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Sam Phillips

Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:14 am

When was the last time Elvis had contact with Sam. Watching old footage I see he is wearing a TCB necklace, and assumed he didn't see him beyond the 60s.

Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:06 am

I believe that the last time that they saw eachother was in Las Vegas in 1969. Elvis asked him to come and see the show. Sam praised Elvis' performance, but he also told Elvis that he was less than impressed with "Memories".

Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:15 am

Rock Legend wrote:he also told Elvis that he was less than impressed with "Memories".

I have never heard that but can totally picture that statement. It's a tad sappy for Sam.

Tue Dec 27, 2005 2:35 pm

Details of Sam's August 1969 visit with Elvis may be found in Guralnick's "Careless Love." The TCBs were created after that, IIRC, so there had to be another visit after that -- or one of the MM gave it to him at Elvis' request.

God bless Sam and his unique vision, one which gave the world so much great music.


Wed Dec 28, 2005 3:11 am

I was watching old VHS footage from Elvis' 50th birthday. Sam was wearing the necklace and after he did his whole "blown up" story of Elvis in the 50's at Sun, he continued to tell the "Elvis" story. He talked about Elvis in the Army, the comeback, and then quite more than you'd think Sam would know about the 70's. Basically it was all simple/general storytelling. He was sitting on the couch with George Klein and Sam was doing most of the talking.

I actually wondered if Sam was wearing one of the necklace's that was mass produced around 1985???

Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:55 am

I bet if Elvis had used Sam Phillips as a music consultant (throughout the RCA years) his recording legacy would have been much more respected.

Wed Dec 28, 2005 8:13 am

Sam was never much for the ballads. It just wasn't his taste. The rhythm stuff was his heart and soul.

I doubt Elvis' recorded legacy at RCA would have been much better had Elvis retained him as a "musical consultant". Although at least initially it would have been much different. Phillips hated "Heartbreak Hotel" for example. By the early '60s, Philips was wrapped up in problems from alcoholism that severely limited his creative instincts and led to the dissolution of Sun Records. Plus, there was so much stuff that would have been out of Phillips' control like the publishing and movie considerations and the fact that Elvis' RCA contract called for him to record so much material. In two years at Sun, Elvis laid down 19 masters at least one of which- "When it Rains it Really Pours"- most probably was not a completed master. Elvis' RCA and movie commitments called for between 30-50 tracks per year. A drop in the level of material was somewhat inevitable no matter who was advising Elvis.

Also, Phillips' tastes were simply too limited for Elvis. While Phillips almost certainly would have talked Elvis out of something like "Padre" (or at least tried) and Elvis' legacy would have been the better for it, his approach could have also cost us "Are You Lonesome To-Night?" and "It's Now or Never" among others. And although artists like Cash, Orbison and Charlie Rich were grateful for the opportunities to record on his labels and for breaking them in the big leagues, they were also a little bit smothered by Phillips' vision. He got interesting to great work out of all three of them but that had to move elsewhere to fully indulge their artistic visions.

Wed Dec 28, 2005 8:42 am

It might not be a coincidence that Elvis stopped singing live the song MEMORIES (I like it even though it is sappy) so it would have been interesting if Elvis had him as a consultant even if he would not take his advice most of the time. For example imagine Elvis doing Love Song Of The Year and Sam telling him something to the tune of What the hell are you singing!? He would think twice before doing that just to avoid Sams mouth! :lol: