"Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

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"Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

For years, spring 1957 news reports of Elvis Presley singing an unrecorded tune called "Butterfly" in his live show were written off as a "reporter's mistake."

570403_Winnepeg Free Press p1.JPG
Winnipeg Free Press, April 3, 1957


Surely, Elvis wasn't throwing a single by newcomer rockabilly Charlie Gracie into his Toronto performances on April 2nd?

Gracie made a national TV appearance promoting his new hit single just three weeks before, on a very familiar program:


..

Charlie Gracie "Butterfly" ("The Ed Sullivan Show," Sunday, March 10, 1957)


Anyway, surely the media misheard Presley, who was really offering up his new single, "All Shook Up," which ends a key line with the rhyming noun "buttercup"? Right?

Well, maybe they didn't mishear after all.

As early as February 1957, "Butterfly" was getting a strong reaction, earning consecutive-week mentions in Billboard.

BillboardFeb21957p48.jpg
Billboard - February 2, 1957

BillboardFeb91957p46.jpg
Billboard - February 9, 1957


But ... could Elvis have really decided to sing Gracie's hit tune?

And, if so, why?

Well, at Presley's Toronto shows on April 2, he ALSO threw in a performance of the recorded-but-not-yet-issued "One Night," a storming rock 'n' roll cover of Smiley Lewis' top twenty r&b hit from the year before. Amazingly, RCA would not release the Presley recording until much later, in October 1958.

So perhaps Elvis was in a somewhat "loose" frame of mind regarding his live show. The song "Butterfly" is a easy, breezy rocker that could be picked up by the band and Jordanaires in a heartbeat.

And the Cameo single by Gracie was on the radio all the time, not the least of which was due to a battle with a competing pop cover by Andy Williams on the Cadence label.


..

Charlie Gracie "Butterfly" (Cameo 105, February 1957)



"Butterfly" stormed up the charts, hitting #1 on March 30th, just days before Elvis' Toronto gigs..

BillboardMar301957p70.jpg
Billboard - March 30, 1957


Sadly, Andy's competing cover made it to the top, and would be the biggest hit of his career. Charlie's single got as far as #8.


Perhaps the clincher to this saga was recently uncovering the fact that "Butterfly" was firmly in the Hill and Range publishers stable.

RestlessGiant2010.jpg
Bar Biszick Lockwood, Restless Giant (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2010)
http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/44bfy9fe9780252035074.html


Jean and Julian Aberbach built Hill and Range Songs, and became one of music history's most powerful popular music publishers. And Presley shared ownership with the Aberbachs in two music publishing companies.

1957 music trade ads at the time touted the connection.

BillboardApr271957p19.jpg
Billboard - April 27, 1957



All we need now is a concert tape recording to prove beyond all doubt that Elvis sang "Butterfly."

Anyone out there got one?


EPTorontoApr21957AS.jpg
On stage in Toronto, First Show - April 2, 1957



Ironically, guess which 45 knocked "Butterfly" out of the #1 position?

"All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley.
8)

BillboardApr201957p46.jpg
Billboard - April 20, 1957
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:33 am, edited 5 times in total.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by Mister Mike »

I used to have a tape of Elvis singing "Butterfly" but I recorded his version of "Feelings" over it. Sorry. :oops:


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by TJ »

Nice post. When you think about it, it makes little sense that a reporter would call "All Shook Up" by that name. It's just not where the brain goes when hearing the song.

With Elvis doing so many shows in the 50s and us hearing so few, there must have been some real gems lost for all time. Perhaps we can add "Butterfly" to the list, along with the likes of "Only You."


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

TJ wrote:Nice post. When you think about it, it makes little sense that a reporter would call "All Shook Up" by that name. It's just not where the brain goes when hearing the song.

With Elvis doing so many shows in the 50s and us hearing so few, there must have been some real gems lost for all time. Perhaps we can add "Butterfly" to the list, along with the likes of "Only You."
Thanks.

Maybe they're not lost, perhaps they're just waiting to be found.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by Deke Rivers II »

Very interesting Doc...let's hope someone answers the call!



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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by ekenee »

I don't think it was ever a mystery. I never doubted this story, only because i have heard the song, and
it does sound like an Elvis Presley type song. I can imagine him singing this tune.

Finding a tape will be quite a chore though.

It will probably go down the same history as the "Fools hall of fame" song.

Both songs not released by Elvis.
Both songs only known to have been performed once.
Both songs only to have been performed in Canada.

I do think, "Buttercup" was mistakenly titled for "All shook up" though. That makes sense.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by Rock Legend »

Excellent post, thank you!


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by YDKM »

8) yup again excellent post and references!~ :D


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by mrbthebarber »

Well I can sadly add no more regards Elvis performing the great Charlie Gracie's hit ( which also reached no. 12 here in the UK ) but I can add this clip I filmed of Charlie singing "Butterfly" just two months ago! Still performing BRILLIANTLY & a true gent. George Harrison loved him, Paul McCartney recorded one of his tracks ( "Fabulous" I think ) etc etc. Still in great demand at Rock n Roll festivals all over the world & still cutting it!!

..

Enjoy.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by KiwiAlan »

Where is the mystery.

