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Today In Pop Music: September 10 – Why Elvis Presley Recorded So Many Bad Songs

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RCA Victor Records - 1968

RCA Victor Records – 1968

Steve Goddard Steve Goddard
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Today’s birthday’s include: Danny Hutton (70) of Three Dog Night, Barriemore Barlow (63) of Jethro Toll, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry is 62, and Bananarama’s (Venus, Cruel Summer) Siobhan Fahey is 55.

September 10, 1962 – The BBC banned Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett’s #1 American hit ‘Monster Mash’, saying it was “offensive.  When it was re-released in 1973, it went to #3 on the British charts.

September 10, 1965, The Byrds record Turn Turn Turn with all the group members, unlike their first hit Mr. Tamborine Man which feature studio musicians.

September 10, 1968 – The Beatles ‘Hey Jude’ the UK singles chart becoming their 15 chart topper in Great Britain.

September 10, 1983 – Former guitarist for Stevie Wonder Michael Sembello began a two week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with his  single from Flashdance, “Maniac”.

September 10, 1967 – Elvis Presley brought Jerry Reed into a Nashville studio to cut a song Jerry had written called ‘Guitar Man’.  It was one of the few bright spots of the 60’s, as Elvis had been recording less than mediocre movie songs like ‘Clambake’ and ‘You Can’t Do the Rhumba In A Sports Car’.  When RCA released ‘Guitar Man’, the single was placed inside a picture sleeve that continued the image of a very un-hip Elvis stuck in a myriad of bad movies.  The ’68 special that pulled him out of the slump was 15 months away, and did feature an inspired version of Guitar Man – not a moment too soon.

But there’s a reason Elvis was force fed such bad songs, and there’s a great story as to how ‘Guitar Man’ slipped through the cracks, as Elvis’ friend (best man at his wedding)  Marty Lacker recalls.  Marty’s one of the best story teller’s I’ve ever heard – and he was there when it all happened, great guy.

And did you know Dolly Parton refused to let Elvis record one of her songs – for a very good reason.  Here’s what Marty told me.

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