Fleetwood Mac performs at an inaugural concert for President Bill Clinton, playing his campaign theme “Don’t Stop.”
Mariah Carey’s angelic voice is my favorite thing to hear during the holidays. Whether it’s her renditions of holiday or religious classics or her dance festive tunes, her music provides a perfect soundtrack for the season.
All I Want For Christmas is You
Oh Holy Night
O Come All Ye Faithful (live with her mom Patricia Carey)
Joy To The World
I remember singing “Hound Dog” from the hearth of my fireplace (that was my stage) and listening to my dad’s records. My all-time favorite Elvis song is “It’s Now or Never.” My family was very connected to Elvis because my father loved him. For a few reasons: Elvis was very spiritual, had a good heart, was generous, and was Southern. My dad also grew up listening to the gospel singers that Elvis always had singing backup: Jake Hess (The Imperials), The Jordanaires, The Jubilee Four, and probably the biggest name in southern gospel music: JD Sumner and the Stamps. I remember listening to JD Sumner and the Stamps way before Elvis. I think a lot of people probably don’t even know Elvis had so many gospel singers singing with him. Lastly, I have probably listened to Elvis’s gospel music more than his mainstream music. By the way, the only 3 Grammy Awards he won were for his gospel music. -Jeremy L. Beck (singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer)
I am not a huge Elvis fan, but I have to acknowledge him as a great performer in American popular music. Besides the fact that he was very attractive, charismatic onstage, and had an amazing voice, I think he was a very interesting person, too, and people responded to that. Not everyone knows that he had a very diverse ethnic background, including some Native American heritage, and I think that helps to make him an American icon. My favorite periods for Elvis are the very beginning of his career (before he went into the army, and then did all those movies) and later during his resurgence in the late sixties. I like some of his lesser known songs, such as his cover of the old Hank Snow country song, “A Fool Such as I” and “Love Me.” From the later period I like “A Little Less Conversation,” “In the Ghetto,” and “Suspicious Minds.” -Sue Bachner (singer/songwriter of Ether Park)
Elvis’ profound mark on popular music was, by most accounts, a happy accident. He was not a songwriter, and did not aspire to be an innovator. He was a kid who wanted a record deal. The result of Sun Records’ discovery was nothing less than the gift of “black music” – and essentially rock’n’roll – to the rest of the country. Elvis was the messenger – an interpreter of music considered taboo by white America. Once the secret of this sonic groove and soul was out, it could not be stopped, and it changed the world. -Doug Hinrichs (percussionist)
Elvis was the only man from Northeast Mississippi who could shake his hips and still be loved by rednecks, cops, and hippies. – Jimmy Buffett
Today marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis’s leaving the building, so to speak. Commemorations and Elvis-themed events are taking place this week, at Graceland and around Memphis.
When I visited the Land of Elvis in May 2008, I was very impressed, and the fond memories of my trip still remain. While I really liked Graceland as a house, especially the outside architecture and how time stood still with all the 70’s decor, the thing that impressed me most was the Trophy Room at the back of the house. It was more than a room, as it had cases and cases of his outfits, many of his gold records on the wall, posters from his films, video monitors with concert footage, and much more Elvis memorabilia.
Visitors walk around with small hand-held monitors and headphones to guide them through every step of Graceland. It’s a testament to the vast catalog of Elvis music, his extensive film work, and the unmeasurable influence he had on music and culture. Long live the King!
Below, two short films about the Graceland Trophy Room, where Elvis’s gold records and jumpsuits are on display.
In the Trophy Room, I saw gold records of some of Elvis greatest hits close up, and here are just a few of those songs.
It’s Now or Never
Don’t Be Cruel
In the Ghetto
At the Rock & Soul Museum in Memphis, there was more Elvis memorabilia on display, including one of his guitars and, encased in plastic, the organ on which “Suspicious Minds” was composed. Below, pictures I took with my cell phone. Of course, visitors are instructed not to touch anything, but I could not refrain from leaning over and touching the organ for a quick second. Plus, my friend and I were the only people at the museum at the time, so I knew I probably wouldn’t get busted.
And here is Elvis performing Suspicious MInds.
Today would have been Whitney Houston’s 49th birthday. Her angelic voice brought joy to so many of her fans. Here are a few of her wonderful performances.
On this day in 1965, Donovan performed “Catch the Wind” and “Colours” on “American Bandstand.”
Catch The Wind
Aug. 1, 1970 – “The Wonder of You” hit #1 in the U.K.
Aug. 3, 1957 – “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” hit #3 in the U.K.
Aug. 3, 1974 – “If You Talk In Your Sleep” hit #17 in the U.S.
Aug. 4, 1956 – “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog” were released.
On Aug. 6, 1955, Elvis Presley’s single “Mystery Train” was released. (One of my favorites from his early years.)
Stevie Nicks was born on May 26, 1948. Her work with Fleetwood Mac and her solo career have collectively produced over forty Top 50 hits.
Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975, along with her then boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. Fleetwood Mac’s second album 1977’s Rumours produced four U.S. Top 10 singles. Nicks’ “Dreams” which was the band’s first and only U.S. number one, remained at #1 on for over 30 weeks. That album has sold over 33 million copies worldwide.
Nicks went solo in 1981, She has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards and, with Fleetwood Mac, won the Grammy for Album of the Year for Rumours. As a member of Fleetwood Mac, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
1999: No Scrubs by TLC
1989: Like a Prayer by Madonna
1979: Heart of Glass by Blondie
1969: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by The Fifth Dimension
Tracy Chapman was born on March 30, 1964. She is a multi-platinum and four-time Grammy-winning musician. She’s been playing guitar and composing since the age of eight!
Happy Birthday, Tracy!
Watch some of her performances below: