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Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:52 am

midnightx wrote:I very much enjoy some of the performances


Really, which performances from 1971 would that be?

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:42 am

Elvis' voice definitely sounded weaker, less controlled and with a nasal touch. Besides that, he seemed to care a lot less than he had done the year before. More often than not he had the musicians just copy the arrangements of the demos instead of working something out himself. He didn't even care for singing off-key (just listen to "It's only love"). I truely believe it has something to do with drugs.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:51 pm

A. C. van Kuijk wrote:Elvis' voice definitely sounded weaker, less controlled and with a nasal touch. Besides that, he seemed to care a lot less than he had done the year before. More often than not he had the musicians just copy the arrangements of the demos instead of working something out himself. He didn't even care for singing off-key (just listen to "It's only love"). I truely believe it has something to do with drugs.


And yet here comes Lead Me Guide Me and others and his singing is excellent


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Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:09 pm

There some songs where he sounds very good, commited and focused. But compared to the sessions of 1970 it was a huge letdown. :(

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:37 pm

A. C. van Kuijk wrote:There some songs where he sounds very good, commited and focused. But compared to the sessions of 1970 it was a huge letdown. :(


I also detect a change in his speaking voice. In 1971, it seemed to get heavier, slower, more breathy and sometimes slurred. Certainly not as sharp & quick as it was the previous year.
Last edited by r&b on Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:43 pm

frus75 wrote:
A. C. van Kuijk wrote:Elvis' voice definitely sounded weaker, less controlled and with a nasal touch. Besides that, he seemed to care a lot less than he had done the year before. More often than not he had the musicians just copy the arrangements of the demos instead of working something out himself. He didn't even care for singing off-key (just listen to "It's only love"). I truely believe it has something to do with drugs.


And yet here comes Lead Me Guide Me and others and his singing is excellent


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Yes and there are plenty of other examples of beautiful music form Elvis in 1971. Unfortunately, a lot of what he did lacked the "feel" of his earlier records. Several reasons included, a poor opening season at the Hilton with Elvis plagued by the flu, forcing him to cut short shows and give below par performances. Whilst he at least managed to complete the engagement it must have been a professional disappointment to him after so many highlights in the previous 3 years. More misery... imagine the World's greatest entertainer yet again being coerced into recording music he didn't want to... it was what his manager and RCA wanted... very sad and recording that Christmas album must have hurt him. Add to that that his marriage was beginning to fall apart and so it was that from 1971, the only music that Elvis felt comfortable recording was stuff that meant something to him personally or that he felt challenged by.
The above disappointments combined with little or no artistic direction or encouragement from Parker were all the excuse Elvis needed to increase his use of Amphetamines and Barbiturates.
Imo the vocal changes that are particularly noticeable around this time were probably due to him tackling a miriad of styles and him not being quite sure what to do with a given song, all of which made different demands on his voice. In some cases apathy also played a part. These rather than any general physical deterioration. Maybe Elvis wasn't sure which direction to take his voice because clearly he was out of his comfort zone on occasion. The "breathy" singing that was to become more the norm from 1975 onward was probably to do with a heart struggling to cope, causing respiratory symptoms.


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Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:52 pm

Julian Grant wrote:
midnightx wrote:I very much enjoy some of the performances


Really, which performances from 1971 would that be?

Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees
I'll Be Home On Christmas Day
Merry Christmas Baby
I, John
Early Mornin' Rain
Fools Rush In
I Shall Be Released (fragment)
I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
I Will Be True
It's Still Here

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:12 pm

In my opinion, his best 1971 studio recordings are:

Early Mornin' Rain
(That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me
Holly Leaves & Christmas Trees
I'll Be Home On Christmas Day
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Help Me Make It Through The Night
Until It's Time For You To Go
It's Still Here
I Will Be True
I'm Leavin'

I also really like his vocals on the fragmented Lady Madonna and I Shall Be Released

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:29 pm

Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:You can listen to Tom Jones in 1964 and 1984 and he sounds the same. Same goes for Paul McCartney, Cliffy and several others. Elvis just seemed to change his vocal range more than he changed his "Stamps" line-ups!!!


