Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits – Part 4

Performing to sold-out crowds of adoring fans. Winning awards and accolades. Topping the charts. Elvis Presley, like so many musicians before and since, had those same dreams – and he accomplished his goals in dazzling, legendary fashion. Elvis didn’t just top the charts once, or even a few times – he did it repeatedly. He scored so many No. 1 hits that we’re on part four of our series about Elvis’ hit singles. Check out part one, part two and part three – and now, on to part four. “Don’t” This you can believe I will never leave you Heaven knows I won’t Baby, don’t say don’t On September 6, 1957, Elvis was at Radio Recorders in Hollywood and was scheduled to record material for a Christmas album. It was September, though, and Elvis wasn’t in the Christmas spirit just yet. Instead he recorded “Don’t,” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote a slew of Elvis hits such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Bossa Nova Baby,” “Trouble” and “Treat Me Nice.” Musicians Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Bill Black and Dudley Brooks perform on the track. Elvis’ regular back-up vocalist group, The Jordanaires, were teamed up with soprano Millie Kirkham for the first time at this session. “Don’t” was paired with “I Beg of You,” and the single was released in January 1958. The song topped the Billboard pop singles chart for five weeks. It performed well on other charts, too: “Don’t” peaked at No. 2 on the country chart, and it peaked at No. 4 in its 10-week run on the R&B chart. The track hit No. 2 on Britain’s pop singles chart, and it stayed on the charts for 11 weeks. “Hard Headed Woman” I got a woman, a head like a rock. If she ever went away I’d cry around the clock. Oh yeah, ever since the world began a hard headed woman been a thorn in the side of man. This hit single is from the “King Creole” soundtrack. It was written by Claude DeMetrius, and Elvis recorded it on January 15, 1958 – just a few days following his 23rd birthday – at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. Elvis had already received his military draft notice, but was allowed a deferment on his induction date to have time to make “King Creole,” since Paramount had already spent a lot of pre-production money on the movie. Elvis...
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55 Years of “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

“The Swingin’-est ELVIS + Girls (Girls Girls) + Songs (Lots of Them) – Who Could Ask for Anything More?” That’s what the poster says for Elvis’ 1962 hit musical, “Girls! Girls! Girls!” – and the movie certainly delivered on that promise. Hawaii became a state in 1959, and Elvis was quick to celebrate the lovely state with “Blue Hawaii” in 1961 and “Girls! Girls Girls!” in 1962, followed by “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” in ’66. “Girls! Girls! Girls” was released nationally on November 21, 1962 –  making this year its 55th anniversary. A few of the working titles for this movie include “A Girl in Every Port,” “Welcome Aboard” and “Gumbo Ya-Ya.” Elvis stars in the film alongside Laurel Goodwin, Stella Stevens and Jeremy Slate. Elvis stars as Ross Carpenter, a sailor and Hawaiian fishing guide. He wants to buy a boat, but his plans slow down when he becomes involved with both Robin (Stella Stevens), a young singer, and the sweet-natured Laurel (Laurel Goodwin). His romantic rival, Wesley (Jeremy Slate), owns the boat he wants – and he’s chasing Laurel, too. Jeremy Slate also had a role in “G.I. Blues.” Stella Stevens was, like Elvis, a Mississippi native. She got her start in modeling and acting after moving to Memphis to go to college. Laurel Goodwin shared her memories of working with Elvis at Elvis Week 2017. Robert Strauss, who stars in “Girls! Girls! Girls!” as Sam, appears in another Elvis film, “Frankie and Johnny.” The three Ling children were played by siblings Ginny Tiu, Elizabeth Tiu and Alexander Tiu. Another sibling, Vicky Tiu, also starred with Elvis in “It Happened at the World’s Fair.” As with many of his films, you can spot Elvis’ friends and band members in the background. Legendary drummer Hal Blaine, who played on many of Elvis’ hits, is in the film as – of course – a drummer in the lounge band. Elvis’ stand-in, Lance Le Gault, plays the bass in the band. And Allan Fortas can be spotted catching a fish, while Red West plays guitar on a fishing boat.   One of Elvis’ least favorite tunes on the soundtrack was “Song of the Shrimp.” But it was Col. Tom Parker who found one of the most famous songs on the soundtrack – “Return to Sender” – which is still an Elvis fan favorite. When he wasn’t on the set, Elvis could often be...
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‘Jailhouse Rock’ – The Trivia Game

