Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special Vive Le Roi Audio/Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental hand held device technician Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading off with Senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell [Insane Person-DE] for a tour of the Human/Mouse Brain Transplant project now underway at the super-secret laboratories of Sargento Foods Inc.

That being the case, posting will necessarily be slow for the next days, so here's a fun project to help you wile away the hours in our absence:

Best (or Worst) Elvis Presley Cover or Obviously El-Inspired Pop/Rock/Soul Song!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, and no arbitrary rules whatsoever, you're welcome very much. That last to be said in an Elvis voice, of course.

And my totally top of my head Top Six is:

6. Val Kilmer -- How Silly Can You Get/Spend This Night With Me



"Spend This Night" (great as it is) is an Elvis parody, of course, but "How Silly" -- which was written by Phil Pickett, the guy who co-authored "Karma Chameleon" -- is a terrific song that works just fine as a straight ahead pop rocker; if somebody like, say, Dave Edmunds had done it, I suspect it could have been a legit hit.

5. Nanci Griffith -- Wooden Heart




From the 1991 N.M.E. benefit compilation album The Last Temptation of Elvis. The original of this is one of Presley's most horrific movie songs, but when I heard Griffith's cover back in the day, I thought she managed to make something unexpectedly touching out of it. Listening to it again for the first time in ages, however, her trademark little girl vocal stylings now seem kind of annoying. Whether that says something about me or her, however, I wouldn't venture to guess.

4. Terry Stafford -- Suspicion



Still the greatest Elvis record Elvis never made. Kind of out-Els El in the neurotic paranoia department, in fact.

3. The Jeff Beck Group -- All Shook Up



I love this version, although the heavyosity of it does kind of miss the point of the original. In any case, Beck's guitars are just ridiculously cool.

2. John Cale -- Heartbreak Hotel



...in a tie with...

Stan Freberg -- Heartbreak Hotel



Both of the above speak for themselves, as it were. Although Cale's may actually be funnier, in a perverse sort of way.

And the Numero Uno if-you're-looking-for-unpleasantness-you've-come-to-the-correct-address record of them all simply HAS to be....

1. Viv Stanshall -- There's No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car




Another track from Last Temptation, and obviously the song Stanshall was born to sing. "I eat Big Macs till I climax...." Wow.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: best or worst film adaptations of serious, well-regarded contemporary novels -- is now up over at Box Office. Leave a comment if you have a spare moment -- it would help me shnorr a bonus check from management so as to finance my upcoming trip to DaytonOhio, France.]

34 comments:

steve simels said...

If anybody's still wondering, the clue from the Spektor song was the very last line -- "Long live the king." Repeated seven times, I think.

In any case -- Elvis as king.

Gummo said...

Canyons of Your Mind -- The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

Yeah, I know you have Stanshall on the list but he deserves to be there twice!

Gummo said...

And just to add -- back in the late 70s I would crawl across cut glass to see John Cale -- he was everywhere in NYC back around '79 and one of the most amazing performers ever.

And that's Richard Thompson with him in the clip, isn't it?

The best ever version of Heartbreak Hotel is Cale, Kevin Ayers and Brian Eno on the classic album, "June 1, 1974".

All right, enough outta me.

Faze said...

Super coincidence! Just last night, I was deleting most of "The Last Temptation of Elvis" from my iTunes, wishing the program also made a toilet flushing sound, and marveling at the wonder that was Vivian Stanshall. What a voice.

My favorite Elvis cover is Billy ("I Can Help") Swan's "Don't Be Cruel", even though it does most of the things that usually make me hate a cover: it slows the song way down, it takes out the swing and replaces it with a steady throb. But somehow the gentle hillbilly Swan makes it work. Best part: the "walk up to the preacher" line, where everything drops away but the drums, marking a processional rhythm like the nod of benevolent preacher.

Michael said...

And you can add Billy Swan's "I Can Help" to the list of great Elvis records Elvis never made.

edward said...

Just for going totally over the top and getting the gold lame suit from Nudie's there's Phil Ochs Elvis Medely from Gun Fight At Carnegie Hall. Probably the only live album ever release where the audience is booing the performer

Bonus point for Phil Ochs Greatest Hits with the Gold suited Phil on front and the back jacket declaring "50 Phil Ochs Fans Can't Be Wrong!" The Greatest Hits album, of course, contained all new material, no hits.

Can't the very existence of Elvis Costello be considered an Elvis inspired performance?

steve simels said...

