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636537 Posts in 25450 Topics by 3621 Members - Latest Member: rickyroma August 20, 2018, 04:24:35 AM
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1  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Elvis Presley - 50th anniversary Comeback Special on: Yesterday at 11:49:43 AM
I found this article about the Comeback Special on vanityfair.


Elvis Presley reportedly got more than a little shook up while recording his iconic 1968 TV special, the show that marked his triumphant return to music after years of increasingly iffy films. According to Steve Binder, who directed that landmark television event, the evidence was there when the King came backstage after filming—and costume designer Bill Belew, while drying the star’s perspiration-soaked outfit, discovered that Presley had orgasmed into his black leather pants.

“I learned a great lesson,” Binder said in an interview. “Never again after that did I ever have only one costume for the star; I always ordered two or three.”

Binder will provide less salacious, but no less illuminating, behind-the-scenes details about the making of Elvis, the singer’s so-called “Comeback Special,” in a newly filmed conversation with Priscilla Presley—part of Fathom Events’ 50th anniversary presentation of the special, in theaters August 20. He has also written a definitive book about the event, Comeback ’68: The Story of the Elvis Special, which will be available in September.


Elvis looms large in the singer’s legend. The live-wire special is featured prominently in two 2018 documentaries, Eugene Jarecki’s The King (now in theaters) and Thom Zimny’s The Searcher (on HBO). It capped a decade in which Elvis could mostly be seen only in the movies, and, increasingly, not very good movies at that. Taped in June and broadcast on December 3, 1968, it was his first television appearance since 1960, when he guest-starred on Frank Sinatra’s Welcome Home Party for Elvis. At the time, he hadn’t performed in front of a live audience in seven years.

But Presley and Binder’s creative team delivered. Binder, a self-professed “West Coast guy into surf music,” finished the special feeling in awe of Presley. “For me, the ‘68 special is seeing a man re-discover himself,” Binder said. “I saw it on his face and in his body language as we progressed.”

Susan Doll, author of Elvis for Dummies, agreed. “I think it’s the peak of his career,” she said.

Col. Tom Parker, Presley’s infamously controlling manager, had promised NBC a one-hour special if the network financed Presley’s next film—Change of Habit, Presley’s screen swan song, released in 1969. He never told Presley about the deal, with good reason: “Elvis didn’t want to do television,” Binder said. “He felt he had been burned by it.” Even Steve Allen, the talk-show host hip enough to give Lenny Bruce a shot on prime time, forced cheese on Presley, putting him in a tuxedo to sing “Hound Dog” to an actual hound dog.

Presley’s reputation wasn’t helped by the culture surrounding him. In a turbulent year that witnessed rioting in the streets during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, Elvis had begun to seem over the hill at the age of 33. That year’s cutting-edge cinema, like Monterey Pop, Wild in the Streets, and Brian De Palma’s Greetings, reflected the new, rebellious youth culture; Elvis’s movies in 1968 were the innocuous, old-fashioned Stay Away Joe, Speedway, and Live a Little, Love a Little. Even worse, he hadn’t had a top 10 hit since “Crying in the Chapel” in 1965.

In their first meeting, Presley asked Binder—director of the landmark rock-concert movie The T.A.M.I. Show as well as acclaimed variety specials starring Leslie Uggams and Petula Clark—to assess the state of Presley’s own career. Binder replied, “In the toilet.”

That’s a little harsh, according to Doll—though she agreed that musically, The King had become largely irrelevant in the late 60s. Instead, his fame lay in other media: “He was one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. . . . His films made money. In that regard, it’s not like he had been forgotten.”

Still, Presley, appreciated Binder’s honesty—and that forged a bond of trust. “From that first meeting, I knew he was champing at the bit to prove himself again,” Binder said. “Elvis asked me, ‘What happens if I bomb?’ I said, ‘Elvis, you’ll still be remembered for your movies and all your early hit records. . . . If it’s successful, every door that was closed to you will reopen.’ Which is exactly what happened.”

