BlueHawaii header

Blue Hawaii is one of the best Elvis albums ever!

REGARDING PRIME-TIME TELEVISION as the American-entertainment-medium-of-choice: Berni and I are in­vet­erate non-viewers. I swore off the glass teat back in 1969 when ‘they’ took the best-ever show in all of his­tory off the air. Ex­cept for the de­lightful Nick­leodeon car­toons of the ’90s that I watched with my daughter—‘Aaahh! Real Mon­sters,’ ‘Doug,’ ‘Hey Arnold,’ and ‘Rugrats’—I have not ‘watched tv’ in al­most fifty years! 1

Berni gave up tele­vi­sion for Lent years ago and never went back, even though she al­lowed her sub­scrip­tion to the Catholic Church to lapse shortly af­ter­wards and was no longer bound by dogma. (And this is a wink-wink-nudge-nudge mo­ment …)

 

The look and feel of Blue Hawaii is about as far from Elvis’ iconic first album of 1956 as one could get: com­pared to the photo on that album, this Elvis looks gelded!

 

Berni first made me aware of the mat­u­ra­tion of teevee when she brought her VHS col­lec­tion of Northern Ex­po­sure as part of her dowry. I was amazed by how much I en­joyed the mis­ad­ven­tures of the mis­an­thropic Dr. Joel Fleis­chman (a stereo­typ­i­cally obsessive-compulsive-anal-uptight New Yorker) and his gor­geous on-again/off-again para­mour Maggie O’ Con­nell (a stereo­typ­i­cally fiery Irish colleen in need of pro­longed anger man­age­ment classes) (and per­haps a more manly man in her bed) and the other in­hab­i­tants of Roslyn, Alaska. 2

We have be­come HUGE fans and reg­ular watchers of modern tele­vi­sion se­rial dramas and come­dies, many of them orig­i­nating from cable and other pay-TV chan­nels! In fact, we are prob­ably looking at a near-future where we will have to re­con­sider our status and de­clare our­selves in­vet­erate viewers.

We get most of our fare from the li­brary but are not averse to buying com­plete sea­sons of fa­vorite se­ries when we find them for a few bucks a season. It is now easy to buy five-disc sets for $2-4 on­line or in stores that carry used CDs or books.

 

Elvis_NorthExp_dvd

The cover for the boxed set of DVD for the com­plete first season of Northern Ex­po­sure clev­erly de­picts the for­lorn Dr. Joel Fleis­chman aban­doned in the fic­ti­tious town of Ci­cely, Alaska. The DVD tech­nology is the very best way to binge-watch a great tele­vi­sion se­ries. Alas, when I was first ex­posed to this show, it was via Berni’s col­lec­tion of VHS cas­settes, all du­ti­fully taped off the TV screen, com­mer­cials and bad edits ga­lore. Of course, none of that kept me from loving the show and the lik­able cast of char­ac­ters and the ac­tors’ cred­ible per­for­mances.

Television loves lawyers

She also brought along some Ally McBeal episodes, which, while lacking the char­acter con­ti­nuity of the former, was even more out­standing in its ap­proach to tele­vi­sion nar­ra­tive. It even had some hi­lar­ious spe­cial ef­fects that never ever be­longed in a show pur­port­edly about lawyers. (Why does tele­vi­sion love lawyers so much?)

Re­peated watch­ings over the years have only made me ap­pre­ciate these show mores, never growing tired of ei­ther. But I dis­missed the rest of the stuff on the air, as­suming (and I never as­sume) that these two were ex­cep­tions to the rule.

Then, sev­eral years ago, I was dis­cussing new movies with my brother Charles and he in­formed me that he and Cyn­thia had pretty much given up on movie-going, as so many new films seem geared to­wards (mind­less) teenagers—even when they weren’t ad­ver­tised as teen flicks.

To my sur­prise, he opined that the best scripts, di­recting, and acting could be found on tele­vi­sion. He rec­om­mended a few se­ries (Six Feet Under and Lost among them) and we pulled them from the li­brary and nothing has been the same in our house­hold since!

