Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stand by me

A couple of years ago I produced a one hour radio programme dedicated to Elvis religious songs that was broadcast on Easter. Called Rock Me Lord it featured songs spanning from 1957 to 1975 and the press release went something like this:

No music meant as much to Elvis as the religious one. As a teenager, it was his biggest wish to sing in a gospel quartet. But when he auditioned he was turned down because he couldn't sing harmony.

That didn't deter him from recording several religious albums and singing gospel at his concerts. - I know practically every religious song ever written, Elvis used to say.

But when Swedish piano player Per-Erik Hallin told him that "How Great Thou Art" originally was from Sweden, Elvis thought he joked.

You can hear that story and much more listening to the programme Rock Me Lord where Thomas takes a closer look at Elvis' religious music.

Nod bad, eh? At least my father must have thought it had its qualities, as he asked me a couple of months ago if I would like to hold a lecture on the same subject. This was to take place when the church where he lives would arrange something called "summer church." The theme would be songs from the past and the present, and he wanted Elvis to be part of the programme.

Of course I accepted, because who can turn his own father down? All kidding aside, I thought it was a nice idea and a good opportunity to show those attending "summer church" what religious music meant to Elvis and what he has meant and still mean to religious music.

This Friday the time has come for me to enter the stage and talk about Elvis gospel recordings. So for the last couple of days I've been busy figuring out what to say, which songs to play and what to show on DVD. As Elvis On Tour hasn't been released on DVD yet (once again - why!?) I have to go with the version of "How Great Thou Art" available on the Elvis Lives: The 25th Anniversary Concert.

I have to admit I'm starting to get a little nervous. Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck. You'll soon know how it went.

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