Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery No More!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:06 am

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Elvis Presley, circa 1952


For the longest time, It's always seemed a given that Elvis' second, two-sided personal acetate recording in 1954 included a song issued by country singer Jimmy Wakely.


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Elvis Presley, "It Wouldn't Be The Same (Without You)" (January 1954 acetate)
Note: reproduction of original label.


For example:

"I'll Never Stand in Your Way," a then- recent hit for Joni James, plus "It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You," an older number by country songwriter Jimmy Wakely ...

Greil Marcus, Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music



For the other side he sang "It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You," from a record by the respected country singer Jimmy Wakely.

Ernst Jorgensen, Elvis Presley: A Life In Music



... and "It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You" (a late '40s success for Hollywood cowboy Jimmy Wakely).

Phil Sutcliffe, Q Magazine, "Elvis: The First Sun Sessions," January 2004


But ... it seems there is no such single by Jimmy Wakely.

So what record did the kid from Tupelo hear?


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Gene Smith, Elvis Presley, circa 1951


Well, the song came out when Elvis was 15, as a B-side, of all things.

Al Rogers and the Rocky Mountain Boys, "It Wouldn't Be The Same (Without You)" (MGM 10709, May 1950).

Al Rogers had appeared on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry program, and around the time of this single for MGM he had a show on WMPS Radio in Memphis called "Hi Noon Roundup, " which featured guests such as the Blackwood Brothers. Elvis must have heard him.


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Al Rogers, circa 1951


Interestingly, the single was covered as an R&B release in Billboard:


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Billboard - June 3, 1950


However, another version was issued much closer to Presley's early 1954 visit to the Memphis Recording Service, and one listen tells us. THIS was the one!

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Lily Ann Carol, "It Wouldn't Be The Same (Without You)" (RCA 47-4985, October 1952).


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Billboard - October 11, 1952


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Lily Ann Carol, circa 1945

Carol originally started out at 18 as the vocalist in Louis Prima's Orchestra back in 1940, with her best known recording being "I'll Walk Alone” in 1944. She left Prima’s band in 1946 for a solo music career, her spot taken up by Cathy Allen, then Florida Keyes, until Prima found Keely Smith in 1948. Carol would later form a successful nightclub act with husband and saxophonist Joe Barone, in a style not unlike her work with Prima.

---

"It Wouldn't Be The Same (Without You)" is a sweet little ballad, an interesting choice for the teen-aged singer to brandish at the Memphis Recording Service in early January 1954.


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Elvis Presley, "It Wouldn't Be The Same (Without You)" (January 1954 acetate)
Notice how Elvis coolly drops to a baritone just once, as he begins the reprise of the bridge, a hint of how he would change the world in just two year's time.


It Wouldn't Be The Same (Without You)
Fred Rose, Jimmy Wakely
© Milene Music, ASCAP

I could wander the byways that we wandered through
But it wouldn't be the same without you
Those familiar old places would just make me blue
I just wouldn't be the same without you

I wasted my love on a careless romance
But I'd do it again if I had the chance
I could start my life over with somebody new
But it wouldn't be the same without you

I wasted my love on a careless romance
But I'd do it again if I had the chance
I could start my life over with somebody new
But it wouldn't be the same without you


Although the 1950 versions by Rogers cannot be reviewed, it's not a toss-up as to which inspired Elvis: my money was always on Lily Ann's RCA single.

Even before finding Carol's single on YouTube, it was clear the Presley rendition felt more pop than country, and the other number he brought to 706 Union that day was a recent top 25 hit by another female singer, Joni James ("I'll Never Stand In Your Way," November 1953, US Pop #23).

On June 26, less than six months after this 1954 demo session, Elvis would be called to Sun by Marion Keisker for an official try-out with owner and producer Sam Phillips.


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Elvis Presley, circa 1952
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:58 pm

Awesome and fascinating post Doc! Thanks again!

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:51 pm

Excellent post. Cheers ::rocks

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:24 pm

Thanks Doc.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:21 pm

Are there sound samples availabe?

colonel snow

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:01 pm

Thanks a lot Doc, great work ::rocks

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:04 pm

colonel snow wrote:Are there sound samples availabe?

colonel snow


It sure would be interesting to hear it if it can be found somewhere.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:43 pm

If anyone has sound samples, please do post them here. That would be really interesting.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:43 pm

Jimmy Wakely and Elvis both worked with a little guy from Alabama, Charles F. Hodge. Charlie's book was full of references to Jimmy and his family.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:19 am

elvisjock wrote:Jimmy Wakely and Elvis both worked with a little guy from Alabama, Charles F. Hodge. Charlie's book was full of references to Jimmy and his family.

Actually, a little guy from Alabama, Charles F. Hodge, worked with Jimmy Wakely and Elvis. Of course, Charlie had nothing to do with the selection of the Wakely tune for the second Sun acetate, his association with each man began well after that.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:55 am

Excellent detective work, bravo.

Just to add to the list of possibilities, Dude Martin's Roundup Gang issued the song as a single on Mercury (6290) in early 1951.

