Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:22 am

After an incredible 1956 at RCA Records, A&R man and Presley producer Steve Sholes won a major Billboard poll, "Country and Western Man of the Year."

It must have been a sweet moment for Sholes, given all the doubters who felt he would lose his job over signing Presley to RCA in Nov 1955.

Ironically, the runner-up was the Grand Ole Opry's Jim Denny, who Elvis privately despised for shunning him after his October 1954 appearance on the Grand Ole Opry radio program.

No doubt Elvis had mixed feelings when -- or if -- he saw this article!


Image

Billboard - Mar 23, 1957

Re: Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:48 am

I'm sure Elvis would have been happy he signed for the right man.

norrie

Re: Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:05 am

norrie wrote:I'm sure Elvis would have been happy he signed for the right man.

Yes, although Denny would not have been in the running for that honor.

Re: Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:43 am

Thanks Doc,great read

Re: Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:26 am

Cool Doc....I'am just glad Elvis did not take Denny's advice!

Re: Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:45 am

Elton wrote:Cool Doc....I'am just glad Elvis did not take Denny's advice!

Ironically, the October 1954 "driving a truck" comment often attributed by Elvis to Jim Denny was conflated with a previous rejection.

That came earlier in the year, when Elvis joined local Memphis musician Eddie Bond and his group at the Hi Hat club for a couple of numbers. The date may have been Saturday, May 15, 1954. A few years later, traveling by train to Culver City to film "Jailhouse Rock," Elvis recalled to pal George Klein that Bond had told him to stick to driving a truck, because he would never make it as a singer.

In October 1954, Jim Denny was shocked to see just three musicians show up, given the amazingly full sound of SUN 209. But, supposedly, all Denny did, after a modest reception following their one-song Opry appearance, was act disinterested. And he did not book them for a return visit.

But George Klein recently recalled a VERY strong feeling from Elvis in October 1957, when Presley was making a couple of personal appearances at the Pan Pacific Auditorium:

Elvis wasn't happy with every guest who came by the Beverly Wilshire that week, though. He was looking forward to a visit from Faron Young, a country and now film star whom Elvis considered to be one of the cooler of the country guys he'd toured with early on. But Elvis was none too pleased when Young showed up accompanied by another, older guy. I didn't catch the other guy's name, but we all sat around the suite and talked pleasantly for a while before Elvis said he had other business to get to. He and I walked Faron and his friend down the long hallway to the door, and I hear the friend say to Elvis, "Do me a favor and mention me to Colonel Parker -- maybe we could do some work together."

Elvis said he would, goodbyes were said, and then the two left. As Elvis shut the door, he turned to me.

"God damn that SOB. That f---in' bastard."

"Elvis, what's wrong with you?"

"Don't you know who that was with Faron?"

"No."

"That's Jim Denny. The motherf---er that kicked me off the Grand Ole Opry."

He went on and on, just cussing away. In from of Faron, Elvis had been perfectly nice to Denny, who was now working as a talent manager and music publisher. But once they were gone, I heard him work himself into a foul-mouthed tirade unlike any I'd ever heard come out of him. Elvis would forgive, but he never forgot.

George Klein, with Chuck Crisafulli, Elvis: My Best Man:
Radio Days, Rock 'n' Roll Nights, and My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley
(New York: Random House, 2010), p. 103-104


Re: Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:01 am

Cool stuff,Doc.
I love these historical,little known tidbits you come up with(well,some not so small,remembering the "Christmas Album" thread)but thanks for your terrific research! :D

Re: Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:34 am

Thanks Doc! I can understand Elvis' reasons for having such disdain for Denny!

Re: Elvis Friend - #1, Elvis Foe - #2 (1957)

Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:40 am

Joe Car wrote:Thanks Doc! I can understand Elvis' reasons for having such disdain for Denny!

One wonders what would have happened if Eddie Bond had popped on by that week.