Elvis Presley!

By Gary: In 1956, a young man named Elvis Aaron Presley made his first appearance on Network Television.

I have decided to re-visit my Elvis Post. The music is fine, and it does explain what I remember as a teenager, but I went searching and have added a video history.

Watch the videos, starting in 1956, from the “STAGE SHOW” with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. In those days, all you had to watch on TV was Mitch Miller, Perry Como and so on.

When Elvis walked out on stage, he looked “Dangerous” – teenagers like myself just loved it. Ed Sullivan said he would never have Elvis on his show, but he changed fast and had him on many times.

Most humiliating for Elvis was the Steve Allen Performance. Then he was forced into the Army by the Government of the Time and when he came out he changed into a Pop Star, not dangerous anymore.

His Sun Record days, for me, where the best. Then in 1968 he kinda went back to his roots (I loved it), then went into his Las Vegas and Concert Days, not my favourite.

He made an impact that no one, including Beatles would equal. He changed a Generation and Music and it would never look back.

-Gary

Elvis, he changed the World of Music forever!

Video History


I have chosen to look at the Elvis Videos starting from 1956. There were three American television Networks: on one Network Perry Como would be singing “Hot Diggidy Dog Ziggidy” and then if you where not a teenager and accidentally turned on the Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey “STAGE SHOW” on the other network, well your world was about to change:

September 26, 1956 Elvis in Tupelo Mississippi 

1956/Don’t Be Cruel Live
Look at this video, it was the start of the Elvis Mania, look at the Tupelo Police Department, The Cameras, The Jordanairs, Bill Black (deceased), D J Fontana, Scotty Moore, 56, Tupelo in the fairgrounds...

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1956/ Stage Show/ Baby Let’s Play House

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Ed Sullivan said he would never have Elvis on his show, but he changed his mind

1956 / Ed Sullivan Shoe / Love Me /

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1956 / Milton Berle show/ Blue Suede Shoes /



Look at the clothes, the energy and how the music world was about to change

It was January 1956, the show was Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey’s STAGE SHOW on NBC, I think.  These were Elvis’s first national television appearances and they were the most unique of his many career shows.  Remember in January 1956 Canada and the US were listening to Doris Day sing “What Ever Will Be Will Be” and Gogi Grant sing “The Wayward Wind”. 

Mom’s and Dad’s got a glimpse of the future; this guy could be dangerous; look at his clothes and listen to him. 

The Show ran against the really popular Perry Como Show. They did not steal his adult audience but they added millions of teenagers by the time the last show aired. 

Here are the Dorsey STAGE SHOWS, with D J Fontana, Bill Black and Scotty Moore;  the first time Elvis would be seen on National Television starting January 1956. [Sorry, you have to click the link to see these 6 shows; no video embedding allowed for them.]

Notice he had not tinted his hair yet. His clothes still came from Lansky’s on Beale Street.  This, in my opinion, was Elvis at his very best; The Sun Days, blues orientated Rock and Roll and Raw; not the Pop stuff he would eventually end up singing.

1956 / The Dorsey’s Stage Show / Money Honey /
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1957 / Ed Sullivan / Peace in the Valley /
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1957 / Ed Sullivan / Too Much /
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1957 / Ed Sullivan/ Don’t be Cruel /
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1960 and the change was coming/ Frank Sinatra Show/ it was now more melodic, the “danger” was gone/ Stuck on You


1968 / Come back special / It shows his roots with a Jimmy Reed song /
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1968 / NBC Special / That’s Alright Mama /
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1968 / NBC Special / This shows his power / Lawdy Miss Clawdy /
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–  That’s the Elvis I enjoyed.
It was kinda down hill after this, sad…
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1970 / Las Vegas //
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He then went into concert mode for the next 10 years, not my favourite period, but he had some of the greatest musicians and back-up singers with him and the “Great James Burton” on guitar.

The band had the strange name of “TCB” or Taking Care of Business. Here is Elvis and the TCB Band rehearsing Johnny B. Good


Partial History of Elvis Backup Groups


When Elvis Presley committed to returning to live concert performances in 1969, he needed to recruit back-up singers and other show members, a new core rhythm group. The new players would eventually become known as The TCB Band, a nod to the ‘Taking Care of Business’ slogan and logo Elvis had adopted for his personal and professional life.


By this time, his bassist from the 50’s, Bill Black, had passed away. His lead guitar player, Scotty Moore, and his drummer, D.J. Fontana, were busy with session work.

Elvis’ first live concert engagement was to be a four-week run at the new International Hotel in Las Vegas beginning on July 31, 1969 and he asked James Burton to assemble a list of players to form his backing rock band.

By mid-July 1969, the group was assembled – and approved – and consisted of: James Burton (lead guitar), Larry Muhoberac (piano), Jerry Scheff (bass), Ronnie Tutt (drums) and John Wilkinson (rhythm guitar).

