THE GUEST MUSICIANS
Freddie Tavares (1913 to 1990) Ukulele
Freddie Tavares was perhaps the most admired and revered person in the early days of the Fender Guitar factory. Longtime veteran Bill Carson said of him, "He was the greatest man in both musical talent and personal integrity that I worked with at Fender." Affable and modest, the Hawaiian-born Tavares always had a ready smile and a joke to share, and he often composed songs for employees and serenaded them on their birthdays. Freddie was an accomplished artist in both the Hawaiian Steel and Spanish styles. With his musical skills, engineering intuition, Hollywood connections, and workbench know-how, he played a pivotal role in helping Mr. Fender translate the evolving needs of musicians into workable designs. Humble by nature, Freddie deflected any credit for his accomplishments, and yet he made invaluable contributions to some of Fender's most historic products, including the Stratocaster® and the four-10 tweed Bassman® amp.Also know as rendering the steel guitar glissando on the Looney Tunes cartoon theme song
Bernie Kaai Lewis (1921-1984) Ukulele
His full name was Bernal Keoki Kalaauokalani Kaai. Lewis was a hanai (adopted) name from the laukea Lewis family of Kona, and Bernie has written of his birth and childhood at Hakalau near Hilo, on the Big Island. He was already composing music by the age of 14 . He became one of the youngest arrangers ever to work on the staff of HBC, San Francisco, and he composed a number of major works, "California Panorama", "Hawaiian Suite" and "Hawaiiana", which have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl. He has conducted and arranged for symphony orchestras as well as working with many of the leading West Coast Hawaiian musicians, as steel guitarist, guitarist or singer, Bernie became a member of ASCAP . He was also a long-time associate of bandleader/singer/composer Paul Rage, and for a number of years served as musical director for the Grammy Awards. ln the mid-1970s he was musical director for Don Thorup of Kolapa Productions, who put out a series of fine Hawaiian albums, several of which included Bernie. while his steel guitar playing had an extraordinary fluidity and originaliry. Sweet as honey it could swing HARD! "Steel Guitar Boogie", one of his many compositions, comes from what appears to be his very first recording session in 1946.
The Surfers' :Left to Right Bernie Ching,Pat Sylva,and Clay also known as Clayton, Naiuai and his brother Alan,also known as Al Naiuai.
Through the intervention of executives at Decca Records, Decca signed them after their HIFI records contract ran out (and for some unknown reason, changed their name to 'The Hawaiian Surfers') The label's parent company was MCA Corporation, which also controlled Paramount Studios, and Paramount was the company that produced Blue Hawaii, Elvis' eigth movie.
Alvino Rey(stage name)Steel guitar
Alvin McBurney (July 1, 1908 - February 2, 2004),
The innovative sounds of the father of the pedal steel guitar, Alvino Rey,died aged 95, influenced guitarists as disparate as Duane Eddy and Jimi Hendrix, and bands like the Ventures and the Shadows. In the late 1930s, working with the Gibson company, he had helped to develop the Electroharp pedal steel guitar, which he called his console, using six pedals to bend the steel strings.
From 1944 to 1945, Rey served with the US navy, but after the war returned to the charts with Cement Mixer, his guitar providing appropriate sounds. His signature tune, Blue Rey, featured Luise's vocals fed through his guitar amplifier, a trick well ahead of its time. When big bands declined
at the end of the 1940s, he played in small combos with his brother-in-law, organist Buddy Cole. He returned to the limelight as Alvino Rey And His Talking Guitar on The King Family ABC-TV variety show (1965-71). In the 1980s he led an orchestra at Disneyland. formed a quintet that played around Salt Lake City. In 1996, he made his final appearance, with Luise singing, at the Utah centenary celebrations.
George Fields Harmonica
The Harmonica Gentlemen was a "TRIO" consisting of George Fields (chromatic harmonica), Leo Friedman (chord harmonica), and Don Ripps (bass harmonica). They are largely remembered now for recording with The Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye. George Fields had a solo career as harmonicist and is best known for his harmonica solo "Moon River" in Henry Mancini's score for Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Ray Siegal Bass (Post Scoring) : 'Blue Hawaii was a tremendous movie,we did so much recording,and so much work on it,and it went over very well, it was very beautiful.***
Charles O'Curran points out to Elvis the 'Mount Kenya Safari Club' logo on his suit
See here for more info : http://www.haciendahotsprings.com/RayRyan.htm
Paramount Music meeting , March 20th,1961
Music meeting took place at 10.30am in Hal Wallis' office,Hollywood.
Those at the meeting were, alongside Elvis and Mr.Wallis, Paul Nathan (Associate Producer/Movie), Charlie O Curran (Paramount Musical Choreographer),Freddy Bienstock(Music Publisher) and Tom Diskin (Colonel Parker's right hand man, Parker was already in Hawaii , preparing for the Hawaiian Benefit concert). A schedule of songs for the movie was developed for the recording session(Starting on the 21st of March, at Radio Recorders studio in Hollywood). Songs,instruments and singers that would be required,were discussed,alongside final demo playbacks. Joseph J. Lilley (Conductor/music score) submitted his final order of the musical numbers for the movie,with the input of Bill Stinson (Head of the music department at Paramount)Elvis then went to Radio Recorders for rehearsals.
Juliet Prowse remarked in a newspaper article dated March 22nd,"I did 'G.I. Blues' with Elvis last year and you remember in that he sang about 10 songs, he kept bursting into song,are you ready for this? In this picture he has 16 songs". This confirms that 'Playing With Fire' was part of the song line-up at this point,and was dropped at the above mentioned meeting on the 20th,which then left 15 songs including 'Steppin Out O f Line' which was then cut from the film later.
Note : It's been well documented that Juliet Prowse was the original choice to star alongside Elvis in Blue Hawaii,and had already attended make up and wardrobe tests before making demands which in the end Hal Wallis did not approve.
Script dated 17th of March 1961,where 'Playing With Fire' can be seen to be still part of the song line-up.The above meeting on the 20th is most likely the time when the number was dropped.The photographs from the recording studio,seen below,are most likely to be from the rehearsal's on the Monday afternoon of the 20th of March,as the studio publicity department would on most occasion's such as this, take the photo's on the first visit to the studio.As can be seen,many are of poor quality - and I would be grateful if anyone had either new or improved photo's from this time.
Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
Soundtrack Session for "Blue Hawaii"
Paramount Producer : Joseph Lilley
Engineer : Thorne Nogar
Recorded in 3-Track Stereo
The Surfers : Pat Sylva; Bernie Ching; Clay Naluai; Al Naluai
The Jordanaires : Gordon Stoker; Neal Matthews; Hoyt Hawkins; Ray Walker
Guitar : Hank Garland
Guitar : Scotty Moore
Guitar : Hilmer J "Tiny" Timbrell
Bass : Bob Moore
Drums : DJ Fontana
Drums : Hal Blaine
Percussion : Bernie Mattinson
Piano / Celeste : Dudley Brooks
Piano : Floyd Cramer
Harmonica : George Fields
Saxophone : Homer "Boots" Randolph
Ukulele : Bernie Lewis
Ukulele : Fred Tavares
Steel Guitar : Alvino Rey
Monday, March 20th 1961, Hal Wallis' Office,Paramount Studios,Hollywood
10.30 -12.00am Meeting (see above)
1.00 - 6.00pm ,Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
Tuesday,March 21st 1961,Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
1.00pm - 11.50pm
Aloha Oe (Section 2)
Wednesday,March 22nd 1961,Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
1.00 - 6.55pm
Ito Eats (Tag for Movie)
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Island Of Love
Steppin' Out Of Line
Steppin' Out Of Line (Movie Version)
Almost Always True
Thursday,March 23rd 1961,Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
09.00 - 12.00 noon
Aloha Oe (The Surfers)
Aloha Oe (Composite)
Can't Help Falling In Love (Movie Version)
Can't Help Falling In Love
Beach Boy Blues
Beach Boy Blues (Movie Version)
Rock A Hula Baby
Hal Blaine - background left of Elvis' shoulder,Scotty Moore front left,Elvis,Joseph Lilley and Charles O'Curran in the centre,with Alvino Rey on steel pedal guitar on the right.
Left To Right - Charles O'Curran,Elvis,The Jordanaires,Freddie Travares and The Surfers.
