January 23, 2009
Video realizado por Nerea Ganzarain, con música de "Bosques de mi Mente" y un texto de Eduardo Galeano
Cuando me lo pasó un compañero, creí que era otro documental aburrido de los suyos, no pensaba ni en abrirlo, pero decidí darle una pésima oportunidad. No pensé que este video me llegase tanto. "Cada noche será vivida como la ultima, y cada día como si fuera el primero." Impresionante, realmente... Impresionante.
anarquista, soñador, idealista, socialista
en fin de conseguir un mundo nuevo
un sueño nuevo cada despierta...
Chips Moman: the missing man of Memphis music
Source: From The Commercial Appeal
This is not a sob story or a tale of woe, or a plea for pity or praise. But for Lincoln 'Chips' Moman it's about respect -- respect earned, but not given.
In music, few men could claim more or finer achievements. A gifted rockabilly guitarist and band leader in the 1950s, Moman went on to become one of the architects of Stax Records and author of some of the most enduring songs in the history of rhythm-and-blues and country music -- from 'Dark End of the Street' to 'Luckenbach Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)' (Sung by Waylon Jennings). Besides Sam Phillips, he was the only man to effectively produce Elvis Presley -- helping midwife The King's creative rebirth in 1969. And it was Moman who helped build and shape American Sound Studios and its house band -- generating the most prolific run of chart hits ever.
Yet, for the last two decades, Chips Moman has been a cipher, a ghost, the missing man of Memphis music. Much of that is his own doing, of course. Sensitive and highly strung, Moman left Memphis twice -- once in the '70s and again in the '80s -- under acrimonious circumstances.
Still, for a town that values its musical history, Moman has been curiously consigned to footnote status. You'll find little mention of him or the American Studios band in the Rock 'N' Soul Museum or the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and their names were all but absent from the city-sponsored year-long musical celebrations of 2004 and 2007.
The 71-year-old Moman has been back living in LaGrange, Ga., where he was born, for the past decade. Though semi-retired, he still makes his way to Nashville for the odd session or to get together with friends. But one place he doesn't visit is Memphis. 'I've stayed away', says Moman, in an easy drawl. 'I have no desire to ever be back there. I don't know, man. It's really kind of hard to talk about, 'cause a lot of things that went on there hurt me tremendously'.
Moman couldn't possibly have anticipated either the triumph or the trials he would face when he first hitchhiked from LaGrange to Memphis as a 14-year-old back in 1951. 'I never knew I'd be in the music business', he says. 'I never gave it any thought. But I'd been playing guitar since I was a child'.
His eventual 'discovery' seems like a story lifted from an old Hollywood script. Sitting in a local drugstore, strumming away on a six-string, he was spotted by Sun rockabilly star
Warren Smith. 'He asked me if I wanted a job', says Moman, who played his first gig backing Smith at an Arkansas club on a bill that included Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. 'That's how I went into the business'.
Moman quickly became a hotshot local guitarist, and joined up with brothers Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. He traveled with them for sessions in California at the famed Gold Star Recording Studios. Moman watched and studied noted engineer Stan Ross behind the board. 'And from what I'd learned in California, I decided to take that experience and put it to work in Memphis', he says.
His chance came when he was called to do a session at a tiny garage studio in Brunswick, Tenn., owned by Jim Stewart. Moman and Stewart hit it off, and decided to join forces to start what would become Satellite, and eventually, Stax Records.
'I found that old theater (on McLemore), and the rent was only $50 a month. Went back and told Jim Stewart that and we rented it and built it out. That was the start of Stax. The rest is what happened'.
What happened has been the subject of some controversy and debate over the years. Certainly, Moman played a pivotal role in Stax's development. He was the one who recorded the label's initial hits by Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas and William Bell; helped develop 'Last Night', the song that would become The Mar-Keys' smash; and was the one who was musically predisposed to turning Stax from a white country music company into a black R&B label in the first place.
But a rancorous split with Stewart and his sister and co-owner, Estelle Axton, in 1962 brought all that to an abrupt end. As music historians Rob Bowman and Peter Guralnick have detailed, recriminations flew: Moman said he'd been cheated out of profits and ownership, while Axton and Stewart suggested Moman was seeking credits and money he didn't deserve.
More than four decades later, anger about his ouster at Stax still lingers in Moman's voice.
'Sometimes you can get hurt bad enough that you don't forget it', he says. 'What happened to me at Stax caused me to lose my house. I lost everything that I had. I remember that year ... for Thanksgiving, my wife and child, all we had was a box of corn flakes and some milk. You don't forget those kinds of things'.
Eventually, Moman threatened to sue Stax and negotiated a few thousand dollars in settlement. It was enough -- along with the help of a couple of partners -- to start up a new place at 827 Thomas called American Sound Studios.
For a couple of years, Moman struggled, producing the odd track, but mostly made his living playing guitar on sessions down in Muscle Shoals (for the likes of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, among others) and co-writing songs -- often with Dan Penn -- like the immortal 'Dark End of the Street' and 'Do Right Woman, Do Right Man'.
In 1965, things got rolling at American, with the arrival of local teen garage band The Gentrys, who cut a million-selling smash called 'Keep on Dancing'.
'They were just kids, and I wasn't much more' says Moman. 'But that got me started to the point where I could afford to hire a secretary'.
The secretary Moman hired, Sandy Posey, would be his next protégé, and she would go on to record the Top 20 Grammy-nominated hit 'Born A Woman'. 'After that, people started calling me to produce records', says Moman.
