June 17 - Elvis, April 56 and Seven Days In March 1960

Two new books were released by Paul Belard; "Elvis, April 1956" and "Elvis 1960, Seven Days in March". Both books are mainly picture-books.

Details "Elvis, April 1956" (226 pages)

April 1956 was another busy month Elvis. It began with his first appearance on the Milton Berle Show on the 3rd. Following shows in San Diego the next 2 days, he signed his movie contract with producer Hal Wallis on the 6th. The same day he took his 2nd screen test.

On the touring scene, he embarked on a series of performances in the South West. The tour was interrupted by a recording session in Nashville on the 14th. Oddly, only one song was recorded. The following day, Elvis left for a tour in Texas and Oklahoma. The month culminated with the first week of his appearance in Las Vegas.

On The Charts, "Heartbreak Hotel" reached Number 1 on the Pop Charts. It stayed at number 1 on Billboards Top 100 Chart for 7 weeks, on the Cashbox Chart for 6 weeks. It hit the number 1 spot on the Country & Western Chart, and the top 5 on the R&B Chart. It became Elvis' first gold record  for a million copies sold.

Details "Elvis 1960, Seven Days in March" (194 pages):


A seven day journey with Elvis as he leaves Germany after a conference in Friedberg, stops in Scotland and Newfoundland, lands at  McGuire Air Force Base, gives another press conference, is discharged at Fort Dix, takes the train to Memphis where he is greeted as the prodigal son.

March 1960, almost 2 years before, Elvis was drafted. At the peak of his professional career, he faced two uncertain years. Would it be over? 
Would the fans still be there when he came back? The doubts were etched on his face, in the days of March 1958. His easy smiles were now forced. They would disappear 
for a long while after his beloved mother's untimely death in August 1958.

However, in the days of March 1960, his smiles could not have been more genuine. His army days over amidst a flurry of press conferences attended by more reporters than would have covered a presidential address. Frank Sinatra, who came close to calling him a blabbering idiot a few years before ate crow and dug deep in his pockets to have him on his show. Contracts for several movies were already signed. All was good again.

(Source: Paul Belard)

June 16 - Where No One Stands Alone

RCA plans for an Elvis gospel release will include a duet featuring Elvis daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, on the album title track "Where No One Stands Alone". The album featuring 14 tracks are believed to be new mixed tracks including new background vocals from Elvis' original gospel back up group the Imperials and remaining members of the Stamps Quartet. The CD as well as a LP vinyl release are set to release in mid August during Elvis Week 2018.  Lisa Marie previously had three posthumous releases with her father including Don't Cry Daddy, In The Ghetto and I Love You Because.

Lisa Marie Presley will attend Elvis Week with a special appearance on August 11th at 1 P.M. at the Elvis Presley's Memphis Soundstage.  For those fans purchasing the Elite and Premier Packages for Elvis Week they will have an opportunity for Lisa Marie to sign the new album. Regular tickets for the event are also available. 

Tracklist:
I've Got Confidence 
Where No One Stands Alone (featuring Lisa Marie Presley) 
Saved 
Crying in Chapel 
So High 
In the Garden 
Bosom of Abraham 
How Great Thou Art 
I, John 
You'll Never Walk Alone 
He Touched Me 
Stand by Me 
He is My Everything 
Amazing Grace

(Source: Always Elvis Fan Club)

June 14 - Greensboro Once More

The Victrola import-label announced the release of "Elvis April 14 1972 Greensboro" containing Elvis Presley's powerhouse concert in Greensboro Coliseum on April 14th 1972. This' release is presented in a deluxe double digi-pack accompanied with a 16-page booklet. The label also announced that ''Elvis April 14, 1972 Greensboro'' will be released later this year on 180 Gr. vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with a large booklet filled with many rare pix. The Victrola label is planning more releases in 2018.

From the press-release:
So what makes this new release so special? Yes, it has been released before, most recently on the Amiga label boxed set ''Elvis On Tour - Deluxe Edition''. But this release blows that set right out of the water! You will not believe the sound, which for the first time comes from the actual RCA tapes. 
Yes, you read that correctly. For the first time, these are actual multitrack master recordings, and not the nafta tapes that have been used this far as a source for this show. On the box set, it was even presented in mono (sloppy, that) and Madison released it earlier in narrow stereo on "Greensboro Revolution". 

The recording that we obtained was mixed down from the original 8- and 16-track masters fairly recently, but then, oddly enough, stored back in the vaults. We know you will be thrilled when you hear this recording, which has the signature of the best Elvis live mixes released officially thus far. The wide, dynamic stereo sound is just friggin' unbelievable and puts you right in that Greensboro audience. That may sound like hype, but just wait for the samples! 

Elvis at the peak of his powers, April 1972, driving the audience into a frenzy... And you are right there! Do not miss this sonic delight, which may well be your favorite Elvis live album in the years to come. That's how good this is. We are clearly thrilled to be able to release this for you, from the actual mastertapes, in a fresh, professionally mixed stunning stereo sound. 

As a bonus, we've added a bonus disc featuring sacred performances and additional live songs in glorious stereo, as well as the unedited ''Funny How Time Slips Away'' from the April 5th 1972 rehearsal (badly butchered up on the aforementioned box-set). These days, there aren't a lot of surprises left in the Elvis world (wasn't that "Searcher" film a real doozy?), but this is definitely one of them. Grab it while you can! We do understand some people will be sceptical about this project, but for once, this is what it is! To assure these people, we will be posting samples soon, so that they can compare & make graphics to their hearts' content. This is the real deal, folks... And one project that we're damn proud of. A killer release that deserves to be in your collection.

Tracklist CD 1:

01. Also Sprach Zarathustra
02. C. C. Rider
03. Proud Mary
04. Never Been To Spain
05. You Gave Me A Mountain
06. Until It’s Time For You To Go
07. Polk Salad Annie
08. Love Me
09. All Shook Up
10. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel
11. Hound Dog
12. Heartbreak Hotel
13. A Big Hunk O’ Love
14. Bridge Over Troubled Water
15. Suspicious Minds
16. Love Me Tender
17. Band Introductions
18. For The Good Times
19. An American Trilogy
20. Burning Love
21. Release Me
22. Funny How Time Slips Away
23. Can’t Help Falling In Love
24. Closing Vamp

CD 2

01. Johnny B. Goode (takes 1 - 3)
02. Always On My Mind (rehearsal, with extra dialogue)
03. Separate Ways (takes 1 & 2, with extra dialogue)
04. Time Has Made A Change In Me (J. D. Sumner & The Stamps)
05. I Should Have Been Crucified (J. D, Sumner & The Stamps)
06. I John
07. Bosom Of Abraham / You Better Run
08. Lead Me, Guide Me
09. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus / Nearer My God To Thee
10. Sweet Sweet Spirit (rehearsal, J. D. Sumner & The Stamps)
11. When It's My Time (Bill Baize & The Stamps)
12. All Shook Up (April 9, 1972)
13. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel (April 9, 1972)
14. Are You Lonesome Tonight (April 9, 1972) 
15. I Can't Stop Loving You (April 9, 1972)
16. How Great Thou Art (April 9, 1972)

LP tracklisting: Elvis April 14 1972 Greensboro 4 lp set set

Side 1
1. Also Sprach Zarathustra
2. CC Rider
3. Proud Mary
4. Never Been To Spain
5. You Gave Me A Mountain
6. Until It’s Time For You To Go
Side 2
1. Polk Salad Annie
2. Love Me
3. ( Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel
4. Hound Dog
5. Heartbreak Hotel
6. A Big Hunk O’ Love

Side 3
1. Bridge Over Troubled Water
2. Suspicious Minds
3. Love Me tender
4. Introductions
5. For The Good Times
6. An American Trilogy
Side 4
1. Burning Love
2. Release Me
3. Funny How Times Slips Away
4. Can’t Help Falling In Love

The Searcher DVD Release

The DVD release of HBO "The Searcher" documentary can be pre-ordered on Amazon. The release-date of this two disc set from Sony Pictures is November 19, 2018. The running-time is 210 minutes. 

Synopsis:

He was a boy from Tupelo who grew up to become the biggest star in music. Along the way, he absorbed a staggering range of influences, creating a revolutionary sound in his lifelong search for self-expression. Following his creative journey from childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions, two-part presentation Elvis Presley: The Searcher includes stunning atmospheric shots taken inside Graceland, Elvis’ iconic home, and features more than 20 new, primary source interviews with session players, producers, engineers, directors and other artists who knew him or who were profoundly influenced by him.

(Source: FECC / Amazon)

June 13 - DJ Fontana Died

DJ Fontana, Elvis' legendary drummer, has died aged 87. The last of the 'Blue Moon Boys' has now left to join his fellow musicians - the creators of the Rock'n'Roll big-bang. Lead guitarist Scotty Moore sadly passed away back in 2016. Original bassist Bill Black died back in 1965 and never played with Elvis' band again following the 1958 break-up.

DJ Fontana's son David posted an emotional message on Facebook, to announce the death of his father. "I told everyone that I would keep you posted. My Dad passed away in his sleep at 9:33 tonight,'he wrote. DJ Fontana died at the age of 87 'He was very comfortable with no pain. I will post more tomorrow when I have more information. We ask for privacy at this time. Thank you for your love and prayers."

Sun Studio, which is based in Memphis, Tennessee, where Elvis kicked off his career, shared a tribute shortly after the news broke of Fontana's death. "We are extremely saddened to hear about the passing of legendary drummer D.J. Fontana. The band is all back together now," the message read. 


Lisa and I, and the entire Presley family, join the staff of Graceland in expressing our deepest condolences on DJ Fontana's passing.  DJ was Elvis' original drummer and good friend.  He was a tremendously talented musician and a wonderful man. Together with Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black -- DJ made history as part of the legendary "Blue Moon Boys" -- creating music that will live forever and influence generations to come," said Priscilla Presley.


The staff of Elvis Presley's Graceland is deeply saddened by the passing of Elvis' friend and legendary drummer, D.J. Fontana," said Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden. "D.J.'s groundbreaking recordings and performances with Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black launched Elvis’ career and forever changed music and the world. D.J. was a dear friend to all of us at Graceland. We send our heartfelt condolences to D.J.'s family, friends and his millions of fans worldwide.” 

James Burton:
"I was shocked and saddened to hear about my longtime friend, D.J. Fontana passing on. I’ve known him since we were kids on the Louisiana  Hayride back in the 50’s. I loved that man. We had a mutual love and respect for each other. We both were raised in Shreveport and we’ve been  around the world with our talent that we got from here. It’s amazing  that two kids from Shreveport, both ended up playing for Elvis Presley, the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ at different times in Elvis’... life.
D.J. set the beat for a generation and he will be greatly missed. I am smiling though, thinking of the amazing reunion happening right now between Elvis, Scotty and D.J.. The boys back together again. D.J.’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. GOD BLESS!"
James

Steve Binder (director 1968 Special): "So sad to read about the passing of my friend, D.J. Fontana! The few  times Sharon and I had the pleasure of spending time with D.J. and his  wife Karen, after D.J. and I met on the '68 Special, drew us much closer  as true friends. Aside from his drumming skills, he had a great sense  of humor and I will never forget him"
Steve


Fontana, who was born in Shreveport Louisiana on March 15 1931, originally began backing Elvis Presley, Bill Black and Scotty Moore when he worked at the Louisiana Hayride as early as 1954. 

Sun Records Sam Phillips originally assembled Elvis' Blue Moon Boys without a drummer and so it wasn't until the key RCA session of January 10 1956 that DJ Fontana joined the band on recordings. That session produced 'Heartbreak Hotel' and the music world would never be the same. Fontana's key input would be his solid beat creating the stunning impact on songs such as 'Hound Dog' and 'Jailhouse Rock'. Elvis, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana continued to play and record together throughout the 1960s. Fontana played on over 400 of Elvis RCA recordings as well as appearing in several films.

DJ Fontana was instrumental in Elvis career revival of the 1968 'Comeback Special' although it would be the last time he performed with Elvis. Of the NBC TV Special Fontana said, "We had a lot of fun doing it. Elvis looked great . . . he was real nervous, but once he started it was like he'd never been away."  "Elvis was just a nice guy, even though he was so young. He always treated people like he wanted to be treated. You know, we worked hard. We just tried to cut good records. But we knew that if it wasn't for Elvis, we wouldn't have done anything."