Parker envisioned Presley’s comeback program as a Christmas special. Binder, however, wanted to leave that material to Andy Williams or Perry Como. He suspected that by making creative demands, Parker was merely trying to exert his influence over Presley—especially in front of those who would challenge his power. “He knew he had the goods. He had Elvis Presley, which nobody else had,” Binder said.

But Binder still managed to win the singer over. When Parker called a meeting to insist that the special contain at least one Christmas song, for example, Presley sided with his manager to his face—but once outside his office, he jabbed Binder in his ribs and said, “f*** him.” And ultimately, Binder did not film any holiday material—though Elvis did perform “Blue Christmas”during one of his acoustic sessions.

Elvis eschews the traditional variety-special format. There are no guest stars, no comedy sketches. It’s all about the music and reminding audiences what excited them about Presley in the first place. It helped that while filming Presley was tanned and fit, fresh from a Hawaiian vacation. “I never put anybody I worked with on a pedestal,” Binder said. Yet the first time he met Presley, “I was awed, first of all, by the way he looked. If he was not famous, you would still stop and stare. As a director, you’re looking to see which is the good side, the bad side. Elvis was perfect from every angle. It was like a god walking in.”

The special comprises four production numbers that evoked Presley’s country-western, rhythm and blues, and gospel roots. Darlene Love, singing backup with the Blossoms on a rousing gospel medley, bonded with Presley over their mutual lifelong immersion in gospel music; the special’s star frequently went missing on set in order to sing favorite church hymns with Love and the Blossoms. When that drew grumbles, Love said in an interview, she had a response ready: “Hey, it’s not our fault; Elvis said he wanted to sing, so we sang.”

The meat of Elvis is its raw and intimate sessions in front of a rapturous audience. In the improvised so-called “Sit Down” sessions, he jokes, reminisces, and plays the hell out of his 50s hits, accompanied by his original guitarist and drummer, Scotty Moore and D. J. Fontana, as well as friends Alan Fortas, Charlie Hodge, and Lance LeGault. In the “Stand Up” sessions, in which he is accompanied by an offstage orchestra and singers, he is, at times, photographed from above, giving the appearance of a boxer in the ring.

But arguably, Elvis saves the best for last: “If I Can Dream,” a plea for peace and understanding, which was written in response to Robert Kennedy’s assassination. Binder, Presley, and the creative team had watched coverage of the shooting on television; the singer was badly shaken, Binder recalled. Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot just two months before in Memphis, Presley’s hometown. Binder wanted a musical statement based on their conversations about the assassinations and the discord gripping the country, and charged songwriter Walter Earl Brown to “write the greatest song you’ve ever written to put at the end of the show,” he said. “If you want to know Elvis’s thoughts and philosophy, Earl Brown nailed it in the lyrics.”

Elvis was a huge success when it aired in December, attracting 42 percent of the television-viewing audience and ending 1968 as NBC’s highest-rated show of the year. “If I Can Dream” made it into Billboard’s top 15, and the soundtrack entered the top 10 and was certified platinum.

Thus began a brief but shining Elvisaissance. After his comeback special, he recorded one of his very best albums, From Elvis in Memphis, which yielded the No. 3 hit “In the Ghetto.” He recorded his last No. 1 single, “Suspicious Minds.” He began his residency at the Las Vegas International Hilton, with Binder in the audience for his very first show. “I thought he was fantastic,” he said. “I sat in the back of the room and saw him having as much fun, if not more, than when he did our special. . . . Then I went to see him a few years later . . . I knew instantly it was all over.”

