January 8th means two things around here. It's the anniversary of the Boogie Woogie Flu and it's the day on which the baby Elvis came into the world. I like that this blog shares it's birthday with the King, and I can also assure you that it's no accident. The very first post here, was a look at a few records that we can speculate Elvis had in his own record collection. That post is once again active, and you can listen to it in all of it's crackly glory HERE.
In 1957, the songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller began working with Elvis as he was beginning work on the film, Jailhouse Rock. In their first sessions with him they recorded and produced (among others) "Jailhouse Rock" and "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care." In Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography, Mike Stoller recalls Elvis making a request:
One day he approached me as we were leaving the set.
"Mike," he said "I want you to write me a real pretty ballad."
And so they did.
Three days later they recorded "Don't" which became a number one hit for the King in January, 1958. No one sings a ballad like Elvis, except maybe Keith Richards, who recorded his own solo piano version of "Don't" while he was waiting around in Toronto in 1977 to stand trial for a minor misunderstanding he had with the customs authorities there. We usually celebrate Keith's birthday here as well, but in the flurry of the holidays, it was sadly overlooked. Keith is still among the undead and turned a youthful hundred and something on December 18th. Elvis would have been seventy five today, and the Boogie Woogie Flu is three.
by Elvis Presley, 1958.
available on Elv1s 30 #1 Hits
by Keith Richards, 1977.
Out on Bail (and out of print)