Just last week, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of one of the most iconic moments in Elvis’ long, legendary career: “Jailhouse Rock.” We’re keeping the festivities going this week with a “Jailhouse Rock” trivia game. How well do you know the movie? Find out if you’ll be dancing to the jailhouse rock or if you’ll be sentenced to a year in jail (just kidding). If you love playing Elvis trivia games, check out these games on the Graceland Blog: Get an A in Elvis Elvis’ 1957 Elvis 101 Graceland Trivia Elvis’ 1956 Elvis’ Television...
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Flippy, Real Flippy: ‘Jailhouse Rock’ at 60

One of Elvis’ earliest and most prolific pop culture-changing moments happened 60 years ago this month: “Jailhouse Rock” was released on November 8, 1957. “Jailhouse Rock” was Elvis’ third movie, but thanks to the electrifying dance scene, Elvis’ leading man status and the iconic inmate costume, the film is one of the most famous Presley pictures. It’s more than a highlight of time in the movie business; it’s one of the most well-known and beloved moments of his entire career. In “Jailhouse Rock,” Elvis stars as Vince Everett, a construction worker who is sentenced to jail after accidentally killing a man in a bar fight. After his release from prison, Vince becomes a singing sensation, thanks to his country star cellmate, Hunk (Mickey Shaughnessy) and Peggy (Judy Tyler) who helps manage his career. Elvis plays the part well, taking Vince from a young man with a hot temper to a rebellious rock star. Fans still swoon at Elvis’ most famous lines from the movie, like “It ain’t tactics honey – it’s just the beast in me.” The famous dance scene is often considered the first “music video.” Choreographer Alex Romero had originally planned for the scene to be full of smooth, Fred Astair-type dancing, but of course, Elvis is Elvis – not Fred Astair. He asked Elvis to perform a few songs as if he was performing on stage at a concert. After watching Elvis’ natural dance moves, he redesigned the entire number. That dance sequence would impact the film in more ways than one. While filming the number, Elvis aspirated a cap off one of his teeth, and it lodged in his lung. He was hospitalized, and his doctor had to part his vocal cords to retrieve it from his lung. Thankfully, Elvis’ golden voice was not harmed, but the incident did influence the movie – that’s why Vince suffers a throat injury toward the end of the film. Elvis was released from the hospital in California the same day as his parents moved into their new home: Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. When filming wrapped, Elvis boarded a train for Memphis. He was excited to see Graceland, so he left the train in Louisiana and rented a car to drive the rest of the way to Memphis. He spent his first night at Graceland on June 26, 1957. Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” co-star Judy Tyler was killed in a...
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‘Elvis on Tour’ Turns 45

Elvis Presley’s award-winning, final film, “Elvis on Tour,” was released 45 years ago this week. “Elvis on Tour” covers Elvis’ 15-city tour in the United States in April 1972. It’s Elvis’ second concert documentary, a follow-up to the 1970 documentary, “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.” “Elvis on Tour” features concert, rehearsal and backstage footage, interviews with Elvis and his father, Vernon, plus footage of fans’ reactions at various venues. There are also clips from Elvis’ appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and Elvis’ movies. The concert footage included in the documentary was shot in Hampton Roads, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; San Antonio, Texas; and Greensboro, North Carolina. Robert Abel and Pierre Adidge directed “Elvis on Tour,” and Martin Scorsese worked on the movie, too, overseeing the montage sequences. Fans well-versed in everything Elvis can have fun picking out members of Elvis’ TCB Band, like Ronnie Tutt, James Burton and Glen D. Hardin; members of Elvis’ entourage, such as Jerry Schilling and Charlie Hodge; and the king’s back-up vocal groups, The Sweet Inspirations and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. Songs included in “Elvis on Tour” include “A Big Hunk O’ Love,” “Never Been to Spain,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “Burning Love,” “An American Trilogy,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Love Me Tender.” “Elvis on Tour” was a hit upon its release on November 1, 1972, hitting No. 13 on Variety’s National Box Office Survey. Critics loved the documentary, too: the movie won the 1972 Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary. “Elvis on Tour” is a fan favorite, as it showcases Elvis’ powerful live concerts while giving a bit of insight into the man in the jumpsuit. If you’re an Elvis fan in the UK, be sure to check out the new “Elvis on Tour” exhibition at The O2 in London. The exhibition will cover Elvis’ tours from 1969-1977, and will feature artifacts such as jumpsuits, guitars, tour trunks still filled with silk scarves, costume sketches by Elvis’ designer Bill Belew and more. Get your tickets to the exhibition now. If you love Elvis’ music, concerts and movies, the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland will soon be your favorite, too. You can see artifacts from Elvis’ film and music careers, including jumpsuits, movie costumes, awards and much more. Learn more about the man himself when you visit Graceland and see how the king lived...
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