best ballad?

Pretty self-explanatory

elvis's best ballads?

alison
9
11%
party girl
4
5%
almost blue
13
16%
shipbuilding
9
11%
indoor fireworks
6
8%
couldn't call it unexpected no. 4
12
15%
the birds will still be singing
8
10%
favourite hour
4
5%
the scarlet tide
4
5%
others
10
13%
 
Total votes: 79

InvisibleMan
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best ballad?

Postby InvisibleMan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:28 pm

which one?

or if it's not in the list, what else?

you have three choices.

i had to select carefully, only 10 options can be entered - i would have mentioned at least also i want to vanish and still.
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Miclewis
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Re: best ballad?

Postby Miclewis » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:07 pm

Off the top of my head, I'd choose "All This Useless Beauty"

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Ypsilanti
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Re: best ballad?

Postby Ypsilanti » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:46 pm

I picked my 3 favorites from that list, but there are probably dozens more that could have been on the list...Poor Fractured Atlas, I'm In the Mood Again, Having it All, Fallen, Sleep of the Just etc, etc. It must have been tough to narrow it down to just 10.
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InvisibleMan
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Re: best ballad?

Postby InvisibleMan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:30 pm

not very tough, i just tried to choose the ones that seem to be the most celebrated or the ones you find on the greatest hits, and such.

be it a case or a biased selection, my favourite ballads are probably among the nine chosen...

by the way, i don't know "having it all".
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Ypsilanti
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Re: best ballad?

Postby Ypsilanti » Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:48 pm

Having it All is on the KOA bonus material. It's lovely.
So I keep this fancy to myself
I keep my lipstick twisted tight

Neil.
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Re: best ballad?

Postby Neil. » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:08 am

Motel Matches, for me, is the song that 'gets' me more than any of his other sad songs. It's the sob in his voice and Steve's deft organ touches which barely soothe the pain. If we're going to broaden it to cover versions, then his version of Sweet Dreams is up there too - I think its one of his greatest recordings, vocally, Attractionally, arrangementally! When the strings and heavenly choirs kick in, my heart melts and tears spring into my eyes. It should be one of the most famous recordings on the planet!

But as Elvis is so spectacularly talented and prolific, there are there are zillion other great ballads to choose from.

This kind of crosses over to another discussion - what would be on Elvis Costello: The Love Songs
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5632&p=88701&hilit=+cryer#p88701

and also - what is Elvis's most gorgeous song: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7598&p=124272&hilit=gorgeous#p124213

(sorry, blatantly plugging my own threads here!)

InvisibleMan
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Re: best ballad?

Postby InvisibleMan » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:44 am

"this is spam!".
io strombazzo!

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Jack of All Parades
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Re: best ballad?

Postby Jack of All Parades » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:54 pm

I want to go at this seriously as I think you have listed the one song that is clearly EC's best- the one that puts him in the canon of the great American Songbook- that is "Almost Blue"- that is if you mean by ballad a song of romantic or sentimental nature and not an Appallacian folk song-this is the song where he cuts out the histrionics and writes a 'great' song that will last long past his passing-he does not clutter it up with strained verbal and rhyming effects-he keeps it simple and yet so complex-the sophisticated use of internal rhyme-both consonantly and with vowels-the shadings of meaning that cause the lyric to shift back and forth between listener and singer- is the "you" me, you or him?[sorry Richard]-the subtle play on color both visually and within the musical palette-just the sheer connotations of the meaning for blue{read William Gass's long essay On Being Blue for a sophisticated and winning discussion of this}the way he under plays the melody around the words-the pregnant pauses as if he is trying to convince himself that he[or we]are not emotionally damaged by this color and its implications-and in the end I think he ducks it as I believe he is unwilling to accept how hurt he really is. One can legitimately argue[in deference to AlexV's Steve Allen reference] that this song lyric is poetry-I have a particular attachment to this song as it is the one song I ever tried to get my father-in law to record. There is a reason it is EC's most recorded song. My father-in-law politely sat on our sofa in our apartment in Queens and listened. I could tell he wasn't really moved or motivated by the material- probably thinking great now my son-in-law is giving me recording advice- I remember he politely suggested it wasn't for him though he noted it had potential with the right artist-he even mentioned his peer Stan Getz-sadly enough neither he nor Mr. Getz ever lived long enough after that afternoon in 1987 to record it. A rumored album with the two along with his best friend, Zoot Sims, never came to fruition- I would have campaigned assiduously to have them cover it had they gone into the studio. I would add Indoor Fireworks and New Lace Sleeves to complete my three choices.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

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Re: best ballad?

