Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Easy Question

We've been taking things "easy" this week in Forgotten Hits ... no point in changing things up now!!!

There aren't a whole lot of Elvis "Forgotten Hits" anymore ... MOST of his recordings are familiar to even the most casual music fans out there. Over the course of his career, The King Of Rock And Roll hit the pop charts an incredible 146 times between 1956 and 1977 ... heck, he's even hit it five MORE times since his death in '77 with remixes like "Guitar Man" (#28, 1981); A Little Less Conversation (#50, 2002) and Rubberneckin' (#94, 2003)!

One of my favorite never-played Elvis oldies is Easy Question, a #11 Hit for The King back in 1965.

The song was released as a single in conjunction with the release of Elvis' 18th movie, "Tickle Me." This was the film that The Colonel arranged to be made to help save the Allied Artists Film Studio. Allied Artists was on the brink of financial disaster, close to filing bankruptcy, when they approached The Colonel about securing Elvis' services to make a film, knowing full well that ALL of Elvis' movies made money ... their feeling was that this might be JUST what the studio needed in order to turn things around.

The Colonel agreed ... and even cut Elvis' normal Million Dollar Salary to just $750,000 (plus 50% of the film's profits) to help out ... but then told the studio that there was not enough money left in the budget to create a new motion picture soundtrack!

Realizing that an Elvis Presley movie without any Elvis Presley songs in it wouldn't solve their financial problems (or fly with the public), they worked out an agreement with RCA Records that allowed them to take a bunch of previously released Elvis LP recordings not all that familiar to the mass public, modify a thing or two here and there and then use them in the film! It worked ... Easy Question (an early Forgotten Hits favorite) ended up being a #11 chart hit and the follow-up single, I'm Yours, also used in the film, went all the way to #9. The film made money ... in fact, at a reported gross of close to $5,000,000, it was the third highest grossing film in the studio's history. At the time, Allied Artists Studio Head Steve Brody told the press that Elvis had saved his studio: "You might say that they were ready to wheel the patient out when Dr. Presley came in." (Sadly, despite the brief reprieve, Allied Artists still ended up closing their doors a short time later.)

Songs included in the "Tickle Me" film include the hit singles Easy Question / It Feels So Right (from Elvis' 1962 LP "Pot Luck" and 1960 LP "Elvis Is Back, respectively), I'm Yours / Long Lonely Highway (from "Pot Luck" and, believe it or not, the "Kissin' Cousins" Soundtrack LP), as well as the "Tickle Me" EP cuts I Feel That I've Known You Forever and Night Rider (both from "Pot Luck"), Slowly But Surely (from "Fun In Acapulco"), Put The Blame On Me (from "Something For Everybody") and Dirty Dirty Feeling (from "Elvis Is Back").

Hey Jocks, why not treat your listeners to something different by Elvis today ... and give Easy Question a spin. (Of course, the DOWN side would be that you'd only be able to play Suspicious Minds 34 times this week instead of the normal 35 times ... but your listeners just might thank you for it later!!!)