Ronnie Tutt, the drummer. Jerry Scheff, the bassist. James Burton, guitar. John Wilkinson, guitar. Glen D Hardin, pianist since 1970.
All of them would form the band of Elvis musicians that would be known as the TCB Band.
James Burton. Guitar
Starting in 1969, Elvis Presley had to find his own team of musicians, his own band, to give him the security of being able to do what he wanted with his music. Scotty Moore, his lead guitar for years, and DJ Fontana, his drummer, the legendary musicians of his golden age, had been left behind because they had not been informed in time of everything that was planned from then on. The last time they would be counted on was in 1968 and they could not be part of Elvis Presley's return to the stage in 1969. An oversight and the commitments acquired would do the rest, as a consequence Elvis had to form a new band of musicians with the one that could get along live and be able to tour concerts. James Burton, guitar; John Wilkinson, rhythm guitar; Jerry Scheff, bass; Glen D. Hardin, piano and Charlie Hodge, acoustic guitar-vocals.
James Burton would be chosen as lead guitarist and would come to have a very special relationship with Elvis as a musician. When he met him, he understood him very well, there was a special chemistry, to the point of asking him to look for the rest of the components or advise him regarding the musicians he could choose. He would become the mainstay of his gang from then on. As a musician, a magnificent artist who has been recognized and admired for years. He was born in 1939 and since he was a child he learns to play on his own, but it is at the age of 13 that he manages to buy his first guitar. Though he would get a better one over time... he set his sights on the '53 Fender Telecaster, which would be his favorite for a long time. His self-taught, original way of playing would make him a regular musician at the age of 14 at the KWKH Radio station, where he would meet up-to-date musicians from whom he would learn, such as Sonny Trammell; Chet Atkins, country guitarist and producer; Muddy Waters, blues genius... he also specialized in playing the dobro (acoustic resonator guitar). His style grew apart and became original. Dale Hawkins recorded his famous song Suzie Q. with the riff composed by James Burton that would become legendary, he was only 17 years old... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wq2f_X_6Nk
His style is characteristic for the use of the plectrum, as of the fingers and he is known as the inventor of chicken picking, which is a technique of playing the guitar that consists of choosing with a selection and one or more fingers alternatively or simultaneously. . Great interpreter of steel guitar and dobro. As of 1958 he moved to Los Angeles and began to work with Ricky Nelson, and from then on as a session musician to work with the great artists of the moment. Burton was the guitarist of choice for virtually every major California record label from the '60s onward, playing integral licks and riffs on classics by the Beach Boys, the Monkees, the Everly Brothers and many others. Elvis wanted him to be part of his group and already tried to have him in 1968, but it was not possible because James was accompanying Frank Sinatra at that time. From 1969 until Elvis's death, James Burton was part of his group in concert and on recordings. And he also continued to alternate with some other artist. Following Elvis's death he has performed in concert with various members of the TCB Band who were then part of the original Elvis band. He is currently still active. As a person James was always very generous, like Elvis Presley, he too would share his success with those most in need. James has his own charitable foundation... The James Burton Foundation supports music education for those in need through donations of guitars, music education to schools, hospitals and community service organizations. His mission, to be able to give away his knowledge and give to those who want to learn to play and cannot do so, in hospitals, schools, children, young people, adults and the elderly. An admirable musician and person... James Burton. "Following the Path of the King..."
Another member and key in the formation of musicians who played with Elvis Presley was his pianist and arranger, Glen D. Hardin. Glen D Hardin was born in Collingsworth County, April 18, 1939, Texas. He learned to play the piano at the age of eight, of innate talent, his ability for music would eventually open doors for him that he had not foreseen in his aspirations, because in his thoughts he was not very clear about reaching to be a professional pianist. In 1959 he joined a well-known country club, The Palomino Club in Long Beach, California. In the year 1962 was when he would enter The Crickets. He would be a singer and song arranger for his group and also for other artists on Liberty Records. He first achieved success as a songwriter in 1965 with the song "Count Me In", recorded by Gary Lewis & the Playboys. "Where Will The Words Come From" and "My Heart's Symphony" were also successful songs composed by Hardin for Lewis. As a session pianist, he has worked for major artists from a wide variety of musical genres throughout his long career, including Bing Crosby, Nancy Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Buck Owens, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, etc. In addition to various bands... his name was well known in the media when he was called to play with Elvis Presley in 1969, but he had to turn down due to commitments and again he would be in 1970, to join the Elvis group. Starting this year, he would not only be his pianist for the group TCB, but also arrange many of his songs for Elvis. In the 1970s he would also play on recording sessions with Dean Martin, Gram Parsons and Linda Ronstadt. Later he was part of the Hot Band in the eighties, which was the band of Emmy Lou Harris. He has worked countless times with Jerry Scheff and James Burton outside of working with Elvis... He would go on to earn a Gold record as an arranger for Elvis Presley's music. A man with a kind character, apparently simple and always with a smile on his face. His way of playing like a teacher, of improvising, his rhythm, his sensitivity as an artist, gave the masterful touch to the musical accompaniment in Elvis's band. Like the rest, he got along and became part of the group, to which he belonged until 1976. "Following the Path of the King..."