The studio hit its stride when Moman wooed members of the staff bands at Hi Records and Phillips to form the American Studios group: guitarist Reggie Young, drummer Gene Chrisman, pianist Bobby Wood, organist Bobby Emmons and bassists Mike Leech and Tommy Cogbill. That unit, mostly with Moman at the helm, would help sire a succession of hits for artists like the Box Tops ('The Letter'), Dusty Springfield ('Son of a Preacher Man'), Neil Diamond ('Sweet Caroline), B.J. Thomas ('Hooked on a Feeling'), Bobby Womack ('Fly Me To The Moon') and, most famously, Elvis Presley ('Suspicious Minds').
'We were working night and day', Bobby Wood recalls of the period. 'Sometimes we'd be doing Elvis at night and somebody like Neil Diamond during the day. I remember B.J. Thomas was in for his second album after 'Hooked on a Feeling', and I didn't know he'd already had a No. 1 record. That's how hard we were working -- we didn't even listen to the radio'.
Between 1967 and 1972, American would cut 122 chart records -- a still unmatched achievement. And yet, despite those gaudy numbers, few people seemed to give Moman or the band its due. He was particularly irked after the band was completely passed over for some local music awards in the early '70s.
'The thing is, Chips wasn't one to come out and say, 'Well I need my recognition'. He wouldn't do that', says his friend and longtime Memphis music industry vet Herb O'Mell. 'Those guys were not self promoters in any way and never tried to be. Whereas -- and I'm not saying anything bad -- the Stax people, they promoted themselves. The American people wrote their songs, made their records and went on to the next thing'.
But Moman was particularly sensitive to slights, both real and perceived, after his experience with Stax. A lack of recognition within Memphis -- from the press, from fellow musicians, from the city fathers -- for what he and American had contributed musically and economically almost overshadowed his success.
'I've heard him say that many times', says Reggie Young. 'And really, if you looked at it, here we were, and we've cut a hundred-something chart records, but yet there would be a mediocre Hi record or a Stax record that would get the press. In our little circle we'd come up with all kind of scenarios as to why we're not in the paper on Sunday or whatever. I guess they had better PR than we did'.
The lack of attention -- and a gradual downturn in session work -- was enough of an issue that Moman was thinking of leaving town. 'I figured if Memphis don't think no more of us than that, we can do what we do anywhere', says Moman.
Although Moman says City Council members pleaded with him to stay -- he was putting money into the city coffers, after all -- in 1972 he closed up shop in Memphis and headed to Atlanta to start a new studio, taking most of the American band with him.
His tenure in Atlanta was short-lived, however. After encountering problems with the new record label he'd set up, Moman decided to get out of the music business entirely.
'I was planning to go to Australia and become a bush pilot. But I decided to visit some friends in Nashville before I left', says Moman. 'While I was there, I wrote a hit song for B.J. Thomas ('[Hey Won't You Play] Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song') that became record of the year. So I stayed'.
Moman would spend the next dozen years in Nashville, where he would dominate the country field -- writing hits and producing albums by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynette and Ronnie Millsap.
Despite his success in Music City, in 1985, Moman was lured back to Memphis. Then Mayor Dick Hackett and First Tennessee bank chairman Ron Terry, eager to re-energize a Memphis music industry that had been stagnant since the demise of Stax in 1975, offered Moman a studio site and financial incentives to return to town.
'I had a lot of people telling me not to do it', Moman says. 'But it was kind of an honor to have them ask me to come back. And so I did. But things didn't go well'.
But then an album with Ringo Starr, in particular, was plagued by problems. After The Commercial Appeal ran a column mildly disparaging Starr (saying the 'aging Beatle is yesterday's news'), Moman staged a bizarre protest in front of the newspaper's offices. Despite doing some recording, Starr eventually abandoned the project and sued Moman to stop the album's release.
In the end, Moman decided, 'Fixing the music business in town wasn't going to happen overnight, like everyone wanted it to', and he returned to Nashville, where he resumed his success for another decade before heading off to semi-retirement in Georgia.
Moman's reclusive nature and lingering bitterness about Memphis have come with a price: His achievements, and those of the American band, have been marginalized in the city's musical history.
In the last two decades, Moman and the American band have repeatedly been passed over for industry awards and honors -- in fact, their only institutional recognition came last year in Nashville, where the band was among the inaugural inductees to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
Like the original Stax studio, the building housing American was demolished in 1990; today, in its place is a parking lot. There's no plaque or marker to note what was once there.
Herb O'Mell says part of the problem is that no one has served as custodian of American's legacy. 'The people from Stax and Sun, they remained here, and they became the officers and took over the (Grammys) and all the award things, and they just kinda left Chips and American out', says O'Mell. 'There's nobody here saying 'American, American, American', the way Deanie Parker has done for Stax or Knox Phillips has done for Sun. That is, unless you talk to someone like Marty Lacker'.
Lacker, a longtime music industry veteran, Elvis confidante -- he helped bring Presley to American in 1969 -- and friend of Moman's, has, for the past year, been campaigning privately with both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Recording Academy, the group that governs the Grammys, to get Moman and the American band some long-overdue recognition.
It's a task made more difficult by the fact that Moman and American weren't identified with a single label or style, as were other house bands that have been honored, such as Stax's Booker T. & the MGs or Motown's Funk Brothers.
'Chips says he doesn't give a damn now if they do anything. But I know deep down inside he does', Lacker says. 'Especially, with the local Grammy chapter -- it's nothing but politics there. Most of the (American band) guys are from here. They don't have anything against Memphis. It's just that nobody has said, 'Y'all did good'.'
Memphis Grammy chapter executive director Jon Hornyak says Moman and the American band have been on the list for the chapter's bi-annual Recording Academy Honors the past two times. Other sources confirm that their names have previously been submitted to the national Grammy body for consideration for Trustee's and Lifetime Achievement awards -- but, so far, nothing has happened.
