Signed, sealed, but not delivered!

  • Signed, sealed, but not delivered! … the stories behind some of Elvis’ «could have been» releases. Part 1; 1957 - 1964.
    During Elvis Presley’s career as a recording artist (1954-1977) there was on several occasions planned, and even announced, future album and single releases that never materialized. The explanations are many, and sometimes more complex reasons makes it necessary to take a closer look at each and every stranded project. In this article I will try to illustrate some possible, and in other cases more secure reasons that these releases simply ended up on the drawing board. I'm not trying in any way to invoke that I have managed to make a complete list of these stranded projects, and as I even put it in the headline, this is the story behind SOME of Elvis' «could have been» releases. (The Norwegian version is featured on the bottom of the page)

  • Pakket og klart, men ikke levert! … historiene bak noen av Elvis’ «strandede» utgivelser. Del 1; 1957 - 1964.
    I løpet av Elvis’ over 20 år lange karriere som plateartist (1954 – 1977) ble det ved flere anledninger planlagt, og til og med annonsert fremtidige album- og singelutgivelser som aldri materialiserte seg. Årsakene til dette er mange, og relativt komplekse årsakssammenhenger gjør at det er vanskelig og bare å dra alle over en kam. I denne artikkelen ønsker jeg blant annet å belyse noen mulige, og i andre tilfeller mere sikre grunner til at utgivelsene strandet på tegnebrettet. Jeg forsøker ikke på noen måte å påberope at jeg med dette har laget en komplett oversikt over disse havarerte prosjektene, og som jeg selv uttrykker det i overskriften; dette er historien bak NOEN av Elvis’ «strandede» utgivelser. (Den norske versjonen kommer etter den engelske)

The myth of «Fool's Hall Of Fame»

Elvis live on stage in Seattle September 1, 1957

On Sunday September 1st 1957 did Elvis, according to some sources, introduce his next single Fool's Hall Of Fame from the stage in Seattle. The strange thing about this story is that this was the only time Elvis performed this song during a concert, and furthermore; Elvis never made any documented recording of this song in the studio.

I must admit that I doubt the whole story. During this short tour, which only consisted of five concerts (Spokane 30/8, Vancouver 31/8, Tacoma 1/9, Seattle 1/9 and Portland 2/9) Elvis only performed this song, that according to the myth should be his next single, just once! Very unlikely! Furthermore, a new studio session was booked in the Radio Recorders studio in Hollywood just three days after the end of the tour, and during this recording session there is not a single shred of evidence that Elvis at all touched this song. If there should be any substance in this story, surely it would be natural that Elvis and his musicians at least tested the song during the studio session. My conclusion must be this; as long as there is no audio documentation of Fool's Hall Of Fame, I cling to the theory that Elvis just made a joke from stage that this would be his next single, if the incident has taken place at all.

In September 1957 the song had been released by another SUN-artist by the name of Rudi Richardson, an artist who did not reach far in terms of chart positions and fame. The far more famous Roy Orbison also recorded the song, but it wasn’t released until years later.

Sources; Patrick MacDonald, www.elvis.com.au - Elvis in Seattle / Jan-Erik Kjeseth, Flaming Star # 73, page 57 / Wikipedia “Fool’s Hall Of Fame”

One Night (Of Sin)

A Mock-Up Single of "One Night (Of Sin)" - Never Released

On January 18th 1957 Elvis was at Paramount Sound Stage studio in Hollywood to record songs for the movie Loving You. During a break in the scheduled program throughout this session One Night (Of Sin) was attached to reel, a song that had already been a hit by Smiley Lewis in 1956. The song was composed by Dave Bartholomew and Pearl King, two very competent songwriters who had written numerous hits for a wealth of other artists.

The lyrics, and in particular the title with its overt references to sexual activity, was apparently too much for Colonel Parker and the record company. It all ended up with Elvis reformulating the punch line from "One night of Sin is what I'm now paying for" to "One night with you is what I'm now praying for". We must keep in mind that we write 1957, not 2013 on this recording. It is reasonable to believe that some people could be offended by the lyrics of One Night (of Sin) in 1957. In 2013 this song (with its lyrics) quite obviously would fit perfectly into a collection of "Hits For Kids".

In the magazine Flaming Star (issue #73), the writer Jan-Erik Kjeseth has an interesting theory that it was Elvis himself who wanted to change the lyrics on this song. In general, he believes that the song was fit for the market (it had already been released, and had been a charting single with another artist), but Elvis was uncomfortable with that lyric in an r&b type of song.

The Vinyl Single of "One Night/I Got Stung" released in 1958

In any case, it ended up with Elvis changing the lyrics and recording the song once again, now renamed One Night, on February 23rd 1957 at Radio Recorders studio in Hollywood.

