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Music Review: Elvis Presley – Girl Happy

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Girl Happy remains, for me, the most memorable movie in the Elvis Presley catalogue. Why you ask? Sometime during my 15th year on this earth I screwed up the courage to actually ask a girl out on a date. The gods must have been in a good mood that day as she agreed. What better place to go than to the newest Elvis Presley movie playing at the Park Movie House in Woonsocket, R.I. The movie was Girl Happy. While the girl, whom I would take to my prom several years later, and the Park are long gone; Girl Happy retains a wonderful place in my memory bank of life.

 Girl Happy was an excellent outing for Elvis. The movie actually made sense as Elvis was a singer who was sent to Florida to look after his boss’ daughter who was there for spring break. Shelley Fabares played the daughter and while the chemistry between her and Elvis may not have been of the Ann-Margret caliber, I do consider her to be number two on my list of Elvis’ romantic movie interests. Shelley could act, she could sing and she looked fabulous.

The soundtrack from the movie was issued March 1, 1965 and reached Number 8 on the national charts and earned Elvis another Gold Record. The music is strong and works well within the context of the film and on its own as a stand alone album.

“Girl Happy" is a fine up-tempo pop number that still makes a person smile 40-plus years later. Elvis is in fine vocal form as he belts out what could have been a successful single release. It is vocals that like this one by which Elvis should be remembered.

“Spring Fever,” in the movie, was a duet between Shelley Fabares and Elvis. The album release contained just an Elvis vocal. The duet was superior and did not surface as an official release until it was added as a CD bonus song decades later.

Four more songs conclude the first side of the original LP release. “Startin’ Tonight” “Wolf Call” and even “Fort Lauderdale Chamber Of Commerce” are acceptable pop. Elvis seems to be inspired and really trying as the vocals are crisp and the tracks well produced. “Do Not Disturb” is an excellent ballad in the Presley tradition. All in all this six song set remains one of the best of any contained on his movie soundtracks.

There were two singles released from the album and both probably deserved better than the re-action they received from the record buying public. “Do The Clam” only reached the top twenty for Elvis. The song is not as bad as the title implies. It was a bongo (yes bongo) driven up-tempo song that worked. It even came with a picture sleeve that is quite rare today. “Puppet On A String” may not have been as strong but was certainly better than many of the mid-sixties songs that graced Elvis’ soundtrack albums. Elvis slows the tempo down and just allows his smooth baritone voice to carry the song along.

Girl Happy remains one of the better Elvis Presley movies ranking just below Viva Las Vegas. The soundtrack is also excellent throughout and holds up well. So for an enjoyable evening, grab some popcorn and watch Girl Happy. Better yet, find a date and watch it together.

 

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About David Bowling

  • http://www.squidoo.com/elvissongs_index greggers

    Great reviews of Elvis albums! I added your writer page to my Elvis Songs page above. I gotta admit Girl Happy is one of my favorites too! Sort of typical Elvis mid-60s stuff, but much more tolerable than a lot of the other films he was doing around that time, and Elvis’ stuff holds up better than most of the other teen 60s flicks. Soundtrack to this one not bad either. Not quite Viva Las Vegas, but not bad.

  • Rusty

    The biggest problem with the soundtrack is the tapes were sped up slightly. It always bothered me how un-Elvis like the vocals are on some of the tracks, especially the title song, which was curious as you singled it out for praise. And except for ‘Puppet On A String’ I never thought much of the soundtrack songs at all, strictly typical and often silly. In my opinion of course, but…
    My favorite scene from the film “Girl Happy” is the scene where Elvis is in a nightclub or something and some college kids yell out for ‘Wolf Call’. I saw the movie once after inhaling (mid ’80’s) and laughed my butt off when Elvis started singing words like “Flip flop a kii-yii, what a cutey pie I see, hoop shoop a doowah listen buddy thats for me, shim sham shimmy wanna howl and shout”, etc. (lyrics actually are at least very similar to those if not identical) and thinking that in the real world nobody, and I mean NOONE would ever ask anyone to sing such total crap, especially not Elvis Presley.
    Then it occurred to me that someone really did, and for whatever reason Elvis complied. And my laughter subsided and I became quite melancholy.
    Presley films and the accompanying songs were usually not too good…but I am a complete Presley fanatic, don’t get the wrong idea. I bought the new budget priced cd reissue hoping they fixed the tape speed, and they didn’t. It doesn’t sound like they did anything at all except perhaps minimized some of the tape hiss that was always present somewhat (but nowhere near as awful as it was on the “Double Trouble” soundtrack). I read somewhere that the master tapes have disappeared for this album, which seems unlikely but possible. Elvis may have burned them if he had access, who would doubt it?
    What a disappointment, but what the heck, you know. It’s not like anyone will EVER ask me to play ‘Wolf Call’.

    I enjoyed your article and nice memories. Thanks. :-)

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