'There are a lot of great people out there, and some get more attention than others, and it's not always clear why', says Hornyak. 'I don't think a lot of people are aware of the things Chips had accomplished and all the things that he had his fingers in'.
Whether anyone ever recognizes it, Moman says his greatest joy comes from what he and the American band achieved. 'We still get together and play once a year. And every once in a while we'll book a session and everyone comes, and we're like we always were', says Moman. 'They're like my family. We've stayed together 40 years. That's my proudest accomplishment'.
As for the fate of his and the American band's legacy, Moman says he doesn't really expect anything to change.
'And I got no hard feelings about it. ... Well, I can't say that', he admits. 'Obviously, I do. I don't know what it is with us and Memphis, or why it's turned out this way. But if you happen to find the answer, I'd appreciate you letting me know'.
Reinventing Elvis: The American Sound Studios Sessions
The next few weeks were to be a milestone in Elvis Presley's career. On his own initiative, with considerable encouragement and prodding from his friends, he would slip from under his agent's conservative and protective control to work with one of the hottest house bands and one of the hottest producers in the country. He would break many well-worn habits that had put his career in neutral. He would make a sustained effort to recreate himself and re-establish his musical dominance. And he would assemble strong new material for an adventurous live act set to open July 31st, later that year in Las Vegas.
That Elvis Presley would rise to and seize the occasion now seems, viewed through the layers of legend shrouding every aspect of his life, a done deal. Elvis had only to show up at American Sound and spin wax into gold. But on that cold evening, at 827 Thomas Street, in a dilapidated, black section of his adopted hometown, the jury was still out.
There had been a few early films that had challenged him, even inspired him: Jailhouse Rock, Loving You, King Creole. But after his discharge from the army in 1960, he became trapped in a revolving door of lightweight vehicles, usually set in exotic locals with one excuse after another to strap him in cars, helicopters or boats. Some were notably better than others, but none tended to stretch or risk the leading man. The plots were as formulaic as the music. Take for example, 'Song of the Shrimp' from Girls, Girls, Girls (1962), or 'El Torro' and 'There's No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car' from Fun in Acapulco (1963), or 'Yoga Is as Yoga Does' from Easy Come, Easy Go (1967).
Elvis resented that the financial success of his films, as silly and trivial as they were, enabled the studio to realize more ambitious and risky projects. Rumor had it, and so Elvis believed, that Hal Wallis's Beckett, with Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton, was financed largely on the windfall from Blue Hawaii. Elvis was paying for the Oscar triumphs of others.
But Presley's real problem was not the poor quality of his films (the sets for Harum Scarum, 1965, were cardboard leftovers from Cecil B. De Mille's Anthony and Cleopatra) or the formulaic plots (he called them travelogues) or the grind of the work itself (it had started out as fun with lots of horseplay and, of course, lots of girls, but even that had become routine) or that he would never be taken seriously as an actor. The real rub was that making movies '24/7' had taken Elvis away from his life's blood: the fans.
And that had left him behind the times. When Martin Luther King was shot and killed just miles away from Graceland on April 4, 1968, and riots erupted across the country, Elvis was making Stay Away Joe, his 26th film. The evolution in recording technique and the intensely provocative sounds of the turbulent decade never reached one of his soundtracks. Presley, the revolutionary, the leader of his generation had fallen completely out of touch with an audience he could neither recognize nor trust. He was in serious danger of becoming irrelevant.
Many of the songs were nostalgic, 'Blue Suede Shoes', 'Hound Dog', 'Mystery Train', etc. The fans always wanted to be reminded of the good old days. But there were some refreshing new sounds, 'Memories' by Billy Strange and Mac Davis, and 'Guitar Man' by Jerry Reed, which Elvis had recorded the previous year.
Most importantly, there was the gospel-bluesy 'If I Can Dream', written especially for the close by musical director, W. Earl Brown. Elvis resisted Colonel Parker's standing order that the special close with a standard Christmas carol and avoid any kind of social comment. Steve Binder, the producer, felt a message song about peace, humanity and brotherhood would be a bold and fitting send off. Binder sold the idea to Elvis:Earl sat down at the piano and played it through. Elvis sort of sat there listening. He didn't comment; he just said, 'Play it again'. So Earl sat there and played it again - and again. Then Elvis started to ask some questions about it, and I would venture to say Earl probably played the song six or seven times in a row. Then Elvis looked at me and said, 'We're doing it'.It was a significant and unusual moment. Elvis rarely over-ruled Parker, and it demonstrates the confidence he felt as he began to retool his image.
The Singer Special was an enormous success and insured a lucrative contract in Las Vegas for the coming summer. An eager audience waited for him, and as generous and as forgiving as his fans had always been, he would have to meet great expectations. Elvis needed something new to communicate, music to address a mature and intelligent audience. He needed records. He needed hit records.
Nashville or Memphis?
The day after his 34th birthday on January 9, 1969, Elvis met with RCA producer, Felton Jarvis, in the Jungleroom at Graceland to discuss going to Nashville to record what he hoped would put him back on top of the charts.
Felton Jarvis (1936-81) was the off-beat type of guy that appealed to Elvis. Before coming on board with RCA he had produced Fats Domino and Gladys Knight. He also made the hit Shiela for Tommy Roe.
Jarvis got his job after Elvis summarily dismissed an indifferent Chet Atkins in 1966. The incident reveals Presley's attitude at work.One night at a session in RCA's Studio B [in Nashville], Elvis looked over and Chet Atkins was at the console with his head down, asleep. Elvis watched him through the whole damn take, and he never woke up. Elvis waited 'til the session was over, and then he told either Colonel Parker or Tom Diskin [Parker's assistant, ever present at recording sessions], 'I don't want that son of a bitch here anymore'.Felton had a respectful, hands-off approach. He basically let Elvis run the show. He even allowed him to record gospels songs at their first session, sharing a sensitivity to Presley's interests that the singer never forgot (these tracks would become the basis for Presley's second Grammy award winning gospel album How Great Thou Art). Felton's primary job was to coordinate recording sessions with Colonel Parker's office. He never picked songs for Elvis or had any say in choosing musicians. Remarkably, the final say on the band came from the Colonel, sometimes through Tom Diskin.