Another member who was always faithful to Elvis would be guitarist John Wilkinson, who for years would be part of the TCB Band. John Wilkinson was born in Washington on July 3, 1945 and died on January 11, 2013. he was a singer and guitarist, but in addition to Elvis, he also performed with other artists such as Chuck Berry and The Greenwood County Singers in 1964. He was called to perform with Elvis on his return to the stage on July 31, 1969, at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, after Wilkinson had once performed on a television show in Los Angeles. He played the role of rhythm guitar next to James Burton the soloist, he would continue to perform with Elvis until 1977. John also collaborated as a guitarist with the New Christy Minstrels and the Kingston Trio. A curious anecdote about John Wilkinson was that he met Presley when he was 10 years old. He was an admirer of Elvis since he was a child and would say on occasion that he sneaked into his dressing room at a performance in Springfield in 1956, when Elvis saw him, John told him: "You don't know how to play the guitar". Obviously this made Elvis very funny because he was always very modest and also had a lot of humor. Elvis asked him if he thought he could do better and John, despite his young age, told him, "Oh, I know I can do it." When they met again in 1969, Elvis did not remember this anecdote that he reminded him... John would be the musical support on stage, always aware of the rest, of Elvis's performance. After his death he was also part of the Band of Emmy Lou Harris and John Denver. Unfortunately he suffered a stroke in 1989 that prevented him from playing the guitar.
Vegas road. To choose a good bass for Elvis Presley's band in July 1969, James Burton thought of Jerry Scheff, with whom he had already collaborated on sessions, and thought that he would be a great signing. Jerry Scheff had been a session musician since the mid-1960s, and had recorded on movie soundtracks for Elvis, even though he hadn't met him personally. And as a musician he wasn't very interested in getting into this kind of project. It was at Burton's insistence that he went, but he wasn't too convinced seeing the auditions that were being held for the show. Jerry didn't want to join the band, because he was doing black music at the time, jazz, he believed that what Elvis needed was another type of style. He went there on James's advice if only out of curiosity. And there he met a really nice sitting man, the close and friendly image of him, who welcomed him. Elvis whom he finally met in person and whom he considered to be a funny guy. "And then he started singing. He was singing all the stuff that he thought we'd like, blues and stuff like that. And I was absolutely blown away." What Jerry definitely thought was that he had a lot to learn in these sessions with this great professional. He treated it like he was learning at a big school and Jerry was so impressed that after he was hired he insisted that his wife go to a rehearsal to see how Elvis would perform. Jerry Scheff, born in Denver, Colorado, began playing bass at the age of 15 in jazz clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area. After serving three years in the United States Navy he settled in Los Angeles where he debuted as a bass player at Sands Night Club. However, there was then a high demand for session musicians there in Los Angeles in the early 1960s and this encouraged Scheff to leave the stage and seek work as a session bassist. He made his debut in 1966 with the vocal group The Association with their hit single "Along Comes Mary". From here the demand for Scheff's services increased considerably. Over the next few years, he appeared on recordings with Bobby Sherman, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Rivers, Neil Diamond, Nancy Sinatra, Pat Boone, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Vinton, The Everly Brothers, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In 1971 he participated as a bassist in the recording of the album L.A. Woman, the last of The Doors before the death of Jim Morrison. In 1973 Scheff participated in the recording of The Golden Scarab, Ray Manzarek's debut album and Bob Dylan's album "Dylan" (1973). And from July 1969, Jerry Scheff joined Elvis Presley's band, with whom he toured from August 1969 to June 1973 and from April 1975 until Elvis' last concert, on June 26, 1977 at Market Square. Indianapolis arena. A great professional who was impressed and fell in love with the professionalism of a great performer, Elvis Presley.
