throwing it back to you
catching up: manhattan and the honourable woman

music friday: elvis' greatest shit

I came across my copy of this bootleg and thought to use it for a Music Friday post. I figured I’d need to spend some time explaining the album, but then I found there’s actually a Wikipedia page for it. So you can check out that page. But I’ll give the short version. Or maybe I’ll let Greil Marcus do it, from his book Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession:

The cover pictured Elvis in his coffin, captioned “FAT DEAD PERSON … Years of bodily self-abuse and drug usage finally took its toll on the famous singer who once thrilled the world with such immortal songs as “Queenie Wahine’s Papaya,” “Yoga Is as Yoga Does,” & “There’s No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car.” Inside the sleeve was a reproduction of the prescription made out to Elvis by Dr. George Nichopolous, on 15 August 1977 …

Let’s see how many of these classic tunes I can find on YouTube. Well, here’s Side One:

The track listing:

  1. "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"
  2. "Ito Eats"
  3. "There's No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car"
  4. "Confidence"
  5. "Yoga Is As Yoga Does"
  6. "Song of the Shrimp"
  7. "U.S. Male"
  8. "Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce"
  9. "Signs of the Zodiac"
  10. "The Bullfighter Was a Lady"
  11. "Wolf Call"
  12. "Can't Help Falling in Love (Outtake)"

And Side Two:

  1. "He's Your Uncle, Not Your Dad"
  2. "Scratch My Back Then I'll Scratch Yours"
  3. "The Walls Have Ears"
  4. "Poison Ivy League"
  5. "Beach Boy Blues"
  6. "Dominic the Impotent Bull"
  7. "Queenie Wahine's Papaya"
  8. "Do the Clambake (Medley)"
  9. "Datin'" (duet with child actor Donna Butterworth)
  10. "Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Live)"

If you can’t take all of this greatness at once, here are some individual tracks:

Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (from Double Trouble)

Ito Eats” (from Blue Hawaii)

Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce” (from Girl Happy)

Dominic the Impotent Bull” (from Stay Away, Joe)

Queenie Wahine’s Papaya” (from Paradise, Hawaiian Style)

Finally, as proof that I have nothing new to say, I was searching for info on this album, and found that I had posted about it back in 2002:

Elvis' Greatest Shit ranks with the all-time Elvis artifacts, and that means something, of course, because there's so much competition. It's a bootleg filled with really crappy songs from Elvis movies, along with alternate versions of a few good songs in, shall we say, lesser versions. Those of us who think of the King as a great artist NEED to hear this, to remind us all of what he was capable of. It's hard to say what is the most unsettling (it's all funny, that goes without saying, and the humor is cumulative, that is, each song in succession seems to increase the utterly surreal nature of these recordings). Which is harder to bear? The version of the beautiful "Are You Lonesome Tonight" where E slobbers his way through half-remembered lyrics, or the simple existence of an officially-released Elvis song called "Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce"? Perhaps the "best" of this shit is "Dominic the Impotent Bull," which is indeed what the song is about.