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"Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:57 am

One of the most wonderful discoveries from a tape search of the Graceland archives was Elvis' lovely 1966 home demo of Ned Miller's ballad "Dark Moon," with harmonies supplied by pal Charlie Hodge.

Presley's return over and over to the song's chorus, while playing his acoustic, would be a pattern revisited during the incredible June 1968 small combo jams. When Elvis liked a piece of music, he didn't want to let it go.

Check it out!


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Elvis Presley - "Dark Moon" (unedited 1966 home demo, Los Angeles)


But ... did you know the song was a big 1957 pop and country hit for one Bonnie Guitar?


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Billboard - March 30, 1957


Below is Bonnie's rendition, for those of you who've not heard it.

Enjoy!


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Bonnie Guitar "Dark Moon" (Dot 15550, March 23, 1957)
Billboard "Honor Roll of Hits" #2, June 17, 1957
Previously issued for the country market only on Fabor 4018.



Bonnie is still with us -- she lives in Tacoma, WA and just celebrated her 87th birthday on March 25.

Rock on, Bonnie!
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:24 am

Nice topic!

This Gale Storm rendition charted even higher on the pop chart that year, and featured the composer Ned Miller on guitar:

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Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:28 am

I like Bonnie's record better -- what say you?

IIRC, hers was the one that crossed over.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:46 am

Thanks for the thread,Doc
Here's another version and note the many covers done by Elvis.

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Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:42 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:I like Bonnie's record better -- what say you?

IIRC, hers was the one that crossed over.


Bonnie's is the best, for sure, for me even better than Elvis' home recording (I can never deal with when one of Elvis' crew loudly crows "YAWP!" in the middle).

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:42 am

Thanks Doc, that was cool of you to do. Bonnie's 45 is one I play often.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:40 am

And here's a Nashville sound version:

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Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:46 am

I like Bonnies version and Jim Reeves nails it!

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:10 pm

The song was recorded too on 13-04-57 by Hawkshaw Hawkins (RCA 20-6910); the version of Gale Storm was recorded on 06-04-57 (Dot 15558) while Bonnie Guitar recorded her version in jan. 1957 (Dot 15550).


colonel snow

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:13 pm

Jim Reeves nails everything! Whatever that bloke got his hands on turned to gold!

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:49 am

colonel snow wrote:The song was recorded too on 13-04-57 by Hawkshaw Hawkins (RCA 20-6910); the version of Gale Storm was recorded on 06-04-57 (Dot 15558) while Bonnie Guitar recorded her version in jan. 1957 (Dot 15550).

It's interesting that Storm covered Guitar's version, and they were both on the Dot label!

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:01 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:It's interesting that Storm covered Guitar's version, and they were both on the Dot label!


Bit dotty, really........................

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:00 pm

Dark Moon was the track that got my attention when I first listened the Golden Celebration box set. It's good song and a nice performance from Elvis. Out of the versions posted here I prefere the Bonnie Guitar's rendition.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:31 pm

Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:Jim Reeves nails everything! Whatever that bloke got his hands on turned to gold!


He couldn't nail Jailhouse Rock though Swingin...!!

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:04 pm

I've always loved Elvis informal performance of Dark Moon and would love to hear it in better fidelity. Anyone know the technical background of this home recording and what sources were used on Golden Celebration 1980 Lp issue, and the later 1998 Golden Celebration CD reissue?

Was Elvis' home recording made on a reel to reel tape recorder or acetate? Why is this You Tube version so scratchy? Is this a needledrop from the Golden Celebration Lp?

If the recording was originally made on tape, why hasn't Legacy issued a remastered version? Didn't the 1998 CD reissue of Golden Celebration version of Dark Moon sound like a needle drop?

Or has the original master tape been lost since the 1980 original release of Dark Moon?

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:53 am

monkboughtlunch wrote:Anyone know the technical background of this home recording and what sources were used on Golden Celebration 1980 Lp issue, and the later 1998 Golden Celebration CD reissue?

IIRC, the 1966 home recordings at 10550 Rocca Place in Los Angeles were made on reel-to-reel. The first tracks to be issued though, in 1984 on Elvis: A Golden Celebration, were found on an acetate and issued from that source:

Write To Me From Naples
My Heart Cries For You
Dark Moon


The 1998 CD reissue apparently used the Joan Deary-produced album source for mastering.

On The Home Recordings (RCA 1999), a tape source was apparently used for these, although both "My Heart Cries For You" and "Dark Moon" were edited.

Here's "Dark Moon" from the 1999 CD:

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Elvis Presley - "Dark Moon" (edited 1966 home demo)

Hear a difference?

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:23 am

The recordings were made on Red West's reel to reel recorder which West bought for recording demos of his compositions.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:15 pm

Chris Isaak's version - he looks so "Elvis" standing in that little studio there .....

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4020141001?bctid=25769356001

I LOVE this version.

Always makes me think of what Elvis could have done with it if he had recorded it commercially in the 50s.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:42 pm

I prefer the Bonnie Guitar version. Which still comes up in rotatation on the Classic Country format where I work.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:13 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:One of the most wonderful discoveries from a tape search of the Graceland archives was Elvis' lovely 1966 home demo of Ned Miller's ballad "Dark Moon," with harmonies supplied by pal Charlie Hodge.

Presley's return over and over to the song's chorus, while playing his acoustic, would be a pattern revisited during the incredible June 1968 small combo jams. When Elvis liked a piece of music, he didn't want to let it go.

Check it out!


phpBB [video]



Elvis Presley - "Dark Moon" (unedited 1966 home demo)


Thanks doc. I love it when that mood strikes him. Beautiful rendition too, overall.
Good to know he was working on things like this behind the scenes in 1966. 1968 was no coincidence.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:31 pm

Nice post, lots of info!

I love the Isaak version, and this was my first reference to Elvis' version when it was released in Clint Eastwood's 'A Perfect World' about 10 years after 'A Golden Celebration'. Until I found out I actually had the Ned Miller version on a Bear Family CD all along. The 'Perfect World' soundtrack is an excellent compilation by the way!

A remix of the 1966 song (in a nice catchy uptempo rhythm) can be found on the CDR 'Three Chords And Charlie':

EDIT:
Someone just posted an "ace" remix of Dark Moon, probably after reading this message. But this is not the remix that can be found on the CDR below.

Image

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:54 am

Bob-Holland wrote:Nice post, lots of info!

Thanks a lot! It's a cool little song.

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:14 pm

I spoke with Gale about the recording many years ago. She told me she didn't want to do it as she loved Bonnie's version. However, Bonnie told Gale to go ahead and record it (probably urged to do so by Randy Wood). Ned Miller provided the acoustic guitar. I think Gale's recording is, by far, the best recording of the song. There is also a recording by Patti Page (also a single release).

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:14 pm

Has the source tape been used for any CD release? Or was the source tape lost and NoNoised via a computer to remove the acetate static and pops? Anyone know what source was used on the Complete Masters box? Is it edited on CM or complete?

Re: "Dark Moon" --> Elvis Takes On Bonnie Guitar

Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:08 am

monkboughtlunch wrote:Has the source tape been used for any CD release?

Scroll up, Mr. Question Man ;-)
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=53723#p774299