Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

Six degrees of separation. Today: Elvis and Toi.

Kind of frustrated because I didn’t post anything related to Elvis’ birthday on Thursday. I still paid my tribute watching the great documentary Elvis: That’s the way it is, which I strongly recommend you, including lots of footage of the rehearsals previous to Vegas residency in 1970, and the actual shows, which were awesome.

I know it’s a bit late but I want to talk to you about Elvis, Toi and the Six degrees of separation theory anyway, and that’s what I’m gonna do right now.

Back in 1929 there was this Hungarian writer, Frigyes Karinthy who wrote a book of short stories titled ‘Everything is Different’. In one of these, he was telling about how the world was shrinking so to speak, as the human being was moving, emigrating, and establishing more connections and ties to other people than we used to do in the past. Somehow he was anticipating something which is completely fashionable nowadays, which are the social networks. But it wouldn’t be until 1967, when the researcher Stanley Milgram published the compilation of experiments related to the extension of social networks under a theory named “The Small World problem” through The Psychology Today, when it was demonstrated that the world was becoming increasingly connected. At some point in the 2000s, the concept of “Six Degrees of Separation” was born, to explain you’d be related to anyone in no more than six connections.

Well, this is a vague summary of what the unproven theory is about, but I guess you already knew about it.

I’m not sure if it would apply to deceased people, but in this case I like to think is valid too, especially considering Elvis and me coexisted on earth for less than 11 months.

So here is the thing.

Elvis, the king of rock n’ roll, who only left the States for the military service in Germany and few shows in Canada, and Toi, an average(a bit freak too) girl from Zaragoza, Spain, have only two degrees of separation.

How can it be possible?

Ha! A couple of years ago I discovered this picture by chance: Elvis and Torrebruno.

torrebruno and elvis

Many of you are wondering now how the fuck was Torrebruno. Rocco Walter Torrebruno was a little Italian showman, who settled in Spain, doing comedy, singing, working as hosts in many TV programs, and during a long period of time, he used to work for a circus and oriented his career as a child’s entertainer.

Apparently the picture was taken in Paris in 1959, at the Moulin Rouge, when Elvis went to salute the singer Nina Holloway, to her dressing-room, after a show, and Torrebruno happened to be there with his guitar.

I met Torrebruno in 1981 when he took me to stage to sing his hit “Rocky Carambola”, who was actually a chimpanzee. Si I sang with him and this little man gave me the single as a present.

toi carambola

Thus, I met Torrebruno, who had met the King 22 years earlier. Only 2 degrees, friends. So now I’ve just proved myself that the world is ridiculously small. How cool is that?

ANOTHER AUGUST 16th…

On this day, all rock lovers should spend some time tributing The King. To be honest, except for #MyElvisWeek playing videos and listening to some of his wonderful tunes I hadn’t planned anything to write about here, been too busy at work and yesterday I was facing a quite curious hangover which only allowed me to watch movies. This evening though, I’ve been listening to On Stage and some of the CDs which belong to Elvis Live in Las Vegas, and now I’m ready to review the documentary Elvis By The Presleys.

 I don’t like Cilla acting as her widow. Their marriage wasn’t a happy one, and even though apparently they separated in a very civilized way, I don’t think of her as her truly widow. Of course, being the missus of Elvis wasn’t an easy task, especially thinking of his taste in women, his mood swings, his inseparable entourage, the substance abuse and his period in Hollywood doing movies, among many things, but just because she finally gave up on him, she shouldn’t act as the loving widow. But you know, leaving the obvious feelings behind, money talks…and at the end of the day, people like to think of the female figure always by his side.

Thus even though I’m not a huge fan of the documentary, always under the influence of Priscilla’s, the wonderful footage of home made videos, and other scenes are worth watching today.

elvis thinking

This is something I wanted to share with you. Few weeks ago I got overwhelmed by this shot. Elvis, so intense, thoughtful and deep and manly. He’s irresistible! No need to add this shot has become one of my personal favorite.

Wherever he is, I only hope he’s enjoying his way. Gone but never forgotten. God bless you Elvisico!

13 FACTS ABOUT THE KING

ELVIS

January 8th, one of my favorite celebration days as you already know. On this day long ago Elvis Presley, David Bowie and my granny were born. I love this date casualty, makes me happy, even though both Elvis and my grandma are no longer here.

I have to work, but my plan is to spend my spare time paying homage to The King, with music and probably watching one of his films, or a documentary.

