Not Live Yet

Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

This second documentary featuring Elvis was produced by Pierre Addidge and directed by Robert Abel, who were to say, "Elvis was guarded at first. He's a very private and, in some ways, shy person. The candid interviews with Elvis were used as the narrative thread throughout this documentary, with Elvis' voice heard over footage of his concerts and family stills. It also includes footage from his early career, such as his debut on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’."

The 93-minute concert film, which was first known as ‘Standing Room Only’, went on general release in America on 1st November 1972 and focussed on his 15-city tour in the spring of 1971 which began in Buffalo, New York, and ended in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In some areas it was shown on a bill with ‘Elvis – That’s The Way It Is.’ Excluding Elvis’ million dollar fee, the movie cost $600,000 to make and proved to be successful financially, being said to have recouped its costs after only three days of release. The documentary was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Documentary of 1972 – and won it. Elvis was watching the ceremony on television in his bathroom at the Las Vegas Hilton and his friends in the other room heard him shout out, “My God! Sonofabitch! We’ve won! We’ve won the Golden Globe!”

The Metro Goldwyn Mayer film was photographed by Robert Thomas and featured a montage supervised by Martin Scorsese. Elvis’s ‘Memphis Mafia’ and his father were included in the credits as Elvis' Assistants; Vernon Presley, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, Sonny West, Red West, James Caughley, Lamar Fike, Marvin Gamble. The musicians with Elvis were: James Burton, Charlie Hodge, Ronnie Tutt, Glen Hardin, Jerry Scheff and John Wilkinson. The Orchestra was conducted by Joe Guercio and the background vocals were by Kathy Westmoreland, The Sweet Inspirations and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. The opening act was Jackie Kahane. A soundtrack album of the movie was planned, but never released.

The film opens with Elvis singing Johnny B. Goode over the credits and a montage of him in multiple image effect seen arriving at auditoriums, waiting backstage, going on stage and then there is a voiceover. "My daddy had seen a lot of people who played guitars and stuff and didn't work, so he said, 'You should make up your mind either about being an electrician or playing a guitar. I never saw a guitar player that was worth a damn". The documentary also displays footage from the first ‘Ed Sullivan Show’, Elvis’s induction into the army, Elvis wearing his gold suit, recording ‘Separate Ways’; in the studio, travelling to and from concerts and clips from some of his MGM movies.

The songs featured in the documentary were
‘Johnny B. Goode’ (penned by Chuck Berry which was played over the opening credits)
‘See See Rider’ (written by Ma Rainey and Chuck Willis)
‘Polk Salad Annie’ (written by Tony Joe White)
‘Separate Ways’ (written by Red West and Richard Mainegra)
‘Proud Mary’ (written by John Fogerty)

'Never Been To Spain' (written by Hoyt Axton)
'Burning Love’ (written by Dennis Linde)
‘That’s All Right, Mama’ (written by Arthur Crudup)
'Lead Me, Guide Me' (written by Doris Askers, a spiritual performed during a rehearsal)
‘Bosom of Abraham’ (written by William Johnson, George McFadden and Ted Brooks)

‘Love Me Tender’ (written by Elvis Presley and Ken Darby)
'Until It’s Time for You To Go’ (written by Buffy Sainte Marie)
‘Suspicious Minds’ (written by Mark James)
‘I, John’ (written by Johnson, McFadden)
'Bridge Over Troubled Water’ (written by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel)
'Funny How Time Slips Away’ (written by Willie Nelson)

'An American Trilogy' (This was a traditional number, arranged by Mickey Newbury, and
was a combination of ‘Dixie’, ‘All My Trials’ and ‘Battle Hymn Of The Republic’.
It became a trademark of Elvis' shows)

‘Mystery Train’ (written by Sam Philips and Junior Parker)
'I Got A Woman'/'Amen' (‘I Got A Woman’ by Ray Charles - ‘Amen’ by John W. Pate Sr.
and Curtis Mayfield and usually performed as a medley at the end of ‘I Got A Woman’)
‘A Big Hunk O’ Love’ (written by Sid Wyche and Aaron Schroeder)
‘You Gave Me A Mountain’ (written by Marty Robbins)
‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ (written by Lloyd Price)

‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ (written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George Weiss)
‘Memories’ (written by Scott Davis and Billy Strange - and played over the closing credits)
‘Lighthouse’ (sung by J.D.Sumner and the Stamps Quartet)
'Sweet Sweet Spirit' (sung by J.D.Sumner and the Stamps Quartet)
‘Don’t Be Cruel’ (written by Otis Blackwell, it was featured as a TV clip)
‘Ready Teddy’ (written Robert Blackwell and John Marascalo)

This was Elvis’s 33rd and final movie and ends with the words from the compere:

“Elvis has left the building”

Related pages: Sixties City - The Films of Elvis Presley

Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Article Bill Harry 2012               Original Graphics SixtiesCity 2012

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