 

Elvis BlueHawaii LP m 600

This is the mono ver­sion of BLUE HAWAII (RCA Victor LPM-2426). As stereo was still rel­a­tively new in the early’60s and most stereo gear was owned by older record buyers, the bulk of the sales of this album for the first few years of its re­lease were of the mono records. Be­cause of the gen­eral ap­peal of the music on this album, the stereo ver­sion (LSP-2426) was also a big seller. I bought my copy of LPM-2426 in 1965 at a five-and-dime store for a whop­ping $1.99.

Through the glass doorway

Since the shows we watch are usu­ally older or es­tab­lished se­ries, we get com­plete sea­sons from the li­brary and do a lot of binge-watching. So, we are cur­rently hooked on Mad Men and watching one full season after an­other. The first two episodes of the sixth season make up a two-part nar­ra­tive ti­tled “The Doorway” (episodes #66 and #67, April 2013). The story takes place in De­cember 1967, with Don and Megan Draper en­joying a free va­ca­tion at a Sher­aton hotel in Hawaii.

Episode #67 ends with Elvis singing Hawaiian Wed­ding Song over the closing credits. While lis­tening, I had a minor rev­e­la­tion and turned to Berni and said, “Y’know, BLUE HAWAII is prob­ably one of the best Elvis al­bums. Ever!”

That’s not a state­ment that I would nor­mally make if someone asked me to list some kind of ‘Top 10 Es­sen­tial Elvis Al­bums.’ (And that’s not a list that I would try to make in a ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion: nigh on im­pos­sible if only con­sid­ering his Victor al­bums re­leased be­fore 1977; more im­pos­sible if bootlegs is­sued be­fore his death are in­cluded; damn near im­pos­sible if posthu­mous re­leases are con­sid­ered.)

When com­piling these often inane ‘best ever al­bums’ lists, most rock­writers and critics tend to over­look Presley’s more pop-oriented records (and, alas, his amazing gospel al­bums) and focus on those that rocked the most. And nor­mally I wouldn’t argue with that approach—except for BLUE HAWAII.

 

Elvis_Hibbert

The pedes­trian cover art on Tom Hibbert’s THE PERFECT COLLECTION fronted one of the most anti-authoritarian books on pop­ular music ever pub­lished! Not only does it in­clude pure pop, but also greatest hits col­lec­tions. Com­pi­la­tions of any sort are gen­er­ally ver­boten in sim­ilar lists com­piled by what John Ross refers to as the “Crit Il­lu­mi­nati,” the critics who mold much of out opin­ions on pop and rock music.

1954-58: the first two Elvis ‘Eras’

For me, Pres­ley’s ca­reer can be broken up into mini-eras based on what he was fo­cusing his at­ten­tion on in the recording studio. His first few years are fairly easily di­vided into the Sun Era of 1954-55 and the Rock & Roll Era of 1956-58. After that, it gets dif­fi­cult. 3

Through most of the past forty years, the Crawdaddy/Rolling Stone/Creem-in­spired critics have foisted upon us a rather lim­ited canon of the ‘best rock and soul al­bums of all time.’ In fact, many of these writers rarely seem to rec­og­nize any cre­ativity let alone ge­nius in ac­tual ‘pop’ music. Hence I find most of these lists ut­terly use­less. An ex­cep­tion is the little known Tom Hi­b­bert and his book The Per­fect Col­lec­tion – The Rock Al­bums Every­body Should Have and Why (Pro­teus Pub­lishing Com­pany, 1982).

Rather than a best-of-all-time-in-numerical-order, this is more like a list based on the con­cept of ‘If-I-had-to-explain-the-first-thirty-years-of-rock-and-roll-to-a-Martian-these-are-the-100-albums-that-might-come-closest-to-making-that-happen.’

This end­lessly en­joy­able (and argument-provoking) book de­serves a re­view of its own, but suf­fice to say he in­cluded BLUE HAWAII as an album that al­most per­fectly en­cap­su­lates early ’60s es­capist pop-rock. For rock fans who also love pure pop for then people, this alone jus­ti­fied shelling out a few bucks for the book!

