Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 9:08 am

Who is Richard Mainegra?

Image

Well, we know him as the co-writer of 1972's "Separate Ways," one of the better 1970s Presley recordings.


Separate Ways (Red West-Richard Mainegra)
Separate Ways (West-Mainegra)

Single (1972) + Separate Ways (1972)

Image
Image


But how did it happen?

Red was running Chips Moman's publishing company, Press Music, and he signed me ... (he) was a songwriter himself. Elvis recorded a few of his songs. Red and I wrote "Separate Ways" together. I was just messing around on guitar with a melody and chord progression and Red sat down and picked up a pad. He loved what was goin' on and he started writing lyrics and singing along ...

The lyrics eventually evolved into a story about Elvis. I was kind of leery about the whole thing because I couldn't imagine Elvis singing something about his breakup with Priscilla and how it affected his little baby, Lisa Marie ...

Red and I did a little demo down in Chips' studio at American. I gave the demo to Red ... Red went to the session ... he played "Separate Ways" for Elvis right there and he went for it ...

It was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me!

Ken Sharp, Writing For The King (Denmark: Follow That Dream Records, 2006), p. 305-306


The West-Mainegra demo is officially unissued, but perhaps someday we'll hear what caught Elvis' ear that evening in March 1972.


Image

Elvis - Separate Ways (RCA Camden CAS-2611, December 1972)


[Topic revised 09-20-2011]
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 9:31 am

Interesting read.

The more we read about the songwriters the better.

Praise be that Red West could bypass the Hill and Range selection system

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 9:40 am

Hello,

"Separate Ways" is in my opinion one of Elvis' truly underrated hits from the 70's. I love the scene in "Elvis On Tour" when Elvis is singing this and the camera pans behind either a coffee mug with steaming hot coffee or a lit cigarette in an ashtray with smoke emanating. I always thought that was very Sinatraesque in some way. I always thought it would be neat if Sony / RCA put out a compilation of late night type songs. Some that come to mind are "Separate Ways", "Love Letters", "I Need Somebody To Lean On", "Are You Sincere?", "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" "You Don't Know Me", "It's Midnight", "Loving Arms", "Danny Boy", "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues" and "For Ol' Times Sake."

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 11:03 am

Thanks Doc,a great read

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 4:17 pm

Tremendous read, thanks Doc! Richard brings a point that ties a bit with Dolly Parton, in that Elvis was, "the one artist every songwriter in the world wanted to sing their song!"
Last edited by Joe Car on Mon May 24, 2010 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 7:59 pm

That was interesting. Thanks, Doc.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 8:53 pm

KiwiAlan wrote:Interesting read.

The more we read about the songwriters the better.


I couldn't agree more.

Nice work, Doc. You definitely excel in this area.

Great to hear how effusive Mainegra was and remains over Elvis covering one of his songs (melodies). Guy has some nice wheels, too!

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 9:43 pm

Cryogenic wrote:
KiwiAlan wrote:Interesting read.

The more we read about the songwriters the better.


I couldn't agree more.

Nice work, Doc. You definitely excel in this area.

Great to hear how effusive Mainegra was and remains over Elvis covering one of his songs (melodies). Guy has some nice wheels, too!


It's hard to believe that Mainegra is 61 years old when this pic was taken, incredible! They say 60 is the new 40, I have to agree!

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 9:58 pm

I interviewed Charlie a couple of times. He insisted the song wasn't about Elvis, but about Red's own family situation. I never really put much faith in anything Charlie said, since he remained loyal to a fault. This one, though, really drove the point home.

It dovetails nicely into the interview with Kenny Hicks. The inner circle kept everyone away from Elvis. Some would say they also kept Elvis away from the potential influence of outsiders, especially in the last few years.

Charlie never stopped circling the wagons.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 10:31 pm

Charlie was who he was. I'll always appreciate his input on the 1966 gospel sessions, and his wonderful, enthusiastic support of Elvis during the small combo jams in June 1968.