“The Comeback special makes the turn into the last phase of this career,” Doll agreed. “It is the beginning of what people call Vegas Elvis. Everyone associates Vegas Elvis with the gaudy jumpsuits and being overweight and sweaty. . . . That’s not true. It was the 1973 television special, Aloha from Hawaii,” that appeared to be the start of his physical and creative decline. Doll blames this in large part on his unhappiness at the dissolution of his marriage to Priscilla, whom he had wed in 1967. The marriage officially ended in October 1973, after the acceleration of his prescription-drug use (amphetamines, barbiturates, and tranquilizers).

Binder witnessed Elvis’s resurgence and decline firsthand. On what would be the last night he would ever speak with the star, Binder invited him to a pizza and beer party at Bill Belew’s apartment. Presley, emboldened and invigorated by his work on the special, announced to Binder that he would no longer sing a song or accept a script that he did not believe in. He then gave Binder a piece of paper with a number on it, and told him it was the only way he would be able to reach Presley. When Binder eventually called, a voice told him he had the wrong number. Binder blames his battles with Parker over the content of the special for making him persona non grata in Presley’s life.

Elvis’s fall after his regained glory is a teachable moment, suggested The King director Eugene Jarecki, who spoke with Presley’s spiritual guru, Larry Geller, about Presley’s comeback and his failure to ultimately keep his life on track. “Geller said at a certain point, Elvis knew that there was no good ending to this story unless he had a major change, and he had a major change in mind,” Jarecki said. “He said they were going to move to Hawaii and live a clean life . . . and then he would come back in a blaze of glory and do something meaningful. I asked him what happened, and he said [Presley] kept putting it off. The lesson of that, Geller said: ‘When you know what’s wrong with your life and what you need to do to fix it, don’t wait.’”

Presley died of cardiac arrhythmia in 1977; Elvis, however, lives. Darlene Love, for one, is carrying on the special’s legacy. She performs its gospel medley in her own shows, as well as “If I Can Dream.” Presley himself never again performed the song live, following the special, she said. “I sang it in Germany last year, and I had to do three encores of the song. It’s not easy to sing, especially for a lady. . . . The words in the song are so heavy; that song could be written for today. . . . Elvis did another song in his shows that I’m stealing, ‘You Gave Me a Mountain.’ I’m bringing that back, too.”



https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/08/elvis-presley-comeback-special-1968-50th-anniversary
2  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Elvis Presley - 50th anniversary Comeback Special on: August 18, 2018, 12:22:08 PM
Thanks for your report  Wink I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Yeah, "Tryin' to get to you" is a killer performance. I really couldn't decide which performance of that song is my favirte, the '68 special version or the one from the '74 live album (in Memphis). The sit down shows are fantastic anyway. In fact the only parts of the comeback special (and the unused footage) that I don't care very much for are the two stand-up shows. Those big band arrangements sound terrible to my ears. There are a couple of cool performances but most of it is not as good as it could have been imo.
I guess I'll watch one of the sit down shows later today on DVD  Cheesy
Those sit down shows are rock and roll at its primal best. One day, I walked into my local bank, and they were playing it on the in-house monitors. I've seen it dozens of times, but still couldn't take my eyes - and ears - off it.
Even in 77, Elvis sang Trying to Get to You great. Seemed to have been one of the few early songs he never lost his passion for.


Yes, I remember hearing a live recording from ca. '75 where he introduces the song as one of his favorites. I believe it is on a FTD CD....




Anyway, "The Searcher" will be released on DVD:


Sony Bringing Documentary ‘Elvis Presley: The Searcher’ to Disc Oct. 16

https://www.mediaplaynews.com/sony-bringing-documentary-elvis-presley-the-searcher-to-disc-oct-16/


Well, I really liked the movie and still think it is a great documentary on Elvis. But the extras on the DVD (including the special edition) are disappointing. Why not use all the unreleased footage the producers acquired?
3  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: New Recording of \ on: August 18, 2018, 02:14:14 AM
Is his next recording going to be a version of Good Timin' with Britney Spears? Keep bringing those 90's pop acts back, Mike


