Song of the week

Hi everybody, thanks to DougJ for hooking me up with posting privileges. Here is your song of the week. Feel free to criticize, celebrate, suggest your alternative song of the week, or treat as an open thread.

Elvis Presley, “Blue Moon” (1954)
It’s about time the King made an appearance around here. Recorded in 1954 at Memphis’s Sun studios, with Sam Phillips producing, and Scotty Moore and Bill Black providing support on guitar and bass, this unassuming little thing almost always requires a twist of the volume knob. It sneaks in like one late to the curtain, and then somehow becomes the show itself. It was never a hit of any kind, though it showed up here and there often enough: thrown onto Presley’s first album along with other unreleased Sun material; then released as the A-side of a no-hit single in September 1956, a casual afterthought for RCA, busy by then spewing out Elvis product in every direction, and finally, 20 years later, on the Sun Sessions album. It’s really weird, but it’s good.

Update: Hmm, it doesn’t seem to want to embed for me. User error, no doubt. Here’s a link. I will get it figured out next time! Thanks for your patience…

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41 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    BethanyAnne says:

    As it’s an open thread, John, that post with the new tagline suggestions is here: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....s-spotted/

  3. 3
    khead says:

    It’s really weird, but it’s good.

    No, it’s not. Sorry.

  4. 4
    Donut says:

    I just love Elvis’ version of “Blue Moon” for its raw, stripped down quality. Also, Elvis rarely tried to pull off a falsetto, which makes this version unique, as well.

    It’s just one piece of a very complex puzzle, but Elvis’ stuff from ’54 and ’55 is a pretty nice window into the world of amateur music exploding into pop culture.

  5. 5
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Welcome to our nightmare. ;)

    I wish Elvis would just die already. Every time I hear Elvis I think of old, morbidly obese rednecks who collect everything Elvis, especially velvet paintings of his bloated ass wearing one of his finest Liberace-like outfits just before croaking.

    Please, just die Elvis.

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    Love this song. Visited Graceland several years ago on a lark and came away totally in love with Elvis. The tour is fun and the guy was so talented and lived such an interesting life. I really enjoyed the home movies of sledding with his daughter, Lisa Marie. Highly recommend visiting Graceland.

  7. 7
    lamh35 says:

    Since this is a music thread, any other Adele fans on BJ?

    I’m way excited for the Grammy’s Sunday if like me you just can’t wait ’til Sunday to hear if Adele’s voice is back after her surgery….check this out.

    Adele sang for Anderson Cooper and she sound fabulous!!!

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7398230n

  8. 8
    khead says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    A velvet painting of Elvis performing this song?

    Well, that’s different. THAT would whip serious ass.

    Heh.

  9. 9
    RossinDetroit says:

    I love the Cowboy Junkies’ cover of this on their Trinity Sessions record from way last century. It’s dead slow but you can cut the tension with a knife. Delicious.

  10. 10
    jeffreyw says:

    @lamh35: Waves hands! Hey! More a fan of Ana! Popovic though.

  11. 11
    cathyx says:

    I have to say I don’t get the Elvis obsession. Over his music, his life, or his death. I just don’t get it.

  12. 12
    khead says:

    @cathyx:

    John R. Cash >>> Elvis

  13. 13
    cathyx says:

    @khead: What does that mean?

  14. 14

    @cathyx:

    I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power. But you won’t.

    Thanks, JPK. I took a tour on YouTube of Elvis films. That was so long ago. And we all were so young. And the music still feels good. :-)

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    @RossinDetroit:
    Oooh, yeah, that is a really great recording of Blue Moon. You are so right that you can cut the tension with a knife. Very slow, but delicious.

  16. 16
    khead says:

    @cathyx:

    It means I agree with you that I don’t get the overwhelming Elvis love – I never have – and I think a lot of that love should have gone to Johnny Cash instead.

  17. 17

    You want a song of the week? Try the “CPAC Rap.” Old white guys rapping about free-DUMB in jogging suits and George Washington wigs.

    Wish I was making this up but sadly I’m not.

  18. 18
    BethanyAnne says:

    Who’s Elvis?

  19. 19
    middlewest says:

    No.
    Never blame on human error what can be blamed on WordPress.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    smintheus says:

    Sorry, this is terrible and not in a good way. The echo is distracting, the falsetto is worse.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    comrade baron elmo says:

    Lots of great versions of “Blue Moon” out there. (Once during my college DJ days, I did an all “Blue Moon” set that ruled the universe.) Check out the renditions by The Marcels (doo-wop heaven), Mel Torme (coooool), Betty Carter (romping jazz), Django Reinhardt (sprightly) and, my personal favorite, the way sexy version by Bobby “Blue” Bland, which turns the song into a kind of funky samba, complete with a sassy horn section.

