Elvis Presley’s “It Happened At The World Fair” Reviewed
Sid Tepper, Otis Blackwell, Ben Weisman: the usual suspects scraping bottom on album # 17. An atrocious album from a movie which fixed some of the problems that plagued “Girls! Girls! Girls”. It Happened At The World Fair finally got Elvis plus pre-teen Oriental girl right, giving him a fatherly veneer that ended up as borderline racist in the previous movie. It gave him a male buddy who actually had a role, the 1962 Seattle world fair as a great locale, and a relatively strong storyline: crop-duster pilot Elvis has to get his airplane back and get the girl.
The movie did ok, made some bucks, the album got to # 4 in the top ten. “Blue Hawaii” spent 10 weeks at # 1, “Girls! Girls! Girls” got to #3, now down a notch. “One Broken Heart For Sale” didn’t make the top five, his first single since his Sun Records day to fail in doing so.
Musically, with the exception of “One Broken Heart For Sale”, a typical rock and roll hip sway (he sings “oh yeah” as a bridge and it is the most exciting thing in both movie and album), this is where he can’t get by on charm. Nothing else here is really worth your time and “How Would You Like To Be” is so rotten you might just gasp aloud at the quasi-nursery rhyme. It makes “Big Boots” sound like “Golden Slumbers”
And speaking of the Beatles, in another world on a different continent, the Beatles had just released “Please Please Me”, while the King Of Rock was trying justify an aural handjob called “Happy Ending”. It will be five years till the NBC Special would save him, and despite a “Viva Las Vegas” here and there, this is all business as usual as opposed to a chance shipwreck, All Hausfrau Middle Of The Road, mid-paced filler. It isn’t even dance music, it is plodding plot movers, or… I can’t go on.