Rocking50s Classic Oldies


The King Of Rock And Roll

He Came And He Sang He Smiled, He Danced,And Forever Changed The Face Of Music.

June 1968

Speedway is released nationally and doesn't do very well. The soundtrack album goes only as far up the chart as number 82.

Mid-to-Late June, 1968

Elvis rehearses for the taping of his first television special. A press conference is held on June 25th. Videotaping is done June 27, 28, 29, and 30. Commonly referred to as The '68 Special or The ?68 Comeback. the actual name of this landmark television special is Elvis .

The sixties have brought about great change in music and pop culture. Change for which Elvis helped pave the way over a decade earlier when he exploded onto the scene with his unique blending of pop, rock, country, R&B and gospel influences. Focusing on his Hollywood movie career in the sixties, Elvis has become less a part of the current pop cultural scene. He has been making one movie after another, and many of the records he has put out in these years have been movie soundtrack albums. In the fifties and early sixties, the films and film-related records were wonderfully successful, but as the sixties have worn on, the movies and records, though still profitable, have not been nearly so successful as they were before.

Elvis Presley 1968

Elvis has reached the supreme level of frustration with the state of his career and all its limitations on his creativity and artistic expression. He had hoped to become a serious actor, but Hollywood had other ideas and Elvis went along with them. His opportunities to show his true talents as an actor have been few. He is beyond ready for a change. By now, it has been more than seven years since Elvis has appeared in front of a live audience. Elvis has missed the closeness of his audience, the energy and excitement of live performing.

The '68 Special opens with Elvis singing a hot new version of the gutsy "Trouble", from his 1958 film King Creole . This segues into Guitar Man, which, with its semi-autobiographical lyrics, becomes the underlying theme of the show. Then, Elvis is reunited with two of his original fifties band members, Fontana. (Bass player Bill Black has been deceased for several years by this time.) They sit together on stage in the round, along with several other friends and associates of Elvis for an informal session of singing, jamming, and swapping stories. Parts of this jam session are woven throughout the show. There are also sequences of Elvis taking the stage alone and performing many of his greatest hit rockers and ballads, and he introduces a new song, Memories.

One can surmise that he pours out years of career frustration and pent-up creative energy into the performance of these songs. His natural talent, charisma, sensuality and stage presence have not been diminished by the years in Hollywood. In fact, he looks, sounds, moves and grooves better than he ever has. At 33, he is better than he has ever been. Better than anybody in the business. For the group jam session segments and solo stage performances Elvis wears a two-piece black leather outfit specially designed for the show by Bill Belew, who also designed all the other wardrobe Elvis and the cast wear in the show. The look evokes the era of James Dean and the Marlon Brando type motorcycle films of the fifties, the era when Elvis was first proclaimed the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Elvis Presley 1968

In one of the jam session segments, Elvis speaks of the gospel origins of rock and roll. This segues into the gospel music portion of the show, which has Elvis wearing a two-piece burgundy suit, singing "Where Could I Go But to the Lord," "Up Above My Head" and "I'm Saved," backed by the female vocal group, The Blossoms, and accompanied by a troupe of dancers - all of this for a rousing gospel production number.

Toward the end of the special Elvis appears in a lengthy production number that, through song, dance, karate, and various situations, traces a young man's journey from a struggling guitar player, through the challenges, dangers and compromises on the path to his dreams of success and superstardom. Something is lost along the way. Once the dream is achieved, the man realizes that he remains unfulfilled, that he has abandoned his true self. He decides to return to his roots, doing what made him happiest, what he does best. He sings "I'll never be more than what I am... a swingin' little guitar man." The parallels to Elvis' own life are clear and deliberate, and his doing the ?68 special represents his own return to his true self, to his roots. Free from the confines of his Hollywood grind, this is Elvis the singer, the performer, the musician, the man - the real Elvis.

Elvis Presley 1968

At the end of the special, Elvis appears alone wearing a simple white two-piece suit, standing in front of the towering backdrop of red lights that spell ELVIS. He sings a brand new song, "If I Can Dream," especially written for the show. The writers created the song based in part upon conversations with Elvis about his own thoughts on what was happening in the turbulent sixties. It seemed appropriate that he close the show with some sort of personal statement. His powerful and passionate performance of this song of hope for mankind is one of the most brilliant moments of his singing career.

