The Elvis Beat #3 (December 1992)

From the archives. . . . I was 17 when I wrote these articles back in 1992 for The Elvis Beat #3, the third issue of an official Elvis Presley Fan Club newsletter that I started earlier that year. This edition was nine pages long. [Read about the previous issue, The Elvis Beat #2.]


The Elvis Beat #3

Elvis’ second grandchild born

Lisa Marie Presley gave birth to Elvis’ first grandson on October 21 in Tampa, Florida. The 7-pound, 8-ounce boy is the second child of Lisa and her husband, musician Danny Keough. Danielle, their first child, is now three. […]

The baby was not named until almost a month after his birth. On November 19, the name was finally announced to the world: Benjamin Storm Keough. […]

As usual, the tabloids had a field day and made accusations that Lisa wants nothing to do with her father or his fans and intends that Benjamin never learn of his famous grandfather. […] Fans should remember to keep all of this in perspective – these same tabloids are responsible for thousands of bogus stories, including idiotic claims that Elvis is alive, various pieces of untrue trash […], and other memorable headlines, such as: “Aliens stole my face!” […]

We never believe the tabloids’ strange Elvis stories, so we certainly should not believe similar stories about his daughter. Lisa deserves the privacy Elvis was never given […].

Lisa, who is 24, lives with her husband in Los Angeles and there has been much speculation that she will soon follow in both of her parents’ footsteps and pursue an acting career. […]


Elvis still America’s King

A recent CBS News poll found that 44% of Americans consider themselves Elvis fans. This means that even 15 years after his death, approximately 110 million Americans are fans. Most current entertainment superstars couldn’t match that number.

In another interesting contrast, 43% of those voting chose Bill Clinton in the recent Presidential election, which means that there are more Americans who consider themselves Elvis fans than Americans who think that our next President is the best man for the job.


Echoes of legends fill Opryland Auditorium

Recording superstar Garth Brooks appeared in a recent installment of Dateline NBC in which he shared his excitement about being a member of the Grand Ole Opry. In the interview, he explained a circular patch of floor on the stage of the Opryland Auditorium which is from the original Ryman Auditorium.

“So they took the old Grand Ole Opry and brought it here. And when you think of Elvis, Hank Williams, Sr., and of course Minnie and Roy, and it’s like there it is, and it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world,” Brooks said.

On a similar note, Elvis once told Hank Williams, Jr., that when he walked out on the Opry stage all he could think about was that this was where Hank Williams, Sr., had once played. Elvis appeared on the Grand Ole Opry only once, October 2, 1954, and was told by Jim Denny, the Opry’s talent coordinator, to “go back to driving a truck.”

Brooks, who plans to temporarily retire from music in order to spend more time with his family, is married and recently became a father when Taylor Mayne Pearl Brooks was born.


New Elvis CDs released

The following new Elvis CDs have been spotted, in addition to the ones listed in our last issue, at local record stores as part of the “Elvis In The 90’s” RCA series: Elvis In PersonBack In Memphis, and Love Letters From Elvis.


REVIEW: Elvis Today

Recorded by Elvis Presley, produced by Felton Jarvis. Executive Producer: Elvis Presley. Recorded March 10-13, 1975, RCA Studios (Hollywood). Released: May 1975. Re-released: 1992.

The country-flavored Elvis Today has a very sad tone which is probably a reflection of the impact Elvis’ personal life had on his selection of material to record. Two of the best songs on the album, “Pieces Of My Life,” and “Bringin’ It Back,” seem to be messages aimed at Priscilla.

Despite the sad tones, or perhaps because of them, Today is an excellent album which stands as an example to disprove criticism that Elvis released no meaningful songs or albums after 1970.

This is one of several 70s Elvis albums which unfortunately had been deleted from the RCA catalog. Thanks to the “Elvis In The 90’s” series these albums are finally beginning to return, and Elvis Today is one of the first. Its superior sound quality stands a testament to RCA’s new commitment to Elvis releases. (Rating: 8 out of 10)


Bruce Springsteen and Elvis PresleyThe Boss and the King

“There have been a lot of tough guys. There have been pretenders, there have been contenders. But there is only one King. Everything starts and ends with him. He wrote the book,” rock legend Bruce Springsteen once said of Elvis.

