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John Gary - Unchained Melody

Thu May 16, 2013 1:07 am

For those that don't visit the picture section (see me after class!) I thought I'd share this too.

When John Gary met Elvis, apparently he sang Unchained Melody back to John using lots of John's mannerism's / phrasing etc. This was 1974 ish - a couple of years before Elvis started doing it, but I can definitely hear some of Elvis' version in this one, so thought you might like to hear it.

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Last edited by DarrylMac on Fri May 17, 2013 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Thu May 16, 2013 1:17 am

DarrylMac wrote:For those that don't visit the picture sectiion (see me after class!) I thought I'd share this too.

When John Gary met Elvis, apparently he sang Unchained Melody back to John using lots of John's mannerism's / phrasing etc. This was is 1974 ish - a couple of years before Elvis started doing it, but I can definitely hear some of Elvis' version in this one, so thought you might like to hear it.

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Gary is the one who recalled the visit, as I posted on another topic this week:

drjohncarpenter wrote:Here's a 1988 interview with Gary where he describes their meeting in detail:

"He was such a sweet man. He knew all my songs, and it turned out that Arthur Prysock, Robert Merrill and I were his three favorite singers. He said, 'If I could just sing like you' -- and I idolized him, so you can imagine how that made me feel. The first time we met, he showed me all these cards from his wallet, his karate card, the FBI card, his driver's license, like I was his dad or something, and then he sang 'Unchained Melody' with all the vocal tricks I used, as if to say 'See, I really do know your singing.'"

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1988-09-01/features/8801270140_1_john-gary-singing-card


Interesting Gary recalls Presley singing "Unchained Melody" to him. Elvis began doing it in concert beginning on December 27, 1976 in Wichita.

http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=76666&p=1167215#p1168211


I agree that Elvis definitely absorbed Gary's arrangement in the performance we know from June 1977. The meeting itself is actually undetermined, not "1974-ish," and could well be from December 1976, just before Elvis began to include "Unchained melody" in his concert repertoire.

Happy to have inspired you. ;-)

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Thu May 16, 2013 1:34 am

Doc - there's absolutely no way from the photo concerned the photo is from anywhere near 1976, and as I've clearly demonstrated in the thread concerned, is much more likely to be from 1974 by the attire / jewellery Elvis is wearing.

Here's the photo for those interested, and the thread can be found in the picture section entitled "Who's that with Elvis".

740200_w%20John%20Gary_Las%20Vegas.JPG


You certainly did a great job of identifying John Gary from that photo, and digging up the further info about Unchained Melody. I'd never have dug out John's lovely version of Unchained Melody without it, so I'm genuinely grateful. However, your thoughts on the date of the photo are way off. One givaway is the necklace - Elvis wore a gold medallion on a black rope that believe Lisa had made for him through the entire engagement. Plus, in all dec 76 pic, Elvis' eyebrows are very sparce, and he has a uniquely sickly look to his eyes - this is earlier, from, say, Jan / Feb 74!! :lol:
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Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Thu May 16, 2013 3:30 am

When Moody Blue came out I played it for my wife and parents and afterwards, my Dad, who thought Elvis' version was weak, said now we'll hear a great version of Unchained. He played the John Gary version. Gary also does a good Danny Boy. My folks loved him and I've heard a lot of his work.

Technically, Gary has a great voice and great talent and he has qualities I've always imagined Elvis might have envied. I could also think though, that he could be a singer Elvis might think didn't sing with much soul or feeling. He can hold a note for three minutes but it's still kind of boring.

If you want to hear a song with soaring vocals and amazing breath control, check out Gary's Once Upon A Time. It will amaze you and it is one of his best performances.

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Thu May 16, 2013 3:45 am

Beautiful version from John Gary!

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Thu May 16, 2013 4:44 am

DarrylMac wrote: I can definitely hear some of Elvis' version in this one, so thought you might like to hear it.


Cool. I'd never heard John Gary's version.

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Thu May 16, 2013 4:58 am

Nice thread!

