Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

Elvis in the Metaverse

Admittedly, this is a little confusing.

On June 1, Authentic Brands Group (ABG) put out a press release.

This is the opening paragraph:

Elvis Presley Enterprises and web3 studio Run it Wild today announced a series of new partners for Elvis On-Chain, the icon’s multi-metaverse NFT project. Ramping up for the genesis launch on June 1, the dream team of partners and collaborators includes leading decentralized gaming virtual worlds The Sandbox and Decentraland, digital creator Voxel Architects, wearables designer, DAPPCRAFT and renowned web3 utility creator Metakey.

The confusion is the clause “the icon’s multi-metaverse NFT project.”

That is, one can only assume that the icon in question is Elvis; Elvis Presley Enterprises, a subset of Authentic Brands Group, is creating more digital Elvis wealth, which will, of course, garner more wealth IRL for the owners of ABG.

Elvis, of course, is dead. Has been (I suppose I should say “Allegedly has been,” because nowadays it seems that facts are only what one wants to make them to be, and while it wasn’t all that long ago that conservatives attacked academics who were ostensibly proponents of post modernism for undermining Superman’s “truth, justice and the American way,” now it is that group who, as we were reminded of by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, are all about denying reality and do so with bear spray, clubs and Viking outfits; somewhere Superman is weeping) since August 1977. If he is still alive, he’s 87, which is probably past the age that one could reasonably work the drive-thru at a burger place in western Michigan or anywhere else for that matter, the massive number available jobs in the food service industry notwithstanding.

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Listen to Frontier Justice 2/19/17

The Thousand Points Of Light Memorial Waterfall lies dry at the center of the Super 7 Mega Mall food court tetrahedron, and everybody’s got an opinion as to why. Hair triggers, we have them. In this new reality of hot takes and burning questions, it’s fun to clamber onto a roof and shout “BELL BOTTOMS” over and over into the night sky. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion strut their way outta “Frontier Justice” in its college radio days and into this new consciousness, the latest FJ delivery system being Spotify. And speaking of that new consciousness, on this set JSBX drops into the void between Danny Brown‘s stuttering, claustrophobic “Ain’t It Funny” on one side and Lady Gaga‘s “Diamond Heart” on the other. Young, wild Americans, both.

Spotify: Frontier Justice 2/19/17 (35 songs, 2 hr 3 min)

At the top of the set, Norway’s Sigrid makes her debut with “Don’t Kill My Vibe” and M.I.A. returns with the typically martial “P.O.W.A.” Minor Threat and Agent Orange remind us that the establishment was riling up the youth in the early moments of the Me Decade, Patti Smith remains royalty, and “Said It Already” is new, incisive and grooving from young Londoner Ama Lou. Elsewhere, Tommy Genesis oozes volatility and effortless after-hours club cool on “Art,” and Dai Burger wants to be your class president. Did you know Michelle Branch is back? Hopeless Romantic is her first full-length in 13 years; it was written and co-produced with Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, and sounds like it. Angel Olsen released one of 2016’s best records in My Woman — The engrossing, cinematic “Sister” is a highlight — and digging deep into the Spotify Sound Vaults reveals classic material in a new light: Elvis Presley brings both vulnerability and bluesy swing to an alternate take of “Heartbreak Hotel,” and The Supremes are full of funky soul on “Bad Weather,” the 1973 nugget produced and written by Stevie Wonder.

There’s some Ratt along the way, because after all, what goes around comes around (and they’ll tell you why), L.A. Witch is back with cool new stuff for Suicide Squeeze, RTJ remind us to stay hungry and pissed, and Eminem is no less than unhinged on “No Favors,” one of the many standouts on Big Sean‘s terrific new record I Decided.

Making playlists isn’t protest. It’s not political action. But it can be a soundtrack for both dancing and dissent, and do its best to uphold the art of discourse, which in these polarizing times is increasingly under attack. And if you want to completely check out, there’s always room on Goat‘s delightfully weird magic carpet. Here, “Try My Robe.”


You can also try an Apple Music playlist. Let me know if this works. -ed.

Continue reading Listen to Frontier Justice 2/19/17

Yes, People Still Buy Discs. Millions of Them.

In March 1958 Elvis’ Golden Records album was released.

“Heartbreak Hotel.”

“Love Me Tender.”

“Don’t Be Cruel.”

“All Shook Up.”

Those and other tracks are on the disc.

And it, itself, became a Gold Record in 1961. (It eventually racked up status as 6X Platinum, which sounds like a score on a pinball machine.)

But let’s face it: this first volume of complied Gold Records has a horribly weak name.

