On this day in music history, November 3rd 1956, Elvis Presley had the #1 hit on the Billboard charts with Love Me Tender. It remained there for 5 weeks.
Before recording Heartbreak Hotel Elvis was flown to Hollywood for a screen test. He read a scene with actor Fran Faylen for producer Hal Wallis. Wallis signed him to a three picture deal.
His first movie was to be The Rainmaker with Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn. This was to have been a major dramatic role for Elvis and could have given his movie career a different direction. This was not the direction that Col. Tom Parker wanted Elvis to take. Instead he got Elvis signed on to a movie called The Reno Brothers. Later it was called Love Me Tender. This set the standard for what Elvis' movies became known for. A simple plot with a lot of pretty girls and a few songs.
The song Love Me Tender is credited as being written by Elvis and Vera Watson. However, I have heard that it was really written by Vera Watson's husband Ken Darby. He just gave them the credit. Darby refused to work with the musicians that Elvis always worked with. He felt they couldn't do justice to his music so he used his own Ken Darby Trio. Mr. Darby scored all the music for the film.
David Weisbart produced Love Me Tender and also Rebel Without a Cause. During filming Elvis talked to him about starring in a film biography of the late James Dean that Weisbart was considering.
The story of the film Love Me Tender, which also starred Richard Egan, Debra Paget and Neville Brand, centers on three brothers who are Confederate Soliders in the Civil War. The war is over but none of them know it yet. Elvis is Cliff Reno and he has married his dead brothers wife. He is thought to have been killed in the war but it turns out that he is still alive. So sets the love triangle for the film. Elvis' character is killed before the end of the film but he gets to sing 4 songs before he dies. The ending seemed like a downer with Elvis the teen idol being killed so they re shot the ending and showed a spirit like Elvis singing the title song in the background. It made you feel like Cliff Reno was in Heaven and still singing.
RCA didn't want to release the song till the movie came out in mid November. However, after Elvis sang it on the Ed Sullivan Show the demand was so great they were forced to release it the first week of November.
In 1978 at WCBM a DJ name Ray Quinn edited Elvis' version and Linda Ronstadt's version of Love Me Tender together. The result was a duet that received a lot of radio play in the area but due to legal reasons over contracts it was never released to the record buying public.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
If anything ever goes wrong always remember to save those Hostess Fruit pies. Should one slip out of your hand you should dive under it so the pie won't touch the ground. At least it will land safely on your back.
Friday, November 02, 2007
I saw that Aquaman shrine recently showed that Barenaked Ladies did a song that included the comic book character Aquaman. It got me to wondering how many songs mentioned fictional characters. So here today is the song by the Beatles "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill." Listen and you can hear them mention Captain Marvel.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I ran across this on YouTube and just had to post it. It is a home movie of the Beatles in concert in Cincinnati, Ohio from August 1966. They concert was in the middle of the day because they were suppose to have played the night before but it was rained out. So they played around noon the next day. I heard that since they had planned for an over night stay they secretly asked an older couple if they would let them stay at their home. Of course they did and so they had a good nights sleep while the fans watched the hotels. The person who told me this was the son of a salesman for the radio station that was backing the concert. He said his Dad wouldn't even tell him where they were staying.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Believe it or not I was in high school when I did my last trick or treating on Halloween. My cousin who is the same age as me wanted to go too. So we went as two of the Marx Brothers. His favorite comedian was Groucho so that was his costume. At the time I had naturally curly hair so I went as Harpo Marx. The only one of the brothers who had curly hair. Just like all my other years trick or treating it was fun but this was a little different. I noticed that all the kids were smaller then us. Not some of the kids like the other years. This time it was all of them. I am sure there were a few die hards like us who were our size but I don't remember seeing them that night. We were only a block or two away from my house when a car pulled up at a stop sign. It was filled with guys from high school. Before they pulled away from the sign one of them said "Hey guys it's..." They mentioned our names and the driver blew the horn and the rest waved. We waved back and as they pulled away I felt a little embarrassed. I thought to myself "This is definitely the last time I go trick or treating."
Posted by Rick L. Phillips at 6:49 AM
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
When I was growing up I read a lot of comic books. Mostly Marvel comics. In 1974 one of my favorites was Daredevil. At the time I started to really catch on to his books he was fighting a villain called Deathstalker. He had this morbid power that when he touched people they would fall over dead. I thought he would be a great character to go out as on Halloween night. Now Deathstalker had a huge overcoat that he wore and a big hat that was so big it's shadow covered his face. So it was an easy costume to make. A couple of days before Halloween it occurred to me that unless they read Daredevil the people giving out the candy won't know who I was dressed like. So I went down the street to the mini-market called Stop and Go and bought some glow in the dark vampire teeth. That way if someone asked who I was and they didn't know who Deathstalker was I could just pop in the teeth and say I was a vampire. So Halloween night I was off with my cousin Randy and our friend Joel McCracken to go trick or treating. Within the first group of homes my cover was really blown. As I approached one man giving out candy he was announcing each character as they came down the sidewalk. Once he saw me he said "Oh look! Here comes the Exorcist." I was just so stunned and thought "I never thought they would guess that."
