It has been said that Elvis is able to play any song he wants at any time, which is pretty remarkable considering his “special day” with his “special” bride. I can remember seeing him at a show when he was only twenty-two years old and I had never seen him play before. It was quite an amazing performance and quite a feat for any guitarist. What also made the performance remarkable was the fact that it showcased his amazing talent as a singer/songwriter too!
Elvis Slots is probably his best-known songs and if you are unfamiliar with them, you should really try and dig them out! “Blue Moon of Kentucky” was recorded by The Bluejoi and is one of Elvis’ first recorded guitar songs. In fact, it may have been the very first song he picked up the guitar and played with any degree of guitar technique. After working with Herb Ellis, John Lewis and others, Elvis decided he wanted to learn to play lead guitar – a decision he would come to regret. He would try again, this time with Steve Van Zandt, but did not progress as far as he would have liked.
Throughout his career Elvis had a number of injuries. A whiplash received in his attempt to drink a train at a Tennessee railroad station was chronicled in his later years. An accident in which he severed his vocal chord and required extensive surgery is another story. One of his many “run ins” with the law – driving under the influence of alcohol – resulted in him spending a considerable amount of time in rehab. It is interesting to note that he never seemed to have any more problems with alcohol or drugs, even after his return to the stage in the early 1960’s.
One of Elvis’ childhood friends was Larry Carlton, who wrote and sang for him. Carlton would often call Elvis’ mother, hoping that her son would take lessons from him someday. His mother always told him no. He was only eleven when he started learning the guitar. Two months later, he met Andros Aranne, who was a Spanish guitarist and songwriter. They became good friends and later became great singers, performers and recording musicians.
While serving as a military chaplain in the Armed Forces, Elvis learned a great deal about music, especially how to play the guitar. He even considered getting a degree in music, but instead pursued his singing career. On leave from the service, he began a career as a session musician, playing for various artists. He landed a deal with Chess Records and released two singles, “Hound Dog” and “Blue Hawaii.” One of these tracks, “Blue Hawaii,” would become one of the biggest hits in Elvis’ career.
Another single that he released, “I’m a Believer,” would also top the pop charts. In addition to these singles, he also appeared on “Mystery Train,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” “Hound Dog” and numerous others.
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