Of course, a post related couldn’t be missed, thus this year I’ve thought of 13 facts about Elvis Presley, so you can know him better.

Enjoy!

1. November 1955, Sam Phillips sold Elvis‘ contract to RCA for USD 35000
2. Heartbreak Hotel, released in January 27th 1956, was the first Elvis single to sell over a million copies
Heartbreak Hotel
3. The NBC Elvis Special which turned to be his praised ’68 Comeback Special,  was initially planned to be a Christmas show
Elvis '68 Comeback
4. In Mogadishu, Somalia, it is illegal impersonating Elvis without a beard.
5. Elvis’ favorite aftershave: BRUT
6. Elvis Sandwich (aka Fool’s Gold Loaf) was stuffed with peanut butter and banana, (bacon and honey were optional)
peanut butter banana sandwich
7. In order to fulfill contractual obligation, Elvis released “Having Fun with Elvis on Stage” in 1974, which basically consisted on a compilation of jokes and speeches recorded from Elvis’ shows
8. After a big argument with Priscilla, Elvis caught the first flight to anywhere just to get away from her. First to Washington, then to LA, where Jerry Schilling came to pick him up. Elvis finally got the idea of  paying an unscheduled visit to Nixon at the White House, after wrote him a letter on a plane, in order to be made Federal Agent-at-Large” in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and thus get this badge to add to his collection. He finally made it. I bet Nixon was flipping in the Oval Office.
Elvis meets Nixon
9. Elvis was black belt in Karate, and wanted to release a documentary to promote this discipline. He started practising in Germany and became passionate on this discipline. He thought a movie would support and encourage the practise of karate, but footage was never edited when Elvis was alive. However there’s a documentary, Gladiators, released 2-3 years ago, in an attempt to recover Elvis’ initial project. By the way, Priscilla, who also ended up practising karate left The King for their instructor.
Elvis and Ed Parker
10. Jailhouse Rock was the first video ever made in history.
Jailhouse Rock
11. Since he was very young, he suffered from chronic sleeping disorders and insomnia. His Army time in Germany got things worse, as due to manoeuvres, trainings and guards, he started taking pills (uppers and downers) beyond control.
12. The King hated fish. Ha! So do I.
13. Priscilla suggested Elvis to wear jumpsuits on stage so he would move freely withouth breaking pants. Liberace alse advised to make them flashy.
elvis pose

ELVIS, YOU ARE ALWAYS ON MY MIND

There’s never enough with Elvis here in Since My Baby Left Me. I’ve developed one of the strongest crushes on him in the past decade. I simply LOVE HIM, his voice, his music, the character, The King, the human being and his addictive personality. Impossible to get tired.

For the second year, I feel the need to write few lines in order to commemorate the 35th anniversary of his death. It’s not a happy date, but it’s important enough as to have the most legitimate excuse for listening to some of his albums, watch some movies and perhaps some documentaries.  In fact the day has started with the ’68 Comeback Special in CD.

35 years and Elvis is still alive in our hearts. There hasn’t been such a powerful character as him, and of course there hasn’t been any replacement, not even Michael Jackson played on the same league. The Tupelo guy was over the top.

As I commented a year ago, it’s weird and surprising to feel sympathetic towards someone I never got to know. I live in the same world Elvis did for less than a year, and wasn’t conscious when he passed away, however every August 16th I have to remember.

Many articles, biographies, statements coming from members of his entourage, acquaintances and relatives, documentaries have made Elvis came out of the closet to public analysis, becoming an icon far beyond his fabulous appearance, and the greatness of the American dream he managed to accomplish, from rags to riches.

Elvis is, or better said, was, a human being after all, and many of us feel him closer to our livings. He was moody, insecure, low self-esteemed sometimes, generous, tender, hard worker, responsible, carefree, fussy, erratic, charming, focused, cheater, grateful, humble, proud… He wasn’t a happy-go-lucky man. Elvis suffered.  Gladys’ loss was something he was never able to overcome, and this left a mark on him for good.

It’s surprising the reaction of people remembering The King. Even media has covered the anniversary, however, as a musical journalist I follow on Twitter has said, it’s sad the great majority only thinks of him as the rockstar, the kitsch jumpsuits, the swinging of the hips, and the drugs abuse .

The cultural phenomenon Elvis meant worldwide, and his musical legacy, are out of question. He brought black gospel to world, and was a pioneer in new sounds and musical styles. Always in a quest for quality in compositions, because he just wanted the best for his audience.

