Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 348
Sun, Dec 30, 2012
“Peace in the Valley”
“♫ There’ll be
no sadness/ no
I see/ there will
be peace in the
valley for me/ for
Jim Morrison was a self confessed Elvis fan as he once proudly said, “Elvis is the best ever, the most original. He started the ball rolling for us all.” Do you think it was a coincidence that Jim Morrison wore his black leather pants when The Doors played The Ed Sullivan Show? As Jim explained when he said, “I love Elvis and his work. It was so cool to see him perform in black leather with just a couple of other musicians.”
Wearing leathers wasn’t the only thing that Jim emulated from Elvis. When Ed Sullivan told The Doors that couldn’t perform “Light My Fire” as written by Robbie Krieger and Morrison, Jim remembered what Elvis did in the same situation and that’s why The Doors played “Fire” as is, because unbeknownst to some Elvis was the pioneer, Presley was the first performer, a pioneer, who rebuffed Sullivan way back in 1957.
Author Joe Moscheo recounted the scene backstage at The Ed Sullivan Theater in his book The Gospel of Elvis, when he wrote, ““Peace in the Valley” was one of [Elvis’s] Mother’s favorite songs. For his last performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, the network didn’t want a gospel song. However, Elvis said, “No, I told my mother that I was going to do ‘Peace in the Valley’ for her, and I’m going to do it.”
And Elvis delivered one of the most heartfelt performances backed by The Jordanaires, “Peace in the Valley” was so successful RCA had to rush out a 4 song Peace in the Valley EP that was such a hit that it inspired Elvis to record a whole album worth of Gospel songs. Elvis may have been defending his Mother’s favorite song but he unknowingly was taking a civil rights stance. You see, “Peace in the Valley” was actually written by “the father of Black Gospel Music,” Thomas A Dorsey. Dorsey wrote “Valley” for Mahalia Jackson in 1937 and would become the first Gospel song to sell over a million copies.
What I love about “Peace in the Valley” is that it’s more of a bluesy spiritual, one of the first of its kind, a song that Elvis cherished so much because it was his mother’s favorite. “Valley” is one of those songs as soon as you start singing you feel liberated with smiles of “Peace” love and spirited understand. More than just gospel song, “Peace in the Valley” was the song that Elvis performed, against the wishes of Ed Sullivan, brilliantly and with that one performance inspired not only a gospel music rejuvenation but also sparked Jim Morrison to follow his idol and sing like Elvis, uncensored for the glory of the song. How rock and roll is that?