ELVIS 1976

Year 1976.  "The denial of the Truth"

Sometimes the heart does not let us see beyond reason because it controls in many cases our actions, the ability to see beyond that which we should have... reason, but above all thought. When distrust makes its appearance and the fear of loneliness pursues us, insecurity appears to distress the soul, to blind our eyes to the truth and dependence. If nothing can stop us anymore because we do not want to look at ourselves in a mirror and accept reality, if we no longer accept the advice of true friendship, affection, to continue to whip our body with vague illusions, moments of emptiness... to hide behind a mask without accepting our truth. Nothing can change our future, because surely we have already sealed with our steps that uncertain destiny. It is still the time, it is still the place, you can still stop lying to yourself and fight to change the future.1976, A new year begins in the life of Elvis Presley, a new opportunity to change his life and leave behind the confusion, boredom and move forward. Elvis always loved life, spirituality, laughter, all this was his defense against insecurity and tiredness, he wanted to enjoy and share with others, but he was making a mistake. His health and dependency were becoming more powerful in his life to try to defeat him, because Elvis did not want to change, he just let himself go....
This is going to be a defining year in Elvis' life and a somewhat complicated year for him to follow his path.

Sessions February 1976

The new year 1976 begins with new economic expectations forced by the situation of the moment in the life of Elvis Presley. First of all his obligation to record new songs, with RCA with which he has to comply to avoid a lawsuit. Elvis is not very eager to record but he has to do it and he refuses to do it in the already known studios, so Felton Jarvis tells him that if he will not record, they will go to Graceland with their RCA Truck. Elvis agrees to set up a studio in the Jungle Room, reluctantly and reluctantly, but finally he is delighted to be able to record at home and decides from then on not to record anywhere else. His financial situation also forces him to book year-round tours, although Elvis is aware that he has severe colon/intestinal disease, adrenal disease, fatigue/insufficiency, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, painful arthritis, glaucoma in both eyes. In addition to being warned of serious consequences by doctors, he is going to agree to tour in order to financially offset all the expenses he had taken on the previous year. Especially his airplane "Lisa Marie", which is the culprit of most of this commitment due to the enormous budget and gasoline required for its maintenance.

Two programs dedicated to the beginning of the year and the recordings of February 1976Remember, we are living History!
"Following the Path of the King...".

January 1976. Vacation with Elvis.

The year begins with a snow vacation in Vail, Colorado west of Dever. Elvis and Linda Thompson travel there with a group of 17 people for a few days of vacation. With them, his father Vernon, his half-brothers Ricky, Billy, David Stanley, with Red and Sonny West, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, Al Strada and Dr. Nick and their son, Dean, who by then was working as one of Elvis' personal assistants. Those who were married brought their wives, because it was a family vacation with friends. Also with them went their friends, the anti-narcotics policemen he had known since 1971. A few days to try to recover the optimism, the joy of past times, everyone had seen the changes in Elvis's temperament and hoped that a few days of relaxation would change him again. Days to enjoy the snow and the great landscapes, although Elvis went from good mood to anger, his changes were already complex because no one knew what to expect from him and his whims were unpredictable. Although with his friends the police had a good friendship at the time, because they were anti-narcotics and explained everything they did in their raids, even on occasion they took him to witness these captures so Elvis began to have a great obsession with drug traffickers

But on these days they all tried to have fun, they rode snowmobiles everywhere. One of these days Elvis decided to ride the snowmobile up the mountain and everyone followed him to the top, when they got to the top they were impressed by the lights, at dusk, the views. When suddenly a shout from someone nearby appeared and said, "Get off the snowmobiles, you are in a restricted area!". Everyone turned off the snowmobiles and looked at each other through their ski masks. But they didn't dismount, then some men jumped out of their vehicles and ran towards them, they had security badges on their jackets. They were very angry, when one of them shouted, "What the hell do you think you're doing up here? You could cause an avalanche!". Elvis stepped forward, still wearing his balaclava and said trying to calm him down in his voice full of southern charm, "You don't have to get mad, sir.""Damn it, you could get yourself killed up here!" the guard shouted and was still being very gruff when he added, "You're all under arrest!"
Elvis took off his balaclava from his head and as if he did magic or had a valid card for everything, he showed his wonderful smile.The guard surprised to be in front of such a famous character said: "My God, it's you! Hey, Elvis, nice to meet you". You! How are you, man?".Then the anger disappeared and would turn to sympathy by offering his hand to greet him, in a few seconds they had escaped arrest.  Although they did get a logical warning. Elvis was able to get away with anything, good or bad, his magnetism was so great that everyone who came across him surrendered to his personal charm.  All ended well and they even received an escort back to their lodging.

