February 19 - The Story of SUN, The Jordanaires and the Elvis Biopic

Backbeat Books announced the November 15, 2022 release of the 304-page paperback 'The Jordanaires: The Story of the World's Greatest Backup Vocal Group' by Gordon Stoker, Michael Kosser and Alan Stoker.

Description: The greatest backup group in the history of recorded music undoubtedly was the Jordanaires, a gospel group of mostly Tennessee boys, formed in the 1940s, that set the standard for studio vocal groups in the fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond. 

In their sixty-five-year career, from 1948 through 2013, the recordings they sang on have sold an estimated eight billion copies. 

They sang on more than 200 of Elvis's recordings, including most of his biggest hits. They were in three of his best-known movies, appeared with him on most of his early nation-wide TV shows, and toured with him for many years. Throughout Elvis's early career, they were his most trusted friends and probably his most positive influence. 

No telling how many thousands of miles we rode together over those fourteen years, remembered Gordon Stoker, the group's manager and high tenor, and most of those miles were good miles, with lots of laughs, and lots of talk about life. While the Jordanaires' bread and butter may have been Nashville's burgeoning recording industry, it seemed that there was always a plane waiting to take them cross country to the pop sessions in L.A. 

They sang on most of Ricky Nelson's biggest hits and over the years backed up Andy Williams, Fats Domino, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Dinah Shore, The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Patti Page, Neil Young, Perry Como, Loretta Lynn, Ringo Starr, Tom Jones, Andy Griffith, Bobby Vinton, Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, Billy Ray Cyrus, Clyde McPhatter, and about 2,100 other recording acts.


Interview

Nelson George did an interview with the director and headliner of the new 'ELVIS' movie, Baz Luhrmann and Austin Butler Interview.


In the interview Luhrman stated:

The great storytellers like Shakespeare, they didn’t really do biographies, they used a life as a canvas to explore a larger idea ... The life of Elvis Presley could not be a better canvas in which to explore America in the ’50s, the ′60s and the ’70s. That 42 years, until his death in 1977, is three great lives put into a short period of time."

I had the privilege, as the ultimate outsider, to be allowed into the world of Elvis. "That meant having a place to work in the Graceland barn for 18 months and recording Butler singing in the same studio Elvis used in Nashville."

Luhrmann said one of the challenges was showing a modern audience how strange and shocking the young Elvis was to audiences more familiar with country music, with his rock and roll look, swivelling hips and singing style: “Elvis was the original punk in some regards. He was wildly provocative ... there really were riots." Being from Australia, the Australian The Age newspaper from Melbourne already picked up the news on their front-page.

The relatively poor quality of Elvis’ early recordings in mono and “somewhat nostalgic” required inventive thinking for the singing scenes. Luhrmann revealed: “We came up with an unusual language – a musical language – for the film. Austin would sing all the young Elvis. But from the ’60s on, we would blend it with the real Elvis. So when you hear 'In The Ghetto' it is Elvis."

Luhrmann said he learnt how much black music and culture were essential to the story of a musical legend who was surprisingly spiritual.

Austin Butler confirmed... “For maybe a year before we even started shooting, I was doing six, seven days a week of voice coaching and working with different experts and just trying to get the register to be in the right place and the dialect and the way Elvis inflects and everything. But ultimately we realised the life is what’s important ... You can impersonate somebody but to find the humanity and the life within and the passion and the heart, I had to release myself from the constraints of that.”


The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll 

Publisher Weldon Owen announced the October 18, 2022 release of the 256-page book 'The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll - 70 Years of Sun Records by Peter Guralnick and Colin Escott, with a foreword by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Description: A fascinating look at the history of Sun Records, the label that started Rock n’ Roll, told through 70 of its iconic recordings.

In Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s, there was hard-edged blues playing on Beale Street, and hillbilly boogie on the outskirts of town. But at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records studio on Union Avenue, there was something different going on – a whole lotta shakin’, rockin’, and rollin’. This is where rock ’n’ roll was born.

Sun Records: the company that launched Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins. The label that brought the world, “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Breathless,” “I Walk the Line,” “Mystery Train,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight.”

'The Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll: 70 Years of Sun Records' is the official history of this legendary label, and looks at its story in a unique way: through the lens of 70 of its most iconic recordings. From the early days with primal blues artists like Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King to long nights in the studio with Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, you will see how the label was shaped and how it redefined American music. Accompanying the recordings is the label’s origin story and a look at the mission of the label today, as well as “Sun Spot” sidebars—a fascinating dive into subjects such as how the iconic logo was created, the legendary Million Dollar Quartet sessions, and how the song “Harper Valley, PTA” funded the purchase of the label.

Written by two of the most acclaimed music writers of our time, Peter Guralnick and Colin Escott, and featuring hundreds of rare images from the Sun archives as well as a foreword by music legend Jerry Lee Lewis, this is a one-of-a-kind book for anyone who wants to know where it all started.

(Source: Amazon / Good Reads / YouTune / Elvis Information Network)