Nov 20 1955 – Elvis signs with RCA Victor
Nov 18 1985 – Jesus & Mary Chain’s ‘Psychocandy’ released
Just one of those history distorting fact things that makes you feel old, or like time is not quite behaving itself somehow. In the history of rock ‘n’ roll we are as far now from Psychocandy as it was from Elvis. You could make a number of spurious arguments about that no doubt. That the linear model of culture is a myth, that the internet has telescoped musical time or that there’s never been anything new under the sun. The Mary Chain were no Elvis for sure, yet they both ruffled curtains and frightened the horses in their day. Elvis repurposed rhythm and blues and country into a thrilling new(ish) form and they sort of buried The Beach Boys and Phil Spector under a wave of feedback and distortion and mid 80’s nihilism. Hardly seems worth labouring to make any kind of point about now. The Mary Chain were great in their day for sure, although ultimately kind of empty. I guess that was sort of the point. Sadly their stab at ‘Guitar Man’ does both the song and the band a disservice. So I think we’ll stick with the iconic video for ‘Just Like Honey’…
Always a fun game to try and work out what would have been good songs for Elvis to cover. ‘Psychocandy’ on the whole doesn’t seem that well suited although ‘The Hardest Walk’ would be pretty good, Imagine the King drawling that, “I walk, ahh Honey, I talk” bit in the breakdown, you know it. Probably some brass and backing singers too, check out Terry Edwards – Hardest Walk. Generally some of their later tunes, ‘April Skies’ maybe would be good for Elvis. ‘Blues From a Gun’ would be a good Vegas period rocker, all that rattling percussion you can just see him busting the karate moves on that between verses and, again, that synth line being blatted out by a horn section – killer.