Yes.
:-)

Gummo said...

edward, wonderful and apt reminder of the great & tragic Phil Ochs, folk music's Salieri to Dylan's Mozart....

Faze said...

folk music's Salieri to Dylan's Mozart

Ha! And who was Elvis's Salieri? Jerry Lee? Or Jackie ("Anything Elvis can do I can do ten times better, what do I have to do to get you people to notice?") Wilson?

Noam Sane said...

The latter-day NRBQ covered "Too Much" and gave it an Everly-style makeover.

If you watch the clip, notice how new guitarist Johnny Spampinato, called on to follow an incendiary Terry Adams solo, gives up before he even starts. Big Al would have taken it to the next level. Explains everything about the demise of that band. But I digress.

John Prine did a great cover of "Baby Let's Play House" - I believe on teh Pink Cadillac album.

Anonymous said...

John Prine did a great cover of "Baby Let's Play House"

Rachel Sweet also did a scorching version on her 2nd album.

Dave said...

Along with "Suspicion," my pick would be Ral Donner's "Girl of My Best Friend." Nice little melody, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMoTWn41tNI

Mike said...

Elvis did do Suspicion, though:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG0Ik4_1DqU

For the topic, two takes on You're So Square:

Buddy Holly's version - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MNMG_5flWc

And by Joni Mitchell - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ARA8tBEnPg

Mike said...

From the "big in France" dept, one must also consider Vince Taylor's original Brand New Cadillac.

Feral said...

No arbitrary rules? Then this was obviously inspired by Elvis...

Mojo Nixon - "Elvis is Everywhere"

dave™© said...

"Drivin' Wheel" by T-Bone Burnett.

I always thought "I Can Help" was a Ringo homage...

dave™© said...

Kudos for the Freberg pick. He really nailed it!

steve simels said...

Mojo Nixon - "Elvis is Everywhere"

EXCEPT FOR MICHAEL J FOX -- THE ANTI-ELVIS!!!
:-)

TMink said...

No Dread Zeppelin? I laugh out loud every time they come up on the iPod. I think they are genius.

Trey

TMink said...

Don't Be Cruel by Cheap Trick rocks.

Trey

TMink said...

Sorry for the overposting, but I am bored at work.

Here is occasional commenter Peter Holsapple singing "Elvis What Happened?"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO1vKKKBI0E

Great performance I think. THanks to RCA we still get pieces of the pie.

Trey

Brooklyn Girl said...

edward said...

Just for going totally over the top and getting the gold lame suit from Nudie's there's Phil Ochs Elvis Medely from Gun Fight At Carnegie Hall. Probably the only live album ever release where the audience is booing the performer


Speaking of gold lamé ...

steve simels said...

Oh god, I totally forgot Dread Zep.

The "Black Dog/Hound Dog" medley....
:-)

TMink said...

Heartbreaker Hotel works too.

Trey

Anonymous said...

The Nanci Griffith track is perfection, as is most anything the lady does.

Anonymous said...

John Cale is a bore.

cuddlefish said...

How about El Vez aka "The Mexican Elvis".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEO_AEhUg3I

Sort Sol does a great covers of Margarita and El Toro.

Mister Pleasant said...

Lots of great stuff already mentioned here. I would add a Roy Wood/Wizzard original to the list, from 1974's Introducing Eddie and The Falcons.

I Dun Lots of Crying Over You

Gotta love that guitar solo that goes off into left field a'la Scotty Moore.

edward said...

Oh yeah, The Dead Kennedy's: "Viva Las Vegas"

I can't find the actual single, but some obscure DC Area band did "I'm Glad Elvis is Dead"

And then, there was Mr Mike's imitation of Elvis with razor sharp needles in his eyes;>

And then there was Andy Kaufman...

dave™© said...

There used to be a lesbian Elvis impersonator in SF called Elvis Herselvis. I once stood next to her while she performed at the grand opening of this incredibly small pop culture novelty shop. She was pretty good!

Anonymous said...

The Easybeats version of Hound Dog. Smokes!


ROTP(lumber)

Noam Sane said...

pop culture novelty shop

Uncle Mame's?

Glenn said...

How about Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" or is it too obvious?

dave™© said...

"Uncle Mame's?" No, but I love(d) that place! This was a much smaller, much more obscure place - a couple started it, the guy was a cartoonist and the gal made dolls from his designs. IIRC, the shop was in the same space, or right next door, to where that stupid Ike's Sandwich Shop was.

Is Uncle Mame's still around? I lost track after they moved (some time ago!)...