Ronnie Tutt's first time working for Elvis would be for his return to the stage in Las Vegas. August 1969. Elvis wanted to pick the best drummer and was auditioning. Ron Tutt, an artist with great qualities, began at an early age of three and already had rhythmic and vocal faculties... He came to play the violin, with an orchestra, the ukulele, the trumpet,... and finally he opted for the drums that It would be his great passion. When he was called to the auditions no one trusted that a nameless musician like him would be chosen. Ronnie explained on several occasions that Elvis was relaxed in tests, he liked to hang out, for his test as a drummer he moved dancing and looking into his eyes to trust in the rapport he could have with his rhythm. . He wanted someone special and he found it... Ronnie did not take his eyes off him when accompanying him, his movements, his swaggers, he followed him with his gaze and rhythm, to the point of thinking that he was accompanying a stripper, because of the body vibration that impregnated Elvis, the jumps,... And this is the reason why he was chosen. Since Elvis needed that bodily freedom to move on stage as well as sing to his liking. He immediately liked this drummer who would remain in his band for years... Elvis said several times that Ronnie was the only drummer who followed his every move on stage and accentuated the moves on the drums. Ronnie is also the first American rock 'n' roll drummer to incorporate double drumming live in concert. After Elvis Presley he accompanied the singer Neil Diamond, with The Carpenters, Roy Orbison and Jerry Garcia, among others. But we could always observe this, in rehearsal and on stage Ronnie was a master of rhythm, he didn't take his eyes off him, he followed him in everything he did even if he was joking, since Elvis Presley was an artist sometimes unpredictable and, obviously, in On stage this was even more risky since they would only see him from behind or sometimes he could sing towards the musicians. Drummer Ronnie Tutt came to study Karate so he could perform in Elvis shows. He was a very intuitive musician and he moved in a frenetic way, with the rhythm, to follow the influence of karate that would give Elvis a particular way of expressing his dance, to the point of becoming characteristic in his show, hence Ronny Tutt would find a way to better follow you and dial in more and accentuate whatever your body wanted to add to your playing. Elvis had a special affection for him, he knew that Ronnie was a great professional and although he always gave gifts to all his musicians, he gave him a ring that Elvis wore for years, in gratitude and friendship. Ronnie would wear it as pride, because he knew it was a special detail, as he was. "Following the Path of The King..."
Joe Guercio was the musical director of the International Hotel in Las Vegas when he was approached to direct Elvis in his third season of Las Vegas. His style had nothing to do with the artistic world of Elvis, so he was a little skeptical at first in relation to his music or the way he interpreted. He had directed for artists like Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Pattie Page, etc. Composer of songs such as "Distant Shores" or "" I won't cry ", he was also an arranger. Although with Elvis the arrangements were normally in charge of Glen D. Hardin, his pianist. When he met Elvis, even though he thought he was very talented and a great artist... his way of being had him very confused in rehearsals, because he was a fresh, spontaneous and variable artist. ... He realized that he made changes according to his thoughts and directed everyone and everything as it came out at the time... It is clear that his musicians followed him every time he proposed something, changing what was said or giving a new indication... For a conductor like him, this was disconcerting. The best-known anecdote of Joe Guercio occurred in the first days of acting... Someone asked him what he thought of Elvis, if he liked working with him? So his comment would be: "It's like a marble rolling down a marble staircase"... The next day when Joe walked in and opened the door to his dressing room, in the dark, he heard a strange noise as he walked in. He turned on the lights and what was his surprise when he saw everything flooded with marbles! The whole floor full of marbles, everywhere, even in the sink... he imagined how the mafia boys, all their slaves... last night buying all the marbles in the world. In addition, he left a sign on the mirror that said: "Follow the marble. Signed: E.P" Guercio would be the one who inspired the beginning of the show in 1970, a theme of six rising and falling notes, known as the passing notes to the stage, for Elvis Presley to come out before the public. The characteristic entry of him... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhZTTFckux8 Guercio is credited with proposing at the entrance, the theme made popular in the movie "2001 A Space Odyssey." "Thus Spake Zarathustra" Op. 30 was a tone poem composed by Richard Strauss. But this was not really the case, his Mafia companions said that the idea was Elvis's. This movie, 2001, he saw it a year before and he liked it a lot. Always a movie buff and enthusiast, they contradict the version by assuring that it occurred to him because he wanted to have an entry that marked something great... and that's how it was. This overture would give way to a grandiose image that would transcend time and would be linked to his own show. Although Guercio said that his wife gave him the idea when they saw the film ... obviously it could not have been true, simply because the film was released two years before he met Elvis and directed for him. He worked with Elvis from August 1970 to 1977. His memory of Elvis was that he got to work with a great family of professionals, the musicians, the choir. He always commented that he opened up a completely different musical world to him than the one he was used to. Over time, Joe Guercio came to understand Elvis and love him like everyone who worked with him. "Following the Path of the King..."
