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Posts Tagged ‘Elvis Presley

As we prepare for Holiday travel…

 

click here to play

“Pilots and co-pilots on many airlines are required to eat different meals to minimize the effects of food poisoning if it should occur…”  Says it all.

[TotH to DoobyBrain]

 

As we unwrap the food that we carried on, we might recall that it was on this date in 1970 that The President met The King: Richard M. Nixon welcomed Elvis Presley into the Oval Office.  Two days after meeting Vice President Spiro Agnew in Palm Springs, Presley flew to D.C., and headed unannounced to the White House (with two bodyguards), where he presented the Marine guard with a hand-written letter to Nixon offering his services in the War on Drugs.   The leatherneck got permission to admit The King, but having recognized him, apparently didn’t search him:  on meeting Nixon, Presley pulled out an antique Colt .45 which he presented to the President as a token of his commitment to the cause.  Some weeks later, Nixon offered Presley an official position in the Administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Six and a half years later, Presley died of heart failure, attributed by the coroner’s report to “undetermined causes.”  It’s widely believed, however, that his death was caused by a lethal mix of a variety of prescription drugs and obesity.

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Written by LW

December 21, 2011 at 1:01 am

The man who made the clothes that make the man…

 Nudie Cohn, perched on one of his 18 custom cars (source)

Nuta Kotlyarenko immigrated to America from Kiev at age 11, and bought into the American Dream big time.  After kicking around the country as a shoeshine boy and a boxer (and indeed, he claimed, as a companion of Pretty Boy Floyd), Kotlyarenko– by then, “Cohn”– and his wife opened a New York lingerie store, Nudies for the Ladies, specializing in custom-made undergarments for showgirls.

In 1947, after relocating to Los Angeles– and taking “Nudie” as his given name– Cohn persuaded a young, struggling country singer named Tex Williams to buy him a sewing machine with the proceeds of an auctioned horse; in exchange, Cohn made clothing for Williams.  The creations were so popular that Nudie opened a North Hollywood store to feature his chain-stitched and rhinestone-studded creations.

Over the years, Nudie gave dozens of performers their signature looks, from Elvis’ $10,000 gold lame suit to the costumes of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.  But his specialty was country (and country rock) singers: e.g., Porter Wagoner (a peach-colored suit featuring rhinestones, a covered wagon on the back, and wagon wheels on the legs), Hank Williams (a white cowboy suit with musical notations on the sleeves), and Gram Parsons (the suit he wears on the cover of the Flying Burrito Brothers album The Gilded Palace of Sin, featuring pills, poppies, marijuana leaves, naked women, and a huge cross).  John Lennon was a customer, as were John Wayne, Gene Autry, George Jones, Cher, Ronald Reagan, Elton John, Robert Mitchum, Pat Buttram, Tony Curtis, Michael Landon, Glenn Campbell, Hank Snow, and numerous musical groups including “that little band from Texas,” ZZ Top.

Nudie with The King in “the Suit” (source)

Nudie died in 1984; the store (which remained open under the management of his daughter) closed in 1994.  But his work remained prized–  Porter Waggoner reckoned, just before he died in 2007, that he had 52 Nudie Suits, costing between $11,000 and $18,000 each (and worth by then much, much more).

And Nudie’s legacy remains strong.  His glittering garments were a bright stab at the conformity of their times… and set the precedent (if they didn’t in fact lay the foundation) for the Culture of Bling that has erupted out of Rap and Hip Hop into life-at-large.

For more wonderful photos of Nudie, his creations, and his cars visit Nudie (“the official site”) and check out the wonderful pictorial essay at The Selvedge Yard.

As we smile at the irony of a clothier named “Nudie,” we might wish a tuneful Happy Birthday to James Henry Neel Reed, better known simply as Henry Reed; he was born on this date 1884, in the Appalachian Mountains of Monroe County, West Virginia.  Reed was a master fiddler, banjoist, and harmonica player whose repertoire consisted of hundreds of tunes, performed in several different styles.  But beyond his importance as a performer, he became, in effect, the Ur Source for academic research into the history of U.S. fiddle music.  (Learn more about Reed, and hear him play, at the Library of Congress’ Henry Reed Collection.)

