Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:37 am

"Well, I'm the King of The Jungle ..."


Image

Elvis Presley "Tiger Man" (NBC-TV, Burbank, CA - June 27, 1968, 8PM show)


"They call ... me Tiger Man!"


Back in the hot summer of 1953, around the time Elvis taped his first private demo at the Memphis Recording Service, Sun Records released a spirited new single from local musician, DJ and celebrity, Rufus Thomas.


phpBB [video]

Rufus Thomas, Jr. "Tiger Man (King of The Jungle)" (Sun 188, July 1953)


There is no doubt Elvis heard the song on WDIA Radio, and loved it from the first listen. He would later meet Thomas at a WDIA Benefit show.


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Rufus Thomas, Elvis - WDIA Benefit, December 7, 1956
Photo by Ernest C. Withers


Sun 188 did not chart, although Billboard gave it a very decent "76" rating that September:


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Billboard - September 26, 1953


Interestingly, Elvis' incendiary live version was captured almost exactly 15 years after Thomas recorded his version at Sun on June 30, 1953.


phpBB [video]

Elvis Presley - "Tiger Man" (NBC-TV, Burbank, CA - June 27, 1968, 8PM show)


Here we find "Tiger Man" going at least a minute longer than expected, due to Elvis' sheer enthusiasm for the Rufus Thomas Sun single. Presley could have run it out another minute, or ten, as he slams the door on yet another otherworldly small combo performance.

The live recording debuted on LP in late 1968, just before the TV special aired:


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Elvis Presley - Singer Presents Elvis Singing Flaming Star and Others (RCA, November 1968)
Image courtesy of the amazing site, www.elvisrecords.us | The Elvis Presley Record Research Database


Elvis' astounding performance was first seen on Sunday, August 17, 1969, when NBC substituted "Tiger Man" for the seasonal "Blue Christmas." Were many fans surprised to see it? I would have been thrilled! One imagines director Steve Binder was most delighted, as the inclusion of "Blue Christmas" was a concession to management's angry demands for a holiday song in the original broadcast the previous December.


And this beautiful RCA CD of the entire June 27, 1968 8PM concert appeared 30 years after the taping:


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Elvis Presley - Tiger Man (RCA, September 1998)


Now, that summer night when Elvis roared through Rufus Thomas' "Tiger Man" in front of NBC's cameras was no fluke. Presley was dipping into his own personal memories of Thomas' wonderful Sun single, and the sound HE created at 706 Union Avenue with producer Sam Phillips and musicians Scotty Moore and Bill Black in 1954.

In fact, further research strongly indicates Presley must have crafted a version of "Tiger Man" at Sun Studios in July or August of 1954.

Reviewing known tapes of nearly a full week of performances at the International Hotel in the summer of 1970, Presley clearly and unambiguously states that "Tiger Man" was his second record. And each time he includes a standalone rendition of the song.

Listen for yourself:

"That was called 'Tiger Man,' that was the second record I ever recorded."
Wednesday, August 19, 1970 DS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/doub_dyn_cd1_19_aug_70_ds/01.ram


"The second record that I ever recorded was called "Tiger Man."
Wednesday, August 19, 1970 MS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/doub_dyn_cd2_19_aug_70_ms/04.ram


"One of, the second record that I recorded was a song called 'Tiger Man,' not too many people heard it."
Thursday, August 20, 1970 DS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/a_dinner_bell_in_vegas/03.ram


"The second record that I ever recorded, uh, ladies and gentlemen, the story isn't too well known, but not too many people heard it but ... it's called 'Tiger Man.'"
Thursday, August 20, 1970 MS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/bright_midnight_with_elvis_lasvegas_august20_1970ms_imp/03.ram


"That was called 'Tiger Man,' that was the second record I ever recorded."
Friday, August 21, 1970 DS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/doub_dyn_cd1_19_aug_70_ds/01.ram


"The second record that I ever recorded, when I first started out in the business, was called 'Tiger Man.' And, uh (applause), you heard of it? Not too many people did."
Friday, August 21, 1970 MS
http://jordans-elvis-world.com/audio/lostlovin/3.ram

Thanks to Ciscoking for the Real Audio links!
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/


Late super-fan Rick Rennie taped these six shows from the audience in very good stereo, and may be found here:

August 19, 1970 DS -- Double Dynamite, CD 1 (Rock Legends)
August 19, 1970 MS -- Double Dynamite, CD 2 (Rock Legends)

August 20, 1970 DS -- A Dinner Bell In Vegas (Memory)
August 20, 1970 MS -- A Bright Midnight With Elvis (Memory)

August 21, 1970 DS -- From Vegas To Macon, CD 1 (Rock Legends)
August 21, 1970 MS -- You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (Audionics)

Two newly-released, quality audience CDs also include similar examples:

August 23, 1970 DS -- The Hillbilly Cat Live, (Graceland Records)
August 24, 1970 MS -- The Hillbilly Cat Returns (Graceland Records)

"Let's be serious for a second. One second, that's all! No. No, I did a song back when I first started out. Not too many people heard it, because I wasn't well-known at the time. My mother and daddy knew me but, uh, (laughs) ... said "Who's that?" ... the sideburns (ack)... uh, anyway, there was this song, it's called 'Tiger Man.' It goes like this ... uh, it's called 'Tiger Man."
Sunday, August 23, 1970 DS

"The second song that I ever recorded, not too many people heard it because I wasn't too well-known and, uh, it's called 'Tiger Man'."
Monday, August 24, 1970 MS


Thus, fans have at least EIGHT known instances of Elvis performing a standalone version of "Tiger Man" and referring to it as something cut at Sun, circa 1954. And he did this, night after night, for at least a week!


Now, guitarist Scotty Moore doesn't recall "Tiger Man" at all from those golden days. But, in the above noted 1970 concert recordings, Elvis sounds very matter of fact -- there is virtually no humour involved in his comments.


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Elvis Presley, after playing the Lamar-Airways shopping center opening in Memphis - Thursday, September 9, 1954
Elvis at 19, as he looked at the time he waxed "Tiger Man" at Sun Studios
Photo by Opal Walker



Somehow, though, Elvis, Scotty and Bill must have cut a version of "Tiger Man" as a possible follow-up to "That's All Right" (Sun 209), and then producer Sam Phillips pressed acetates for evaluation. Thus the origin of Elvis' "second record" that "not too many people heard" reference.

In any event, history proves that "Tiger Man" was passed over for "Good Rockin' Tonight" and lost to history after Sun 210 hit the market.

But ... where are those acetates today?

Did Elvis keep a copy for his own collection?

Could even one have survived?

Someone must know!


Image


"Ain't no end to this song, baby ..."
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Thu May 02, 2013 10:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:45 am

Good topic, nice background information. The answer to this has been long overdue. Hopefully something will be cleared up with Ernst's research for his future FTD SUN book project. This particular song is the one thing that remains of the highest significance to me out of all "undiscovered" Presley material.

We all know how our memories aren't the greatest, especially when one leads a hectic life like Presley and 15 odd years have passed. Elvis' own tales of his SUN days were inaccurate during his 1969 monologues - but it's clear that Elvis definately recorded "Tiger Man" at SUN, if he mentions it multiple times, there's no way he mis-remembers such an incident.

So Ernst, what have ya got?

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:59 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:"Well ... I'm the King of the Jungle,
They call ... me Tiger Man!"



Image

Elvis Presley - "Tiger Man" (NBC-TV, Burbank, June 27, 1968, 8 PM show)


Back in the hot summer of 1953, around the time Elvis taped his first private demo at the Memphis Recording Service, Sun Records released a great single from Memphis musician and DJ, Rufus Thomas.


phpBB [video]


Rufus Thomas, Jr. - "Tiger Man (King of The Jungle)" (Sun 188, July 1953)


There is no doubt Elvis heard the song on WDIA Radio, and loved it from the first listen. He would later meet Thomas at a WDIA Benefit show.


Image

Rufus Thomas, Elvis - WDIA Benefit, Dec 7, 1956
Photo by Ernest C. Withers


Sun 188 did not chart, although it earned a "76" in a Billboard review:


Image

Billboard - September 26, 1953


Interestingly, Elvis' incendiary live version was captured almost exactly 15 years after Thomas recorded his version at Sun on June 30, 1953.


phpBB [video]


Elvis Presley - "Tiger Man" (NBC-TV, Burbank, June 27, 1968, 8 PM show)


Here, "Tiger Man" goes at least a minute longer than expected, due to Elvis' sheer enthusiasm for the Rufus Thomas Sun single. Presley could have run it out another minute, or ten, as he slams the door on yet another astonishing small combo performance.

It was first issued on this LP in Nov 1968:


Image

Singer Presents Elvis Singing Flaming Star and Others (RCA, 1968)
Image courtesy of the amazing site, www.elvisrecords.us | The Elvis Presley Record Research Database


It was first seen on Sunday, August 17, 1969, when the NBC-TV rebroadcast substituted it for "Blue Christmas."


And this beautiful CD appeared about 30 years later, of the entire June 27, 1968 8 PM concert:


Image

Elvis Presley - Tiger Man (RCA/BMG 1998)


Now, the night in 1968 when Elvis roared through Rufus Thomas' "Tiger Man" in front of NBC-TV's cameras was no mere fluke. Presley was dipping into his own personal memories of the Thomas' wonderful 1953 Sun single, and the sound HE created at 706 Union with producer Sam Phillips, and musicians Scotty Moore and Bill Black a year later.

Yes, research makes clear that Elvis DID tape a version of "Tiger Man" at Sun Studios, in July or August of 1954.

In the summer of 1970, across several evenings of performances at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Presley clearly and unambiguously stated that "Tiger Man" was his second record. And each time he included a standalone rendition of the song.

Listen for yourself:

"That was called 'Tiger Man,' that was the second record I ever recorded."
Wednesday, August 19, 1970 DS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/doub_dyn_cd1_19_aug_70_ds/01.ram


"The second record that I ever recorded was called "Tiger Man."
Wednesday, August 19, 1970 MS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/doub_dyn_cd2_19_aug_70_ms/04.ram


"One of, the second record that I recorded was a song called 'Tiger Man,' not too many people heard it."
Thursday, August 20, 1970 DS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/a_dinner_bell_in_vegas/03.ram


"The second record that I ever recorded, uh, ladies and gentlemen, the story isn't too well known, but not too many people heard it but ... it's called 'Tiger Man.'"
Thursday, August 20, 1970 MS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/bright_midnight_with_elvis_lasvegas_august20_1970ms_imp/03.ram


"That was called 'Tiger Man,' that was the second record I ever recorded."
Friday, August 21, 1970 DS
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/cds/audio/stream/doub_dyn_cd1_19_aug_70_ds/01.ram


"The second record that I ever recorded, when I first started out in the business, was called 'Tiger Man.' And, uh (applause), you heard of it? Not too many people did."
Friday, August 21, 1970 MS
http://jordans-elvis-world.com/audio/lostlovin/3.ram

Thanks to Ciscoking for the Real Audio links!
http://ciscoking.jordans-elvis-world.com/


The late Rick Rennie taped these testimonies from the audience, in very good stereo.
He caught six performances in August 1970, and they ended up on these CDs:


August 19, 1970 DS -- Double Dynamite, CD 1 (Rock Legends)
August 19, 1970 MS -- Double Dynamite, CD 2 (Rock Legends)

August 20, 1970 DS -- A Dinner Bell In Vegas (Memory)
August 20, 1970 MS -- A Bright Midnight With Elvis (Memory)

August 21, 1970 DS -- From Vegas To Macon, CD 1 (Rock Legends)
August 21, 1970 MS -- You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (Audionics)



Guitarist Scotty Moore doesn't recall "Tiger Man" at all from those golden days. But, in the 1970 concert recordings, Elvis sounds very matter of fact -- there is no humour involved.

Somehow, though, Elvis, Scotty and Bill must have cut a version of "Tiger Man" as a possible follow-up to "That's All Right" (Sun 209), and perhaps Sam Phillips pressed acetate copies for evaluation. Thus, Elvis' "second record" that "not too many people heard" reference.

In any event, "Tiger Man" was passed over for "Good Rockin' Tonight" and was lost to history after that.

But ... where are those acetates today? Could even one have survived?

Did Elvis keep a copy for his own collection?

Someone must know.


