Mysterious John Crow Recordings": Elvis disguised, or not?
you like a juicy mystery, a good detective story? One full
of twists, inconsistencies and hard-to-believe incidents?
Well if you do, you'll enjoy our examination of the very mysterious
"John Crow" recordings.
1980 CMI Books released 'Elvis Disguised - The "John Crow" Recordings'
(ISBN: 0936790008) by Harley Hatcher. The author had served
in the US Army at the same time as Elvis and was stationed at
Fort Monmouth while Elvis was at Fort Hood.
Monmouth was an Army signal corps training school located 45 miles
south of New York. Fort Hood was located in Texas. In July 1958
Hatcher encountered an Army recruit at Fort Monmouth who looked
like, spoke like, moved like and sung like Elvis. However the GI's
name was John Crow.
champion sportsman and aspiring musician, Hatcher struck up a friendship
with John Crow and jammed with him on several occasions. At all
sessions the songs sung were primarily Elvis songs!
at least two occasions parts of the session were taped on Hatcher's
TEAC reel-to-reel recorder. Hatcher re-discovered the tapes years
later and so began his search to prove that John Crow and Elvis
were one and the same.
the first tape there were only three songs: I Want To Be Free and
two tracks written by Hatcher - Remember and Let's Dance. The second
tape however yielded John Crow singing no less than 16 tracks:
Ask Me Why
Want You, I Love You, I Need You
Leave Me Now
I Don't Care
When Your Heartaches Begin
Bop A Lula
Want To Be Free
& Blue (written by Hatcher)
went to considerable lengths to validate his suspicion that John
Crow was in fact Elvis Presley.
audio tape was subjected to a voiceprint analysis at the Phonetics
Laboratory, University of California. The lab technician conmpared
the tape with various musical and spoken word recordings of Elvis.
He concluded (a copy of his conclusions is included in the book)
that the "...tape is probably the voice of Elvis Presley."
music expert, renowned record producer, Mike Curb (remember the
hit song Burning Bridges by the Mike Curb Congregation) also listened
to the tapes and stated "Harley, that is Elvis Presley on those
indicated to Hatcher that it was the vibrato in the singers voice
that was the key. He said Elvis impersonators may sound like Elvis
but none can duplicate the vibrato in his voice.
also submitted a handwritten note to him from Elvis/John Crow to
William Kaye, Examiner of Questioned Documents. Kaye compared the
note to known writings by Elvis and concluded: "...it is my considered
opinion and conclusion the questioned handwriting is that of Elvis
engaged the services of a private investigator, Harry Benson, to
try and establish a connection between Elvis Presley and John Crow.
Benson apparently discovered that the Army was concerned that some
nut might try to make a name for himself by kidnapping or killing
Elvis. Allegedly there were threats made against him and if true
it would lend considerable weight to the argument that his John
Crow 'alter ego' was devised to protect the Army's prize recruit.
could also have been another piece of corroborating evidence - a
photo of John Crow and Harley Hatcher jamming together. Despite
an exhaustive search the photo was never found.
search for evidence linking Elvis and John Crow turned up some surprising
things. Through his friendship with Mike Curb, Hatcher met Sean
Morton Downey, a man who had been very active in the Democratic
Party and had contacts in high places. One of these contacts was
able to access a classified file on Elvis' Army stint. While the
file did not mention Fort Monmouth or John Crow parts of its contents
were allegedly blacked out!
all of the above there is still one piece of the puzzle that threatens
to derail Hatcher's theory that Elvis and John Crow are in fact
one and the same.
mystery deepened for Hatcher with reports of Elvis sailing to Germany
on 22 September 1958. For he was still seeing John Crow at Fort
Monmouth in early October that year!
there was considerable media attention to Elvis's leaving the US
and then disembarking in Germany, Hatcher felt John Crow couldn't
have been Elvis Presley. But their likeness, that remarkable voice?
Was this all part of an intricate, high level conspiracy? Hatcher
confronted Elvis/John Crow about the issue and received this reply:
the boat left and got a ways, I was taken off."
Disguised is a remarkable read and raises as many questions as it
answers. Could Elvis have been stationed at two forts in 1958 at
the same time? If yes, why? And why was his identity hidden under
the guise of John Crow? Was it to protect him and give him some
space away from the prying eyes of the media?
is on the public record how intently his daily Army life was scrutinised
and reported on by the public and Army media. So what happened to
the John Crow recordings? As they haven't been released (and therein
lies a mystery) it must be assumed that they are still in Hatcher's
weaves a tale full of mystery and twists. His story will be dismissed
by many as just a fanciful tale designed to sell books but for other
fans it will be welcomed as a mysterious piece of the Elvis jigsaw
or not you believe it, 'Elvis Disguised' is a highly readable and
engrossing book. While we may never know the truth behind this story
it is certainly one of the more unusual in the Elvis world.
when Elvis Disguised was originally released it met with substantial
acceptance among well known figures in the Elvis world.
of its reviews included:
amazing revelation" - Darwin Lamm, Elvis International Forum
absolutely astonishing book...it's beyond anyone's wildest imagination"
- Corky Mayberry, Host, The Elvis Historical Hour (nationally syndicated
worth reading" - Emory Gordy, Elvis backing musician
edition of Spotlight on The King was prepared by Nigel Patterson
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