"Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:50 am

In a never-ending quest to learn more about how the Presley magic happened, here is some fascinating information.


47-7810-cover-side1.jpg

Above original sleeve scan courtesy of this magnificent website:
http://www.elvisrecords.us/are-you-lonesome-tonight-i-gotta-know/



Did you know Elvis' #1 hit recording of "Are You Lonesome To-night?" was primarily influenced by a mysterious big band orchestra recording?

A top twenty hit that he heard on the radio when he was 15 years old?

It seems to be a fact!


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Blue Barron and his Orchestra, "Are You Lonesome Tonight" (MGM 10628, February 25, 1950)
Billboard U.S. Pop #19, April 1950
Note: Vocal by Billy Beers and the Blue Notes, narration by D.J. John McCormick



Billboard Feb 25 1950 p35.JPG

Billboard - February 25, 1950

Note: The A-side gets a pretty good review.


50225_Blue Barron Lonesome MGM 10628 BETTER.jpg

Blue Barron and his Orchestra, "Are You Lonesome Tonight" (MGM 10628, February 25, 1950)
A better recording is heard here (less scratchy) --> Blue Barron and his Orchestra, "Are You Lonesome Tonight"


Billboard Jun 03 1950 p19.JPG

Billboard - June 3, 1950
Note: the June MGM ad also includes an Ivory Joe Hunter single, "I Need You So," which Elvis would record for RCA in 1957.


Here is the classic Presley recording, made in April 1960. Listen to the similarities!


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Elvis Presley, "Are You Lonesome To-night?" (RCA 4710, November 1960)

---

More details about the mysterious Blue Barron may be found here:

Blue Barron
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Barron

Big Band Library: Blue Barron: "The Music Business of Yesterday and Today"
http://www.bigbandlibrary.com/bluebarron.html

---

Big thanks to member davide for inspiring this topic.

He pointed out to me that the Blue Barron Orchestra release was the first to use the spoken narration. He found that the Presley recitation did betray some minor differences, such as Elvis replacing "If" with "Honey" at the start of the verse which follows with "you lied when you said you loved me." He also noted how McCormick said "The stage is bare and I'm standing there, In the fog of a broken cloud, and if you won't come back to me, then they can bring the curtain down" while Presley chose to say "Now the stage is bare and I'm standing there, with emptiness all around, and if you won't come back to me, then they can bring the curtain down."

Thanks again, David. All of this and more will be in a new book he is working on about Elvis in April 1960. It will be an essential purchase, I guarantee it.
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:16 am, edited 3 times in total.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:09 am

Where will we be able to buy David's book?

rjm
P.S. Elvis just turned 15 and was in 9th grade. What attracted him about this?

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:28 am

Who altered the text of the song? Was it Elvis himself?
And if you cover a song, there will always be similarities.

For Elvis to like this song, in the 1972 interview with the makers of "Elvis, on Tour", Elvis speaks candidly about liking all kinds of music, from gospel to the Mexican flavored songs, from Mario Lanza to opera, etc. In other words, Elvis liked music. I think it could be anything as long as it registered with him somehow. A very eclectic young man, that Elvis.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:18 am

Once again a great topic Doc!
I have learned something new once again . I never knew that the Blue Barron Orchestra release was the first to use the spoken narration I always thought It was from the 20's version. Very interesting .
I also always have wondered where Elvis' spoken narration in "Thats When Your Heartaches Begin" came from also as I have never heard the original version to that either. (maby a future topic)
"Are You Lonesome To-night" is a song that Elvis sings to perfection in the studio 1960 and inspired by the Colonel IIRC , and will always be a song although a cover by Elvis , will always be known as by Elvis .

A beauitul version was also done by Norah Jones a few years back on a Elvis Tribute Special and it is the best second to Elvis'. And the very best by any female singer ..

phpBB [video]


Made for an American network Elvis Presley tribute - the brainchild of the one and only David Saltz. The idea, as you can see, was relatively simple. Miss Jones would perform the song while all around her the images in the frames slowly changed. This is Version 2 - the one where the nice wide shots in which you would see the slowly changing images This video has been viewed over one million times on Youtube

NOTE:
Listen to the intro from Blue Barron and His Orchestra, "Are You Lonesome To-night?" (MGM 10628, February 25, 1950) and Elvis Presleys "Thats When Your Heartaches Begin" master recorded January 13, 1957 and the intros are almost Identical note for note! - Even more proof to the influence of Blue Barron and His Orchestra!

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:45 am

promiseland wrote:Once again a great topic Doc!
I have learned something new once again . I never knew that the Blue Barron Orchestra release was the first to use the spoken narration I always thought It was from the 20's version. Very interesting .
I also always have wondered where Elvis' spoken narration in "Thats When Your Heartaches Begin" came from also as I have never heard the original version to that either. (maby a future topic)
"Are You Lonesome To-night" is a song that Elvis sings to perfection in the studio 1960 and inspired by the Colonel IIRC , and will always be a song although a cover by Elvis , will always be known as by Elvis .

A beauitul version was also done by Norah Jones a few years back on a Elvis Tribute Special and it is the best second to Elvis'. And the very best by any female singer ..

phpBB [video]


Made for an American network Elvis Presley tribute - the brainchild of the one and only David Saltz. The idea, as you can see, was relatively simple. Miss Jones would perform the song while all around her the images in the frames slowly changed. This is Version 2 - the one where the nice wide shots in which you would see the slowly changing images This video has been viewed over one million times on Youtube

NOTE:
Listen to the intro from Blue Barron and His Orchestra, "Are You Lonesome To-night?" (MGM 10628, February 25, 1950) and Elvis Presleys "Thats When Your Heartaches Begin" master recorded January 13, 1957 and the intros are almost Identical note for note! - Even more proof to the influence of Blue Barron and His Orchestra!


Elvis himself referred to the demo of "Thats when your heartaches begin" in a few 1950's interviews.

It came from the Ink Spots.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:06 am

Great topic...and I also enjoy Jones' version...some of those youtube hits are from my computer!

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:07 am

Fascinating. Notice that the singer on the Blue Barron does not do the narration.

We have always believed that Elvis recorded the song as a favor to Col Tom's wife.

Could it be that Mrs Parker gave her copy of the Blue Barron disc for Elvis to learn the song.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:16 am

David Neale has mentioned this in his website

...Colonel Parker persuaded Elvis to record this number, a favourite of Mrs. Parker's! The arrangement used in Elvis's version is based on the 1950 recording of Are You Lonesome Tonight by the Blue Barron Orchestra. The spoken part is loosely based on a speech by Jacques in Shakespeare's "As You Like It", Act II Scene VII: "All the world's a stage, and all men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts."
http://davidneale.eu/elvis/originals/list1.html#S1133

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:46 am

ekenee wrote:
promiseland wrote:Once again a great topic Doc!
I have learned something new once again . I never knew that the Blue Barron Orchestra release was the first to use the spoken narration I always thought It was from the 20's version. Very interesting .
I also always have wondered where Elvis' spoken narration in "Thats When Your Heartaches Begin" came from also as I have never heard the original version to that either. (maby a future topic)
"Are You Lonesome To-night" is a song that Elvis sings to perfection in the studio 1960 and inspired by the Colonel IIRC , and will always be a song although a cover by Elvis , will always be known as by Elvis .

A beauitul version was also done by Norah Jones a few years back on a Elvis Tribute Special and it is the best second to Elvis'. And the very best by any female singer ..

phpBB [video]


Made for an American network Elvis Presley tribute - the brainchild of the one and only David Saltz. The idea, as you can see, was relatively simple. Miss Jones would perform the song while all around her the images in the frames slowly changed. This is Version 2 - the one where the nice wide shots in which you would see the slowly changing images This video has been viewed over one million times on Youtube

NOTE:
Listen to the intro from Blue Barron and His Orchestra, "Are You Lonesome To-night?" (MGM 10628, February 25, 1950) and Elvis Presleys "Thats When Your Heartaches Begin" master recorded January 13, 1957 and the intros are almost Identical note for note! - Even more proof to the influence of Blue Barron and His Orchestra!


Elvis himself referred to the demo of "Thats when your heartaches begin" in a few 1950's interviews.

It came from the Ink Spots.

That is correct but the 10 sec intro to both songs are strangely almost identical.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:47 am

Jove wrote:David Neale has mentioned this in his website

...Colonel Parker persuaded Elvis to record this number, a favourite of Mrs. Parker's! The arrangement used in Elvis's version is based on the 1950 recording of Are You Lonesome Tonight by the Blue Barron Orchestra. The spoken part is loosely based on a speech by Jacques in Shakespeare's "As You Like It", Act II Scene VII: "All the world's a stage, and all men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts."
http://davidneale.eu/elvis/originals/list1.html#S1133



So this was no "mystery" at all except to the uninformed!

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:59 am

promiseland wrote:Once again a great topic Doc!


Yep,..well done, John..!!.. :smt006

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:10 pm

Great work John 8)
This was also totaly new for me :shock:

::rocks

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:30 pm

Listening to the narration on the Blue Barron recording, it sounds so bland and wholesome, being vaguely reminiscent of Wink Martindale on "Deck of Cards" and hardly likely to raise the pulse of any female.

Elvis's 1960 narration, by comparison, is a masterpiece of understated drama, confidently spoken yet with a magic touch of hesitance and vulnerability. Genius, in a recording that we take for granted through familiarity.

Loved the Norah Jones video, too.

Steve Morse

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:37 pm

rjm wrote:Elvis just turned 15 and was in 9th grade. What attracted him about this?

I guess he heard in it exactly what he also heard in 'That's When Your Heartaches Begin' and 'I Love You Because', two other spoken-word tracks from his very early days.

Nice topic, Doc; well presented.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:20 pm

As usual well researched and well presented, Doc.
I enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the good work!

Mikael

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:39 pm

KiwiAlan wrote:
Jove wrote:David Neale has mentioned this in his website

...Colonel Parker persuaded Elvis to record this number, a favourite of Mrs. Parker's! The arrangement used in Elvis's version is based on the 1950 recording of Are You Lonesome Tonight by the Blue Barron Orchestra. The spoken part is loosely based on a speech by Jacques in Shakespeare's "As You Like It", Act II Scene VII: "All the world's a stage, and all men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts."
http://davidneale.eu/elvis/originals/list1.html#S1133



So this was no "mystery" at all except to the uninformed!


Paul Simpson has also discussed the influence of the Blue Barron Orschestra's version of Are You Lonesome Tonight? on Elvis's classic recording of the song. Whilst, anyone familiar with the Bard is sure to be aware of where the spoken bridge stems from -- still, this has been oft discussed, too.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:49 pm

A simular version was recorded in march 1950 by The Red Caps (Mercury 8174).


colonel snow
Last edited by colonel snow on Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:43 pm

Thank you Doc!

Great topic.


::rocks

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:54 pm

greystoke wrote:
Paul Simpson has also discussed the influence of the Blue Barron Orschestra's version of Are You Lonesome Tonight? on Elvis's classic recording of the song. Whilst, anyone familiar with the Bard is sure to be aware of where the spoken bridge stems from -- still, this has been oft discussed, too.



I recall Simpson's mention but it was nice to see it spotlighted. I had never heard it before this post- good to hear.

Yes, it's perhaps by comparison a bit bland but also pleasant and I can see the influence.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:55 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:In a never-ending quest to learn more about how the Presley magic happened, here is some fascinating information.


