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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Best of Sin City

All through my twenties I enjoyed many a trip to Las Vegas.  My children now (no longer children except in my mind) enjoy an average of two trips a year to Las Vegas.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I have a feeling that somewhere along the line the cost of everything (consumerism) outpaced the income of the average person. The last time I was in Vegas I was elated to see that a tribute to Elvis was in town with Elvis impersonators.  My elation went away quickly when I found out that the going price was over $200 per person.  My Elvis admission back 1975 was much less than that.  I wasn’t about to pay more for the fake than I did for the real thing.  I really felt that I would be disrespecting the King of Rock and Roll.

Two other artists that I used to regularly enjoy during trips to Las Vegas were Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck. You’ve heard the saying; the women wanted to be with them and the men wanted to be them; I definitely believe that the saying applies in their case.  You always got to see the prettiest women at their shows when in Vegas.  Back then my cost for admission was around $100 and included 3 drinks.  I knew my way around Vegas so I would always work my way to the VIP line at shows.  Through big Vegas corporations that I had an in with or the hotel concierges I could end up on pretty much any VIP line to any show I wanted to attend. Funny how most people don’t even think about that, so they stand in lines that are as long as a city’s block.

Sir Thomas John Woodward, known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh singer (born in 1940). He became one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion. The following is a short list of some my favorite of his songs; She’s a Lady (1965), Delilah (1965), It’s Not Unusual (1969).  Until now I didn’t realize that I saw Tom Jones perform soon after he started his Vegas gig (he started in 1967 and I caught his act in 1969 for the first time, Caesars Palace).  Tom Jones went on to perform at least one week in Vegas until 2011.  I must mention that I have one very significant thing in common with Tom Jones we are both proud grandfathers. Last I heard he is still alive and well.
Arnold George Dorsey (born 1936), stage name Engelbert Humperdinck (Anglo-Indian, born in India), best known for his number one hits; Release Me (1967), The Last Waltz, After The Lovin’. Like Tom Jones, Engelbert emerged into the Top 40 scene in the 1960’s, went on to a very popular gig in Las Vegas, both had their own very popular weekly television variety shows.  Their Vegas shows were very similar in that the ladies in the audience would throw their hotel keys at them on stage while they performed, usually followed by undergarments. 

 I enjoyed their music equally and only second to Elvis recordings.  My vinyl collection and 8 tracks was the envy of my friends.  If you lived in the 1960’s and 70’s, and you had a pulse, you had to have been aware of their contribution to Top 40 music after all they were always competing for top 10 placement.  Engelbert like Tom Jones is alive and well last I heard.  I just saw a television commercial advertising that he will be performing at a local Casino in Washington State.
Can you recall some special times in your life where some of these music might have been in the background (examples; Valentine’s Day, Anniversary).  I can remember driving in my car listening to my favorite music on the radio, on occasion listening to a new release for the first time.  For some reason I don’t feel the same excitement with today’s music.  How excited can you get about hearing Gangnam Style for the first or last time?  Sometime soon I will do a post on some of the better one hit wonders of my time.  The best is yet to come….

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