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Did what you thought of Elvis change as you wrote?

Upon reaching the second volume, ‘Loves that kill‘, my vision of Elvis had mutated in certain non-substantial aspects.

I mean: I still and still think he is an extraordinary artist, but above all he had changed what he thought of Colonel Parker, his manager.

Parker died without allowing anyone to seriously interview him. Guralnick had an intermittent relationship with the old fox. In his books he shows that he was as greedy as his legend said. Elvis fans always hated him. They saw him as a cruel manager, little interested in feeding the creative needs of his client.

Guralnick proved that Parker, who left his lucrative collaboration with country star Hank Snow to bet on an unknown boy from Tupelo, Mississippi, was also a visionary who bet everything on the abilities of his only client, in whose talent he believed with furious faith. .

Parker held his own against everyone,” says Guralnick. «Against RCA, against the people of the cinema, against all those who did not understand Elvis’s talent.

There are letters from the Colonel to Elvis in which he says: ‘Look, they offer you this and that, a lot of money, but I don’t think it’s what you want from a creative point of view’ ».

When you wrote about Elvis, interest in his work seemed to have waned.

My main effort was to remember that I was a creative artist and very aware of what I was doing, something that at that time was far from being recognized.

His cultural imprint was still there, but not so much the recognition of the purity of his music and the power of his interpretations.

Elvis was a master of the primordial genres of American music, from Gospel to Country. That forgetfulness of his artistic merits is something, by the way, that also happened with other pioneers, such as Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis.

Hence, it was essential to demythologize the figure, to clean up all the trappings of the myth in order to find the man and rediscover the musician. In the late 70s I wrote a long article about Elvis, in a Rock’n’Roll encyclopedia published by ‘Rolling Stone‘.

I felt like I had gone as far as I could go, I had even glossed over the great singles of ’67, Big Boss Man, US Mail… that nobody remembered, wonderful.

But many years later, working on a documentary, I was able to listen to some interviews Elvis gave in 1955 and 1956, and I was knocked out by the clarity of the speech.

There was Elvis, talking about himself, when his career was just beginning. He did it with astonishing lucidity, with eloquence.

On another occasion, in Memphis, after visiting Stax, the label, and the Soul studios, I went into a drugstore with a friend and the owner told me that Elvis’s cousin, Jane, worked there and that Elvis used to visit her. He sat by the counter and was apparently a nervous wreck. “Poor boy,” said that woman. He was a pre-fame Elvis, shy and sensitive, rarely written about. I began to consider the idea of ??investigating.

Was it easy to find a publisher?

On the contrary. All the editors repeated to me that I was not a serious figure, that I had no interest. There was some interest in my writing, but none in Elvis.

Oh really?

In the late 80’s all people remembered was Elvis from Las Vegas, dressed like that so… Of course, I didn’t care.

What did he care?

Things like when Elvis started recording for RCA, people there tried to be patronizing, like any other artist, and Elvis wouldn’t allow it.

He was very clear about what he was looking for, what he wanted to do. The thing is that Elvis was very insecure, Sam Phillips himself, his discoverer and first producer at Sun Records, said that Elvis was one of the most insecure artists he had ever met.

But, at the same time, he blindly believed in his art and his abilities and did not compromise. At RCA they told him do this, do that, and Elvis didn’t even respond to them.

That first single, “Heartbreak Hotel.”

A deeply original choice for the time and for a first single, and one that, of course, was his.

Or the fact that the next thing was “I Got A Woman” by Ray Charles… RCA had paid a lot of money with the intention of making him a pop star, but this music was not going in that direction at all.

Elvis was totally focused on what he was doing.

At the same time, that other facet of his personality, so passive… I imagine that in the 60s he knew that what he was doing was not up to the task.

Of course he knew.

From his personality, his relationship with women always draws attention.

Elvis always felt more comfortable with them, he could bring out his vulnerabilities, his fragility. He was very reserved. That didn’t always work to his advantage.

He was the opposite of another of the men you have written about the most, Sam Cooke.

Sam was not passive. At each and every moment in his career, when he thought someone was no longer beneficial, he left them behind. Don’t get me wrong: Sam was trying to fix things, trying to make things work, but if he felt it was no longer possible, he would move on. Elvis never managed to do that.

In the legendary ’68 special, the one that saves Elvis’s career, and which contains one of the most prodigious directors of the Rock era, it was always said that the Colonel forced Elvis to singBlue Christmas” and that Elvis hated it. .

It was always said, and it was a lie.

The only condition that Parker put on NBC, once they ruled out that it was a Christmas special, was that he at least sing a Christmas carol. That’s why he sings “Blue Christmas,” but Elvis loved that song.

And what a performance!

And it was his choice. And then there’s the “If I Can Dream” thing, what he does with that song, up there, in the white suit, and where it takes him.

Each and every take he records is something extraordinary.

After 1968 Elvis recorded with producer Chips Moman, at American Sound Studios, his studio in Memphis, the majestic “From Elvis in Memphis.” From there, somehow, comes the decline. Why was he not able to replicate that greatness?

On the one hand, Moman was offered contractual conditions that he did not accept, basically he sent them to hell. And then there was the rivalry with Felton Jarvis, Elvis’ regular producer in the ’60s, who felt threatened and tried to protect his turf. Felton also took the original recordings of Chips Moman with Elvis and put overdubs on them. For example, the false ending in Suspicious Minds, which then started again after five seconds. Chips hated it. The following sessions, now without him, in Nashville in 1970 and 1971 have their moments, but nothing was the same.

In a way, Chips was the first serious producer Elvis had had since the mid-’50s, when he recorded with Sam Phillips on Sun Records. Another thing is that Elvis was very capable of producing himself, as his songs from the early 60s, including the Gospel records, demonstrate.

Allow me to incur history fiction. If Elvis did survive, what would he have done? Would he have been resurrected artistically, like Solomon Burke and Johnny Cash?

The truth is that I don’t really like Cash’s recordings with Rick Rubin, I don’t like how he recorded him and I don’t really like the repertoire, the versions they chose, although I admit that it shows Johnny’s spirit, and it was wonderful that renewed interest in it and tuned in with new generations.

And Elvis, what would he have done?

Let’s assume that she had managed to get off the pills and that she would have been able to think clearly again. If it had been like that, I think it would have gone back to its origins, to Gospel, and it would have been very influential, perhaps it would not have sold as much but it would have given him great satisfaction.

Source: elmundo.es

Information provides by Elvis Shop Argentina https://2001elvisfanclubargentina.blogspot.com/

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