On this day in 1954, a young Elvis Presley signed a record deal with Sun Records that would change the face of music forever.
The first single he released was a version of 'That’s All Right'. The song was written by one Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, and was recorded first by him in Chicago on 6th September 1946. It was then re-released in March 1949, this time called 'That’s All Right Mamma' and issued as RCA's first ever rhythm and blues record on bright orange vinyl.
According to history.com, Elvis was in the studio on July 5th 1954 for a recording session that wasn’t going so well. “Elvis’s renditions of ‘Harbor Lights' and ‘I Love You Because’ were stiff and uninspired, and after numerous takes and re-takes, Phillips called for a break. Rather than shoot the breeze with his fellow musicians or step outside for a breath of fresh air, Elvis began to mess around on the guitar, playing and singing 'That's All Right', but at least twice as fast as the original. Through an open door in the control room, Sam Phillips heard this unfamiliar rendition of a familiar blues number and knew he’d found the sound he’d been looking for. “[Phillips] stuck his head out and said “‘What are you doing?’” Scotty Moore later recalled. “And we said, ‘We don’t know.’ ‘Well, back up,’ Sam said, ‘try to find a place to start, and do it again.’” And the rest, as they say (who ever they are), is history!
This particular version was recorded at his ’68 Comeback Special, and shows a clearly very relaxed, Elvis jamming with a band in front of small studio audience. Rumour has it that the format is regarded as a forerunner of the 'Unplugged' concept, later popularised by MTV.
This week sees some legends of the US hip-hop scene land in the UK for a 4-date tour. The Wu Tang Clan’s Method Man, GZA, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah are all set to perform at a select number of venues across the country, bringing with them a back catalogue of hip hop’s greatest beats and rhymes on the ‘Wu Legends’ tour.
To celebrate the return of (some of the) the New York City collective we have dug deep into the Press Rewind archive. Oh yeah we’ve gone deep, all the way back to 1993, and a performance of ‘Method Man’ on ‘Yo! MTV Raps’! For all your sample heads out there the track borrows from 5 different tracks, ‘Synthetic Substitution’ by Melvin Bliss, ‘Sport’ by Lightnin’ Rod, ‘More Bounce to the Ounce’ by Zapp, ‘Method of Modern Love’ by Hall & Oates and ‘Sundown’ by Gordon Lightfoot.
The dates for all you fans out there are:
O2 ABC, Glasgow – 12th July
HMV Forum, London – 13th July
HMV Ritz, Manchester – 14th July
HMV Institute, Birmingham – 15th July
From the slums of Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan strikes again!
On this day, 9th July 1962, Bob Dylan recorded 'Blowin' In the Wind' at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City during an afternoon session.
This version was filmed on Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour in ‘76 and features his old friend and former partner, folk singer and political activist, Joan Baez, as the pair perform the song as a duet.
When they first met, at Gerde’s Folk City in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1961, Baez was a successful folk signer/songwriter and her star on the rise, while Dylan was new on the scene, freshly arrived in New York after dropping out of university in Minnesota.
By the time Dylan was touring the Rolling Thunder Revue, with Baez as a guest performer, he was a hugely successful singer/songwriter with a back catalogue laden with hit albums and singles. Nice of him to remember his old friends!
Time to bring the sunshine!
I can’t be the only person fed up with this continual rain so I thought today we could all do with Groove Armada bringing some sunshine music into our lives.
Since forming in the mid 90s the ‘Armada have been a staple of the UK and International festival scene, bouncing crowds around from London to Sydney, and nearly everywhere in between, with their crowd pleasing, horn laden, party sets. And 'Superstylin’ is their party closer extraordinaire
The guys from Groove Armada love festivals so much that they started their own, Lovebox, in 2002. The festival was originally a 1 day-er held on Clapham Common, before moving to Victoria Park in East London in 2005, expanding to 2 days in the process. The line-ups have always been sensational, mixing legends with the cream of up and coming talent from across the musical spectrum.
Good work, gentlemen!
Today’s Press Rewind is taken from a television special, The Three Degrees at The Royal Albert Hall, recorded in October 1979, which saw them backed by a well-known local band, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The trio must have developed a bit of a soft spot for the UK, after being asked to play Prince Charles’s 30th birthday at Buckingham Palace they were then invited to attend the pre-wedding party for his marriage to Lady Diana in 1981.
Happy 4th of July to all of you out there! In celebration we have found a live version of 'America' by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, performed at free benefit concert the duo put on in 1981 in New York’s Central Park in front of 500, 000 people. The concert was staged to raise funds to redevelop and maintain a disused space in the Big Apple’s Manhattan.
America first featured on their 1968 album, Bookends. The song was then released as a B-side in 1971, and then again as a single to in 1972 to coincide with the release of Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits, creeping on the US Billboard Hot 100 at #97.
The song describes a trip east though America by two young lovers as they traverse from Michigan to Pittsburgh, and then onto the New Jersey Turnpike leading them to New York City.
Wikipedia mentions that the song is notable as one of few rock (Simon and Garfunkel are rock?) records with completely unrhymed lyrics.
Today we feature two American greats coming together for a VH1 Storytellers hoedown, a veritable all star, country singing, guitar playing, bonanza.
On 12th May 1997 Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson recorded an extremely special ‘special’, with each of them performing their own classic tracks, ably supported by the other on guitar, and then coming together for some classic duets. Enjoy…