There were good times and bad times, because Elvis would decide that they all had to do something very important, he met with Red and Sonny West in their rooms and they called Jerry Schilling at three o'clock in the morning. Jerry and Myrna were asleep and when he got the call from Elvis he said, "Elvis, can't this wait until morning?" Elvis got angry, "Listen, Jerry, when I say" jump ", you jump". They ignored and got to their rooms, Elvis told Red that if Jerry wouldn't let him through he had to knock him down. Red tried to calm him down, but Elvis as always carried his gun. Jerry was so disappointed by his friend's attitude that he told him : "Listen, Elvis, you can take your job, because I quit, There are some things more important than money, like friendship".  Although Elvis apologized the next day, it was too late because Jerry left immediately. He returned to California and got a job in the film industry. Jerry always hoped that Elvis would change, but that change never came and he was very hurt at being the object of his whims. Elvis wasn't realizing all that he was losing with his attitude.
"Following the Way of the King..."

Publication January 1976

RCA releases a new volume of "A Legendary Performer", for Elvis Presley fans. RCA wanted to take advantage of the catalog purchased from Elvis in order to make a profit, as there was no new discography of his to release. Producer Joan Deary oversaw the release of this LP, which included several previously released tracks but in their alternate version and also some previously unreleased songs and interview excerpts. It combines legendary masters with rarities and a souvenir booklet aimed at the collector. The album would reach number 46 on the Billboard charts and sell almost a million copies.  It is currently listed by the RIAA, as double platinum.It is clear that Elvis Fans wanted new material or in any case something they had not heard before and this series of albums would be a coup for RCA, who was profiting from Elvis' work, without having to give him any account.

"The Economic Reasons"
ELVIS PRESLEY January 1976

RCA Publication. January 1976.
One of the big mistakes that Elvis Presley had in his life would be the sale to his RCA label, of the catalog of all his songs up to March 1973. All his artistic life, his songs from his youth when he recorded at Sun Records with Sam Phillips , until after the show broadcast on TV in Hawaii in 1973.
The main reason would be economic, since he was getting divorced and had many obligations to fulfill. Then Colonel Parker did not advise well either and both suffered the consequences, since from then on RCA received all the benefits that were obtained from record sales prior to 1973 and from any publication that was made with these songs.
A new sample of this would be the compilation of several songs in the new publication of January 1976 with the new LP: "A LEGENDARY PERFORMER VOL 2".
It is true that the main problem at the time is that there was no new material recorded by Elvis, his lack of interest and the non-insistence of the Colonel would lead to an absurd commercial vacuum. Something essential in every artist was being lost and that would also have an impact on his economy, his new albums, a new audience, an update of his image compared to his beginnings.
It is a bit contradictory in a person like Elvis who was always looking for challenges and new proposals, that his fatigue and instability were so great compared to his desire to want to do something different. But this would unfortunately continue, since the money came in easily and without much effort through the concerts. Once again, the economy was a reason that forced us to maintain an erroneous or at least detrimental Path with respect to his health and natural gains, such as his record sales.
Although a publication of his usual songs could benefit his image, however, it brought him closer to the past than to the present, but the responsibility for this really always belonged to Elvis himself..


"The Unforeseeable: Elvis Presley."

In this new year 1976, Elvis would show his dissatisfaction in general regarding the recordings and also with his personal life. He was again with emotional ups and downs and the obligation he had with RCA to fulfill his contract, had him annoyed because he had no desire to record anything.
But he really would have to, because if he defaulted by refusing to make any more records, he would be sued and he finally had to agree.
But he didn't want to go to Hollywood to record, he didn't want to go to Nashville to record, he didn't want to record in the Memphis studios either, so Felton Jarvis came up with a great idea. If Elvis didn't want to go to any studio, the studio would go to Elvis, that is to say, they would move all the necessary means so that he could record in his own house, in Graceland.
The most important thing is that Elvis felt an enormous boredom, as he said to Felton Jarvis: "I'm tired of being Elvis", as if he was referring to someone else, deep down he must surely have been like that. The life of an artist is very complex, the image in front of the public and even in front of his acquaintances. He could only be himself with his friends and family, having to carry his own image was already too heavy for him. He also confessed to Voice member Sherrill Nielsen that he was bored.

Elvis was being honest with his friends about his situation, but no one knew how to help him.  The job, his music, his audience...  they were always the solution, but the main problem was that he was not finding any challenges anymore and when they came up there was always someone to screw him over.

But Elvis had to deliver, so RCA had once promised to build him a studio and this was finally going to happen. They actually brought the recording truck to his Graceland home, decided that the most suitable room for the recordings would be behind the kitchen, in the Jungle Room, where the new studio was set up. They even brought in Nashville engineer Brian Christian two weeks in advance in order to properly set up the conditions of the place so that everything could be set up correctly for the sessions. It was necessary for each musician to have a certain degree of isolation and communication with the headphones. The walls of the room also needed to be covered with heavy blankets to dampen the acoustics. Curiously, the engineer was surprised at the electrical conditions available at
Graceland had seven hundred amps available for electrical needs, as Elvis' home had seven hundred amps available for use and also a backup generator outside.
Normally in a normal house there would normally have been two hundred amps, but besides all this, the room perfectly covered the conditions to rebuild the studio since the installation was too small. They had to use the two sets of speakers that Elvis had in his bedroom to reproduce a perfect sound. It seems that RCA could not have the right equipment, but finally they were able to adapt everything to be able to carry out the sessions.

