Elvis recorded his second gospel album, How Great Thou Art, at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 25, 26, 27, and 28, 1966. The album won a Grammy in 1967 for Best Sacred Performance. During this time period Elvis was having difficulty getting radio airplay and Elvis’ manager, Col Tom Parker (see picture above), was convinced that Elvis could get some radio airplay with more religious music. This album proved that Col Parker was right. Some insight from the recording sessions for this album are provided below (thanks to Wikipedia for this info)…..
As the sessions progressed, Elvis rejected many of the planned songs for which Freddy Bienstock had obtained publishing deals, and began picking favorites of his own and those of the musicians. The five songs in the public domain were credited as “arranged by Elvis Presley” and published by Elvis Presley Music allowing Bienstock to secure the royalties for those selections. In fact, it is likely that an engaged and enthusiastic Presley indeed did the arrangements, as he certainly did with the title song, his months of practice at home on his beloved gospel songs paying off.
One of those public domain songs was called By and By and I have chosen it as the featured song for my first Time Machine Tunes (TMT) post. By and By was recorded on May 26, 1966 and I have a portion of that recording session for you. It is great to hear the song progress through early rough takes to what sounds like a final polished cut. Even better, it is amazing to hear Elvis relaxed and having a good time in the studio. You might not be able to travel back in time to be in the studio for this recording but I am giving you the next best thing. Enjoy………
To give you the complete picture, here is the final version of By and By as released on How Great Thou Art……
I hope you enjoyed this first TMT post. Please let me know your thoughts…..
As I mentioned in earlier posts in this series, neither of my parents was a big music fan…I don’t remember them ever playing music in any of the different houses that we lived in. We did have a old record player, however, and when I was about ten years old I discovered a few records that belonged to my mother. For the next four years or so I wore those few records out playing them over and over again. The records were a diverse selection of popular music from the late 50s and early 60s and they represent my earliest musical memories.
Most of my mother’s records were 33 and 1/3 RPM albums but she did have one 45 RPM Extended Plan (EP) record, Peace in the Valley, by Elvis Presley. I didn’t know the history of the EP at the time but I now know it was released in April 1957 as his first gospel release. Out of all of my mother’s records it is the one I would most like to have today. I really didn’t have any idea about the religious aspect of the songs but I absolutely fell in love with his voice. I listened to this record so many times that I probably wore out the vinyl! Let’s listen to the title song from the EP and you can see what I’m talking about with respect to the voice of Elvis Presley…….
Amazing, right? As a bonus, here is a great live performance of the song from the Ed Sullivan show in 1957 (that’s the amazing Jordanaires on backup vocals)……
Stay tuned tomorrow….I plan to feature Elvis in my first Time Machine Tunes (TMT) post.
From the Boss to the King….today’s holiday song is from the incredible Elvis 1969 comeback special. Best TV concert ever!
Oh……you were not lucky enough to see the 1969 comeback special? Well, today is your lucky day because your special surprise gift today is the complete concert. Enjoy!
By the way, I saw Elvis perform Blue Christmas on his last concert tour. Sure he was “fat Elvis” by then but the man could still sing and had incredible charisma.