But hey! I just wanted to write a few lines, didn’t aim to write a statement defending what Elvis means to me. He just means a lot to me, in fact, he’s the embodiment of my passion for music, subjective, passionate and sometimes irrational and excessive. I love Elvis the same way I love and respect music. With all my heart.

IT’S BEEN 2 YEARS SINCE…

Hi everybody!

This is a quick note just to thank you for being there, reading my posts, liking them more often than expected, and rarely commenting (encouraging your participation is my next target). Visits, stats and followers have awesomely increased in the last months, and I just can be grateful to all of you. This really means a lot to me, and encourages me to keep on doing this.

On the other hand the aim of this post is also to celebrate it’s been already 2 years Since My Baby Left Me, and since I decided to start pouring my thoughts,  tastes and stories into this weird project, initially believed as a therapy.

Many things have happened, many have remained the same, truth is, due to circumstances beyond my control, I’m not at my best, money and work speaking, yet I’m glad the way I’m living my life nowadays, being myself 24/7, and very proud of having recovered my passion for writing, realizing of the greatness of this vehicle to communicate and express what I have in mind.

Thus, it’s also time to remember my beloved Elvis, and his song Heartbreak Hotel, which was my source of inspiration when looking for a cool rockin’ name which also expressed the moment I was going through. I just love this starting line.

Two years with Since My Baby Left Me, wish there are more to come, and better.

Thank y’all!!!

AND MUSIC DIDN’T GIVE ME UP LAST WEEK

Last week was a rough one. I started it with a rough cold, feeling quite dazed, with heavy migraine and super low spirited, some unpleasant stuff brought out, and the typical lame attitude caused by the sickness itself. To sum up, crap. Still there were some activities which ended up improving the week, so finally it wasn’t so terrible.

I won a ticket for the show of Lee Fields & The Expressions on Tuesday. I can’t recall whether I already talked about his previous show, more or less one year ago, but I know it was worth attending despite my flu.

Considering the show had been barely advertised and was programmed on Tuesday, and also that Fields had been playing at Azkena Rock Festival 4 days earlier, the venue sold an important number of tickets. Quite a surprise.

There weren’t any supporters and the show extended to approx 75 minutes, focusing on My World and his last studio album Faithful Man. Thus we could dance with Ladies, Money is King, I Still Got It, or You’re the Kind of Girl, among others. The Expressions sounded pretty solid and Mr. Fields, aka The Little Mockingbird, seemed to be enjoying lots, interacting with people and cheering us all. at least he made me forget about my cold for a while.

June the 21st is the official date to celebrate the Fête de la Musique, or the World Music Day. Nowadays, everyday is a Day Of, which is an exhausting nonsense, yet I always self-treat with some candy, when music is commemorated.

Glad to say this year’s was a very nice day, and I was starting to feel much better and stronger. On Wednesday I had decided to repeat the Alejandro Escovedo experience, this time in electric, after the great show I enjoyed in October last year, and some attendance confirmation received from some friends, thus I had purchased the tickets and I had a plan set for the evening. Meeting some friends for pre-show beers and the gig itself. Cool.

Regarding the purchase of something musical, thanks to Xavi and Pili, the Elvis Live in Las Vegas box set was waiting for me at the best record store in town, Revolver, at an outrageous cheap price. This set is out of print nowadays, thus the cheapest you can find it is on Ebay from 70USD…I cost me less than half its  cheapest price. This purchase was what we call an EPIC WIN. You might not understand it, but I already had this box in my hands years ago, even though it wasn’t of my property it was kind of mind, and I used to love it, thus it had to be mind at be at the Hellhouse sooner or later. If you are a diehard fan of The King, this is a MUST have.

The San Antonio songwriter has recently released Big Station, and is touring Europe with his band The Sensitives these weeks, introducing his last studio album. I had barely listened to, but the confirmation of Escovedo’s performance playing in electric was attractive enough as to finally attend the show, even though only 9 months have passed since his last visit in October. I think touring so early was a mistake and not many people moved their asses to La[2] to attend the show. It was also a pity that those who were there, didn’t welcome Escovedo and his band too enthusiastically.

Escovedo commented very excited, after being told his fella Chuck Prophet had been playing at the same venue few  weeks ago, that most likely, they’d be back together next year.  Sure that show will be packed, as Prophet is quite popular here.

The artist based his set list on his last 3 albums, swopping from electric to acoustic guitar. Unfortunately one of the acoustic strings broke, and they had to alter the order of the songs a bit.

