"King Creole" recording sessions
The conducting recording sessions were to be given on January 15, 16 and 23, 1958. Paramount.
Radio Recorders.11 February 1958 Paramount Sound Studio, Hollywood:
The music was to be set in the nightclubs of New Orleans. They wanted to give an authentic sound that was similar, they wanted to get authentic Dixieland sound. So Paramount hired some of Los Angeles' best session musicians for the recording: a brass section. Elvis' own band was again supplemented by pianist Dudley Brooks, and a second drummer as there was more complexity. in the rhythms. With Elvis, 14 musicians were working in the studio. It would be the largest group he had had up to now. In charge was the engineer Thorne Nogar, for him everything would be as usual. Also Paramount's music director, Charles O'Curran, as well as Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, had recently signed on as producers for RCA.
The Composers who were part of the production would be Leiber and Stoller themselves, who were Elvis's favorite writers of the moment, along with other Elvis Presley Music regulars such as Aaron Schroeder and Claude DeMetrius, who sent two rock 'n' roll songs. Also Ben Weisman and his partner Fred Wise came up with "Danny" as the proposed title cut, along with several other new songs.The session began with "Hard Headed Woman" by Claude DeMetrius. A very catchy and rhythmic song, with a brass arrangement that captured the spirit of New Orleans, while retaining the basic flavor of a rock 'n' roll trio. "Hard Headed Woman" was a sure hit, with the same spirit as the previous one, it also highlighted the rhythm and the interpretation of Elvis who sang to his liking.
“Trouble” a Muddy Waters-style stop-time blues, very punchy and performed with a classical opening. A song well suited to the defiant performance of the Elvis character, in his role as Danny Fisher. Leiber and Stoller helped the first day with arrangements of his own songs.and also some of the other tunes.
"Hard Headed Woman" and "Trouble", along with "Dixieland Rock", "New Orleans" and "King Creole", became the core of a soundtrack. With the theme "King Creole", they had a lot of problems due to the rhythm of the score, it was a double time rhythm, this would be difficult for Scotty and DJ.
Eighteen takes were done, but it would be hard to decide which one was the final one. In the end, the third and final take was chosen so that Elvis could review it later. January 16, 1958 They started with the song "Dixieland Rock", a very upbeat tune by Aaron Schroeder and Rachel Frank, aka Beverly Ross. They also recorded some wonderful ballads by Weisman and Wise, "As Long As I Have You", "Don't t Ask Me Why", sung with a very intimate and close interpretation of Elvis.
For the recordings that Elvis was going to make, he based himself on some demos that Jimmy Breedlove had recorded. These ballads by Ben Weisman and Fred Wise would not give the team any problems, since they were easy songs to perform and Elvis would also interpret them with great feeling.
Two versions were made, one for the film session and the other for the record.
With “Lover Doll” a very charming acoustic recording was made, since it was a very simple and straightforward song. Steve Sholes really liked this song, so he reinforced it with vocal overdubs. The song "Danny". I don't know, he recorded this day, it was not given importance and it was left to he one side. The reason was that the score did not have much strength compared to the rest. It was supposed to give the film its title but it was not like that, since a song was needed that would impact the public, that would hook and remain with the viewer. 01/23 1958 Leiber and Stoller influenced the change, because they knew that a more rhythmic theme like "King Creole" could be more successful for the film.
Neither Paramount nor the Colonel were convinced that "King Creole" was good enough, until an improved recording made days later. This was improved thanks to Steve Sholes, who wanted to improve the rhythm section and brought in Bernie Mattinson to help. D.J. Fontana on drums. Ray Siegel as Jordanaire Neal Matthews had to replace Bill on electric bass, because he was having trouble somewhere.
It was hard to admit that Elvis did everything perfectly being relatively inexperienced, he took everything the first time and did it at any pace. But his musicians who were amateurs were not. They were young but not ready to take on every new demand that a Hollywood score might place.
Fortunately everything would work out and the song was finished successfully. The song's intro was altered, it was changed to highlight the Jordanaires singing the words "King Creole" before Elvis entered. Also Scotty Moore came up with a finger-bleeding guitar solo, this would give the song a true pure rock'n'roll flavor.
The song "Young Dreams" would be recorded and then Elvis wanted to do some additional songs for the next singles session that RCA would do. But Elvis had relied so much on the advice of Leiber and Stoller, that when they failed in the session all his enthusiasm fizzled out. For this reason he would miss the day, he could not do his job well, the next thing was a disaster, it is as if he had thought they were his lucky charm and this was not the case. He had already shown before that he knew what he was doing, but he was discouraged, since they had become two good friends and they had failed him. But it's part of another, more complex story that Colonel Parker brought about, which is why they had to drop Elvis.
Everything was ready to film the film "King Creole", in our opinion, the best film by Elvis Presley.
"Following the Path of the King..."