The song was released on October 21st 1958 with I Got Stung as the B-side. Initially it had been intended that One Night should be included on the Loving You album, but since the song obviously had hit potential, it was put aside for a future single release. The initial plan was to have I Beg Of You as the B-side. One Night was thus a potential hit song the Colonel had hidden up his sleeve to keep the Elvis phenomenon hot while the main man himself served overseas in Germany. There’s much to be said about Parker (mainly bad things), but at this stage of Elvis’ career he made several good decisions, this was one of them. One Night ended up in the top 5 on Billboard, and in the UK it actually hit the top spot.

Sources; Ernst Jorgensen, Elvis Presley - A Life In Music / Patrick Humphries, Elvis The # 1 Hits / Jan-Erik Kjeseth, Flaming Star #73, page 57 / Wikipedia

Golden Records

The Vinyl EPs "A Touch Of Gold Volume 1 & 2" released in 1959

There is evidence that RCA had plans to release 3 EP records May 14th, 1958. The material was taken from the recently released Elvis' Golden Records LP. Catalog Number and content are documented for all three records. Covers were however never completed for any of them. Preliminary title of these records was Elvis Presley Golden Record Album (Vol. 1-3).

Elvis Presley Golden Record Album Vol. 1 with catalog number EPA-5009 were planned to contain the following tracks; All Shook Up and That's When Your Heartaches Begin on side 1; Heartbreak Hotel and Love Me on side 2

Elvis Presley Golden Record Album Vol. 2 with catalog number EPA-5010 were planned to contain the following tracks; Jailhouse Rock and Treat Me Nice and on side 1, and (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear and Loving You on side 2

Elvis Presley Golden Record Album Vol. 3 with catalog number EPA-5011 were planned to contain the following tracks; Don’t Be Cruel and I Want You, I Need You, I Love You on side 1, and Hound Dog and Love Me Tender on side 2

I have no evidence that tells us the exact reason why this project stranded, but it is likely to believe that the reason can be said in two words; King Creole! The movie had its premiere July 2nd, 1958, and RCA’s focus was above all to promote this film with the following record releases; King Creole, Vol 1 (EPA 4319 - January 1958), King Creole, Vol 2 (EPA 4321 - July 1958) and finally the LP King Creole (LPM-1884) in August. There was no room for more Elvis records in the spring of 1958!

In connection with the release of the album Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2 in December 1959, a similar project was grasped, when RCA did release two EP's with songs from the LP; A Touch Of Gold, Volume 1 (EPA-5088 - April 1959) and A Touch Of Gold, Volume 2 (EPA 5101 - September 1959). Both releases contained respectively two songs taken from the upcoming release. In addition the covers on the EPs were based on the front cover picture that was used on the album ... the legendary picture where Elvis is posing in his gold suit.

Sources; www.elvisrecords.us / www.elvisandhismusic.com

Like A Baby

The Bootleg Vinyl Single of "Like A Baby/Make Me Kow It" released in 2012

In the winter of 1961-1962 RCA printed and sent out a promotion single in a very limited edition to radio stations and a few others. This record featured the songs Like A Baby and Make Me Know It, both taken from the album Elvis Is Back! Like A Baby was written by Jesse Stone, a well-established musician and songwriter, who already had written well-known tunes like Money Honey and Shake, Rattle And Roll. The B-side Make Me Know It was composed by hit-maker Otis Blackwell (Don’t Be Cruel, All Shook Up, Paralyzed and Great Balls Of Fire, just to mention some of his accomplishments).

Since this basically was just a promo single, it was labeled with the white RCA company logo. Catalogue number was 47-8025, a number that indicates that this record was intended for release in the period between Good Luck Charm (47-7992) and She's Not You (47-8041), thus between February and July 1962.

When Good Luck Charm hit the record stores in February 1962, Elvis had a lavishly number of hit singles behind him: four #1 and respectively one #2, #4 and #5 on the Billboard chart. Even Good Luck Charm ended up at # 1 on the Billboard chart. In England Elvis had an even better résumé; six #1 and one #2 – even the already mentioned Good Luck Charm hit #1. In retrospect it is kind of difficult to say exactly how the single Like A Baby / Make Me Know It would have done on the charts, but a top 5 hit was surely within reach.

That this project at all ended on the drawing board suggests that RCA began to run out of potential Elvis singles. As most people know, at that present time the record companies had the following distributing policy; singles were singles and album tracks were album tracks. Only in a few occasions were tracks from an album also released as a single track. As earlier mentioned, both of these songs were actually taken from an album (Elvis Is Back!), besides both of these tunes were starting to get old, although we know that RCA at other times didn’t have much worries about releasing “ancient” material for singles as the release of Crying In The Chapel proves that an almost 5 year old song could work as a new single.

