40 Years Ago This Week, Elvis “Left the Building” for the Last Time – Part 2

Last time I told the story of how it came about that my very first vinyl album was an Elvis one. Believe it or not my first CD was an Elvis one as well (and I didn’t even have a CD player yet!). We had been slow to move from vinyl and cassette tape to digital mediums as I just couldn’t get my head round the concept of having to replace nearly 30 years’ worth of music, but the writing was on the wall, so when I decided to buy the new Elvis compilation album “Always On My Mind” in 1997, it had to be in CD format. As new parents money was tight, so the cutting-edge CD player had to wait until later in the year to be purchased. In the meantime however, I played it liberally on our home computer until the ridiculously large VDU (remember those) decided to blow up after over-heating one sunny afternoon. Hard to believe in Scotland I know, but we had stupidly placed it right in front of a single-glazed window.

The anniversary of Elvis’ death sort of crept up on me this week and the post that I published on the actual day itself was a very hastily put together affair. Since then however I have had a chance to read the many other posts written by my fellow bloggers, and after having watched some great video clips, listened to many of his wonderful songs and generally had a good wallow through the memorabilia in my “Elvis Box” (it’s a thing), my love for the man and his music has returned with a vengeance.

Talking of love, the CD “Always On My Mind” was subtitled The Ultimate Love Songs Collection, so not surprisingly it contains an awful lot of songs with that word in the title. Looking at it right now we have: Can’t Help Falling In Love, Love Me Tender, Love Me, Loving You, Love Letters, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me and It’s Only Love. The word mind also crops up a couple of times as Suspicious Minds (this is a blistering live version) was included as well as the title track, Always On My Mind.

Always On My Mind by Elvis Presley:

Elvis Presley recorded his version of Always On My Mind a few weeks after his final separation from Priscilla. Although Elvis didn’t actually write any of his songs, he might as well have done, for they always seemed to be just so darned personal. Elvis was not the best of letter-writers and Priscilla used to say that they communicated through music instead, as he regularly sent her “meaningful” records after returning home from Germany. Always On My Mind was most definitely for Priscilla which makes it all the more heart-breaking. I don’t really think Elvis ever thought she would leave, but one little lady (albeit with sometimes very big hair) versus the might of the Memphis Mafia, was never going to work out in the long run.

And this is where I’m reminded of the film Blue Hawaii which has become a bit of a tradition in our house as a Boxing Day pick-me-up. Living in Scotland is a cold, damp and dreich affair over the winter months so what could be better than to curl up on the sofa with some slices of fresh pineapple (yes really) and watch Elvis rock-a-hula his way across the sands of Waikiki Beach. I am reminded of the film because of this song, Almost Always True. No, I think it’s a given that Elvis was not “always true” but he was a family man at heart so when Priscilla left, that marked the beginning of the end for him.

Funnily enough, well actually not funny at all as it turns out, my Boxing Day tradition of watching Blue Hawaii did not take place last year as that was the day we found out that George Michael had passed away. I spent most of the day surfing the net and writing the first of my tribute posts. A couple of days later however, the film Viva Las Vegas popped up on the television schedules and whilst watching the antics of Elvis and Ann-Margret (again, their on-screen chemistry suggested he was almost always true), it occurred to me that both men had similarly long careers but both came to a similarly premature, and undignified end.

So, no little paragraph this time with my musings on the “meaning of life”, as just a bit too sad. Instead a photomontage of two of my musical heroes, both taken from us far too soon. I rest my case. RIP Elvis, RIP George.

Always On My Mind Lyrics
(Song by Johnny Christopher/Mark James/Wayne Carson)

Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
Maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel second best
Girl I’m sorry I was blind
But you were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Maybe I didn’t hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
I guess I never told you
That I am so happy that you’re mine
If I made you feel second best
Girl I’m sorry I was blind
But you were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn’t died
Give me, give me one more chance
To keep you satisfied
I’ll keep you satisfied
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
But you were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

14 thoughts on “40 Years Ago This Week, Elvis “Left the Building” for the Last Time – Part 2”