Image

"Ain't no end to this song, baby ..."



You know I love a good Sun Topic, but, you bring nothing new to this topic.

The lost "Tiger man" Sun tape has still not been found.

Other than Elvis' mention of this, we would be none the wiser.

And its worth noting that Elvis doesn't make any mention of this Sun recording during
the 1968 rehearsal or the actual taping of the show.

Strange, because Steve Binder encouraged ELvis to talk and tell stories about his
good old days. It's funny he didn't mention anything, he just launched into it
with all his might.

It will be interesting to find out if Ernst has dug up something on this, or actually found
a tape.

And don't forget his karate name was "tiger". And he was a man.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:16 am

Do you realise that its impossible for Rob to wear a top hat,and top hats were once the hat of choice in his part of the world.


There's new information for me, I was obviously aware that he made the comment regarding it being his 2nd Single in August '70 , but I wasn't aware he said it six times !

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:18 am

Brilliant thread Doc! ::rocks

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:22 am

the full sp wrote:Good topic, nice background information.

Thank you, it took some time to compile.

the full sp wrote:Elvis' own tales of his SUN days were inaccurate during his 1969 monologues ...

Not exactly. Elvis conflated some stories, but the truth is always evident.

the full sp wrote:... if he mentions it multiple times, there's no way he mis-remembers such an incident.

This is my belief, coupled with the fact that he's dead serious each and every time he mentions it.

Ernst would have already issued any tape or acetate of a 1954 "Tiger Man." If it remains to be heard, it will have to come from a private collection, or someone's attic discovery.

Do you believe in the power of prayer?

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:25 am

Dan_T wrote:There's new information for me, I was obviously aware that he made the comment regarding it being his 2nd Single in August '70 , but I wasn't aware he said it six times !

This was a surprise for me as well, in my research of the Rick Rennie tapes.

One might say Elvis mentioned it at least six times that summer.


Joe Car wrote:Brilliant thread Doc! ::rocks

Thank you kindly, Joe Car.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:28 am

Dan_T wrote:Do you realise that its impossible for Rob to wear a top hat,and top hats were once the hat of choice in his part of the world.
Stop it.

There's new information for me, I was obviously aware that he made the comment regarding it being his 2nd Single in August '70 , but I wasn't aware he said it six times !

Obviously, you need to add some CD's to your collection. You're depriving yourself.

Great job, Doctor John.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:30 am

Damn, you're good, Rob.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:33 am

I'm sure it's in some privately stingy hands somewhere waiting for a massive payday from Sony.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:35 am

Rob wrote:Great job, Doctor John.

Thank you.

Don't you love this bit in the 1953 Billboard review?

Lyric does not make much sense, but will get some attention because of its weird quality.

Remember, Elvis was the "original squirrel."

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:40 am

carolynlm wrote:
Diggy wrote:I'm sure it's in some privately stingy hands somewhere waiting for a massive payday from Sony.

You really are a sad person......is there nothing you won't put a downer on?


Just pointing out the obvious, ma'am.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:41 am

If Elvis did record it.

Strange that Scotty can't remember it, if it was the second record you think he would.

His memory should be better than Elvis in that his mind had not been subject to drug abuse.

There has been no documentation, no Sam or Marion recollections or Smiley Lewis.

Would be fantastic if it turned up.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:44 am

KiwiAlan wrote:If Elvis did record it.

Strange that Scotty can't remember it, if it was the second record you think he would.

His memory should be better than Elvis in that his mind had not been subject to drug abuse.

There has been no documentation, no Sam or Marion recollections or Smiley Lewis.

Would be fantastic if it turned up.



Actually Sam did once mention it.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:47 am

KiwiAlan wrote:There has been no documentation, no Sam or Marion recollections or Smiley Lewis.

Smiley Lewis?

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:47 am

Diggy wrote:
KiwiAlan wrote:If Elvis did record it.

Strange that Scotty can't remember it, if it was the second record you think he would.

His memory should be better than Elvis in that his mind had not been subject to drug abuse.

There has been no documentation, no Sam or Marion recollections or Smiley Lewis.

Would be fantastic if it turned up.



Actually Sam did once mention it.



Source?

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:48 am

Hey, at least we have that smokin' 1975 studio jam!

