April 28 - Charts

Elvis Presley has no entries on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart for the week ending May 7, 2016. 

The "If I Can Dream" CD remains at #3 on the Classical Album Chart.

The "I'm Leavin'" is a new entry at #23 on the Vinyl Album Chart; is also a new entry at #15 on the Folk Album Chart and a new entry on the Top Country Album Chart at #27.

The "He Touched Me' - The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley' (Vols.1 and 2)" DVD set drops from #4 to #11 on the Music Video Sales Chart.

(Source: Brian Quinn / FECC)

April 27 - Still Stirring Passions

The MxF import-label announced the release of "Still Stirring Passions" featuring the unreleased Vegas March 21, 1975 Dinner Show. 

From the press-release:

After the problematic October 1974 tour, almost five months of rest and a February hospital visit, Elvis was back to the Hilton a little bit overweight, but stronger respect the previous year and overall in higher spirit. For this reason his performance is relaxed and superb like many critics noted…, still at the top if his ability he deliveries short shows as usually, but very intense updating the show with more contemporary repertoire, tossing away mostly of the oldies..There is a freshness that cannot be denied, Elvis was very energetic on stage, bringing back his best seventy rocker like Burning Love, introducing his latest single Promised land.., He sang with power and sensitivity at the same time, delivering a solid short show, with songs like Let Me Be There recent hit from Olivia Newton-John” and the classic “My Boy” sang terrifically. Unlike previously Elvis didn’t carry any Karate exercises, in this season the sport was never mentioned….but in same time respect the previous two years the rocking spirit was back, in fact Elvis started to perform again his rocking repertoire appearing to be more focused on the music.

The sound is very good for an ambient recording, We have on our hands the original mono tape of extremely good quality enabling us to carry out a simple re-mastering work, concentrating on the reduction of noise trying to achieve a more clear sound balancing the channel and put at the right speed the tape. The result a pretty dynamic tape with a great definition of the background music.

As usually from this label, this new CD will come in a deluxe DIGIPACK, containing a collection of live photographs newspapers clip and memorabilia. We love this show, the rock attitude is back, the “NEW” songs added reflecting the man in the 1975!! in spite the long band introduction, the man is still at the top and Elvis at the top means an unforgettable experience for those who attended the show and for those of us prepared to listen. The sound is very good and in times of continue Soundboard re-release we are glad to give you the possibility to have a release that can combine the Very Good audio quality with the unreleased status. We add as bonus for this first release a poster featuring a great live shot from the actual March 1975 Vegas season.

Tracks: Vegas March 21, 1975 DS:

01. Intro 02. See See Rider 03. I Got A Woman 04. Amen05. Elvis Talks 06. Love Me 07. Burning Love 08. It’s Midnight 09. And I love You So 10. Big Boss Man11. Love Me Tender 12. Hound Dog 13. Band Introductions 14. What’d I Say15. Ronnie Tutt Solo 16. Duke Bardwell Solo 17. Glen Hardin Solo 18. David Briggs Solo 19. Joe Guercio Theme 20 My Boy 21. If You Love Let Me Know 22. I’ll Remember You 23. Let Me Be There 24. An American Trilogy 25. Can’t Help Falling Love (part) 
CD time about 50.00 minutes.

(Source: FECC)

April 26 - Let's Rock America

Richard Aquila will release the 340 page book "Let's Rock!: How 1950's America Created Elvis And The Rock And Roll Craze". on November 16, 2016. 

From the publisher:
"Rock & roll became one of the most important cultural developments in post-World War II America. Yet, its origins are shrouded in myth and legend. Let's Rock! reclaims the lost history of rock & roll. Based on years of research, as well as interviews with Dion, Bo Diddley, and other rock & roll pioneers, the book offers new information and fresh perspectives about Elvis, the rise of rock & roll, and 1950s America.

Like a vast oral history project, the music yields insights about 1950s America. Rock & roll is intertwined with the rise of a post-World War II youth culture, the emergence of African Americans in society, the growth of consumer culture, technological change, the expansion of mass media, and the rise of a Cold War culture that endorsed traditional values to guard against Communism. The book demonstrates that early rock & roll was not as rebellious as common wisdom has it.

The new sound reflected the conservatism and conformity of the 1950s as much as it did the era's conflict. Rock & roll supported centrist politics, traditional values, and mainstream attitudes toward race, gender, class, and ethnicity. The musical evidence proves that most teenagers of the 1950s were not that different from their parents and grandparents when it came to basic beliefs, interests, and pastimes. Young and old alike were preoccupied by the same concerns, tensions, and insecurities. Rock & roll reveals that America’s Cold War culture was much more broadly-based than previously thought."

(Source: Elvis Club Berlin)

April 25 - Best Of Elvis

Due for release from the Galaxy label on May 3, 2016 is the 3 CD set "Elvis Presley: Best of the Best Collection: Volume 1". The CD set was originally released in 2008.

CD 1: Heartbreak Hotel - Hound Dog - Rip It Up - Don't Be Cruel - My Baby Left Me - Love Me - Lawdy Miss Clawdy -  Poor Boy - Anyplace Is Paradise - Long Tall Sally - I Was The One - Anyway You Want Me (That's How I Will Be) - One-Sided Love Affair - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You - Money Honey

CD 2: Blue Suede Shoes - How's The World Treating You - I Got A Woman - Paralyzed - Ready Teddy - Let Me - Shake, Rattle And Roll - Old Shep - How Do Think I Feel - We're Gonna Move - I'm Counting On You - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again - Tutti Frutti - I'll Never Let you Go (Little Darlin') - So Glad You're Mine - Love Me Tender.

