Elvis Presley "Jailhouse Rock"

JAILHOUSE ROCK – behind the scenes of Elvis Presley’s third movie (Part 12)

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– Behind the Scenes of Elvis Presley’s Third Movie –

(Part 12)

By Mariusz Ogieglo

Jailhouse Rock

However, before the final slap fell on the set of the new MGM production, Tom Diskin informed Colonel Parker that Elvis had already chosen songs for the single promoting his latest film.

Elvis Presley "Jailhouse Rock"

The songs that the singer indicated at the end of May * were “Treat Me Nice“, which until recently served as the working title of the film, and “Jailhouse Rock“, which over time became not only another international hit for Presley, but also the actual title of the film being created.

The film that was about to be made was still titled ‘Jailhouse Kid’ to distinguish it from other niche rock ‘n’ roll pictures being produced at the time, such as ‘Rock, Pretty Baby’ and ‘Don’t Knock The Rock’ or ‘Rock, Rock, Rock’ , he explained in the book ‘Elvis. My Best Man” by Presley’s friend George Klein. ” However, when Elvis sang what Leiber and Stoller had written for him, it quickly became clear, both to everyone present at the session and to everyone at MGM, that this song (‘Jailhouse Rock’, author’s note) would be one of his best performances and will soon become his next Number One. (And so it happened).

So one day after filming ended, the title ‘Jailhouse Kid’ was simply scrapped and replaced with ‘Jailhouse Rock .’

Paradoxically, Presley himself had much greater hopes for the composition “Treat Me Nice“. He believed in its success so much that in September 1957 he decided to record another, “stronger” version of it.

The song was recorded in the Radio Recorders studio while working on Elvis’ first Christmas album. “ The rhythm track was a wonderfully cohesive combination of Dudley Brooks’ piano, Bill Black’s soft electric bass and DJ Fontana’s mellow bongos providing a mellow pulse ,Collin Escott raved in the booklet included with the Artist Of The Century box set released many years later.

RCA Victor included the finished version of the compositions by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, improved by Elvis, on their new single, less than a few weeks after the recordings in Hollywood were completed.

The album went on sale on September 24, 1957 and almost immediately turned out to be another gigantic success.

Contrary to Elvis’s initial expectations, the composition “Jailhouse Rock” on side A aroused greater interest among critics and listeners, in which Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller ” showed prison stereotypes in a humorous, almost satirical way .”

Nevertheless, the reviews published in the press since the day of the premiere were this time extremely enthusiastic and, what is worth emphasizing, praised both premiere recordings.

Billboard magazine wrote in its September 23, 1957 article “Another Record from a Phenomenal Artist” that ” (Jailhouse) ‘Rock’ is an energetic rocker and the title track of Presley’s next film. In turn, ‘Treat Me Nice’ placed on the back is another strong track that is a bit reminiscent of ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ .

The review published in Variety in early October was also in a similar tone. ” ‘Jailhouse Rock’ is a wild blues-rock composition that has a chance to become Elvis Presley’s next hit ,” its authors prophesied. ” ‘Treat Me Nice’, on the other hand, is in Presley’s current atmosphere and will certainly appeal to his listeners .

Elvis Presley "Jailhouse Rock"

And as if to confirm these last words, just over two weeks later, on October 15, 1957, “Jailhouse Rock” began its meteoric rise to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100.

The song debuted on the chart at the high fifteenth position, from which it rose to third place just a week later. In the next chart, Presley’s new film hit was already in second place and finally, on November 11, it took the highest position and became the next Number One* 2 in Elvis’s brilliant career.

Elvis’ vocal entrance – and indeed his entire vocal performance on this track – is a haunting scream describing a party in an ‘old prison block,’ ” said Cub Koda of AllMusic.com in his review. “ The song, full of various images showing prisoners having fun, is twelve-bar rock’n’roll at its best and its lyrics are practically timeless. No wonder that this melody turned out to be Elvis’ best number in all his films and the film sequence with this composition was the only one that really suited him as both a singer and a dancer .

The song remained at the top of the ranking until mid-December (i.e. until the listing on December 15). In total, the title composition of Presley’s new film spent twenty-seven weeks on the chart, including fourteen in the top ten.

Much weaker results were achieved by the recording “Treat Me Nice“, which in the chart of November 4, 1957 was stuck in a distant, twenty-seventh position.

It is estimated that the single promoting Presley’s third film sold over two million copies in the United States alone!

It is worth adding, however, that “Jailhouse Rock” triumphed not only in the USA but also far beyond its borders.

In Great Britain alone, the eponymous composition by Leiber and Stoller climbed to the top of the bestseller list there, where it occupied for three weeks at the turn of January and February 1958 (listed on January 30, February 6 and February 12).

The song also achieved similar results in Canada, Malta, New Zealand and even South Africa!

The four remaining songs included in the soundtrack of the new MGM production were released by RCA Victor on an extended play disc (the popular EP or EP), which was released three days after the American premiere of the film, on October 30, 1957.

The album, which lasts just over ten minutes, contains a total of five songs. In addition to “Young And Beautiful“, “I Want To Be Free“, “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care” and “Don’t Leave Me Now” also includes the title track, “Jailhouse Rock“. However, the composition “Treat Me Nice” was omitted from the tracklist.

Elvis Presley "Jailhouse Rock"

On this film soundtrack album, Elvis sings five songs that were written especially for this production ,” the publisher praised on the cover of the EP. ” Here’s ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ the rousing title song that opens the album, followed by ‘Young And Beautiful,’ ‘I Want To Be Free,’ ‘Don’t Leave Me Now,’ and ‘Baby I Don’t’ Care’… All sung in the inimitable style of this young singer and actor, Elvis Presley .

It didn’t take long for Presley’s fans to respond.

Just a few days after the album went on sale, Elvis’ fans pushed it to the first place on the newly created list of best-selling extended play albums (published by Billboard weekly) and did not let it leave it for the next… twenty-eight weeks!

Sales of the soundtrack album exceeded one million copies in the United States, and the album itself soon gained the status of the best-selling EP in all of 1958.

Overseas, the soundtrack from Presley’s third film did not achieve such impressive results as in the USA, but the eighteenth place in the chart of the most popular singles in Great Britain (listed on February 20, 1958) and the twelfth place on the Melody Maker weekly chart were also no reason to worry…

*1. Elvis made his song selections on May 22, 1957.

*2. The song “Jailhouse Rock” dethroned on the Billboard charts another rock’n’roll hit (a symbol of that era) – “Wake Up Little Susie” by The Everly Brothers


Article provided by EP Promised Land (Poland), Mariusz Ogieg?o http://www.elvispromisedland.pl/

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