Review of Elvis’ “If I Can Dream” rendition with the Philharmonic Orchestra

A “new” rendition of Elvis’ incomparable rendition of “If I Can Dream” has been made available on CD and/or download. There is no doubt that everyone had good intentions and put together a quality cd. Everyone of the musicians in the Philharmonic Orchestra are talented and that is a good thing. Same with the backup singers.
Over the years the estate has undertaken endeavors to have some of Elvis’ songs altered and released. I know the reasons are, in part, in order to garner some media buzz and to potentially reach new audience members who then will become Elvis fans. I have supported the estate, in many ways both publicly and privately, and I have no plans to do otherwise.
However, Elvis Presley was more than a singer. He was more than an exciting performer. He was, in every sense of the word, a music producer. Felton Jarvis, who I had the honor of corresponding with, was (at first) RCA’s record producer of Elvis’ recordings in 1966 but then went to work exclusively with Elvis until Elvis’ death in 1977. Felton readily admitted that Elvis was a perfectionist of his recordings. He “felt” the song. He was “moved” by the words and the enunciations. He surrounded himself with some of the greatest musicians, orchestra, and backup singers in the world. His songs oozed unique vocal inflections with meaning. With soul. Majestic in it’s impact. Ageless in it’s spirit.
Elvis’ performance in the 1968 Singer special entitled “Elvis” was Elvis’ first live performance in (approximately) 8 years. Elvis lost weight. He sang and rehearsed instead of having to focus on his movie contracts has he had been since 1960 where he was committed to (approximately) 3 movies per year. Elvis was saddened at the loss of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and bothered that his special man had been gunned down in Elvis’ (home) residency of Memphis Tennessee.
Steve Binder did a phenomenal job putting this special together along with “keeping it real” with Elvis. For the first time in memory someone was honest with Elvis. Binder knew that Elvis was a great talent but that the movies he had been making had diluted his impact pertaining to his recordings, impact, popularity, and ability to garner new fans. Steve Binder wanted to make Elvis’ music relevant. He wanted Elvis to lose weight and sing. He surrounded Elvis with possibilities and Elvis seized the opportunity. As an Elvis fan there are not enough adjectives, or words, to fully express how Steve Binder changed Elvis’ career and propelled him to international superstardom with a body of works to follow that will forever be among the greatest recordings ever made.
The backdrop of this was the 1960s. You had the Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Motown, Vietnam, etc. Times were changing. People were changing. There were divisions of all kinds. And yet in this Singer TV Special of 1968 Elvis rose to this occasion with a blend of rock, gospel, humor, attitude, and with an unequalled vocal range with a sweat dripping performance for the ages.
Back when I was married my wife wasn’t an Elvis fan. She liked a few of his songs. But when it came to Elvis’ career she stated that Elvis, in his 1968 Singer special, was “the most handsome and the best”. I miss her.
There is a story behind the writing of “If I Can Dream” that is very special. I encourage Elvis Presley fans to seek out the works, endeavors, and words of those who have recanted the facts about Elvis – the SInger 68 special – etc. This includes but is not limited to; Marty Lacker, Billy Smith, Red West, Sonny West, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, Alanna Nash, Sandi Pichon, Sandie Kaye Stevens, Steve Binder, http://www.Elvis.com and more.
“If I Can Dream” was a song that (initially) Elvis sang wearing black leather (not the best version but highly entertaining and moving) before a live audience and athen wearing his custom tailored white suit complete with his jet black hair, earned sweat, and bona fide emotions. He lived that song. Hearing that song left an impression long after Elvis finished and said “goodnight”. Long after the TV Special ended. In my case “If I Can Dream” was among the greatest recordings Elvis made and I have (literally) seen them all. Listened to them countless times. There is something important about Elvis singing this song. It’s not something one could easily put their finger on. Nonetheless it is apparent with every movement. Every hand gesture. Every exchange of the microphone. Every note of that brilliant song. Elvis put his talents on display and was rewarded with high TV ratings, a renewed career, options, and confidence.
As much as I respect, and appreciate, the estate’s decisions pertaining to this song I can’t help but be honest and state that Elvis’ versions recorded for the 68 Special, are exceptional and should be listened to as Elvis performed it. No duets. No fake holograms. No background singers. No changes. This performance, and the recording, can stand alone…on it’s own.
Finally, would anyone allow the Mona Lisa to be altered? The statue of David? Those are masterpieces that are appreciated for what they are. The works of a god given once in a millennium talent who, through their success and failures, were brave enough to pursue their talents. Long after they took their last breath the works they left behind are beautiful to the eye along with spawning a fawning respect.
These works of art were made by true…artists. They need no changes. For one to behold…is all that needs to happen. Elvis Presley was an artist. Elvis’ songs, including “If I Can Dream”, need to simply be…watched…and listened to…as they were meant to.
Take care and may god bless you.
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Elvis. Elvis Presley. Elvis Aron Presley. And the fans who remember him

WM 1956 Elvis shirtless Graceland wiping off shoulder

Singer.

