Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

An Open Letter To Madonna

20 Jan

Dear Madonna,

Last night, we attended your concert in Nashville. Actually, we attended part of your concert in Nashville. The announced starting time was 8:00, and you did not take the stage until 10:30. As someone who has attended numerous concerts, I understand that 8:00 does not mean 8:00. However, it does not usually mean a two-and-a-half hour wait.

Justin Timberlake started at a reasonable time, and he is one of the biggest stars on the planet.

Taylor Swift started at a reasonable time, and she is one of the biggest stars on the planet.

The Rolling Stones started at a reasonable time, and they are one of the greatest Rock bands of all time.

U2 started at a reasonable time, and they are one of the greatest Rock bands of all time.

Elvis, another one of those performers who everyone knows by one name, started at a reasonable time. You call yourself the queen, but everyone called him the King.Rebel Heart

You should understand that it is no longer the 1980s. Your fans are not teenagers. There were a few people wearing leashes, but most of the people in my section looked to be in their 40s and 50s. Most assuredly, they had to get to work the next day. They wanted to have a good time, but they would have liked to have gotten home at a decent time.

You might want to think about this on a more personal level. You are no longer a spring chicken. Plastic surgery and makeup are wonderful things, but I think you could use some beauty sleep.

The part of the concert that we saw was well done. Your band was solid. The stage and props were cool. Your dancers were awesome. You sang and danced well for someone at this point in your career. However, I am not sure you realize what point that is.

You are no longer a cutting edge performer. Except for a few collaborations, you are no longer a hit-making machine. Your success comes from people who buy tickets to your concerts to hear the songs of their youth. This means that they want to hear those songs in their original formats. Elton John calls it the jukebox, and I have heard him say that he is happy to play them. You should take note from Sir Elton and his ability to connect with his fans.

Before the concert, we read that you had some problems in Louisville. You started three hours late, and many people thought you were drunk on stage. After a situation like that, I assumed that you would want to make amends at our show. I was wrong in that assumption. You chose to be unprofessional and start late once again.

Here is a suggestion. If you are not going to play until 10:30, then announce that the concert will start at 9:30. That will prepare everyone for what will happen.

I will give you credit on one thing. You were not drunk on stage. No one could go through that type of choreography and be toasted at the same time. However, I understand why the people in Louisville came to that conclusion. The part of the concert where you banter with the crowd was odd.

You spoke with a fake southern accent, which was worse than your fake British accent. On top of that, it was condescending to your audience. I understand that we are not from a cultured place like Detroit, but we are not hillbillies. We wear shoes, and they sometimes match our leashes. We have teeth, and we do not marry our cousins that often.

You also talked about how you usually wear little clothing and mentioned something about how everyone wants to see you naked. People have not wanted to see you naked since the Reagan administration. Although, I understand that sexuality is part of your act.

Here is another suggestion. Leave the sensuality up to your dancers. They oozed it during the stripping nun routine. While I am on the subject of stripping nuns, I need to say something about your need to have a shock factor.

The bed routine was a nice touch. Having same-sex couples and a topless dancer was interesting. However, it was far from the most shocking thing I have ever seen at a concert. This is a family blog, and I will not go into details. Just know that you need to talk to Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and the rest of Motley Crue. They know how to shock, and they know how to do it at a decent hour.

You also talked about how your job is to create art and change the world. Actually, that is not true. If you want to use your fortune for great causes, then that is commendable. However, your job is to entertain. In my mind, you, like a great many other performers, are well-paid organ grinder monkeys. Your job is to make the audience happy, and I assure you that many in your audience were not happy.

We left not long after your speech, but we were far from the first ones to leave. That does not count the man behind us who was asleep. Even the drunkest revelers and your biggest fans were fading away.

Odds are that you will never read this, but one of your staff members may stumble upon it while looking for concert reactions. In case that happens, I have a final suggestion.

Respect your audience. During your banter, you mentioned that you are famous. It took a lot of hard work to get where you are, but you are famous because the audience deems you to be. That means that we deserve your respect and should not have to wait for hours to bask in your presence.

