View Full Version : "I'm 10,000 Years Old"
Does anybody know the story behind the subtitle of Elvis' Hit 1971 album "Elvis Country" - "I'm 10,000 Years Old"
Right, I know it might have something to do with the song "I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago" which Elvis adapted especially for the album, but was EP behind the idea of the subtitle? Or was it Felton Jarvis' doing?
The LP is Elvis' most-likely 'concept' album and the creative aspect of producing it seems to be foremost throughout right down to including snippets of the aformentioned song in-between each track on the album - nice idea!
Any thoughts on this one, guys?
12-12-2005, 08:36 PM
I would assume that "I'm 10,000 Years Old" was just a way of shortening that song title for purposes of the album name.
A while back, I wrote a short review of this album. I thought I'd post it again here...
Elvis Country/"I'm 10,000 Years Old" is surely considered among Elvis' best by most people who are familiar with it.
My copy is from one of the original pressings in January 1971 (there were three different originals, if I'm reading this Osbourne's guide right); it is flexible vinyl with an orange label. You do hear the occasional snap, crackle, and pop on my record--it's not bad though--but the cover is near mint.
This album has the distinction of being one of a select few from the seventies which does not feature a live action shot of Elvis on the front cover.
Another thing which sets it apart is that it was a somewhat rare "concept album" from Elvis, and one for which his participation was perhaps more in evidence than any other. It was his own idea to take the song "I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago" and fade segments of it in and out between the album's tracks. It makes for a unique listening experience, and seems to strengthen the already deep ties between the songs on this album. This song, which wasn't featured in its entirety until its release on Elvis Now (what a great teaser, because from the segments you can tell the song really rocks), was of course the inspiration for the album's subtitle.
This album really had some meat to it. It is a shame that follow-up albums fell short of the high standard this one set. Plenty of great music was yet to come (like most of my favorites), but in terms of great albums, there weren't many more quite like this one. Elvis is not really to blame for this, since he wasn't really behind that end of things. No, that's a cop-out. As the artist, he should have demanded more input in the entire process. But as we know, sometimes the finished product did not totally please Elvis, so that alone illustrates he wasn't involved in the way that he should have been, and that if he had been, things could have been a lot better. For one thing, tracks which were unfinished or basically unacceptable for release in his mind somehow ended up on records. That's hard to fathom...as is my capacity for digression.:blush: Sorry to go off on a negative tangent there.
This fantastic album, which commanded immediate respect, featured the following twelve songs:
Tomorrow Never Comes
Little Cabin On The Hill
Whole Lot-ta Shakin' Goin' On
Funny How Time Slips Away
I Really Don't Want To Know
There Goes My Everything
It's Your Baby, You Rock It
I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
Make The World Go Away
Not all straight country, but with a strong country flavor throughout, this LP featured powerful and impassioned singing from Elvis, a man in perfect control of his voice. These were songs he obviously felt from the heart, songs which were deeply rooted in him...songs which do his legacy great justice to this day.
12-13-2005, 04:15 PM
Lonnie B, I think you are an intelligent person - but I do think you're a tad too negative in this context.. It's true that rock wasn't so important later on, but I still like many albums beyond 1970! How about Always On My Mind and Separate Ways? How about Stax..? The Today sessions? And the Jungle Room?
I think that most of his 70's work commanded immediate respect - he was just singing his bleeding heart out, the King who was Hurt, way down deep inside of him. Elvis' swan song is underrated...
Don't get me wrong: Elvis Country is great; a true gem!
I can't help it if I cry, but I'm so often able to identify with Elvis.. He was just Crying and Sóóóó Hurt.. I think his pain is still marching on, to this very day...
:angry: Hurt! :'(
Please know that I do love you fellas!
What a wonderfully creative time period this was for Elvis. He had made his Comeback via the Television set, Recording Studio and Live Stage in 1968-69. And, 1970 proved to be a musically-phenomenal year.
What a brilliantly-creative concept "Elvis Country" proved to be. You heard 'The Beatles' experiment and tamper with a number of musical concepts in 1967 and 1968, and Elvis proved he too could do the same. I very much appreciate his creative thinking in throwing in "I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago" as a snippet between songs before I appreciate the Fab Four's creative thinking with the Radio Knob-twidling 'Revolution number 9' on their 'White Album'!
The album "Elvis Country" is a wonderfully passionate listen to a man who believes in the music he is making and is a true salute to his past and present in the form of modern Country/Rock. And, what an Album Cover!!
12-13-2005, 07:08 PM
Fabian, thank you for the compliment!
I must point out that my statement about subsequent albums falling short of the standard set by this one was strictly in reference to albums in terms of concept pieces, if you know what I mean. I was not speaking of the merits of the songs themselves.
Being on the music scene since the fifties, Elvis was simply geared more toward cutting sides than making an album. Part of that could also be blamed on his RCA contracts; with such a high demand for output, selecting songs with unifying themes or undertones was something for which time would not often allow.
There is a singular notable exception in my mind. It is an album as cohesive as any and one that is a true favorite of mine. Part of the reason it succeeds as it does is that its material is true to the artist and 'where he was' at the time. Here again is something I wrote a while back, if I may--with apologies to NEA for digressing:
One of my favorite albums is one which seems to get a bad rap, or at least ranks considerably lower on a lot of other people's lists. It is Elvis' penultimate studio album of new material released in his lifetime: From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee.
When I first got this CD--which was well before my acquisition of the LP :lol:, it was one I played over and over. Well, we all have done that with many of our Elvis CDs, but this one really struck a chord with me.
