1971. Their first single on their new label, "Hydra 15,000" (b/w "I Am"), was released in January 1971 - but once again failed to trouble the charts.

 

Both songs featured on their third album, 'Food For The Mind'. Other songs included 'The House On Sumner Street', "The Last Two People On Earth", and "Alice Browning".

 

One final single emerged - "A Christmas Song (What Have We Done To Your Day)" (b/w "The Sunday Mornin' Band") - as an optimistic stab at the 1971 Christmas number 1. [no trace of either song could be located on youtube]

In the early 70s, Evans released a duet album for Truth Records titled 'I Need This Song' with Pam Herbert. In the late 1970s, he formed his own label, Fun Records, and released an album titled 'Fun Songs, Think Songs' containing both new material and re-recordings of Zager and Evans material.



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Zager now builds custom guitars at Zager Guitars in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Denny Zager : "My son and I build guitars daily in our shop behind our house here in Nebraska. We don't get out a lot, so other than having more lunches at home, it hasn't really affected us. We have an artist’s studio in Los Angeles where we meet a lot of our celebrity clients, and now that California is quarantined we're probably going to be staying in Nebraska for a bit."

Rick Evans was largely retired from public life but he continued to chat online with Mick Dalton and his best friend, Nashville producer Gary Earl, until his death in February 2018.

Denny Zager : "Like any band Rick and I had our squabbles, but there was a point in time that I felt we could have written some of the best music of the century. I miss him."

The Single :
Quote
"In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)" was written and composed by Rick Evans in 1964, and recorded by the duo of Zager and Evans in 1968.



"In the Year 2525" opens with an introductory verse explaining that if mankind has survived to that point, they would witness the subsequent events in the song. The following verses pick up the story at 1,010-year intervals from 3535 to 6565. In each succeeding millennium, life becomes increasingly sedentary and automated: thoughts are pre-programmed into pills for people to consume, eyes, teeth, and limbs all lose their purposes due to machines replacing their functions, and marriage becomes obsolete since children are conceived in test tubes.

For the final three millennia, the tone of the song turns apocalyptic as the pattern of the lyrics break: the year 7510 marks the date by which the Second Coming will have happened, and the Last Judgment occurs one millennium later. By 9595, the Earth becomes completely depleted of resources, with the narrator uncertainly speculating that this results in the death of humankind. The song ends after 10,000 years. By that time, humans have finally become extinct. But the narrator notes that somewhere 'so very far away', possibly on another planet, the scenarios told in the song have still yet to play out, as the song repeats from the top and the recording fades out.

Denny Zager : "Rick said he wrote the lyrics in 10 minutes in the back of a Volkswagen van after a night of partying and a lot of Mary Jane. He tried the song with a few bands he was playing with at the time, but the music wasn't right and it wasn't working. I thought the lyrics were intriguing, so I rewrote the music so it blended better with the lyrics. The first night we played it live we knew it was special because the crowd looked stunned and wanted to hear it again and again."

The track went to number 1 on the U.S. charts within three weeks of release, and peaked at number one in the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in August and September 1969.  Ironically, the song's subtitle, (Exordium & Terminus), meaning 'beginning and end', is a neat summary of their brief chart career.

     

The song was recorded primarily in one take in 1968, produced by Tommy Allsup, at a studio in a cow pasture in Odessa, Texas. Members of the Odessa Symphony also participated in the recording.

Mark Dalton : “We recorded that song with just Trupp and me and Rick Evans playing acoustic guitar. It might have been one take. We’d rehearsed it a lot in Lincoln before we went down. The singing part of it took hours and hours to get the vocal harmonies right. And they brought in some musicians from the Odessa symphony -- you know it was a boomtown because it had a symphony -- to finish it off.”

In 1968 the single was pressed on a tiny independent label, Truth Records, and became a regional hit.

Dave Trupp : “We had like 5,000 copies made, and we came back and sold them out of the trunk of a car. They sold in about a week, and so we had more made. A bunch of record people got interested in it and flew in.”

Those record people included and Jerry Weintraub of RCA Records, who signed the band and flew the group to Chicago to record the first Zager and Evans album. Record producer Ethel Gabriel was tasked with enhancing the sound and arrangement of the single - based on the original 1968 recording.

The duo also released an Italian version : "Nell'anno 2033", and obscure Nottingham band Whichwhat recorded a contemporary cover - though it failed to gain any significant radio exposure, much to the exasperation of one of Whichwhat's biggest fans, Dave Dobbins, who unleashed a blistering anti-BBC broadside in the pages of the pop press thundering against the shameless pro-Zager and Evans bias on display on the "so-called" impartial national airwaves - Harumph!