 

Elvis SomethingForEverybody LSP 600

Elvis’s second sec­ular studio album of the ’60s was SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY (RCA Victor LPM/LSP-2370, 1961). It was an enor­mous dis­ap­point­ment after the pre­vious year’s ELVIS IS BACK, at least in hind­sight. In fact, it took many fans and most critics decades to rec­og­nize its merits. And merits it has, as sev­eral bal­lads are so beau­ti­fully ren­dered that they al­most make up for the lack of drive on the rockers

1960-62: a third Elvis ‘Era’

Back to my Elvis Eras: while the afore­men­tioned critics usu­ally rave about ELVIS IS BACK from 1960 (and rightly so) for its blend of rock & roll, blues, gospel, country, and yes pop, they have been less gen­erous about their praise con­cerning other Presley records from this time. While that album did show that Elvis could still rock with the best and sing da blues as few white boys could, he rather quickly made it clear that his post-Army in­terest laid else­where: he wanted to be a great bal­ladeer.

And he was: I label 1960-62 the Tender Ballad Era. Presley’s way of singing of slow, ro­mantic songs was soft, supple, very very sen­suous, and yet al­ways, oh I dunno, manly.

Sort of mas­cu­linely tender.

In these read­ings, he was rarely maudlin (al­though a few num­bers in a few movies could be so de­scribed, they are for­given be­cause they were part of the movie) or merely sen­ti­mental.

This was the voice that could be heard on such sin­gles sides as Wild In The Country (a #1 hit on at least one British weekly), Lonely Man, and Any­thing That’s Part Of You, and even on such rhythmic num­bers as I Gotta Know (a song I end­lessly sing, in­side the shower and out) and She’s Not You and dom­i­nated the SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY and POT LUCK al­bums.

I don’t know what to say ex­cept that the timbre of Elvis’s voice and his ap­proach to bal­lads at this time moved me as a kid in a way no other ballad singer did. I mean, most of us at 12 years of age have little ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the emo­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences ad­dressed in slow, torchy songs. But Elvis moved me.

(And I am not counting his ‘50s rock­a­bal­lads and more bluesy slow songs, which a kid could get into without un­der­standing the emo­tions.)

was pro­duced by Hal B. Wallis, who also pro­vided the screen­play, and di­rected by Norman Taurog. In­ci­dental music was by Joseph J. Lilley and the cin­e­matog­raphy cour­tesy of Charles Lang, Jr. Elvis’s pri­mary co-stars were Joan Blackman and An­gela Lans­bury.

 

Elvis KingCreole movie poster 600

This poster an­nounced the fourth Presley movie of the ’50s. It is stark, with a pas­sionate red laid over the min­i­mal­istic black and white de­sign. In­ter­esting that Elvis is shown not with the girl that the boy in him pines for (Do­lores Hart) but the woman (Car­olyn Jones) that the man in him lusts after!

Some trivia on Blue the album

Hawaii had be­come the fiftieth state in these here United States on Au­gust 21, 1959, and the lower 48 were en­joying a fas­ci­na­tion with all things Hawaiian. Tiki dolls and fig­ures, hula skirts and hula hoops, Hawaiian Punch, etc., all found a vast market for sev­eral years well into the ’60s. Elvis loved the is­land, its people, and its music, so why not a musical-based movie set there.

The BLUE HAWAII sound­track had been re­leased in the US ear­lier than the movie, reaching stores on Oc­tober 20, 1961. It was an im­me­diate suc­cess, even­tu­ally spending twenty weeks at #1 on the Bill­board Top Pop LPs Mono chart with an ad­di­tional nine­teen weeks on that sur­vey’s Top 10. (It also spent four weeks at the top of that magazine’s stereo chart, in­di­cating that some “adults” were buying Elvis records.)

RCA has sub­mitted BLUE HAWAII to the RIAA for sales cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on four levels:

•  On De­cember 21, 1961, it was cer­ti­fied for a Gold Record Award (ap­prox­i­mately 700,000 sales at the time).

•  On March 27, 1992, it was cer­ti­fied for a Plat­inum Record Award (1,000,000 sales).

•  On March 27, 1992, it was cer­ti­fied for a Double Plat­inum Record Award (2,000,000 sales).

•  On July 30, 2002, it was cer­ti­fied for a Triple Plat­inum Record Award (3,000,000 sales).

Ac­tual sales are re­puted to be sig­nif­i­cantly higher but RCA has “mis­placed” (or re­fuses to di­vulge) boat­loads of Pres­ley’s sales over the years.)

Based on Bill­board’s rank­ings on their sur­veys, BLUE HAWAII was the second most suc­cessful album of the ’60s. An­other sound­track, WEST SIDE STORY, was the first, spending fifty-four weeks at #1 on the Top Pop LPs Stereo. (And this is based on rel­a­tive sales, not ab­solute; many al­bums of the post-Beatles era out­sold both WEST SIDE STORY and BLUE HAWAII.)