Monday, October 29, 2007
Another early memory of Halloween was at a Halloween Party that was held at Immanuel Baptist Church in Covington,Ky. That was were one if my Aunts and Uncles attended church and I was invited by them to attend every year. I visited so often that I had just as many friends there as I did at my own church. They had a costume contest and I went as a hobo. These days some might say homeless but then they were still called hobos. I had on old baggy black pants and an old black suit jacket. I found an old cane and a hat and I took them too. Mom even made me look like I had a mustache. Now I had gone to parties at the church before and won prizes but for some reason this year Mom said not to try to win any prize. So I was surprised when they were picking the people for best costume I was a finalist.
Finally the winner was picked. Thankfully it wasn't me. Later I was talking to my Uncle outside the church. I asked him why did he think they almost chose me for best costume. Before he could answer the man who was in charge of the party, I think his name was Tim, over heard and answered. First he gave the obvious answer that it was because I had one of the best costumes. I asked him why he thought it was one of the best. He said it was because I looked like Charlie Chaplin. He looked a bit amazed when I told him I wasn't dressing like Chaplin.
I don't know what I would have told Mom if I had won. I guess I would have said I wasn't trying they just gave it to me.
In the 1980’s Kenny Rogers was on a hot streak. Everyone wanted to sing with him or produce him. On this day in music history, October 29, 1983 Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton had the #1 song in the country with Islands in the Stream. A lot of the credit would have to go to the leader of the Bee Gees Barry Gibb. Kenny remembered a song that Barry sent him a few years ago. He was looking for new material and a producer so he got Barry, along with Karl Richardson and Albhy Galuten to produce his next album Eyes That See in the Dark. Islands in the Stream was the first single from the album and the song had many rewards. It was the only single that year to go platinum. It was #1 on the pop, country and adult contemporary charts. It won the award for best country single at the American Music Awards and it was named Vocal Duet of the Year and Single record of the Year by the academy of Country Music. Kenny and Dolly got along so well when recording the song that they continued recording together. They released a Christmas album in 1984. Toured together to promote their music and Kenny appeared on Dolly’s next album called Real Love.
While this may have been their first professional meeting they had traveled parallel roads. Both started in the sixties. Kenny was with the New Christy Minstrels and Dolly was a singer on the Porter Wagner show. Kenny left to form his own group the First Edition and Dolly left the TV show for a solo career. By the 1970’s Kenny had gone solo also. In the 1980’s it seemed like neither one could do wrong. Dolly had hit singles and big budget movies that she was the star of and Kenny had hit records and was the star of the Gambler movies based on his hit record. In 2000 Kenny had his first hit in 15 years when his song Buy Me a Rose reached #40 on the pop charts. Recently he has released a new cd of music.
Here is a video of them singing the song on television.
After listening to them sing the song on the video I have to say that Kenny is very good but it is Dolly who, in my opinion, really sells the song.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
For the next few days I plan to reveal my most memorable Halloween costume memories. I may have told this story before but this is my earliest memory of a Halloween costume. Now my memory is really a little fuzzy at this time but I believe I was about 6 or 7 years old. I had one of those costumes that was all one piece with a mask that was tied to my face with a rubber band. The costume I decided upon this year was Green Lantern. I don't recall ever getting a Green Lantern costume in that early part of my life. I did see him in the cartoons that were based on the Justice League of America so I believe that is where my love for the character began. My cousin Randy and I would get together sometimes and both play like we were Green Lantern.
So that Halloween I couldn't wait to trick or treating with Randy and his brother Jeff. I was already dressed in my costume but the only thing missing was my mask. My Mom told me to get it and we could leave to meet them at their house. I looked everywhere but could not find it. My Mom said to look again. So I did. I traced my steps that day. I remembered putting the mask in an empty punch bowl that was sitting on the china cabinet in our kitchen. But now the mask was not there. I looked everywhere but it wasn't to be found. It was now time to leave and I still had no mask. So my Mom found a mask of, dare I say it, Satan and I had to wear that with my Green Lantern costume.
I wore that the whole evening. Getting odd looks from trick or treaters and the people giving out the candy. I got free candy so it was a good evening for me. Still it was embarrassing. If I had known about Green Lantern's enemy Sinestro at the time I could have said I was dressed as him when I was asked.
Later I arrived at home with my sweet treasure. Mom was still wondering where that mask had disappeared to. As I walked into the kitchen to put away the candy I hadn't eaten yet I glanced over at the china cabinet. My mouth nearly hit the floor. There sitting in the punch bowl was my Green Lantern mask. I told my Mom and she told me I should have looked there before we left. I told her I did and it wasn't there. Still I could not explain how it got in the bowl if it wasn't there before we left.
To this day I still believe that it was not there when I looked in the bowl before. How did it get there? Why was it missing in the first place? Did a ghost or demon play a Halloween trick to embarrass me? It's a Halloween mystery.
If you want to see the site where I got pictures of the animated GL you can click on the title.