Elvis Presley Sings ‘I Got Stung’

elvis_gold_records_vol-_2_original_lp_coverListen to this track, a rollicking number from the King, Elvis Presley, who on this coming Saturday January 8th would have been 76 had he survived his battles with bad food, prescription drugs, and the Colonel. It’s one of my favourites of his pre-Army RCA days, “I Got Stung”, a double A-side to his 1958 single “One Night”, and a feature on the compilation record 50 000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: Elvis Golden Records, Vol 2.

Only 1:51 long, it packs in the sex and violence just as effectively as any punk rock song, kids. It would be his last recorded song in the ’50s (June 11, 1958 to be exact), the end of an era for him, and perhaps too for everyone. He would be shipped to Germany  as a part of the U.S Army after this, and his early career would be over.

Elvis’ RCA period is often lost in the shuffle, when considering his cooler Sun Records period, and his decidedly un-cooler ’60s movie period.  Where I think the split here is not quite as sharply defined in those terms, some of Elvis’ best singles come out of this middle period, with this one being one of my favorites.  What we’ve got here is all the production sparkle of a bigger operation like RCA, along with Elvis’ still supple, youthful swagger that we hear on the Sun sides locked right in there.  He sounds like a badass on this. And what about that band?

Read more

Happy Birthday Elvis Presley and David Bowie!

Today is Elvis Presley’s birthday! He would have been 73. Or he is 73 today, depending on your opinion about his death. It’s also David Bowie’s birthday today, which is a nice parallel. He’s 61 – 61!

There is story concerning the two artists; that Bowie, during his Ziggy Stardust period, showed up late at an Elvis Presley concert held at Madison Square Garden in full Ziggy regalia and sat near the front row to everyone’s distraction. What a time the early 70s must have been for shows like that, when members of the audience could outdress those on stage, even if the one on stage happens to be Elvis!

Here’s a recollection from Bowie on the matter:

“[Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I’d gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set.”

– Bowie (1996) (Read more from the source of this quote here…)

And what must Elvis have thought? I’d like to think it was something like, “look what’s come of everything I helped to start!”

Happy birthdays, guys!

To celebrate, here are a couple of clips

To view the clips, hover over each of the images and click the ‘play’ icon. Enlarge the viewing window by clicking on the magnifying glass icon.


Elvis Presley On Stage

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

About the Clips

The first one is Elvis during his earliest Vegas residency at the very beginning of the 1970s, which I think is an underrated period in his career. He performs Tony Joe White‘s ‘Polk Salad Annie’, a standard in Elvis’ set at the time, and featuring the scorching guitar work of the great James Burton. This tune graced Elvis’ live album On Stage February 1970 , which remains to be a favourite of mine, and one of the earliest records I remembering heatring. Dad is a big Elvis fan from way back.

The second clip is Bowie performing as Ziggy Stardust around the same time, this time on an historic appearance on Britain’s Top of the Pops show performing his song “Starman”. The performance polarized a nation, with one half seeing a new world of fashion, expression, and a new approach to rock performance, and the other thinking that the world had gone mad, causing many to seek a refund of their TV licenses.