If one were to trace Jersey-born Springsteen’s musical influences back, Elvis really would be at the start. According to Springsteen, it was after seeing Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 that he decided to become a singer. Although he was only seven at the time, be began to work toward that goal.

Springsteen worked hard for years to make it in the music industry. In 1975, his Born To Run album finally brought him national attention. During the same week he made the covers of both Time and Newsweek.

It was during his “Born To Run” tour the following year that he tried to meet Elvis. Springsteen told the story at a 1985 concert in Hampton Roads, Virginia:

“We were in Memphis, and it was about 3:00 in the morning, and I got in this taxi cab – me and Steve Van Zandt. This taxi driver was going to take us some place to eat, but then he took us to Elvis’ house.

“And I remember when I was standing out in front and I saw a light in the window. And I jumped over the wall and ran up in the driveway and tried to get to the door.

“Which, when I look back on it, was a stupid thing to do, because I hate it when people do that to my house (laughs), but I did it anyway.

“And I got to the front door, and these guards came out of the woods, and they asked me what I wanted, and I said I wanted to meet Elvis. And they said, ‘Well, you know, he’s in Lake Tahoe.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but like I was like on the cover of like Time and Newsweek.’ And they said, ‘Oh yeah, sure you were. Alright, just come with us.’ And they took me and they put me back out on the street.”

On May 28, 1977, at the Philadelphia Spectrum, he saw Elvis live in concert […]. It was only two and a half months later that Elvis passed away. At the Hampton concert, Springsteen described his reaction to the news:

“There’s always events you kind of mark your lives by . . . And I always remember where I was, I was living on this farm, when a friend of mine called me and told me that Elvis Presley had died. I guess it was hard to understand how somebody who came in and took away so many people’s loneliness could have ended up so lonely . . . because he deserved a lot better.”

[…]

Recently, in Worcester, Massacusetts, during his August 14 concert at the Centrum, Springsteen said, “For Elvis, fifteen years gone,” before launching into “Follow That Dream,” his favorite Elvis song.

“(Elvis) came in and kind of told everybody that you’re not alone out there. I guess that was his . . . that was one of his messages.” […]


Now (2013)

So, isn’t it funny that Back In Memphis, which received its first FTD CD in late 2012 received its first RCA CD release in late 1992? And, look at that Elvis Today review. I’ve been boldly defending 70s Elvis for a long time.

The tabloid stuff about Lisa Marie supposedly wanting her son to grow up without knowing about Elvis still makes me laugh. As true as it was in 1977’s Elvis In Concert, even today “a kid can’t grow up without knowing who Elvis Presley is.” But yeah, that’s the tabloids, same as always.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton in 1993

Also funny to see my little jab at President-elect Bill Clinton, as I rarely mix politics into my Elvis writing today. I wrote another short article inside that same issue that covered how Clinton was a self-proclaimed Elvis fan. I concluded, “He may not turn out to be much of a President, but at least he has excellent musical taste.” Ouch. These days, I’m much more in the middle of the political spectrum. Sometimes, too much so, as I have a tendency to understand and even sympathize with differing sides of the same issue.

Anyway, I still find that Garth Brooks quote about Elvis on the Opry stage to be fascinating. He names Elvis first in his list of various people who had stepped on that piece of stage, yet Elvis was really not known as an Opry performer. Unlike Brooks, he was not a member. Not even close. There was just his one performance and the alleged resulting insult – an early and devastating setback for Elvis.

Though I find parts of it awkward now, I remember being really proud of my Bruce Springsteen piece back then. I had seen him in concert earlier that year and became an instant fan. I borrowed some Springsteen magazines, books, and (bootleg) concert audio tapes from a family friend who had been a huge fan for years, and that’s how I ended up putting that article together. I wish I still had those 1985 concert tapes. I had to play them over and over to transcribe his words about Elvis. I’m pretty sure I would have made copies before returning them, but I probably recorded over them later with Elvis when I was in a pinch for tapes.

