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Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Tue May 11, 2010 10:37 pm

Inspired by a rich discussion of "If I Were You," a 1970 Nashville recording, I found a bunch of interesting information about the songwriter, Gerald Nelson.

Gerald wrote mostly for Presley's movie soundtracks.
Sadly, the ones that got in (unfortunately) were some of the worst ever released.

Thank you, Freddy and Lamar.

"If I Were You" would be Nelson's only non-soundtrack Elvis song.

Image

Gerald Nelson - Songs I Wrote for Elvis (Coda Masters, 2006)

01. If I Were You
02. Sing You Children
03. The Love Machine
04. Yoga Is As Yoga Does
05. Easy Come, Easy Go
06. Lazy Love Affair
07. Let Me Tell You Something New
08. Long Vacation
09. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
10. That's Allright With Me
11. Clambake
12. Dancing Out of My Life
13. Danger Beware
14. Ferryboat From Dover
15. Double Trouble
16. Dominique My Bull
17. How Can I
18. I'll Take Love
19. The Chicken Scratch

I thought it might be fun to put together a CD of the original demonstration recordings of songs that I wrote for Elvis Presley. Some he recorded, some he didn’t. He was such a good friend and I respected his friendship so much that I never ask him to record any of my work. Lamar Fike or Freddy Beanstalk put those that he did in his hands. Usually they would send me a script and say: ”Write something for this movie”. For the most part that was either fun or insane.

Fun: “Dominique My Bull” I think that was for the “Stay Away Joe” film wherein he buys a bull to breed, the bull turns out to be gay and won’t perform that for which he was purchased. He gets the idea for he and his Indian girl friend to show the bull what to do! They didn’t use this song in the movie, perhaps today they might? Another fun write was “The Chicken Scratch”. Lots of laughter in the studio when I was trying to make the guitar sound like a chicken.

Insane: “Yoga Is As Yoga Does” Now how does one go about writing a song around that title? I thought that this scripted nonsense has to be a joke. It turned out to be the absolute worst Song I ever heard! This crazy composition was used in the “Easy Come Easy Go” movie along with two others that are on this CD, “Sing You Children” and “The Love Machine”. There were four songs in this movie. I wrote three of them. The best song of the four that I submitted was “Easy Come, Easy Go”, they didn’t use that one. Go figure.

The Elvis movie producers passed on a song “Lazy Love Affair”, for which film I forget. But the demo recording that you can hear on this CD, was later used in two movies: Miami Blue and Caged Fear.

He recorded “If I Were You” and put it in the “Love Letters” album. Oddly enough this song, even today, gets quite a bit of airplay and sales around the world. It’s the only non-movie song of mine that was ever submitted to him.

For those of you who like “tid-bits” here is an interesting one for you. A contemporary standard, “Tragedy”, was written by Fred Burch and me. The song has sold millions and millions of records and has been recorded by 20-25 different artists over the years. We wrote the song for Elvis!

Chet Atkins was Elvis’s producer at RCA at the time and I sent it to Chet for Elvis. Chet passed on the song. Years later Chet told me that he “missed on that one, but that he would make it up to me” He did. He recorded it in years to come by Charlie Rich, Floyd Cramer, and the Anita Kerr Singers. I didn’t include it in this collection because Paul McCartney later purchased the publishing, you know that Beatle boy, and it is too much trouble to get a license for use in a little project like this.

I hope you get some fun out of listening to some of this stuff.

Gerald Nelson



http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/geraldnelson



How fascinating is the fact he intended "Tragedy," a top 5 hit in 1959, for Elvis?


phpBB [video]



"Tragedy" (Fernwood 109, 1959)


Image

Billboard - Mar 30, 1959
"Tragedy" reaches the top 5 for the first of three weeks in a row


Well, the ballad ended up being cut by Memphis artist Thomas Wayne.
He was the brother of Luther Perkins, Johnny Cash’s lead guitarist.


Image

Thomas Wayne, 1959

Image

"Tragedy" (Fernwood 109, 1959)


Look closely at that label, it was produced by ... Scotty Moore!

So many connections! It's a small world, after all.

Heck, I might even pick up this CD!

Enjoy.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Tue May 11, 2010 11:27 pm

Very interesting. I will order the CD. I am always interested in demo's for Elvis and/or original versions of songs Elvis recorded.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 12:00 am

Hello,

No offense, Doc but I can't see how Gerald Nelson is a "mysterious" songwriter for Elvis being that he wrote several songs for Elvis including practically all of the "Easy Come, Easy Go" soundtrack and all of course the top 5 hit "Tragedy." If we are going to label certain songwriters that wrote for Elvis "mysterious", I think a great example is Jay Ramsey who wrote "We Can Make The Morning." Anybody got any info on him and how his song got into Elvis' hands. I don't believe Ken Sharp interviewed him when he did his "Writing For The King" book. I don't know if The Man And His Music has ever interviewed Jay Ramsey or not. It's something they should look into.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 12:03 am

Daryl wrote:No offense, Doc but I can't see how Gerald Nelson is a "mysterious" songwriter for Elvis ...

