February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 9:49 am

Here's what we know, after 40+ years!

MEMPHIS, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1961 - THE CHARITY SHOWS


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Governor of Tennessee, Buford Ellington proclaimed it "Elvis Presley Day" in the state and made Elvis an honorary colonel by giving him the title "Colonel, Aide de Camp on the Governor's Staff." Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb designated it "Elvis Presley Day" in the city.


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Afternoon Lunch


Prior to the shows, a luncheon was held in Elvis' honor at the Claridge Hotel in downtown Memphis. The $100-per-plate event raised $17,000, thanks in part to the donation of food and service by the Claridge. At the luncheon, RCA presented Elvis with a diamond watch, and a plaque, marking his achievement of selling over 75 million records.


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Afternoon Press Conference


Afterwards, a press conference was held. Only issued in full to the fans 16 years later, these are some of the highlights:

Press: "Everybody wants to know...how is your love life?"
Elvis: "Well, it hasn't progressed any. It's about like it was. Nothing serious. I'll let you know if anything comes of it. Couldn't hide it anyway (laughs)."

Press: "Elvis, are you going to move to Hollywood ... or are you gonna stay here?"
Elvis: "No sir, I'll stay here."

Press: "Which one of your movies do you think you did the best job acting?"
Elvis: "King Creole."

Press: "You haven't been on stage for three years, are you a little bit nervous?"
Elvis: "Yes sir. I don't mind admitting I am. But when I did the Frank Sinatra show in Florida, I wasn't nervous, I was petrified, I was scared stiff! (laughter)"



Elvis went on to perform at 3 PM and at 8 PM in Ellis Auditorium's North Hall. A ticket cost $3.00. Attendance at the matinée was 3,860, with 6,540 in the evening. Because the first show sold out in a day, a matinée was hastily added, which might explain the disparity in attendance.


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Afternoon Show


In longtime local super-fan Gary Pepper's The Tankcaster, issue #6 from April 1961, candid reviews were offered.

The first came from Mrs. E.R. Branch, who saw everything that day, from lunch to press conference to both shows. The part of her report which describes the matinée, published in The Tankcaster, is just below.


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Afternoon Show


Mrs. E.R. Branch wrote:He started singing right away, beginning with "Heartbreak Hotel" ... he had on black pants with a stripe down the side ... and white ruffled shirt with black buttons, and a beautiful silver coat with black handkerchief in the upper pocket ... he finally asked, after about 14 songs, if we wanted to hear any more ... he then sang "Doin' The Best I Can" from G.I. Blues and his latest hit, "Surrender," and wound up with "Hound Dog" ...



610225_AS_w Floyd Cramer on piano_Memphis.jpg
Afternoon Show


This description, along with Scotty Moore's rough draft of the set list written after the sole rehearsal at Graceland on Friday, February 24, and reproduced in his autobiography, That's Alright, Elvis, allows a reconstruction of the afternoon performance:

Heartbreak Hotel
All Shook Up
(Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I
I Got A Woman
Love Me
Such A Night
Reconsider Baby
I Need Your Love Tonight
That's All Right
Doin' The Best I Can
Don't Be Cruel
One Night
Are You Lonesome To-night?
It's Now Or Never
Surrender
Hound Dog


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Evening Show


George Jessel, often referred to as the nation's "Toastmaster General," introduced the singer at the evening show -- Mayor Loeb apparently handled matinée duties. Jessel amusingly dropped to his knees after praising Elvis as "one of the greatest singer/actors of this century."


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Evening Show


Pepper excitedly recounted his evening set observations in The Tankcaster, accidentally omitting the performance of the A-side of Sun 209 in the process! (rectified here):

Heartbreak Hotel
All Shook Up
(Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I
I Got A Woman
Love Me
Such A Night
Reconsider Baby
Fever
I Need Your Love Tonight
That's All Right
Don't Be Cruel
One Night
Are You Lonesome To-night?
It's Now Or Never
Swing Down Sweet Chariot
Hound Dog

Gary noted that Elvis forgot some of the lyrics to "Don't Be Cruel," but ad-libbed to great effect. The sublime, sexy ballad "Fever" and jubilee gospel number "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" were apparently only done at the evening performance, while the "Special Teenage Matinée" had exclusives on "Doin' The Best I Can" from his recent Paramount film "G.I. Blues," and his latest chart-topper, the operatic "Surrender."

Pepper's fan magazine reviews emphasized how greatly the Memphis shows were marked by screaming fans, a hysteria Elvis often evoked, and sometimes consciously provoked, on his 1956-1957 tours. And as most fans are well aware, the March 25, 1961 live recording in Honolulu is no different! In some ways, these early 1961 concerts proved nothing had changed since Presley's return to civilian life, except that he had gotten better.