Felton Jarvis seemed to energize Elvis, often imitating his moves while he sang. Elvis genuinely liked him, and they shared a mutual respect and admiration. In 1970, Elvis pulled strings to find Jarvis a kidney for a much needed transplant and then paid for the operation. Later, Presley insisted that Felton accompany him on his tours, hardly a necessity, and when RCA complained that Jarvis was neglecting the other artists for whom he worked, Elvis simply hired him away to be his personal producer. He wanted Jarvis, like so many others, to be at his beck and call. Around 1976, the weary entertainer in a moment of eerie candor confided to the astonished producer, 'I'm just so tired of being Elvis Presley'.
Freddy Bienstock, manager of Hill and Range Music Publishers, brought the songs to the RCA sessions. H & R owned the subsidiary companies Elvis Presley Music and Gladys Music. Under the publishing arrangement, Elvis and the Colonel and H & R received a percentage of the songwriters' royalties when Elvis sold their songs. A kind of double dip that could really add up fast. Bienstock would report the recording arrangements personally to Parker so that Presley could be intimately managed from afar.
There was a problem inherent in the Hill and Range set up that had been and always would be a thorn in the side of success. Initially, when Elvis was the hottest act on the planet, songwriters would willingly cough up profits to have him record (and quite possibly score a hit) with one of their songs. As the industry changed and more artists hit the charts selling millions, and as Elvis' sales continued to decline, writers became increasingly reluctant to share royalties. With Parker and H & R insisting on a slice of the pie, the quality of the material presented for Elvis' consideration began to suffer seriously. For the '69 sessions to succeed, there would have to be a way around petty, third party interests.
The traditional RCA recording method had been long proscribed. Elvis, just as he had at Sun, stood in the middle of the room with a live band around him, often with his harmony group. There was very little over-dubbing. Nashville wasn't equipped. Elvis preferred it that way, playing off the musicians spontaneously and performing physically. But the style limited the producer's ability to create and fine tune, and in the end the product could suffer.
With the success of the Singer Special, everyone expected to see Elvis on top of his game. But Presley was known to ape the demos he chose. If he found the material uninspiring, he would simply go through the motions. The sessions could also degenerate into mayhem depending on Presley's mood, which could be fickle and which his entourage was always quick to pick up on. It was more or less their job to make sure he was happy and that meant tending to and encouraging his slightest whim. One especially important member of that often maligned crew was Marty Lacker.
Marty Lacker first met Elvis at Humes High when they were both in school. In 1960, Elvis invited him out to Hollywood for the Kid Galahad shoot, and Marty stayed on, a made man in the Memphis Mafia. In 1964, Lacker became foreman of the group, Presley's personal secretary and check writer. He lived for a time at Graceland in a garage apartment with wife and daughter and served as co-best man with Joe Esposito at Elvis' Vegas wedding in '67.
In 1966, Lacker took a promising position to start a new company called Pepper Records and that had him moving and shaking in the Memphis music scene. Before long he was doing production work with Chips over at American Sound Studios, where Red West, Elvis' childhood friend, was doing session work. Lacker was very impressed: 'They were all white guys, but to hear them play you'd swear they were black'.
Chips Moman founded American Sound Studios in 1965, after finding himself devoid of any real controlling interest in the Stax studio he had helped to create. He was determined to never be cheated again. Around him he gathered a dedicated band of immense quality: Bobby Wood, John Hughey, Tommy Cogbill, Mike Leech, Reggie Young, Gene Chrisman, Ed Kollis, and Bobby Emmons. Collectively, they would place 125 records on the charts over a span of five years.
American Studios was literally located in the ghetto. After King's assassination, Memphis was a tense place to be, especially in the black neighborhoods. So Moman kept dogs around and occasionally put a guard on the roof armed with a shotgun to watch over the parking lot.
Lacker knew American's sound was right for Elvis. It was more commercial and country than their rival, soul oriented Stax. Chips' technique was also up to date. He would cut a rough vocal track with the rhythm section, setting the structure and tone of the song. Later he would sweeten or orchestrate, adding horns or strings. The artist would then be called back in to lay down the main vocal tracks.
Whenever Lacker mentioned how great working with Chips would be, Elvis would say, 'Well, I'll think about it', or 'One of these days soon we'll try it'. And Chips would needle Lacker about when Elvis was going to come in and record. 'When are you going to tell Elvis to let me produce a record?' But what could Lacker tell him?
Lacker was sitting there in the Jungleroom that January evening, seething, as he listened to Elvis and Felton finalize the dates for Nashville. He began to unconsciously shake his head back and forth (his head was big, bald and round and as a result his nickname was Moon). He fought back his frustration. Elvis snapped at him, 'What the hell's the matter with you?' and Lacker got the opening he needed to lay it on the line one last time: What about Chips? His band is on fire, turning out hits with big stars - hell, Dusty Springfield came all the way from Britain to work with him just to get that Memphis sound. Why don't you just try Chips and American?And [Elvis] said, 'Well, maybe someday I will'.
Then everybody got up to go in the dining room, but I just sat there [cursing]. I didn't want to go sit at the table and hear them talk about the Nashville session...
Well it wasn't two minutes before Felton came out and said 'Elvis wants to see you'.