Most fans have known this for years and years


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by Steve Morse »

"As early as February 1957, "Buttercup" was getting a strong reaction, earning consecutive-week mentions in Billboard."

Doc, should that word not be "Butterfly", or should not the sentence also include that title ? That's a genuine question, not a criticism, as all the subsequent cuttings seem to relate to the real song.

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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Yes, "Butterfly" only got typed 8 times in the original post instead of 9.

Hope you got something out of my effort. Thanks.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by KiwiAlan »

Doc, with your very informative Billboard stories could you please post what they were writing in the few weeks after Elvis' death.

In particular comments about sales.

Thank you in advance


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by 3577 »

KiwiAlan wrote:Doc, with your very informative Billboard stories could you please post what they were writing in the few weeks after Elvis' death.

In particular comments about sales.

Thank you in advance

It's easy. Google books. Everyone can do it.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man »

Nice research Doctor. Thank ya!


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by KiwiAlan »

3577 wrote:
KiwiAlan wrote:Doc, with your very informative Billboard stories could you please post what they were writing in the few weeks after Elvis' death.

In particular comments about sales.

Thank you in advance

It's easy. Google books. Everyone can do it.

I bet the Doc can't do it! :D


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by hollandgroupc2008 »

Very interesting. Thanks. Now only to find a live version! If I had to choose tho, I'd still rather hear Only You. That's like a holy grail for me. Hasn't it been confirmed that one exists?


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by Bodie »

I enjoyed reading that and appreciated the Doc posting this, even if some didnt.

Thanks.



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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by Juan Luis »

Bodie wrote:I enjoyed reading that and appreciated the Doc posting this, even if some didnt.

Thanks.
+1.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by bajo »

Keep'em coming Doc! I sure like stuff like this! Names like Buddy Knox, Ray Smith, a.o. ring bells since I ruined my brothers record collections by those artists! I actually played them to death! (Ray Smith sure was something special)


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by Frankie Teardrop »

Juan Luis wrote:
Bodie wrote:I enjoyed reading that and appreciated the Doc posting this, even if some didnt.

Thanks.
+1.

+ 2.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by acmeruya »

Interesting post, Doc. Thanks.

Phil


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by KiwiAlan »

I would say it's beyond doubt that there was an intention for Elvis Presley to record Butterfly. There can be no other explanation for Aberbach to acquire publishing for Elvis Presley Music.

I would also suggest that the recording date was likely to at the Hound Dog sessions. Reasoning being that this recording session was to provide singles and unusually only three sides were put down due to the time spent on Hoound Dog.


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

hollandgroupc2008 wrote:Very interesting. Thanks. Now only to find a live version! If I had to choose tho, I'd still rather hear Only You. That's like a holy grail for me. Hasn't it been confirmed that one exists?
IIRC, the answer to that is yes.

Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:Nice research Doctor. Thank ya!
Bodie wrote:I enjoyed reading that and appreciated the Doc posting this, even if some didnt.

Thanks.
Juan Luis wrote:+1.
Frankie Teardrop wrote:+ 2.
bajo wrote:Keep'em coming Doc! I sure like stuff like this! Names like Buddy Knox, Ray Smith, a.o. ring bells since I ruined my brothers record collections by those artists! I actually played them to death! (Ray Smith sure was something special)
acmeruya wrote:Interesting post, Doc. Thanks.

Phil
Thank you all for the very kind words.

These topics are created by me to be savored ... and discussed!

KiwiAlan wrote:I would say it's beyond doubt that there was an intention for Elvis Presley to record Butterfly. There can be no other explanation for Aberbach to acquire publishing for Elvis Presley Music.

I would also suggest that the recording date was likely to at the Hound Dog sessions. Reasoning being that this recording session was to provide singles and unusually only three sides were put down due to the time spent on Hoound Dog.
You are mistaken on both counts.

Charlie Gracie cut "Butterfly" on Dec 30, 1956 at Reco-Art Sound Recording Studios in Philadelphia, under the specific production of Bernie Lowe.

Note that "Butterfly" was written by Lowe, with Kal Mann, and they would score another 1957 #1 with Elvis, and "Teddy Bear."


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Re: "Butterfly" --> 1957 Live Mystery Song ... Solved ?

Post by KiwiAlan »

KiwiAlan wrote:
I would say it's beyond doubt that there was an intention for Elvis Presley to record Butterfly. There can be no other explanation for Aberbach to acquire publishing for Elvis Presley Music.

I would also suggest that the recording date was likely to at the Hound Dog sessions. Reasoning being that this recording session was to provide singles and unusually only three sides were put down due to the time spent on Hoound Dog.

You are mistaken on both counts.

Charlie Gracie cut "Butterfly" on Dec 30, 1956 at Reco-Art Sound Recording Studios in Philadelphia, under the specific production of Bernie Lowe.

Note that "Butterfly" was written by Lowe, with Kal Mann, and they would score another 1957 #1 with Elvis, and "Teddy Bear."


I fail to see your logic here.

If there was no intention of Elvis recording the number then why would Aberach buy the song and place it under Elvis Presley Music music.

The fact that Grace recorded it in December does not negate it being slated for Elvis at an earlier date.


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