In closing, you are a star, but you are not as big a star as you were. You were Madonna. Now, you are Prima Donna. There will come a time when you are just Donna.

I have attended dozens of memorable concerts. Several of those performers I have seen more than once. Rest assured, your concert will be memorable for all the wrong reasons, and I will not be seeing you a second time. For someone with your wealth that probably does not matter. However, that wealth relies heavily on ticket sales. If enough people go away angered, then it may begin to matter.

Sincerely,

Rick

An Ode to Frank Sinatra

12 Dec

The other night, I watched a television special honoring the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra. It had several people who should never sing a Sinatra song doing exactly what they should never do. There were also some people who did the music justice.

Anyway, the show made me think about Frank Sinatra and how I wished I had seen him in concert. My parents saw him perform in Las Vegas. They have not attended many concerts, but they saw Sinatra and Elvis Presley. When you have seen two of the biggest stars of all time, I guess there is no point is seeing anyone else.Frank Sinatra

Despite not seeing Frank Sinatra in person, he is one of my favorite performers. However, I like some of his stuff better than others.

“It Was a Very Good Year” is my favorite Sinatra song. For as long as I remember, the lyrics have struck me on a deep level.

When I was seventeen, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls
And soft summer nights
We’d hide from the lights
On the village green
When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls
Who lived up the stairs
With all that perfumed hair
That came undone
When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We’d ride in limousines
Their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days are short, I’m in the autumn of my years
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
It poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

Tony Rome is my favorite Frank Sinatra movie. It is even included in my Sinatra version of Movie Wisdom. He plays a Miami private detective who lives on a boat and has issues with gambling. Basically, it is Sinatra having a good time. Nancy Sinatra sings the theme song, and Rocky Graziano makes a cameo appearance.

Dean Martin is my favorite Frank Sinatra pal.Dean Martin

As a famed member of the Rat Pack, he was, in my opinion, one of the few performers who could go toe-to-toe with Sinatra. He was a singer and an actor. He could handle Westerns, Drama and Comedy.

Ava Gardner is my favorite Frank Sinatra wife.Ava

I mean, how can you not like Ava Gardner? She was one of the great Hollywood starlets. I just never could figure out why she married Mickey Rooney.

Anyway, that is my ode to the Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra. Otherwise known as Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Songs for Me and Robert Neville

4 Oct

My wife and stepdaughter just left for the week at the beach. Next week, my wife and I are going to a real place – Santa Fe, New Mexico. However, that is happening next week. At the moment, I have the house to myself. This might be fun for a night, but I am certain that it will get old relatively soon.

The house has been quiet, and, in an attempt to break the silence, I turned on some music. The problem is that I have gravitated to songs with certain themes. I have listened to “Alone Again” by Dokken and followed that up with “Tired of Being Alone” by Al Green. Of course, there is “I Drink Alone” by George Thorogood.

On top of that, “Lonley Days” by Bee Gees is fitting for the occasion. In fact, it goes well with “The Lonely Man” by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Jackie Wilson sang “Lonely Teardrops“, which can only be shed by only the lonely. Luckily, the iPod has “Only the Lonely” by Roy Orbison. Merle Haggard sings about “Going Where the Lonely Go“. I do not know where that is, but I wonder if “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” plays there. If not, then maybe The Beatles do.

All of this adds up to being lonesome, and there are a ton of songs on my iPod that deal with that.

Are You Lonesome Tonight?” by Elvis Presley

“The Blue Side of Lonesome” by John Prine and Mac Wiseman

I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” by Merle Haggard

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams

Lonesome Loser” by Little River Band

Lonesome Valley” by The Fairfield Four

Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” by Waylon Jennings

I could go on by listing “Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond and “Solitude” by Billie Holiday, but it might be time to stop listening to this kind of stuff. The iPod needs to change themes to something like “The In Crowd” by Ramsey Lewis or “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor. After all, the zombie apocalypse has not hit. There has to be other people in the world. Certainly, I have not become Robert Neville.Neville

Everyone knows who that is, right?