That's what I thought as well. Why does he constantly seem to live in the 80s/90s? His commercial ideas seem to not go any further than those plastic teleshop plans of the 90s. And his choice of guest artists is just about the same. Does he really think anybody cares for a collaboration of him and Hanson? I just don't understand. It's like he is stuck in his 1990s mid-life crisis.
4  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Elvis Presley - 50th anniversary Comeback Special on: August 17, 2018, 12:10:54 PM
Thanks for your report  Wink I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Yeah, "Tryin' to get to you" is a killer performance. I really couldn't decide which performance of that song is my favirte, the '68 special version or the one from the '74 live album (in Memphis). The sit down shows are fantastic anyway. In fact the only parts of the comeback special (and the unused footage) that I don't care very much for are the two stand-up shows. Those big band arrangements sound terrible to my ears. There are a couple of cool performances but most of it is not as good as it could have been imo.
I guess I'll watch one of the sit down shows later today on DVD  Cheesy
5  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Elvis Presley - 50th anniversary Comeback Special on: August 17, 2018, 04:11:46 AM
Elvis: '68 Comeback Special review – the King continues to enchant
Fifty years on, this made-for-TV special feels weirdly old and new at the same time

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/aug/15/elvis-1968-comeback-special-review-film-concert
6  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Beach Boys as game show celebrity panelists on: August 17, 2018, 03:57:16 AM
They should actually be on SNL celeb jeopardy...

Alex: "For 100, what year was california founded?"

Mike: "well, the music was so far-out that i made sure the lyrics had the boy-girl connection..."

Alex: "Incorrect...Bruce?"

Bruce: "We did 170 shows last year and we're just having so much fun bringing sand and surf to towns across america...TRUMP 2020!"



Connery: "Same year I founded your mother, Trebeck!"  LOL
7  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Aretha Franklin on: August 16, 2018, 09:49:35 AM
Just heard about it. That's sad. She was such a great, great singer! As a kid she was coached by Mahalia Jackson
8  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Elvis Presley - 50th anniversary Comeback Special on: August 16, 2018, 04:18:28 AM
I hope you enjoy it! Let us know what you think
9  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: \ on: August 16, 2018, 01:11:57 AM
I finally, FINALLY, ordered my KEEP IT CLEAN WITH AL JARDINE shirt for the Berlin show on August 16th. All thanks to Quzi's design way back in 2012!  Love



What would I give to talk to Al while wearing a "Keep it clean with Al Jardine"-shirt!!  Grin
If it wasn't for my mother's birthday, I might had had the chance this year in Berlin, as Blondie and I have common friends and maybe I could've met some of the guys.  Sad 
It's a shame you're not gonna be there! If I get a reaction from Al (sitting front row!) you'll be the first to know!  Cheesy



 Grin


Hope you'll have a ball later today!
10  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Who’s Under Arrest? on: August 16, 2018, 12:49:09 AM
It could be that "You're under arrest" comes from the sherrif of the town who just comes into the saloon and arrests the villains who are watching Marguerita.... ?

I wondered why Brian didn't have Murry yell this part. I guess that would've been fitting  Undecided
11  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Elvis Presley - 50th anniversary Comeback Special on: August 16, 2018, 12:45:25 AM
It's the 16th so I just wanted to give you a reminder that today a new edit (I believe) of the '68 Comeback Special will be shown in cinemas.


One Night ('68 Comeback) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI_DaBGjQNA


EDIT:

And this was just posted on youtube:

Elvis Presley - If I Can Dream (68 Comeback Special - 50th Anniversary HD Remaster)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-pP_dCenJA
12  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Everyone back together for a Beach Boys Q&A for Sirius XM? on: August 15, 2018, 02:41:14 PM
I'm on board for probably most if not all of Reiner's politics. Sean Hannity shouldn't be anywhere near a BB event, and never would thankfully.