I'll address the content of this one first. This LP, though not commonly recognized in this manner, represents another one of Elvis' concept albums, the theme being one of lost love, separation, isolation, etc.
Not the cheeriest theme, no, but one that is at least consistent throughout. And I don't know about you all, but for me there is some kind of joy which can be derived from listening to sad songs. I think it is one or more of these things at play:
1 - Hearing someone else "sing the blues" makes you realize that other people have felt the same things that you have when you thought you were at your lowest, hence you have reason to be encouraged;
2 - You really haven't been there, so you're enlightened to the fact that things could be a lot worse [2b] OR, since you haven't been there, you may find the stories these songs tell to be extra interesting or intriguing;
3 - Simply hearing a singer bare his soul, emoting so effectively that regardless of your experiences you feel that you know precisely what it's all about, and appreciate the insight that you have been allowed to vicariously gain through the music...but essentially it's about respecting the ability of the singer to convey the feelings that well. It is as if he has refined his singing to where it is essentially pure emotion that is coming across, so you can't help but believe it. You might say Elvis' best acting was not done in front of a camera but behind a microphone.
Is it the melancholy theme that some are not drawn to, or the prevalence of ballads, or a change in Elvis' voice or delivery? I don't know--I'm not one of those people, so I couldn't say. I like all of the above, so I'm not qualified to answer. But they are all in evidence here.
At least half of the following ten songs, recorded in the Jungle Room in February 1976, do literally rank among my very favorite Elvis songs:
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
The Last Farewell
For The Heart
Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall
Love Coming Down
I'll Never Fall In Love Again
Perhaps because the overall style isn't everyone's cup of tea, this observation is not often made, but I think this is an impressive collection of well-written songs.
One downer about this album, I must concede, is that Felton Jarvis went a little overboard in the overdubbing on this album. Not only did Elvis at times seem to get lost in the mix, but its being done that way helped contribute to the myth that Elvis was in such poor voice at this time that he demanded (or it was simply made necessary) that the backup singers drown him out, i.e., he wasn't up to the task himself. Thank goodness for FTD...
A couple interesting things about the cover...
Once again, a live shot of Elvis was used on this cover, which was not uncommon for his studio albums in the seventies. However, if it was known in 1974 that two years later he would be recording at home, RCA would most certainly have saved the great pics Ed Bonja took of Graceland for the '76 album. Instead we have pics of Graceland on a live album, and concert pics on an album recorded at Graceland.:blink:
Adding to the confusion are the words "Recorded Live" on the cover. Though still surely misleading to some, it would not have been entirely inappropriate to use such terminology if the recordings were made with no overdubbing; i.e., everything heard on each track had been recorded simultaneously--that would actually qualify as "live". But as mentioned above, that couldn't have been further from the truth. So what was the deal with that? I can't remember now exactly how she explained it, but questioned about that years later Joan Deary did give a rather unsatisfying explanation, but went on to say it was not their intention to have been misleading with that.
The photo, incidentally, was taken on June 10, 1975 in Memphis, and featured Elvis in his Indian Feather suit.
On the back, it is made to look like a personal memo from Elvis to the fans. It reads:
Thank you for your loyalty. I sincerely hope you like my new RCA album.
Then, in Elvis' handwriting:
My best wishes
12-14-2005, 06:24 AM
Lonniebealestreet: EP Boulevard is a fave '70s album of mine too. Elvis bares his soul. It's his cry for help. Was anybody listening? Would it have made any difference if they were?
12-14-2005, 05:08 PM
Thanks for explaining, Lonnie B! I know now what you meant; it's true that there were a lot of great songs after 1970 - the problem being that RCA's promotion was a complete disaster and they did nothing to:
1. make Elvis feel comfortable
2. encourage Elvis' creative abilities
Besides, I think they have exploited The King. It's the kind of feeling I get from the Pickwick albums; they had great songs such as Burning Love, Separate Ways and Always On My Mind.. but they were mixed in very, very strange compilations..
I also think that you're right on the part of overdubs; Elvis is sometimes drowned in the added chorals and strings (and whatever more) and this wasn't necessary - the original voice of Elvis and the musicians who were present at the time were enough to make a high-quality album.
I get this impression all the way through the 1970's; It's also audible on the Stax-sessions, the Today album, the Jungle Room Sessions.....
But you're right about Elvis-country; Elvis was energetic and happy to do these songs. I love this album and it shows that Elvis was interested in country & western (while most folks seem to think that Elvis was strictly about 50's Rock 'n Roll)..
Thanks again, Lonnie B, for being so accepting and kind.
Do you happen to know if the splitting of 'Born About 10.000 Years Ago' was Elvis' idea? I would have loved to hear the song in it's entirity instead of all these spliced fragments.. I thought it was strange; you actually hear songs nearing a fade-out, and then all of a sudden there is this partial song being mixed in..
I love 'Born About 10.000 Years Ago', though - it really rocks!
12-15-2005, 06:21 PM
Jerry, good questions! Some have said that Elvis' degenerated penmanship on the back of the album should have been a telltale sign that all was not well.
Fabian, thanks again. I am glad that you see that I am as much a fan of Elvis' final years as any other period. I don't know this for a fact, but it is my understanding that the segments of IWBATTYA playing between the tracks of the Elvis Country album was indeed his own idea.
I think the answer to the lack of structure to Elvis's albums or lack of "concept" was because Elvis recorded what he liked at the time of the session and that could be ANYTHING. He loved all kinds of styles and music and did not mind putting a Spanish flavored song on with country, blues, rock etc...the concept he went for was what Elvis liked to sing. Now to others it may seem disconjoined but I'm sure he never saw it that way-it was all music.
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