SONGS OF THE SOUL
"Are you lonesome tonight"
Songs that reach our soul.
"Are you lonely tonight"
Songs that penetrate us to the bottom of our hearts and remain engraved on fire in our souls. They are so disturbing, that when you listen to them you do not stop feeling something so special and they remain forever in our memory.
It has been 60 years since the recording of this wonderful score, which made its audience shudder.
Composed by Roy Turk and Lou Handman
The song "Are you Lonesome tonight" was recorded in the early hours of April 4, 1960.
Although the first version was originally recorded in 1927 by various artists such as Vaughn De Leath, Henry Burr, etc... The version Elvis was based on was the 1950 version by The Blue Barron Orchestra. Curiously, it was Colonel Parker who asked him for this recording, because he was one of his wife's favorites.
But the most well-known anecdote of this song was during its performance in studio B in Nashville. When he started singing, Elvis wasn't comfortable with the atmosphere, he couldn't focus on the lyrics.
He wanted to be able to really feel her and asked that there be no lighting in the room. It would be recorded in the dark.
The sound engineer Bill Porter would say that everything was heard in a special way, even the singer's tripping over the music stand...
Elvis asked to be in the dark to intimidate with the lyrics to concentrate.
To pour all his passion into her and his intention was collected with such feeling that it has remained forever in the memory of his fans.
It was published as a single in November 1960, selling more than two million copies and reaching number 1 on the charts where it remained for more than 6 weeks.
In 1968 he sang it on NBC's "Elvis" The Comeback special.
And from his return to the stage in 1969.
Also in rehearsals for the movie "That's the way It is" in 1970.
And at concerts thereafter, he would include it in his regular repertoire.
The magic is clear in this song, if anyone knows the original score, by Turk and Handman, it is written like a wals. The introduction is a little different and the lyrics precede the part and the chorus that we will recognize with "Are you...." . At this time it was done like this, they were simple songs of writing and interpretation that had an intro and then came the famous part that we know. There are many examples in songs by George Gershwin and later composers who followed this line of writing.
The arrangement that brought about this magic would be to slow down the song like Elvis did and go in with his feeling and give it his own interpretation, like he did before with rock songs, but in this case it was a wals and lighter. Of course, listening to "Are you lonely tonight", many would not understand it as a wals, because it was not from then on. And we will hardly hear anything like it, because Elvis transformed it and gave it his soul... although at first he did not want to record it, but when he plunged into darkness in the recording studio, he found his way into this score, which I personally find indispensable and unforgettable. It's marvelous!
But that magic, the intention, the spectacular initial version... was never surpassed in Concerto. Perhaps because it was a song that Elvis considered so private, that over time he could not return to that initial feeling.
Because this song would be recorded with such sensitivity and intimacy that it surpassed Elvis himself in his expectations. Because initially it was not a song that he chose, but a proposal ...
His interpretation would go further than he could imagine, becoming one of the most beautiful songs in the history of music.
"Following the Path of the King..."
"How great Thou Art"
"HOW GREAT THOU ART"
Elvis first recorded this song as the title track for his second gospel album at RCA Nashville Studios on May 25, 1966. It was later released as a B-side on a single with "His Hand in Mine" in March 1969.
The song was recorded for the first time in English by George Beverly Shea in 1955, although the roots of the song go back to the Old Continent and the previous century. A song with a long history and multiple interpretations over time. Considered a Gospel classic. It was originally a 19th-century Swedish hymn written by Carl Boberg, which was translated into German, Russian, and finally English by Stuart Hine in the late 1940s. Before Elvis, the Blackwood Brothers and The Statesmen had already recorded the song.
Elvis is said to have performed the song in 1956 with the Blackwoods, in those performances that he could see behind the scenes, offstage. To him they were his idols and he used to see them when he could, until he became friends with the bass J.D. Sumner who invited him to see them even though he couldn't afford his admission.
In the run-up to its 1966 recording, Charlie Hodge said that it had been sung quite often at Graceland and said that it was the most intimate rehearsals he had ever witnessed with him.
Once recorded in the studio, Elvis slowed down the pace, a slower air that added dramatic effect.
They say that Elvis would record each of the quartet's voices, in such a way that he got so involved that he almost fainted at the end of the recording. And it wasn't something strange, because Elvis felt the gospel so much inside of him that he lived it in a special way. When he sang it on stage in January and February 1971 in Las Vegas, it was one of the most exciting moments that the public could experience of it.
Jerry Schilling as always a witness of rehearsals, etc, what he said is that Elvis lived the gospel, he described it as if his inner being left his body.
Finally in 1974 Elvis would win a Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Gospel Performance on the album "Elvis Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis".
The first recording was included on the following lps: "A legendary Performer, Vol 2", "You´ll never walk alone", "Amazing Grace", "Peace in the Valley", "Ultimate Gospel", "Christmas Peace" and "Elvis Inspirational", among others. An alternate take from the 1966 studio session can be heard on "Platinum: A Life In Music".
