SONGWRITERS ASSOCIATED WITH ELVIS that receive the most credit in terms of Presley’s successful career are usually two teams: Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller and Doc Pomus-Mort Shuman. But a third team was paramount in Elvis’s transition from sappy movie matinee idol of the mid-1960s to potent music and cultural figure in 1968-1969: Billy Strange-Mac Davis. [Continue reading]
DO I WANT TO OPEN THIS ARTICLE by making a statement (“Elvis pops up in the most unexpected places”) or by asking a question (“Just how good can one record be?”)? Last night we slipped the Coen Brothers’ Intolerable Cruelty into the DVD player and sat back to enjoy George Clooney as Miles Massey (handsome, charming, amoral) match wits with Catherine Zeta-Jones as Marilyn Rexroth (beautiful, inscrutable, equally amoral). [Continue reading]
ELVIS PRESLEY’S FUTURE hung on the decision he made in early 1969 on where he should make his next records. He could return to the comfortable confines of RCA’s Studio B in Nashville, home to most of his big hits of the early ’60s. [Continue reading]
ELVIS HELD A RARE PRESS CONFERENCE on August 1, 1969, to celebrate his return to live performing. The get-together was held at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, where Elvis had played the night before to an invitation-only audience that included Ed Ames, Paul Anka, Burt Bacharach, Shirley Bassey, Pat Boone, Dick Clark, Petula Clark, Angie Dickinson, George Hamilton, Wayne Newton, and former flame Ann-Margret. [Continue reading]
IF I CAN DREAM, I’ll have this article finished before I find myself sitting on the edge of reality. You know—where life’s dream lies disillusioned and dark shadows follow me. (But that’s another story for another time.) [Continue reading]
BY JANUARY 1968, a new Elvis single was successful if it merely reached the Top 40 and sold 300,000 copies. This was a far cry from three years before when a new single reached the Top 20 and sold at least a half million copies.
IN THE SUMMER OF 1966, I heard Elvis’s new single on the radio and hurried to the record store to buy a copy. I always tried to buy new singles as soon as they came out so that I could find a copy with a picture sleeve. [Continue reading]