Also appearing at Ellis Auditorium were comedian Brother Dave Gardner, impressionist (and master of ceremonies) Nip Nelson, acrobats The Ashtons & Shirley, tap dancer Frank Trent, the Jordanaires, pianist Floyd Cramer, saxophonist Boots Randolph, Larry Owens (née Muhoberac) and His Orchestra, also called "the King's Men," and special guest George Jessel.

After the opening acts finished, and following a brief intermission, Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Bob Moore, Boots Randolph, Floyd Cramer, the Jordanaires, and three members of Larry Owens and His Orchestra took their places on stage to back Elvis.


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Evening Show


Despite claims to the contrary for years and years, Bob Moore (bass), Hank Garland (guitar) and Buddy Harman (drums) did not perform with Elvis at the 1961 Memphis shows. If anyone can name the three members from Larry Owens and the King's Men who filled in on stand-up bass, guitar and drums, please add that information here!

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NOTE: this information has since been determined! The following is the latest update!!

These are the musicians who rocked Memphis, Tennessee on Saturday, February 25, 1961 ->

Elvis Presley - vocals, guitar
Scotty Moore - guitar
Brad Suggs - guitar
Bob Alexius - acoustic bass
D. J. Fontana - drums
Ron Capone - drums
Floyd Cramer - piano
Boots Randolph - saxophone
Jordanaires - backing vocals

Later, the Memphis Commercial Appeal would amusingly describe Elvis' stage work as "combining elements from Negro cotton field harmony, camp meeting fervor, Hollywood showmanship, beatnik nonchalance, and some of the manipulations of mass psychology." Overall, almost $52,000 was raised, with most of it distributed amongst twenty-six Memphis charities, with $3,700 specifically targeted for the Elvis Presley Youth Center in Tupelo.

After Presley's third astonishing 1961 gig, the U.S.S. Arizona benefit in Honolulu on March 25, preserved in 1980 on RCA's Elvis Aron Presley box set, such peerless artistry and commercial success, superb musicianship and stunning song selection, would never be repeated.

Although no tape of either Memphis set has ever surfaced, hope springs eternal.

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1-18-2014: Thanks to FECC member onelove, another Gary Pepper photo from the evening set:


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L-R: Scotty Moore, Elvis, D.J. Fontana, Bob Alexius, Brad Suggs, Ron Capone, Gordon Stoker
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:15 am, edited 7 times in total.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 11:25 am

Well done Doc !
This is how I like you, and the others, on this messageboard : informative and willing to share !
I always thought I'd give all the seventies concerts for the three ones Elvis gave in 1961! This said, I hear already the protests of the Vegas years die-hards...
Yes, what a pity nothing of the two Memphis concerts has never come to light. Impossible to understand, as is the unforgivable decision of the man with the big cigar not to allow the then scheduled 1962 tour...
Anyway, hope springs eternal...
This said Doc, isn't it Bob Moore and his uprightbass on your last photo ? And the same goes for Buddy Harman...

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 11:49 am

Thank you so much Doc that was VERY good, i would have loved to have read it in The Man and His Music, you are a very knowledgeable fan, i would love to read more like this about other periods :D
thank you

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 2:21 pm

FRENCHGUY wrote:This said Doc, isn't it Bob Moore and his uprightbass on your last photo ? And the same goes for Buddy Harman...

No -- they are apparently members of the Larry Owens Orchestra. Moore has stated he only did the March 1961 gig, and the drummer seen in the Memphis photos is not Harman. The guitar player stage left isn't Hank Garland, either. Thus, the "mysterious" nature of these gigs.

Until I confirmed "Reconsider Baby" was mentioned in the fan magazine review, and saw a photo on page 10 of the 60s box, I thought Boots Randolph was missing as well. Both confirm he was there!

Anyone with additional information, you are welcome here. Larry Muhoberac, we need you!

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 5:06 pm

cool

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 5:24 pm

Yeah very cool. Would be interesting to see the full press conference if you have it please.

More Elvis history, thanks!

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 5:26 pm

Excellent scholarly work Dr. John! I enjoyed it immensely. Keep up the great research/work!

Regards,
Buffalo Wings
:)

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 5:30 pm

>Afterwards, a press conference was held. It was issued in full in 1978, here are some of >the highlights:

released as a text transciption of what was said or as audio?

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 5:40 pm

voldto wrote:released as a text transcription of what was said or as audio?

you can hear the full Press Conference here, on Keith's site http://www.keithflynn.com/essential_lists/Interviews_files/audio/61-02-25.wma

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 7:20 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:the afternoon performance:
Heartbreak Hotel
All Shook Up
(Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I
I Got A Woman
Love Me
Such A Night
Reconsider Baby
I Need Your Love Tonight
That's All Right
Doin' The Best I Can
Don't Be Cruel
One Night
Are You Lonesome To-night?
It's Now Or Never
Surrender
Hound Dog

the evening set:

Heartbreak Hotel
All Shook Up
(Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I
I Got A Woman
Love Me
Such A Night
Reconsider Baby
Fever
I Need Your Love Tonight
That's All Right
Don't Be Cruel
One Night
Are You Lonesome To-night?
It's Now Or Never
Swing Down, Sweet Chariot
Hound Dog


Killer set lists, to be sure. Oh, to have been in that auditorium that day/night!