  1. I have mixed feelings about Elvis as I only really enjoyed his early full-on rock and roll songs. I felt that Candi Staton did better versions of “In The Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds” (Candi also did the best version of “Nights on Broadway) and I’ve always preferred Willie Nelson’s cover of “Always on my Mind”.
    But, your feelings for Elvis’ music and movies come shining through and that’s something every music fan can understand.
    As for George, I think “Last Christmas” is the greatest Yuletide song ever and I don’t care who knows it.
    Two great musicians who left us way too soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really coming across loud and clear that most of you out there have mixed feelings about Elvis and I totally get that. I on the other hand experienced Elvis for the first time between the ages of about 6 and 12, certainly not as a teenager or a young adult. When you are a kid those light-hearted films/songs were just the ticket (cold and damp Scotland remember) and then when the televised Specials came along that just compounded my fondness for him. If Elvis had been managed by just about anyone else other than “Col” Tom Parker things would probably have turned out very differently but because of his amazing good looks (young Elvis was indeed an adonis of a man), he was very much packaged for a female audience. Sadly people often cite Elvis as not being very smart, but amongst my memorabilia I have a copy of his school report card and it’s really quite impressive – He was however a bit of a mama’s boy, was easily led and was an incredibly soft touch. Not a great combination for someone in his position. I choose never to think of those final 4 years of his life, as just too depressing.

      Although I featured Always On My Mind here, I too prefer Willie Nelson’s version and said so when I wrote about Willie in my Moonlight In Vermont post. Suspicious Minds however for me belongs to Elvis and his live ’70 Vegas performance of the song must surely go down in history as being one of the most electrifying ever to have taken place. When on form, Elvis “felt the music” like no other.

      Oh and yes, Last Christmas must be one of the best Christmas songs ever and because we were the video generation by that time, the film that accompanied it just sums up the ’80s for me – That was the life I wanted to lead at that time, but sadly we ended up in the Cairgorms instead, with no snow, and no George! Oh well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi – No I’ve read a fair few but not that one. As you intimated on the last post, 40 years on from his death and no shortage of material still being produced about the man. Ironically his ex-wife Priscilla is mainly responsible for keeping his legacy alive. It was she who instigated those new recordings of his songs accompanied by our own Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Best sellers for the last two Christmases over here!

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  2. Haha, so the CD works for “doing a Swede”…! (Another lovely photo and I’m going to be very girly now and comment on how much I like your top!)
    Mr SDS dug out a good Elvis track the other day. ‘If I Can Dream’ – in which his voice gets really rough around the edges and for both of us that was the bit that really worked. It doesn’t seem to be something he did very often – to go all gruff and drop the smoother approach – I would’ve liked to hear more of that side of his vocal range. Shows he could do it though, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the CD kind of works but if anyone I know stumbles upon this place, I’m becoming less anonymous all the time – Might do an edit in a few days. As for the top, a favourite of mine too – Zara’s best.

      I wrote a post about the song If I Can Dream last year. I didn’t remember it from first time around but when I rewatched the Comeback Special on DVD it is the song he closed the show with – Blew me away. Later on that year it was the title track on the album recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

      It’s really coming across loud and clear that poor Elvis’ legacy is so tainted by what he turned into, that people forget just what an amazing performer he was in his heyday. Glad I discovered him when I was a kid as I have just stuck with those memories – I am beyond sad at what happened to him and as I pointed out above, there was a scary parallel with the evolution of the career of George Michael. The pictures are randomly placed but if you compare them at the different stages, they could be dopplegangers!

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      1. Thanks, just found and read your original post about If I Can Dream – with Elvis not really being my thing I didn’t appreciate its standing – anyway, love to read what you said about it last year now that I’ve heard it in the last few days!
        Know what you mean about the EP and GM pics too. I used to have a gorgeous book of exquisite drawings of Elvis (you just reminded me, it was long-forgotten!) when I was about 16 – my musical tastes were very far removed as you know, but I’ve always been attracted to a certain imagery… (plus the art of course) Just looked it up and found it here https://www.ebay.com/p/Elvis-Newly-Discovered-Drawings-of-Elvis-Presley-by-Betty-Harper-1979-Paperback/5090783

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        1. Thanks for the link – It does look as if I’m a bit of a collector doesn’t it but my measley collection of Elvis memorablilia is pretty much all I have so not an extreme fan in any way! Elvis would have been a wonderful subject to draw and I’m sure that book will contain lots of young rock ‘n’ roll Elvis which is when he just looked fantastic (isn’t that the look the Clash etc were copying when they first formed). The clip I shared last time of him performing An American Trilogy did not show him at his best and that was the beginning of his decine into ill health. So sad.

