April 25, 2007

Celine, Elvis, and Elton, oh my!

Let's just get this out of the way, I'm not a Celine Dion fan. Don't hate her, she's got the pipes, just not my style of singer. She's from the screamer gals crowd like Whitney Houston (before she hit the crack pipe) and Mariah Carey that have a tendency to just kill a song, if you ask me. That being said, the Celine/Elvis virtual duet on last night's "American Idol" was pretty darn cool, I must admit.

And the "Stayin' Alive" celeb-packed video was fun:

The duet reminded me of how powerful Elvis was in his prime. Here's his original version of "If I Can Dream" to prove my point:

Man, oh man, that boy could sing. Just like John Lennon, I never really appreciated Elvis 'till he died (I was 13 at the time, well caught up in Elton's web by then, and had missed his heyday), but my George is a huge fan. In the five years we've been together, I've seen every Elvis movie at least twice and any Elvis related TV special has to be taped or watched (as long as it's not up against "CSI"). But,
I do get a kick out of his karaoke version of "Teddy Bear", so there's a bonus. He has stacks of original label Elvis records we could probably retire on if we auctioned 'em off on eBay, but they're his babies and will probably be left to me in his will.

My own record collection was defiled years ago by burglars. I had about 10 milk crates full of classic lps, most in double doses of plastic sleeves, the whole nine yards of an obsessive collector. But we lived in a rooming house at the time in a pretty scary part of town (this was BR, Before Riel, how I dissect my life, so more than 20 years back) and, after a terrifying evening that ended with our door destroyed by a baseball bat, a neighbour in jail and us out of our room for the night, the vultures descended on my albums and picked them clean.

Everything except my precious Elton collection. I've always considered that a rather bittersweet moment. Thrilled to find them all safe and sound, but insulted they left him behind. Couple of years later, I had to sell quite a few of them, which broke my heart, but that's another story along the riverbank (Hammy Hamster ref). If anyone in Toronto has a copy of "Rock Of The Westies" with a heart drawn on Elton's hand, my initials and his scrawled inside of it, please get in touch!

The big hit from this album was "Island Girl":

He had a smaller hit with "Grow Some Funk Of Your Own":

Not the professional concert vids we're used to seeing now, but the audio for 30 yr old clips is pretty good. Just a taste of Elton from his own prime, cocaine and alcohol induced as it may have been.

I didn't get a chance to see him in concert until 1979's "A Single Man" tour. It wasn't the same as seeing his early to mid-70s sequin-drenched
spectaculars with the piano handstands and all that wonderful nonsense, this concert was a much more sedate (no glasses!) solo tour with the way cool Ray Cooper joining him for half of the night. I loved seeing just him and his piano, though. Made me appreciate his talent that much more.

Only clip I could find from the tour, just to give you an idea, for the hit "Part Time Love." Gotta love the between hair transplants jaunty cap:

He's been through so many changes, haven't we all? But the pure talent in those pudgy little fingers continues to astound me.

In completely unrelated news I simply must pass on for fellow "CSI" fans, keep an eye out for a doll icon on tonight's CTV broadcast for the start of this great corpse contest they're running in conjunction with the current big storyline (info below). Just a promo on the MiniatureKiller.ca site right now, and there's no info on the CTV Contest Page yet, so I'm assuming the number is correct.

From Jim Bawden's column in today's Toronto Star:

Deadbeats: One viewer tonight may get to play a corpse on CSI after winning the "CSI Miniature Killer Contest." Inspired by the current storyline about a killer who delivers freakish miniature replicas of the crime scenes, viewers have to look for a doll icon and call 1-866-4730-CSI or visit MiniatureKiller.ca. Phone lines are open each Thursday (tonight, May 3, May 10) and the contest closes May 11 at noon. The winner gets airfare for two to L.A. and a tour of the CSI set, plus a "lie-down" role.

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