Performer.

TV star.

King of Las Vegas.

His live performances unequalled.

Gospel singer.

Actor.

Son.

Father.

Friend.

Employer.

To his fans  he left behind three decades of exceptional professional endeavors that resonates to this very moment.

“Nuff said.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

Elvis (Presley) week August 2015

1961 candid head down Elvis sad looking

This being August of 2015 Elvis, even more than routinely, will be in the forefront of media attention not only for it being (sadly) the 38th anniversary of his passing (i.e. August 16, 1977) but for the United States Postal Service offering a “forever Elvis Stamp”.

While many will be traveling to Graceland, or getting together in person and/or online with other Elvis fans, there will be many who will acknowledge their memories of Elvis privately. Regardless of geographical location with the plethora of Elvis’ professional material available for sale, and/or on the internet, is extensive and much of which is of quality.

On one page of the website http://www.ElvisCollector.info I have the names of those who were integral part of Elvis’ life but (sadly) they too have passed away. After much thought, and with an emphasis of respect to the loved ones and family members of those who have passed, I decided on incorporating this into the site.

Many of those listed on the site I was fortunate enough to know, or have met, or have spoken with, or have communicated with, and/or I was able to (over a period of decades) convey my appreciation and respect. I continue to keep their family, and loved ones, in my prayers knowing that there are no words that can heal the loss that they have endured through the very writing of this post.

Knowing full well that we are the last generation with personal connections to Elvis, while he was alive in his prime, and performing to sold out crowds throughout the United States. Man, those days seem….like a lifetime ago.

To Lisa Marie, Priscilla, EPE, Jack Soden, etc. thank you for allowing Elvis Presley fans to view Graceland since 1982.

To so many that loved Elvis, and Elvis loved and trusted, such as; Marty Lacker, Red West, Sonny West, Billy Smith, Jerry Schilling, Joe Esposito, Sandi Pichon, Sandie Kay Stevens, Kay Wheeler, Kathy Westmoreland, etc. they were (individually and collectively) integral parts of Elvis life – his successes – etc. onstage and off. To each I say “thank you”.

To Alanna Nash, Russ Howe, JAT, Paul Litcher, etc. thank you for your professional endeavors which include unique books – exhibits – websites – dvd – cd’s – etc. about Elvis Presley’s incredible life.

I listen to Elvis music routinely. So many of the songs I not only know the lyrics by heart but have listed to (literally) thousands of times. Some of these songs were the backdrop of my youth and even in my twilight years I always enjoy, and am impressed by, countless recordings/concerts/dvds/cds/tv appearances/movies that Elvis made in his three decades in the entertainment field.

There will never be another Elvis.

One of the primary lessons of Elvis’ life is that he was blessed with God given talents and he found the strength to pursue his talents, working extremely hard at his craft, and in many ways became an inspiration.

Take care and may God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

38 years ago Elvis Aron Presley (sadly) died (i.e. August 16, 1977)

Some Days it seems like yesterday Elvis was making crowds scream in sold out concerts

Others it seems like…a lifetime ago.

Many, those who grew up with me and/or I gave life to, have wondered “why are – or how are – you an Elvis fan”? There is no big mystery to it. I liked his music. I applauded his charitable endeavors. I lived during his lifetime and saw him reach the greatest heights of fame and go through the depths of…pain (i.e. divorce, declining health, financial issues, lawsuits, etc.).

He was human. He had dreams. He had loves. He lost. He used his God given talents for three decades. He came from poverty and earned his family a quality of life they could never have  dreamed of.

He didn’t care about color. He was loyal. He had a temper. He had charisma x1000000000000000000000000000. He was a spiritual man. He loved the voices of others in many musical genres.

The video I have put into this post, thanks YouTube, contains some of the most sincere and honest comments Elvis ever made before a live audience starting at (approximately) the 1 minute mark begining with “this is the probably the greatest honor I’ve ever had in my life”….