Dates and Jams

3 Sep

My friend over at Serendipity created a great post, and I, like any good blogger, am going to copy it. She found a site called Birthday Jams that will tell you what was at the top of the charts on the day that you were born.

On my day of birth, The Supremes had “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” hanging out in the Number One spot. However, it gets better. In the United Kingdom, Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra hit big with the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I knew I liked that movie for some reason.

As I fiddled with the site, I started to wonder about what people were jamming to when big events happened. For example, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon on July 20, 1969. Do you know what song was tops in the land on that day? “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first president to resign from office. As he flew off in his helicopter, somebody was listening to “Feel Like Makin’ Love” by Roberta Flack. Nixon also posed in one of the greatest photographs of all time with Elvis Presley.Elvis Nixon

A few years later, the nation was saddened by the death of Elvis, who had a ton of Number One hits. On August 16, 1977, the day he passed away, “Best of My Love” by The Emotions was playing on radios everywhere.

Elvis’ career began when he walked into Sun Studios. He struggled for a while but finally got into a groove on July 5, 1954 when he recorded “That’s All Right.” The nation did not know what was about to hit them. All they knew was that Kitty Kallen had a huge hit with “Little Things Mean a Lot.”

Obviously, December 7, 1941 is a huge date in American history. The Japanese attacked the island of Oahu and our base at Pearl Harbor. The nation was about to enter a war that had been raging for a couple of years. It was also the day that people were listening to “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller.

On December 15, 1944, Miller’s plane disappeared somewhere over the English Channel. On that day, Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots hit with “I’m Making Believe.”

On September 10 1993, a television show debuted that asked us to believe. As The X-Files started its rise to popularity, “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey hit the peak of the charts.

Of course, that was a few years after Larry Hagman first dreamed of Jeannie. That show went on the air on September 18, 1965, which was the same time that The Beatles did not need any “Help!”

Of course, The Beatles would break up and go on to solo careers. Tragically, John Lennon’s life was cut short on December 8, 1980. On that day, “Lady” by Kenny Rogers was sitting at Number One.

Rogers used his popularity to transition into movies. None of them were very good, but Six Pack was one of the worst. It hit the screens on July 16, 1982. Listening to “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League had to be better than watching that film.

I reckon this exercise needs to eventually come to an end, and that will happen with one more date.

I am not going to release the date of my wife’s birth, but that event turned out to be important in my life. In other words, it needs to be recognized. One way to do that is to tell you that Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie” was the big hit of the day. By the way, her name is not Rosie.

A Steel Magnolias Kind of Weekend

5 Aug

I have never seen Steel Magnolias. However, this weekend brought two of its stars to the stages of Nashville, and we saw both of them.

Friday night, we saw Dolly Parton at the Ryman Auditorium. It had been over a decade since she played a concert in Nashville, but a local charity brought her back to town. The place was packed with music industry insiders, politicians and regular people. Despite the strange mixture, there was an electricity running through the crowd. This was not just a concert. It was an event. I have written about seeing Elvis Presley in concert, and, although I was young, I can remember a similar feeling.

I guess that was fitting because Dolly came out in a white suit that brought to mind something Elvis would wear.image-46

Writing a sentence using only first names brought something else to my mind. It is a rare level of fame when people know someone by their first name.

Anyway, the show was awesome. Dolly played a bunch of her more famous songs and played a bunch of instruments along the way. However, I enjoyed her stories. She talked about growing up in Appalachia and the struggles that her family faced. She talked about coming to Nashville as a teenager and eventually reaching superstar status. Despite that transition, she never forgot where she came from.

Dolly is a true entertainer who writes songs, sings and acts. However, it is her charisma and connection to the crowd that caught my attention.

Thursday night, we went to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center for a completely different kind of show. Shirley MacLaine was there to talk about her life and her career.image-47

It was also a strangely mixed crowd with those who wanted to hear stories about Hollywood and those who were there to be close to their spiritual guide. I knew that the latter would get what they wanted, but I was hoping there would be more about the inside workings of the movies.