In addition there was an ensemble of back up singers, The Sweet Inspirations, originally comprised of: Cissy Houston, (mother of superstar Whitney), Sylvia Shernwell, Myrna Smith, Estelle Brown. From August 1970, Ann Williams replaced Cissy Houston. Millie Kirkham – High voice singer.  Kathy Westmoreland also took over from Millie Kirkham as the high voice singer during the August / September 1970 engagement.

There was also a 30 strong orchestra conducted by Bobby Morris. Another major change occurred during the August / September 1970 engagement, this time Joe Guercio and his orchestra took up a permanent place in the lineup.

Then there was The Imperials Quartet; Jake Hess, Jim Murray, Gary McSpadden, Armond Morales.

In November 1971,  J.D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet (Donnie Sumner, Bill Baize, Ed Enoch, Richard Sterban (Ed Wideman) replaced ‘The Imperials Quartet‘.  Larry Strickland joined ‘The Stamps‘ in 1974.

In January 1974, Dave Rowland replaced Donnie Sumner in The Stamps Quartet and a new group was formed and named, Voice by Elvis. Others to appear in the ‘Stamps Quartet‘ line up (From 1976) were; Ron Booth, Pat Brown and Buck Buckles, with Buck Buckles staying until the final tour in 1977.

Gary’s Perspective on Elvis

Elvis (Aron) Presley

I have decided to share the experience of a Teenager in 1955/56 when it all exploded. I was never really a fan of the movies, or of the ’70’s Huge concert Elvis. I will admit I enjoyed the 1968 comeback special, but it was the “Dangerous” Elvis that I grew up with.

My mother and father really enjoyed him, but society as whole feared what was happening and what was about to transpire. Would he have been as popular if he had stayed at Sun, I do not know, but I enjoyed the Blues orientated Sun recordings much more than the Pop recordings that RCA presented. But you know all of that is just looking back and it is always 20/20 vision, so who really knows.

Here is the Elvis I grew up with and enjoyed. This is looking through the eyes of a 15 year boy… Me!


Elvis (Aron) Presley, born 1935 Died 1977 and is the undisputed King of Rock and Roll.


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Musicians:

Guitar/ Elvis Presley
Guitar/ Scotty Moore
Bass/ Bill Black

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November/December 1954

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Musicians:

Guitar/ Elvis Presley
Guitar/ Scotty Moore
Bass/ Bill Black

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February 1955

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Baby Let’s Play House/ Sun 217 (my favourite)
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Musicians:

Guitar/ Elvis Presley
Guitar/ Scotty Moore
Bass/ Bill Black

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March 1955

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I’m Left, your right, she’s Gone/ Sun 217
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Musicians:

Guitar/ Elvis Presley
Guitar/ Scotty Moore
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ Jimmie Lott

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July 1955

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Musicians:

Guitar/ Elvis Presley
Guitar/ Scotty Moore
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ Johnny Bernero


Studio Sessions for RCA:

January 10, 11, 1956 Nashville

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Musicians:

Guitar/ Scotty Moore
Guitar/ Chet Atkins
Guitar/ Elvis Presley
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Floyd Cramer
Vocals/ Gordon Stoker, Ben and Brock Speer
The master of Money Honey is a splice of takes 5 & 6.

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January 30,31, February 3, 1956

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Shake Rattle and Roll/ 47-6642
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Musicians:

Guitar/ Scotty Moore
Guitar/ Elvis Presley
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Shorty Long
The backing vocals on “Shake Rattle and Roll” were overdubbed after the actual recording.



RCA Studio Sessions:

RCA New York July 2, 1956

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Musicians:

Guitar: Elvis & Scotty Moore
Bass: Bill Black
Drums: D.J. Fontana
Piano: Shorty Long
Vocals: The Jordanaires
Piano: Gordon Stoker claimed he played piano on Hound Dog as Shorty was not present.


The Soundtrack for his First Movie “Love me Tender” was laid down in Hollywood Stage 1, September and October of 56

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Radio Recorders Hollywood September 1-3, 1956

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Musicians:

Guitar: Scotty Moor
Guitar and Piano: Elvis
Bass: Bill Black
Drums D. J. Fontana
Piano: Gordon Stoker
Vocals: The Jordanaires


Studio Sessions, Hollywood Recorders:

January 12 – 13, 1957

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Musicians:

Guitar/ Scotty Moore/ Elvis
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Gordon Stoker
Vocals/ The Jordanaires

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January 24, 1957

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Musicians:

Guitar/ Scotty Moore/ Elvis
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Dudley Brooks
Vocals/ The Jordanaires

There where two recording made for Don’t Leave Me Now; I chose the more bluesy version, rather than the movie recording. That’s why it’s last, in the session that follows, rather than in an earlier session. I like the piano intro in this one.


