Elvis Presley - The Albums and Singles Thread pt3 The Seventies

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, May 26, 2019.

  1. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I respectfully disagree right back atcha. The fact that he says she "ran" (rather than saying "don't know why you're gone") suggests he is pretty sure she left of her own accord. His speculation centers entirely around something "going wrong" in their relationship, and he wants to find out what it is and fix it if possible... there is nothing in the song to suggest he is worried she might be in danger. Most tellingly, he does not call the police but instead engages in a one-man search on foot and via hitchiking. If a person has a missing loved one and believes they might be in imminent danger, is there any plausible reason they wouldn't call the police? I can buy the argument that you can interpret the song more romantically and more sympathetically to the narrator than I've been doing, but I don't think there's a plausible argument that he's worried she's in danger. He's clearly not.

    At any rate, I don't want to beat this into the ground. I thought it was an interesting point about the lyrics that Dave brought up, and I agreed with it. But I respect you guys' opinions that disagree with me. A good lyric can be open to differing interpretations.
     
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  2. Not to beat a dead horse, but I always thought she was in a new relationship with the singer, but she was running from a past significant other (“what you running to, or from”) as she feared the past ‘other’ was jealous and would have hurt/killed the singer out of jealousy. There’s been more than one Hollywood movie with this premise so maybe I got it from those.
     
  3. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    I can absolutely see the other side of the coin here. When I was younger, I thought that the song was a very romantic and heroic tale of searching for a loved one to reconcile or at least gain closure. Barring a kidnapping or something catastrophic, his narrative seemed more like a stalker's once I was older and more world wise I suppose. If I was one of the guys on the bench outside the General Store, I don't think I would give up information for fear that he might not be such a good guy in reality. That being said, I still love the song and think it is one of his best of all time. I play along with the narrative in my mind and give him the benefit of a doubt (* certain restrictions and limitations apply LOL).
     
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  4. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    I going to say one more thing about this and I'll shut up. Lol. I find it fascinating how many very popular songs had this theme of abandonment at this time. As for humorous take on it, I can't think of a better song than "Jackson" by Johnny & June Carter Cash. She dares him to go knowing that he's going to come back "with his tail tucked between his legs". You just know that she will be there serving him a fresh steaming plate of crow for the rest of his days.

     
  5. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Then 20 years later his lost love he cannot find in the rain becomes "My Little Friend" .
     
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums Thread Starter

    I find the lyric thing kind of hilarious ...
    All i hear when i listen to a song like this, is the emotion. In this i hear a broken heart, that is in shock.
    I find the modern age a bit sad and a bit hilarious. These days if someone calls somebody twice, they're a stalker ... the whole world has become so oversensitive it is hard to participate in society without upsetting people ... from my perspective it just seems people like to be upset lol

    That isn't to say there aren't bed people and bad things . .. but i tend to wait and see.
     
  7. Hooperfan

    Hooperfan Your friendly neighborhood candy store owner

    Location:
    New York
    Plus in 1970, they reissued both records from "From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis" as their own releases
     
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums Thread Starter

    I was having a quick once over for 1970 this morning. It seems like an insane amount of releases for one year.
     
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  9. Ace24

    Ace24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    I never thought about the motives or character of the Kentucky Rain protagonist. If I questioned the scenario, it was that walking and hitchhiking seemed like a slow, inefficient way to find someone and unlikely to be successful. Maybe the towns were small and close together and in a string on a main road.

    I bought (special ordered) the 45 of this one in the late 80s in order to just hear the song. I knew Elvis had a hit called Kentucky Rain, but had never heard it. The song does sound great.
     
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  10. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    The reason the Character had to hitchhike to find her is because she was Marylou and stole his Caddy car. He wanted to hunt her down and get his car back. (Not to mention his watch and chain and diamond ring).
     
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums Thread Starter

    She stole my watch and chain!
     
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  12. CBackley

    CBackley Chairman of the Bored

    Guys, guys: Maybe he’s just looking for a dog that ran away. Of course a little rain wasn’t going to stop him. It’s like Billy Madison once said:

    “[you] gotta think 'You got a pet. You got a responsibility.' If your dog is lost you don't look for an hour then call it quits? You get your [butt] out there, and you find that [freaking] dog!”
     
  13. Ace24

    Ace24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    I've listened to a lot of 70s Elvis over the years. I had the 50s and 60s box sets and eagerly awaited the 70s set when it was pending release. The live albums On Stage, MSG, Aloha and Live on Stage in Memphis have received a lot of spins.
    I like Elvis Country, He Touched Me, Today, Moody Blue, Wonderful World of Christmas...
    Not a great fan of Stax on the whole.
    While I can hear the flaws in Elvis 70s work at times, I most often enjoy the music in spite of them.
     
  14. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    Location:
    The Southwest
    That version of Suspicious Minds is the worst concert performance on disc five.
     
  15. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I know I said this recently about another fine post on this thread, but if I could like this post a thousand times, I would do it. I also get slightly annoyed when people judge lyrics that were written 50 or more years ago from a modern social or moral perspective, and I am not talking about just this song, but all songs from the 50's, 60's or 70's. I find the whole revisionist analysis to be hysterical.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  16. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    I've always seen the lyrics to Kentucky Rain as belonging to the traditional romantic model of storytelling. It's all about the overall feel and mood, rather than the specifics of the story. Taken literally, I can see why one might find the lyrics disturbing (or the narrator unsympathetic), but I think the overall themes of the song - loss, desperation, confusion, worry - come through quite convincingly. I guess we don't have to trust that the singer's spent "seven lonely days" (emphasis on "lonely"), and we don't have to take his word about the strength of his love, but I think it's completely believable (most of this is due to Elvis, and the sincerity in his voice). He sounds genuinely pained on the chorus, and there's a note of resignation in the "Was it yesterday? No wait...the day before" part. Not only is he further away from her than he initially thought, but the people who said that they saw her might not even be reliable.

    Most importantly, there's absolutely no sense of anger in the song, or even ego or arrogance, which is what I'd expect if the singer had sinister motivations. Instead, he just wants to know what went wrong, and hopes that he can make it right. He freely admits that he doesn't know why she left, which isn't what I'd expect out of a stalker type (I'd expect something more like "you're a damn fool to leave me! I'm the best you'll ever have!"...c.f. the machismo attitude that US Male so successfully parodied). He probably wouldn't even suffer through the cold rain if he were actually stalking her. You can make the case that he must not be very self-aware, not to know why she just up and left in the middle of the night, but again, everything about the music and the performance and the lyrics tells me emotionally, instinctively, that there's nothing wrong about what he's doing.

    Forget about the literal implication of the lyrics. At its heart, the song is about a relationship that's fallen apart, and the desperate need to try to fix it, or at least find some modicum of closure. Listening to it, there's not a moment where I doubt the singer's intentions. The haunted romance of the strings, the drama of the crashing piano chords, the mournful horns during the middle of the chorus (right before the "searching for you" climax)...it all paints a vivid picture of someone so hopelessly in love that they'll do (suffer through) anything in order to have even a tiny hope of redemption, a small chance of getting what they really need. Such romantic ideals aren't exactly in fashion now, and that may well be for the best - they certainly have little-to-no basis in reality. But from a storytelling perspective, they make for some truly wonderful works of art. And Kentucky Rain is one of the best examples of the hopeless romantic around. It's one of the most moving records I've ever heard.
     
  17. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    (In the interests of full disclosure, I'm in my 30s, and my politics are somewhat to the left of Bernie Sanders. So for me, at least, it's not a generational/political thing...or at least I don't think it is!)
     
  18. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Dirk, that might just be the most beautiful and elegant post that I have ever read on this forum, and not just because I agree with it, but because of the vivid way you describe the entire beauty of the song and Elvis's vocals. This type of post is the reason why I love coming to this forum every day, and all of us who love Elvis's music are lucky to have you on this splendid thread, commenting on these songs and issues so exquisitely.
     
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  19. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    So are you going to sell your Elvis collection and donate the money to the homeless?
     
  20. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    It only works if everyone's on board (or at least mandated to do so). So if that were the case, and if giving up my physical Elvis collection was the price to pay for eradicating homelessness/poverty, then yes...I'd do it in a heartbeat.
     
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  21. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I agree. I just don't see it as a political issue.The song is subject to some interpretation given the vagueness of the whole story, but I do not think we have to take the most sinister interpretation of the protagonist's motives or actions.
     
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  22. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I do too, actually. It annoys the hell out of me when I see "critiques" of Baby It's Cold Outside that remove it from proper historical context and then completely misunderstand the song and its intended meaning. But I do not see how that is what I was doing with the discussion of Kentucky Rain. I don't think that fifty years ago it was socially acceptable for a guy to chase after a woman who doesn't want to see him, to try to force her to talk to him. The notion that a person's wish to be left alone should be respected is not some modern, overly-sensitive new concept. It's true that the song is ambiguous enough that it's open to several different interpretations, but the one suggested by Dave (which I've been discussing) is one possible interpretation. I said I was going to drop this, but I'm not willing to sit here and be lumped in with the offense archeologists, 'cause that's not what I was doing.

    Anyway, I give up... I've decided @CBackley is right and the song is about a guy looking for his dog. I'd never thought of that before, but there's nothing in the song that precludes that interpretation.

    On the flipside, back in the good old days we had sexual harassment being swept under the rug and women who experienced it routinely being dismissed as liars. Progress is not always a straight line and perhaps there's been some over-correction in social attitudes or things have swung too far the other direction in some ways. But people tend to forget that the changes we're seeing in society today were the result of some genuine problems.
     
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  23. PepiJean

    PepiJean Forum Resident

    Thanks for the information. Proportions are well deserved, for sure.

    I have no problem with Elvis' 50s Christmas material in the first set as we're talking about a complete masters collection plus the quality of those recordings is mostly flawless. I mean, SANTA CLAUS IS BACK IN TOWN or I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS don't bother me compared to LIFE or TAKE GOOD CARE OF HER.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
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  24. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I just played Kentucky Rain for my gals 29 year old daughter, who is really into the group Tool. I am not sure she has ever heard many Elvis songs before, and I would describe her as a pretty independent minded person. She really liked the song and just loved the line, "with the rain in my shoe, searching for you." She just thinks the whole song paints a vivid picture and she found it very interesting that the mystery never gets totally resolved.
     
  25. Revelator

    Revelator Disputatious cartoon animal.

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Not much I can say about "Kentucky Rain," aside that it's one of the masterpieces from the Memphis sessions. It's also the song that made me an Elvis fan. Late one night, during my junior year of high school, I was doing homework with the radio on and "Kentucky Rain" came on the oldies channel. I had thought of Elvis as a 1950s figure who sang primitive rock'n'roll, so this song shocked and thrilled me--I had no idea Elvis cut stuff like it: Gorgeous blue-eyed soul with an intricate, still contemporary-sounding arrangement, and sung with equal amounts of authority, intensity, and vulnerability. Afterwards I bought The Memphis Record and a VHS tape of the '68 Comeback Special and became a fan for life. Nowadays so-called "oldies" stations play stuff from the 80s, so I regret future kids won't encounter Elvis the way I did.

    As for "My Little Friend"...was it chosen to make "Kentucky Rain" sound even better? One of the slightest songs from the Memphis sessions and too damn wordy (a problem that will blight future Shirl Milete songs). And the tune is utterly forgettable.
     
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