Most people agreed the previous show in acoustic had been much more intense and emotional, and guess they’re right, as I commented in the post related, the ability this guy has to transmit is very intense and has a great bunch of beautiful songs, plus lyrics, have nothing to envy to artists such as Lucinda Williams or Steve Earle, just to mention a couple. Bottom of the World, Sensitive Boys, the classic Always A Friend, or the immense San Antonio Rain come to my mind quick, and I’m having goose bumps while writing this.

Nevertheless I was happily impressed with his electric side. The show started with the decadent Sally Was A Cop, and I felt moved back to the 70’s, with a groove touch, to go on with the rockin’ Man of the World, confirming Alejandro is in perfect condition as to keep on rockin’ for long time.

It was great to see the sensitive side on one hand, followed by a punk rockin’ attitude right after. Escovedo has lived much, I’m pretty sure he could be a great story teller, and recreate the wildest NY scene in first person. Someone who used to hang out with the godfathers of punk, and nowadays is invited to share the stage with great artists such as Springsteen, and others closer to us, like Jesse Malin and D-Generation, being trated with the utmost respect, can’t be but praised.

From top to bottom, the show was net and excellent, and after recovering his classics Party People, Always a Friend or Castanets, his last encore consisted on two covers, but what covers, friends! First it was time to play Like a Hurricane and then Beast of Bourbon to end the show. What can I say? It was awesome!

Some time ago, I was judged by a person hidden behind a nickname at a music forum for interacting lots with musicians, both on and offstage. I think such issue deserves a post itself, and would love to talk about it, and my own personal experiences, mostly positive.

Anyway, when Alejandro Escovedo left the backstage to greet those who were waiting for him for signing autographs, take pictures or whatever, Elena and I went straight to him to take a picture, the two of us together so we wouldn’t bother him much. He seemed delighted with the result of the show, despite the poor attendance. The funniest thing was that, I ended up talking to him, as usual, and he nicely admitted to remember me from the previous show. it’s nice to find so easy to access artists, you can share impressions with and spend some time talking to. Perhaps it’s the same shit night afer night, but at the end of the day, as an established musician, you owe your situation to your fans, and sharing 15 minutes of the day with them it’s a bearable effort, I think.

The day of the music was actually a great celebration to me, with my new Elvis box, enjoying a wonderful show, and being surrounded by nice people, perhaps not as close as my best friends, but also devoted to music, which, as you can see, can gather people, awake feelings, and help you to deal with inner conflicts. When thinking of music and its influence in my life, a common sentence comes to mind

Let the Music Do the Talking

ALBUM OF WEEK 1 – WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES

Perhaps I’m too predictable concerning some events, since it was Elvis Presley’s birth anniversary on the 8th, my almost daily soundtrack of the first week of the year had to be related.

Rather than just one album, I was enjoying the 70’s compilation box, Walk a Mile In My Shoes, a wonderful treasure I highly recommend, especially now that has been reissued at very reasonable price.

We’ve already discussed on your favorite Elvis’ era, posting a poll for you to vote. Not many participated, but definitely seems that we enjoy the Vegas era, after his Comeback. Somehow he reinvented himself, not only in terms of style, wearing the suits (Priscilla was who suggested he’d be more comfortable during shows with such outfit), growing his sideburns, and turning into the icon we all know, but also strictly musical speaking.

At this period, the insertion of a big band, full of orchestrations made of his, absolutely spectacular shows, really enhancing the intensity in some themes. An American Trilogy, It’s Impossible, The Wonder of You, are good examples.

On the other hand, the choice of songs to perform. He started to cover some other artists, including The Beatles (Remember Yesterday or Hey Jude), something surprising considering he used to make mockery on them. Elvis developed this two side style to be applied in his shows. From a wild Elvis singing and shaking with Polk Salad Annie,  a mid tempo Suspicous Minds, You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’, to anthems provided of an intense charge of emotion such as If I Can Dream, You Gave Me a Mountain or his personal cover of My Way (this cover is terrific!). There are moments when you realize you feel breathless, and fully impressed.

Thus, Walk a Mile in My Shoes, the essential 70’s masters contains 5 CD’s categorized into Singles, Record Sessions and the show. You can choose any, they are all impressive.

It’s super late tonight, but I won’t go to bed unless I give you a piece of advise: please, go the closest store, buy this box, and start enjoying. It’s a blast!