I'd never heard that version before -- educational listen!

And the anecdote of Elvis meeting this singer... new to me as well.

I think it's clear that "Unchained Melody" ticked a lot of EP's boxes: from the many people who had performed it (inc. his idol: Roy Hamilton), the "old timey" romantic feel of the song with a quasi-spritual aspect (and it being, again, via Roy Hamilton, the other half of the "You'll Never Walk Alone" equation), and the fact that it gave him a chance to test his voice/show off and deliver something of a powerhouse performance, and at a time when he'd been encountering some difficulties on stage, as a result of the turmoil in his personal life which has begun to wear down his health and mentally/emotionally "unmake" him. Here was his chance to pay tribute to revered contemporaries, to eulogize his own troubles, and to soar through the blissful challenge of the music.

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Fri May 17, 2013 6:32 am

Renan wrote:Beautiful version from John Gary!

It really is, isn't it?

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Fri May 17, 2013 8:59 pm

DarrylMac wrote:This was 1974 ish - a couple of years before Elvis started doing it, but I can definitely hear some of Elvis' version in this one, so thought you might like to hear it.


Thanks for the posting this video!

When I was a little kid I saw John Gary portray King Arthur in the muscial Camelot. I would have probably been more excited about seeing him had I known that he was an inspiration to Elvis.

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Sat May 18, 2013 8:30 am

Thanks for the youtube clip. We can hear certain similarities of the Elvis version to that of John Gary's version.

InheritTheWind wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:This was 1974 ish - a couple of years before Elvis started doing it, but I can definitely hear some of Elvis' version in this one, so thought you might like to hear it.


Thanks for the posting this video!

When I was a little kid I saw John Gary portray King Arthur in the muscial Camelot. I would have probably been more excited about seeing him had I known that he was an inspiration to Elvis.



Good to see you back! So you had served your suspension!

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Sat May 18, 2013 9:47 pm

Jove wrote:Thanks for the youtube clip. We can hear certain similarities of the Elvis version to that of John Gary's version.

InheritTheWind wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:This was 1974 ish - a couple of years before Elvis started doing it, but I can definitely hear some of Elvis' version in this one, so thought you might like to hear it.


Thanks for the posting this video!

When I was a little kid I saw John Gary portray King Arthur in the muscial Camelot. I would have probably been more excited about seeing him had I known that he was an inspiration to Elvis.



Good to see you back! So you had served your suspension!


Thanks, Jove! Yes, I'm out on "parole." We'll see how long it lasts... I'm still trying to figure out what I did to land me in "jail." First time I've ever gotten in "trouble" in my life!

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Sat May 18, 2013 11:45 pm

DarrylMac wrote:For those that don't visit the picture section (see me after class!) I thought I'd share this too.

When John Gary met Elvis, apparently he sang Unchained Melody back to John using lots of John's mannerism's / phrasing etc. This was 1974 ish - a couple of years before Elvis started doing it, but I can definitely hear some of Elvis' version in this one, so thought you might like to hear it.

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Thanks for this thread bringing John Gary to the spotlight. He sings "UM" beautifully.

Re: John Gary - Unchained Melody

Sun May 19, 2013 2:57 pm

InheritTheWind wrote:
Jove wrote:Thanks for the youtube clip. We can hear certain similarities of the Elvis version to that of John Gary's version.

InheritTheWind wrote:
DarrylMac wrote:This was 1974 ish - a couple of years before Elvis started doing it, but I can definitely hear some of Elvis' version in this one, so thought you might like to hear it.


Thanks for the posting this video!

When I was a little kid I saw John Gary portray King Arthur in the muscial Camelot. I would have probably been more excited about seeing him had I known that he was an inspiration to Elvis.



Good to see you back! So you had served your suspension!


Thanks, Jove! Yes, I'm out on "parole." We'll see how long it lasts... I'm still trying to figure out what I did to land me in "jail." First time I've ever gotten in "trouble" in my life!


Hey, I like your Joe Strummer avatar!!