Fontana opened up about his relationship with The King, as he said: 'No, he never called anybody. I talked to him once on the telephone! They always had somebody calling, but then you'd know it was coming from him.' 
He only managed to see Elvis a 'couple' more times before his death, but reflecting on his time in the band, he said: 'Oh, it was fun. We really had a good time. But when you think about it, we worked with a guy 40 years ago, and I'm still working today doing the same.'

Fontana was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2009. Later that year he was entered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the sideman category.

Comeback Cover

Here is an updated cover from Steve Binder for his upcoming book "Elvis, Comeback '68 - The Story Of The Elvis Special" which will be presented August 13, 2018 in Memphis. 

Love Me Tender

Due for release on August 15, 2018 in Japan is the CD "Love Me Tender".

Tracks: Love Me Tender - Heartbreak Hotel - Blue Suede Shoes - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You - Hound Dog - Don't Be Cruel - All Shook Up - Teddy Bear - Jailhouse Rock - I Need Your Love Tonight - Wear My Ring Around Your Neck - A Big Hunk O' Love - Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Blue Hawaii - Can't Help Falling In Love - It's Now Or Never - Return To Sender - Little Sister - His Latest Flame - Devil In Disguise - Bossa Nova Baby - Viva Las Vegas - If I Can Dream - Suspicious Minds - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me - The Wonder Of You - Polk Salad Annie - Burning Love - Always On My Mind - A Little Less Conversation (JXL Remix).

(Source: Elvis Information Network / FECC / UEPS / David Fontana / Marian Cocke / Graceland / Elvis Matters / Elvis World Japan / Elvis Club Berlin)

June 12 - Elvis Comeback Special Book

Elvis Comeback Special director and producer, Steve Binder has partnered with Spencer and Meteor 17 to publish the definitive table top book on Binder’s making of the Special and all activities that led up to, were part of and happened, as a result of the landmark television event.

M17 long time art director, Hugh Syme, designed the stunning look and feel of the 279 page collector’s item book which includes commentaries, interviews and never before seen memorabilia presented to Binder by both Elvis and Colonel Tom Parker.  

Grammy winning book manufacturing organization, Integrated Communications, widely known for producing high quality limited edition collections for major music artists and companies (Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Universal Music Enterprises, Concord Music Group, and Warner Music Group) are handling the printing of the book, worldwide.

To further propel the book, there will be a highly visible launch at Graceland in Memphis, August 2018 during Elvis week there. Binder will conduct a town hall forum and panel, followed by similar events at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and The Paley Center, in both NYC and LA.

Following the book offering, on a special basis to Elvis fan clubs around the world, there will be podcasts about the Special, a one night theater event in over 800 screens via Fathom Events in the top DMA's in America. A spoken word version of the book via Amazon’s Audible division, narrated by Binder will follow. The audio book will will contain actual excerpts from the special, woven in with Binder’s reading.  

Spencer and Steve plan to bring the book to life in a documentary, to be directed by M17's John Coltrane Chasing Trane talent, John Scheinfeld in 2019. It will center on the making of the Special and Binder’s role as director/producer,teaming up with Elvis in a true buddy story that helped inform the course of pop music history.  The doc will highlight Steve's interface on the production process with Elvis and NBC to accomplish an evergreen and lauded result.


Binder has the most unique and informed perspective on how this landmark show was made and the events which transpired during production.  Elvis bravely stood up and supported Binder in order to have the Special completed and broadcast.  The success of this Comeback show propelled the course of Elvis' life and career.

This never before told perspective will be at the heart of our documentary.  Our film will enlighten and inform Elvis fans throughout the world with a behind the scenes look at this seminal moment of pop music media history.

Before the Book  becomes available to the general public through traditional retail outlets, the team will offer the book, DVD of the Special and other never before available items, through Elvis fan clubs around the world followed by a heavily promoted home shopping campaign.

(Source: Meteor 17 / Elvis Club Berlin)