Thanks for the very kind replies, everyone. This is what it is all about.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Mon May 24, 2010 10:46 pm

Great post. Separate Ways is definitely a highlight from Elvis' 70's canon.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 2:27 am

I'm familiar with Richard's work, but never read or heard how he met Red West and got a song recorded by Elvis. I've got his one album with Cymarron (I always thought their song "Rings" would've been perfect for Rick Nelson & the Stone Canyon Band; liked Lobo's version, too), and the two albums he made with the Remingtons (featuring one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters, Jimmy Griffin - another Memphis boy, best known as lead guitarist/second banana in Bread). Thanks, again, Doc! Appreciate your research!

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 2:37 am

Lonely Summer wrote:I'm familiar with Richard's work, but never read or heard how he met Red West and got a song recorded by Elvis. I've got his one album with Cymarron (I always thought their song "Rings" would've been perfect for Rick Nelson & the Stone Canyon Band; liked Lobo's version, too), and the two albums he made with the Remingtons (featuring one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters, Jimmy Griffin - another Memphis boy, best known as lead guitarist/second banana in Bread). Thanks, again, Doc! Appreciate your research!

Great comments. Thanks for the kind words.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 2:41 am

Bravo, Doc!

You've really caned it recently with these fascinating threads.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 2:47 am

londonflash wrote:Bravo, Doc!

You've really caned it recently with these fascinating threads.

Thanks!

I'm just fulfilling the true potential of this wonderful forum.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 3:26 am

I bought this hoping it was Skeeter, but it's a guy singing...probaby Richard. It takes on a whole different meaning...you can't listen to it without grinning.
Hard to Be a Woman 001.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 7:07 am

Doc I appreciate your great tenacity of research. Great learning here.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 7:40 am

pjdlibra wrote:Doc I appreciate your great tenacity of research. Great learning here.

Thanks!

There are many fascinating Elvis stories yet to tell -- more pieces of the puzzle!

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 10:12 am

elvisjock wrote:I interviewed Charlie a couple of times. He insisted the song wasn't about Elvis, but about Red's own family situation. I never really put much faith in anything Charlie said, since he remained loyal to a fault. This one, though, really drove the point home.


When I met Red West I told him that this song is IMO one of the best Elvis recorded in the 70's. Red was proud of the track and told me that he wrote lyrics about his own family situation. He and Pat were going through some rough times. The orginal lyrics went "someday he will understand why his mom and dad are not together". Red told me he changed "he" to "she" and it fit Elvis perfectly. He took Separate Ways and Always On My Mind to Elvis in Hollywood. When Elvis heard them he said: "Are you trying to kill me?"

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 3:09 pm

Good read Doc, thanks.
I was listening to Separate Ways tonight. It is a beautifully structured song and it receives a wonderful performance by Elvis.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 3:30 pm

Marko wrote:
elvisjock wrote:I interviewed Charlie a couple of times. He insisted the song wasn't about Elvis, but about Red's own family situation. I never really put much faith in anything Charlie said, since he remained loyal to a fault. This one, though, really drove the point home.


When I met Red West I told him that this song is IMO one of the best Elvis recorded in the 70's. Red was proud of the track and told me that he wrote lyrics about his own family situation. He and Pat were going through some rough times. The orginal lyrics went "someday he will understand why his mom and dad are not together". Red told me he changed "he" to "she" and it fit Elvis perfectly. He took Separate Ways and Always On My Mind to Elvis in Hollywood. When Elvis heard them he said: "Are you trying to kill me?"


Charlie, I'm sorry! Please forgive me.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Tue May 25, 2010 11:16 pm

Very enjoyable read. Thanks a lot Doc ::rocks

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:43 am

A Separate Ways related question: I don't recall ever having seen the photo on the album cover in its original context. Does anyone here have it, and if so, might you be able to post it? The reason I'm interested is that on the cover, it seems different from a "typical" shot of EP strumming rhythm in a wide stance on stage. It actually appears as if he's seriously accompanying himself. I'm just curious. Thanks very much.

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:51 am

srlogicom wrote:A Separate Ways related question: I don't recall ever having seen the photo on the album cover in its original context. Does anyone here have it, and if so, might you be able to post it?

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=43940

Re: Richard Mainegra --> Not Your Typical Elvis Songwriter !

Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:55 am

Thank you very much, Scott Hayward. I appreciate it.