   

Other Versions include :   Nat Stuckey (1969)  /  Ginette Reno (1969)  /  Jan Davis (1969)  /  Caravelli (1969)  /  "Vuonna 2525" by Robin ja Robarit (1969)  /  "L'an 2005" by Richard Anthony (1969)  /  "L'an 2005" by Dalida (1969)  /  "V století dvacátém devátém" by Marta Kubišová (1970)  /  "Nel 2023" by Caterina Caselli (1970)  /  "Was wird sein in sieben Jahren" by Nina & Mike (1972)  /  The Twins (1981)  /  Jane Rossi (1983)  /  Visage (1983)  /  Vanilla (1986)  /  Laibach (1994)  /  Kitbuilders (2002)  /  Ian Brown (2009)  /  Danny McEvoy (2011)  /  SistersGoldenHair (2019)  /  ClinicalHypnosis (2020)  /  me and blue (2020)  /  David Snell (2020)  / The NEW Bardots (2021)

On This Day  :
Quote
27 August : Ivy Compton-Burnett, English novelist, dies at 85
28 August : Mary McCartney, photographer and daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney, born Mary Anna McCartney in London
28 August : Jack Black, actor and singer (Tenacious D), born Thomas Jacob Black in Santa Monica, California
29 August : Me'Shell Ndegéocello, American singer-songwriter, born Michelle Lynn Johnson in Berlin, Germany
30 August : 120,000 attend Texas International Pop Festival
31 August : Rocky Marciano, American boxer, dies in a plane crash at 45
31 August : 25,000 attend New Orleans Pop Festival
1 September : Colonel Muammar Gaddafi deposes King Idris in the Libyan revolution
2 September : Ho Chi Minh [Nguyễn Sinh Cung], Vietnamese communist revolutionary and President of North Vietnam (1946-69), dies at 79 of heart failure
5 September : Mark Ramprakash, English cricketer, born Mark Ravin Ramprakash in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England
5 September : Dweezil Zappa, guitarist and son of Frank Zappa, born Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa in Hollywood, California
6 September : CeCe Peniston, American singer, born Cecilia Veronica Peniston in Phoenix, Arizona
7 September : Jackie Stewart wins the Italian Grand Prix at Monza to clinch his first Formula 1 World Drivers Championship
8 September : Gary Speed, Welsh footballer and Wales national football team manager, born Gary Andrew Speed in Mancot, Flintshire, Wales
9 September : Allegheny Airlines flight 853 collides with a Piper Cherokee above Indiana, kills all 83 occupants
10 September : US performs nuclear test at Grand Valley Colorado
11 September : USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
13 September : Shane Warne, Australian cricket spin bowler, born Shane Keith Warne in Melbourne, Australia
13 September :"Scooby-Doo Where are You" by Hanna-Barbera debuts on CBS in the US
13 September : Plastic Ono Band's 1st live performance

Jollity

  • Absolutely no fun whatsoever
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2019 on: May 08, 2021, 09:53:31 PM »
I mostly know this song from when The Simpsons made references to it. I think Futurama also had a parody of this song. It obviously made a big impression on Matt Groening.

daf

  • Action by HAVOC
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2020 on: May 08, 2021, 10:05:38 PM »
Yes, I noticed that in the Wikipedia entry :

Quote
In 2010, it was parodied as "In the Year 252525" in the seventh episode of Futurama's sixth season, "The Late Philip J. Fry", as Fry, Professor Farnsworth and Bender travel forwards through time to find a period in which the backwards time machine has been invented.

Good news everyone! Here's a clip > > > In the Year 252525

Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #2021 on: May 09, 2021, 10:28:39 AM »
Well, I sound like-a Buddy Holly, 'cause it's raining in my heh-heart, its . . .

97.  Adam Faith - Poor Me



From : 28 February – 12 March 1960
Weeks : 2
Flip side : The Reason
Bonus : Brucie Duet

On This Day :

His biography 'Big Time' is really good. Guess what, he was a 'complex character'? I always wanted to believe that the cast of Stardust (Moonie, Edmunds, Essex et al) bonded, boozed and birded it up. Well, they did do some of that ... but not with Adam. Apparently, he was aloof and miserable. However, one redeeming feature is that he had an affair with Chris Evert Lloyd...

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