I said, 'Felton, I don't want to go in there. With all due respect to you and Nashville, I really don't want to hear about it'. And he said, 'No he wants to talk to you about cutting in Memphis'. Well, I was out of that chair in a flash.Lacker only had four days to set it up. Elvis was on a tight schedule. He still had to shoot one last picture, Change of Habit with Mary Tyler Moore, for MGM, and he had to get busy preparing a live act. Then there was the problem of studio time. Elvis wanted to begin on Monday, but Neil Diamond had been scheduled in that slot. And Elvis worked at night, through the early hours of the morning. How accommodating would Chips be?
Lacker called Chips at his home to let him know that Elvis was willing to give American a go. He let him know the constraints, emphasizing that it had to be a closed session, no guests, no publicity. And he reminded him of the scheduling conflict that would have to be resolved. Diamond was a pretty big star himself. Chip's exact words were, 'Fuck Neil Diamond. Neil Diamond will just have to be postponed. Tell Elvis he's on'.
Colonel Parker had lost control of his number one asset during an evening dinner at Graceland. His greatest fear was being realized. Elvis had actually made a major decision without seeking either his advice or permission. The question for Parker became how to keep the situation from spinning totally out of his sphere of influence.
Felton Jarvis was too close to Elvis to be counted on to keep a real eye on things. Besides, he had abdicating his position to Chips. He might be able to play a part in post-production, but Chips' take charge, no bullshit attitude ruled out any serious input in the studio. Parker could only send Diskin and RCA vice-president Harry Jenkins to the sessions to make sure everyone on the gravy train was having his interests considered. Those interests may have been primarily Parker's, but they were also, the Colonel genuinely felt, Elvis'. The two, of course, were inseparable.
Oh, and Parker could also send music, lots and lots of music from the Hill and Range catalog. On that count, he thought he was well set up, believing that he had practically placed an insider in Presley's camp.
Lamar Fike was one of Elvis' oldest and closest personal friends. At the request of Elvis' mother, Gladys, he had accompanied Private Presley to Germany, where he served as chauffeur and valet. Throughout the years he would be an integral part of the organization. He survived the wholesale housecleaning in 1976, which resulted in the backlash, tell-all book, Elvis, What Happened? From early on his corpulence and feisty attitude marked him as Elvis' general whipping post. But Fike was trusted and always played an important role. He introduced Elvis to Jarvis in 1966, in an attempt to lure him away from Hollywood and back to Nashville. After the American sessions, he would run lights for the stage show in Vegas. In the '70's, insulated from Elvis' often violent mood swings, he would work advance on the countless tours. He would also serve as one of Presley's pallbearers.
Fike started working at H & R in 1962, at times in close association with Parker and the home office. And though Fike was a champion of H & R, and worked on their behalf and had practically been placed in the job by the Colonel, he was a team player. After all, what was good for H & R was making money for Elvis too.
Fike was selling one song, 'Kentucky Rain' by Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard, that he had a really good feeling about. Elvis wasn't too impressed, but Fike was persistent. Elvis had to cut it, it was that good, and if he didn't somebody else was going to chart with it. It was a smart call and Fike would later feel proud. When 'Kentucky Rain' was released in 1970, it stayed nine weeks in the top 100, reaching #16. And according to plan, H & R took 50 percent interest in the song and Elvis' subsidiary took half of that.
Chips began to prepare for Elvis. He pulled songs from his own library he knew Elvis could sink his teeth into. Some he had cut with other artists, some hadn't worked out just right. 'Suspicious Minds' was one. Chips had recorded it with the song's writer Mark James in 1968 for Scepter, but the record never made the charts. Chips thought he had a good chance with Elvis whose voice and intensity were perfect for the song. When the time came to cut the tracks, Chip used same arrangement as with James (played by the same band), believing that only Elvis was the missing ingredient to a hit record. He was right. It was the last time Elvis would have a number one record on the Hot 100.
Lacker briefed Chips on how Elvis was used to working, on the right things to say and do. Chips wouldn't need to tell Presley when he was off key or when he made a mistake. And musically he needn't meddle. Elvis knew what was right for him, he had been doing this a long time. But Chips ignored Lacker's unsolicited advice. He wasn't about to curb his talent just to spare Elvis' ego. The studio was his to control, the band his to direct, and well, Chips figured that when somebody hired him to do a job they were trusting him to go ahead and do it.
(In a January 2007 e-mail, Lacker disputes this, saying: 'I did not tell Chips what to say or not say to Elvis. I did tell him about the security and closed session aspect but that's all. One of the things I knew and respected about Chips was that he was in control of his sessions and I would never tell him what to say or do'.)
In 1994, Chips remembered:Hindsight's 20/20 I guess, but I didn't really think anything so special about getting the chance to record Elvis - not when it happened. Oh, it was okay, but to tell you the truth, we were so busy producing records in Memphis back then (and a lot of 'em were hits 'cause we were hot at the time with Neil Diamond and a lot of other stars) that we had to actually work a double shift and cut Roy Hamilton during the day and Elvis at night in order to do those albums. He only had so much open time on his schedule. Now don't get me wrong. I had always liked Elvis. I always loved his music, especially the early years of his career, but I just went in to work on it like any other project - no big deal. You see, most everybody in Memphis kind of took Elvis for granted - didn't pay any attention to how big a star he really was. Remember, he was a hometown boy. He's bigger now in Memphis than he ever was in his best days when he was alive.The sessions began as scheduled that Monday evening. To Chips and the band it was business as usual. If anything, they were suspicious of all the hype. They were also proud. Elvis was coming to them, to get their help, their sound. They were used to working with big stars and with big egos and Elvis was known to have one of the biggest. But they were also used to producing good material and Elvis hadn't been doing that for quite some time. Presley was going to have to prove himself. Even so, when Elvis pulled into the back parking lot, Bobby Wood could just sense he had arrived.I just felt his presence. I felt him. It was almost like Christ was out there or something. There was no doubt about it. I tell you what, I got chill bumps when he came in. I couldn't help it. It just happened. You knew he was there'.What a funky, funky place', Elvis muttered when he entered, possibly to calm his nerves. He was trailed by his regular bunch of guys: Fike, Lacker, Joe Eposito, Sonny and Red West, WHBQ deejay George Klein, and of course Jarvis. Tom Diskin from Parker's office was there to keep watch, so was Freddy Bienstock, representing H & R, and RCA's Harry Jenkins. Three or four of the boys on a well established cue pulled cigarette lighters out when Elvis stuck a thin cigar in his mouth. The band cringed.