 

Blue Hawaii was second to West Side Story as the most suc­cessful chart album of the ’60s, the latter spending an un­be­liev­able fifty-four weeks at #1 on Bill­board’s stereo LP chart.

 

In Eng­land, it was equally suc­cessful: al­though it only spent nine­teen weeks at #1 on the British LP survey (G.I. BLUES had spent twenty-five weeks at the top spot), the ed­i­tors of the en­cy­clo­pedic Elvis UK book note that BLUE HAWAII was “prob­ably his best selling sound­track album” in the UK.

The album was nom­i­nated for a Grammy Award in the cat­e­gory of ‘Best Sound Track Album or Recording of Orig­inal Cast from a Mo­tion Pic­ture or Tele­vi­sion.’ (And that is one hel­luva long title …)

 

Elvis BlueHawaii LSP sticker 600

The BLUE HAWAII album was re­leased on Oc­tober 20, 1961, sans a hit single to pro­mote it. Why Colonel Parker and Elvis made this de­ci­sion seems baf­fling in hind­sight. On No­vember 21, 1961, Can’t Help Falling In Love and Rock-A-Hula Baby were pulled from the album and is­sued as a single. To pro­mote the single, RCA Victor had a red sticker af­fixed to the front cover of the LP jackets, meaning copies of the album with the sticker are ef­fec­tively  “second press­ings.”

Almost always true

The four­teen songs are a col­lec­tion of songs as­so­ci­ated with hawaii, some Tin Pan Alley stan­dards, some made-to-order orig­i­nals from the usual cast from Hill & Range. The mu­si­cians and singers were reg­ular crew mem­bers that Elvis worked with ac­com­pa­nied by a few mu­si­cians to ad local flavor to the arrange­ments. 

Elec­tric lead guitarScotty Moore
Acoustic guitarHank Gar­land and Tiny Tim­brell
Double bassBob Moore
Drums: D.J. Fontana, Bernie Mat­tinson, and Hal Blaine
PianoFloyd Cramer and Dudley Brooks (ce­leste)
Ce­lesteDudley Brooks
Sax­o­phoneBoots Ran­dolph
Pedal steel guitarAlvino Rey
Har­monica: George Field
Ukulele: Fred Tavares and Bernie Lewis
Backing vo­cals: The Jor­danaires and the Surfers

The album fea­tured seven tracks per side. They are listed below with their playing time and a grade as­signed by me based on my at­tempts to be ob­jec­tive while still being true to my taste. Here is what the grades mean:

Four stars (Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16) is ex­cep­tional.
Three stars (Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16) is better than av­erage.
Two stars (Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16) is av­erage.
One star (Star gold gradient 16) is sub-standard.

Side 1
Blue Hawaii                                                (2:37)                                Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16

Al­most Al­ways True                                 (2:24)                                       Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16
Aloha Oe                                                       (1:55)                                   Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16
No More                                                       (2:24)                                   Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16
Can’t Help Falling In Love                      (3:04)                               Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16
Rock-A-Hula Baby                                     (2:01)                                      Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16
Moon­light Swim                                         (2:22)                                      Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16

Side 2
Ku-U-I-Po                                                    (2:23)                                   Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16

Ito Eats                                                         (1:25)                                           Star gold gradient 16
Slicin’ Sand                                                  (1:37)                                           Star gold gradient 16
Hawaiian Sunset                                       (2:35)                                Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16
Beach Boy Blues                                        (2:05)                                        Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16
Is­land Of Love                                            (2:41)                                     Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16
Hawaiian Wed­ding Song                        (2:53)                                  Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16Star gold gradient 16

And that voice is all over Hawaiian Wed­ding Song, Blue Hawaii, Ku-U-I-Po, Hawaiian Sunset, Is­land Of Love, the ever ex­tra­or­di­nary Can’t Help Falling In Love and even the shoulda-been-a-throwaway reading of Aloha Oe. That’s seven ex­cep­tion­ally sung bal­lads.

All lovely, all moving.

(And I didn’t count No More, a fine per­for­mance if yet an­other take on Pres­ley’s predilec­tion for Mediter­ranean melo­drama and even the charming ditty Moon­light Swim.)

