if every day was like a fifth dimensional christmas

Es­ti­mated reading time is 4 min­utes.I AM WORKING on a se­ries of ar­ti­cles for my Rather Rare Records site about the Byrds records of 1966, which will cover the three singles—Eight Miles High, 5D (Fifth Di­men­sion), and Mr. Spaceman—and the FIFTH DI­MEN­SION album. Un­for­tu­nately, it is weeks away from com­ple­tion and Christmas can’t wait.

For this hol­iday season, I added a pair of plug-ins to my web­sites that dis­play a string of col­ored Christmas lights across the top of each page on each site while snow falls gently across those pages.

As I was testing out this par­tic­ular image for one of the articles—it is a cropped shot from the FIFTH DI­MEN­SION album from ’66—I liked how the snow looked falling and the lights looked hanging there in the fifth dimension.

So here is a tem­po­rary posting just to have the Byrds of 1966 lit up for Christmas fifty years later!


Berni and Neal say, “Have a very Merry Christmas,” and as someone once fa­mous once said, “Grom­mett bless us, every one!

Elvis and Felton

To keep this tied in with Elvis, I’ll add a few words here about Pres­ley’s year. 1966 was a turning point in his ca­reer, al­though few knew it then. The biggest event seems to have been his teaming up with a new pro­ducer, Felton Jarvis, a fellow Southern singer who shared Elvis’s thoughts and feel­ings about the recording process.

Jarvis de­serves a lot of credit for the non-soundtrack record­ings that were com­pleted in ’66, and much of the cre­ative work that laid the ground­work for Elvis’s spec­tac­ular res­ur­rec­tion from zom­biehood in 1968-69. Here is a thumb­nail out­line of ac­tiv­i­ties in­volving Pres­ley’s records of 1966 . . .

Feb­ruary: Elvis’s new single is Frankie And Johnny, a dreadful choice for an A-side, al­though you can tell he is trying to make some­thing happen. It is backed with Please Don’t Stop Loving Me, a lovely recording that is all but de­stroyed by a hor­ren­dous mix that dis­torts Pres­ley’s vocal.

March: The new movie Frankie And Johnny is re­leased. Elvis looks doughy (maybe this was a ‘downer’ movie) and Donna Dou­glas seems to be just an­other pretty face. The movie is dumb and the sound­track music is even dumber.

April: The sound­track album FRANKIE AND JOHNNY is re­leased and ranks among the worst records of Pres­ley’s career.

June: Elvis’s new movie Par­adise, Hawaiian Style is re­leased. Elvis plays a zombie with a he­li­copter in Hawaii. The sound­track music is so dreadful that not a single track war­rants re­lease as a single.


Love Let­ters is Elvis’s first single to fea­ture a new, non-soundtrack recording as the fea­tured side in three years. Pres­ley’s reading and the basic arrange­ment is lifted straight from Ketty Lester’s hit of 1962. The pic­ture sleeve uses a photo a few years old and was out of place with the other cover photos of Elvis that year (see If Every Day Was Like Christmas below).

A new single is re­leased, Love Let­ters, the first non-soundtrack, orig­inal studio single since (You’re The) Devil In Dis­guise in 1963. It’s also the best single since that single (not counting Crying In The Chapel). The flip-side is the for­get­table Come What May.

July: The sound­track album PAR­ADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE is re­leased, and is ar­guably worse than the pre­vious album. Elvis walks though the movie like a zombie with a he­li­copter. Once again, it fails to meet the min­imal ex­pec­ta­tions of Pres­ley’s dwin­dling fan base—which in Kingston, Penn­syl­vania, is be­gin­ning to look like just one person.

Sep­tember: An­other new sound­track single is re­leased, Spinout / All That I Am. The A-side sorta rocks and is fairly tough sounding for Elvis. Too bad it’s bur­dened with re­ally dumb lyrics. “The road to love is full of danger signs. Too many guys were lost who crossed those double lines.”

The B-side, All That I Am, is one of the love­lier bal­lads that he has recorded for a movie in the past few years and might have made a stronger A-side than Spinout. In fact, in Eng­land it is the fea­tured side and makes the Top 20 there!

Oc­tober: The sound­track album SPINOUT is re­leased, and it keeps up the tough sound of the single but also the overall dumb­ness. As there are in­suf­fi­cient sound­track record­ings, three “bonus tracks” are part of the album: Down In The Alley, To­morrow Is A Long Time, and I’ll Re­member You. They are re­cent studio record­ings and are just short of amazing and in­di­cate that the real Elvis is still alive some­where be­neath the cel­lu­loid zombie he­li­copter pilot!


Elvis ended 1966 on a rea­son­ably pos­i­tive note: If Every Day Was Like Christmas joined the other studio record­ings Love Let­ters, Down In The Alley, To­morrow Is A Long Time, and I’ll Re­member You along with a few sound­track record­ings like All That I Am and I’ll Be Back to leave us fans with a new sense of ex­pec­ta­tion. Little did we know that during the year Presley had recorded what could be the  most amazing album of his ca­reer, HOW GREAT THOU ART.

No­vember: Yet an­other new studio single is re­leased: If Every Day Was Like Christmas is both bril­liant and a bit over the top. It also shows how well Presley has adopted as­pects of Bing Crosby into his own style, al­though few Elvis fans ever no­tice this.


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