47-7810-cover-side1.jpg

Above original sleeve scan courtesy of this magnificent website:
http://www.elvisrecords.us/are-you-lonesome-tonight-i-gotta-know/



Did you know Elvis' #1 hit recording of "Are You Lonesome To-night?" was primarily influenced by a mysterious big band orchestra recording?

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That's a dance band, not a big band. There is a considerable difference between the two.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:59 pm

Presley must have heard this recording when he was 10 or 11, if he did listen to it, whether attentively, in passing, or not at all. But what is truly remarkable is his spoken recitation when considering he only did this once, or at the most twice according to the engineers that were there at studio B. That he attempted to create the right mood by shutting the lights off completely leads me to believe Parker's suggestion that he record this, his favourite song, really meant something to Presley. He wanted to give it his all for the Col, and he delivered brilliantly. There's simply not another song in Presley's repertoire that conveys as much heavenly atmospheric brilliance as this one.On the following night to Elvis death, I practically spent the entire night tuning every AM and short wave station in the world, hungry as I was to hear his voice. I had listened to about five songs when this one came in, clear as a whistle and I cried. I was 27 years old.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 6:29 pm

great topic ::rocks

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:30 pm

Jaime1234 wrote:Presley must have heard this recording when he was 10 or 11, if he did listen to it, whether attentively, in passing, or not at all. But what is truly remarkable is his spoken recitation when considering he only did this once, or at the most twice according to the engineers that were there at studio B. That he attempted to create the right mood by shutting the lights off completely leads me to believe Parker's suggestion that he record this, his favourite song, really meant something to Presley. He wanted to give it his all for the Col, and he delivered brilliantly. There's simply not another song in Presley's repertoire that conveys as much heavenly atmospheric brilliance as this one.On the following night to Elvis death, I practically spent the entire night tuning every AM and short wave station in the world, hungry as I was to hear his voice. I had listened to about five songs when this one came in, clear as a whistle and I cried. I was 27 years old.


Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. There is nothing to say that Elvis ever heard this on the radio (and certainly not when he was 10 or 11 as it wasnt recorded until he was 15!). What we can say is that this may well have been the version Elvis based his on - although for all we know, he never heard it until Parker suggested the song to Elvis in 1960. Between 1950 and 1960 there were other version which also used the same recitative, which Elvis may also have heard or based his version on - although the one presented here seems more likely, all things considered.

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:55 pm

There's definitely an influence from the Blue Baron recording, no doubt. It also is a testament to Elvis, that his mind was open to every type of music as a child and young man, thus helping shape his genius and allowing him to sing so many different genre's of music, brilliantly! Great thread Doc!

Re: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" --> Mystery Influence !

Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:35 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
Jaime1234 wrote:Presley must have heard this recording when he was 10 or 11, if he did listen to it, whether attentively, in passing, or not at all. But what is truly remarkable is his spoken recitation when considering he only did this once, or at the most twice according to the engineers that were there at studio B. That he attempted to create the right mood by shutting the lights off completely leads me to believe Parker's suggestion that he record this, his favourite song, really meant something to Presley. He wanted to give it his all for the Col, and he delivered brilliantly. There's simply not another song in Presley's repertoire that conveys as much heavenly atmospheric brilliance as this one.On the following night to Elvis death, I practically spent the entire night tuning every AM and short wave station in the world, hungry as I was to hear his voice. I had listened to about five songs when this one came in, clear as a whistle and I cried. I was 27 years old.


Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. There is nothing to say that Elvis ever heard this on the radio (and certainly not when he was 10 or 11 as it wasnt recorded until he was 15!). What we can say is that this may well have been the version Elvis based his on - although for all we know, he never heard it until Parker suggested the song to Elvis in 1960. Between 1950 and 1960 there were other version which also used the same recitative, which Elvis may also have heard or based his version on - although the one presented here seems more likely, all things considered.



I have a reference to Elvis in a conversation, in 1956 - talking about the song 'Are You Lonesome To-night?'

Davide