Chips thought it an aggravation to have all those people around. It was an aggravation for everybody. Elvis was always playing to the guys, always trying to say something cute, keep them laughing. It could get pretty hectic. But for whatever reason, Elvis needed his friends around. They made him feel comfortable. It may have seemed phony to everyone else, but this was the real world to Elvis Presley.
That first night, after a hesitant beginning (everyone needed to get comfortable with one another and Elvis seemed to have opening night jitters), it became clear, and was a particular relief to the musicians, that Elvis meant business. He responded positively to Chips' direction, and listened attentively even when Chips interrupted him in mid song, admonishing Elvis to 'try it again'. It was the same attentiveness and focus Presley had paid to Steve Binder and the Singer Special.
Chips only recorded three songs that evening, 'Long Black Limousine' by Bobby George and Vern Stovall, that Chips introduced, 'This Is the Story' by Arnold, Morrow and Martin, from Freddy Beinstock and H & R and 'Wearin' that Loved On Look' by Dallas Frazier and Al Owens, which Lamar had brought in. Even so, the session didn't break up till four the next morning and everyone seemed satisfied. On the ride back to Graceland, Elvis turned to the guys in the back and told them what seemed obvious. 'Man, that felt really great. I can't tell you how good I feel... I really just want to see if I can have a number one record one more time'.
For the first three days, the sessions went according to plan. Elvis wanted to record some songs that Chips really had no interest in ('Yesterday', for example), and he would back away until Elvis got them out of his system. Then the cold which had been bothering Presley for weeks came back with a vengence. Elvis stayed at Graceland for a few days to recuperate while Chips cut background and laid down some rhythm tracks for a few new songs.
Chips had a song by Mac Davis that he knew would be a hit, 'In the Ghetto' (Lacker disputes this, saying that Elvis 'brought that to the session on a tape of Mac Davis' songs that he got from Billy Strange who at the time was with Nancy Sinatra's publishing company who had Mac under a writer's contract'). Elvis liked Davis and his songs, like 'A Little Less Conversation', but he wasn't sure about this one. It was a message ballad about the cycle of poverty in the ghetto. It was not typical of what Elvis recorded and it went against the Colonel's no politics rule. In a press conference in 1972, Elvis made this philosophy clear when asked what he thought of war protesters and whether he would refuse to be drafted: 'Honey, I'd just soon to keep my own personal views to myself. 'Cause I'm just an entertainer and I'd rather not say'.
George Klein really didn't think it was a good song for Elvis and told him so, but Chips was insistent. Elvis said he'd think about it.
Back at Graceland, Elvis and the guys were going through the demos the Colonel had sent from H & R. Elvis was distraught. They were running out of good songs and this batch was just awful. Why wouldn't they send him some good material for a change? Marty spoke up: the H & R situation was costing Elvis hit songs. Elvis needed to consider music which the Colonel didn't have a bonus interest in. Presley sat for a while, grinding his teeth and nervously bouncing his leg, language that was an indication that the keg was about to blow.
And finally it did. Business was business, but from now on everybody was going to bring in songs. And if they had the publishing rights, well, OK, but if not, and they were good songs, then the hell with it. He was going to cut them anyway.
Klein, whose radio connections were significant, immediately got on the phone and secured 'The Grass Won't Pay No Mind' from Neil Diamond. Klein also had second thoughts about 'In the Ghetto'. He had been thinking about it the day after and his advice had been a mistake. When he told Elvis he thought the song would be a hit, Presley grinned, 'No shit, I'm cutting it tonight'.
Back in the studio, Elvis began work on 'Suspicious Minds' and 'In the Ghetto'. It was obvious that these were going to be big records. Diskin and Bienstock began to get antsy. They caught Chips alone in the hall and started working on him, trying to get a piece of the songs he owned. Finally Chips had had enough.Gentlemen, I thought we were here to cut some hit records. Now if that's not the case, let me tell you what you can do. You can take your fucking tapes, and you and your whole group can get the hell out of here. Don't ask me for something that belongs to me. I'm not going to give it to you.Surprisingly, RCA's Jenkins chimed in with Chips. The session was going well. Everybody was going to make out just fine. There was no need to let the whole thing unravel.
Diskin was furious and sought out Elvis to plead his case. But Presley had already made up his mind. He wasn't going to let the home office or H & R or RCA for that matter, ruin his session. He politely told Diskin to let him and Felton and Chips handle things.
Presley then did something which surprised even Chips. He asked the producer how they could eliminate the hassels, and Chips told him to just get everyone out of there. And that was it.
Diskin grabbed the hotline to the Colonel's office and, frustrated and perplexed, spelled out the circumstances. Elvis was going his own way. He didn't want them around. They had absolutely no control.
Colonel Parker bristled. There was nothing he could do except tell Diskin to cut out immediately. That would teach Elvis a lesson: 'Come back here right now, and let him fall on his ass'.
