Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

G.I.Blues


Elvis's fifth film 'G. I. Blues' was the first movie to be made following his two-year army stint, exploited his military service and became the first of his many 'family' films. It was directed by Norman Taurog, who was to work on more Elvis films than anyone else, a total of nine during an eight year period. Elvis starred as Tulsa McLean, a tank corpsman who is stationed in Frankfurt, West Germany. He has dreams of opening his own nightclub when he returns home to Oklahoma at the end of his service, in partnership with his friends. He'd managed to dupe $300 from a Sergeant, but it's only part of the funds he needs. To raise the rest of the money, bets are made that the platoon 'Don Juan,' Sergeant 'Dynamite' Bixby, can charm an ice maiden of a German dancer at the Café Europe called Lili (Juliet Prowse) and spend the night with her.

Bixby is then shipped out and Tulsa is elected to take his place when his buddies bet him that he can't spend a night with Lili. He does, but it's a completely innocent affair and he falls in love with her. When she discovers his 'bet' she is furious. In the barracks shower scene, Elvis sings 'What's She Really Like.' With his buddies Cookey (Robert Ivers) and Rick (James Douglas), he forms a band who play at the Rathskeller Club where he performs 'G.I.Blues' and 'Doin' The Best I Can' and Elvis is joined by The Jordanaires when he sings 'Frankfurt Special' on a troop train. After meeting Lili at the Club Europa he sings 'Tonight Is So Right For Love,' and he also serenades her with 'Pocketful of Rainbows' as they ride up a mountain on a cable car. He sings 'Wooden Heart' to a group of children at a puppet show and 'Big Boots' to Rick's baby in Lili's apartment. The final song is the rousing 'Didja Ever.'

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The film, in colour, was released in 1960 and had originally had the working titles 'Café Europa' and 'Christmas in Berlin.' All of Elvis' scenes were filmed on the Paramount lot while a camera crew spent several weeks in Germany filming location shots. During the filming Elvis was visited by the King and Queen of Nepal, the Queen of Thailand and princes from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The title song was penned by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett and was recorded at RCA's Hollywood studios on 27th April 1960.

The soundtrack album was issued on RCA LPM 2265 in October 1960 and featured all eleven of the songs in the film. The cover featured a picture of Elvis in army uniform and the album entered the Billboard charts at No.6. and was then to top the charts. It remained in the charts for 111 weeks, the longest time in the charts for any Elvis album.
The tracks were: Side One: Tonight Is So Right For Love; What's She Really Like; Frankfurt Special; Wooden Heart; G.I.Blues. Side Two: Pocketful of Rainbows; Shoppin' Around; Big Boots; Didja Ever; Blue Suede Shoes; Doin' The Best I Can. Wooden Heart is actually based on an old German folk song 'Muss I Den Zum Stadtele Hinaus' and was adapted for Elvis by Bert Kaempfert, Fred Wise, Ben Weisman and Kay Twomay. It was No.1 for six weeks in Britain, but wasn't released as a single in America until 1964.




Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.


Article Bill Harry 2017               Original Graphics SixtiesCity 2017

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