When volume two was released in November 1959 it was unimaginatively titled Elvis’ Gold Records—Volume Two, but it gained a name that is arguably one of the best album titles of all time: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.  (What’s amusing about volume two is that the cuts it contains are not the audio icons that many of those on volume one have become, so those 50,000,000 fans were not quite as right as the ones the year earlier.)

Elvis comes to mind because of Garth Brooks.

Continue reading Yes, People Still Buy Discs. Millions of Them.

The world’s worst Elvis impersonator: Kate Moss

Video: Elvis Presley – “The Wonder You” (with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)

Elvis Presley, Kate Moss - The Wonder of You (Official Music Video)

This is preposterous. It’s ludicrous on several levels. First of all, why are they adding “lush new arrangements” by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to Elvis recordings? The original single version, recorded live in Las Vegas, was good enough to spend 12 weeks on the charts in 1970 and peak at #9. Why add a new orchestral accompaniment? It sounds fine, but completely unnecessary.

And why cast Kate Moss to lip sync and roll around on a couch and a piano? What demographic are they marketing this toward? It just seems misguided and weird.

Sure, Kate Moss is cool and pretty. I’ve harbored a crush on her since I first saw her Calvin Klein ads in 1992 when I was in college. Years later I was amused by the outrage when video emerged of her huffing blow in the studio with Pete Doherty and Mick Jones while they were recording the Babyshambles debut. I guess it’s kind of cool that a 42 year old lady can still be seen a sex symbol…or something.

But really, what’s the point? I know there is a legion of geriatric diehards and collectors who buy everything with Elvis’ name on it, and this is actually the second collection of Royal Philharmonic overdubs. The first one, If I Can Dream, was apparently successful enough to warrant a sequel. I suppose we can all be thankful that at least this new volume doesn’t contain a “duet” with Michael Bublé.

I love Elvis. And I truly believe that anybody who claims to care about music should own the Sun sessions and the 1969 American Sound recordings (Elvis at Sun and Suspicious Minds are good collections). And if you like “The Wonder of You” by all means check out Elvis on Stage, where the original version appears; it’s a very fun recording of Elvis at his vocal peak backed up by a great band led by James Burton.

Continue reading The world’s worst Elvis impersonator: Kate Moss

Complete Elvis Presley Masters Box Set

Complete Elvis Presley Masters

This is so hardcore. So remember earlier this year when we wrote about how they had gone back and worked on audiophile-quality remasters of all 711 of the master recordings Elvis Presley released in his lifetime, but the only place you could purchase them all together was via a corny collection from the Franklin Mint? Back then I whined, “it would be great if they could release a nice, chronologically sequenced box with good liner notes.” Well, my wish was somebody’s command because that’s exactly what they’re releasing: The Complete Elvis Presley Masters Collection Limited Edition.

The first run is limited to 1,000 copies and includes 30 discs (including all 711 master recordings plus 103 additional rare recordings — see complete tracklist below), a 240-page hardbound book, individually numbered display case, and an individually numbered certificate of authenticity. It ships on or before October 19, 2010. It costs $749 plus tax and $14.99 shipping. That’s steep, even for thirty CDs. But oh man, what a collection! Hopefully, a more reasonably priced second run will be released after the first run sells out…

Update: Some sharp-eyed fans on the Steve Hoffman forums have noticed that the collection is missing the song “Let’s Forget About the Stars,” recorded for the Charro soundtrack and issued on Let’s Be Friends in 1970. Oops!

Update #2: ElvisNews.com counters: Despite a typo on the official Sony Website and the Sony Press Release, we can now officially state that the 30 cd box set THE COMPLETE MASTERS is indeed… complete, including “Let’s Forget About The Stars” and “Big Boots”.

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Happy 75th Birthday, Elvis!

Elvis performing live on the Dorsey Brothers' Stage Show at a CBS studio in New York, 1956.

Elvis Presley would’ve been 75 today. To celebrate, Sony/RCA has released a new box set, Elvis 75 – Good Rockin’ Tonight. It’s 100 songs across four discs spanning his entire career. Kind of skimpy on Sun sessions and 1969 Memphis sessions, but it looks like a nice introduction to casual fans who want to dig a little deeper than just the #1 hits.

The exciting news for Elvis freaks (like me) and audiophiles is that they’ve gone back and remastered everything. And by “everything” I’m not just talking about 100 tracks on this new box, but everything. Elvis reissue producer and archivist Ernst Jorgensen describes the project after the jump…

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Lost Classic: Bobbie Gentry – Ode to Billie Joe

Bobbie Gentry - Ode to Billie JoeBobbie GentryOde to Billie Joe (Capitol Nashville)

From the first strums on what sounds like a dime store student guitar and the odd orchestral backing, Bobbie Gentry‘s Ode to Billie Joe is clearly in a different sort of universe. Best known for the title track, which tells the story of young lovers and suicide from the Tallahatchie Bridge, Ode to Billy Joe is as complex as the subject matter suggests.