Now there was no official single release of this couple, but "what if" there actually was a substantial plan behind this project, I would say that this wasn’t at all any bad idea. Though, I would prefer that RCA released this as a single in January 1961, in the period between Are You Lonesome Tonight? and Surrender, with Make Me Know It as A-side. An "up-tempo pop-song" would fit the market perfectly in the time-span between the two aforementioned huge ballads.

A bootleg label released a reproduction of this single in 2012.

Sources; www.elvisrecords.us / Promotional Memo to bootleg release / Ernst Jorgensen, Elvis Presley - A Life In Music / Joseph A. Tunzi, The Complete Chart History Of Elvis Presley / www.elvis.com.au / Wikipedia

Love Me

The Unique Promo EP of "Love Me" made in 1960 (This Picture is used by permission - www.elvisrecords.us)

In 1974 rumors started to circulate about a planned EP for release in December 1960 that  never materialized. In 1992, Paul Dowling (the man behind the World Wide Elvis) finally found evidence in the RCA archives in New York that this was indeed the case. The documentation showed that RCA had actually gotten a long way in preparing for the project. The catalogue number was LPC-123. Release date was December 16, 1960. The title song was Love Me, in addition, three classic songs were included; Hound Dog, Don’t Be Cruel and Jailhouse Rock. There had even been made a complete copy of the record with a picture sleeve.

The project stranded when RCA decided that it was not strategic to release an EP with old material in a market that already had abundantly of Elvis records in the pipeline. It all ended up with RCA releasing the EP Elvis By Request. This record contained two songs from the recent movie Flaming Star, more specifically one track included in the movie; Flaming Star, and one track that was omitted from the final version of the movie; Summer Kisses, Winter Tears. Those two tracks were combined with two quite recent hits; Are You Lonesome Tonight? and It's Now or Never.

The Bootleg Vinyl EP of "Love Me" released in 2012

Personally I agree with the record company’s decision to focus on new material. The market literally flooded with Elvis records, and all the songs on the intended EP record was still available on a number of other releases.

A reproduction of the EP Love Me was released on a bootleg in 2012, with a different cover than the unique promo edition though.

Sources; www.elvisrecords.usPromotional Memo to bootleg release

The Lost Album

The Official RCA/BMG CD of "For The Asking" released in 1990

I noted above that in my opinion Colonel Parker made a good decision in the matter of the single release of One Night in 1958. Now we write 1963, and Parkers good decisions had vanished all together.

On May 26th Elvis enters the RCA Studio B in Nashville to record a bunch of songs, which for once was not intended for soundtracks. The previous non-movie album was Pot Luck, who had seen the light of day a year earlier in June 1962; it was now time for a successor.

As everyone may remember there was never any album release with this material, but I am sure that the intention of this recording session was a new Elvis LP. We will take a closer look at the reasons why this project stranded later, first let’s take a closer look at the studio session and the songs recorded.

On day one (May 26th 1963), the following songs were recorded; Echoes Of Love, Please Don’t Drag That String Around, (You're The) Devil in Disguise, Never Ending, What Now What Next Where To, Witchcraft, Finders Keepers Losers Weepers and Love Me Tonight. On day two (May 27th, 1963), the following songs were recorded, Memphis Tennessee, (It's A) Long Lonely Highway, Ask Me, Western Union, Slowly But Surely and Blue River. All in all; a total of 14 songs, enough for 2 singles and a full album.

As mentioned above, in the 60’s RCA and other record companies in general, had the policy that the songs released as singles not necessarily should be included on the albums. RCA broke their own norm in connection with the release of the single Rock-A-Hula Baby / Can’t Help Falling In Love in November 1961. Both songs were indeed included on the album Blue Hawaii, and it turned out that the current philosophy that this could affect the sales of the album in a bad way wasn’t at all true. Blue Hawaii ended up as one of Elvis' best-selling albums ever. Despite this, RCA resumed the old practice on later releases. In 1962, in conjunction with the album Pot Luck, the single tracks were not included on the album. (Comment; A decade later the record industry in general changed this practice when they finally realized that a hit single actually increased the sales of an album they were picked from).

The Official RCA/BMG CD of "The 'Lost' Album" released in 1991 (This is the US edition of "For The Asking")

In the wake of the recording session in May 1963 (You're the) Devil in Disguise was chosen as the A-side of the first single, released in June 1963. As the B-side RCA picked Please Don’t Drag That String Around. This would prove to be a good combination. The A-side reached #3 on the Billboard chart and became a worldwide hit. So far so good! There was still 12 songs left to fill the album.

