"If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 1:57 am

There always something new to learn about Elvis Presley.

During the making of the 1968 TV Special, Elvis unleashed a dynamic new voice -- he was invigorated like never before.

Some have attributed this change to seeing how friend and singer Tom Jones had adopted much of the rough, early Elvis sound in his super-successful Las Vegas act, others to something grounded in Presley just rediscovering his love of 1950s blues and R&B hits.

Either way, it led to some of the greatest music of his life.


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Elvis Presley - "If I Can Dream" (taped June 30, 1968, Burbank, CA ... start @ 3:41)


Well ... in a 2006 interview with NBC-TV special co-writer Allan Blye, another influence was revealed!


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Steve Binder mentioned to me that you guys, after your very first meeting with Elvis, hopped next door, on Sunset, to the Tower Records and bought up all these Elvis records, and started to research just immediately like that.

We did that, and we also picked up a record, and I wish I could remember this guy's last name, his first name was Bruno, and he sang like Elvis but with a real, growling sound, relative to Elvis', which was a little more refined.

And I remember playing that album for Elvis, and he knew this guy, and he said to me, you know, how much he respected him, and, um, this fellow has since passed away. God, I wish I could remember his last name. And when Elvis sang "If I Can Dream," he sang it with the fire and the gusto that this guy sang in.

In fact, if you listen to all of Elvis' albums before that, and you listen to "If I Can Dream," you'll hear a very different sounding Elvis ... as compared to most of his records.



Blye is most likely remembering singer Tony Bruno and buying this album for Elvis:


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Tony Bruno - An Original by Bruno (Capitol T-2857, 1968)

Side 1
My Yellow Bird
Somewhere There's Someone
Hard To Get A Thing Called Love
The Grass Will Sing For You
Helaina
They Say (I Don't See)

Side 2
Yesterday
What's Yesterday
Slow Up
That Lucky Old Sun
Small Town Bring Down
I'll Be Seeing You


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Download all 12 tracks in one 31.9 Mb zip file --> here.

The record was a Billboard spotlight pick just a few months before:


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Billboard - Jan 20, 1968


And Bruno got a big push from Capitol Records:


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Billboard - Jan 6,1968


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Billboard - Jan 6,1968


Listening to some of the recordings on Bruno's album, especially "Small Town, Bring Down," it seems Blye is right!




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Tony Bruno - "Small Town, Bring Down" (Capitol 2105, 1968)


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Tony Bruno - "The Grass Will Sing For You" (United Artists 50095/122938, 1968)


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Tony Bruno - "Hard To Get A Thing Called Love" (United Artists 50095/122939, 1968)


Wow.

Well, the heck with Tom Jones!



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Thank you Tony Bruno, you played a part in the greatest TV Special closer of all time!!
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Fri May 14, 2010 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 2:02 am

Good find!

What happened to him?

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 3:20 am

Absolutely killer stuff. Thanks, Doc!

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 3:21 am

Frankie Teardrop wrote:Absolutely killer stuff. Thanks, Doc!

Thanks.

It's kind of amazing the things you find out, some 40 years after the fact.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 3:32 am

Is this some kind of practical joke?

Bear with me, Doc ...

Don't just listen! LOOK!

Look at this freaky resemblance, based purely on the material you just posted:

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- The right hand gestures are identical.

- There is also a prominent ring on the lower fingers of both singers' left hands.

- Even the dark hair of both men is cut similarly and swept up.

I don't know about the latter, but I find it hard to believe that that hand gesture is down to mere coincidence!

* * *

I also took the liberty of pulling a "blue shirt" picture of Elvis.

Again, note the striking resemblance:

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Was there some conscious intent to ape Bruno and pay homage to him in voice, mannerisms and appearance? It seems a distinct possibility.

* * *

GREAT work, Doc! This is how I like ya!

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 3:36 am

Elvis was way handsomer, though.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 3:38 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Elvis was way handsomer, though.


ZING!

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 3:45 am

that guys pretty good......

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 4:20 am

The Billboard article notes the singer's debut in Las Vegas the year before:

A month-long, Oct 1967 engagement at the (New) Frontier Hotel! Talk about coincidences.

So ... did Elvis visit Las Vegas in Oct 1967?

On Oct 1 (Sun), he cut songs for MGM's "Stay Away, Joe" soundtrack in Nashville. Filming began on location in Cottonwood and Sedona, AZ on Oct 9 (Mon), and ran through until mid-Nov 1967. Perhaps he saw Bruno's act the the beginning of the month, or on the last weekend, Oct 28-29 (Sat-Sun), since Priscilla and the other wives came down for a visit a few days before.

Anyone know for sure?

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 4:25 am

To repeat my question.

What happened to this guy?

Had not previously heard of him.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 4:46 am

Here you will find more about Tony Bruno

http://learning2share.blogspot.com/2007 ... -1967.html

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 5:16 am

Cryogenic wrote:I don't know about the latter, but I find it hard to believe that that hand gesture is down to mere coincidence!



I wouldn't get too freaked out. They just both have an open palm, which is quite natural when singing an expressive/powerful song. It's not exactly a million miles away from this (just the other way up)...

album-the-king-of-rock-n-roll-the-complete-50s-masters.jpg



The hair is similar, but Elvis having his hair swept back was hardly a new development.