The Jordanaires left of frame,Bernie Ching from The Surfers,Elvis and Freddie Tavares sat down on the right playing the Ukulele.Charles O'Curran right of frame.
The Jordanaires,The Surfers,Elvis and Freddie Tavares,Charles O' Curran and Joseph J. Lilley.
The Jordanaires,The Surfers,Elvis and a slightly tired Freddie Tavares.
The Jordanaires,The Surfers,Elvis and Freddie Tavares.
Clayton Naluai from The Surfers : On the soundtrack recording, they wanted to have an authentic Hawaiian sound, So they asked us if we'd be willing to do the soundtrack album with him. We spent three days in the studio..that's how long we spent working on that soundtrack. We had a great time doing it! Elvis was a nice, nice guy. He wasn't a prima donna. If he walked anywhere, he'd be mobbed! He had this entourage of guys that went around with him, just to keep him company, otherwise, he'd have been a very, very lonely man* http://lpintop.tripod.com/oldiesconnection/id65.html
Bob Moore on upright guitar(masked)Elvis,Scotty Moore sat with his guitar. Hal Blaine in the background and Charles O'Curran right.
Elvis looks over a lyric sheet with Charles O'Curran,and Scotty Moore on the right of frame.
Charles O'Curran : I remember in Blue Hawaii where he had his inevitable brawl and went to jail. There he sang 'Beach Boy Blues' in which he referred to his pineapple-growing family and his predicament in these words-'I'm a kissin' cousin to a ripe pineapple and I'm in the can!' He several times completely broke up while we were recording that one!' It was my job, in fact, to study the script and the songs and make sure they merged without slowing down the storyline. First we would record all the songs in a recording studio,and then on the set playback the tapes as the visual part of the picture was filmed. This often meant that I had to make Elvis - who did not need to sing but just move his hips in time to the recording - look as if he was singing.
Sometimes I had to coax him along like a cheer leader - leaping about behind the camera and telling him to mimic me. Can you just imagine it - a middle aged man jumping about showing the man they called 'Elvis the Pelvis' how to shake,rattle and roll! Ah,the secrets of film-making.
Freddy and Julian Aberbach invited writer Don Robertson to the first day of the Blue Hawaii soundtrack recording session,and recalled the following story.
Don Robertson : By 1961,Elvis had already recorded several of my songs,and someone sent word to me that he wanted to meet me.He was working on a project at Radio Recorders on Santa Monica Bouvlevard in L.A. and I went over to the studio.I was there for the last hour,I think they were almost through, He was standing there in his little captain's hat at the microphone,and I waited in the control room,after a bit he came in during a break and introduced himself, and we just sat and talked some,the two of us, and talked for five or ten minutes,and he told me how he got started in the music business,he was very charming,very humble,sweet,an altogether appealing person.
After a short visit he went back into the studio, and before he started his next song, he stepped up to the microphone and did a little parady of my song,he sang,"When the evening shadows fall and you're wondering who to ball, for a little company,There's Always me". He looked at me and kind of smiled and winked.^^ I was just there maybe the last hour. I think they were almost through,because that's one of the times when he said,'Would you like to come up to the house?" It was towards the end of the session because I think we went over to the Knickerbocker Hotel - followed them over there, then we rode up to the house in a cab,with some of The Jordanaires. Gordon Stoker for one.
They needed a Ukulele for something and they didn't have one in the studio,that must have been 'Blue Hawaii',and Irene who was there with me,went over to Glen Wallach's Music City on the corner of Sunset and Vine which was the big music store there,that later became Capitol Records - and rented a Ukulele and brought it back for Tiny to play.>>
Note: This moment can be heard on the FTD Elvis Blue Hawaii Special Edition,at the start of take 15 of 'Slicin' Sand' Disc 2,recorded on March 21st 1961. With the description of Elvis wearing his captain's hat on this evening,and this being towards the end of that nights recording(ending at 11.50pm) My thoughts are that the session photo's are from the rehearsal's on the afternoon of the 20th.