Could you imagine that? Hannity calling none of the Boys ever playing on any of their records and Mike writing all the songs a proven fact? I can see a version of "Our cartoon president"'s Hannity having the BBs as guests, though  LOL
13  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Everyone back together for a Beach Boys Q&A for Sirius XM? on: August 15, 2018, 12:36:46 PM
It could have been worse, they could have gotten an actual annoying personality. Reiner is likeable. At this event, he was essentially a more energetic, dynamic version of a Larry King type. But again, I think it's fair to call the thing what it is. They could have snagged a Howie Edelson, or Alan Boyd, or heck, even Jerry Schilling, to do the event, all additional people who have good relationships with all factions, and who would also understand how to strike a balance between softball, obvious questions (e.g. "did you guys surf?", "why has your music endured all these years?") and something a bit more substantive without going into "Drip Drop/Lazy Lizzie/That Special Feeling" deep cut territory.

I think the Reiner selection was emblematic of the SiriusXM channel in general. That is, it's a nice project that has gone over well enough and certainly hasn't hurt anything, but which hasn't really lived up to its full potential.


I wonder if they considered Stamos?
You know, as dumb as this sounds, he might be the perfect person to get the guys together for a good, more in depth interview. As much as we like to drag him with the whole Uncle Jessie/Full House cheesefest, you have to admit that the guy is truly a big fan of the group and could probably get them to talk more about the "deep cuts", and maybe the workings of specific songs, etc.


Already happened somehwat in 2012. Al and Mike interviewed by Stamos for Sirius. Wasn't bad at all
14  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: This week in BB History Aug 14 to 25 on: August 14, 2018, 12:39:58 PM

Aug 17 1964-Brian was at Western Recorders to record the Jimmy Reed blues song “Baby What Do You Want Me to Do”, listed as “Peep and Hide” for a Bob Norberg single. 



IMO this is such an overlooked recording. I think it was co-produced with Bob, wasn't it? I remember reading that somewhere:

Bob & Bobby - "Baby, what you want me to do"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgC1ACfhrn4


The original by Jimmy Reed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JveYg57Brxc


It became quite famous when Elvis played it during his '68 comeback special (which will be shown in some cinemas later this week):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19opj_kGJF8




Thanks once more for your work, Ian! Hadn't listened to the Bob & Bobby recording in years.
15  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: California Slide on: August 12, 2018, 02:01:14 AM
I always loved that song. My favorite part is in the middle when it goes into that softer country feel, "Ooooh... I will (?) tell you". All in all, one of my favorite Dennis songs.


Yes! That is cool too! I think it could have been a single.



I see it as being used in a soundtrack to a roadmovie like "Easy rider" or something like that.

Or Two Lane Blacktop.   Cool Guy


TLB has some great music. Unfortunately there never was a soundtrack released with it. I always thought it would be a cool idea to compile one of your own. And since it's just a couple of songs that are used in the movie and both Dennis and James Taylor were actual musicians, I thought to fill it up with some of their stuff, including "California slide".  Cool Maybe someday we should start a thread on this board to get ideas what to use besides the songs in the movie.
To be honest though, I think "California slide" would fit better in something like "Easy rider" with it's wild and freewheeling feel. You could just exchance "Born to be wild" with "California slide" in "Easy rider" and it would fit very nicely. Those kind of scenes are not in TLB, which is not a very action-laden movie. My favorite scene in TLB is when they are at the gaststation and Kris Kristofferson's "Me & Bobby McGhee" starts playing.
16  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: California Slide on: August 11, 2018, 02:33:04 PM
I always loved that song. My favorite part is in the middle when it goes into that softer country feel, "Ooooh... I will (?) tell you". All in all, one of my favorite Dennis songs.


Yes! That is cool too! I think it could have been a single.



