Our assembly song for this week is “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. Tuesday night at 7:00 the first game of World Series begins. The World Series is the final competition in major league baseball, and the first team to win four games will be the champion. The two teams competing against each other this year are the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets.
There is a tradition that “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is sung during the seventh-inning stretch. In baseball, the seventh-inning stretch is an old tradition that takes place in the middle of the seventh inning. It’s a time for fans to stand up and stretch out their arms and legs and sometimes walk around or go get a snack. The stretch also serves as a short break for the players.
The Seventh-Inning "Stretch"
Since the September 11 attacks, many American ballparks have replaced the song with “God Bless America”, our song for next week.
CLICK BELOW to listen to our assembly song of the week.
Featured Musician of the Week:
ELVIS PRESLEY U.S.A. 1935 - 1977
Listening Example: "Jailhouse Rock"
Our musician of the week is Elvis. Elvis Aaron Presley was an American singer and actor. He is one of the most important cultural icons of the 20th century. Elvis is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”.
Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, but when he was 13 years old, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. His music career began in Memphis in 1954 at the age of 19, when he recorded “That’s All Right” at Sun Records studio in Memphis.
Our listening example is “Jailhouse Rock”, released in 1957 when Elvis starred in the film. The song has been featured in many films, performed on American Idol, sung by Jesse and Becky on Full House, and it is the last song in the film The Blues Brothers. But nobody can sing it like Elvis. This song helped influence the genre of rock and roll.
MUSIC LISTENING LINKS
CLICK BELOW to watch "Jailhouse Rock" sequence from the film.
CLICK BELOW to hear Elvis's first recorded song, "That's Alright, Mama".
In July of 1953 Elvis walked into the Memphis Recording Service to make a record against a small payment. He wanted to hear how he sounded on tape, and gave the record to his mother as a late birthday present. Almost a year later the owner of a small starting label, working in the Memphis Recording Studio, Sun Records, called Elvis and wanted him to come to the studio and try recording for him. He recorded the song, "My Happiness" and gave it to his mother.
CLICK BELOW to hear Elvis's first recording, "My Happiness".
Listening Example: "You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog"
How did “The King of Rock and Roll” become The King? Like many great ideas, great inventions, and highly successful people, Elvis Presley’s early career is a story of failure and rejection.
As a child he was shy and didn’t like to perform in public because he suffered stage-fright. His eighth grade music teacher told him he had no aptitude for singing. He failed music—the only subject he ever failed. He was not popular in school and was often ridiculed. He had no formal music training and didn’t know how to read music. He mostly sang and played guitar by ear.
As a teenager in the early 1950’s, he hung out on Beale Street in Memphis and listened to a lot of country music, rhythm and blues, and gospel spiritual singers. After graduating from high school, he knew he wanted to make music his future. But when he auditioned for singing groups, he kept being turned down. He didn’t have much of an ear for singing harmony. He was advised to stick to truck driving and told he would never make it as a singer.
But oftentimes in life, successful things happen by accident, and Elvis’s first successful recording happened this way. In 1954, guitarist Scotty Moore, double bass player Bill Black and Elvis were at a recording session that was going nowhere. Then, Elvis picked up a guitar and started jumping around and acting the fool as he sang. Bill picked up his bass and started acting the fool, too. This version of “That’s All Right” that got recorded, produced and played over radio stations. Finally people started taking notice and asking who that singer was.
After more rejections, Elvis got a chance to perform at Overton Park in Memphis, where the zoo is. He was so nervous his legs starting shaking. And his movements caused young women in the audience to scream and go wild! But still, Elvis was rejected. The Grand Ole Opry and Ed Sullivan criticized his singing and his movements and said they were unfit for family viewing. A letter was sent to the FBI stating that Elvis was a threat to our national security because he was corrupting our young people! Radio stations didn’t understand his singing style because they weren’t sure if he was a black person or a hillbilly.
Wide pants legs emphasized Elvis's movements.