Studio Sessions for RCA:

February 23, 24, 1957 Radio Recorders Hollywood.

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Musicians:

Guitar/ Scotty Moore/ Elvis
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Dudley Brooks
Vocals/ The Jordanaires

April 30, 1957 Radio Recorders Hollywood

Jailhouse Rock Soundtrack

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Musicians:

Guitar/ Scotty Moore/ Elvis
Bass/ Bill Black (except Elvis on # 2)
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Dudley Brooks/ Mike Stoller
Vocals/ The Jordanaires


Elvis, as you can see is doing most of his recording in Hollywood, he will be going in the Army and a lot of the music is being canned for later release.


Radio Recorders/ Hollywood/ September 5 – 7 1957

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And a host of other songs.


Musicians:

Guitar/ Scotty Moore/ Elvis
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Dudley Brooks
Vocals/ Millie Kirkham/ The Jordanaires


Hollywood Recorders/ January 15, 16 and 23 1958

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All of the Music for the Movie King Creole

Musicians:

Guitar/ Scotty Moore
Bass/ Bill Black
Bass & Tuba/ Ray Siegel
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Drums/ Bernie Mattinson
Bongos/ Gordon Stoker
Cymbals/ Hoyt Hawkins
Piano/ Dudley Brooks
Clarinet/ Mahlon Clark
Trumpet/ John Ed Buckner
Saxophone/ Justin Gordon
Trombone/ Elmer Schneider & Warren D. Smith
Vocals/ Kitty White & the Jordanaires

Note that the last recordings in Nashville go back to his Rock and Roll Days. They are in my opinion the best and almost get back to the Sun Record Days, but not quite; but they do rock a lot more than the Movie Stuff! (the picture looks like Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens)



Studio Sessions/ Radio Recorders/ Hollywood/ February 1, 1958

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Musicians:

Guitars/ Scotty Moore/ Tiny Timbrell/ Elvis
Bass/ Bill Black
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Dudley Brooks
Vocals/ The Jordanaires


Studio Sessions/ RCA Nashville

June 10 – 11, 1958

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Musicians:
Guitars/ Hank Garland/ Chet Atkins/ Elvis
Bass/ Bob Moore
Drums/ D. J. Fontana
Piano/ Floyd Cramer
Bongos/ Buddy Harman
Vocals/ The Jordanaires


My Elvis days really are the ones that I have put in this Blog. He had a very successful career and an unfortunate death. I remember only the “Young and Exciting Elvis”, from 1954 to 1958. I am sure that many will disagree, but the person I have depicted on the Blog is the Elvis I remember and relate too.

Thanks for visiting our site and any comments are welcome!
-Gary

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9 responses to “Elvis Presley!

  1. Great stuff, Gents. Your first picture is from The Louisiana Hayride, where Elvis met James Burton. He was in the houseband there. This is very early as Bill Black is still playing his Kay C1 bass. My ’53 is still in Toronto. He later purchased the famous Kay M1 with the white pinstripe. It belongs to Paul McCartney now and was a birthday gift from his late wife. I with you on you comments about Elvis Sun recordings. Thanks very much.

  2. Great stuff, guys. I knew Chet Atkins was on some of his stuff but didn’t know which tunes and Shorty Long. My goodness ! It’s gotta be the ‘Function At The Junction’ guy. Never knew he was on ‘Don’t Be Cruel’. I talked with Ervin Drake (he wrote I Believe) to get permission for one of his songs for my book. He is a great writer. Guess you noticed the ‘Flip, Flop and Fly’ verse Elvis sang on Ed Sullivan. Great post !

  3. What memories you brought back for me! Saw Elvis when he appeared at Maple Leaf Gardens, our seats were so far back we sure didn’t see very much and really couldn’t hear much either for all the screaming – silly teenage girls! Yes, we certainly were! Wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Thanks.

  4. Pingback: Elvis! | Russ & Gary's "The Best Years of Music"

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  6. I remember when Elvis first appeared and we rejoiced.. “he’s one of us” was our cry. But not for long !

  7. Some great information in this blog. There was some fantastic backing musicians playing behind the greatest hits of this era, and not just Elvis. It is a pity that the studios have not released in book form a list of the backing musicians behind the greatest hits of the “rock n’ roll era”. It would be just as interesting as listening to the music itself.

  8. Denny MacDougall

    Another great post featuring one of the greatest artists of all time. I am with you on your preference for the earlier days of Elvis. Just could not get into the Vegas Elvis. Perhaps that’s reflective of my age and his influence in my teenage years.

  9. My teenage years began in ’63. I’d liked him as a kid, and he’d had a couple of decent songs after he came out of the army, ‘Devil in Disguise’ for example, but forever after it was like he was searching for a way forward and never found one.

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