I see it as being used in a soundtrack to a roadmovie like "Easy rider" or something like that.
17  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: California Slide on: August 11, 2018, 11:05:47 AM
I always loved that song. My favorite part is in the middle when it goes into that softer country feel, "Ooooh... I will (?) tell you". All in all, one of my favorite Dennis songs.
18  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Everyone back together for a Beach Boys Q&A for Sirius XM? on: August 11, 2018, 04:08:09 AM
Here are some more videos from the town hall:


Beach Boys reunite for first time since 2012 for SiriusXM Town Hall

http://blog.siriusxm.com/beach-boys-reunite-for-the-first-time-since-2012-for-siriusxm-town-hall/


Good to see them!
19  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Elvis Presley - 50th anniversary Comeback Special on: August 10, 2018, 02:48:17 AM
Elvis Week Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the "'68 Comeback Special"

https://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/elvis-week-celebrates-the-50th-anniversary-of-the-68-comeback-special/Content?oid=15051582



Here's a thought exercise. As rock-and-roll fans descend on Graceland for the double celebration of Elvis Week 2018 and the 50th Anniversary of Elvis' "'68 Comeback" TV special, try to imagine what Memphis might be like today had Singer Presents ... Elvis (as the career-defining NBC special was officially named) been a wholesome Christmas variety show instead of the juggernaut rock and gospel performance that it was. Imagine if Presley's manipulative manager, Colonel Tom Parker, had gotten his way: There would have been no iconic black leather suit. There would have been no gospel medley backed by Darlene Love and the Blossoms. And no reunion of Elvis and his original Sun Studio guitarist, Scotty Moore and drummer DJ Fontana.


 If the Colonel had gotten the TV special of his dreams, the alleged King of Rock-and-Roll would have crooned his way through seasonal favorites like "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and an old Frankie Laine song called "I Believe."

"To this day, I don't know why he thought 'I Believe' was a Christmas song because it's not," says the show's producer/director Steve Binder, in recounting his first awkward encounter with Parker.

Binder had been a logical pick to handle Elvis' return to TV, having helmed the landmark The T.A.M.I. Show, a 1964 rock and soul concert film with a dozen emerging British and American acts, including The Rolling Stones, James Brown, The Supremes, The Beach Boys, and Marvin Gaye.


 Still, credentials aside, the young director had to make a good impression on ths Colonel. Otherwise the manipulative Parker wouldn't permit a private one-on-one meeting with Elvis.

"I truck out to MGM Studios, where Elvis had just finished a movie, and where the Colonel's offices were," Binder told the Flyer in a recent telephone interview. "And the Colonel hands me a quarter-inch audio tape of 20 Christmas songs that Elvis had recorded and sent out as a gift to disc jockeys all over America as a present. It's got a picture of Elvis surrounded by holly and berries. He told me, 'This is the show that NBC and myself have decided on.'"

Binder had other ideas.


 "In my head, instantly, I knew this was a show I'm not going to do," he says. "So I wrote off the meeting. Drove back to my offices on Sunset."

By the time Binder arrived back at an office he shared with his partner, music producer Bones Howe, there was a surprise message waiting for him: "Elvis is going to be in your office tomorrow at 4 p.m."

"If you're looking for trouble, just look right in my face," Presley snarls in the tight opening shot of Singer Presents ... . And it's not like the audience watching at home ever had any real choice in the matter, since the singer's famously sullen mug is framed in an extreme close-up, floating in pitch black background with just a splash of red at his throat.


 This is nobody's Christmas show; it's Elvis daring fans and critics alike to judge him — to gaze into the bright, blue, bedroom eyes of a massively disruptive artist from the previous decade, and determine whether or not he was still the rebel rocker from Memphis, or if he'd become Hollywood's toothless Teddy bear, cranking out another round of cheap, non-threatening product.

You'd never know it to look at him, as the camera pulled back and the tune changed from Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller's "Evil" to Jerry Reed's "Guitar Man," but nobody wanted to know the answer to this question more than Elvis.

"What if it fails?" Elvis asked Binder during the first closed-door meeting with his new director. Money for making Elvis movies was drying up, and the special had only come about in the first place as part of a deal the Colonel had struck with NBC while seeking backers to make more.   