Oh, none taken.

However, your assumption of the great fame of "G. Nelson" is, to put it mildly, grossly inaccurate.

Most people don't even know who Leiber and Stoller are.

Thanks for stopping by.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 12:05 am

Bloody hell!! I want it NOW!!!! Thanks doc!!! ::rocks

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 12:08 am

Hello,

Doc, you forgot to mention that Thomas Wayne also co-wrote "The Girl Next Door Went A'Walkin'" from the "Elvis Is Back" LP.

Daryl

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 12:12 am

Daryl wrote:Doc, you forgot to mention that Thomas Wayne also co-wrote "The Girl Next Door Went A'Walkin'" from the "Elvis Is Back" LP.

No, I didn't.

There is no direct connection to Gerald Nelson, the mysterious subject of this topic.

Thanks.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 12:20 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Daryl wrote:Doc, you forgot to mention that Thomas Wayne also co-wrote "The Girl Next Door Went A'Walkin'" from the "Elvis Is Back" LP.

No, I didn't.

There is no direct connection to Gerald Nelson, the mysterious subject of this topic.

Thanks.



Doc, you were the one connecting the dots between Elvis, Gerald Nelson and Thomas Wayne and Scotty Moore. And if I'm not mistaken, I believe Elvis got the song "The Girl Next Door Went A'Walkin'" from Scotty Moore.

So many connections! It's a small world, after all.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 12:58 am

Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:Bloody hell!! I want it NOW!!!! Thanks doc!!! ::rocks

Gerald will be very happy.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 2:01 am

Gret find!

Have just downloaded it.

Surprisingly good....the demos that got away!

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 2:19 am

Insane: “Yoga Is As Yoga Does” Now how does one go about writing a song around that title? I thought that this scripted nonsense has to be a joke. It turned out to be the absolute worst Song I ever heard!


Nothing if not honest,great quote from the man himself,now not so mysterious.
Great stuff Doc,the song titles alone brought a smile to my face.

norrie

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 3:34 am

norrie wrote:
Insane: “Yoga Is As Yoga Does” Now how does one go about writing a song around that title? I thought that this scripted nonsense has to be a joke. It turned out to be the absolute worst Song I ever heard!


Nothing if not honest, great quote from the man himself, now not so mysterious.
Great stuff Doc,the song titles alone brought a smile to my face.

Thanks a bunch, norrie!

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 4:38 am

Hi there!! :D :D :D.

drjohncarpenter wrote:Inspired by a rich discussion of "If I Were You," a 1970 Nashville recording, I found a bunch of interesting information about the songwriter, Gerald Nelson.

Gerald wrote mostly for Presley's movie soundtracks.
Sadly, the ones that got in (unfortunately) were some of the worst ever released.

Thank you, Freddy and Lamar.

"If I Were You" would be Nelson's only non-soundtrack Elvis song.

Image

Gerald Nelson - Songs I Wrote for Elvis (Coda Masters, 2006)

01. If I Were You
02. Sing You Children
03. The Love Machine
04. Yoga Is As Yoga Does
05. Easy Come, Easy Go
06. Lazy Love Affair
07. Let Me Tell You Something New
08. Long Vacation
09. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
10. That's Allright With Me
11. Clambake
12. Dancing Out of My Life
13. Danger Beware
14. Ferryboat From Dover
15. Double Trouble
16. Dominique My Bull
17. How Can I
18. I'll Take Love
19. The Chicken Scratch

I thought it might be fun to put together a CD of the original demonstration recordings of songs that I wrote for Elvis Presley. Some he recorded, some he didn’t. He was such a good friend and I respected his friendship so much that I never ask him to record any of my work. Lamar Fike or Freddy Beanstalk put those that he did in his hands. Usually they would send me a script and say: ”Write something for this movie”. For the most part that was either fun or insane.

Fun: “Dominique My Bull” I think that was for the “Stay Away Joe” film wherein he buys a bull to breed, the bull turns out to be gay and won’t perform that for which he was purchased. He gets the idea for he and his Indian girl friend to show the bull what to do! They didn’t use this song in the movie, perhaps today they might? Another fun write was “The Chicken Scratch”. Lots of laughter in the studio when I was trying to make the guitar sound like a chicken.

Insane: “Yoga Is As Yoga Does” Now how does one go about writing a song around that title? I thought that this scripted nonsense has to be a joke. It turned out to be the absolute worst Song I ever heard! This crazy composition was used in the “Easy Come Easy Go” movie along with two others that are on this CD, “Sing You Children” and “The Love Machine”. There were four songs in this movie. I wrote three of them. The best song of the four that I submitted was “Easy Come, Easy Go”, they didn’t use that one. Go figure.

The Elvis movie producers passed on a song “Lazy Love Affair”, for which film I forget. But the demo recording that you can hear on this CD, was later used in two movies: Miami Blue and Caged Fear.