Video: Bobbie Gentry – “Ode To Billy Joe”

Country Soul is full of sultry songstresses with smoky voices. Dusty Springfield is probably best known, and her “Son of a Preacher Man” is probably the finest example of a genre all but forgotten today. Where the Mandrel Sisters, Dolly Parton and others opted for the lure of pop audiences that eventually brought us to the sorry reality of Rascal Flatts, Springfield and Gentry (along with Jeannie C. Riley of “Harper Valley PTA” fame) skipped the white bread for the grits. The late 60s and very early 70s produced a fantastic crop of Country Soul that sounds as unusual and compelling as ever. That it did not become the dominate cross-over sub-genre is too bad for all of us.

Continue reading Lost Classic: Bobbie Gentry – Ode to Billie Joe

Robbie Fulks: Michael Jackson "better than Elvis"

In a thoughtful eulogy for Michael Jackson, country crooner Robbie Fulks explains the origins of his fascination with the King of Pop:

In 1999, Peter McDowell at the Chicago Cultural Center had me put together a performance in honor of Michael’s birthday. That was the beginning of my long “tribute CD” odyssey, and it got me to thinking a little about him, because I hadn’t, much. I hadn’t theretofore bought his records, or learned any of his songs to perform, or considered myself a fan beyond the J5. Yet I found that I knew lots of his songs just from constant ambient reiteration, and, when I listened to them more purposefully, found them exquisitely assembled and compelling in some hard-to-define way. In other words, I discovered the basic and obvious qualities that had long ago endeared this music to everyone else around the world. At that time it occurred to me that Michael was my generation’s Elvis. He was our common musical denominator, originator of the template, pointer of the path, the central guy that we all grew up with and of whom nobody could live in ignorance. In fact the only reason I wouldn’t overplay the comparison is that I think he was better than Elvis artistically. Better dancer, better singer, better song guy; and he stayed better at it all longer (even outliving him, a little). Let the squabbling begin…

I never really considered the fact that Michael Jackson was pretty on top of his game, as Fulks points out, from about 1970 to 1990. That’s twenty years! Can you think of any other artist who was that solid for that long? With no periods of crapiness? If you can think of anybody, be sure to give the date range you’re talking about. Twenty years! I can’t think of many with a perfect ten year streak

Robbie Fulks: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Previously: Robbie Fulks Guides Fellow Musicians to Misery; Robbie Fulks Bloodshot Sampler.

From Elvis In Memphis Remastered

Elvis and the American Studio band, 1969 (left to right, Bobby Wood, Mike Leech, Tommy Cogbill, Gene Chrisman, Elvis Presley, Bobby Emmons, Reggie Young, Ed Kollis, Dan Penn)

Looks like Elvis Presley‘s 1969 “Memphis sessions” are set to receive the deluxe reissue treatment:

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Elvis’ historic American Studio session that resulted in “Suspicious Minds,” “In the Ghetto” and “Kentucky Rain” among many others, Sony Music will release a deluxe version of From Elvis In Memphis, including all the 32 masters recorded at these sessions. These recordings have been remastered from the original album masters for optimum sound quality. More details on the release to come.

But hey, what about Suspicious Minds: The Memphis 1969 Anthology, the two-disc comp that was released in 1999? Or the more concise Memphis Record, originally released back in 1987? First of all, those are both out of print. Secondly, the mixes on the former left a lot to be desired while the latter suffers from the muddiness that renders most compact discs manufactured in the 80s unlistenable. But if you have either of those and think they sound fine, then there’s probably not much to entice you to pick up this new collection.

But if you aren’t familiar with this material, you need to check it out. It represents the first real recording session after Presley’s ‘68 Comeback Special, and the first recordings since the Sun Records days where Colonel Parker was not involved. In fact, Elvis actually stood up to his manager for one of the only times in his career when Parker threatened to block the recording of “Suspicious Minds” if the publishers wouldn’t give up the typical percentage of royalties; when producer Chips Moman told the Colonel to go fuck himself, the King insisted they continue. “Suspicious Minds” turned out to be his last #1 single.

Elvis Presley: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki.

The Last Picture Show: Final Photos of Famous People

This image is the last known photo of Elvis Presley, taken at 12:28 Am on August 16, 1977, hours before he was found dead at Graceland. It’s part of an interesting collection of “10 Fascinating Last Pictures” and features a frightening image from Princess Diana’s final moments as well as images of Einstein, Hitler and others.

The King is Dead - Elvis Presley on August 16, 1977

Interesting that this image of John Lennon with his killer Mark David Chapman wasn’t included as it still sends chills down my spine.

John Lennon and Mark David Chapman - December 8, 1980