There is an earthy, raw quality that the guy had which Elvis was perhaps inspired by. In any case, it's interesting to know what Elvis was listening to and considering in the days surrounding the special, so neat post Doc.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 5:19 am

TJ wrote:There is an earthy, raw quality that the guy had which Elvis was perhaps inspired by. In any case, it's interesting to know what Elvis was listening to and considering in the days surrounding the special, so neat post Doc.

Thanks.

According to the Blye interview segment I posted, Tony Bruno is no longer with us; sadly, more information on this is unknown.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 5:32 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
TJ wrote:There is an earthy, raw quality that the guy had which Elvis was perhaps inspired by. In any case, it's interesting to know what Elvis was listening to and considering in the days surrounding the special, so neat post Doc.

Thanks.

According to the Blye interview segment I posted, Tony Bruno is no longer with us; sadly, more information on this is unknown.



What are you talking about Doc? Tony Bruno is still with us. He left the music industry and went into sports talk radio working for Fox Sports Radio.

http://www.tonybrunoshow.com/bio.html

Only kidding :D . The name and it's spelling rang a bell to the Tony Bruno I'm familiar with.

Daryl

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 5:41 am

TJ wrote:
Cryogenic wrote:I don't know about the latter, but I find it hard to believe that that hand gesture is down to mere coincidence!



I wouldn't get too freaked out. They just both have an open palm, which is quite natural when singing an expressive/powerful song. It's not exactly a million miles away from this (just the other way up)...


You're right, TJ. I couldn't consciously recall seeing Elvis with his hand stretched to the side like that, the fingers in a gentle arc, the thumb at ninety degrees, in other situations, but lo and behold, there's a plain example. Still, the shots (Bruno album cover and IICD take) do match up nicely. In fact, I would be interested to learn more about where and how Elvis developed his moves for his "If I Can Dream" performance(s). That "windmill" technique, for example. He does a number of cool moves. Did he practice beforehand or was it all spontaneous? Was he deliberately echoing other individuals or was it all on-the-fly? Such a stand-out moment in his career needs more research and investigation.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 5:50 am

In the blog I posted appears the comment-

Bruno performs in an Engelbertian Vegas style, - - only more so.
His vocals slide from languid to pensive to bombastic to overwrought, often within moments.


So now we have Elvis copying Tony Bruno who is copying Englebert Humperdink who is copying Tom Jones?

I suggest that Elvis, Englebert, Tom and the hapless Bruno might all have realised that bombastic ballad was the just the thing in the late 60's although Jones kicked it off.

As for hapless Bruno he was by 1972 reduced to recording xxx rated material under the name P Vert Stickball

The extensive advertising and PR from Capitol failed to fire.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 6:07 am

KiwiAlan wrote:Good find!

What happened to him?


This video may answer your question:

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Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 6:18 am

Cryogenic wrote:
TJ wrote:
Cryogenic wrote:I don't know about the latter, but I find it hard to believe that that hand gesture is down to mere coincidence!



I wouldn't get too freaked out. They just both have an open palm, which is quite natural when singing an expressive/powerful song. It's not exactly a million miles away from this (just the other way up)...


You're right, TJ. I couldn't consciously recall seeing Elvis with his hand stretched to the side like that, the fingers in a gentle arc, the thumb at ninety degrees, in other situations, but lo and behold, there's a plain example. Still, the shots (Bruno album cover and IICD take) do match up nicely. In fact, I would be interested to learn more about where and how Elvis developed his moves for his "If I Can Dream" performance(s). That "windmill" technique, for example. He does a number of cool moves. Did he practice beforehand or was it all spontaneous? Was he deliberately echoing other individuals or was it all on-the-fly? Such a stand-out moment in his career needs more research and investigation.


I think there's a little Tom Jones in there, but also Elvis finds himself in a situation where, although the lyric and mood doesn't suit a manic dance across the stage, he still wants there to be a physical performance of some kind. More than that actually; he simply CAN'T stand totally still when delivering such a powerful performance and to a large degree I think he then just does what comes natural. Cue the energetic arm movement :-)

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 2:33 pm

I don't hear any influence at all. What am i missing?

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 3:11 pm

very interesting post,but bruno's voice does nothing for me.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 5:40 pm

KiwiAlan wrote: As for hapless Bruno he was by 1972 reduced to recording xxx rated material under the name P Vert Stickball


Actually, the record was Stickball and the artist was P.Vert.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 6:50 pm

Thanks, Doc! Great find. Yes, I can hear some Tony Bruno in Presley's rendition of If I Can dream. However, I find Bruno's performances just tad over the top for my liking. He's pushing it too much. Interesting nevertheless. They used a similar sounding backing tracks on some of the numbers in the tv special which of course was style of the day.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 7:02 pm

Marko wrote:Thanks, Doc! Great find. Yes, I can hear some Tony Bruno in Presley's rendition of If I Can dream. However, I find Bruno's performances just tad over the top for my liking. He's pushing it too much. Interesting nevertheless. They used a similar sounding backing tracks on some of the numbers in the tv special which of course was style of the day.

I noticed that as well.

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Fri May 14, 2010 7:12 pm

Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:I don't hear any influence at all. What am i missing?


Neither do I !

Re: "If I Can Dream" --> An Original by Bruno!

Sat May 15, 2010 12:16 am

Sounds more like Long John Baldry to my ears.