It's similar to Elvis' take (though with a more pronounced walltz beat).

He also uses the line "'Cause it wouldn't be the same ..." at the end of verse 1 the same way that Elvis does.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:24 am

Jimmy Wakely did write the song.

Like others who recorded it perhaps Elvis heard JW sing it live or it appeared on a LP and was a radio hit.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:25 am

George Smith wrote:Excellent detective work, bravo.

Just to add to the list of possibilities, Dude Martin's Roundup Gang issued the song as a single on Mercury (6290) in early 1951.

It's similar to Elvis' take (though with a more pronounced walltz beat).

He also uses the line "'Cause it wouldn't be the same ..." at the end of verse 1 the same way that Elvis does.

Thanks, George!

Dude Martin, that's interesting! My suspicion is Martin's vocal may be following the one heard on the earlier MGM release by Al Rogers. Like that disc, the December 1950 Mercury platter was a B-side, with the label pushing the A-side, "If You Want Some Lovin'," as sung by Sue Thompson.


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Billboard - January 13, 1951
Notice Mercury ad truncates the Rose-Wakely title, and is hawking the A-side, sung by Sue Thompson.

As Martin's band was from the West Coast, he may not have garnered much Southern radio airplay.

One thing is certain, there is no known Jimmy Wakely recording on single or album.



KiwiAlan wrote:Jimmy Wakely did write the song.

As noted in my original post, Wakely co-wrote the song with Fred Rose.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:50 pm

According to the discography on this site the song was never recorded by Jimmy Wakely.


colonel snow


http://countrydiscography.blogspot.com/ ... ly%20Jimmy

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:32 pm

colonel snow wrote:According to the discography on this site the song was never recorded by Jimmy Wakely.

http://countrydiscography.blogspot.com/search/label/Wakely%20Jimmy

Yup.

This was one of my research points, it's a very dedicated country music site.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:17 pm

Great detective work ..............

it was recorded in 1996 by Jerry Byrd.....Not relevant to the above I know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cOG4K6NKZ8

and Chris Isaak in 2001.............this is a 2009 concert version

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd5rU4h16Mc

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:47 am

kevinstevenage wrote:Great detective work ..............

it was recorded in 1996 by Jerry Byrd.....Not relevant to the above I know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cOG4K6NKZ8


Thanks for the kind words. The Jerry Byrd recording offers the late Kalani Fernandes on vocals. It's a nice, Hawaiian-flavored arrangement.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:45 am

Excellent column Doc!
I believe we all owe you a big "Thank You" for the due diligence that you put in before starting a new discussion. I know you have your detractors but you are a true gift to this bizzaro Elvis World we have all built up.
Keep up the good work and we will keep reading!

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:22 am

Excellent column and VERY interesting reading thanks!~ :lol:

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:54 am

Blue-Gypsy wrote:Excellent column Doc!
I believe we all owe you a big "Thank You" for the due diligence that you put in before starting a new discussion. I know you have your detractors but you are a true gift to this bizzaro Elvis World we have all built up.
Keep up the good work and we will keep reading!

Wow, thank you for the kudos. How Elvis made the magic is always worth chasing.

I sure wish someone had samples they could post of the versions from 1950 and 1952.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:38 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Blue-Gypsy wrote:Excellent column Doc!
I believe we all owe you a big "Thank You" for the due diligence that you put in before starting a new discussion. I know you have your detractors but you are a true gift to this bizzaro Elvis World we have all built up.
Keep up the good work and we will keep reading!

Wow, thank you for the kudos. How Elvis made the magic is always worth chasing.

I sure wish someone had samples they could post of the versions from 1950 and 1952.

Here is Dude Martin's Roundup Gang "It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You" sample:
circa 1951
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wouldnt-Be-Same ... B002BS3M9U
Very similar style to Presley's acetate.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:45 pm

I enjoyed it Doc
Very interesting indeed!
Joe K

www.elvis2001.net

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:23 am

promiseland wrote:Here is Dude Martin's Roundup Gang "It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You" sample:

circa 1951

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wouldnt-Be-Same ... B002BS3M9U

Very similar style to Presley's acetate.

How kind to locate this. Here is a direct link to the mp3:

Dude Martin, "It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You" (Amazon sample)

It does sound very familiar!

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery!

Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:43 am

Elvis2001.net wrote:I enjoyed it Doc
Very interesting indeed!
Joe K

http://www.elvis2001.net

Thank you kindly, Joe K.

Re: Jimmy Wakely Inspiration --> A 1954 Mystery No More!

Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:31 am

UPDATE!

Someone uploaded Lily Ann Carol's October 1952 single to YouTube, and I have added it to the original post.

Her version is gorgeous, and even though it didn't chart, it's clear now that Carol's rendition was the one Elvis carried with him into Sun fifteen months later. How unusual Elvis chose to cover two female pop singles in an effort to capture the attention of Sam Phillips. Or maybe this is typical of Elvis after all.

Thanks to FECC member George Smith for finding Lily's recording.
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.