I still listen to Springsteen, though I’ve never seen him in concert again. I love his albums Human Touch and Lucky Town, because those were the ones that were new when I saw his show and became a fan. Yet, those albums are generally considered by long-time fans to be lesser efforts. I’ve always been a misfit.


Read about The Elvis Beat #4.

10 thoughts on “The Elvis Beat #3 (December 1992)

  1. “Human Touch” and “Lucky Town”!! Yes, thank you! The only time I saw Bruce was on his “Human Touch” tour. I think of him beginning his ‘victory lap’ with these two albums: the part of his career when he became a living legend and reviews no longer really mattered. He looked great on the jackets, too. “With Every Wish”,”Cross My Heart”, “I Wish I Were Blind”…………thanks, man!

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    • …and that’s what’s so terrific about the Internet. No matter what otherwise unpopular opinion you have, there’s always someone out there that agrees with you! Makes the world a much smaller place. (Conversely, there’s also always someone out there that disagrees, too…but that can also be good, in its own way.)

      “Roll of the Dice” (one of my favorites) and “Lucky Town” make good combinations with his cover of “Viva Las Vegas.”

      So many great ones from those albums… “Better Days,” “Local Hero,” “Soul Driver,” “My Beautiful Reward,” “Living Proof,” etc.

      I love the guitar work on “Human Touch” (song), particularly the solos.

      Definitely having 1992 flashbacks here!

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      • Yes, guitar work on “Human Touch” – excellent. The more I think about “I Wish I Were Blind” – it has the yearning, longing and the emotion that I love from Springsteen. Yes, two great albums.

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  2. Troy…Your my kind of misfit!! Quite an accomplishment…….. for a 17yr. old misfit ….writin’ about the ‘King’!

    I must mention that in 2011… I took a trip down to Little Rock, Arkansas…..to the Clinton Presidential Library……….to see the traveling Smithsonian Exhibit of ‘Wortheimer Photos’ of ‘Elvis at 21’ !! Thank goodness ……..Bill Clinton was an Elvis fan…….otherwise, I would have never made it to the Clinton Library……..though a lifetime ‘History Buff’.
    Must admit though……..Bill has some of that ‘Southern Boy Charm’ ………that has stood him in good stead all these years…….seems he is still charmin’ some folks even…… today.
    I have been reading your post for quite sometime…..only recently, found it easy to leave a comment. TYVM! for all you do.

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  3. Pingback: SOMETIMES THE ARTIST KNOWS BEST (Great quotations) | The Round Place In The Middle

  4. Thanks for posting this Troy. I pulled part of the Springsteen quote and posted it in my “great quotations” list. I’ve seen/heard Bruce talk about Elvis quite a lot over the years but this distilled the essence of everything I’ve heard him say on the subject. So glad your obsessive 17-year-old self was there to document it!

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  5. In 1973, amidst his devastating divorce from Priscilla, Elvis recorded a cover of Chuck Berry’s Promised Land. Berry wrote his version in 1963, ironically enough, while he was serving time in prison. Given that Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream Speech” was given in August of 1963 in which he talked about making it to the “promised land”, it is very possible that Berry was influenced by King. Elvis Presley covered many of Berry’s songs, both in concert and in recording studio. Presley’s recording of Promised Land stands as one of his finest rock recordings ever, driven by the core of his touring band musicians, and was almost a telling of Presley’s own story of a poor boy making his way to the golden state. Given the influence of both Berry and Presley on Springsteen’s own music, it is not difficult to assume, his own Promised Land may have been inspired by their versions. In Springsteen’s indelible farewell to Elvis Presley, Johnny Bye Bye, he references Chuck Berry’s song in telling Elvis’ story: He left Memphis with a guitar in his hand/On a way one ticket to the Promised Land.

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    • Great observations, Jasper, particularly about Springsteen’s incorporation of Berry and Presley in his music.

      Unless I’m mistaken, King’s speech about “the promised land” was actually part of his last speech in 1968, only hours before his assassination. The “I Have A Dream” speech from 1963 did not include this reference.

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