Halfway through the year, as part of a “double post” with Troy, I compiled an article listing what I considered the Elvis news highlights of 2012 through that point. Now, on the verge of 2013, it is time for me to finish with what I consider the most important Elvis news stories from the last six months. Let’s pick it up where we left off.
July 28: The Holy Grail
One of the best news stories of 2012 was, of course, the announcement of the release of A Boy From Tupelo by Ernst Jorgensen. July gave us the tracklisting, confirmation of a previously unreleased song entitled “Little Mama,” and several live performances of songs we only knew from studio recordings. Three days later, the box was released. Funny to see how all details were kept secret, especially in this day and age when nothing appears to be safe.
July 13: A Miracle
Miracles do exist. On July 13, news broke that YouTube user “amberola1b” posted a previously unreleased recording of Elvis singing “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” live at the Louisiana Hayride on October 1, 1955. How ironic it is that after ten years of work, Jorgensen finally announces the release of Elvis’ body of work from that era and then this recording surfaces. News went through the Elvis world like a wildfire.
The song was recorded on an early Silvertone “wire” recording machine. We initially hear Buzz Busby and the Bayou Boys before Horace Logan introduces Elvis, Scotty, and Bill with their “modern-day type” new single, “I Forgot To Remember To Forget.” The reaction from Jorgensen was, “Wow – it’s unbelievably beautiful. I’m still trying to recover from the shock.”
The audio quality was very good, especially considering that it was a camcorder capturing the antique machine playing the wire. It almost sounded better than the new concert recordings on the A Boy From Tupelo set. This discovery showed that miracles can still happen. Who knows what is still out there ready to be discovered?
Especially because you could listen to the newly discovered song, this was one of the highlights of the year for me. I enjoyed being an Elvis fan again.
It was sad that Elvis Presley Enterprises did not appear interested in this news. I mailed them several times but got no other answer than, “Thank you for sending your email concerning a new live recording of Elvis. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about the new recording besides the link that you shared with me in your prior email.” EPE never mentioned the newly discovered recording.
One day after the song hit the Elvis world, the owner discovered the potential value of what he had put online and threatened all those linking to his video with copyright violations. The song was bootlegged by various fan clubs and appeared on a handful of CDs, so fans could still enjoy this recording. An official release still has yet to see the light.
July 6: Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977
Boxcar Enterprises released a book, Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977, on July 6. The first edition of the book, limited to 2000 copies, sold out immediately. I enjoyed reading this book very much. It brought back a lot of memories of walking through the famous mansion in 2001. I still cannot believe that a former bootlegger can produce a book like this, rather than EPE, which is sitting on a wealth of original information and memorabilia. Graceland Through The Years contains 450 pages with over 1000 photos, many never before published.
July 3: A Bootleggers Treasure
Speaking of bootleggers, the book Bootleg Elvis was also released in July. With the Graceland and Tupelo books, this release marks another essential book release. It documents all known vinyl bootleg releases, with additional background information from the original bootleggers themselves. It is not the kind of book you sit down and read cover-to-cover, but it is an essential reference and fun book to browse through every now and then. It is always fun to look up the vinyl in your own collection (no I found no hidden treasure …). When will the follow-up on all bootleg CDs appear?
August 1: The Holy Grail From Another Planet
August 1, 2012 marked the release of A Boy From Tupelo book and CD set – an essential release for any fan who wants to know everything from the early years of Elvis Presley’s career in music. I’m still reading it and will be for some time. Thank you, thank you very much, Ernst!
Sony Legacy also spread the news on the Prince From Another Planet double CD/DVD set containing Elvis’ legendary concert performances from Madison Square Garden. Sony simultaneously released three Madison Square Garden products:
1.) A vinyl re-issue of the original 1972 album As Recorded At Madison Square Garden. [Music On Vinyl also re-issued this same title.]
2.) A double CD containing the original mixes of Elvis’ June 10 shows as originally released on As Recorded At Madison Square Garden and 1997’s An Afternoon In The Garden.
3.) The Prince From Another Planet double CD/DVD set containing new mixes of both June 10 shows, with the DVD including audience footage from the afternoon show.
One would expect that the two CD sets would be the same, but Sony instead decided that the sets would contain different mixes and masterings of these concerts. Also, the footage on the DVD does not cover the entire concert, so Sony chose to show a black screen while the audio continues. Why not create a mini concert with only the available footage?
