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Live recordings from Elvis' 1950's concerts

Mon May 26, 2003 10:54 pm

I'm sure this subject may have been posted in the past but it has been something I have often thought about.

I was just looking back at a post regarding the 1961 Hawaii Benefit show.
It is interesting (to me anyway) that RCA made no attempt to record any of Elvis' live performances during the 50's.
Was this something that just wasn't done back in those days?

I just don't understand their thinking???
I mean they knew (they must have known) that this guy was making a serious impact on society (even at that time)
- why the hell wouldn't they have wanted to capture some of that "history in the making"?
Even after the Sullivan shows, they must have known what they had.
What about his live recordings in 1957 before being drafted in the army. Did they not know he would be out of action for 2 years???

Does anyone have any background on this?

Tue May 27, 2003 7:31 am

The actual LP only became a commercial force around 1954 or 1955. At that time determining what would and should go on an LP was a pretty amorphous process. While Jazz concerts were often used for LPs at this time, it took awhile for the industry to realize that there was money to be made for live performances of other types of music. This was especially true of rock and roll. The music's fans were mostly teenagers and LPs were generally beyond their budget. To commit a live performance to record around this time would have been seen as a major boondoggle since it was bound to even worse "noise" than a standard record. Additionally, LPs at this time were often beyond the budgets of poor of whites and African Americans the other demographics for rock.

In the late 50 and early 60s some performers began to break ground with concert recordings especially in blues and folk where the live performance was considered the essence of the art form. Even pop artists though eventually started to put out live music with the advent of event concerts (Judy at Carnegie Hall). However, during this time (1958-1961) Elvis was not touring.

The big break for rock and soul live albums was James Brown's Live at the Apollo in 1963. Though this LP established an audience for live rock and soul music, Elvis had been retired from the road for nearly five years when it hit.

Tue May 27, 2003 3:26 pm

Thank you very much for the information, LTB!

Tue May 27, 2003 3:39 pm

I fully agree. A lot of Lousiana Hayride shows were recorded, also the Tupelo shows. But no show in 1957? Unbelievable....
Then again the Welcome home show and Hawaii Show, what about the two Memphis concerts?

Tue May 27, 2003 3:41 pm

Likethebike -

Nice to read an informative post !

If you are right [& I'm sure you are] that would explain why there are no 'live' albums by Elvis' contemporaries like Gene Vincent, Pat Boone, Little Richard etc. from the 50's.

An exception, I suppose, would be Jerry Lee Lewis' 'Live At The Star Club' although that was recorded in the early 60's [after Elvis' Pearl Harbour gig].

Colin B

Tue May 27, 2003 6:26 pm

So does anyone have a complete list of FULL elvis concerts from the 50's barring The Louisianna Hayride.

What imports might these be on?

Tue May 27, 2003 7:34 pm

i heard once there are a few concerts in the hands of pvt collectors.
1955-1957 don't know the quality or the cond.
didn't ernst say he knew of these shows?

Tue May 27, 2003 7:35 pm

i heard once there are a few concerts in the hands of pvt collectors.
1955-1957 don't know the quality or the cond.
didn't ernst say he knew of these shows?

Live 50's concerts

Tue May 27, 2003 7:50 pm

ColinB wrote:Likethebike -

Nice to read an informative post !

If you are right [& I'm sure you are] that would explain why there are no 'live' albums by Elvis' contemporaries like Gene Vincent, Pat Boone, Little Richard etc. from the 50's.

Colin B


I don't recall where I got it, but I do have a live concert by Gene Vincent and His Bluecaps. I'm sure it's a boot but it was recorded March 15, 1958 in Vancouver, BC. The title is RHYTHM IN BLUE and states "interview, concert, and rare studio outtakes." It's been so long since I've listened to it that I don't remember all the contents.

Tue May 27, 2003 7:57 pm

All I know right now Is Elvis Live From Littlerock. Is there any imports from his Canada performances? Any othere imports available that are complete concerts from the 50's?

OR anything from the 60's? pre vegas?

Tue May 27, 2003 8:02 pm

<So does anyone have a complete list of FULL elvis concerts from the 50's barring The Louisianna Hayride.

<What imports might these be on?

Genesim,

As far as I know, if you ignore the Hayride stuff and 1955 Eagles hall stuff, the only 50's live stuff left is from:

Dorsey Brothers TV show (6 episodes)
Milton Berle TV show (2 episodes)
Steve Allen TV show
Ed Sullivan TV show (3 episodes)
Tenn./Alabama fair (1 1/2 shows recorded)
Little Rock (full show)
Vegas '56 (full show, big cut in Long Tall Sally)

I think that is it. There are about 3 or 4 other shows for which little bits have been released. I know the TV shows aren't really like real live concerts, but if you want to hear a lot of Elvis' repertoire from the 50's in reasonable sound quality, you can't do better than the Golden Celebration and Silver box sets.

Sorry I don't have a list of full 50's concerts on import, I am not sure there are any. With the exception of the Hayride/Eagles Hall stuff, BMG has released about all there is on official CD releases.

I sure hope some of the alleged 50's shows in private hands become public some day. That would be cool.

Greg

Tue May 27, 2003 8:05 pm

Thanks greg Looks like I got about all there is.

60's pre vegas

Tue May 27, 2003 8:10 pm

<OR anything from the 60's? pre vegas?

Genesim,

Elvis only performed a couple of times in the 60's before the '69 Vegas season. Here's the details:

1960: Frank Sinatra's TV Show (check out the Platinum box for the Elvis portion. Elvis also sang a duet with Frank which is on another box set and there was a musical number in which Elvis sang one line that is only available on import)

1961: Elvis played two benefit shows in Memphis and one in Hawaii. No recording of Memphis has surfaced, and the Silver box has the Hawaii show in its entirety. This is actually a great recording, although not perfect sound quality.

1968: The '68 comeback TV special, Elvis appears on stage 4 different times. Most released on official BMG CDs, entirety on import with mediocre sound quality.

That's it. Elvis only made 8 live appearances, in 4 different places, in all of the 1960s before the Vegas '69 season.

Greg

Tue May 27, 2003 8:22 pm

Got them too..thanks Greg. I noticed there is a altenate of The Frank Sinatra/ Elvis duet ending on the Sinatra duets show on PBS. Good stuff.

Tue May 27, 2003 8:27 pm

Genesim,

Did we just have a civil discussion? Maybe we should close out this topic with some rude nasty jabs for old times sake... :wink:

Greg

Tue May 27, 2003 8:36 pm

lol. I don't think we ever had a real problem. There was some other entities with the last one, that didn't help with things getting out of hand. I take full responsibility for my part as you did with yours.

Tue May 27, 2003 8:59 pm

i heard once there are a few concerts in the hands of pvt collectors.
1955-1957 don't know the quality or the cond.



Who exactly are these private collectors? Are they the kind of guys who come to this mb? Or old farts who do not keep up with the Elvisness of life. You would think that an owner of rare Elvis source audio would be "in" with the Elvis fan scene. Do their kids and grandkids know about the Elvis tape(s). What happens to the tapes when these private collectors die?
Last edited by Graceland Gardener on Tue May 27, 2003 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tue May 27, 2003 10:10 pm

I have stumbled across some live Alan Freed stuff in the import bin at the stores from time to time. I haven't bought the albums, so I don't know what the source of the tapes are. Many Freed shows were on the radio and they could have been taped by fans.

By the way is that the source of the Hayride tapes? Also what is the source of the Little Rock concert? That sounds comparatively great.

Tue May 27, 2003 10:15 pm

Ray Green, former deejay at KLRA in Little Rock is the guy who taped the Little Rock concert. He made and preserved that great show. I applaud him for doing that one simple thing (push RECORD) way back in May 1956. :D

Tue May 27, 2003 11:10 pm

It's my guess that RCA didn't record many shows of Elvis' in the 50's because he'd be essentially doing the same songs that are already released on record, and they may have thought that it wouldn't sell well because people just say that they already have those songs?

I'm sure it wasn't cheap to sent out a recording crew back then, either, and since RCA didn't really "get it" that Elvis was going to be around for awhile until after he came back from the Army, that might be another reason.

The Pearl Harbor '61 botch up of not recording that in full quality stereo - now THAT is shameful. Just think, if things could have gone differently, we may have had the show not only recorded in stereo, but full video, too...

Tue May 27, 2003 11:19 pm

What about the Vegas material from the Frontier Hotel?
Who recorded that?

Tue May 27, 2003 11:29 pm

Elvis-fan,

I recall reading somewhere that Scotty Moore was not even aware that the New Frontier Hotel show was taped - not until RCA released it in 1992. He surely was surprised and p!ssed off as I understand.


Mike McCoy,

RCA and the Colonel marketed Elvis like the musical equivelent of a happy meal - fast food. They had no clue that Elvis Presley AND Elvis Presley Fans had staying power. It's a damn shame. I agree too on the Pearl Harbor comment. A cryin' shame that these live events were not recorded better - or recorded at all.

LIVE RECORDING 1957

Tue May 27, 2003 11:51 pm

Contarary to some posts to this subject, British rocker Tommy Steele had a live album out in 1957 called "The Tommy Steele stage show". Quality was good. And there has just been a CD of a 1962 Cliff Richard/Shadows show released. I have heard some of this and the stereo sound quality is excellent.
TONY DOBB

Wed May 28, 2003 12:01 am

Tony -

There are obviously more 'live' albums out there from the 50's than I knew about !

Just in passing, Bill Haley had an LP in 1956 called 'Rock 'n' Roll Stage Show' but it was actually studio tracks.

Colin B

Wed May 28, 2003 12:04 am

What is further a shame is that Elvis name was removed from the memorial. At least that is what I heard. All because of a jealous navy employee.