 "If it fails, your career is over," Binder answered, bluntly. "Nobody will forget the success you had in your early recording career and your movies, but TV is instant. The minute you appear on TV, everybody has an opinion the next morning. If you're successful, all the doors will open and you'll have any choice you want. But it's a gamble, and I can't promise you it's going to be successful."

Presley distrusted TV. The medium had burned him in the past, abetting the moral panic that followed rock-and-roll's big bang in the 1950s. But he was also frustrated in his role as King of B Musicals. He trusted Binder's unvarnished answer and felt comfortable in the director's office. Gold records on the wall, from Howe's work with groups like The 5th Dimension and The Association, made Elvis feel comfortable enough to drop an unsurprising confession. "The recording studio's my turf," he told Binder, allowing that he'd always felt more at home behind a microphone than in front of a movie camera.

"You make a record," Binder said. "I'll put pictures to it." 

Elvis had one personal request. He wanted to put "These Boots Are Made for Walking" arranger and session guitarist Billy Strange in charge of the special's music. Binder agreed instantly.

"This was really the first thing Elvis did outside the womb," Binder says, explaining why he didn't hesitate in regard to his star's one major request. "[Elvis] joined our world instead of me joining his."

There was one small problem with Elvis' first choice though. Strange was working on an album with Nancy Sinatra, and the studio was pressuring him to complete it as fast as possible. When, after several prompts, the over-extended Strange still failed to deliver Elvis' lead sheets in time to start rehearsals, Binder fired him.

"You can't fire me," Strange told Binder. "I've known Elvis a lot better and for a lot longer than you."

"Fine," Binder answered. "Then I'll be gone and you'll be there. But one of us is not going to be there."

Colonel Tom backed the original plan and said Elvis wouldn't show up for rehearsal if Strange wasn't there. Nevertheless, Binder moved forward, convincing New York composer/conductor Billy Goldenberg to take over.

"That changed Elvis' musical life, period," Binder says. Before that, Elvis had never sung live with an orchestra before. He'd go into the studio to record movie soundtracks with his rhythm section only. Then, additional musicians would be brought in to overdub all the parts.

"He loved every note he heard, and he bonded with all the musicians," says Binder, who hired Phil Spector's favorite studio musicians, the Wrecking Crew, and brought in The T.A.M.I. Show and Shindig alums the Blossoms to sing backup.

Blossoms singer and Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darlene Love remembers meeting Elvis in the recording studio. "That's where we met Elvis and became friends with him," she told the Flyer. "Especially me because of my gospel background."

During spare moments, Elvis, who'd already cut a pair of acclaimed gospel albums (How Great Thou Art and His Hand in Mine) grabbed his guitar and asked the Blossoms what their favorite sacred songs were.

"We'd be over in the corner with Elvis just having a good time, and I think sometimes everybody got a little bit angry with us for taking all of his time," Love says. "He loved what he called 'the hymns of the church.' Songs like 'Precious Lord Take My Hand' and 'Amazing Grace' and 'How Great Thou Art.' He would sing the leads and we'd do the background. He would ask us, 'Is this key all right?' And you know, whatever key it was in was all right with us."

Binder was fascinated with the Elvis he saw backstage, singing with the Blossoms or casually jamming in his dressing room with friends.

"I said to myself, instantly, this is better than all the big production numbers we're doing on stage," Binder recalls. "We've got to get a camera in there."

But the Colonel, still expecting "I'll Be Home for Christmas" to show up in the set, inserted himself again. He wouldn't allow cameras into the dressing room under any circumstances.

"It was insane," Binder says. "This was the magic! I knew if we were putting out a disc, this is the one that would go platinum. So I just kept pounding the Colonel and hounding him every day. And finally he broke down. I don't think he was happy that he did it. But he said, 'Okay, Bindel [sic], if you want to recreate it on stage, you can try that. But I won't guarantee it'll get into the show.'"