September 18: Sheila Ryan Died
This year quite a few people from the Elvis world died. Bernard Lansky, who dressed him in the early days, friends like Patti Parry and Lance Legault, people he worked with professionally or admired, like Tony Curtis, musicians, directors, and concert promotors.
One stood out from the rest for me – his one-time girlfriend Sheila Ryan. She passed away at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer. After Elvis and Linda Thompson broke up, he dated Sheila for a while in 1974. They first met in Las Vegas. Elvis performed “And I Love You So” many times during his concerts and dedicated it to Sheila.
October 23: Hits From The Seventies
The Follow That Dream Collectors label released the Hits Of the 70’s compilation in October. Is it a very important release? I guess not, but it does mark a new direction for the collectors label. Could it be the bottom of the barrel is finally in sight after 100+ FTD releases?
The CD itself got mixed reactions and reviews, mainly because it did not contain any previously unreleased material. For me personally, that’s no problem, the music on this compilation is very good and I enjoy listening to it very much. Releases like this bring back memories of discovering Elvis when I was young.
November 28: Elvis Inducted into Memphis Music Hall of Fame
Elvis, among other Memphis music greats, was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame during a musical tribute held at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Memphis.
Memphis is often known as the cradle for legendary musicians in blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll. Until now, there was no Hall Of Fame – which was new to me. Walking around Memphis and enjoying all the different links to many kinds of music, this had escaped me.
The event was sponsored by the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. The ceremony consisted of 25 inductees who maintained strong ties to the Memphis community and were pioneers in the music industry. Other Memphians honoured were Sun Studio founder Sam Phillips, DJ Dewey Phillips, blues legends BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Isaac Hayes, among many others.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Priscilla Presley accepted on behalf of Elvis and noted that Elvis’ musical influences included several of his fellow inductees. “I know he would be humbled and pleased to be included in standing with them tonight at this inaugural event,” she said in a video message presented during the ceremony.
November 5: Back In Memphis
The Follow That Dream label announced the release of Back In Memphis in their Classic Album” series. This is one of my all-time favourite albums with great recordings like “Inherit the Wind”, “Stranger in My Own Hometown” and, of course, the fan-favorite “Suspicious Minds” – which FTD added as a bonus track. The additional alternate takes of these and other songs from the original album never sounded so good.
November 26: Elvis Files Vol. 1 ’53-’56
Erik Lorentzen shared a preview of the first volume of his Elvis Files anthology. This volume contains the years 1953 through 1956. These years turned the boy into a man and finally the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. If I think of Elvis, images from this era come to mind. For me, this is what embodies Elvis. Two volumes are still shrink-wrapped and will probably be after I receive this volume. The first volume chronicles Elvis’ rise from his pre-SUN discovery to becoming the world’s biggest new sensation – over more than 500 pages and 1,200 photos. Featuring all Elvis events from 1953-1956, every working moment, the early tours, the first Las Vegas trip, recording sessions, the TV shows, and lots of unseen and unpublished images (according to the press-release). Originally announced for release in December 2012, it will be available early 2013.
December 21: Aloha From Hawaii – 40th Anniversary Edition
The year closes with a bang! Boxcar Enterprises announced that, in association JAT Publishing, it will release a 40th Year Anniversary special book in celebration of Elvis’ iconic Aloha from Hawaii, titled Elvis – Aloha via Satellite, in February 2013.
This massive, comprehensive 450-page volume is packaged and housed the same as Elvis Presley’s Graceland Through The Years. The book comprises hundreds upon hundreds of photographs, many of which have never before been seen. Also collected exclusively are scores of historical memorabilia and the Colonel’s original internal documents and scripts. According to the press release, this is intended to create a time-travel experience of sorts documenting the most ground breaking event in the annals of television history.
So this wraps up 2012. Was it a good year? Browsing through the 290 posts I did on my Elvis Day By Day blog I can only say it was. On only 75 days, I did not find anything interesting to post. After years with only a few outstanding releases, 2012 raised the bar on CD and book releases, while vinyl made a comeback.
I did not get much of the 35th anniversary celebrations, but we got A Boy From Tupelo, for many fans a “holy grail”, we got a lot of vinyl, we got the Prince From Another Planet, a newly discovered recording of “I Forgot To Remember to Forget”, many import releases, and a series of great books. A few years ago, we thought the well had run dry, but I believe we may still get a few surprises in the years to come. See you around next year!
/Kees, Elvis Day By Day