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  3. Hi Alyson,
    I’m not one of those who has mixed feelings about Elvis. He was a great musical talent and, though definitely as flawed as the rest of us, by all accounts, he was also basically a decent guy. Though I don’t enjoy everything he recorded, particularly the sentimental ballads such as ‘Love Me Tender’, ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ and ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’, there are songs from almost every period of his career that can be found in my main itunes playlist, from the country-rockabilly tracks he recorded at Sun to much of his RCA output in the ’50s, ’60s & early ’70s – favourites being ‘All Shook Up’, ‘Little Sister’, ‘(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame’, ‘Return to Sender’, ‘Burning Love’, etc., etc. (I’m in agreement with lynchiefromab that Candi Staton’s ‘In the Ghetto’ and ‘Suspicious Minds’ are quite fab, as is Merry Clayton’s version of the latter tune.)

    Love that you’ve had the courage to “do a Swede.” You look as genuinely friendly as you come across in print.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I didn’t think you would have mixed feelings Marie although like all of us you sound as if you have your favourite tunes by him. He certainly was a very well-mannered and kind chap by the sound of it but surrounded by his entourage, and living the kind of life he did, was not conducive to good physical or mental health. I have just watched the Comeback Special again tonight and that unplugged set “in the round” really was something (although his little jokes were usually a bit cringe-worthy). It really put him on the map again but the long residences in Vegas organised by the “Colonel” soon sapped him of the excitment about being back singing live again. Just so sad.

      (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame – Now why did I think that would be a favourite?! (Always thought there was an Of in there though – been wrong all these years.)

      Not sure how you can tell I look friendly from my Sleeveface/CDface pic but I’ll take that – Thanks! Do you think you’re brave enough? Last thing, I noticed you had asked us to take down your 1001spins blog from our blogrolls but just wondered if you are still running it? Hope so.

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  4. It’s the eyes, Alyson . . . definitely the eyes. The most uncomfortable part of interacting on the web for me is not being able to gauge facial expressions, etc., something I rely heavily upon in the ‘real’ world.

    I had a couple of glasses of wine tonight with dinner (I rarely drink alcohol), and re-reading my post, I sound half brain-dead. My statement about “not having mixed feelings” is of course, a rather redundant one! Duh! 😉

    As I’m sure you can guess, I’m still torn about my blog, so at the moment the shutters are up while I mull over its future. I’ll definitely let you know if anything changes though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tipsy blogging! – Not done it for a while myself but always worked well for me.

      Like C did a little while back, just enjoy jumping in with comments for a while until you decide what to do – Nice to have another female onboard.

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  5. Do you ever get over to JC’s place, The New Vinyl Villain? He’s known as The Blogfather round these parts, with good reason. JC welcomes contributions to his Imaginary Compilation Album series, where the guest writer picks ten tracks with which to demonstrate the talents of one of his or her favourite artists. I reckon you’d be just the person to compile an Elvis Presley ICA (or a George Michael one come to that). I’m certain that it’d be a fascinating read. I’ve had several potential ICA’s bubbling away for some time, but have struggled to find the time to finish any of them. I must buckle down.
    I did a Swedeface™ over at my place with a 7″ single a while back, but have yet to attempt one with a CD – i’ll have a go now that you’ve proved it can be done!
    (I’d no idea that Marie has been blogging again, as far as I was aware she stopped a long time ago. It seems I’ve missed her again though, but I’ll keep ’em peeled in case she returns.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am flattered by your ICA suggestion and yes I have dropped by his site from time to time (especially around the time of the now infamous “summit” as it did all sound really exciting for them) BUT I am prone to leave very wordy comments and then regret it the minute I press publish. My rule of thumb now, is that I only leave comments on the sites belonging to those people who have, of their own volition (hopefully), visited my place. All sounds very complicated but I am well aware that I am in no way a “muso” and just chose music as a theme for my blog as it would be a great way of recording the memories/stories attached. So, although I know about JC’s site/his ICA series, I really don’t think my muso credentials are up to the mark – I would end up making a monumental fool of myself, and no-one likes doing that at any age!

      As for the CDface – I tried it first holding the CD at arms length making it much bigger because of the whole perspective thing. All that did was make it look as if I had massive hands and a little face (not very flattering) so stuck with the tried and tested shot.

      As for Marie – I think she pops up now and again but hopefully she will continue to visit the blogs in our circle as she does have a great knowledge of her subject (again, unlike me).

      Avere un bel tempo con gli americani al loro ritorno dall’Italia (hope that’s right!).

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