I say no more.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

www. ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

Did you know? Elvis Presley June 2015 edition by Jeff Schrembs

Elvis fighting stanceDid you know that there are several exceptional books about Elvis, onstage and off, authored by Alanna Nash – Sandie Stevens – Members of Elvis’ infamous Memphis Mafia (i.e. Marty Lacker, Billy Smith, Red West, Sonny West, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, Charlie Hodge, Lamar Fike, etc.) & Sandi Pichon among others?

Did you know that Elvis wore lifts in his shoes so that he would be six foot or slightly over?

Did you know that Elvis was self taught to play the guitar and piano?

Did you know that Elvis had a dental cap on his front teeth?

Did you know that Elvis swallowed his tooth cap during filming of Jailhouse Rock and had to have a medical procedure to retrieve it?

Did you know that there were, excluding other movies which Elvis disliked due to the lack of quality of script and/or being repetitive, two movies Elvis made that he would never watch and never allowed to be played (even if it came on TV) anywhere near him? The movies were Jailhouse Rock due to the fact that his female co-star Judy Tyler died just after filming completed in an automobile accident. The other was Loving You as Elvis’ beloved mother, Gladys Love (Smith) Presley, was a part of the audience.

DId you know that Elvis was never nominated for a Grammy award other than the three he received in the Gospel category?

Did you know that the total number of records Elvis sold has never fully been audited/confirmed a fact that greatly annoys Elvis Presley fans, including this one, dating back to the 1970’s?

Did you know that, contingent on your comments and sharing on social media sites, that there will be more “Did you know Elvis Presley” posts in the future?

Take care and may God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

Ranking Elvis Presley’s dance scenes in film and/or in concert

Surprisingly the girls who Elvis took to prom/dances, during his high school years, said that Elvis was too shy to dance.

Those around Elvis (i.e. his trusted friends) knew he disliked to dance but he made the distinction between dancing and moving to the rhythm while performing. On stage, and in film, Elvis moved and the audience went…wild.

There are many unique moments when Elvis got caught up in the music and he let loose earning his nickname of “tiger”. Fortunately Elvis left behind numerous movies, and live concerts, whereby his talents are apparent.

I have ranked what I believe, for different reasons and in no specific order, are the top five Elvis Presley dance scenes:

Mean Woman Blues from Elvis’ movie entitled Loving You

I Got A Lot Of Living To Do from Elvis’ movie entitled Loving You

Jailhouse Rock scene from Elvis’ movie entitled Jailhouse Rock

Suspicious Minds from Elvis’ movie Elvis That’s The Way It Is

Blue Suede Shoes from Elvis’ TV special entitled “Singer presents Elvis” otherwise known as; the comeback special, the 1968 special, 68 comeback, etc.

Take care and may God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

Alanna Nash reports that Alfred (Al) Wertheimer has passed away

It is with a heave heart to have learned that Alfred (Al) Wertheimer (sadly) passed away today October 20, 2014.

I learned of his passing through my dear friend Alanna Nash.

My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to Alanna Nash and those who were; friends and/or loved ones of Mr. Wertheimer.

Having amassed Elvis Presley photographs, for these (6) six decades now, I greatly appreciated the talent and artistry of Mr. Wertheimer who was able to capture magnificent candid photographs of Elvis circa 1956. The most famous of Mr. Wertheimer’s Elvis’ photographs was the one entitled “the kiss” where Elvis has his tongue out extended to a 50’s short hair cropped beauty against a wall.

Even after all these years the black and white photographs of Mr. Wertheimer, with my favorite being Elvis wearing his suit walking away from the train by himself heading home fin Memphis, Tennessee after being in New York., resonates.

The passing of Mr. Wertheimer (sadly) closes yet another chapter in the lives of those who played a pivotal role in the life of Elvis Presley. Hence, I do wish that Elvis fans worldwide will not only pay their respects concerning Mr. Wertheimer’s passing but to also reach out and support those who were friends and/or loved one’s of Elvis Presley. This list includes, but is not limited to, the following: Marty Lacker, Red West, Sonny West, Billy Smith, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling and Sandi Pichon.

Time proves, each day, that life is never guaranteed in length and/or quality. I will always be a fan of Mr. Wertheimer and I deeply regret that I was not able to meet him in person. Fortunately Mr. Wertheimer has left behind a body of works that are exceptional.

I know that God will grant the time to; mourn, acknowledge, praise, and then the time to heal.

For those seeking more information I refer, with sincere thanks and respect, you to contact Alanna Nash directly.

Take care and may God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs