Saturday, March 06, 2010

Elvis Presley: The return of the King

Elvis Presley: The return of the King

Elvis Presley left the army 50 years ago this week, to suggestions that the music he pioneered had died in his absence. The truth turned out to be a little different, says Richard Williams, Thursday 4 March 2010 21.30 GMT

On the morning of 3 March, 1960, after a flight from Germany broken by a refuelling stop at Prestwick Airport, 30 miles south of Glasgow (the only time he set foot in Britain), the DC7 jetliner carrying Elvis Presley landed at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, amid the remnants of a light blizzard. Forty-eight hours later, Presley was given just over $100 in "out pay" – for travel, food and clothing – and, at the age of 25, discharged from the US Army, his two-year commitment fulfilled. He had been waved off from Wiesbaden by Priscilla Beaulieu, the 14-year-old stepdaughter of a US air force colonel; he was met and escorted away from military life by Nancy Sinatra, the 19-year-old daughter of a man who had once described Presley's music as "a rancid-smelling aphrodisiac".

By the start of a new decade, however, Frank Sinatra had given up trying to repel the forces of rock'n'roll, whatever his private feelings. And if you couldn't hold back the future, he may have thought as he sat in his suite in the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach, waiting for Elvis Presley to arrive, you might as well make money from it.

Presley's first professional commitment in his new civilian life was to spend two days in a studio in Nashville, recording material to be rushed out for sale to the 1,275,077 people who had placed advance orders for his new single while he was still in Germany, before the songs had even been selected. Once that task was complete, he, his musicians and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, boarded a train that would take them, with frequent stops to greet crowds of fans carefully alerted in the small towns of half a dozen states, to Miami, where he would perform both sides of his new single, Stuck on You and Fame and Fortune, as the guest star on Sinatra's regular television show, which had been retitled for this special edition: "Frank Sinatra's Welcome Home Party for Elvis Presley."

for the rest go here:

Ed here: The most interesting part of this article to me is the news that Elvis recorded briefly at the great Stax studios. The older I get the more I realize that the Stax people were more adventurous than Motown, far truer to the times and able to fuse traditional r&b with some of the new street forms that came along in the sixties and early seventies.


David Cranmer said...

What jumped out at me was he left Priscilla on one side of the pond and picked up Nancy on the other. What a life!

Todd Mason said...

Stax was in the heart of things, musically, while Motown was trying to create it's own world...with some success.

Deb said...

I think John Lennon once said that Elvis really died in the army and that after he got out his ghost was just cashing in.

Stax was the greatest. Any record company that could have Booker T. and the MGs as its house band was on to something. Motown was more polished and made their stars more visible, but as Wilson Picket used to say, you couldn't really "hear the cornbread" in their voices...and you certainly could with Stax artists.

KentAllard said...

I always felt Motown was the more sanitized version of R & B, designed to be radio-friendly and unthreatening to white audiences. Stax was the real deal