Joe Guercio, Orchestra Director.
Emory Gordy Bass . 1973
A new member in Elvis Presley's group who joined his band in April 1973 Emory Gordy joined Elvis's TCB group in April 1973 for new concerts, replacing bassist Jerry Scheff who had left the group. Gordy played in Elvis's band until 1974 and was asked to study around 600 songs for repertoire. He was really surprised because of all these songs, only about 50 would be played regularly, changing from one concert to another, without innovating. He was an excellent musician, since he came to play several instruments: the piano, the trumpet, the banjo, the euphonium, the guitar and the ukulele, the French horn and, obviously, the bass. Over time he played in string bands, dixieland, Top 40 garage band and also learned to arrange music. He became a studio musician beginning in 1964 and worked with major artists, including Neil Diamonds, working alongside Roe, Razzy Bailey, Mac Davis, and Freddy Weller, as well as touring with Lou Christie, Rufus Thomas, and The Impressions. In 1972 he would record with Elvis Presley, playing bass on "Separate Ways" and "Burning Love". When he met Elvis and the band, he was impressed and really enjoyed working with him. The atmosphere, the complicity, the rapport as artists, everything came to him and left a mark on him. When the proposal of the 1973 tour with Elvis was made to him, he didn't have to think and agreed, but he was really a little disappointed even though the work they did was well done. He really didn't see anything new, the songs were played over and over again and he didn't find much enthusiasm, although the relationship was still good with the musicians and with Elvis. It was clear that things had to change... "Following the Path of the King..."
He was Pianist for Elvis in the soundtrack of some of the Elvis movies, such as "Frankie and Johnny". She was also his pianist in 1961 at Elvis' benefit concerts in Memphis. At that time his stage name was Larry Owens. Larry Muhoberac, in addition to being a pianist, was a producer and composer. James Burton called him to work again for Elvis, in 1969 upon his return to the Concerts at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Although he was later replaced by Glen D. Hardin, in 1970 As a pianist he would also play with other artists such as Ray Charles, Neil Diamond, Al Martino and Tina Turner, .
Group formed by Donnie Sumner in 1973. In September 1973, Elvis wanted to do a favor for his friend Tom Jones, who was in need of a backing group for his performances at the time. Elvis wanted to help him by auditioning the new group from Nashville consisting of Donnie Sumner, Sherrill Nielsen and Tim Baty. By the time he introduced them to Tom, he had already solved his problem, but Elvis, who was so excited about the group, finally hired them to record with him and for his performances. Donnie had recently left the Stamps, Sherill was a member of the Imperials, and Tim Baty was bass. The peculiarity of the group was the contrast between high and low voices, which impressed Elvis in such a way that he was so excited and decided to hire them. The curiosity was that Elvis improvised his contract on toilet paper, he hired them for 100,000 dollars. Elvis was very excited because at last he had his own group, for when he wanted to record and he told his father. The Colonel did everything possible to convince Elvis to drop that idea, but of course it was not possible, not even for him to pay less, because he was already engaged and they had accepted it. The truth is that Elvis wanted to have a group especially for when he wanted to sing in private, to record or whatever he wanted and he also gave his word, which for Elvis was law. Although they say that the group was formed by Donnie Sumner, curiously Elvis would choose the name, inspired by doing something new, initially the name was New Age Voice, but since it was too long it was shortened to "Voice". The first time they recorded with Elvis was in September 1973 in some home sessions for RCA, with the songs: "I Miss You" and "Are You Sincere". Later in the recording sessions held in December of the same year at the Stax studios. On this occasion they were joined by pianist Per Erik "Pete" Hallin. In 1974 Tony Brown joined in the fall tour, etc. They were working for Elvis for 3 years.