One of the first live performances in Las Vegas, it was included in the 2004 FTD "The Impossible Dream". There are other live versions included in "Elvis Aron Presley", "Amazing Grace", "Peace in the Valley", "Live in Las Vegas", "Close Up“," "Elvis Live"... More versions can be found live, and in the documentary "Elvis In Concert" and album, FTD's live albums "Closing Night", "It's Midnight", "Dinner at Eight" and "Unchained Melody", etc. This song will continue to be included over time on more albums, obviously because of its great inspiration and interpretation.
This song Elvis regularly included in his repertoire until the end.
"Following the Path of the King..."
FROM TUPELO TO MEMPHIS 57. 4 Season in Las Vegas.
Songs that speak to us from the Heart
"IF I CAN DREAM"
Elvis Presley era ante todo un soñador, creía que aún en la vida se podía ser mejor, de ahí su gran espiritualidad, interiorismo y búsqueda en todo momento de su gran verdad, su motivo en la vida, su finalidad...
En todo momento a pesar de su frustración hasta este año 1968 por su camino artístico, que evidentemente no era el deseado, había llegado a su momento de cuestionarse todas sus razones y buscar cambios a su mundo musical.
Con la canción "If i can dream" encontraría una razón para poder volver a mostrar su más íntimo ser ante el público...Un acierto el poder llegar a este momento en el cual Elvis buscaba una canción para poder volver a su público a lo grande. Billy Goldenberg, el director musical, le sugirió a Elvis que podría interpretar este tema como un Blues con mucho sentimiento, Elvis escuchó una y otra vez la canción que se escribió originalmente para el programa "Elvis" ComeBack Special.
El día 23 de junio de 1968 se grabaría esta canción, Elvis Presley con toda su energía, afección y entrega absoluta se tiró al piso con el micrófono frente a la sección de cuerdas de rodillas,...
Y nadie había visto nunca nada parecido,... Steve Binder y Bones Howe director y productor narran la grabación como uno de los momentos más impresionantes musicalmente en toda su carrera artística, con una voz , Elvis su actuación que cuentan fué la más extraordinaria frente a la orquesta impactante ante todos por su entrega, su interpretación, pero lo más grande llegaría después... Los productores sacaron a todos los músicos para que se fueran ya a su casa y para que Elvis grabara la voz sobre la pista y él pidió quedarse a oscuras para poder concentrarse mejor, y regrabó su voz en la oscuridad con tal emoción que terminó retorciéndose en el piso en forma fetal... después de la cuarta toma entraría en la sala de control, Elvis la escuchó hasta 15 veces como si escuchara la voz de su propio renacimiento y con esta canción encontró el sentimiento que de nuevo le habría impulsado en su carrera para seguir teniendo una esperanza, la magia se había conseguido.
El autor Walter Earl Brown, compositor del tema, nos cuenta que cuando Elvis la cantó frente al público sintió algo mágico como algo eléctrico y maravilloso gracias a su canción...que fue tal el sentimiento que todos quedaron mudos, absorbidos por la voz. Una de las cantantes de The Blossom lloraba de emoción y cuenta que le dijo entonces: "Elvis cree en esta canción y la siente con toda su alma".
Elvis era un soñador y con esta canción tan grande encontraría su motivo para volver de nuevo a su público.
DE TUPELO A MEMPHIS XXXVIII
The Comeback Special The Records
"Siguiendo el camino de el Rey..."
"The Impossible dream"
Soul songs. The impossible Dream.
A song with a meaning and a high ideal. There are songs that have too much meaning in our lives, and that are difficult to interpret... songs that undoubtedly reflect our feelings, our day-to-day desires and, when you interpret them, a lump is made in the throat, it feels like skin deep and a burst of energy intermingled with pure emotion floods you inside that elevates the spirit. The pure feeling, the emotion is lived through the notes of the score. .and the voice is the instrument that makes us express our deepest thought reflected in feeling through music. The lyrics are the instrument that is expressed through the heart. It is very possible that we can break our voice, that we can drown the music in tears, even that we have to stop to be able to continue singing.
Elvis believed in this song, his lyrics were very important to him, because his life was always an impossible dream. Although we could all think that everything he had touched turned to gold and that he would achieve everything he longed for in his existence. Elvis Presley was at heart a dreamer with a very high spirit and sometimes the search for him would go unanswered. But he always tried to pursue a dream, deep inside he was looking for reasons, his music was looking for recognition, his soul was looking for understanding and inner peace and on his way, although he managed to reach the top... it was not enough to satisfy his more intimate being, something was missing that he never found. But even with all this, Elvis always kept fighting until the end to give the best of himself on stage and although his strength lacked him at the end, he never hesitated to go on stage to sing...
For some reason his desires were never satisfied, his love, his faith, his world would always be something unattainable for him, like that shooting star that we managed to see, but that does not stay in the firmament. The lyrics were the reflection of a personal creed that could light the path of anyone."The Impossible dream" was written by Joe Darion with Mitch Leigh for the Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha", which centered its story on the character of "Don Quixote" written by Miguel I of Cervantes.
The work was released in 1965 with absolute success ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed-1FT3euVM9) and later the film starring Peter O'Toole and Sofia Loren premiered in 1972.
A letter written for the highest ideals of the human being, the personal struggle, the courage ... the search despite the pain.A climactic ending to the Elvis Presley show that could replace the song "Can´t help falling in love" that was being the usual farewell in their shows. But he wanted something more shocking like the "Also Sprach Zarathustra" overture, a hit that would become a historic stage appearance... the ending would also be a tremendous success for Elvis. A song that ended with the Choir and culminated with the crescendo support of the orchestra. But I did not count on the high price that such an ending could have after a show without breaks and movements, dance, songs, concentration... he would sing in this fourth season in Las Vegas in January and February 1971.
Andy Williams had already recorded it in 1968, very musically embellished, Frank Sinatra's version in 1966, was more involved in the spirit of the lyrics, with a very inspired interpretation but very much in his line and style. His great friend Tom Jones had also recorded a slow version of this song, nothing to do with the rest, adaptable to his own style. It is evident that the same song with a different interpreter would give it its own air and particular meaning.
It would have nothing to do with Elvis's version, since it is clearly inspired by the original score of the musical, with the final choral support. Although it is true that it could have grown with its companions and end it in a crescendo, raising each musical phrase by half a tone and ending with the Chorus. It would have been amazing. There was no need for a sharp ending, which was what could most concern an Elvis already tired of the show... an example:
But obviously this was not wanted to be done or could not be done in a show like the one Elvis performed. A song that he could have sung in the middle of the show to give it his all, when he was still fresh and his performance would be wonderful, would have been a real hit, but it was left for the end of the show.
True, they say early performances of it were fantastic, but over time he couldn't do the same. Elvis closed his live shows in Las Vegas in the winter of 1971 with this box-office hit, later considering it for release as single. From 1972, the interpretation of this song would require a high effort and emotion, which would finally lead to more accelerated interpretations in time. for what al, the artist's brilliance would be minimized in the end. RCA's first official release of the song was on "Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden" in June 1972.
An earlier RCA Las Vegas recording made in February 1972 was released on the BMG albums "Burning Love" and "Live in Las Vegas". Also on the "He Walks Beside Me" album in 1978. The FTD versions are recordings from January 1971 live, and it's also on "An American Trilogy". In 2004 an FTD was published: "The Impossible dream", including some of the 1971 Vegas shows. Later the song reappeared on the album "Elvis Inspirational" from 2006, etc, etc. It was clear that he wanted to express something beyond of himself through this song, because it would have nothing to do with the songs he normally performed. A song that could never be forgotten because of the emotion, courage, vibration, energy and experience of Elvis in it, it was real, it was his "Impossible Dream"... And Elvis would always be a seeker, an eternal dreamer...
"Following the Path of the King..."
Elvis Presley's version:
On March 15, 1971, the recording sessions began in studio B at RCA Nashville. It was planned to record for what would be a new gospel album, another Christmas album and more songs, having a large repertoire to choose from. Finally, all this could not be done, but simply four songs would be recorded, due to the discomfort of Elvis in one of his eyes, which would finally cause them to have to stop the session and postpone it for the month of May.
One of the chosen themes would be "Amazing Grace". One of those songs that impresses and remains in the memory. There are songs that penetrate us through the soul, the spirit, the message, and above all because of that disturbing music that floods us. It is very possible that when Elvis Presley heard this song he was always elevated in his world, in his faith and, as a spiritual man that he was, he was very interested in recording it and later interpreting it for his audience.
We know that Elvis wanted to change and make things better, and convey a message of happiness and faith with this. In addition to loving Gospel music, it was evident that, in these sessions and in those in May, another intention was sought. This would be one of the themes chosen in this session, the song "Amazing Grace", composed by Reverend John Newton, published in 1779. A Christian hymn that over time has become an American spiritual classic, the message it conveys is of forgiveness and redemption. A song that Elvis would also sing live, on occasion but in fragments, for example August 14, 1973...
Unfortunately, the recording made in this session was not perfect enough, due to Elvis's physical condition, which required a review and break. Even in these conditions Elvis did a good job, but there is no doubt that in another physical condition it would have been memorable. The song was included in the albums: "Peace in the Valley", Christmas Peace", "Ultimate Gospel", "Walk a mile in my shoes", etc.
An unforgettable version would be that of 1947, by the gospel star Mahalia Jackson that gained popularity on the radio and in the following two decades, and the most recent that Elvis could hear, would be that of Judy Collins from 1970, who claimed that this song helped him overcome and recover from his problems.
Elvis would record it with a solid and discreet rhythm.In the recordings Elvis asked that a future overdub be left pending due to its state.In the instrumentation the particular introduction to the piano by David Briggs that contributed to give it the traditional gospel air and the collaboration with the acoustic guitar of Chip Young A song with soul that Elvis would carry with him and that he would always sing in an intimate and personal way
"Following the Path of the King..."