Many critics and fans alike have often claimed that if only Elvis had taken more control of his career, had trusted his own instincts, made the movies and recorded the music he really wanted, if he had just gotten rid of the Colonel entirely, his career would have been much better off. It's hard to argue with the Colonel's success, but it may be said with certainty that in this instance, without being tied by the Presley machine, Elvis rose to and met every challenge.
Marty Lacker puts it succinctly:So Elvis fell on his ass, all right. In twelve days, he cut thirty-six sides. Four of them were singles - 'In the Ghetto', 'Suspicious Minds', 'Don't Cry Daddy', and 'Kentucky Rain', and all but the last were gold, even though Kentucky Rain was a substantial hit. And the two albums that came out of it [From Elvis in Memphis and From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis] went platinum. That's some falling on your ass. When Elvis walked into American Sound Studio that January evening, he hadn't had a top five record since 1965. He would never get as high on the charts again as he did with Chips Moman. Elvis himself believed that he had recorded some of his best material. He did so with focus and effort, and by asserting a kind of independence which was unusual for him. But it was an independence tempered by a willingness to work with and be guided by a producer he had never met, in a studio he knew by name only. Desperate for a number one record, Elvis took chances he would never take again.
In 1973, when recording at Stax (also in Memphis), bad habits and boredom returned. During a Monday night session, he had the guys buy a television so he could watch the football game (the TV was left behind when he left). Larry Nix, the engineer, remembers the cookie cutter mentality.They'd bring a song in... Elvis would listen, and he'd go do it. The song would be done identical to the demo. That dumbfounded me. There was no imagination, no 'Create a little bit here', you know! Felton Jarvis was the producer, but all the production was already done on the demos. They just copied them.Elvis never returned to American partly because of the divisions it created in his organization and the hassles with his management. But also because he didn't need to or want to take any more chances. The success of the records and the ensuing act in Vegas spurred him into a flurry of tours and live performances, the whirlwind of which echoed the relentless manufacture of films in the '60's. He would rise to meet the challenge of the Satellite Special from Hawaii, Aloha, but this was almost entirely based on his standard, well-worn repertoire.
By 1974, Elvis didn't even want to record. He went the year without producing a single side. At the RCA session in March of 1975, Elvis managed ten songs in just three days which formed the album, Elvis Today. Quickly trying to meet his obligations before yet another Vegas opening, the songs were chosen without any sense of direction and did nothing to boost his flagging sales. In 1976, he decided he might just as well record at Graceland, and RCA built a studio of sorts in the Jungleroom. This produced the albums From Elvis Presley Boulevard and Moody Blue. Elvis did not record in the studio again. In 1977, Elvis' only recording was a television special for CBS, Elvis In Concert.
Born in 1936 in LaGrange, Georgia, Chips Moman made his name as one of the architects of the Memphis Sound, an edgier style of soul music descended from Memphis' blues and rhythm and blues. Settling in Memphis in the late 1950s, he helped establish soulful Stax Records in 1958. Six years later, Moman and fellow producer Bob Crewe founded American Sound Studios. Stax and American Sound became the premier champions of the Memphis Sound.
As a songwriter, Moman composed the gritty R&B tune 'Dark End of the Street', which was recorded by Percy Sledge, Linda Ronstadt, and Roy Hamilton, as well as 'Luckenback Texas', made famous by country outlaw Waylon Jennings. As a hands-on producer, Moman became an expert at finding the right material for the right performer. Moman produced a three-year string of hits for such diverse artists as Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, B.J. Thomas, Neil Diamond, and the Box Tops.
His work with Elvis Presley In 1969 garnered the singer his first hit singles in years.
During the 1970s, Moman produced in Nashville but returned to Memphis in 1985 to open Three Alarm Studios. Partly because of his work with Elvis, Moman gained a reputation for reviving stagnating careers.
;1) Clayton, Rose and Dick Heard, eds. Elvis Up Close. Atlanta, Georgia: Turner Publishing, Inc., 1994.
;2) Dickerson, James. Goin'Back to Memphis. New York: Schirmer Books, 1996.
;3) Gordon, Robert. It Came from Memphis. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1994.
;4) Gray, Michael and Roger Osborne. Elvis Atlas, A Journey through Elvis Presley's America. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996
;5) Guralnick, Peter. Careless Love, The Unmaking of Elvis Presley. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1999.
;6) Guralnick, Peter. Last Train to Memphis, The Rise of Elvis Presley. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1994
;7) Lacker, Marty, et al. Elvis, Portrait of a Friend. Memphis, Tennessee: Wimmer Brothers Books, 1979.
8) Nash, Alana, et al. Elvis Aaron Presley, Revelations from the Memphis Mafia. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
9) Osborne, Jerry. Elvis, Word for Word. New York: Harmony Books, 1999.
;10) Pierce, Patricia Jobe. The Ultimate Elvis, Elvis Presley, Day by Day. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.
;11) Worth, Fred L. and Steve D. Tamerius. Elvis, His Life from A to Z. Chicago, Illinois: Contemporary Books, 1988.
"Due mafiosi contro Goldginger" (1965) directed by Giorgio Simonelli
January 22, 2009
Mijn liefde Er is alleen jou in mijn leven Het enige ding dat juist is Mijn eerste liefde Jij bent elke adem die ik neem Jij bent elke stap die ik doe En ik Ik wil al mijn liefde Met jou delen Niemand anders voldoet En jouw ogen Ze vertellen me hoeveel je er om geeft Oh, ja jij zal altijd Mijn eindeloze liefde zijn Twee harten Twee harten die kloppen als n Onze levens zijn net begonnen Voor eeuwig Ik zal je dicht in mijn armen houden Ik kan niet weerstaan aan jouw charmes En liefde Ik zal een gek zijn voor jou Ik ben zeker Je weet dat ik het niet erg vind Je weet dat ik het niet erg vind Omdat jij Jij betekent de wereld voor mij Oh, ik weet Ik weet dat ik in jou vond Mijn eindeloze liefde Oh En liefde Ik zal een gek zijn voor jou Ik ben zeker Je weet dat ik het niet erg vind Je weet dat ik het niet erg vind En ja Jij zal de enige echte zijn Omdat niemand kan tegenspreken Deze liefde die ik binnenin heb En ik zal het allemaal aan jou geven Mijn liefde Mijn eindeloze liefde
Elvis: Harley-Davidson Bronze [Jeff Decker] + Painting [David Uhl] for Jay Leno In a clip from their unreleased film, Motorenaissance.