July/August, 1968

Elvis records the theme and does filming for his twenty-ninth movie, Charro! , a dramatic western, again a very different kind of role. Elvis grows a beard for this. The theme song will be heard over the opening credits, but there will be no other Elvis songs used. This will be the first and only film in which Elvis does not sing on camera.

October-November 1968

Elvis records the soundtrack and does filming for his thirtieth movie, The Trouble with Girls (and How to Get into It . He sings in this one, but in very natural situations for a change. It is yet another film quite different from the typical Elvis films.

Live a Little, Love a Little opens in the U.S. in October and doesn't do very well.

"If I Can Dream," from the soon-to-be aired '68 special hits number 12 on the pop singles chart in November, making it Elvis' biggest single since 1965.

December 3, 1968

Elvis, the 1968 TV special, first airs on NBC-TV and is one of this biggest television hits of the year, receiving rave reviews from the public and the critics alike. The soundtrack album goes to number eight on the pop chart. Reviewing the show, rock writer John Landau says:

There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home ... He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect from rock 'n' roll singers.

Years later, rock writer Greil Marcus will remember it this way:

It was the finest music of his life. If ever there was music that bleeds, this was it.

Elvis, the 1968 TV special, is to become widely regarded as one of the truly great television moments in pop/rock music history. After this show everything changes for Elvis. He pours renewed creative energy into his recording work, is soon to wrap up his movie contract obligations and to return full-time to the concert stage, beginning a new and exciting era of his career. His superstardom is yet to reach its height.

December 1968

Elvis wraps shooting on The Trouble with Girls.

Teenagers Life In The 1950s

The word Teenager was created in the 1950’s due to the tremendous population of those in this age category and because teenagers started gaining more independence and freedoms. Teenagers were able to buy more things like food, clothes and music because of an increase in spending money.
Teenagers were also becoming more independent in the type of music they preferred to listen to, no more listening to what their parents liked, teens flocked to the new music of the decade, which was rock and roll.

Growing up as a teenager prior to World War II, teenagers were expected to take life seriously. Males were expected to join the military or go out and get a job in order to help bring in money for their family or to take care of their future family.

Females were taught how to take care of the household and prepare themselves to be a dutiful wife and take care of children. Marriage and preparing for a family, more than education or a career, was seen as a definite in the lives of teenagers. Also, teens had very little economic freedom, independence, and input into decision making prior to WWII.

However, in the 1950’s, expectations changed for the teenager. The economy started booming and families experienced a great deal of economic power, freedom and independence, including teenagers.

New medians were created like television and AM radio that attracted teenagers. Also they were able to attend high school dances, create clothing trends, dance fads, and hairstyles to name a few.

Things were starting to change. In the 1950’s, teenagers where more inclined and encouraged to attend college, find a skill, and seek a successful career. Their parents had more than likely gone through the depression and a number of wars, and now wanted something more for their children.

This resulted in teenagers receiving spending money and having more time to socialize with other teenagers. Of course, this newly found independence would often result in conflict between the parents and the child.

The media played on these emotions and often portrayed teenagers as juvenile delinquents. Peers easily influence teenagers, often at that stage in life what peers think and do becomes more important than what parents think and say.

Perhaps, some would say looking at society in general that the first indication or act of teenage rebellion began in the 1950’s.

Before the 1950’s, teenagers listened to the music of their parents, but when rock and roll came on the scene teens swarmed to it. Even though teens were able to purchase rock and roll records because they were receiving extra spending money, their parents were opposed to rock and roll music, they despised it, and thought of it as corrupting their children.

This sometimes caused friction, it seemed as if teenagers were becoming more rebellious, defensive, and at times, disrespectful, and that listening to rock and roll was the root cause of all this rebellion.

However, this belief was often exaggerated because parents didn’t understand the newfound independence and freedom that they never experienced. Yet, rock and roll was something new and parents thought it was shocking and terrible. They felt if their children were listening to this dreadful music that the end must be right around the corner.

Although, this wasn’t the case in every household it was in a large number of them. Because parents had never experienced this they thought their children were doomed never realizing it was just a phase and it would be over with once the teen reached adulthood.

Later on this clash became known as the generation gap. Nevertheless, with the help of adults, radio, rock shows, concerts, and TV shows like American Bandstand opened doors for teens in the 1950’s to experience things teenagers of the past never experienced. Despite all of the uproar, teenagers in the 1950’s played a huge part in the rise of rock and roll music.

Jerry Lee Lewis
Whole Lot Of Shakin

Bobby Helms
My Special Angel

Buddy Holly
That I'll Be The Day

Connie Francis

Where The Boys Are

Teresa Brewer
Little Things Mean A Lot

All Shook Up

A well I bless my soul
What's wrong with me?
I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree
My friends say I'm actin' wild as a bug
I'm in love
I'm all shook up
Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!

My hands are shaky and my knees are weak
I can't seem to stand on my own two feet
Who do you thank when you have such luck?
I'm in love
I'm all shook up
Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!

Please don't ask me what's on my mind
I'm a little mixed up, but I'm feelin' fine
When I'm near girl that I love best
My heart beats so it scares me to death!

She touched my hand what a chill I got
Her lips are like a vulcano that's hot
I'm proud to say she's my buttercup
I'm in love
I'm all shook up
Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!

My tongue get tied when I try to speak
My insides shake like a leaf on a tree
There's only one cure for this body of mine
That's to have the girl that I love so fine!

Bob Seiger- Still The Same
You always won, everytime you placed a bet
Youre still damn good, no ones gotten to you yet
Everytime they were sure they had you caught
You were quicker than they thought
Youd just turn your back and walk
You always said, the cards would never do you wrong
The trick you said was never piay the game too long
A gamblers share, the only risk that you would take
The only loss you could forsake
The only bluff you couldnt fake

And your'e still the same
I caught up with you yesterday
Moving game to game
No one standing in your way
Turning on the charm
Long enough to get you by
Your'e still the same
You still aim high

There you stood, everybody watched you play
I just turned and walked away
I had nothing left to say

cause your'e still the same
Your'e still the same
Moving game to game
Some thlngs never change
Your'e still the same

Elvis Presley
She's Not You

Her hair is soft and her eyes are
so blue.
She's all the things a girl should be
but she's not you.
She knows just how to make me laugh when I feel blue.
She's ev'rything a man could want
but she's not you.
And when we're dancing
it almost feels the same.
I've got to stop myself from whisp'ring your name.
She even kisses me like you used to do.
And it's just breaking my heart 'cause she's not you.

Mini Biography
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi. In September 1948 when Elvis was 13, he and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from Humes High School in Memphis, Elvis took odd jobs working as a movie theater usher and a truck driver for Crown Electric Company. He began singing locally as "The Hillbilly Cat", then signed with a local recording company, then in 1955 with RCA. He did much to establish early rock and roll music, bringing black blues singing into the white, teenage mainstream. Teenage girls became hysterical over his blatantly sexual gyrations, particularly the one that got him nicknamed "Elvis the Pelvis" (TV cameras were not permitted to film below his waist). At the time of his death, he had sold over 600-million singles and albums.

In 1955, Elvis was cast in his first acting role in a supporting part in Love Me Tender (1956), the first of 33 movies he starred in. Critics blasted most of his films, but they did very well at the box-office earning upwards of $150 million total. Elvis's military service in the late 1950s and the "British invasion" of the 1960s reduced his concerts, though not his movie/recording income. Through the 1960s, Elvis settled in Hollywood where he starred in over 20 movies, acting alongside some of the most well known character actors in Hollywood.

Elvis made a comeback in the 1970s with live concert appearances starting in early 1970 in Las Vegas with over 57 sold-out shows. Elvis toured throughout the USA appearing on-stage in over 500 live appearances, many of them sold out shows. But the stress of constantly traveling as well as his increasing weight gain and dependence upon stimulants and depressants took their toll. Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 at his mansion in Graceland, near Memphis at age 42. Since his death, his Memphis home Graceland has become a shrine for millions of followers worldwide. Elvis impersonators and purported sightings have become stock subjects for humorists