J. Edgar Hoover Federal Bureau of Investigation
But Elvis never gave up. Little by little he got more public appearances, recorded more records, and finally worked his way into making films. His energy, his sense of rhythm, his unique voice and style of singing, his good looks, and his stage movements all finally paid off. It was through Elvis that the guitar became the instrument that captured the spirit of the new rock and roll. And that’s how The King was born.
MUSIC LISTENING LINKS
Listening Example: "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You" from Blue Hawaii (1961)
Besides wanting to be a singer, one of Elvis’s career goals was to become a top dramatic actor. From 1956 to 1969, he starred in 31 films, and a number of his most popular songs came from these movies. Although Elvis wanted to work in dramas, most of his films were musicals, because these were the big money makers for the film industry. The stories were often set in vacation spots such as Las Vegas, Acapulco or Hawaii.
Elvis movies featured lots of songs, action, romance, lavish sets, dance scenes and lots of pretty girls.
Some of these musicals were a disappointment to Presley because the stories were not as serious as he would have liked. He became bitter that his hopes for dramatic roles were not being realized. Presley began to complain about the deteriorating quality of the films and the songs he was required to sing. Regardless of his disappointment, he always put forth his best effort in his work.
The films Jailhouse Rock and King Creole were dramatic story lines written around Presley in the role of a musical entertainer. He stated that King Creole was his favorite of all his films.
Our listening example today comes from the 1961 romantic musical comedy, Blue Hawaii. This was the first of three Elvis movies to be filmed in Hawaii. Blue Hawaii features the lush scenery of the Hawaiian islands and a beautiful balled that became one of his most popular songs, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You”.
MUSIC LISTENING LINKS
CLICK HERE to listen to "I Can't Help Falling in Love", probably Elvis's best known and most loved romantic ballad.
CLICK BELOW to hear Elvis sing rhythm and blues in "Trouble" from the 1958 film King Creole.
CLICK BELOW to watch the opening of the 1962 film Girls! Girls! Girls!
CLICK BELOW to watch the original ending of the film Girls! Girls! Girls!
Listening Example: "An American Trilogy"
FUN FACTS ABOUT ELVIS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW
1. Elvis recorded over 600 songs but didn't write any of them--he was not a songwriter!
2. Elvis dyed his hair! He started off as a blond, then changed to brown, and ended up with black.
3. When performing “Are You Lonesome Tonight”, Elvis did one of his lyric changes to amuse himself. Instead of singing “Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?”, he sang “Do you look at your bald head and wish you had hair?”
4. While stationed in Germany as an army sargeant, Elvis met his bride-to-be, Priscilla. They were married 7 years later. Priscilla later became an actress in TV shows and films, including the 1980's TV series, Dallas, and the Naked Gun films.
5. Elvis and Priscilla had a daughter they named Lisa Marie. Lisa Marie became a singer, married Michael Jackson, then married actor Nicholas Cage. She inherited Graceland after Elvis’s death.
6. While in the army, Elvis studied karate and earned an 8th degree black belt. He used his karate skills in some of his films.
7. In 1964, Elvis purchased the Potomac, a yacht that once belonged to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was the president in the Annie films, and often used the yacht as a “floating White House”. Elvis later donated it to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, and they sold it to raise money for research.
8. Even though Elvis was known as the King of Rock and Roll, his music roots were in rhythm and blues, country and gospel spirituals. Our listening example reflects that heritage in “An American Trilogy”, often heard on July 4.
Listening Example: In the Hall of the Mountain King Edvard Grieg
Composer Edvard Grieg wrote music about folk stories in his homeland of Norway. One popular story was about a young man named Peer Gynt who told stories that were not true and got into trouble with some trolls.
When Peer had to leave his village, he went on an adventure that led him to The Hall of the Mountain King. Grieg's music about Peer is often heard at Halloween.
MUSIC LISTENING LINK
CLICK BELOW to hear the story of Peer Gynt and Grieg's music in the background.
Weiner Elementary School, 313 N. Garfield St., Weiner, AR 72479 870-684-2252(o) 870-684-2684(f) (We are not responsible for any content on any page linked from our page)