Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's only live?

Since my last post I've been pondering over the original Standing Room Only album. The reason for this is Joe Tunzi's documentation in his third Elvis Sessions book that clearly shows the album to be a live one (there's a picture of the cover, both front and back) with the following track list:

Side One: "Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001 Theme)"/"See See Rider"/"Proud Mary"/"Never Been To Spain"/"You Gave Me A Mountain"/"A Big Hunk O' Love"/"For The Good Times"

Side Two: "Burning Love"/"An American Trilogy"/"It's Over"/"I Can't Stop Loving You"/"Polk Salad Annie"/"Funny How Time Slips Away"/"Lawdy Miss Clawdy"/"Can't Help Falling In Love"

But other sources, such as Ernst Jorgensen's Recording Sessions from 1984 and The Illustrated Record by Roy Carr and Mick Farren (1982) clearly states that the album was planned as a half live (February 72)/half studio (March 72) album. The Illustrated Record even offers a track list, which, incidentally, is supported by a Mr Luuk on the FECC forum (where many members are discussing the SRO project):

"Running a record shop at the time and importing Elvis discs from the USA I got a flyer from my supplier that the next Elvis release would be "Standing Room Only" complete with the track details (as per post above). Then I got a flyer stating the LP would be postponed because RCA would rush-release the Madison Square Gardens album to beat the bootleggers."

But a a quote taken from an interview done in 1993 with the late Joan Deary for Tunzi's Sessions II book that will be featured in Elvis Sessions IV paints a different picture:

"Standing Room Only was never intended to include the selections recorded in Las Vegas in February or the single material that was cut in March. The final project was scrapped but my intent all along with RCA and The Colonel was to release a live album based on the best of the four shows recorded in April on tour. I even went as far as compiling my own track listing from these shows, our goal was to increase single sales and it worked. This is how it was going to be no matter what anyone else says.''

So where lies the truth? Maybe DarrylMac on the FECC forum has got it right:

"It makes sense that they dropped the original, all-live, idea when New York came up, and I guess they might have then planned a fall release for the live/studio version of SRO... but the upcoming "Aloha" show made that impossible. And we got "Burning Love And Hits From His Movies, Volume 2" instead!"

I think he's on to something, and that a reasonable explanation is that the concept of the album went through some changes before the idea was finally cancelled. Proof of this could be Joe Tunzi's reprinted RCA document showing that the album was rescheduled to a October 1972 release but then permanently withdrawn on August 17, 1972.

Now all I can do is to wait for the linar notes accompanying FTD's version of Standing Room Only, where I hope Ernst Jorgensen sets the record straight. By the way, seems like the bootleggers have already released their version of the album, and chosen the live only approach.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting and well researched!

PACONE said...

Good job, congratulations