The best thing about the new studio was that Elvis was so excited to see the improvised studio in his own home that he wanted to keep it just as it was when he finished recording. Elvis said that from now on he would only record at his Graceland home again.
Felton Jarvis, their producer, had planned to be able to make twenty new masters during these sessions, they had enough material for them to make two new albums. A six-night recording budget of $74,378 had been submitted. Everything was calculated and nothing could go wrong, but no one had taken into account the unforeseeable: Elvis Presley.
"Following the King's Path..."

Recording Sessions 2 to 8 February 1976
The Jungle Room, Graceland. Memphis

The recording sessions were finally going to begin on February 2, after a delay of five days, which would be unforeseen for Felton Jarvis, since everything had been scheduled to have enough time for both the musicians and Elvis to perform. Presley.
This delay would be caused by a trip that Elvis had to make, returning to Denver. At the end of January, Jerry Kennedy's brother committed suicide and wanted to attend the funeral of his police officer friend. To attend, Elvis dressed in a custom-made Denver Police Captain's uniform.

On February 2, everything was ready for the sessions, when Elvis again tried to cancel the recording. Felton Jarvis was all nervous because he had already called the entire touring band from Los Angeles, also several studio musicians from Nashville such as David Briggs piano, Bobby Emmons electric piano, Norbert Putnam bass and J.D. was also called. Sumner and the Stamps who were also there with Kathy Westmoreland and Myrna Smith. Everyone was waiting for Elvis to come down to sing, but he sent a note saying that he was sick, but in reality he had called Red West, Sonny and Dave Hebler, to organize a raid instead of recording. According to him, he told them the sessions would be his cover to catch the drug traffickers, but fortunately they convinced him that it was not the best time and Elis agreed to go down to the Jungle Room studio.

Elvis showed up dressed in his Denver Police suit to the session, to the great surprise of everyone. His mind seemed to be somewhere else, but he decided to finally sing and record, so that day he recorded 3 songs

2 February 1976
"Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall" by Larry Gatlin
          "She She Thinks I Still Care" by Dickey Lee and S. Duffy
                    "The Last Farewell" by Roger Whittaker and R. A. Webster

"Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall"

"Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall" by Larry Gatlin,  is a song about crying, although it plays with words to make it catchy, which makes it lose power. A score that requires a low register that Elvis tries to interpret, but has to be supported by the reinforcement of the Choir, which covers this with his voices. During this first recording it is clear that the microphone is not entirely correct and it also creates a lot of reverberation and echo in the voices, this would have to be corrected in the mixes. It is clear that RCA was not offering quality material, despite supposedly carrying everything necessary to do these sessions.

"Bitter they fall..." It was a country ballad and its composer Larry Gatlin liked it. He tried to give it a title and a beginning that would attract attention:
  "I told him to leave me alone and that's what he did."
He recorded his own version of the song "Better They Are Hander They Fall" when he released his first album, The Pilgrim. This record Linda Thompson told Linda that she and Elvis used to sit and listen to his first album all the time. He found Elvis' version of "Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall" incredible.
Larry sent him an Egyptian bracelet through Felton Jarvis and Elvis wore it on stage. Larry went to see him perform when Elvis introduced him to the public as a young songwriter with a great song and dedicated it to him. It is clear that as a composer for Larry, it would be an honor for Elvis Presley to record two of his songs.
https://youtu.be/sfCfyVJAn5U take 1

Larry Wayne Gatlin born May 2, 1948. Country music singer and songwriter. He also for being part of the Gatlin Brothers in the late '70s.
He has had a total of 33 Top 40 singles, alone or with his brothers. "Broken Lady", "All the Gold in California", "Houston (Means I'm One Day Closer to You)", "She Used to Be Somebody's Baby" and "Talkin' to the Moon."
An admirer of Elvis since he was young, he considered him great and attractive. He began writing some Gospel songs when he was told that Roger Wiles had left the Imperials, Elvis's backing group. He auditioned for baritone and was admitted to sing with Jimmy Dean, but could not perform with Elvis, because they were no longer with him.
While he continued composing in Nashville, when Kris Kristofferson chose his song "Help me" for his disco. Later he met Felton Jarvis and JD Sumner who told him that Elvis wanted to record that song.
For him it was a wonderful thing to go from Kris to Elvis, it would be very important and this second song too.

Elvis had recorded Larry Gatlin's "Help Me" at Stax in 1973 and was very interested in the second album Gatlin recorded. For this
He had reason to choose a song of his and this song transmitted feelings full of regret, which logically was something that affected him at this time.
Again the theme of separation and the feeling that it leaves when the other person is no longer there. His voice sounds mature but a little tired, he is too surrounded by voices that almost cover him in the final version. Elvis' version, too slow and too embellished, is difficult to enjoy and it is strange that Elvis allowed himself to be covered by the rest of the voices. Something he often did on stage, but he shouldn't do it on a record, since the audience wants to hear his real voice.