"I don't think they realized that part was going to be so big," Love says of the musical improv reuniting Elvis with Moore and Fontana on numbers like "That's All Right Mama."

When Singer Presents ... first aired in 1968, it was an hour special cut down to about 48 minutes for commercials. Ratings were gigantic. "It was the first time, in primetime, that one guy did the whole show himself without guest stars," Binder says.

Though he still had a few feature films left in him, Singer Presents ... marked Elvis' transition away from Hollywood and a return to his roots, touring and recording. He'd take lessons learned from the TV special on the road with him, all the way to Vegas.

When Elvis died in Memphis in 1977, NBC decided to produce a tribute show with Viva Las Vegas co-star Ann-Margret hosting. “They sent a gopher down to the studio catacombs to track down the Elvis Presley special,” Binder says. In a twist of fate, the guy who went down to the basement pulled Binder’s 90-minute director’s cut version off-the-shelf. “That’s when they started airing the 90-minute version,” he says. “A lot depended on luck and fate. I couldn’t be happier.”

Recently, there was a loud buzz about the Elvis era finally drawing to a close. Las Vegas was losing interest. First-generation fans were dying, changing the market, as rare collectables became less rare. The Sun Records television series failed to earn a second season. But 2018 brought a pair of critically acclaimed documentaries — HBO's exhaustive two-part The Searcher, and Eugene Jarecki's identity-obsessed The King. And between its fancy new facilities and the most ambitious Elvis Week schedule in the event's history, Graceland also seems to be ready for another closeup, daring us all to look Presley in the eye one more time.

Binder, Billy Goldenstein, Darlene Love, and other artists connected to the "Comeback Special" are coming to Memphis to participate in Elvis week events at Graceland.




To read the full interviews with Steve Binder, Darlene Love, and Elvis friend and country hitmaker T.G. Sheppard, see Memphisflyer.com.
20  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Beach Boys as game show celebrity panelists on: August 09, 2018, 11:05:53 AM
I try to imagine them on Wheel of Fortune. The hosts probably would go crazy. Mike instead of answering would constantly be explaining how he came up with certain words with Bruce applauding wildly, Brian would always yell answers during someone else's term,  Dennis would hit on the girl that turns the letters around and Al would just be waiting on a bu.... I mean waiting 'til he is allowed to turn the wheel, while Carl would stand besides just rolling his eyes. Complete chaos. Special appearance by Murry running around the audience showing each member his glass eye.
21  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: \ on: August 09, 2018, 10:53:49 AM
I finally, FINALLY, ordered my KEEP IT CLEAN WITH AL JARDINE shirt for the Berlin show on August 16th. All thanks to Quzi's design way back in 2012!  Love



What would I give to talk to Al while wearing a "Keep it clean with Al Jardine"-shirt!!  Grin
If it wasn't for my mother's birthday, I might had had the chance this year in Berlin, as Blondie and I have common friends and maybe I could've met some of the guys.  Sad 
22  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Everyone back together for a Beach Boys Q&A for Sirius XM? on: August 09, 2018, 10:43:31 AM
Just a short update:

Al shared a video of the town hall on his facebook account. Reiner asks if there is anyone the guys would have wanted to colloborate with but didn't. Mike says "Yeah, there's a lot of great artists", then Al interrupts "Oh, I know. the Beatles" which made for some laughter from the audience.
23  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Old Record Parade on: August 09, 2018, 07:37:37 AM
This is good song. Thanks, Rocker.


You're welcome
24  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Everyone back together for a Beach Boys Q&A for Sirius XM? on: August 08, 2018, 11:53:43 AM
- delete please -
25  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Old Record Parade on: August 08, 2018, 03:14:45 AM
It's been a while since I listened to this wonderful Carl Perkins A-side from '71. Written by Carl himself and Bergen White.

Carl Perkins - Me Without You

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOeBX7AOY58

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