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
11th film was a Hal Wallis production for Paramount, directed by Norman
Taurog, receiving its world premiere in Honolulu on 31st October 1962 and
opened nationally in America on 21st November. Among the other titles considered
for the film were ‘A Girl In Every Port’ and ‘Welcome Aboard'. ‘Gumbo Ya-Ya’
became the working title, which was then changed to ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!
Gumbo Ya-Ya’. Gumbo Ya-Ya is a Creole expression for “everybody talks at
once”, but it was decided to drop that part from the title.
Allan Weiss wrote the story (Edward Anhalt collaborated with him on the screenplay) and he also scripted ‘Blue Hawaii’, ‘Fun In Acapulco’, ‘Paradise Hawaiian Style’, ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ and ‘Roustabout’ – winning a nomination for the latter as Best Written American Musical from the Writers Guild in 1965. The film is the only one featuring Elvis which received a Golden Globe nomination and is the most widely televised of all the Elvis films.
Elvis portrays Ross Carpenter, a Hawaiian tuna fisherman. Together with his father, he builds a boat ‘The West Wind’, which is completed shortly before his father’s death. Ross has to sell the boat to Mama and Papa Stavros (Lily Valenti and Frank Puglia) who own a fishing fleet, with the agreement that Ross can live on the boat and buy it back when he has enough money. Ross hears that the couple are moving to Arizona for health reasons and have no option but to sell their fleet, including the West Wind, but at that time he doesn’t have the money to buy back the boat he longs for.
Upset, Ross goes to see his girlfriend Robin Gantner (Stella Stevens), who owns a club where Ross sings. When she has trouble with a drunk, Ross takes the man outside and meets the drunk’s date, Laurel Dodge (Laurel Goodwin), a new girl in town, who he falls for and tells her about the boat, which understandably annoys Robin.
moonlighting at night in order to save enough money to buy the boat back
and, without his knowing, Laurel borrows the money from her wealthy parents
to buy it for him. His pride is damaged when he discovers what Laurel has
done and he sets off alone on his boat. Robin tells Laurel where he is likely
to go and she follows him in a boat piloted by Wesley Johnson (Jeremy Slate),
who then makes advances to her. Ross arrives to rescue her and to tell her
to sell the boat as he will then feel free to marry her and build a new
Actress Stella Stevens was in the cast under protest and was to complain: “Elvis was drunk when he did ‘Return To Sender’ and was not a very professional actor". Paramount threatened to suspend her unless she appeared in the film and she has always refused to watch it.
The soundtrack was recorded in March 1962 at Radio Recorders Studios in Hollywood. The musicians were Elvis Presley, vocals; The Jordanaires, backing vocals; The Amigos, backing vocals; Scotty Moore, Tiny Timbrell and Barney Kessell, guitar; Ray Seigel, bass; Dudley Brooks, piano; Boots Randolph, sax and vibes; Hal Blaine, drums; Bernie Mattinson and Harold Brown, percussion. The album was issued on RCA LPM-2621 in November 1962 and reached No.3 in the Billboard charts, with a chart life of 32 weeks.
‘Return to Sender’ was issued as a single with ‘Where Do You Come From’ on the flip on RCA 47-8100 in October 1962 and reached No.2 in the Billboard chart, remaining in that position for five weeks with a chart life of 16 weeks.
The tracks on the film album were:
‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’ (written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, sung over the opening credits and later on a fishing boat); ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Tied’, (written by Bill Grant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye and sung in the Pirates Den club); ‘Where Do You Come From’ (written by Ruth Bachelor and Bob Roberts, which was a number added to the album); ‘I Don’t Want To’ (written by Janice Torre and Bob Roberts and added to the album); ‘We’ll Be Together’ (written by Charles O’Curren and Dudley Brooks and sung at an anniversary party); ‘A Boy Like Me, A Girl Like You’, (written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett and sung to Laurel Goodwin aboard the West Wind; ‘Earth Boy’ (written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett and sung at Kin Yung’s home).
‘Return To Sender’ (written by Otis Blackwell and Winfield Scott and sung in the Pirates Den club); ‘Because Of Love’ (written by Ruth Bachelor and Bob Roberts and sung in the Pirates Den club); ‘Thanks To The Rolling Sea’ (written by Bill Grant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye and sung on board a fishing boat); ‘Song of the Shrimp’ written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett and sung on board a fishing boat); ‘The Walls Have Ears’ (written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett) and sung in Laurel’s apartment; ‘We’re Comin’ In Loaded’ (written by Otis Blackwell and Winfield Scott and sung on board a fishing boat.
‘Dainty Little Moonbeams’ (written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller was sung at Paradise Cove, but the number wasn’t included on the soundtrack album and didn’t appear on record until the 1990s. Elvis also recorded ‘Plantation Rock’ (which was eventually released in the 1980s), ‘Potpourri’, ‘Mama’ and ‘I Don’t Want To’ for the film, but they weren’t used. Stella Stevens soloed on ‘Never Let Me Go’ (written by Jay Livingstone and Ray Evans), ‘The Nearness Of You’ (written by Ned Washington and Hoagy Carmichael) and ‘Baby, Baby, Baby’ while ‘Mama’ was sung by The Four Amigos.
|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.|
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