"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)






'Elvis Is Back!'

Spotlight & preview

(Follow That Dream (FTD) Records....April 2005)
Click to order "Elvis Is Back"

"In the entertainment business the future is very uncertain. You never know, you can only try"

"What I’ll record, I don’t know yet. I’ve got quite a few songs to choose from, I’ve collected over two years. I don’t know exactly what type or what instruments I’ll use …"

"I’m gonna sing and I’ll let the shaking come naturally. If I had to stand still and sing I’d be lost, I can’t get any feeling that way."

"If I don’t please the audience, the money don’t mean nothing" -

- All quotes, Elvis March, 1960.

Elvis returned to Nashville’s Studio B on March 20th 1960, just 15 days after coming home from his army stint for Uncle Sam.

Elvis had been away from the music scene for nearly 2 years and the charts were no longer full of the excitement of fifties Rock ‘n’ Roll but had given way to a smoother sixties-sound. Elvis knew only too well that just one year out of the music business can kill your career and, although he had made some home recordings while in Germany, Elvis hadn’t recorded in a Studio since June 1958!

While 1968 is named as Elvis’ ‘Comeback’ year, nothing could have been more important than this 1960 session & no one could have been more concerned than Elvis himself. Would he still be as important to his teenage fans now that he was 25 years old? Could he still select suitable hit material in this new decade? Would his new sound even be relevant?

Just 2 days earlier, in the same studio, Nashville’s outstanding 'A Team' band had worked with The Everly Brothers recording their #1 pop classic 'Cathy's Clown’. Surrounded by great musicians now it was Elvis’ turn to prove that, after 2 years in the army, he still was a dynamic & creative force.

Elvis’ original guitarist Scotty Moore was there, along with The Jordanaires and, in an inspired move, Elvis had decided to use two drummers for a more forceful sound. D.J Fontana was back, working alongside ace session-drummer Buddy Harman.

RCA Studio engineer Bill Porter had been selected for this huge task on the strength of his recent 16 chart successes. Surprisingly this was his very first recording session with Elvis.

As Porter recalls, "The musicians began arriving by 6:30, and Elvis came in about 8:40 surrounded by bodyguard, Army buddies and old pals. Anyone watching them clown around, practicing karate moves and talking about mock tank battles, would have found it hard to believe that there was the slightest pressure surrounding the session. But I felt a tension in the (Control) room, I really did.

"About 9:30, we got down to the business of recording. Everything started smoothly enough, but as I was getting the balance on the first song, I became aware of an air of anticipation behind me. Turning around, I saw that executives had sprung up in that control booth faster than mushrooms in a cellar! Right beside my elbow was Colonel Tom Parker, VIPs from RCA plus Steve Sholes. And when Elvis did the first tune they didn’t say anything to me… No one said a word! - but what they didn't say spoke volumes!"

Elvis always rose to a challenge and tended to produce his best work under pressure. When the session finished there could be no doubt that, from his explosive first recording ‘Make Me Know It’ to the very last moment (as dawn was breaking on the second night’s work) ‘Reconsider Baby’, this might be the greatest music that Elvis would ever produce.

On the first night Elvis, as always, warmed up with gospel numbers as well as favourites such as ‘I Got A Woman’ (why, oh why weren’t the tapes rolling?!).

The true session began with the exciting feel of Elvis blasting away his Army despondency on Otis Blackwell’s ‘Make Me Know It’ and the nice doo-wop touch of ‘Soldier Boy’ – a song that Elvis had played with and also home-recorded while in Germany.

The obligatory million-seller ‘Stuck On You’ was next but Elvis’ musical genius, as well as his newly-matured voice, really shone through on the final three tracks of the night, ‘Fame & Fortune’ ‘A Mess Of Blues’ & ‘It Feels So Right’.

Just 2 days later, more than one million copies of Elvis’ new single ‘Stuck On You/Fame & Fortune’ would be shipped to the dealers and five days later in Miami, Elvis would sing both sides of the single on Frank Sinatra’s "Welcome Home Elvis" TV special.

The second and final studio session would take place on April 3rd with the recording of a series of classic songs including ‘Fever’, ‘It’s Now Or Never’ and, at The Colonel’s suggestion, an old 1927 Al Jolson hit ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’!

A new addition to the band that night was saxophonist Homer "Boots" Randolph who added some brilliant touches, making tracks like ‘Like A Baby’ into the dirty blues it needed to be.

While the Gold singles are well-known, two tracks also stand out as some of Elvis’ most important recordings of all-time. ‘Reconsider Baby’, recorded in one magnificent live-take, captures Elvis as he is consumed in the passion of the music and working with such a great band.

Just like his first Sun session in 1954 it is Elvis’ acoustic guitar that drives the song. In a moment of profound spontaneity, the wailing sax of Boots Randolph (his first true solo with Elvis!) combined with Elvis’ intense vocal is hard to beat.

Similarly, Elvis’ growling moan of ‘Such A Night’ pushed this lightweight Drifters’ song into another league all-together. Here the new idea of using dual drummers Buddy Harman & D.J. Fontana never would be bettered, helping urge Elvis to an awe-inspiring performance. While Elvis was never recognised as a song-writer, his all-important contribution as an arranger/producer is perfectly demonstrated here. Elvis’ whoop of joy at the end really says it all!

This was a very different sound to the Elvis of the fifties, smoother, more mature and with a new beauty and strength to his voice.

In an amazing two nights work Elvis recorded eighteen classic tracks including seven Gold records! When the LP ‘Elvis Is Back!’ was originally released, it surprisingly did not sell as well as expected, and GI Blues would sadly do better.

However, had it included just one of the mega-selling hit singles recorded at the same session (Stuck On You, It’s Now or Never, Are You Lonesome Tonight) there is no doubt that it would have made a bigger impression. Even the chart topping Everlys put their biggest-ever single ‘Cathy’s Clown’ on their 1960 LP ‘A Date With The Everly Bothers’!

While many of the brilliant outtakes from this all-important Elvis session have been released on various CDs, gathering them together on this Deluxe FTD will be a real treat.

And with new generation tapes being found, the audio quality will also be improved especially on tracks like the ‘Collector’s Gold’ brilliant ‘Like A Baby’ Tk1&2.

Presenting a selection of ‘first takes’ together (a favourite topic of mine) ie ‘Thrill of My Love’, ‘Such A Night’ … is another brilliant move.

For hard-core collector’s the new Deluxe package contains only 7 new complete outtakes, but does add 19 other new false starts & work-parts to our collections. For everyone else who hasn’t properly investigated this glorious session, there is a real treat in store.

Out this week, and at a single CD price for a double CD deluxe-package, this is an essential purchase that no Elvis fan should miss out on.

This was a powerful statement that no one could deny – "Elvis Is Back"!

If you have any doubts, click here for Twelve Vital Reasons to buy ‘Elvis Is Back!’

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Elvis Odd Spot (updated 4 April)