Henry Reed (in street clothes), 1967 (source)

Ready… Set… Glow!…

Readers who have pending fashion purchases will be relieved to know that Pantone (“the world-renowned authority on color”) has announced the The Color of the Year for 2011: Honeysuckle (PANTONE 18-2120). “A vibrant, energetic hue,” it sounds like just what the doctor ordered…

While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”

Eiseman continues, “The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”

And not a moment too soon.

As we realize that this means a wholesale replacement of our accessories, we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that Carl Perkins recorded his rockabilly classic “Blue Suede Shoes” at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records studio.  Released at the start of 1956, the single was a hit, and was ultimately covered by a number of other acts–  most famously, by Elvis Presley.

The B-side, also written by Perkins, wasn’t too shabby either: “Honey Don’t” was covered by at least 20 other acts, including The Beatles.

source

 

So you wanna be a rock and roll star…

Q: How do you get a drummer off of your front porch?

A: Pay for the pizza.

In a recent interview, Mick Jagger (who studied, one might remember, at the London School of Economics) observed that the financial lot of a recording artist has been pretty dodgy since the beginning of the 20th century.  As the BBC reports:

“When the Stones started out they didn’t make any money out of records because record companies didn’t pay you,” he said. “Nobody got paid. I always wonder if Frank Sinatra got paid.

“Your royalty was so low. If you sold a million records you got a million pennies. It was all very nice, but not what you imagined you were going to get.”

However things changed as musicians became more adept at controlling their creations.

This came at about the time the Stones hit what many see as their peak, which included the 1972 release of the critically acclaimed Exile on Main Street.

Later the boom in music sales through the development of the compact disc bolstered the earnings of those on lucrative royalty deals.

“There was a small period from 1970 to 1997 where people did get paid and they got paid very handsomely,” Sir Mick said.  “They did make money but now that period’s done. If you look at the history of recorded music from, say, 1900 to now, there was that period where artists did very well but the rest of the time they didn’t.”

So how does a musician fare these days?  According to a recap in The Root…  well, You Can’t Always Get What You Want:

Read the whole sad story at The Root.

As we reconsider taking out a loan to pay for that additional floor tom, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 that Sun Records released the first single by Elvis Presley, “That’s All Right (Mama)”/”Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

The tracks were covers that clued early listeners to the influences that Presley would marry with such power as he rose to royalty: “That’s All Right” is a blues song by Arthur “Big Boy” Cruddup, while “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is a bluegrass ballad by Bill Monroe.

But that stardom was still in the distance; while Presley’s renditions became instant hits in Memphis, hometown of both Elvis and Sun, the 45 received mixed reviews in the rest of what would become Presley’s kingdom.

source

And now, the good news…

Eat Less, Live Longer…

The chart above (courtesy of the OECD, via Swivel) plots relative levels of unemployment against life span…  and suggests that there may be a silver lining in the dark cloud of recession: there’s evidence that life expectancy increases during times of high unemployment.

Specifically, this data shows the relationship between unemployment and life expectancy for the USA between 1960 and 2006. The following series are shown:

* LIGHTER PURPLE: residual life expectancy – the difference between the actual and expected life expectancy, in lay-terms, how much longer people lived than they were expected to
* DARKER PURPLE: unemployment % – the unemployment rate for the year

For another dose of encouragement, see this Freakonomics post… and relaaaaax…

As we denominate our blessings in something other than dollars, we might recall that on this date in 1956, Elvis Presley sang “Don’t Be Cruel” in the first of his three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show

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Blessed are they who preserve and share…

The Library at Celsus

From The Great Library and Mouseion at Alexandria and the Bodleian at Oxford to the The British Library and the Library of Congress, an illustrated (and linked) tour of “The 7 Most Impressive Libraries From Throughout History” (well, in the Western Tradition anyway)…

As we rush to renew our library cards, we might recall that it was on this date in 1909 that Colonel Tom Parker, (in)famous manager of Elvis Presley,  claimed to have been born in Huntington, West Virginia.  Elvis’ biographer, Albert Goldman, suggests rather that the Colonel was born Andre van Kuijk in Breda, southern Holland, and entered the USA illegally. It was (and is) widely-believed that Parker never owned a credit card and had no passport– possibly to avoid checks that might expose his lack of genuine ID.

Colonel Tom and the King  (source: Virgin Media)

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