Tag Archives: Elvis

June 5 Music et al

June 5 Music et al

 Elvis Presley

June 5, 1956:  Elvis Presley’s second appearance on The Milton Berle Show when he set his guitar aside and put every part of his being into a blistering, scandalous performance of “Hound Dog.” Elvis had already made six appearances on Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s Stage Show, and on April 3, he appeared for the first time with Uncle Miltie. But every one of those appearances featured Elvis either in close-up singing a slow ballad, or full body but with his movements somewhat restricted by the acoustic guitar he was playing. It was on his second Milton Berle Show appearance that he put the guitar aside and America witnessed, for the very first time, the 21-year-old Elvis Presley from head to toe, gyrating his soon-to-be-famous (or infamous) pelvis.

Reaction to Elvis’ performance in the mainstream media was almost uniformly negative. “Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability….For the ear, he is an unutterable bore,” wrote critic Jack Gould in the next day’s New York Times. “His one specialty is an accented movement of the body that heretofore has been primarily identified with the repertoire of the blonde bombshells of the burlesque runway. The gyration never had anything to do with the world of popular music and still doesn’t.” In the New York Daily News, Ben Gross described Presley’s performance as “tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos,” while the New York Journal-American’s Jack O’Brien said that Elvis “makes up for vocal shortcomings with the weirdest and plainly suggestive animation short of an aborigine’s mating dance.” Meanwhile, the Catholic weekly America got right to the point in its headline: “Beware of Elvis Presley.”

June 5 Music et al

see William French for more

June 5, 1961: a grand jury cleared William French of charges associated with the April 30 Washington  Square demonstration.

June 5 Music et al

Running Scared

June 5 – 18, 1961, “Running Scared” by Roy Orbison #1 Billboard Hot 100. The song is unusual in that it has no chorus, but simply builds to a vocal climax.


June 5 Music et al

Rolling Stones

June 5, 1964, the Rolling Stones started their first US tour. (see Oct 25) Keith Richards quote from From Time Is On Our Side site: Actually (our first ever American) gig was in San Bernardino. It was a straight gas, man. They all knew the songs and they were all bopping. It was like being back home. Ah, love these Americans and Route 66 mentioned San Bernardino, so everybody was into it… 

June 5 Music et al
Mississippi River Festival

June – July 1969: the Mississippi River Festival at Southern Illinois University had a variety of performers many  of whom would later play at Woodstock in August. (see Mississippi for expanded story)

June 5 Music et al

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Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Elvis was far from first

Roy Turk and Lou Handmant

Roy Turk and Lou Handman wrote "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" in 1926. It had three verses, followed by a spoken bridge. They based the bridge on a line in Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. "You know someone said that the world's a stage. And each must play a part" refers to "All the world's a stage" from William Shakespeare's As You Like It.
It was recorded several times in 1927—first by Charles Hart on 9 May 1927.

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

In 1950 the Blue Barron Orchestra version reached the Billboard's top twenty single chart. This version is much closer to the style that Elvis used.

Al Jolson also had a hit with it in 1950 and used the spoken bridge. Jolson died the same year. 

Elvis Presley

Are You Lonesome Tonight?
Are You Lonesome Tonight?
cover of Elvis single, “Are You Lonesome Tonight”
Others continued to record it.  The song was the favorite of Marie Mott, the wife of Colonel Tom Parker, Presley's manager. Elvis recorded it in April 1960 shortly after his stint in the Army ended. RCA released the song in November 1960 and it was an immediate success in the U.S., topping Billboard's Pop Singles chart and reaching number three on the R & B chart.  A month after the song's release, it topped the UK singles chart.

From Wikipedia: The success of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" made the song one of Presley's live staples. He performed it live for the first time on March 25, 1961, at a Bloch Arena benefit in Honolulu for the USS Arizona Memorial, one of his four live performances between his return from the Army and his shift in career focus to acting.
Returning to music in 1968, Presley included the song on his playlist for the  NBC special Elvis and performed it live the following year during his first Las Vegas engagement. A version of the song, recorded on August 26 and documenting Presley altering the words of the narration and laughing through the rest of the bridge, was released in 1980 as part of the Elvis Aaron Presley box set. In 1982, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" was a radio hit in the United Kingdom and reached number 25 on the British Singles Chart.Presley included the song in his 1972 documentary, Elvis on Tour,  and the 1977 CBS special, Elvis in Concert. 
On March 27, 1992, the RIAA certified "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" double platinum.In 2008 (the 50th anniversary of Billboard's Hot 100), the song was number 81 on the magazine's "Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs" list.
For more on the song, see the NYT article from January 21, 2014 >>> Are You Lonesome Tonight?. It has links to several other versions both before and after Elvis's.
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