140. Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires – She’s Not You (1962)

elvis-presley-with-the-jordanaires-shes-not-you-rca.jpg

14 September saw Teledu Cymru begin transmissions to the North and West Wales region, which meant that ITV was now available anywhere in the UK. Six days later, Ford launched one of its most famous cars, the Cortina, which would have then set you back £573. Although it later became a much-mocked vehicle, it was one of the most popular cars of the 1970s, and even into the 80s, when poor families like mine could still be seen driving around in one. The following day, long-running student quiz University Challenge made its debut on ITV. This original incarnation ran until New Year’s Eve 1987, with Bamber Gascoigne presenting.

Meanwhile, Frank Ifield’s million-selling yodelling superhit I Remember You was finally usurped by, well, guess? That’s right, it’s Elvis again, for the 12th time! At this point he’s still making music that is nearly always a pale imitation of his previous classics (Can’t Help Falling in Love excepted, of course), he’s still starring in bad films, and he’s basically muddling through, yet still the UK are buying everything he releases and sending him to the top. This was soon to change, as we know. Previous number 1, Good Luck Charm, saw one of his top songwriters depart from the team due to a financial dispute, and other great creative talents were soon to leave too. She’s Not You was a rare collaboration between Doc Pomus, who co-wrote Surrender, and Lieber and Stoller, the duo behind Presley’s best number 1, Jailhouse Rock. Unusually, Chet Atkins is also credited as producer alongside Steve Sholes.

She’s Not You is a step up from Good Luck Charm, although that’s not saying a great deal. Once again, the music is a plodding boogie-woogie, but at least this time Elvis sings with some presence. The lyrics are also an improvement. The idea of Elvis settling for second best and comparing her to his true love is a good idea. But come on now, this stuff is starting to sound really dated – even the sexist Come Outside sounded more progressive than this, and record buyers were perhaps finally feeling the same, as it only remained at number 1 for three weeks – Elvis’s shortest stint since 1959’s I Got Stung/One Night. The next number 1 would be the sound of the future.

Written by: Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller & Doc Pomus

Producer: Steve Sholes & Chet Atkins

Weeks at number 1: 3 (13 September-3 October)

Births:

Comedian Steve Punt – 15 September
Comedian Jack Dee – 24 September
Scottish footballer Ally McCoist, – 24 September
Everything But the Girl singer Tracey Thorn – 26 September

Deaths:

Dramatist Patrick Hamilton – 23 September

85. Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires – A Fool Such As I/I Need Your Love Tonight (1959)

elvis-presley-with-the-jordanaires-now-and-then-theres-a-fool-such-as-i-1959.jpg

1 June saw the first edition of music programme Juke Box Jury on the BBC. Presented by David Jacobs, the presenter would ask a panel of four each week to judge whether a new record was a hit or miss. The original panel featured Pete Murray, Alma Cogan, Gary Miller and Susan Stranks. The series ran until 1967, but briefly returned in the 1970s and 80s.On 11 June, Christopher Cockerill’s hovercraft was officially launched.

Meanwhile in the chart world, Elvis made it to the top once more with another double-A-side single of recordings made before he left to be a soldier in Germany. It was his fourth and final number 1 of the 50s.

Opening with a now comically deep baritone vocal from Jordanaire Ray Walker, A Fool Such As I is a sign of Presley treading water. It had been written by Bill Trader back in 1952, and the original version was sung by country star Hank Snow. Whereas Elvis’s vocal helped lift previous single I Got Stung/One Night, here it just sounds a bit lazy and Elvis-by-numbers, and the most interesting part of the track is the guitar from either Presley, Chet Akins and/or Hank Garland. Clearly, the single’s performance suggests record buyers were more than happy, though, and perhaps some of his female fans, heartbroken and concerned about their hero being a GI in Germany, identified with the verse:

‘Pardon me if I’m sentimental
When we say goodbye
Don’t be angry with me should I cry
Well, you’re gone, yet I’ll dream
A little dream as years go by
Now and then there’s a fool such as I’

There’s even less to say about I Need Your Love Tonight. It had been written by frequent Presley collaborator Sid Wayne, along with Bix Reichner. It’s more of the same really. It trundles along and then it’s done, and the lyrics are just as forgettable:

‘Oh, oh, I love you so
Uh, uh, can’t let you go
Oh, oh, don’t tell me no
I need your love tonight’

Elvis was now equal with Frankie Laine and Guy Mitchell for the highest amount of UK number 1s in the 50s (four each), but there was a noticeable decline here. These songs signified that Elvis and his team thought they could get by with releasing songs without the danger or wit of previous material, and they were right. There was worse to come, however, and I’d still take these tracks over some of his 60s number 1s.