He recorded “If I Were You” and put it in the “Love Letters” album. Oddly enough this song, even today, gets quite a bit of airplay and sales around the world. It’s the only non-movie song of mine that was ever submitted to him.

For those of you who like “tid-bits” here is an interesting one for you. A contemporary standard, “Tragedy”, was written by Fred Burch and me. The song has sold millions and millions of records and has been recorded by 20-25 different artists over the years. We wrote the song for Elvis!

Chet Atkins was Elvis’s producer at RCA at the time and I sent it to Chet for Elvis. Chet passed on the song. Years later Chet told me that he “missed on that one, but that he would make it up to me” He did. He recorded it in years to come by Charlie Rich, Floyd Cramer, and the Anita Kerr Singers. I didn’t include it in this collection because Paul McCartney later purchased the publishing, you know that Beatle boy, and it is too much trouble to get a license for use in a little project like this.

I hope you get some fun out of listening to some of this stuff.

Gerald Nelson



http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/geraldnelson



How fascinating is the fact he intended "Tragedy," a top 5 hit in 1959, for Elvis?


phpBB [video]



"Tragedy" (Fernwood 109, 1959)


Image

Billboard - Mar 30, 1959
"Tragedy" reaches the top 5 for the first of three weeks in a row


Well, the ballad ended up being cut by Memphis artist Thomas Wayne.
He was the brother of Luther Perkins, Johnny Cash’s lead guitarist.


Image

Thomas Wayne, 1959

Image

"Tragedy" (Fernwood 109, 1959)


Look closely at that label, it was produced by ... Scotty Moore!

So many connections! It's a small world, after all.

Heck, I might even pick up this CD!

Enjoy.


Doc, great!. I enjoyed this topic very much 8). I´ve just placed an order for this cd :wink: , as I am always interested on demos that were used by Elvis. Thank you. Bye for now :smt006.

Mike Windgren.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 5:07 am

Mike Windgren wrote:Doc, great!. I enjoyed this topic very much 8). I´ve just placed an order for this cd :wink: , as I am always interested on demos that were used by Elvis. Thank you.

Cool.

Make sure you tell Gerald the DOC sent you!

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 7:40 am

What is interesting is that there is another "Dominique" song out there that was not as good as the one used.

Same goes for "Easy come easy go". Makes you wonder how bad they were.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 8:00 am

ekenee wrote:What is interesting is that there is another "Dominique" song out there that was not as good as the one used.

Same goes for "Easy come easy go". Makes you wonder how bad they were.


Well I have downloaded the abum. It is really a toss up which versions are better....hobsons choce.

One stood out for me "Clambake"............. has a more interesting lyric and could have been a good choice

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 12:09 pm

Good topic, there must be so many other stories like this. Possible hits that got away from Elvis. That album by the way is on iTunes to download, or you can go there and listen to the 30 second previews of each track. Interesting stuff.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 1:00 pm

Hers a link to the song samples
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/ ... ald-nelson

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 7:05 pm

Nelson has a nice voice, but -- oh, Lord -- those songs are horrid.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 7:58 pm

great post i enjoyed it very much.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Wed May 12, 2010 8:05 pm

keninlincs wrote:Hers a link to the song samples
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/ ... ald-nelson




cheers for the link ken,i liked the song Dancing Out of My Life.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Thu May 13, 2010 3:12 am

Hi there!! :D :D :D

Stop press!.

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

USPS

(1) Gerald Nelson: Songs I Wrote for Elvis


Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, May 12, 2010.
We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Sigh...
We miss you already. We'll be right here at http://cdbaby.com/, patiently awaiting your return.
--
CD Baby
The little store with the best new independent music.
http://cdbaby.com cdbaby@cdbaby.com (503)595-3000

smt174. Bye for now :smt006.

Mike Windgren.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Thu May 13, 2010 8:33 am

rocknroller wrote:
keninlincs wrote:Hers a link to the song samples
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/ ... ald-nelson




cheers for the link ken,i liked the song Dancing Out of My Life.
Cheers Pat
i quite liked the version of Yoga is as yoga does on the cd

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Thu May 13, 2010 9:12 am

keninlincs wrote:
rocknroller wrote:
keninlincs wrote:Hers a link to the song samples
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/ ... ald-nelson




cheers for the link ken,i liked the song Dancing Out of My Life.
Cheers Pat
i quite liked the version of Yoga is as yoga does on the cd


Agree

Makes more sense with the female intro.

Re: Meet Gerald Nelson, Mysterious Elvis Songwriter

Thu May 13, 2010 11:03 am

KiwiAlan wrote:
keninlincs wrote:
rocknroller wrote:
keninlincs wrote:Hers a link to the song samples
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/ ... ald-nelson




cheers for the link ken,i liked the song Dancing Out of My Life.
Cheers Pat
i quite liked the version of Yoga is as yoga does on the cd


Agree

Makes more sense with the female intro.
yes it definately does