It is at this time Parker shows his true colors. Money and profit was his sole focus, artistic integrity came second. Instead of comprehending the finished album, Parker and RCA decided to release yet another compilation album; Elvis Golden Records Vol. 3. The fact was that the three previous albums with regular pop songs Elvis Is Back!, Something For Everybody and Pot Luck had sold only 300,000 copies each in the U.S, while movie albums such as G.I. Blues and Blue Hawaii had sold significantly more (respectively 700,000 and 2 millions). The fear of losing any profit must have been the motivation for Parker and RCA to put the new album on hold. It turned out that they were dead-on; Elvis Golden Records Vol. 3 was a huge success with over half a million copies sold in the U.S alone. In addition it sold by the truckloads elsewhere in the world.

We are entering the month of August, and the plans for the new album are faltering. The movie Fun In Acapulco premiered in November and the film contained 11 songs. It was essential that the movie was promoted with an album, and that was exactly what happened. Thus ended the song Witchcraft from the May-session as the B-side to the soundtracks only likely candidate as an A-side; Bossa Nova Baby. Initially, it was intended to use Memphis, Tennessee as the B-side, but Elvis wasn’t entirely satisfied with his recording of the tune, so another song was chosen. If that wasn’t more than enough, RCA included as well two additional songs from the May session, Love Me Tonight and Slowly But Surely on the aforementioned Fun In Acapulco album, as several of the 11 movie songs were so short that RCA felt the need for more tracks to give the album a decent running time. Now it was only 9 songs left for the intended album ... not nearly enough. It was now obvious that the songs from the May session only were regarded as a "song-account" to pick from when needed.

The Official FTD/BMG CD of "Elvis Sings Memphis, Tennessee" released in 2005

In January 1964 Elvis recorded Memphis, Tennessee and Ask Me a second time to improve his performance. In addition, he recorded a great version of the song It Hurts Me during the same session. The next movie in the pipe was Kissin' Cousins. The title song was released as the A-side, and some brain-dead employee at RCA chose to treat gold as bricks by putting the masterpiece It Hurts Me as the B-side to this! Furthermore, in order to fill up the album Kissin' Cousins, that was released in April 1964, they added yet two more songs from the May '63 session; Echoes Of Love and (It's A) Long, Lonely Highway.

Likewise, Never Ending was used as the B-side to Such A Night in July 1964. Ask Me (the January 1964 version) was released as an A-side, with Ain’t That Loving You Baby from 1958 as the B-side, in September 1964. Ask Me did quite well on the charts, and ended up at #12 on Billboard. Memphis, Tennessee (the January 1964 version) and Finders Keepers ended up on the compilation album Elvis For Everyone in August 1965. Blue River was used as the B-side to Tell Me Why (a song recorded in 1957!) in December 1965. What Now, What Next, Where To was used as a filler on the soundtrack album Double Trouble in June 1967. The single cuts Never Ending and Blue River was also included on this album as bonus tracks. The last unused song from the May '63 session (Western Union) finally ended up on the soundtrack album Speedway in May 1968.

It is quite obvious that RCA, in partnership with Parker wasted a good opportunity to release a quite decent album with the way these songs was handled. All this resulting in that during the period between Pot Luck (1962) and How Great Thou Art (1966) we got no new Elvis-albums containing new non-movie songs. In retrospect it is obvious that money and commercial considerations completely overshadowed the artistic aspects of the King's career.

And the final result? "The Lost Album" would appeared as a good Elvis album, not sparkling like Elvis Is Back!, but an entirely decent effort.

The BMG (RCA) and FTD (Follow That Dream) labels has both released this album as it might have appeared in 1963-1964; For The Asking (BMG / RCA 1990 – In the US it was released as The Lost Album in 1991) and Elvis Sings Memphis, Tennessee (FTD 2005).

Sources; Jørgensen - Semon, Liner notes two Elvis Sings Memphis, Tennessee (Follow That Dream) / Joseph A. Tunzi, Elvis Sessions III / Ernst Jorgensen, Elvis Presley - A Life In Music

In part 2 we will dig into the stories behind "Standing Room Only" and the original "Elvis Fool" album. We will also take a closer look at a few rarities not many are aware of.

Pakket og klart, men ikke levert!

Myten om «Fool’s Hall Of Fame»

Søndag 1. september 1957, skal Elvis, i følge noen kilder, ha introdusert sin neste single Fool’s Hall Of Fame fra scenen i Seattle. Det merkelige med denne historien er for det første; dette skal være den eneste gangen Elvis fremførte denne sangen under en konsert. For det andre; Elvis gjorde aldri noen dokumentert innspilling av denne sangen i studio.

Jeg stiller meg tvilende til hele historien. Under denne korte turnéen, som kun besto av 5 konserter (Spokane 30/8, Vancouver 31/8, Tacoma 1/9, Seattle 1/9 og Portland 2/9), spilte altså Elvis låten, den som i følge myten skulle bli hans neste singel, kun en gang! Lite trolig! Videre så var det booket inn en ny studiosesjon i Radio Recorders studioet i Hollywood bare 3 dager etter at denne turnéen var ferdig. Under innspillingssesjonen finnes det ikke et eneste fnugg av dokumentasjon på at Elvis i det hele tatt rørte ved denne sangen. Hvis det skulle være noe som helst substans i denne historien ville det vel vært naturlig at de i alle fall testet ut denne sangen i studioet. Min konklusjon må bli at så lenge det ikke eksisterer lyddokumentasjon av Fool’s Hall Of Fame, støtter jeg meg heller til en teori om at Elvis (for så vidt i velkjent stil) slo en skrøne fra scenen om at dette skulle bli hans neste singel, hvis episoden i det hele tatt har funnet sted.

Forresten, sangen hadde i september 1957 nettopp blitt gitt ut av en SUN-artist ved navn Rudi Richardson, en artist som ikke nådde langt hvis vi klassifiserer etter listeplasseringer og berømmelse. Den langt mer kjente Roy Orbison laget også en innspilling av denne sangen, men denne ble først gitt ut mange år senere.

Kilder; Patrick MacDonald, www.elvis.com.au - Elvis in Seattle / Jan-Erik Kjeseth, Flaming Star # 73, page 57 / Wikipedia “Fool’s Hall Of Fame”

One Night (Of Sin)

18. januar 1957 var Elvis i Paramount Sound Stage studioet i Hollywood for å spille inn sanger til filmen Loving You. I løpet av en pause i det planlagte programmet under denne sesjonen ble One Night (Of Sin) også festet til lydbånd, en sang som allerede hadde vært en hit med Smiley Lewis i 1956. Sangen var komponert av Dave Bartholomew og Pearl King, to svært kompetente låtskrivere som hadde skrevet en rekke hits for et vell av andre artister.

Teksten, og da spesielt tittelen med sin utilslørte henvisning til seksuell aktivitet, skal ha blitt for drøy kost for Oberst Parker og plateselskapet. Det hele endte med at Elvis selv omformulerte selve punch-linjen i teksten fra «One night of sin is what I'm now paying for» til «One night with you is what I'm now praying for». Vi må ikke glemme at vi skriver 1957 og ikke 2013 på denne innspillingen. En tekstlinje som i dag helt uten problem kan inkluderes på en samling med «Hits For Kids», kunne den gangen virke så støtende og farlig, at den fort kunne risikert å havne i bunken med forbudte plater.

I Flaming Star #73, har skribent Jan-Erik Kjeseth en interessant teori om at det var Elvis selv som ønsket å endre teksten på denne sangen. I hovedtrekk mener han at sangen ikke var for drøy for markedet (den hadde jo allerede vært utgitt, og til og med blitt en hit med en annen artist), men at Elvis selv var ukomfortabel med å synge denne teksten i en r&b sang.

I alle fall endte det hele med at Elvis gjorde om teksten og spilte inn sangen på nytt, nå omdøpt til One Night, den 23. februar 1957 i Radio Recorders studioet i Hollywood.

Sangen ble først utgitt 21. oktober 1958 med I Got Stung som B-side. Initialt hadde det vært meningen at One Night skulle inkluderes på Loving You albumet, men ettersom det luktet hit-låt av denne sangen lang vei, ble den lagt til side for en fremtidig singelutgivelse. Den opprinnelige planen var å ha I Beg Of You som B-side. One Night var altså en potensiell singel Obersten hadde gjemt i ermet for å holde Elvis-fenomenet varmt mens hovedmannen selv avtjente militærtjeneste i Tyskland. Man kan nok si mye (spesielt negativt) om Parker, men i denne fasen gjorde han en del gode trekk; dette var ett av dem. One Night endte opp på topp 5 på Billboard, og i England endte den faktisk opp helt øverst på listen.

Kilder; Ernst Jørgensen, Elvis Presley - A Life In Music / Patrick Humphries, Elvis The #1 Hits / Jan-Erik Kjeseth, Flaming Star #73, side 57 / Wikipedia

Golden Records

Det eksisterer dokumentasjon på at RCA hadde konkrete planer om å gi ut 3 stk. EP-plater 14. mai 1958. Materialet var hentet fra den nylig slupne LP Elvis’ Golden Records. Katalognummer og innhold finnes dokumentert for alle 3 platene. Omslag ble dog aldri ferdigstilt for noen av dem. Preliminær tittel på platene var Elvis Presley Golden Record Album (Vol. 1 – 3).

Elvis Presley Golden Record Album Vol. 1 med katalognummer EPA-5009 skulle inneholde følgende spor; All Shook Up og That's When Your Heartaches Begin på side 1, og Heartbreak Hotel og Love Me på side 2.

Elvis Presley Golden Record Album Vol. 2 med katalognummer EPA-5010 skulle inneholde følgende spor; Jailhouse Rock og Treat Me Nice på side 1, og (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear og Loving You på side 2.

Elvis Presley Golden Record Album Vol. 3 med katalognummer EPA-5011 skulle inneholde følgende spor; Don't Be Cruel og I Want You, I Need You, I Love You på side 1, og Hound Dog og Love Me Tender på side 2.

Den eksakte årsaken til at dette prosjektet strandet har jeg ingen dokumentasjon på, men det er plausibelt å tro at årsaken kan oppsummeres med to ord; King Creole! Filmen hadde première 2. juli 1958, og RCA prioriterte utgivelser som bidro til å promotere denne filmen; King Creole, Vol. 1 (EPA-4319 – januar 1958), King Creole, Vol. 2 (EPA-4321 - juli 1958) og endelig selve LP-platen King Creole (LPM-1884) i august. Det var ikke rom for flere Elvis plater i det aktuelle tidsrommet!

I forbindelse med albumet Elvis’ Gold Records Volume 2 (desember 1959) ble et lignende prosjekt realisert. Da fant RCA rom for å gi ut 2 stk. EP-plater med sangene fra LP-platen; A Touch Of Gold, Volume 1 (EPA-5088 - april 1959) og A Touch Of Gold, Volume 2 (EPA-5101 - september 1959). Begge utgivelsene inneholdt henholdsvis 2 sanger hentet fra den kommende LP-platen. Omslagene var basert på det omslaget som ble benyttet på albumet… det berømte bildet der Elvis poserer i sin gulldress.

Kilder; www.elvisrecords.us / www.elvisandhismusic.com

Like A Baby

Vinteren 1961/ 62 trykket og sendte RCA ut en promoteringssingel i et svært begrenset opplag. Pressingen inneholdt sangene Like A Baby og Make Me Know It, begge hentet fra albumet Elvis Is Back! Like A Baby var skrevet av Jesse Stone, en godt etablert musiker og låtskriver, som blant annet har kjente låter som Money Honey og Shake, Rattle And Roll på samvittigheten. B-siden Make Me Know It var komponert av hit-maker Otis Blackwell (Don't Be Cruel, All Shook Up, Paralyzed og Great Balls Of Fire, for å nevne en liten håndfull av denne mannens låtbragder).

Siden dette i utgangspunktet kun var en promo-singel ble den merket med RCA-selskapets hvite logo. Katalognummer var 47-8025, et nummer som indikerer at denne ville blitt utgitt i tidsrommet mellom Good Luck Charm (47-7992) og She’s Not You (47-8041), altså mellom februar og juli 1962.

Da Good Luck Charm nådde platehyllene i februar 1962, hadde Elvis en formidabel rekke av hitsingler bak seg; fire #1, en #2, en #4 og en #5 på Billboardlisten. Good Luck Charm endte opp på #1 den også. I England hadde det gått enda bedre; seks #1 og en #2 – Good Luck Charm endte også der på #1. Det er vanskelig å si hvordan Like A Baby/ Make Me Know It ville ha gjort det i dette selskapet, men trolig ville det i alle fall ha endt opp med nok en topp 5.

At dette prosjektet i det hele tatt endte på tegnebrettet tyder nok på at RCA begynte å gå tomme for potensielle Elvis-singler. Som de fleste vet, hadde plateselskapene en klar utgivelsespolitikk på denne tiden; singler var singler, og albumspor var albumspor. Det forekom meget sjeldent at sanger fra selve albumene ble utgitt på singel. Som nevnt ovenfor var begge disse sangene hentet fra albumet Elvis Is Back!, og i tillegg var sangene nesten to år gamle (dog vi vet at RCA ikke hadde mye skrupler med å gi ut gammelt materiale på singler; Crying In The Chapel er vel et godt eksempel på at en 4-5 år gammel sang kan fungere som ny).

Nå ble det ikke noen offisiell singelutgivelse av dette tospannet, men «hvis-om-at» det skulle ha vært en substansiell tanke bak, vil jeg si at dette ikke hadde vært noen dårlig idé. Jeg personlig ville hatt denne ut som singel i januar 1961, i tidsrommet mellom Are You Lonesome Tonight? og Surrender, med den pop-fengende Make Me Know It som A-side. En «uptempo-utgivelse» ville vært passende mellom de to nevnte store balladene.

Et bootleg-selskap laget en reproduksjon av denne singelen i 2012.