(Source: Elvis Club Berlin)

April 23 - The Night Elvis Rocked San Bernardino

Elvis Presley is featured on the cover of the April 2016 issue if Inland Empire Magazine. As part of it's 40th anniversary this year, the magazine is be looking back at notable events that rocked the region. Elvis’s 1972 concert at swing auditorium in San Bernardino certainly did that.

The review by Richard Lorenzi.

Sunday night, Nov. 12, 1972. The Santa Ana winds were howling, so typical of San Bernardino in November. And it was cold. But a sold-out crowd stood patiently to have an audience with The King. Elvis was in the Swing Auditorium. 

The Swing was the place east of L.A.’s Fabulous Forum to see virtually every top name act in the rock world, circa 1964 through 1981. Located on E Street, the auditorium was built in 1949 on the grounds of the National Orange Show and was named for Senator Ralph E. Swing, a San Bernardino legislator. What a glorious barn it was and what history played out on that stage. The Rolling Stones did their first American concert there in June 1964. The place rocked until a small plane crashed into it on Sept. 11, 1981 and the auditorium had to be demolished. One of the last shows played there featured Iron Maiden.

In between, rock royalty were regulars. Fleetwood Mac played more than five times. The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Ramones (as opening act), Chicago, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper, the Grateful Dead (multiple times), Faces with Rod Stewart (also multiple times), Santana, the Kinks, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, the Beach Boys, and more. Look up how many of these acts are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Just about everybody but the Beatles made it to the Swing. 

Prior to the modern rock era, Bob Hope was almost an annual fixture at the Swing during the National Orange Show Fair. Other notables who performed there in the ’50s and ’60s included Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Benny, Judy Garland, Jerry Lewis, and George Burns. But never had a King played there before that night. 

Yet, it wasn’t as if Elvis had never been to the IE. He did own a house for several of the Priscilla years in Palm Springs and was known to do some boating in Big Bear Lake. Many scenes of the totally forgettable remake movie Kid Galahad were shot in Idyllwild. And, some of the outdoor footage in 1964’s Kissin’ Cousins was shot in the San Bernardino Mountains. Still, this was different. 

Elvis’ nationwide tour began at Madison Square Garden in New York, a city he had never before performed live in. The four concerts there were sold out and got rave reviews. At 37, he was “lean, tanned and greasily handsome, his coal-black hair glistening with an oily 1950s sheen,” as the New York Times’ Grace Lichtenstein put it. At a press conference before the Madison Square Garden appearance, he was asked about the secret of his longevity on the pop music scene. “I take Vitamin E,” he told reporters. 

From New York, the tour moved west, passing through cities like Milwaukee, Chicago, Wichita and Tulsa before continuing on to Las Vegas. Elvis stayed there for most of October before continuing the tour, which took him to Texas, Arizona, and into California. He hit Oakland, then San Bernardino, where he performed two sold-out shows—one on Nov. 12 and another on Nov. 13. rom there, he headed to the Long Beach Arena for two shows, the last stop before catching a plane for Honolulu where the tour would wrap up. Originally, the Honolulu show was planned to be broadcast worldwide by satellite, but the broadcast date was changed to early 1973 so it wouldn’t conflict with the release of MGM’s musical documentary Elvis on Tour. No matter. The show (actually four of them) went on. And in Honolulu, as well as in other cities on the tour, fans of all ages crowded concert venues to get a live view of the King. 

So it was in San Bernardino. The Swing could hold about 10,000 people with a concert take of around $60,000. On that cold November night, fans crammed into the sold-out auditorium. With reserved seating, there was none of the festival seating chaos that marked the Swing rock shows—kids pushing and shoving and fighting to get to the stage area. This crowd was real diferent. I was way too young at 21. For the usual Swing rock show, most of the concertgoers were my age or younger. The guys had long hair, wore boots, Levis and denim work shirts (think the cover of a Creedence album.) The girls went braless, wore tight jeans or peasant dresses. There were always more guys than girls. 

For Elvis, though, these fans had jobs, mortgages, and kids. The women clearly outnumbered the guys. They wore bright yellow or orange dresses, lots of makeup. Hairspray was huge. And, there were more than a few suicide blondes with hot pants and go-go boots. (I would never have sat on anything in the Swing in hot pants.) Jean Naté was locked in mortal combat with Charlie in a fragrance war. My Sin perfume held its own. Smoke from the bathrooms came from real Marlboro men (and women.) 

My seat was in the cheap section—off to the side and high up, close to the glued-on tinsel that was a prominent feature of the Swing. The place always had a peculiar smell. Close to show time, Colonel Tom’s minions were at the stage hawking T-shirts, photos, and other assorted gee-gaws. I wonder just how much of that cash Elvis received. 

Finally, the lights lowered. The band started playing the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then, there he was—The King. He was resplendent in a black and red concert suit. 

Though his show was typical of his Vegas show that he performed at the International Hotel (later known as the Las Vegas Hilton and now called the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino), it didn’t matter to his loyal subjects. He was live in San Berdoo! Old ladies screamed. It was hard to tell from my cheap seat, but I believe there were a few panties thrown at him. 

His voice and physique were in A-plus form. He ripped through concert standards such as “Polk Salad Annie,” crooned to crowd favorite “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” and did a couple of religious numbers with the gospel group J.D. Sumner and The Stamps. 

No Elvis show would be complete without the hits “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “American Trilogy.” 

His band and entourage—the Sweet Inspirations, legendary guitar hero James Burton—provided a full sound that could not be duplicated by the typical four-man rock act. It was a show truly becoming of a King. The crowd responded as if seeing him for the first time. Bedlam broke out among the thousands of fans. 

After about 90 minutes, despite fans calling for more, Elvis left the auditorium for the San Bernardino Hilton, about $60,000 richer. I was a poor college kid. I went to Del Taco. What a Sunday night!

(Source: Twitter / Inland Empire Magazine)