Friday, January 28, 2011

Elvis And Bill

When asked how I became an Elvis fan I always answer that it all started with Bill Haley. You see, my mother had an EP record with Bill Haley that I discovered when I was about eight years old. One of the songs on it was "Shake, Rattle And Roll" and I played it over and over. In fact, so much that I got a Bill Haley LP for my 9th birthday. I still have it, and looking at it right now, I can tell it spent it's fair share on the turntable as well.

From Bill Haley I guess the step wasn't very far to Elvis Presley, so when one of my brothers bought a double LP called Elvis Forever, I quickly "adopted" it. Bill Haley had to step aside as Elvis became my new favorite, a position he's successfully defended ever since.

But yesterday I got reacquainted with Bill Haley again, thanks to my other brother, who's also an Elvis fan (the one who bought Elvis Forever isn't). Turned out he'd ordered a box set featuring Bill Haley's music from the 60's. Being the nice brother he is, he'd put together a compilation CD from the set, and sent it to me. I imported it to my iPod and spent an enjoyable morning listening to it on my way to work.

And would you believe it had some interesting Elvis connections? I was pleasantly surprised to suddenly hear "Stop, Look And Listen" followed by "The Meanest Girl In Town" (titled "Yeah, She's Evil!"). Calling my brother on the phone in the evening, he told me they were recorded in 1964. So the versions that Elvis did for use in his two movies Spinout and Girl Happy, are actually Bill Haley covers. I didn't know that. And they sound pretty cool, too.

Now I'm only hoping that someday Elvis' version of "Rock Around The Clock," reportedly recorded during one of his Louisiana Hayride performances, will turn up. And by the way, did you know that Elvis recorded "That's All Right" on Bill Haley's 29th birthday?

Bill Haley and Elvis Presley crossed paths on a number of occasions (Elvis Australia)


Mårtenbrother said...

Glad you liked it! Stop, look and listen was actully recorded in 1965, my mistake. But still before Elvis cut his version!
In the book Sound And Glory, the authors claim that Haley in 1979 recorded a song called The King Of Rock'n'roll but decided not to release it, because he felt it was inapropriate because of Elvis' death.
The 9th February this year marks the 30th anniversary of Bill's death.

Troy Y. said...

Mårtenbrother: Interesting that Haley apparently recorded the song two years after Elvis' death to begin with, but decided not to release it as "inappropriate" because of Elvis' death. Why record it in the first place, then?

I don't know if it's related to the song you mentioned, but I remember seeing a Bill Haley album in the stores back in the late 1980s called Bill Haley Is The REAL King of Rock 'n' Roll - or something to that effect.

I specifically did not buy this album because of the title. I was a kid and took offense on behalf of Elvis, I guess. Seems funny looking back on it, though.

Mårtenbrother said...

Troy, the book doesn't say. Maybe somebody pointed it out to him, I don't know. It was apparently a good song, but I guess it's about Bill being the King of Rock'n'roll. I don't think it's ever been released.