Elvis recorded this Larry Gatlin song at Graceland on February 2, 1976. It first appeared on the album "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee." It was later released on "Always On My Mind", the CD reissues of "Moody Blue". Alternative versions were also released on the FTD albums "The Jungle Room Sessions", "Made in Memphis", etc.
"Following the Way of the King...".

"She She Thinks I Still Care"

"She She Thinks I Still Care" by Dickey Lee and S. Duffy
A country song written by Dickey Lee and Steve Duffy. The song was recorded by several artists, including George Jones, Connie Francis, Anne Murray, Elvis Presley and Patty Loveless.
The second song recorded on February 2 would be sung with more confidence and more strength by Elvis Presley. He is safer even though they say that in these sessions he was quite dispersed. There is an important change in his voice, due to his maturation and also due to his physical change, health, etc. His voice was thicker and it was sometimes noted that the respiratory problems he had had could affect his vocal technique. In the phrasing he did not make sense to cut the vocal line of the phrases, this could be due to lack of support and air.

The song was published as the B-side of the single "Moody Blue", a single released in November 1976. The single sold around 300,000 copies and reached number 31 on the Billboard charts, and number 1 on the Country charts.
Elvis knew his songwriter, Dickey Lee of Memphis and from his days at Sun Records, the song had originally been a hit for George Jones in 1962. Elvis recorded his version on February 2, 1976 at Graceland.
The song was later released on "Our Memories of Elvis" (without overdubs), "Guitar Man" (with remixed instrumentation) and on the anthology album "The Country Side of Elvis". An alternate take on the album "Walk A Mile In My Shoes". Other alternative variants are included in "Today, Tomorrow and Forever", in the FTD "The Jungle Room Sessions", "Made In Memphis" and "Too Much Monkey Business" remixed version.
"She Thinks I Still Care" offered more of the same, The musicians attempted to add more rhythm and new vocal parts, but ultimately returned to the slow country feel of the original.

Dickey Lee, an American pop country singer and songwriter, born in 1936. Curiously, he was signed as an artist to Sun Records. After Elvis' success, two or three albums on the label: "Good Lovin", "Dreamy Nights" and "Memories Never Grow Old". He then recorded for RCA for about ten years and began to be known
Many artists have recorded his songs such as Reba McEntire, George Strait, Waylon Jennings, Marty Robbins, Merle Haggard, Tracy Bird, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, etc. He had a great admiration for Elvis and met him on one occasion, performing in a Memphis club with Wink Martindale. After the show a guy came up and said, "Hey, Elvis wants to meet you." He didn't believe him but he said "Yeah, sure." But it was true, Elvis was there and he said, "I really like your record. I like what you're doing." Also Elvis invited him to Graceland and would be very kind to him, they sang, played, etc.
He became known for his songs in the 1960s, such as "Patches", "Laurie", etc. He also has a number of hit songs on the country charts in the 1970s, including "Rocky" and "9,999,999 Tears", and has written or co-written songs recorded by other singers such as "She Thinks I Still Care".
He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015. Lee is listed as a co-writer and singer on singer-songwriter Michael Saxell's 2005 album Wonky Windmill "Two Men " In 1987, Dickey Lee became a life member of the prestigious Nashville.
Dickey wrote the song "She She Thinks I Still Care" in the '60s. The song was about a girl he knew through friends, named Beverly. He fell in love with her and she wasn't in love with him. The song has been recorded by many artists, but George Jones made it number 1. Also Anne Murray and years later Elvis, with his single "Moody Blue". It was already a country classic and there was not much to do to modernize it, Elvis took several takes and the second was the most lively of all.
It was recorded in a moderate time and with a powerful voice, but the master was slowed down and modified.
"Following the Way of the King..."

"A song out of place"
"The Last Farewell"

"The Last Farewell" by Roger Whittaker and R. A. Webster
This would be the third song recorded on February 2, 1976, it was a version of the song recorded by Roger Whittaker. It was a somewhat peculiar choice, because it is reminiscent of the type of songs that he recorded in some movie. It would not be a very heartfelt recording nor would it be commercial, at least for Elvis Presley.
The lyrics describe a sailor who leaves his beloved on a ship bound for England, in a melancholic way. The instrumentation seems like a fairy tale, it is not up to par with the rest of the songs, in which at least they tried to make songs of the moment. The ending of this song was loaded with strings and woodwinds, but it didn't seem like a suitable song for Elvis.
A ballad song sung in a peaceful and simple way, again many voices. It was clear that Elvis no longer wanted to do without his accompanying vocals. Actually, the type of songs he was recording on February 2, 1976 were not very commercial. The treatment was not very correct and this song in particular was too simple, it could have been improved without so much accompaniment.

The song composed in 1971 by the British folk singer Roger Whittaker and Ron A. Webster, became known by its author Whittaker on his Radio show and reached number 1 on the Billboard. Although it was not the best song for Elvis, it was for its author who sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.
Roger Henry Brough Whittaker (born 22 March 1936) is a British singer-songwriter and musician. His music is an eclectic mix of folk music and popular songs, as well as radio hits. His baritone voice was known as well as his ability to play the guitar and to whistle.
Songs such as "Durham Town (The Leavin')", "I Don't Believe in If Anymore", known to American audiences for their 1970 hit "New World in the Morning" and their 1975 hit "The Last Farewell" .
https://youtu.be/gXdrV6Zv2-U. Take 2

Fortunately three songs were recorded, but the chosen material did not bode well for anything interesting, something better could have really been chosen.
"Following the Way of the King..."

3 February:
"Solitaire"  Neil Sedaka y Phil Cody

4 February:
"Moody Blue"  Mark James
"I’ll Never Fall In Love Again"  Lonnie Donegan y Jimmy Currie

"A Very Intimate Song"

February 3, 1976, in this session they stayed up all night in order to perfect this song which would be the only song recorded that day.
"Solitaire" by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody

A beautiful song that Elvis sings with intense emotion in a very heartfelt way with lyrics that would possibly make you think. A wonderful score that comes to life in Elvis' voice, very interesting and fortunately where you can hear his voice, his presence and his strength, much more carefully than the first day. You can tell that he liked this song in which he totally turned to.
It is a ballad with lyrics that Elvis surely interpreted as something very personal, he uses the solitaire card game as if it were a metaphor of a man who lost his love because of his indifference, while life goes on around him. Possibly he felt involved with the lyrics and sang them in a very intimate way.

Neil Sedaka born in 1939, great singer tenor voice and composer. He had skills as a pianist and a superb ear. He was hired as a performer by RCA and this would be followed by many hits, such as "Oh!,Carol", Stupid Cupid", "Calendar girl", "Happy Birhday sweet sixteen", etc. on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and multiple awards such as a Grammy, two Ivor Novello, etc.
Elvis met Neil Sedaka when he invited his wife and him to the Hilton in Las Vegas, before he recorded this song. They went backstage to see him and Elvis was very nice to both of them, He gave his wife a scarf. In the dressing room there was a piano and they sang and played together.
Elvis told her that when he was in the army in Germany, he would go to the jukebox and play his songs, he told her that he admired him for his tenor voice.
When Neil Sedaka wrote the song "Solitaire," he was inspired by his classical training in Chopin, romanticism. He played it to his collaborator Phil Cody who cried when he heard it and contributed some of the lyrics. Both Sedaka and Cody considered the composition to be a spiritual experience.

This song was recorded by many artists besides Elvis, Shirley Bassey, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, the Carpenters and Sheryl Crow. For him, it was very exciting that Elvis did it too. But Sedaka said that the tempo Elvis used in his version was not to his taste, although the feeling and emotion he conveyed by performing it was. Another thing that bothered him would be the freedom to start a melody without waiting for the right tempo, but logically each composer is a world apart. In any case, he was proud that Elvis Presley recorded his song and gave it all its meaning in his singing.
Actually the version on which Elvis would be based would be Sedaka's own, although the Carpenters' version became very well known.

Elvis recorded this grandiloquent ballad in a recording session at Graceland on February 3, 1976, for later release on "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee." In 1972, it had been the title track on Neil Sedaka's album, although it didn't reach hit status until Andy Williams released it a year later and it reached #4.
Elvis' version of the song was released as the B-side of the posthumous "Are You Sincere" single in 1979.
It would later be included on commemorative albums "Our Memories of Elvis", "Always On My Mind" and on the 2000 re-release "Moody Blue". Also alternate versions on "Jungle Room Sessions", "Made in Memphis", etc.
A lonely and very intimate Song for Elvis , who sings this tune in a very close way.
"Following the Way of the King..."

"The Song of the Moment"
"Moody Blue"

"Moody Blue" by Mark James
On February 4, 1976, Elvis would record again at his Graceland home in the Jungle Room, this time the score was upbeat and finally everyone was able to collaborate on recording a commercial song with a good performance. With a current beat and catchy lyrics, everyone thought it could be a big hit.
A lively, country-flavored song that Mark James had written was finally a hit that would pay off at the end of November 1976 when it was released as a single. With the song "She Thinks I Still Care" on the B-side. James had released his original version in 1974, without great success. Elvis' version reached number 1 on the country chart and number 31 on the overall chart, where it remained for 13 weeks.
The song would provide the title track for Elvis' last album of new material in 1977, "Moody Blue". It was subsequently released on the LPs "This Is Elvis", "Elvis' Gold Records Vol. 5", "Walk A Mile In My Shoes", "Platinum: A Life in Music", "Elvis 2nd to None", "Hitstory", "The Essential Elvis Presley", etc.
Alternate takes were included on the 2000 FTD, "The Jungle Room Sessions"; other alternates on the FTD "Made in Memphis". Rare live versions are on the FTD release "Unchained Melody".
On February 20, 1977 he tried to sing it in concert, but Elvis confessed that he didn't remember the lyrics so he couldn't perform it in its entirety.
The only time Elvis performed this song live in its entirety was on February 21, 1977, at a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina. He had to do it with the lyrics in hand and with his eyes almost closed. These two versions were released in 2007 on the Follow That Dream label. Also the complete song was first included on a bootleg label Fort Baxter in 1995.

Francis Rodney Zambon was the real name of Mark James. He was born in Houston, Texas in 1940.
American composer and creator of several hit songs for artists such as B.J. Thomas, Brenda Lee and Elvis Presley. Among his most famous compositions are "Always on my mind" and "Suspicious Minds."
In 1967 Mark began working as a writer and to produce his career was Chips Moman. Producer/editor and engineer in Memphis, also co-owner of American Studios. He was a childhood friend of B.J. Thomas with whom he would later collaborate professionally.
In '68 he recorded his own song "Suspicious Minds". It was released as a single by Sceptre Records. Sceptre had Dionne Warwick, B. J. Thomas and a gospel label. They loved the song and thought it was a hit. They released the single but it didn't happen, subsequently it was offered to Elvis.
When he first heard Elvis' recording of "Suspicious Minds," he loved it. Elvis got into the song and made it his own.
"Suspicious Minds" was number one in 27 countries. It is Elvis Presley's number one song of all time.
That song and album revitalized Elvis as an artist and brought him new respect.
"Moody Blue" was not written for Elvis. He was just trying to write a great song. The song is about a woman you're trying to get to know and she changes every day. "Sometimes it's hard to be a gambler betting on a number that changes every time. When you think you're going to win, think she's giving up, a stranger is all you'll find."
"She's a complicated lady, so color my baby moody blue."
Mark had recorded "Moody Blue" when Felton called him and said, "Mark, Elvis loves 'Moody Blue.' Are you making a record out of this?" And he said yes, so they waited to record it.
Again Elvis would get a number thanks to a Mark James score. The song fit Elvis and it would have been wonderful if they had collaborated more times, because they both understood each other musically.
Graceland was a house, not a recording studio but they did a good production with the song.
"Moody Blue" was a number one record on the country charts while Elvis was still alive.
Felton called him before Elvis died and said, "Mark, Elvis has seven of your songs that he's going to include on his next album". He wanted to record "Disco Rider", "Who's Loving You", "Dream On Me", etc, but unfortunately it never came to be.
For Mark James, Elvis was a free spirit and an artist second to none.

In 1983 Mark James won the Grammy Award for his song "Always on My Mind" which was covered by Willie Nelson and the Grammy for Best Country Song. In the UK, Pet Shop Boys released a hit cover of the song in 1987 that reached #1 on the UK charts and #4 on the US charts. In October 2015, James was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Elvis made magic with Mark James' scores, they both liked the same type of music and this was evident in their songs. Mark would have been a good choice to be his personal songwriter, but it was virtually impossible to bring this to reality in time.
"Following the Path of the King..."

"The difficulties of the moment".
February 4, 1976

Lonnie Donegan and Jimmy Currie's "I'll Never Fall In Love Again".
On February 4, 1976 Elvis was still in high spirits to record this song that would truly be a vocal challenge. It is true that Elvis Presley had a powerful voice and a way of interpreting without rival, but sometimes he wanted to get involved in scores that were not in tessitura or that his technique could not overcome. The truth is that at this time he was not risking much, because physically his health was not helping his profession. The breathing problem could make that in many cases the voice failed due to lack of support, of air. The problem is that his voice sounds forced and with that lack of support, he sounds tired or that he can't go on.
This song really shouldn't pose any difficulty for him, but Elvis, however, couldn't compete. It wasn't a question of strength, his voice was better, but there was trouble to perfect and although he seemed to be trying his best, it was clear that he couldn't lean firmly on the notes or convey his clean voice delivering all his feeling. It is very likely that had he sung a slightly lighter version his voice would have sounded transparent and solid as always, but unfortunately producer Felton Jarvis said nothing to him and Elvis gave up.

" I'll Never Fall in Love Again " is a song written by Lonnie Donegan and Jimmy Currie, and first released by Donegan as a single in 1962.
The song's verses are melodically based on the traditional "Wanderin", even recycling the phrase "It looks like". But the added Italian-style chorus makes the song sound very different and new.
Lonnie Donegan , was a British skiffle singer, songwriter and musician , known as the " King of Skiffle ", who influenced British pop and rock musicians of the 1960s.
Donegan had 31 hit singles in the top 30 in the UK , 24 were successive hits and three were number one. He was the first British male singer with two Top 10 hits in the United States. Donegan received an Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 and in 2000 he was named MBE . Donegan was a pivotal figure in the British Invasion due to his influence in the US in the late 1950s.

A magnificent song that Elvis wanted to interpret pouring his heart out, unfortunately he could not perform it with absolute fidelity due to some vocal problem.
The most commercially successful recording of the song was by Tom Jones in 1967. After its first release, Jones' recording reached number 2 on the UK singles chart, but was less successful in the United States, where it reached number 49 on the Hot 100. In any case it was a success for him to sell a million copies in 1969.
The song sung by Elvis was included on the 1976 album "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee", later on the CD reissue "Moody Blue". There is a pre-recorded version on "Our Memories of Elvis" and several bootlegs. An alternate version is on the FTD CD "The Jungle Room Sessions".
This song should have been recorded at another time when Elvis was in good health, it would have given a different result because he had to deal with the difficulties of the moment.
"Following the King's Path..."

Sessions February 5, 1976
"For The Heart" by Dennis Linde
"Hurt" by J.Crane and A.Jacobs
"Danny Boy" by Frederic Weatherly

"The Magic of Rhythm"
"Fort the Heart"

"For The Heart" by Dennis Linde
A song sung very powerfully by Elvis. This song is much more commercial, a magnificent performance that makes this song one of the best he recorded in these sessions. A Rock Rockabily style song in which Elvis seemed to relax and enjoy this score in an easy way. The musicians also enjoyed the melody and played in a vibrant manner. This was a song with more rhythm and energy and it brought everyone out of their lethargy, it was the type of song that Elvis would have to look for to make everything turn out differently, because it was clear that it worked. James Burton also did a good job with Jerry Scheff bass
Its original title was "Had a Dream (For the Heart)" but Elvis left it in "For The Heart", it would also be included in the album "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee" in 1976. Elvis Presley's version, It was released as a single with "Hurt" on the B side, together with the album it reached number 28 on the Billboard and sold around 250,000 copies. It would be recorded a year earlier by Teresa Brewer

A Dennis Linde song that Elvis recorded at Graceland on February 5, 1976, released as the B-side of "Hurt" a month later. Linde added his own bass line to the song on a later overdub. Elvis' version appeared on "From Elvis Presley, Boulevard, Memphis." Has since speed on the compilations "Our Memories Of Elvis" Vol. 2, "Elvis' Golden Records" vol. 5, "Walk a mile in My Shows", "Artist off The Century", on "Moody Blue" CD, etc.
Alternate takes on "Platinum: A Life In Music", "Today Tomorrow & Forever", "The Jungle Room Sessions" and "Made in Memphis".

Dennis Linde March 18, 1943 - December 22, 2006, He was a composer, singer-songwriter, played acoustic guitar, bass and drums. Known for his Country music. Based in Nashville, he has recorded more than 250 of his songs. He would be best known for writing Elvis Presley's 1972 hit, "Burning Love."
In 1994, Linde won BMI's "Best Writer Award" and received four awards for BMI's most performed titles that year. He got 14 BMI "Million-Air" songs. In 2001, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Linde wrote top 5 US country hits "Long Long Texas Road", "The Love She Found in Me", "Walkin' a Broken Heart", "Then It's Love", "I'm Gonna Get You" , etc.
"I Got A Feeling In My Body", also composed by Linde and recorded by Elvis at Stax Studios in 1973, arose from his interest in Gospel music.
He was thinking about a big black gospel choir with a lead singer. Elvis achieved much more than his demo because he was singing the background parts and with a great chorus. With "Burning Love" Elvis once again gave the surprise of success, despite it being a song that he was not enthusiastic about and that it was difficult for him to remember even when he sang it in Concert, but the public was enthusiastic about it.

"For the Heart" is the only other upbeat song Elvis recorded in these February 1976 sessions, with "Moody Blue." Written by Dennis Linde, who contributed two other songs that would be hits for Elvis: "Burning' Love", "I Got A Feeling In My Body". This, however, had already been published in the voice of Teressa Brewer in 1975. The more rock version of Elvis, differentiating the country style from the previous one, this would be a success in his interpretation. In the session he began to sing in a slower way and little by little he became animated and gained more strength to bring the final version to life.
"Following the Way of the King..."

"The personal challenge"

"Hurt" by J.Crane and A.Jacobs
Elvis had known this song for years when his idol Roy Hamilton recorded it in 1954. It was an R&B hit for him. He probably chose it because he was looking for a shocking song. Elvis searched within himself and his intense interpretation would result in this song that the public would like so much.
Composed by Jimmie Crane and Al Jacobs. "Hurt" was initially performed by Roy Hamilton, whose version was #8 on the R&B Best Seller chart with a total of seven weeks on the charts. But the version became very popular voiced by Timi Yuro, which peaked at number four on the Billboard pop chart in 1961.
It was that type of score that could be sung in a risky way or not, Elvis would choose the first option and taking into account his physical condition, his lack of breath that sometimes emerged in some fragments, he did not care in the least and was encouraged to leave a mark with your version.

