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Thread: Elvis and the Grand Ole Opry-what's the actual story?

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    Graceland Mail Room U.S. Male's Avatar
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    Elvis and the Grand Ole Opry-what's the actual story?

    In the 1979 film ELVIS, which starred Kurt Russell, it was portrayed that Elvis auditioned at the Grand Ole Opry and rejected and told to go back to driving a truck. In the mini series Elvis-The Early years, it was portrayed that Elvis actually performed live on the Grand Ole Opry and received very, very little applause from the audience, which then lead to an Opry official to reject Elvis performing there.

    Can someone explain what actually happened? Did Elvis only audition before Opry officials or did he play live? If he played live, is there a recording of the performance, because I have heard many old radio shows of the program exist.
    "Don't tamper with the property of the U.S. Male"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Boss Man
    In the 1979 film ELVIS, which starred Kurt Russell, it was portrayed that Elvis auditioned at the Grand Ole Opry and rejected and told to go back to driving a truck. In the mini series Elvis-The Early years, it was portrayed that Elvis actually performed live on the Grand Ole Opry and received very, very little applause from the audience, which then lead to an Opry official to reject Elvis performing there.

    Can someone explain what actually happened? Did Elvis only audition before Opry officials or did he play live? If he played live, is there a recording of the performance, because I have heard many old radio shows of the program exist.
    From what I understand the depiction of what happened was more accurate in the television series, be it somewhat dramatized/romanticized. Scotty told the tale in several interviews, including one on MTV in 1987 I think, that Elvis cried all the way home, and that later Sam Philips and others tried to lift his spirits by telling him he was ahead of his time and the audience just did not understand his style yet. It was explained that Elvis' highly emotional reaction mostly was the result of the fact that he looked up at the Grand Ole Opry as a legendary institution.....

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    Graceland Mail Room U.S. Male's Avatar
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    So you're saying Elvis did actually make one live appearance on the Grand Ole Opry? If this is so, did he wear that super-bright orange outfit as depicted in the tv series?

    This is very interesting info
    "Don't tamper with the property of the U.S. Male"

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    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    "By Those Who Knew Him Best"

    Buddy Killen (a country artist) was there when Elvis performed at the Grand Ole Opry. He said that Elvis choose to do 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky' because 'That's Allright Mama' was too rocking for that place. Buddy mentions that Elvis didn't get to do an encore, but that the crowd reaction was much better than what's being told nowadays.

    Faron Young (artist during that period) knew the head of the Grand Ole Opry (Jim Denny). Faron still doesn't know where that 'better stay being a truckdriver' comes from "I'll bet you 10 million dollars to a dougnut that Denny never made that remark to Elvis. Denny, in his heart, would never have said something like that, even if he thought it. That's a bunch of b*llsh*t"

    Bill Denny (son of Jim) said that he wasn't there during that time, but Chet Atkins and a bunch of other persons were. Years later he went to Chet to ask about that remark. Chet (and those other persons) denied that Jim ever had said a thing like that.

    Source: 'By Those Who Knew Him Best' (page 68-69)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Boss Man
    So you're saying Elvis did actually make one live appearance on the Grand Ole Opry? If this is so, did he wear that super-bright orange outfit as depicted in the tv series?

    This is very interesting info
    LOL, in none of the interviews with Scotty does he give details about Elvis' attire on that occassion


    Quote Originally Posted by Albert
    Buddy Killen (a country artist) was there when Elvis performed at the Grand Ole Opry. He said that Elvis choose to do 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky' because 'That's Allright Mama' was too rocking for that place. Buddy mentions that Elvis didn't get to do an encore, but that the crowd reaction was much better than what's being told nowadays.

    Faron Young (artist during that period) knew the head of the Grand Ole Opry (Jim Denny). Faron still doesn't know where that 'better stay being a truckdriver' comes from "I'll bet you 10 million dollars to a dougnut that Denny never made that remark to Elvis. Denny, in his heart, would never have said something like that, even if he thought it. That's a bunch of b*llsh*t"

    Bill Denny (son of Jim) said that he wasn't there during that time, but Chet Atkins and a bunch of other persons were. Years later he went to Chet to ask about that remark. Chet (and those other persons) denied that Jim ever had said a thing like that.
    Like with so many Elvis stories there are several versions of each single one of them.

    There are disputes about his being turned down twice for a spot in a gospel quartet, about the "You'd better go back to driving a truck", about how long it took Sam Philips to contact him after he'd cut the 4 Dollar record.

    The truth surely must lay somewhere in the middle.

    All I know about this Grand Ole Opry thing is what I've heard Scotty (on MTV with D.J.) tell: that Elvis "bawled his eyes out all the way back"......

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    TCB Mafia P.S. Annie's Avatar
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    I saw an interview with Marion Keisker, and she said she was with Elvis in the car that night they drove back from his appearance on the grand ole and that it was just her, Sam and Elvis in the car, and that there was no crying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P.S. Annie
    I saw an interview with Marion Keisker, and she said she was with Elvis in the car that night they drove back from his appearance on the grand ole and that it was just her, Sam and Elvis in the car, and that there was no crying.
    Weird, Scotty doesn't strike me as a liar and there was no mention at all of Marion being present in his story

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    TCB Mafia P.S. Annie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherokee
    Weird, Scotty doesn't strike me as a liar and there was no mention at all of Marion being present in his story
    I'm just telling what she said.

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    Elvis' treatment of Bill Monroe's SACRED SONG caused audience to silence

    The treatment of "Blue Moon of Kentucky" didn't sit well with HARDCORE COUNTRY fans..( I read this somewhere?? )

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    TCB Mafia P.S. Annie's Avatar
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    That's what Marion said too, it just wasn't his scene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P.S. Annie
    I'm just telling what she said.
    I believe ya

    It just wasn't mentioned at all in the interviews I saw/have of Scotty (and D.J.) about that. If I could access my tapes right now I'd pop it in, but that would take too much time now and tomorrow's an early day at the office again Maybe I'll try in the weekend to dig 'em up.

    I did read that they drove up there just the band and Sam, but that Marion and Scotty and Bill's wives got there themselves by bus and surprised the guys with their presence.....

    This is the only audio snippet I have on my computer with Scotty mentioning the Opry....
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Cherokee; 09-15-2004 at 04:38 PM.

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    Graceland Mail Room U.S. Male's Avatar
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    Well I certainly don't mean to speculate or blow this subject out of proportion, but I do know that many shows of the Opry radio program were recorded and still exist on tape today. I wonder if Elvis' appearance is somewhere out there on a tape. If so, then this whole story could be verified.
    "Don't tamper with the property of the U.S. Male"

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    TCB Mafia P.S. Annie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherokee
    I believe ya
    Thanks

    She said something like people couldnt remember what exactly happened so many years ago, she didnt say exactly that she thought Scotty would lie or something, but just didnt remember right. But there is also a possibility she didn't remember right.............. So maybe we never know what really did happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Boss Man
    Well I certainly don't mean to speculate or blow this subject out of proportion, but I do know that many shows of the Opry radio program were recorded and still exist on tape today. I wonder if Elvis' appearance is somewhere out there on a tape. If so, then this whole story could be verified.
    I think the problem simply was that here was this 19 year old kid, a local teen heartthrob, who went to this legendary place where it was mostly a middle aged and family oriented audience and show. And he was doing his usual shtick and they didn't understand it. So by that time Elvis was kind of getting used to screaming teenagers and here he got a polite applause.....

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    Backstage Pass Elvis42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardrobardhughes
    The treatment of "Blue Moon of Kentucky" didn't sit well with HARDCORE COUNTRY fans..( I read this somewhere?? )
    Funny how Elvis' treatment of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" never did sit well with hardcore country fans, because Bill Monroe, the man who wrote and recorded the original version, later re-recorded the song with the same tempo as Elvis' version. Now thats a compliment

    J.C.

    Source All Music Guide
    Blue Moon of Kentucky
    Composed By Bill Monroe

    Song Review by Cub Koda

    If ground floor rock & roll was the idea of taking a song and "rocking it up," then this bluegrass chestnut was one of the very first in line. Originally composed and recorded as a mournful waltz by bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe, "Blue Moon of Kentucky" became a mainstream pop song after getting goosed up as the B-side of Elvis Presley's first Sun single. What Presley did in re-arranging the tune was nothing short of a complete makeover. Taking the phrase "blue moon" and turning it into an opening repetitive chant, Elvis also jacked up the rhythm to triple its original tempo, infusing the song with a beat that was equal parts Native American and African in derivation. As a result, the tune became almost as popular as the A-side "That's All Right," and causing the originator Bill Monroe to go back into the studio and cut a new version of it with a hopped-up tempo inspired from Presley's makeover.

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    From Elvis Presley Blvd Lonniebealestreet's Avatar
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    Great thread.

    No disrespect to the late father of bluegrass, but I seem to recall reading that he never did actually care for Elvis' reinvention of his song, despite the fact that his own remake mimicked Elvis' (well maybe not 'mimicked' ).

    I'm guessing he saw that as an opportunity to milk some more sales out of his record rather than Elvis, and at the same time appear to be making a flattering gesture to the young guy who was taking the world by storm.
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