Written by:
A Fool Such As I: Bill Trader/I Need Your Love Tonight: Sid Wayne & Bix Reichner 

Producer: Steve Sholes

Weeks at number 1: 5 (15 May-18 June)

Births:

The Sisters of Mercy singer Andrew Eldritch – 15 May
Actress Tracy Hyde – 16 May
Comedian Paul Whitehouse – 17 May
Singer Morrissey – 22 May
Actor Rupert Everett – 29 May
Actor Adrian Paul – 29 May
Racing driver Martin Brundle – 1 June
Comedian Hugh Laurie – 11 June

80. Elvis Presley – I Got Stung/One Night (1959)

elvis 45s-132_lg.jpeg

Elvis Presley was drafted into the US army on 24 March 1958. He became a private at Fort Chafee, Arkansas. Back then, all men under 26 were required to register for the draft, and Elvis had done so in 1953, a few months before he first recorded for Sun Records. As the press gathered, Presley told them ‘the Army can do anything it wants with me’, and his trademark quiff was subsequently shorn, giving birth to the famous headline pun ‘Hair today, gone tomorrow’ being used for the first time. While training, his mother died, She was only 46, and she and Elvis were very close. Nonetheless, the training continued and he joined the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany that October. While there he was introduced to amphetamines, which he took to using often, and also learned karate, which he would later become fond of showcasing at live shows.

Fans were obviously concerned about his career. What would happen to his music for the next two years? Luckily for them, RCA producer Steve Sholes and publisher Freddy Bienstock had it all mapped out. They had gathered plenty of material to be released during his hiatus. People would hardly notice his absence.

I Got Stung had been written for Presley by Aaron Schroeder and David Hill. Hill had released his version of All Shook Up before Elvis did, but had more success writing for ‘The King’ than releasing the same material as him. Elvis had recorded I Got Stung at his final Nashville session before leaving for Germany. It’s a slight but fun rock’n’roll track. Beginning with the cry of:’Holy smokes land sakes alive I never thought this would happen to me’, Elvis likens falling in love to being stung by a bee. I hope whoever was responsible (it wasn’t Priscilla, she met him in September 1959) didn’t die after releasing their sting… The lyrics are fairly cheesy and pedestrian, but Elvis’s vocal transforms it. He performs with rapid-fire delivery, and uses all his trademark mannerisms to lift the song. His backing band also do an admirable job, too.

One Night was granted double A-side status and featured on the flip side. It had been written by Dave Bartholomew (a collaborator with Fats Domino; together they had written Ain’t That a Shame) and Pearl King, and had first been a hit for Smiley Lewis in 1956. Originally concerning a night of sin, Presley recorded a version in 1957, but RCA and Colonel Tom Parker had reservations due to the lyric, ‘One night of sin is what I’m now paying for’. Elvis was keen on the song, though, and with Anita Steinman he reworked it to become ‘One night with you is what I’m now praying for’. Blander, but more palatable for conservative audiences. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter, as Elvis’s performance is raunchy enough to suggest he’s planning on sinning anyway. It’s another great vocal, and once more he lifts the whole song. I’m beginning to get why he’s considered such a legend. Neither I Got Stung or One Night are up there with Jailhouse Rock, but they’re pretty good and certainly better than some of the star’s future number 1s.

Upon what would have been Elvis’s 70th birthday, a glut of his most famous singles were re-released in January 2005. I Got Stung/One Night was among them, and knocked the re-release of Jailhouse Rock from the top, earning it the honour of being the 1000th UK number 1. It also became the fourth track ever to be number 1 twice, and it was the third time that an artist has replaced themselves at the top of the charts.

Written by:
I Got Stung: Aaron Schroeder & David Hill/One Night: Dave Bartholomew, Pearl King & Anita Steinman

Producer: Steve Sholes

Weeks at number 1: 3 (30 January-19 February)

Births:

The Cure keyboardist/drummer Lol Tolhurst – 3 February

Deaths:

Physicist Owen Willand Richardson – 15 February