Tiny Timbrell Guitarist : On 'Blue Hawaii I played ukulele with about six other ukulele players. They started bringing bringing musicians in from Nashville. They brought Floyd Cramer in on piano,and Hank Garland was playing the third guitar at that time. Hank was an enormous player,but I found that some of the guitarists that came here,like Hank Garland,some of those guys,they couldn't read music,so everything had to be done by head arrangements, but to their credit, they could hear something once and remember it for the rest of their lives! They had an amazing ear. We had a situation one time,the first time that Hank Garland came out here, so, he being a visiting fireman from Nashville, they gave him the solo parts to play on guitar, or it wasn't so much solo as it was unison with the piano.,and Scotty and I and he were working together, and I could see during rehearsal that he was having a tremendous amount of problems. He turned over to me and said,'Tiny would you mind playing these parts?' I said, 'No Hank' and so I gave him the rhythm guitar part which I had,and I played the unison part with the piano and so on. And after we got finished rehearsing I said, 'Don't you read very well in Nashville?',and he said, 'Not enough to hurt your playing'.***
(Above and Below) Elvis being shown how to play the Ukulele by Bernie Lewis
Ben Weisman : (Moonlight Swim was a hit at the time for Actor Tony Perkins) For some reason or other they (Paramount) wanted it for the movie 'Blue Hawaii'.(I wrote it with) Sylvia Dee,who wrote a song called 'Too Young'. She had some very,very big hits. She passed away,the poor lady,a very sweet lady,and extremely talented,she also wrote 'The End Of The World',she had a big country hit with that one,we were very dear friends,I thought she was a marvellous lady.'Steppin' Out Of Line', as you know,was taken out of the movie."Playing With Fire" was originally submitted to Elvis,he has recorded so many things that were never released, so I'm not really sure what's 'in the can' at this point".
I think I was on that session(Blue Hawaii),it was the year before I got married,so I know. I had come out here in 1961,and I came out for a whole year. It was before I got married, so I lay in siege, you might say. It was a good session. He kidded around a lot on that date. I have stuff on tape at home of things he did in the studio.^ I also had a thing called 'Rock-A-Hula Baby',which was the single from the movie,the other side was 'Can't Help Falling In Love'.
Roy C. Bennett : When we got the script..we would write a song a day from the scripts, at least a song a day, and the most we wrote were four. The most songs we got in a movie was five. That was 'Blue Hawaii'. In the case of 'Ito Eats' and 'Slicin Sand', 'Ito Eats' was an introduction to 'Slicin Sand', but they made it two different songs! Which made us happy! They expanded it. I think Charlie O' Curran may have expanded it a bit.
"What's with the sunglasses on in the studio boys?"Elvis standing next to the Celeste,in conversation with Guitarist Bob Moore and Ray Walker.
Bob Moore Bass Guitar : I like the 'Blue Hawaii album - that's one of my favourites***
Dudley Brooks foreground,Elvis by the folded down Celeste centre, and Charles O'Curran right.
Dudley Brooks sat at the piano with Elvis.
Dudley Brooks : I definitely worked on one number that was one of the strong songs. 'I Can't Help Falling In Love With You' - that's me playing 'Ave Maria' type of piano,and I did a couple of other little numbers..'Ito Eats' was one of them, and the title track,'Blue Hawaii', I played on that.
Floyd Cramer : Yeah, well, we did that in California,the soundtrack(Blue Hawaii),and he (Dudley Brooks) did play on some of the cuts on the session,but I was too.***
Hal Blaine : I was traveling and working with Patti Page, who's just a sweetheart! Just an absolute darling. She was married to a guy who was a choreographer at Paramount Pictures. His name was Charles O 'Curran. Real nice guy. One time, when we were off the road, he said to me, I've got a special job coming up . . . Meanwhile, I had been working in the studios, and with big time people. Charles knew this, and he knew my track record and that he could count on me to work with him on this next project. I agreed to work with him, as long as I would have enough notice. He gave me a couple of dates when I was supposed to report to Paramount Pictures to a certain conference room. I had already been working at Paramount Pictures as an actor, and these people knew me as an actor. When I walked in a musician, they said We cant use you as a musician, we need musicians, not actors. It took some convincing (laughs) to prove that I was really a musician. Anyway, this whole secret project was Elvis Presley. Elvis walked in to this room and it was like a Sinatra thing, I guess you might say, everybody was on fire. Nobody knew what the hell was going on. This was a secret, hello-meeting, get together . . . It turned out that Elvis did not like strangers around him. When he was working with people he wanted people that he knew, or people that knew that person. And I guess that Buddy Harman and DJ Fontana had convinced the people at Paramount that I would be a good guy to work with Elvis.
