Thursday, 25 April 2013

Elvis sings the blues

Last week I was on the radio, Resonance FM, talking about Elvis. You can hear the show here.

As some of you may know, I wrote a book about him and his songs, Essential Elvis. Originally published in 1997, the twentieth anniversary of his death, it's being reissued later this year as an ebook, by Rocket 88, in a revised, corrected and (slightly) expanded version. (Which obviously I should be working on right now rather than this blog post.)

The radio show was an hour long and focused exclusively on something I turned up while writing the book. Elvis's taste in colour. He was a blue man. Not a blues man — though he sung some of those too. A blue man. In life: his father said the night sky was ringed with blue the night his son was born; Elvis believed that the colour blue had deep spiritual significance for him. In death: he was wearing blue pyjamas that night. After death: he was buried in a blue shirt and tie.

In song. He recorded just two songs with green in the title and one each with black, yellow and white. So five is the sum total of those coloured songs. But blue songs . . . he cut nineteen of those. That boy really could sing the blues.

I played pretty much all of them on the radio. Here's the full list. (The version of Blue Christmas I played was not the original but the one he sang at his 1968 comeback special, the one where he tells guitarist Scotty Moore to 'play it dirty'. On a Christmas song.)

English sleeve for actual 'Elvis sings the blues' album, 1983

1. Blue Moon Of Kentucky
2. Blue Moon
3. Milkcow Blues Boogie
4. Blue Suede Shoes
5. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
6. Mean Woman Blues
7. Blueberry Hill
8. Blue Christmas
9. A Mess Of Blues
10. GI Blues
11. Blue Hawaii
12. Beach Boy Blues
13. Something Blue
14. Blue River
15. Indescribably Blue
16. Steamroller Blues
17. Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues
18. Moody Blue
19. Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain

You can listen to them all right . . . here.

German sleeve for actual 'Elvis sings the blues' album, 1983

Next up A little trip to Tooting, I think

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