They more com­pen­sate for the limpdick, er, I mean flaccid, rockers (Rock-A-Hula Baby and Slicin’ Sand), the er­satz blues (Beach Boy Blues), and the down­right silly Ito Eats. 4

I don’t un­der­stand how Elvis’s com­mit­ment to this project and his en­gage­ment with the ma­te­rial es­capes anyone but the most blindered-by-rock-and-roll of critics …

 

Elvis_Cant_C33ps

This is the pic­ture sleeve for the 33 rpm Com­pact 33 Single for Can’t Help Falling In Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby. Like most Presley sleeves of this time, it is graph­i­cally un­in­ter­esting and fea­tures a close-up photo of the in­creas­ingly less in­ter­esting singer. While the sim­ilar pic­ture sleeve for the 45 rpm single is easily found, the Com­pact 33 sleeve is out­ra­geously rare and will set you back thou­sands of dol­lars even in lesser con­di­tion.

Some trivia on Blue Hawaii singles

In one of many, many tac­tical, aes­thetic, and even­tu­ally fi­nan­cial boners, Colonel Parker for­bade RCA Victor from re­leasing a single six to eight weeks in ad­vance of the album. Pop­ular de­mand for such a record forced ca­pit­u­la­tion and on No­vember 21, 1961—a month after the al­bum’s re­lease—Can’t Help Falling In Love was cou­pled with Rock-A-Hula Baby were pulled from the LP as a single. In the US, Can’t Help Falling In Love was the A-side and peaked at a dis­ap­pointing #2 on Bill­board while halting at #4 on Cash Box.

Pro­moted as a “twist spe­cial,” Rock-A-Hula Baby reached #23 on Bill­board and #28 on Cash Box. Had this record been re­leased in ad­vance of the album, it al­most cer­tainly would have topped the charts for sev­eral weeks. This single sold an easy mil­lion and even­tu­ally re­ceived an RIAA Gold Record Award.

In the UK, the record was pro­moted as a double-A-side and reached #1 with most week­lies pointing to Rock-A-Hula Baby as the lead side. British sales sup­pos­edly passed 600,000, a sub­stan­tial amount in the pre-Beatles era!

 

Elvis BlueHawaii poster onesheet 600

This is the poster for BLUE HAWAII, Elvis’s second big mu­sical movie of the ’60s. It stands in stark con­trast to the poster for KING CRE­OLEabove: While the ear­lier poster fea­tured a min­i­mal­istic de­sign and a lim­ited color palette, this poster over­whelms with its splash of colors. And its just plain silli­ness. Those of us who grew up with Elvis back then had to get used to it. And my ar­gu­ment is that Elvis’s singing of slow songs at this time made the trans­mo­gri­fi­ca­tion en­durable.

Trivia on the movie

On March 21-23, the en­tire sound­track (fif­teen songs) was recorded in three days at Radio Recorders in Hol­ly­wood. On March 25, Presley gave a one-man con­cert to raise money for the USS Ari­zona, which had been sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941. By mid-April, lo­ca­tion filming in Hawaii for the movie was com­pleted.

Re­leased on No­vember 22, 1961, Blue Hawaii was dis­trib­uted by Para­mount Pic­tures. The movie was an im­me­diate suc­cess: it opened at #2 in box of­fice re­ceipts and, de­spite being shown for only forty days, fin­ished as the 10th top-grossing movie of 1961 on Va­riety mag­a­zine’s na­tional box of­fice survey! It fin­ished 1962 as the 14th top-grossing movie for that year, earning $5 mil­lion in the US.

(Ac­cording to the Con­sumer Price Index, that would be $40,000,000 in 2015. In the real world, that would be more like $75-100,000,000. And that is not counting ticket prices, like they do today.)

Kant­ner’s screen­play was nom­i­nated by the Writers Guild of America in 1962 in the cat­e­gory of Best Written Amer­ican Mu­sical. The film won a fourth-place prize Laurel Award in the cat­e­gory of Top Mu­sical of 1961.

 

Elvis NoMore PS Italy 600

In May 1962, RCA in Italy is­sued No More from the BLUE HAWAII sound­track as a single. The orig­inal song is ti­tled La Paloma (“The Dove”), al­though Presley’s arrange­ment is Ital­ianesque. The pic­ture sleeve is one of the oddest in all of Elvisdom, as it pic­tures a bird in­stead of the cheeky singer.