That's how I got the call, once again it was like who you knew. And Charlie O'Curran got me in on that, and I did the music and they wanted Hawaiian stuff. The contractor at Paramount Pictures said "bring everything that you own that looks Hawaiian." So I went to a drum shop and I rented every **** drum, percussion thing that looked anything like... I don't care if it was from Turkey, or Taiwan it became Hawaiian! As a matter of fact I kind of became technical advisor for Hawaiian movies.(Laughs) Which is a whole other farce.Paramount Pictures cost was no object,they used to guarantee me $1000 a day to work with Elvis, to not take record dates as such and just keep myself available to Elvis,because Elvis worked so hard himself, he automatically created harder work for other people, I mean, if you go in and work with some star who really dosn't give a damn,you know, who's lackadasical about everything, it's like 'Well that's good enough', you know,that's 'That's close enough','That's good', and everyone on the set is gonna be the same way,but when Elvis really wanted it to be right you know,and everyone sees this going on,and everyone's sees Elvis saying 'I want this just right', 'Let me do this again' and 'I want to do this properly' then everyone falls into that same routine - consequently we got hit records and hit movies.^
That's when I met Elvis, and Elvis knew about my work and he was extremely nice, he really was a gentleman. He had all of those guys with him that were countrified guys, but good guy's. But of course... and I've told this story many times, that no matter what, if Elvis said "I'm a lil' bit thirsty" Fifteen guy's would bust their ass to get to him with the coca-cola. Fall over chairs, music stands, anything to hand him the coke. So the first couple of years working with Elvis I'd gotten to know these guy's real well. Joe Esposito who later came with us with John Denver, Lance LeGalt was a guy that I accidentally hired, he passed himself off as a bass player and I had no idea, I brought the guy in, and he and Elvis were Karate experts and they just fell in love instantly you know, cause Elvis used to do that sh*t, he'd walk across the room and without anyone knowing it he would turn on one of the guy's, HI-YA! You know, throw a punch at em', or kick em' in the nuts, or knock them down or something. And these guy's loved it! So naturally they were all studying Karate. Anyway, we always had a wonderful, wonderful time working with Elvis, good bread! Never worked so hard that it killed you. What used to killed me was that you would see a couple of new songwriters... now Ben Weissman wrote a lot of those songs, a helluva nice guy! But sometimes you'd see new songwriters and Elvis would be rehearsing their song, and you'd see these two people maybe a man and a woman, and they would just be smiling from ear to ear...their just so **** happy. They're gonna make millions..(laughs)..and then all of a sudden Elvis would say "Ah don't think ah like this song!" And that's the end of it!
Ben Weisman :
Rock-A-Hula Baby - Music for the film Blue Hawaii was a challenge, because of the location, I thought the music should have a Hawaiian flavor, but with a rock beat. At the time, the twist was very hot, and I found that the twist and the hula were perfect together,out of that combination 'Rock-A-Hula Baby was born.
Patti Page :
When I was at the recording sessions at Paramount, when he recorded the songs for the movies, he was always moving.
Gordon Stoker from The Jordanaires : Can't help falling in love, that's really, I guess, one of my all time favourites. It will always mean a lot to me , because he was talking a lot about Priscilla on that session. That was the first time that we really heard very much about her. He told us about meeting her in Germany,and what a cute little girl she was.He lived each song he sang When he sang 'Can't Help Falling In Love' he meant what he was singing.
Elvis and co-star Flora Hayes - Mrs. Manaka who was featured in the production number 'Can't Help Falling In Love'.
'No More' - I love the tune, the words, and everything, and if I had a second choice, it would be 'Moonlight Swim'. We had great fun with that one!
'Hawaiian Wedding Song' - I think one has to see the film to appreciate that particular song fully.
'Ito Eats' - That one's sure funny! You know, they put that song on the track, and don't ask me why - they left that end bit in where Ito is sick. Sure don't don't know why..I sure don't know.**
Hal Blaine 'Hawaiian Wedding Song :
I spent a lot of time in Hawaii and this is one of my favourite songs of all times. I can remember sitting behind Elvis and playing my small tom tom all over this song. It brought tears to my eyes then and still does today on the air.