Oddly enough I've noticed a distinct and to my ears definite change in Tom Jones' vocal beginning in or around 1971. From this year on he loses the wonderful subtlety he had in his voice (though not always employed!) throughout the 60's. I'm convinced he had his nodules worked on in the early seventies as I can't think what else could cause such a drastic change in a singer's voice. Jonesy still had the power ad the range but something happened tonally that meant he was never the same singer again. He turned into an exclusive belter who became increasingly nasal over the years. Still fantastic, just not quite as fantastic. I love Elvis' voice right up to the breathless end though I think your observations year by year are spot on. If I put the ol' Ipod on shuffle and random Elvis live tracks come on it's I don't tend to find myself mistaking a 1975 track for a '72 or even a 73/74 concert - and it's not because of the sound quality or the choice of track. The voice changed a lot in just a few years.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:52 pm

stevelecher wrote:1970 was Elvis' vocal peak if we forget about 1954 - 1964. :D


Totally agree, and I would even narrow it down to March 1960-February 1964. I think this was an era when Elvis' voice was at its peak and his commitment to making excellent recordings matched his talent.

Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:I've never known a singer display so many noticeable changes in his vocals from year to year.


SLGM, I enjoyed your analysis of Elvis' singing voice during the 70s. You also talked about Elvis developing a grittier voice for the 1968 special. I think the genesis of Elvis' "new" vocal style started with the May 1966 "How Great Thou Art" session and continued through the "Guitar Man" sessions in September 1967. The June 1968 recordings show a great deal of power and raw emotion, and this continued into the American Sound sessions in 1969.

I really think that touring throughout the 70s put a lot of strain on his voice. When that was coupled with his erratic behavior and generally decreasing motivation in the 70s, his voice and his talent were largely squandered.

It did seem that, with occasional rest periods, Elvis was able to pull things together and record some quality vocals. I think the 1975 "Today" sessions were an example of that. While the album may be maligned by some, I always thought that it was a pretty solid contemporary country album in 1975 (Not rock and roll, I know...)

Perhaps if Elvis had not faced constant financial pressure through his own excesses and lack of ambitious management by Col Parker, he would have been able to tour less, rest a little more, and produce a more consistent product in the recording studio in the 70s. Perhaps he might have even lived a few years more...

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:35 pm

It's the variety in his voice over the years that makes Elvis songs sound different enough not to get boring. I do like many of the laid-back 71 recordings but there's a general tendency towards "easy listening". I don't believe that his vocal change can be reduced to the apparent drug-abuse but rather trying out new styles. The way he reaches back in his throat indcates that Elvis tried to put more maturity into his voice, reaching the deeper notes (and not necessarily managing completely). Also, one needs to look at the contemporary side, as had been mentioned earlier (Bob Dylan). He certainly was very much aware of popular music, otherwise he wouldn't have done Olivia Newton-John songs or Moody Blue.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:57 pm

stevelecher wrote:Elvis' vocals on I Shall Be Released and I'll Be Home On Christmas Day are a different approach for him. I've always thought he was not in great voice for these session, but these vocals are clearly an attempt by him for a different sound. Is it a folk sound?

I like the "Released" bit, but it is not a fully realized record. Does "I'll Be Home" work and do you think Elvis achieved what he wanted? They kept trying on the song so he must not have been fully satisfied. It is this sound he seems to go for on I'm Leavin' and the piano songs too. Was it the folk phase people say he was into?


There's a bit of Kristofferson in some of those vocals. Remember, Kris was hot as a pistol starting in 1971.