    Hell, even Harpo did it in one of the lesser Marx Brothers flicks (can’t recall which).

    Finally, did you know that “Blue Moon” is the theme song of the Manchester City Football Club? Bet it sounds great when bellowed by a grandstand full of boozed-up football fans.

  24. 24
    cincyanon says:

    When I got the Sun Sessions as a teen (who was also an early adopter of the New York Dolls and bought the import of Never Mind the Bollocks!) it was a revelation and was played on vinyl, then cassette, then CD. I had a little radio show in high school and would mix in selections with the growing New Wave and Punk stuff I played.
    Never played Blue Moon on the radio show (though I did “Blue Moon of Kentucky”)but to this day it still reminds me of driving on a rainy night for some reason.

  25. 25
    Thymezone says:

    Great find, a gem. Thanks.

  26. 26
    piratedan says:

    @BethanyAnne: some geeky chap from England who used to be a computer programmer but gave it up for a career of writing blog thread post titles….

  27. 27
    JPK says:

    @comrade baron elmo: That sounds like a great show!

  28. 28
    Arclite says:

    Best use of Elvis in cinema.

    (Warning, NSFW – R rated scene from an R-rated movie)

  29. 29
    kth says:

    Worst track on the Sun Sessions, except for that outtake on which someone (Scotty?) drops a n-bomb.

  30. 30
    Friday Jones says:

    @Arclite: I thought you were going to link to Val Kilmer as Elvis in True Romance. I love that opening scene where Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater are in the bar…”I always said, if I had to [the f word] a guy… I mean had to, if my life depended on it… I’d [the f word again] Elvis.”

  31. 31
    Jewish Steel says:

    Hello? 1-2. Check. Anybody out there?

    I’m playing @ Firehouse Pizza in Normal IL. 10pm. Hurry. I’ll wait til you get here.

  32. 32
    moderateindy says:

    This tune from Todd Snider should be the song of the week every week:
    “Conservative Christian Right-Wing Republican Straight White American Males”
    http://youtu.be/yV6okzwGWM8

    If you ever played high school football, or were a burn-out, check out this version of the same song with a f-ing brilliant introduction.
    http://youtu.be/Xhnf9x-Jfm4

  33. 33
    Joolz says:

    I’m another one who doesn’t get the Elvis thing. I also don’t get the Beatles thing either. Bowie, however ….. (and my husband doesn’t get my Bowie thing).

  34. 34
    ThresherK says:

    @cathyx: I can’t say “obsession” for myself. But given my age an

    My late mom introduced me to many a grown-up taste in life, and as such the northeastern suburban 14-year-old me was listening to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole, and WNEW-AM in New York, and understanding that Willie Nelson could deliver a song without hitting more than a handful of the notes.

    She was a Depression baby, certainly a pre-rock type. In 1977 she actually said “I wasn’t affected by that young singer’s death. I still miss Bing Crosby,” who died a few years earlier.

    I miss you too, Mom.

  35. 35
    "Velcome Neek!" says:

    @Friday Jones: Val Kilmer as Elvis?

    It’s late enough for me to indulge in something supremely silly. How about Val as Nick Rivers?

  36. 36
    honus says:

    @khead: no way. Johnny Cash was good, but Elvis could sing. Don’t take my word for it, read what the Beatles had to say about him.

  37. 37
    honus says:

    @Joolz: Bowie could explain the Elvis/Beatles thing to you. He got pretty much everything from them. (I’m not being snarky or mean, it’s just that I don’t think Bowie would have done what he did without hearing Elvis and the Fabs, and I think he would readily admit it)

  38. 38
    honus says:

    @ThresherK: Actually, Bing outlived Elvis by a few months. He died in October of 1977. And I loved Bing, partly because he owned a chunk of the Clemente-era Pittsburgh Pirates.

  39. 39
    sloan says:

    Well if we’re listening to Elvis tonight I’ll throw If I Can Dream in the mix.

  40. 40
    pete says:

    I have always loved this version of Blue Moon. To those who don’t, feel free to disagree, but don’t feel free to assert that your opinion is some kind of received truth. You don’t get Elvis? Well, tough — your loss.

    And welcome, JPK. More interesting nuggets, please. I imagine some of them I won’t like, but I’ll give them a shot.

  41. 41
    ThresherK says:

    @honus: My memory is faulty on that–thanks for the correction.

    I guess that’s why my Mom was talking about them at the same time. Still cracks me up that “that young singer” was pretty much nameless to her, and within a few years of her age.

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