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 8:15 pm

I shot a message to Reggie Young to see if he may know any of Larry's Band. Is Larry still around? I don't know much about him or the TCB era. He hooked up Glen D. with them didn't he?

I'll ask Scotty too, knowing now that it was Larry's group might ring some bells

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Fri May 09, 2008 11:05 pm

Buffalo Wings wrote:Excellent scholarly work Dr. John! I enjoyed it immensely. Keep up the great research/work!

Such appreciation is greatly appreciated!


voldto wrote:released as a text transcription of what was said or as audio?

It was issued in December 1977 on this audio LP ->

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If anyone has a scan of the 1986 bootleg LP In My Way (Laurel LPM 8660), the cover sports the same color snap of Elvis, Boots and Scotty from the February 25 afternoon show one finds in the 60s box booklet, only much bigger!

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 12:40 am

Right, Doc... Boots is actually to be seen on the cover of the LP In My Way (shot from the matinee concert if I'm right), something I'd forgotten but verified just now on my copy.
The Muhoberac story is completely new to me, and so is the surprising fact that Moore, Harman and Garland were not present at these shows.
That brings me to this question : has anybody ever seen a photo of these Memphis concerts, or of the Honolulu one, where Floyd Cramer is clearly visible ? My search for that Graal still remains fruitlessly...
And to get a bit further with the subject Floyd, I've never read an interview of him about his work with Elvis. Does such a thing exist somewhere ?

Many thanks to all of you who provide such great informations and pictures on this board, and especially to you Doc for this great account.
An idea to be continued...

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 1:16 am

"Attendance at the matinée was 3,860, with 6,540 in the evening. Because the first show sold out in a day, the matinée was hastily added, which might explain the disparity in numbers".


a shame you weren't that eloquent on the other thread. *cough, cough*

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 1:29 am

John from Woodley wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Buffalo Wings wrote:Excellent scholarly work Dr. John! I enjoyed it immensely. Keep up the great research/work!

Such appreciation is greatly appreciated!


voldto wrote:released as a text transcription of what was said or as audio?

It was issued in December 1977 on this audio LP ->

Image


If anyone has a scan of the 1986 bootleg LP In My Way (Laurel LPM 8660), the cover sports the same color snap of Elvis, Boots and Scotty from the February 25 afternoon show one finds in the 60s box booklet, only much bigger!


So are you short of a scanner or the LP or both?

In the meantime in the interests of this thread and if you promise to stop harassing Elvisgirl, here you go.

In My Way.jpg


Do you want it bigger?


Yes Please, I would never have recognised that as Boots if I had ever seen that before. BTW, that's the evening show isn't it, silver jacket? I'll have to make some mods to my Ellis page in that section now this weekend.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 4:23 am

JamesVRoy wrote:BTW, that's the evening show isn't it, silver jacket? I'll have to make some mods to my Ellis page in that section now this weekend.

Yes you will -- unless you think Mrs. E.R. Branch and Gary Pepper are liars.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 4:25 am

FRENCHGUY wrote:The Muhoberac story is completely new to me, and so is the surprising fact that Moore, Harman and Garland were not present at these shows.

Indeed, this discovery inspired the topic here.

FRENCHGUY wrote:Many thanks ... especially to you Doc for this great account.

The pleasure is all mine -- this is what I do.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 7:48 am

Doctor, would you not assume that "Doin the best I can" would be later in the show, just by what Miss Branch writes?

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 9:04 am

Good article Doc. Though I enjoy the majority of what Elvis did from 1971-77 he had good and bad nights. On the other hand I think just about every show through 1970 would have been out of sight. These 1961 shows remain among the most interesting as there was no film shot and there were so unique.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 2:55 pm

the drummer was Ron Capone.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 4:04 pm

Here is a story about Elvis and Ron Capone:

http://www.dezinsource.com/images/vol2/ ... rvoice.pdf

Mississippi

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 7:08 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
JamesVRoy wrote:BTW, that's the evening show isn't it, silver jacket? I'll have to make some mods to my Ellis page in that section now this weekend.

Yes you will -- unless you think Mrs. E.R. Branch and Gary Pepper are liars.


Is only an addition, not a revelation.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sat May 10, 2008 10:08 pm

Thus, despite claims to the contrary, including my own,..


Never ceases to amaze me, baby. Was this the first time ever ? :D Great research, anyway you look at it.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sun May 11, 2008 12:38 am

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu ... =207695888

here is Ron Capone's myspace page.

Re: February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!

Sun May 11, 2008 2:40 am

More information has been found, to be added shortly. Stay tuned!