Postby Neil. » Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:46 am

Wow, interesting stuff, Christopher. That's a great anecdote. Almost me - almost you - almost blue - the ambivalence of the lyric is amazing, and so painful. It's a classic, and no doubt.

Butts
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Re: best ballad?

Postby Butts » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:07 am

Can I put in a vote for "Satellite" (a ballad of sorts) in which Elvis correctly anticipated the internet?

woz
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Re: best ballad?

Postby woz » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:05 pm

I don't know if it qualifies as a ballad, but I would have to add "I Want You" to the list of candidates.

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Jack of All Parades
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Re: best ballad?

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:54 am

MACBETH Act 5 scene 3
     Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?

Doctor-     Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.

Shakespeare



I Want to Vanish

I want to vanish
This is my fondest wish
To go where I cannot be captured
Laid on a decorated dish
Even in splendor this curious fate
Is more than I care to surrender
Now it's too late

Whether in wonder or indecent haste
You arrange the mirrors and the spools
To snare the rare and precious jewels
That were only made of paste

If you should stumble upon my last remark
I'm crying in the wilderness
I'm trying my best to make it dark
How can I tell you I'm rarer than most
I'm certain as a lost dog
Pondering a sign post

Chorus

I want to vanish
This is my last request
I've given you the awful truth
Now give me my rest

I Want To Vanish

Declan McManus

In hindsight I would add this to my choices. Over the years it has etched itself in my listening memory as a particularly strong evocation of a feeling I often share with the song's protagonist. To be tormented by the tyranny of the subconscious in the disguise of memories is to be in strong pain. Dr. Johnson knew this when he uttered the Shakespeare quote on his death bed. How difficult it is to not keep thinking about something; to let it not prey upon your thoughts. Declan gives this state of mind an astute workout in this song. Have always been partial to the lost dog line. It is a frightening and touching evocation of the difficulty to be found in handling the internal welling up of unwanted memories or sorrows, which too often trouble and weight upon one's heart- we are too often left alone in our minds. This song always crystallizes this state for me.

I still prefer the June Tabor version over his-and if memory is correct I think he did as well. Here it is:

http://youtu.be/b8BteHupuPE
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

when i was cruel
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Re: best ballad?

Postby when i was cruel » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:19 pm

I pick I Want To Vanish like Chris
It's not the days when you leave me, but all I fear are the nights.

redsfan720
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Re: best ballad?

Postby redsfan720 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:30 pm

Love your analysis of a song very moving and evocative.

I'm partial to another another ballad from the same era—if you could call it a ballad, which I think I would—in Why Can't a Man Stand Alone?

Examining man's relationship with himself and the burdens of society, and weighing it against how he copes is something I don't feel many lyricists could do. Of course, that's not to mention that Declan does it in essentially four (mostly) concise thoughts. It reads very poetically in prose form.

Why can't a man stand alone? Must he be burdened by all that he's taught to consider his own? His skin and his station, his kin and his crown, his flag and his nation, they just weigh him down.

You know pride is a sin that we tend to forgive, but it gets hard to live when you don't have the love in her heart to begin with. Why can't a man stand alone?

Why can't a woman be just what she seems? Must she be tarnished by men who can only be men in their dreams? When beauty meets ignorance they shout in the street, repeating their offer to each girl they meet. The respect that she needs, it isn't a gift but it gets hard to lift yourself up when you don't have the strength to begin with. Why can't a woman stand alone?

Why can't a baby sleep at night, and dream of the time to come and never fear the world outside the touch of someone very near? Why can't a man stand up? Why can't a man stand up? Why can't a man stand alone?


This song has always stuck with me. I also consider it to be one of Declan's finest recordings as a vocalist.

I wonder how Sam Moore would have interpreted it had he chosen to cut it.

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Jeremy Dylan
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Re: best ballad?

Postby Jeremy Dylan » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:55 pm

I'd probably pip for Riot Act, Shipbuilding, Condemned Man and God's Comic. I have a soft spot for Where Is The Love too.

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the_platypus
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Re: best ballad?

Postby the_platypus » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:26 pm

Jeremy Dylan wrote:I'd probably pip for Riot Act, Shipbuilding, Condemned Man and God's Comic.

3 out of those 4 songs I'd hesitate to call ballads, at least in the definition most people in this thread seem to be using... care to guess which ones?

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migdd
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Re: best ballad?

Postby migdd » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:33 pm

the_platypus wrote:
Jeremy Dylan wrote:I'd probably pip for Riot Act, Shipbuilding, Condemned Man and God's Comic.

3 out of those 4 songs I'd hesitate to call ballads, at least in the definition most people in this thread seem to be using... care to guess which ones?


Shipbuilding being the only ballad?


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