In January of 1961, I had received a letter from Freddy Bienstock at Elvis Presley music in New York regarding material for Elvis to perform in one of the scenes in the movie, Blue Hawaii. Because of the great success of 'It's Now Or Never'(adapted from O Solo Mio), he said they would like to have another adaption of an old Italian or French (public domain) folk song with new English lyrics for Elvis to record. I remember one of my childhood favourites, La Paloma. I enlisted Hal Blair's aid and we began work on it.
I didn't have a copy of the music, so I worked it out from memory. This was probably a blessing in disguise, because it took on a unique quality, different from the song I had learned as a child. Hal and I spent most of the day in my office in Hollywood. I sat at the piano and he pulled up a chair next to me and we followed our usual procedure, both of us coming up with lyric phrases and trying them out as I worked on the arrangement and sang in Elvis' style. The lyric and the arrangement gradually evolved until we had a song we thought would fit Elvis and that we felt he might like.
I sat up a demo session at RCA on Sunset Blvd, just down the street my office. I forgotten who the engineer was, most likely either Al Schmidt or Jim Malloy. I overdubbed my vocal and, despite the small orchestra, we came out with what seemed to be a pretty effective expression of the song. I made a lead sheet and sent it, along with the demo, to Freddy.
The fact that the arrangement on Elvis' recording follows my demo almost note for note - including my vocal phrasing - was a rewarding validation of the effectiveness of the demo as well as telling Hal and me we hit the bull's eye with the song.*
Joan Blackman who played Maile Duval and Elvis who played Chad Gates pose for a publicity still taken in Hollywood,late May 1961.
Paramount Scoring Stage - Hollywood, California
Soundtrack Session for "Blue Hawaii"
Paramount Producer : Joseph Lilley
Engineer : Phil Wisdom
March 28th 1961
Ku-u-i-po (Movie Version)
Island Of Love (Movie Version)
Guest Vocalists on 'Moonlight Swim' Overdub on March 28th 1961
Loulie Jean Norman 1913 - 2005 in Los Angeles was a famous coloratura soprano,along with Jacqueline (Jackie) Allen, Dorothy McCarthy, and Virginia Rees.
The original version of 'Moonlight Swim' was recorded in april 1957 by Nick Noble on the Mercury label 71169
The actor Anthony Perkins recorded his version in september 1957 on RCA Victor 20-7020
'Blue Hawaii' - 22-02-37 recorded by Bing Crosby Decca 1175 / Decca 25011
Also recorded by Patti Page for Mercury and Frank Sinatra for Capitol.
'Almost always true' - based on the tune of Alouette>> in 1906 recorded by Edouard Lebel.
'Aloha Oe' recorded by Royal Hawaiian Troubadours.
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Recorded in 1926 as Ke kali nei au by Nina Keielwakana. also by Charles King.
Bing Crosby recorded the song with the title Here ends the rainbow. New lyrics were used for Hawaiian wedding song and now the original recording was made by Andy Williams.
'No more' - based on the tune of La Paloma and was recorded in 1896 by Ferrucio Giannini on Berliner.
'Can't Help Fallin' In love '- based on the tune of Plaisir d'amour and was recorded by Charles Gillibert.
The Miami News,August 21st 1961.
Joseph Lilley died on January 1st 1971
<>My thoughts are that this photo maybe(left) of William R.(Bill)Stinson,executive vice president and general manager of Paramount Music.
With thanks to the following
^ETMAHM No.13 Interview by Jan-Erik Kieseth
*Ken Sharp Interview extract from book 'Elvis Writing For The King'
**Taken from Elvis Monthly Albert Hand Interview during the filming of 'Kid Galahad'
^1971 Watermark radio series.
^^Taken from Elvis By those Who Knew Him Best by Rose Clayton and Dick Heard and Careless Love Interview 1989 Don Robertson by Peter Guralnick.
>>Interview by Gordon Minto with Don Robertson ETMHM 34
Juliet Prowse - The Montreal Gazette - Mar 22, 1961
With thanks Davide
Please Don't Copy
Last edited by davide on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:16 am, edited 10 times in total.