As for the inconsistent quality of Elvis' voice in 1971, it is evident that the hundreds of Vegas shows were taking their toll. By the time of the May 1971 sessions he had logged four month-long, back-breaking seasons at the International Hotel, plus tours between February and November 1970. And, along with this work, came a ramping-up of prescription intake, due to personal and professional pressures.

RCA engineers noticed the problems with Elvis' vocals, and some unorthodox mastering techniques were quietly employed to make him sound better on album releases like He Touched Me. This should have been a "red flag" for management, but they couldn't be bothered, as long as enough masters were put to tape.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:25 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
stevelecher wrote:Elvis' vocals on I Shall Be Released and I'll Be Home On Christmas Day are a different approach for him. I've always thought he was not in great voice for these session, but these vocals are clearly an attempt by him for a different sound. Is it a folk sound?

I like the "Released" bit, but it is not a fully realized record. Does "I'll Be Home" work and do you think Elvis achieved what he wanted? They kept trying on the song so he must not have been fully satisfied. It is this sound he seems to go for on I'm Leavin' and the piano songs too. Was it the folk phase people say he was into?


There's a bit of Kristofferson in some of those vocals. Remember, Kris was hot as a pistol starting in 1971.

As for the inconsistent quality of Elvis' voice in 1971, it is evident that the hundreds of Vegas shows were taking their toll. By the time of the May 1971 sessions he had logged four month-long, back-breaking seasons at the International Hotel, plus tours between February and November 1970. And, along with this work, came a ramping-up of prescription intake, due to personal and professional pressures.

RCA engineers noticed the problems with Elvis' vocals, and some unorthodox mastering techniques were quietly employed to make him sound better on album releases like He Touched Me. This should have been a "red flag" for management, but they couldn't be bothered, as long as enough masters were put to tape.
Especially in "Help Me Make It Through The Night". :wink:

All kidding aside, Kris' voice was never a beauty but I LOVE it as much I love his musical legacy. There were some voice changes in 1973/74 when he started singing with Rita Coolidge. He sang "better" but his voice then lacked vulnerability and the "dejectedness" as found on his first four (solo-)albums.

Otherwise I'd like to think of something my mother once told me about Elvis' voice growing weker: "Too much singing and stress was taking his toll. No one could keep up with that."
Well, at least not with the life-style of an Elvis Presley.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:30 pm

Lohmax wrote:It's the variety in his voice over the years that makes Elvis songs sound different enough not to get boring. I do like many of the laid-back 71 recordings but there's a general tendency towards "easy listening". I don't believe that his vocal change can be reduced to the apparent drug-abuse but rather trying out new styles. The way he reaches back in his throat indcates that Elvis tried to put more maturity into his voice, reaching the deeper notes (and not necessarily managing completely).


You just said exactly what my thoughts are too.......I couldn`t have put it any better.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:34 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
RCA engineers noticed the problems with Elvis' vocals, and some unorthodox mastering techniques were quietly employed to make him sound better on album releases like He Touched Me. This should have been a "red flag" for management, but they couldn't be bothered, as long as enough masters were put to tape.


I hadn't heard anything about this before Doc, do you have any more info on it? The idea of "what the engineers heard" isn't one that occurred to me before but it's potentially a fascinating perspective. They could be more forensic about what they were hearing in the studio compared to Elvis or the musicians who would have been concentrating on the music or the feel of a song. I'd like to hear more from those guys.

I wonder if anyone (management or Elvis) put much thought into how months of touring the country and weeks of dry Vegas air may have affected the quality of his voice. I'm sure Elvis must have at least (I vocalise every day..)

Re: 1971 Vocals

Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:31 am

elmonstro wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
RCA engineers noticed the problems with Elvis' vocals, and some unorthodox mastering techniques were quietly employed to make him sound better on album releases like He Touched Me. This should have been a "red flag" for management, but they couldn't be bothered, as long as enough masters were put to tape.