Kilder; www.elvisrecords.us / Promotional Memo to bootleg release / Ernst Jorgensen, Elvis Presley - A Life In Music / Joseph A. Tunzi, The Complete Chart History Of Elvis Presley / www.elvis.com.au / Wikipedia

Love Me

Allerede i 1974 begynte det å versere rykter om at det hadde vært planlagt en EP-utgivelse i desember 1960 som ikke hadde materialisert seg. I 1992, under et besøk i RCA-arkivene i New York, fant Paul Dowling (mannen bak World Wide Elvis) dokumentasjon på at dette virkelig var tilfelle. Dokumentasjonen viste at RCA hadde kommet langt i forberedelsene til prosjektet. Katalognummer var LPC-123. Utgivelsesdato var 16. desember 1960. Tittellåten var Love Me, i tillegg skulle tre klassiske sanger inkluderes; Hound Dog, Don't Be Cruel og Jailhouse Rock. Det hadde til og med blitt laget et ferdig eksemplar med bildeomslag.

Prosjektet strandet da RCA bestemte seg for at det ikke var strategisk å slippe en EP med gammelt materiale i et marked som allerede hadde blitt servert rikelig med Elvis-plater. Det endte med at RCA i stedet ga ut EP’en Elvis By Request. Denne inneholdt to sanger fra den ferske filmen Flaming Star, det vil nærmere bestemt si et spor fra selve filmen (Flaming Star), og et spor som var utelatt fra selve filmen (Summer Kisses, Winter Tears), kombinert med to relativt nye hitlåter; Are You Lonesome Tonight? og It's Now or Never.

Personlig stiller jeg meg bak plateselskapets beslutning om å fokusere på nytt materiale. Markedet formelig flommet over av Elvis plater, og alle sangene på den tiltenkte EP-platen var fremdeles lett tilgjengelig på en rekke andre utgivelser.

En reproduksjon av Love Me ble utgitt på en bootlegutgivelse i 2012, dog med et annet omslag enn den unike promo-utgaven.

Kilder; www.elvisrecords.usPromotional Memo to bootleg release

The Lost Album

Jeg nevnte ovenfor at jeg mente Oberst Parker tok en bra beslutning når det gjaldt singelutgivelsen av One Night i 1958. Nå skriver vi 1963, og Parkers gode beslutninger var forsvunnet som dugg for solen.

Den 26. mai entrer Elvis RCA Studio B i Nashville for å spille inn et knippe sanger som for en gangs skyld ikke var ment for film. Det forrige ikke-film-albumet var Pot Luck, som hadde sett dagens lys ett år tidligere i juni 1962, og det var nå på høy tid å få sluppet en oppfølger.

Som alle vet ble det aldri noen albumutgivelse med dette materialet, dog er jeg sikker på at intensjonen med sesjonen var en ny Elvis-LP. Vi skal se nærmere på årsakene til at dette prosjektet strandet senere. Vi starter med en gjennomgang av selve innspillingssesjonen og sangene som ble spilt inn.

Dag 1 (26. mai, 1963) ble følgende sanger spilt inn; Echoes Of Love, Please Don't Drag That String Around, (You're The) Devil in Disguise, Never Ending, What Now What Next Where To, Witchcraft, Finders Keepers Losers Weepers og Love Me Tonight. Dag 2 (27. mai, 1963) ble følgende sanger spilt inn; Memphis Tennessee, (It's A) Long Lonely Highway, Ask Me, Western Union, Slowly But Surely og Blue River. Totalt 14 sanger, nok til 2 singler og et helt album.

Som nevnt ovenfor hadde RCA og de fleste andre plateselskaper på denne tiden den strategien at låtene som ble utgitt som singler, ikke skulle inkluderes på albumene. RCA brøt dette prinsippet i forbindelse med utgivelsen av singelen Rock-A-Hula Baby/ Can’t Help Falling In Love i november 1961. Begge sangene var inkludert på albumet Blue Hawaii, og det viste seg at teorien om at dette skulle påvirke salget av albumet i negativ retning ikke skulle holde vann. Blue Hawaii ble Elvis’ bestselgende album. Allikevel gikk man tilbake til gammel praksis senere. I 1962, i forbindelse med utgivelsen av albumet Pot Luck skilte man på singelspor og albumspor. Senere, spesielt utover 70-tallet oppdaget plateindustrien at hitsingler fremmet salget av det aktuelle albumet de var inkludert på. Nok om det.

I kjølvannet av innspillingssesjonen i mai 1963 ble (You're The) Devil in Disguise valgt som A-side på første singel, utgitt i juni 1963. Som B-side ble Please Don't Drag That String Around valgt. Dette skulle vise seg å være en god kombinasjon. A-siden nådde #3 på Billboard, og ble en verdensomspennende hitlåt. Så langt, alt vel! Man hadde fremdeles 12 sanger igjen til selve albumet.

Det er på dette tidspunktet Parker viser sitt sanne jeg. Penger var MYE viktigere enn kunstnerisk integritet. I stedet for å realisere det ferdige albumet velger han og plateselskapet å gi ut en samlingsplate; Elvis Golden Records Vol. 3. Sannheten er at de tre foregående albumene med regulære popsanger Elvis Is Back!, Something For Everybody og Pot Luck hadde solgt rundt 300.000 eksemplarer hver, mens filmalbum som G.I Blues og Blue Hawaii hadde solgt betydelig mer (henholdsvis 700.000 og 2,000.000). Redselen for å tape penger må ha motivert Parker og RCA til å vente med det nye albumet. Elvis Golden Records Vol. 3 ble riktig nok en stor salgssuksess med over en halv million solgte eksemplarer i USA, pluss enorme mengder andre steder i verden.

Vi har nå kommet til august måned, og det begynner å se riktig mørkt ut for det nye albumet. Filmen Fun In Acapulco skulle ha première allerede førstkommende november, og filmen inneholdt hele 11 sanger. Det var helt essensielt at filmen ble promotert med et album, og det var nettopp det som skjedde. Dermed endte sangen Witchcraft fra mai-sesjonen som B-side til filmalbumets eneste naturlige A-side; Bossa Nova Baby. Opprinnelig var det meningen å benytte Memphis, Tennessee som B-side, men Elvis hadde ikke vært helt fornøyd med denne innspillingen, så en annen sang ble valgt. Ikke nok med det, i tillegg valgte RCA å inkludere ytterligere to sanger fra mai-sesjonen, Love Me Tonight og Slowly But Surely på det nevnte Fun In Acapulco albumet, da flere av de 11 filmsangene var så korte at de følte det nødvendig med flere spor for å gi platen en anstendig spilletid. Dermed var det bare 9 sanger igjen på det tiltenkte albumet… på langt nær nok. Nå er det tydelig at låtene fra mai-sesjonen kun ble ansett som en «låt-bank» man kunne hente fra ved behov.

I januar 1964 spilte Elvis inn Memphis, Tennessee og Ask Me på nytt for å forbedre resultat. I tillegg gjorde han en fantastisk versjon av låten It Hurts Me. Neste film på tapetet var Kissin’ Cousins. Tittellåten ble utgitt som A-side, og en eller annen hjernedød ansatt i RCA velger å behandle gull som gråstein ved å plassere mesterverket It Hurts Me som B-side til denne! Videre for å fylle opp albumet Kissin’ Cousins som ble utgitt i april 1964, ble det hentet ytterligere to spor fra mai ‘63-sesjonen; Echoes Of Love og (It's A) Long, Lonely Highway.

Videre endte Never Ending opp som B-side til Such A Night i juli 1964. Ask Me (januar 1964 versjonen) ble gitt ut som A-side, med Ain’t That Loving You Baby fra 1958 som B-side i september 1964. Denne endte opp på #12 på Billboardlisten. Memphis, Tennesse (januar 1964 versjonen) og Finders Keepers endte opp på den sammenraskede platen Elvis For Everyone i august 1965. Blue River endte opp som B-side til Tell Me Why (en sang innspilt i 1957!) i desember 1965. What Now What Next Where To endte opp på filmalbumet Double Trouble i juni 1967. Singelutgivelsene Never Ending og Blue River ble også inkludert på dette albumet som bonusspor. Siste ubenyttede sang fra mai ’63-sesjonen (Western Union) endte endelig opp på filmalbumet Speedway i mai 1968.

Det er helt tydelig at RCA, i samarbeid med Parker skuslet vekk en god mulighet til å utgi et helt fint album med den uprofesjonelle måten dette materialet ble håndtert på. Resultatet ble at det i perioden mellom Pot Luck (1962) og How Great Thou Art (1966) ikke ble utgitt noen LP med Elvis som inneholdt nytt ikke-film-materiale. Dette var et resultat av at penger og andre kommersielle hensyn fullstendig overskygget de kunstneriske aspektene ved Kongens karriere.

Hvordan ville resultat blitt? «The Lost Album» ville fremstått som et godt Elvis album, ikke glitrende slik som Elvis Is Back!, men et fullt ut anstendig håndverk.

Både BMG (RCA) og FTD (Follow That Dream) har gitt ut dette albumet slik det kunne ha fremstått i 1963/64; For The Asking (BMG/ RCA 1990 - I USA ble denne sluppet som The Lost Album i 1991) og Elvis Sings Memphis, Tennessee (FTD 2005).

Kilder; Jørgensen - Semon, Liner notes to Elvis Sings Memphis, Tennessee (Follow That Dream) / Joseph A. Tunzi, Elvis Sessions III / Ernst Jørgensen, Elvis Presley - A Life In Music

I del 2 kommer vi til å se nærmere på «Standing Room Only» og den orignale «Elvis Fool». I tillegg dukker det opp noen sjeldenheter ikke mange kjenner til.