David Uhl and Larry Geller: MY FAVORITE Painting OF ELVIS [next to a Harley-Davidson in front of Graceland]
Elvis's stylist/spiritual adviser Larry Geller loves David Uhl's painting of Elvis next to a Harley-Davidson in front of Graceland.
As the Title suggests, this video was taken inside Elvis' Graceland. This is the Jungle room.
The sound to this video was from the audio guide we were given. It wasn't easy holding the earpiece of the audio guide to my digital camera's microphone, whilst trying to be inconspicuous.....
Bret Weaver talks to BBQ team members from around the world as they gear up for the final judging.
FBI Security Support for 56th Presidential Inauguration: Barack Obama EXCLUSIVE REPORT [Inside the FBI Washington Field Office Command Center]
Behind the Scenes
As Barack Obama took the oath of office to become the 44th President of the United States, the men and women in our Command and Tactical Operations Center paused briefly to witness the historic occasion on flat screens around the room—but only briefly. Then it was back to the business of communicating with agents in the field and our partners at other command posts around the city to continue to monitor the event and to assess any possible threats.
Millions of people arrived in Washington almost overnight for inaugural activities, but we started planning security with our law enforcement partners six months ago. Our 24/7 security coverage began January 17 and continued throughout the festivities.
The Secret Service is on point for protecting the President and takes the lead for inaugural security, but issues involving terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and crisis management are the FBI’s responsibility.
From the command center at our Washington Field Office, agents, analysts, administrators, and members of our Joint Terrorism Task Force fielded tips from the public and used sophisticated mapping and surveillance technology to track suspicious activity as well as to monitor our response teams on the ground near the Capitol and the inaugural parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue.
More than 150 plainclothes teams on foot and in vehicles were “our eyes and ears on the ground—our trip wires, if you will,” said John Perren, Special Agent in Charge of our Counterterrorism Division at our Washington office.
The teams were looking for anything suspicious—an abandoned backpack at a Metro station that could be a bomb, an unknown liquid in a plastic bottle that might be a weapon of mass destruction. If necessary, ground teams could also quickly respond to a crisis situation.
The command center—the hub of FBI communications activity—enabled teams in the field to share information in real time and allowed its staff to continually update the threat assessment. Manning the operation were some of the Bureau’s most “battle-tested” personnel, said Joseph Persimmon, Jr., who heads the Washington Field Office. “Many people in the room were here during 9/11 and responded to the Pentagon after the attacks,” he said. “Our team is phenomenal.”
But every major event is different, he added, and despite the fact that our extensive intelligence gathering revealed no credible threats prior to Inauguration Day, the command post responded immediately to multiple threats. Our intelligence assets from around the world were put into play to “run any threats to the ground,” Perren said.
Meanwhile, over at the Joint Information Center run by the U.S. Secret Service, more than 20 agencies handled all the media for security issues. "We got every call under the sun," said Richard Kola, who along with Jason Pack represented the FBI at the center.
Special Agents have many different responsibilities, including community outreach, investigation, and continuous training. For example, Agents spend large parts of their days outside of the office, "in the field," working on cases. However, Agents may also spend an entire day in the office completing paperwork related to investigations. These varied tasks usually mean that a day in the life of a Special Agent will differ from the one before!
Join us to learn what one particular day in the life of an Agent in Washington, D.C., may be . . .
Special Agent Sydney Becker (fictional name) explains a day in the life of an Agent . . .
|An Agent's day begins early. Today, I woke up to begin firearms training at 7:00 a.m. Assigned to the Washington Field Office, Agents may practice at an indoor range in FBI Headquarters, or at an outdoor range at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Training is an ongoing process for Special Agents in order to maintain their law enforcement skills. Today, while training outdoors, I joined other Agents to practice firing at moving targets and targets that were at close range. We need to be prepared for any situation that may develop during an arrest. After firearms training I cleaned my weapon -- all Agents are responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of their weapons.|
Play Video #2
|While cleaning my weapon, I received a call over my radio, "suspect located, need assistance with arrest, meet at briefing location." Since I had already helped in the beginning of this investigation, a federal bank robbery case, I was familiar with the predetermined location. Meanwhile, other Agents were also contacted to meet at a location near the suspect's hideout -- close, but not close enough to alert the suspect. Here, we were briefed on the situation, looked at a map, and determined who would do what during the arrest.|
Play Video #3
|Having determined that conditions were right for an arrest -- keeping in mind the safety of the public as well as the Agents -- Agents moved in to arrest the suspect of the bank robbery. Agents drove close to the scene and safely approached the trailer where the suspect had been hiding. I remained behind with other Agents to cover those Agents making the arrest. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.|
Play Video #4
|The suspect was brought back to the Washington Field Office for processing. Processing usually includes fingerprinting and, if the suspect waives his rights to an attorney, questioning about the crime. The suspect was fingerprinted, questioned, and sent to a Federal Detention Center while Agents continued the investigation, which included interviewing witnesses and acquaintances, gathering evidence through the use of search warrants, and completing the necessary paperwork. After a busy day of training, investigating, and paperwork, I returned home to rest before another day in the life of an Agent.|