I hadn't heard anything about this before Doc, do you have any more info on it? The idea of "what the engineers heard" isn't one that occurred to me before but it's potentially a fascinating perspective. They could be more forensic about what they were hearing in the studio compared to Elvis or the musicians who would have been concentrating on the music or the feel of a song. I'd like to hear more from those guys.

I wonder if anyone (management or Elvis) put much thought into how months of touring the country and weeks of dry Vegas air may have affected the quality of his voice. I'm sure Elvis must have at least (I vocalise every day..)


The information comes from a private source.

And I seriously doubt management cared a whit about Elvis' voice. Just as long as he showed up and gave the people a show, they were satisfied.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:31 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:And I seriously doubt management cared a whit about Elvis' voice. Just as long as he showed up and gave the people a show, they were satisfied.


I think that is a pretty accurate assessment.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:51 pm

elvis-fan wrote:
James27 wrote:The more masculine, deeper voice with more power could be due to testosterone injections.

That's a first for me... I was not aware that Elvis Presley was getting testosterone injections...

Didn't know that, either...

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:44 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
stevelecher wrote:Elvis' vocals on I Shall Be Released and I'll Be Home On Christmas Day are a different approach for him. I've always thought he was not in great voice for these session, but these vocals are clearly an attempt by him for a different sound. Is it a folk sound?

I like the "Released" bit, but it is not a fully realized record. Does "I'll Be Home" work and do you think Elvis achieved what he wanted? They kept trying on the song so he must not have been fully satisfied. It is this sound he seems to go for on I'm Leavin' and the piano songs too. Was it the folk phase people say he was into?


There's a bit of Kristofferson in some of those vocals. Remember, Kris was hot as a pistol starting in 1971.

As for the inconsistent quality of Elvis' voice in 1971, it is evident that the hundreds of Vegas shows were taking their toll. By the time of the May 1971 sessions he had logged four month-long, back-breaking seasons at the International Hotel, plus tours between February and November 1970. And, along with this work, came a ramping-up of prescription intake, due to personal and professional pressures.

RCA engineers noticed the problems with Elvis' vocals, and some unorthodox mastering techniques were quietly employed to make him sound better on album releases like He Touched Me. This should have been a "red flag" for management, but they couldn't be bothered, as long as enough masters were put to tape.


Terrific and fair post Doc. Just watching the August 12th-1970 dinner show last night on youtube, got me thinking about the killer performance he was to do later on that night and the toll it had to take on his body, especially his voice.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:24 pm

I wonder if Elvis ever considered how smoking and drugs affected his voice?

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:00 pm

JimmyCool wrote:
elvis-fan wrote:
James27 wrote:The more masculine, deeper voice with more power could be due to testosterone injections.

That's a first for me... I was not aware that Elvis Presley was getting testosterone injections...

Didn't know that, either...


Those came later, circa 1976-77.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:21 pm

It's also worth remembering that sometimes people just have a phase when they're not in good voice. It happens. We can surmise that Elvis was on this or that drug etc, but the likelihood is that it was a mix of tiredness, boredom and the simply fact he wanted to be anywhere but in the recording studio. When a song excited him in some way, then the vocals are reasonably good, and had they all been of that quality at these sessions then we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Even from the very beginning, Elvis's voice changed on an almost bi-annual basis. The vocal tone in 1954 wasn't all that similar to the tone in 1956. The tone and edge in 1960 took a back seat by 1961 where his voice was much sweeter and smoother. By 1963 it was in transition again, and from late 1964 through 1965 we have that "thick quality". Then it matures and deepens in 1966, gets raucous in 1968, gets more powerful in 1970, and so on.

It's just the way Elvis's voice was. If you listened to Sinatra recordings from 1954 and 1964 you would know it was the same singer. Listen to Elvis from those two years, and you'd think they were two different singers. The voice used on I Love You Because sounds nothing like the one on It Hurts Me.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:42 pm

poormadpeter wrote:It's also worth remembering that sometimes people just have a phase when they're not in good voice. It happens. We can surmise that Elvis was on this or that drug etc, but the likelihood is that it was a mix of tiredness, boredom and the simply fact he wanted to be anywhere but in the recording studio. When a song excited him in some way, then the vocals are reasonably good, and had they all been of that quality at these sessions then we wouldn't be having this conversation.


Yeah, but the drop in the quality of his voice between September 1970 and March 1971 is stunning. The thin, weak vocals go beyond tiredness and boredom. Wasn't Elvis in a pretty impatient mood during the September 1970 recording session? And yet the quality of his voice was still good. And I know he was pretty committed to songs like "I'm Leavin'" and "We Can Make The Morning" but his voice sounds terribly weak. I think he was trying as hard as he could in those songs but he was physically unable to produce a decent vocal. Gone was the pleasing huskiness that Elvis had between 1968-1970. I can only surmise that drugs caused caused the change.

poormadpeter wrote:Even from the very beginning, Elvis's voice changed on an almost bi-annual basis. The vocal tone in 1954 wasn't all that similar to the tone in 1956. The tone and edge in 1960 took a back seat by 1961 where his voice was much sweeter and smoother. By 1963 it was in transition again, and from late 1964 through 1965 we have that "thick quality". Then it matures and deepens in 1966, gets raucous in 1968, gets more powerful in 1970, and so on.

It's just the way Elvis's voice was. If you listened to Sinatra recordings from 1954 and 1964 you would know it was the same singer. Listen to Elvis from those two years, and you'd think they were two different singers. The voice used on I Love You Because sounds nothing like the one on It Hurts Me.


I agree with all of this but nothing compares to what happened between September 1970 and March 1971.
Last edited by InheritTheWind on Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:42 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
elmonstro wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
RCA engineers noticed the problems with Elvis' vocals, and some unorthodox mastering techniques were quietly employed to make him sound better on album releases like He Touched Me. This should have been a "red flag" for management, but they couldn't be bothered, as long as enough masters were put to tape.


I hadn't heard anything about this before Doc, do you have any more info on it? The idea of "what the engineers heard" isn't one that occurred to me before but it's potentially a fascinating perspective. They could be more forensic about what they were hearing in the studio compared to Elvis or the musicians who would have been concentrating on the music or the feel of a song. I'd like to hear more from those guys.

I wonder if anyone (management or Elvis) put much thought into how months of touring the country and weeks of dry Vegas air may have affected the quality of his voice. I'm sure Elvis must have at least (I vocalise every day..)


The information comes from a private source.

And I seriously doubt management cared a whit about Elvis' voice. Just as long as he showed up and gave the people a show, they were satisfied.


This is really interesting information. I always wondered if anyone noticed the change during the session. Now I know!

::rocks

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:53 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
stevelecher wrote:Elvis' vocals on I Shall Be Released and I'll Be Home On Christmas Day are a different approach for him. I've always thought he was not in great voice for these session, but these vocals are clearly an attempt by him for a different sound. Is it a folk sound?

I like the "Released" bit, but it is not a fully realized record. Does "I'll Be Home" work and do you think Elvis achieved what he wanted? They kept trying on the song so he must not have been fully satisfied. It is this sound he seems to go for on I'm Leavin' and the piano songs too. Was it the folk phase people say he was into?


There's a bit of Kristofferson in some of those vocals. Remember, Kris was hot as a pistol starting in 1971.

As for the inconsistent quality of Elvis' voice in 1971, it is evident that the hundreds of Vegas shows were taking their toll. By the time of the May 1971 sessions he had logged four month-long, back-breaking seasons at the International Hotel, plus tours between February and November 1970. And, along with this work, came a ramping-up of prescription intake, due to personal and professional pressures.

RCA engineers noticed the problems with Elvis' vocals, and some unorthodox mastering techniques were quietly employed to make him sound better on album releases like He Touched Me. .

what mastering techniques?