Friday, 16 October 2015

SILVE SPERLEY - WAY DOWN...



I was working nightshift in SAFEWAY in 1977
when PELVIS PARSLEY died, and this is the song
that haunted the airwaves as a result.  Quite catchy,
actually - sing along at the back there.

8 comments:

Graham said...

I remember that one too, Kid. You can imagine what sort of ruckus there was here in Mississippi when Elvis passed away. They played that song all over all the rock and country stations for two solid months. When I hear it, I think about when he passed.

Kid said...

There was a 'Teddy Boy' (don't know if you're familiar with the term) who worked in Safeway who was devastated by Elvis's death. Every night he played a tape of Elvis (we took turns at playing our favourite artists), but the other workers got fed up with it before too long. He couldn't understand it. Bing Crosby died a couple of months later, so 1977 wasn't a good year for two of the top figures in the music industry.

Colin Jones said...

And Marc Bolan of T-Rex was killed in a car crash in mid-September '77. 'Way Down' had actually peaked in the Top 40 and was falling when Elvis died causing the song to leap to #1 (for 5 weeks). I was on holiday at the seaside at the time of Elvis' death - and while i was there I bought the 1975 Conan Treasury Edition and the 1974 Thor TE. Amazingly Elvis has had 5 posthumous UK #1 hits - 'Way Down', 'A Little Less Conversation' (in 2002) and another three during January 2005 (the month of what would have been his 70th birthday).

Kid said...

Talking of hits by deceased singers, Jim Reeves had his first U.K. number 1 in 1966 (two years after his death), with Distant Drums, keeping The Beatles from the top spot. In 2009, the CD album, The Very Best of Jim Reeves, reached number 7 in the U.K. album charts. Not a lot of people know that at the the time of Elvis's hit, Blue Moon, he was too scared to go on stage to perform it on The Louisiana Hayride, so JR pushed him on.

Colin Jones said...

I knew about 'Distant Drums' - one of the rare posthumous No.1's that was successful on its' own merits not because the singer had just died. Why was Elvis too scared to go on stage, Kid ?

Kid said...

Nerves, apparently, CJ - or stage fright as it's called. An interesting thing about Distant Drums is that the composer, Cindy Walker, wrote it specially for Jim, but record producer Chet Atkins nixed the idea. Cindy asked Jim to do a demo specially for her, which he did, and the song (not the demo) was then passed to Roy Orbison, who released it as the B side of one of his singles. It didn't make any kind of impact, and most people don't even know that Roy recorded it. After Jim died, with the Vietnam war, Chet had Jim's demo (which was not as polished a performance as it would've been had Jim recorded it for release) overdubbed, and it became Jim's first U.K. number 1 hit. Jim's lead guitarist, Leo Jackson (of his band, the Blue Boys,) said that had Jim lived, that version of the song would never have been released, and that he would have recorded a proper version, not the quick demo he did for Cindy Walker.

Colin Jones said...

Very interesting, Kid - I didn't know any of that. Distant drums may have only been a demo but it sounds fine to me and obviously the record-buying public thought so too as it was #1 for 5 weeks I believe. But what do you mean by "with the Vietnam war" in your comment ? Back to Elvis - over the 1977/78 Christmas holidays BBC 1 showed an Elvis film almost every day, the only one I could remember clearly was 'GI Blues' on Christmas Eve - and thanks to BBC Genome I see that GI Blues was indeed broadcast in the morning of Christmas Eve 1977.

Kid said...

Ah, right, see what you mean - no, I wasn't tying Jim's death into Vietnam, but the song is about a soldier going off to war, so Chet Atkins thought that it would be a timely release - two years after Jim died.

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