Finally …

For a two-year pe­riod, Elvis Presley did not sound like any singer of slow songs be­fore or since—be they crooner, lounge singer, or torch-song spe­cialist. What­ever au­di­ence he was at­tempting to reach (and I am not cer­tain he was: he may have been singing for God, his Mama, or just him­self), he reached.

That post-Beatles/Stones/Dylan/Byrds-bred rock critics have al­most uni­ver­sally failed to be among that au­di­ence is their loss. 5

One of the last tracks he recorded in this Third Era voice was Don Robertson’s They Re­mind Me Too Much Of You, a gor­geous song lost among the dis­pos­able dreck of the It Hap­pened At The World’s Fair sound­track. (And the less said about that album the better, al­though I might opine that Robertson was per­haps the per­fect writer for Elvis at this time.)

By 1963, Elvis was no­tice­ably mushier. He be­came a more pre­dictable singer, es­pe­cially on his then seem­ingly end­less supply of sound­track al­bums.

Things would not change in the way that Elvis ap­proached singing ap­pre­ciably until the 1968 Singer Presents Elvis tele­vi­sion spe­cial. With this pro­duc­tion, Presley placed his fu­ture in the hands of producer/director Steve Binder, who bet that fu­ture on re­vi­tal­izing the past. Binder also cre­ated a ‘new’ Elvis by as­signing the show’s most im­por­tant mo­ment to the es­sen­tially un­known song­writer W. Earl Brown.

Be­lieve it or not, most of this essay flashed through my mind as I sat on the couch with Berni lis­tening to Elvis singing Hawaiian Wed­ding Song as the credits for Mad Men rolled past. Writing this has only so­lid­i­fied my opinion that BLUE HAWAII is one of the best Elvis al­bums.

Ever …

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   The “glass teat” is a term coined by Harlan El­lison for the tele­vi­sion set that oc­cu­pies a cen­tral lo­ca­tion in most Amer­ican homes. The term was used as the title of a pair of books The Glass Teat: Es­says of Opinion On Tele­vi­sion (1970) and The Other Glass Teat (1971). These col­lected Ellison’s weekly columns on tele­vi­sion pub­lished in the then highly in­flu­en­tial Los An­geles Free Press in 1968-69.

The re­views were ac­tu­ally es­says, most of which dis­cussed the dele­te­rious ef­fects of pro­longed ex­po­sure to what is often re­ferred to as the ‘boob tube.’ That term de­rides viewers’ in­tel­li­gence; Harlan’s term im­plies that reg­ular viewers are not so much dumb but are more like un­weaned chil­dren knowing no other sus­te­nance than that which they re­ceive from their mothers’ breast.

And the best-ever show that was can­celled that sparked my re­bel­lion? Star Trek, of course …

2   There’s the hi­lar­i­ously self-absorbed, can­tan­kerous, rightwingnut Maurie Mini­field, and his need to dom­i­nate his em­ployee, Chris Stevens, per­haps the closest tele­vi­sion ever came to cap­turing the spirit of a gen­uine Six­ties ‘hippie.’ And Holling Vin­coeur and Shelley Tambo and Ruth Ann Miller and Ed Chigliak and the in­scrutable and in­domitable Mar­ilyn Whirl­wind.

3   In other writ­ings, I also refer to the RCA Records hits of 1956 through ’59 as Elvis’s First Golden Era. Both work. 

4   Not only was Beach Boy Blues not a con­vincing blues, its in­cred­ibly trite lyrics in­spired an even more dreadful movie s few years down the road: “Now I’m a kissin’ cousin to a ripe pineapple, I’m in the can.”

5   One of the count­less plusses of the In­ternet is that is has given a (non-professional) voice to sev­eral tal­ented, opin­ion­ated writers, many of whom came of age after the in­flu­ence of the ini­tial (and very, very im­por­tant) rock­writers and critics waned. Con­se­quently, an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of rock’s pop­pier suc­cesses can be found on thou­sands of well-considered, well-written web­sites and blogs.

(And here’s a chance for me to plug my fave such site: The Round Place In The Middle, where Nondis­pos­able­johnny writes some of the best es­says and ob­ser­va­tions on rock and pop and country and soul this side of well, Greil Marcus!)

 

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