The song was released as a single in March 1976, along with "For the Heart" on the B side. The album initially failed to sell more than 250,000 copies, peaking at number 28. It was included on the album "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee and a live version on "Elvis in Concert", the album and broadcast documentary.
An alternate version of the song was included on "Platinum: A Life In Music". Alternate Graceland versions included on "Today, Tomorrow and Forever", on FTD's "The Jungle Room Sessions", "Always On My Mind", "Walk A Mile In My Shoes", on the CD releases of "Moody Blue" and the 2007 edition "The Essential Elvis Presley", etc.
Elvis included this song in his repertoire and sang it often, from March 1975 until his last performances. Recordings of the live versions are included on the FTD releases "Tucson '76", "New Year's Eve" and "Unchained Melody".
During the recording session in one take, Elvis, who could not get hold of the score, began to curse and this was recorded in a pirated version published in 1996 "Elvis Among Friends"
https://youtu.be/BPy-Memj0vE Timi Yuro

Jimmie Crane born 1910–1998; Like Loreto Domenic Fraieli, he was an American composer and businessman from Providence, Rhode Island. He is known for composing songs performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, Liberace, Doris Day and Elvis Presley. In 1982 he was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, in 1987 he was awarded for his Most Performed Country Songs by ASCAP.
Composer Al Jacobs was also inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.
Compositions: "Ev'ry Day of My Life", "Hurt", "I Need You Now", "If I Give My Heart to You", "This Is My Country", etc.

A very risky song vocally, with a heartbreaking beginning that I would obviously have to control a lot to sing live. The version that Elvis sings has nothing to do with that of his idol Roy Hamilton, but with that of Timi Yuro.
Elvis needed a challenge like that, for himself, as an artist, with lyrics of abandon and a melody that was demanding and required that absolute dedication to be able to interpret it correctly.
Elvis initially asked for the tessitura to be raised in an act of bragging, but it was too much for him, unfortunately he couldn't hit the high note until he gave up and said he couldn't do it. Elvis said "I've got too much shit in me, man," it was his way of saying that he couldn't handle the challenge. But he didn't let it, he would simply lower the tessitura again to adapt it to his voice. He was resigned but accepted the challenge again, facing reality. He always admired the Tenor's voice, the treble and it is true that he had a tessitura that could please his taste of singing treble, but logically if his health allowed him to rest well on the diaphragm to be able to have enough air to give that clean note without it sounding to a scream. He worked very hard even though at some point he couldn't do it, but finally he did it.
Elvis had a great voice and he could sing this song perfectly as long as he didn't have breathing problems. Since he requires great technique and dosage in the voice, so as not to cut the vocal line. This is clear in the takes he took for this song. There was too much vocal effort and he couldn't handle the phrasing, but he was finally able to perfect the song. Elvis really wouldn't have to prove anything to anyone, because he had done it before, but for some reason he needed to prove to himself that he was still the best.
Although it was a commercial song, it did not give the expected result when it was published in March 1976, but it would be successful in public.
"Following the Way of the King..."

"A Popular Song"
"Danny Boy

"Danny Boy" by Frederic Weatherly
This is the title of one of the most representative songs of Irish culture. The reality is that it is an old tune known as "Londonderry Air." It refers to the county in Northern Ireland in 1855, it is considered almost as if it were an anthem
Elvis recorded it at Graceland on February 5, 1976 for release on the album "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee." It was later released on "Walk A Mile In My Shoes", the CD Reissue of "Moody Blue" and "Elvis Inspirational". An earlier recording exists, which was made at his home when he was in Germany in 1959, released on the 1984 album "A Golden Celebration" and the FTD "In A Private Moment". Elvis had been heard singing since at least 1958, on the set while filming King Creole (his character's name was Danny). Alternate takes of the recording session were also included on "Platinum: A Life In Music" and the FTD "The Jungle Room Sessions", bootleg records, etc.
There is an instrumental version on FTD's NBC TV Special-related album "Burbank '68". The FTD live release "Tucson '76" features Elvis performing the song, although most of the time at Elvis Concerts the song was sung live by Sherill Nielsen in a medley with "Walk With Me".

Frederic Weatherly Song,
Frederick Weatherly 1848 -1929 was one of the best known names in Britain at the time of his death. As a child he was encouraged to develop his love for writing verses and playing the piano. He began publishing verses and songs when he was still a student at Oxford. He published more than 1500 songs, he also translated opera librettos. They referred to him then as the great old man of the song.

An endearing song in the voice of Elvis, which recalls in his interpretation the longing for times gone by. With this score he feels comfortable and it shows. Very simple musically and easy to sing. The plot refers to a father who calls his son to his bedside before dying. Although another interpretation says of a man who went to war, leaving behind a love that longs for his return.
It was a sad song but very well performed by Elvis. Although he again insisted on singing in a higher key, but when he couldn't do it well, he had to give up and ask to be transported again so he could perform it. Elvis seemed to be proving himself, but he didn't really need any of this, because the song was perfect in its own key.
"Following the Way of the King..."

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