It was an interview format with Ann Patchett, author and Nashvillian, doing the asking. I think she wanted to psychoanalyze Shirley MacLaine because the first question went straight to reincarnation. It was something about how playing different lives in movies may have opened her mind to the possibility of living different lives.

Well, Shirley MacLaine was having none of that. She knew that she had fought in the Civil War long before she was in a movie.

There was some discussion about her career, and some interesting stories were told. However, the spiritual realm dominated the night. That is fine. I expected it. However, I would have asked some other things like:

How did someone who grew up in Virginia make it to Hollywood?

What did your family think of that decision?

Who was your favorite dance partner?

I could go on, but I would rather talk about when the audience asked questions. There was a good question about the Rat Pack that led her to talk about the time John F. Kennedy decided not to stay at Frank Sinatra’s house.

Then, there was one questioner who said that he could see his deceased grandmother in the eyes of his cat. That led someone else to talk about the hierarchy of the cat world. There was also some talk about how we are living multiple lives all at once.

At some point, I told my wife that I was going to the restroom and that I may not come back. People can believe what they want. Heck, I am probably strange, too. However, I had enough mystical talk for one night.

Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine worked together in Steel Magnolias, which made the two shows kind of cool and connected. As I wrote, the shows were completely different. In one of them, I got up and threatened not to come back. In the other one, I did not want to miss anything.

My iPod Has Issues – The One Before the Interesting One

2 Aug

The past few days have been eventful. Some of it was awesome. Some of it was weird. However, it was all interesting. I will write about all of it in the next post, but, for the moment, I have a hard time keeping the words on the screen in focus.

That is why we are going to look into the iPod to see what is happening. I thought about going with a theme but decided to stick with a true shuffle.

What will be on the playlist? Only the iPod knows.Shadow

“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” by Dave Alvin

“Let’s Work Together” by Canned Heat

“Sentimental Lady” by Bob Welch

“Time Bomb” by Godsmack

“The Mooche” by Duke Ellington

“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition

“Wild Boys” by Duran Duran

“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink” by Merle Haggard

“Fight The Power” by Public Enemy

“Let The Good Times Roll” by B.B. King

“99 Problems” by Jay-Z

“Crying” by Roy Orbison

“Twentieth Century Fox” by The Doors

“Sigmund and the Seamonsters” by Tripping Daisy

“Eli’s Coming” by Three Dog Night

“What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner

“Easin’ In” by Edward Starr

“Tiger Man” by Elvis Presley

“The Times They Are A-Changin'” by Bob Dylan

“Rollin’ and Tumblin'” by Muddy Waters

I promise that the next post will be interesting.

My iPod Has Issues – Brain Drain

25 Jun

There are a lot of things going through my mind that I could write about. My opinion on the Confederate flag. Some issues in local politics. The events of everyday life. Heck, I could even give out the Yard Dog Award. However, I am not going to write about any of those things.

I am tired. My brain is tired.Brain

At the moment, the energy does not exist to create a post of any depth. As has been done before, I will take this opportunity to take the easy way out and let my iPod do all of the work.

It is now time to put it on shuffle and listen to what comes out.

“I Sang Dixie” by Dwight Yoakam

“Flash Light” by Parliament

“Broken Arrow” by Robbie Robertson

“She Shot A Hole In My Soul” by Clifford Curry

“Arranca” by Manzanita

“Sweet and Slow” by Carol Sloane

“He Went To Paris” by Jimmy Buffett

“Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition

“Tiger Man” by Elvis Presley

“Texas” by Chris Rea

“Country Boy (You Got Your Feet In L.A.)” by Glen Campbell

“Dear Mr. Fantasy” by Traffic

“Safe From Harm” by Massive Attack

“Civil War” by Guns N’ Roses

“Comin’ Home” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

“Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor

“Hurt” by Johnny Cash

“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” by Otis Redding

“Lotta Love” by Nicolette Larson

“Sweet Tennessee” by Judah and the Lion

Man, that wore my iPod out. I think we both need a good night’s sleep.