Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28 - Southern White Teen Stars With Gold Records

Oxford University Press announced the release of the book 'Elvis Presley: A Southern Life' by Joel Williamson with January 15 2013 as the release-date.

From the publisher:
"It is hard to believe that there would be any fresh takes on a figure as written about as Elvis Presley. Joel Williamson, an eminent Southern historian, has been working on Elvis for over twenty years and in this biography examines Presley as a product of his time and place in Southern culture, as well as the culture of the Southern girls and women who became his first fans. Rather than interpreting him through the lens of the rise of rock 'n roll and its impact on performers, Williamson looks seriously at the roots of Elvis' life, particularly his "country come to city" family, Tupelo and Memphis in the Depression and wartime years, and the ways in which this shaped his generation of first fans.
He discusses how Presley became the subject of unprecedented interest as a figure of sexual desire for people who, by the standards of their time and place, were not supposed to express sexual ecstasy, especially in public. While Elvis could not understand why he and his music were seen as a threat to good morals, he nonetheless took advantage of female sexual desire for him but lived in fear that the public would see him as a lecherous man who got away with a lifestyle of sexual indulgence.
While he drew on black music, especially gospel, and popularized it for white audiences, and worked with black musicians, he never took a public stand in the Civil Rights Movement bubbling around him in Memphis and the places around the South where he performed. Williamson notes how the early years of performing set the pattern of Elvis' career, leading to long periods after age 23 when he was not making music of much consequence or performing live, but his fans from the early years remained obsessed with him. In the later part of his career, when he performed regular gigs in Las Vegas and toured second-tier cities, he moved beyond the South to a national audience who had bought his albums and watched his movies, but the makeup of his fan base did not substantially change.
Nor did Elvis himself ever move up the Southern class ladder despite his wealth. And, as Williamson notes, many residents of Memphis ignored or were ambivalent about the resident of Graceland during his lifetime. Williamson's work does not attempt to displace Peter Guralnick's Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love but offers a highly readable account of the Presley family, especially Gladys and Vernon, their class, their finances, their religion, and the opportunities for men and women of Elvis' generation and region. It is not a tell-all account by someone who was associated with Elvis, but a historically informed biography by a scholar who moved to Memphis to teach in 1964. Through his emotionally powerful biography emerge the good Elvis, the bad Elvis, and the psychopathic Elvis."

White Artists With Soul

To celebrate Black Music Month, Chart Watch collated a list of the biggest white artists in the history of Billboard's R&B chart. That may seem to be an odd way to celebrate Black Music Month, but it dramatizes that black music has influenced countless artists in a wide range of genres. Elvis Presley, whose hits 'That's All Right (mama)', 'Hound Dog', 'Mystery Train', 'I Feel So Bad', 'High Heel Sneakers', 'Crying In The Chapel' etc were remakes of earlier R&B hits, is the most successful white artist in the history of the R&B chart, which is now called Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Twenty-one white artists rank among the top 500 R&B hit-makers in chart history in chart researcher Joel Whitburn's indispensable book Hot R&B Songs 1942-2010. The roster includes numerous blue-eyed soul singers (George Michael, Daryl Hall & John Oates), a rap icon (Eminem), disco stars (KC & the Sunshine Band), a pop provocateur (Madonna) and funk stars - but Elvis stands out above all. 
As James Brown the God-Father of R&B and Soul noted, "I wasn’t just a fan, I was his brother. Last time I saw Elvis alive was at Graceland. We sang ‘Old Blind Barnabus’ together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There’ll never be another like that soul brother."

The #1 white artist who ranks among the top 500 R&B hit-makers in chart history are:
1. Elvis Presley. The king of rock and roll had 24 top 10 R&B hits, from 1956's "Heartbreak Hotel" to 1963's " Devil In Disguise." Six of them, including "Hound Dog," reached #1. Blues singer Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton had a #1 R&B hit with "Hound Dog" in 1953.

More RIAA Awards?

Executives from Sony Music will emcee a free event at the Elvis Week Main Stage on Wednesday, August 15, as they present multiple awards for releases of Elvis' music that have achieved Gold, Platinum or Diamond status based on RIAA record sales. 


The following appeared on the Billboard Catalog Album Charts (w/e 7th July, 2012):
  • 'Heart And Soul' selling some 1590 copies. Total sales to date: 566,246 copies.
  • 'Elvis: The Very Best Of Love' selling some 1579 copies. Total sales to date: 277,512 copies.
  • 'The Essential Elvis' selling some 1470 copies. Total sales to date: 451,993 copies. It is a double album and therefore under RIAA rules qualifies for double sales - so for their purposes it has sold 903,986 copies and already been awarded Gold status. Could be in line for a Platinum upgrade - perhaps in August.
  • 'An Afternoon In The Garden' selling some 1356 copies. Total sales to date: 474,368 copies.
  • 'Elvis Country' (Compilation) selling some 1225 copies. Total sales to date: 116,109 copies.
Teen Pop Stars of the Past

ABC News is calling Elvis the first teen pop star in a recent post titled "Teen Pop Stars of the Past." The recent ABC photo gallery states, "The King of Rock 'n' Roll was the first to wear the teen idol crown. Elvis Presley's stage performances got girls all shook up, starting from when he launched his singing career in 1954." Elvis continues to impact modern day culture and his influence is seen around the world.

(Source: Elvis Club Berlin / EPE / Elvis Information Network)