As the Doc points out, it is either in the hands of a private collector or in someone's attic rotting away. Or, perhaps, it was erased by Phillips to conserve tape. One can only imagine how incredible it must have been considering the non-ballad SUN recordings really cook.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:50 am

I do encourage everyone to listen to those links.

When you actually hear Elvis, again and again, seriously speaking of "Tiger Man" as his "second record," it leaves the realm of conjecture.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:53 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Remember, Elvis was the "original squirrel."

He was just outta the trees.

Get him, man, get him!

Diggy wrote:
carolynlm wrote:You really are a sad person......is there nothing you won't put a downer on?
Just pointing out the obvious, ma'am.

At least he's polite, Carolyn.

midnightx wrote:Hey, at least we have that smokin' 1975 studio jam!

There's nothing wrong with that jam. It's not exactly smokin', but it is fun to listen to Elvis and the guys having a good time.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:54 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
the full sp wrote:Good topic, nice background information.

Thank you, it took some time to compile.

the full sp wrote:Elvis' own tales of his SUN days were inaccurate during his 1969 monologues ...

Not exactly. Elvis conflated some stories, but the truth is always evident.

the full sp wrote:... if he mentions it multiple times, there's no way he mis-remembers such an incident.

This is my belief, coupled with the fact that he's dead serious each and every time he mentions it.

Ernst would have already issued any tape or acetate of a 1954 "Tiger Man." If it remains to be heard, it will have to come from a private collection, or someone's attic discovery.

Do you believe in the power of prayer?


Oh yes, I don't believe Ernst is sitting on such a gem, but he may have uncovered some concrete information to confirm he recorded it, or that it may well exist out there. And I certainly do believe in the power of prayer!

Also....may this be included on what Vic Colonna is referring to on that other thread about, a mystery album that will rock our worlds. We can all dream surely? -- http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=32899&start=200

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:01 am

A neat 1954 image has been added to the original post.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:02 am

the full sp wrote:Also....may this be included on what Vic Colonna is referring to on that other thread about, a mystery album that will rock our worlds.

Unfortunately, a 1954 performance of "Tiger Man" will not be a part of that release.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:03 am

Thanks for another great and interesting read, Doc! Nice to see that you (probably) spotted our comments about "Tiger Man" in that other topic and decided to do a research and give us more "food for thought". ;) I always enjoy topics like this one... Let's hope that the actual recording still exist in someone's hand and we'll have the chance to listen to it one of these days!

Edit: just saw your post on the topic I mentioned! ;) Happy to see it made you inspired.
Last edited by billyblues on Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:20 am

Maybe it does exist, i certainly hope so, but just because Elvis mentions it 6 times in such a short period doesn't confirm anything. If he had mentioned it throughout the 70's, as it was performed quite a number of times, then i think that would add more credibility to your theory.
Remember "Hound Dog" and "Softly As I Leave you", he had a story to tell before those as well. I think that when something stuck in Elvis' mind before a paticular song he just repeated it for awhile.

Should we believe the story of "Softly..." just because Elvis repeated it quite a few times before the song was performed?

Re: Elvis Recorded "Tiger Man" At Sun --> Mystery Solved ?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:35 am

memfisking wrote:Maybe it does exist, i certainly hope so, but just because Elvis mentions it 6 times in such a short period doesn't confirm anything. If he had mentioned it throughout the 70's, as it was performed quite a number of times, then i think that would add more credibility to your theory.
Remember "Hound Dog" and "Softly As I Leave you", he had a story to tell before those as well. I think that when something stuck in Elvis' mind before a paticular song he just repeated it for awhile.

Should we believe the story of "Softly..." just because Elvis repeated it quite a few times before the song was performed?


Then again, he never performed "Tiger Man" on its own much times after 1970... I can remember two occasions in august '73 (and one in september? or am I dreaming?) and the march 29, 1975 MS. And for some reason I don't think he give it much of a thought in the mentioned occasions...

Though he performs the slow version during the aug. 11, 1973 MS after mentioning that the original tempo was "something like this". Food for thought: I enjoy the original Thomas' recording and I don't think it really sounds like that version... So maybe he was actually talking about his own version, his "second record"? :D