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I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:29 pm

The next one in my TOP 50:

»ELVIS PRESLEY« was the first album I pay for with my own money. The reason was a song that I heard by a friend and that I must have. It was the closing song Money Honey on the second side. This masterpiece was written by Jesse Stone.

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This number was a hit in 1953 for the Drifters and the lead singer Clyde McPhatter. After hearing the artist in his car radio Elvis told Sam Phillips: »You know, if I could sing like that man I’d never want for another thing.« Elvis never stopped worshipping other vocalists in his whole career.

McPhatter’s effect on Elvis is at its most obvious in Elvis’s covers of the songs like Money Honey, White Christmas, Such A Night, Fools Fall In Love and the wonderful Without Love (There Is Nothing).

Elvis sings Money Honey in many of his gigs in 1954/55 and I am very happy that I have some of these live versions in my collection. It was part of his shows on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport on January 22, 1955 and March 5, 1955. Thanks to the set »A Boy From Tupelo« we can listen to his strong performances.

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But as Elvis recorded the song in the RCA Studios in Nashville on January 10, 1956 he have problems with the song. The producer Steve Sholes must splice the master from the takes 5 and 6. Sadly the tapes of the three hour session for the song where recorded over. So FTD can release only a fragment and the incomplete take 10.

In August 1956 RCA released Money Honey as a single together with six other singles at the same time. This silly thing kills a place in the TOP 100 for all of them. But the singles sold 100.000 copies each and that is not bad I think.

The absolutely highlight of the song is Elvis’s performance on the Stage Show in New York. I find it so great how Elvis works with his guitar so that the sound of his instrument can be heard over the micro. After that he performed it very often on tour in the 1956. It is great that I have him doing the song on stage in Las Vegas on May 6, 1956 with a fantastic intro. I must play it over and over again. Wonderful!

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The next great version I have is from the Robinson Memorial Auditorium in Little Rock, Arkansas. This gig from May 16, 1956 is a real winner. Elvis at his best! Sadly he do not perform it on his historic performances in the Tupelo Fairgrounds on September 1956. And there is no version on his last Hayride gig from December 15, 1956.

Elvis comes back to the song in a rehearsal from July 29, 1970 in the MGM Studios in Culver City. I don’t know any live version after the 50’s but I think the glory of the song belongs to the time as Elvis was the King of Rock’n’Roll.

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Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:45 pm

Beautiful Topic Winston!

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:09 pm

Winston wrote:The next one in my TOP 50:

»ELVIS PRESLEY« was the first album I pay for with my own money. The reason was a song that I heard by a friend and that I must have. It was the closing song Money Honey on the second side. This masterpiece was written by Jesse Stone.

phpBB [video]


This number was a hit in 1953 for the Drifters and the lead singer Clyde McPhatter. After hearing the artist in his car radio Elvis told Sam Phillips: »You know, if I could sing like that man I’d never want for another thing.« Elvis never stopped worshipping other vocalists in his whole career.

McPhatter’s effect on Elvis is at its most obvious in Elvis’s covers of the songs like Money Honey, White Christmas, Such A Night, Fools Fall In Love and the wonderful Without Love (There Is Nothing).

Elvis sings Money Honey in many of his gigs in 1954/55 and I am very happy that I have some of these live versions in my collection. It was part of his shows on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport on January 22, 1955 and March 5, 1955. Thanks to the set »A Boy From Tupelo« we can listen to his strong performances.

phpBB [video]


But as Elvis recorded the song in the RCA Studios in Nashville on January 10, 1956 he have problems with the song. The producer Steve Sholes must splice the master from the takes 5 and 6. Sadly the tapes of the three hour session for the song where recorded over. So FTD can release only a fragment and the incomplete take 10.

In August 1956 RCA released Money Honey as a single together with six other singles at the same time. This silly thing kills a place in the TOP 100 for all of them. But the singles sold 100.000 copies each and that is not bad I think.

The absolutely highlight of the song is Elvis’s performance on the Stage Show in New York. I find it so great how Elvis works with his guitar so that the sound of his instrument can be heard over the micro. After that he performed it very often on tour in the 1956. It is great that I have him doing the song on stage in Las Vegas on May 6, 1956 with a fantastic intro. I must play it over and over again. Wonderful!

phpBB [video]


The next great version I have is from the Robinson Memorial Auditorium in Little Rock, Arkansas. This gig from May 16, 1956 is a real winner. Elvis at his best! Sadly he do not perform it on his historic performances in the Tupelo Fairgrounds on September 1956. And there is no version on his last Hayride gig from December 15, 1956.

Elvis comes back to the song in a rehearsal from July 29, 1970 in the MGM Studios in Culver City. I don’t know any live version after the 50’s but I think the glory of the song belongs to the time as Elvis was the King of Rock’n’Roll.

phpBB [video]



Very nice indeed.

Elvis' cover of "Money Honey" is a lot different from the Drifters wonderful 1953 R&B single, and Scotty Moore's tough guitar riffs are one reason why. Elvis sings with power, authority and freedom. It's 100% rock 'n' roll.


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Elvis Presley "Money Honey" (RCA 6641, August 1956)

The main reason Elvis included "Money Honey" on his final "Stage Show" appearance on March 24 was because he did not want to reprise "Blue Suede Shows" from the week before. Carl Perkins and his band had been in a terrible car crash a few days prior, knocking them out of their own New York appearance on NBC-TV's "The Perry Como Show." Doing Carl's hit single would have been very bad PR.

Elvis sent Carl a telegram on March 23 and his band also visited the hospital that same day, en route to New York:


560323_Elvis telegram to Carl Perkins.JPG


You might be surprised to learn that well before its appearance on a single in August 1956, Presley's "Money Honey" was such an in-demand track upon the LP's release in March that many DJs took listener requests and spun it off the album as if it was a 45!

RCA promptly included "Money Honey" on an EP they released in April.


560400_RCA EPA-821_Presley.jpg
Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel EP (EPA-821, April 1956)


But there's more. Elvis' remarkable Drifters cover inspired one of the great singles in rock history.

Beyond live concerts or TV shows, U.S. radio playing the LP version of "Money Honey" is likely how Virginia rocker Gene Vincent got acquainted with Elvis' version, as he soon wrote and recorded the classic "Be-Bop-A-Lula," a direct homage of the Presley cut.

Gene's April 9 demo was taped at WCMS Radio in Norfolk, about two weeks after Elvis sang it on CBS-TV's "Stage Show" (March 24). Vincent possibly saw Elvis sing the song in person, at the Mosque Theater shows in Richmond on March 22, or the Norfolk gigs Elvis gave on February 12.

The date Vincent and his Blue Caps cut their tune? May 4, 1956. One listen and anyone may note that Vincent's record is unquestionably based on "Money Honey," Elvis' RCA recording of the Drifters R&B hit, from the halting intro, through the vocal style and the Scotty Moore-inspired solo by the amazing Cliff Gallup. Supposedly, Elvis' mother Gladys later complimented her son on his great new single!

And it is the exact song Vincent was referring to when he bumped into Presley in New York, on Tuesday, July 3, 1956.

I met Gene in New York, I, uh, I met him last week. He was in the train station up there. I was going to New York, I mean, from New York to Memphis. And Gene Vincent was in the train station. Uh, I didn't know who he was, one of the boys in my band knew him, and I walked over and introduced myself to him. And, uh, it was the first time I had seen him. He had seen me on shows, but he had never, I had never met him.

And, uh, I told him, I said "Gene," I said, "Congratulations on your record." I said "You really got a hit." And right immediately, the first thing he said was "Well, I wasn't trying to copy you." He said, "I wasn't trying to sound like you." I mean, just right off of the bat he said that, without even being asked. I told him, I said "Oh, I know that, it's just your natural style (laughs)."

Jim Steward interview, New Orleans, LA - Tuesday, July 10, 1956




560500_Capital F3450_Vincent.jpg

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Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (Capital F3450, June 1956)
Billboard US Pop #7, July 28, 1956.
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:27 pm

"It's your natural style" cracks me up. Funny line.

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:51 pm

Thanks for the great info to my post doc. ::rocks

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:50 pm

Hey man, that was the same first album I bought as well.

I had other family members have his records but this was the first one I went out and bought and
at the time I had no idea it was his first album.

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:17 pm

Winston wrote:Thanks for the great info to my post doc. ::rocks


Thank YOU for the inspiration. I love these kind of topics -- everyone wins!

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:53 pm

Great topic!
The song is an absolute classic and Elvis'cover is the ultimate for me. When you think about it, Elvis' first session for RCA was incredible: I got a woman, heartbreak hotel and money honey in the same session. Just impressive!

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:45 am

jeanno wrote:Great topic!
The song is an absolute classic and Elvis'cover is the ultimate for me. When you think about it, Elvis' first session for RCA was incredible: I got a woman, heartbreak hotel and money honey in the same session. Just impressive!


Tuesday, January 10, 1956: not too shabby for a day at the office!

Elvis was 21 years and two days old.

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:17 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Tuesday, January 10, 1956: not too shabby for a day at the office!


Amen to that, brother.

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:51 am

Here is an article that speaks of the DJs playing Elvis' "Money Honey" right off of his debut LP:



04aBillboardMay51956p19.jpg
Billboard - May 5, 1956
Note: Elvis Presley (RCA Victor LPM-1254) hit #1 on the charts this week.



When you're hot, you're hot.
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Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:59 am

Thanks for this topic and the wonderful contributions.

I have to admit "Money Honey" was never a favourite of mine and quite a while back I put together a custom-made oldies compilation where I featured the Drifters' original version. I skip it every time.

The one I like best is Elvis' live version from Las Vegas, May 1956. Just listen to that extended intro. Boy, the audience must have been confused!

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:16 am

Great song,Great topic,thanks contributers

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:55 pm

Elvis version of Money Honey is brilliant. Absolutely classic performance. Can't say I care much for The Drifters version though.

Thanks for a great topic Winston and thanks for a nice contribution Doc.

Re: I let it ring for a long, long spell!

Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:17 pm

Marko wrote:Elvis version of Money Honey is brilliant. Absolutely classic performance. Can't say I care much for The Drifters version though.

Thanks for a great topic Winston and thanks for a nice contribution Doc.


Thanks. This is what it's all about!

::rocks