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Elvis Wanted To Be A Government Spook

July 11, 1997 12:00 AM ET

Elvis Presley wanted to be an FBI informant, according to his FBI file, which was recently placed on the Bureau's Web site (www.fbi.gov). Presley told the FBI in 1971 that he had been ``approached by individuals and groups in and outside of the entertainment business whose motives and goals he is convinced are not in the best interests of this country.''

The memo said that "Presley indicated that he is of the opinion that the Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people by their filthy, unkempt appearances and suggestive music ... He advised that the Smothers Brothers, Jane Fonda and other persons in the entertainment industry of their ilk have a lot to answer for in the hereafter for the way they have poisoned young minds by disparaging the United States in their public statements and unsavory activities.''

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, however, refused to meet with Presley. "Presley's sincerity and good intentions notwithstanding, he is certainly not the type of individual whom the director would wish to meet,'' an FBI memo noted. "(Presley) is wearing his hair down to his shoulders and indulges in the wearing of all sorts of exotic dress.''

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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