Elvis: On This Day In History

1957

It was 62 years ago Saturday (January 12th, 1957) that Elvis Presley recorded “All Shook Up,” which went on to become his sixth Number One hit, topping the charts for nine weeks. Elvis recorded the song at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, during a three-day session, which included both gospel recordings and songs eventually featured in his second motion picture, Loving You.

Elvis and his band, which included guitarist Scotty Moore, bassist Bill Black, drummer DJ Fontana, and backing vocalists the Jordanaires, took ten takes to perfect the song. The unique tapping heard on the track is Presley’s hand slapping the back of his Martin acoustic guitar, with his ring finger accentuating the beat.

“All Shook Up” went on to be ranked the Number One single of 1957. The tune was featured in “The King’s” setlists extensively throughout the ’70s — one of the few of Elvis’ ’50s hits to make the transition into his Las Vegas-era shows.

The late DJ Fontana, the last member to join Elvis’ original band, recalled meeting Elvis and the group: [“They had worked all through Mississippi and Alabama, they were just gettin’ started. And then they come to Shreveport, Louisiana, this hayride down there, y’know? It was a thing, like the Grand Ole Opry is today. They come in and say, ‘Hey, we need a drummer’ they said, ‘You play?” I said, ‘Well, yeah, I guess so. That’s why I’m here. That’s what they hired me for.’ I just learned a lesson, they had such a unique sound — that Sun (Records) thing, y’know? I thought, I’ll just stay out of their way, give ’em a little rhythm back with brush and stick and be quiet; so I guess they appreciated that.”] SOUNDCUE (:33 OC. . . they appreciated that)

1969

It was 50 years ago Sunday (January 13th, 1969) that Elvis Presley began his second most famous recording sessions. On the heels of his triumphant 1968 NBC “comeback special” he entered American Studios in Memphis to leave behind the artistic malaise that permeated most of his ’60s soundtrack work. Alongside his 1953 to 1955 Sun Records recordings, and legendary ’50s RCA Victor singles, Presley’s “Memphis” tracks have become known as his most important work, resulting in his massive comeback hit, “Suspicious Minds.”

At the time, American Studios was one of the hottest studios in the U.S., the birthplace of hits including B.J. Thomas‘ “Hooked On A Feeling”; Neil Diamond‘s “Sweet Caroline”; and Dusty Springfield‘s “Son Of A Preacher Man” — as well as her legendary Dusty In Memphis album. Producer Chips Moman ensured that Presley selected the best songs available from all music publishers, not just the companies Elvis owned, ensuring that his voice, matched with crack session players and great songs, would be an unbeatable combination.

For more than five weeks, Elvis dug in and recorded seminal tracks including “Rubberneckin’,” “Inherit The Wind,” “Wearin’ That Loved On Look,” “Any Day Now,” “Long Black Limousine,” and “Stranger In My Own Hometown.”

Among the hits recorded during the sessions were “Don’t Cry Daddy,” “Kentucky Rain,” the Number Three hit “In The Ghetto,” and his first Number One hit in over seven years, “Suspicious Minds.”

During a rare press conference in Houston on February 25th, 1970, Elvis spoke about how at the time country music hits had once again found their way into the Top 40 and the general public’s listening tastes: [“I think it’s fantastic, Y’see, country music was always a part of the influence on my type of music anyway. It’s a combination of country music and gospel, and rhythm and blues all combined is what it really was. As a child I was influenced by all of that.”] SOUNDCUE (:14 OC: . . . all of that)

Over the years, the songs from these sessions have been scattered over many different albums, starting with 1969’s From Elvis In Memphis and 1970’s Back In Memphis.

Today, the best place to collect Presley’s legendary 1969 American Studio Recordings is the compilation Suspicious Minds: The Memphis 1969 Anthology, which was released in 1999.

In 2003, an updated dance remix of Presley’s “Rubberneckin'” charted throughout Europe.

IN OTHER ELVIS NEWS

Elvis Presley Enterprises netted over $600,000 from the auction held in Memphis at The Guest House Graceland. Billboard reported, “Graceland says a red velvet shirt likely worn on stage by Presley at a 1956 show in Tupelo, Mississippi, sold for $37,500. A gold and diamond ring that Presley wore on stage and gave to his father sold for $30,000. A ring Presley gave to singer J.D. Sumner sold for $22,500. A winter ski jacket and a ‘Love Me Tender’ theater lobby standee also were sold.”