The New York Sessions 1956
After making his first appearance on National TVon the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show in New York on January 28, Elvis stayed in town and at around 11 a.m. on Monday, January 30, he and the band headed for the RCA Studio, 155 E. 24th Street. They recorded for seven hours that day, then three hours on January 31. These sessions yielded 'Blue Suede Shoes' and five other tunes: 'My Baby Left Me', 'One-Sided Love Affair', 'So Glad You're Mine', 'I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry Over You' and 'Tutti Fruitti'.
'Blue Suede Shoes' was the only hit single in the bunch, but the sessions were crucial in Elvis history because they marked the point at which he started moving away from his raw, pure Sun sound to the more commercial and mainstream sound RCA envisioned for him.
Elvis returned twice more to the New York Studios.
On February 3, Elvis returned to New York for a second recording session at RCA's New York Studio, prior to his second appearance on the 'Dorsey Brothers Stage Show', the following day. These sessions yielded 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' and 'Shake, Rattle and Roll'. Elvis returned for a final time to the New York studios on Monday, July 2, 1956, this time following an appearance on the Steve Allen Show. Over seven hours recorded 'Hound Dog' and 'Don't Be Cruel', which would be released five weeks later and become his most successful single to-date, racking up 11 weeks at No. 1. Elvis also recorded a nice ballad, 'Any Way You Want Me'.
Colonel Parker tells RCA vice president Larry Kananga during the day that 'Hound Dog' may become such a big hit that RCA may have to change it's corporate symbol from the 'Victor Dog' to the 'Hound Dog'.
This is the first time that Elvis takes over full leadership of a session, and he insists on completing each song to his satisfaction, continuing with 'Hound Dog' (thirty-one takes) and 'Don't Be Cruel' (twenty eight) well past the point that nominated producer Steve Sholes would have quit. Elvis is the producer.
The action finally starts when Sholes calls for a test of all the equipment and instruments. Microphones have to be strategically placed around the room to get the sound they're after. Immediately DJ Fontana picks up his drumsticks and taps out a rhythm, while Bill Black slaps his bass and Scotty Moore plucks out a beat. Where is Elvis amid all this? Right where he wants to be - at the piano playing Gospel tunes and singing spirituals with the Jordanaires. Finally, the recording session is set to begin. After the levels have been set, Steve and Elvis trade thoughts and decide they should record Hound Dog first.
Gordon Stoker remembers that RCA had brought in Big Mama Thornton's version of 'Hound Dog' as a demo: 'They had demos on almost everything that Elvis recorded, and we'd take it from the demo. We'd listen to the demo, most of the time, and we'd take it from the demo. We had (Big) Mama Thornton's record on 'Hound Dog', since she had a record on that. After listening to it we actually thought it was awful and couldn't figure out why Elvis wanted to do that'. He didn't know at the time of course, that Elvis' version wasn't based on Thornton's rendition of 'Hound Dog' at all but on the version he saw in Las Vegas by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys.
Although Shorty Long does play piano on the other two songs they recorded that day, he is not available for the recording of 'Hound Dog'. They need a piano player for the track and in steps Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires. Since they can't set up a microphone at the piano for him, Gordon won't be able to sing his tenor part during this song. Recording sessions were done much differently back in 1956. It was monaural sound back then. The sounds were mixed as they were recorded, using single track tape recorders. Patching two or more takes together was not widely done at the time (It would be more common even two years later), so if you didn't get the sound you wanted you had to go back and do a re-take. The standard procedure called for the musicians and singer(s) to record what they dubbed as a rehearsal take, and then listen closely to the playback thereby deducting what needed to be changed or altered to get the sound they wanted to achieve for the actual recording. Without Gordon singing tenor, the Jordanaires try to come up with a combined sound as best they can to cover it, and Gordon laughs as he states, 'That's one of the worst sounds we ever got on any record!' However Elvis insists on doing the song, and the results, albeit without Gordon singing tenor, will still do more than please the masses. Gordon also related that Elvis very much knew in his mind what he wanted the final results to be so they didn't spend a lot of time working out tempos.
What made Elvis so unique were the liberties he took in the studio. Stoker confers that 50 years ago most musicians were extremely serious and cut-throat in the studio - but not Elvis. He had fun with it, he enjoyed himself and thereby created a different atmosphere than most musicians and singers were used to in the studio. Perhaps that's part of the reason why Elvis' sound was so unique, so vibrant. As long as they came up with a sound that Elvis liked, the group was happy as Gordon relates.
This was the last time Elvis held a recording session in New York.
Elvis Presley New York July 2, 1956.
January 30 1956 RCA Studio's - New York
January 31 1956 RCA Studio's - New York
February 3 1956 RCA Studio's - New York
July 2 1956 RCA Studio's - New York
CDs / Audio DVDs
Elvis Presley RCA's McGavock St Studio | January 10 and 11, April 14, 1956
1956 business contract signed by Colonel Parker and Elvis for The Elvis Presley Show
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | January 28, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | February 4, 1956
Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black | February 9, 1956
Elvis Presley Backstage February 10, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show| February 11, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | February 18, 1956
Elvis Presley The Lousinana Hayride | March 10, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | March 17, 1956
Elvis Presley singing and playing gospel music | March 17, 1956
Jimmy Dean and Elvis Presley on the Jimmy Dean WMAL-TV Show, March 23, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | March 24, 1956
Elvis Presley The Milton Berle Show | April 3, 1956
Elvis Presley Arena | San Diego | April 4, 1956
Elvis Presley Wichita Falls, Texas | April 9, 1956
Elvis Presley Fair Park Coliseum, Lubbock, TX | April 10, 1956
Elvis Presley RCA's McGavock St Studio | January 10 and 11, April 14, 1956
Elvis Presley San Antonio | April 15, 1956
Elvis Gives Out With Crazy Cool Interview | April 17, 1956
Elvis thrilled Tulsa teens at fairgrounds April 18, 1956
Elvis Presley Oklahoma City | April 19, 1956
Elvis Presley April 20, 1956 | North Side Coliseum, Forth Worth
Elvis Presley, New Singing Find, Booked Into New Frontier | April 21, 1956
Elvis Presley at The New Frontier Hotel | From April 23, 1956
Review | Elvis Presley at The New Frontier | Las Vegas Sun | April 26, 1956
Review | Elvis Presley at The New Frontier | Las Vegas SUN | April 28, 1956
Review | Elvis Presley at The New Frontier | Las Vegas SUN | May 1, 1956
Letter to the editor | Las Vegas SUN | May 12, 1956
Elvis Presley Auditorium in St. Paul, Minnesota | May 13, 1956
Elvis Presley May 14, 1956 | LaCrosse Wisconsin
Elvis Presley May 15, 1956 | Ellis Auditorium
Elvis Presley Detroit, MI. Fox Theater May 25, 1956
Elvis Presley Columbus, Ohio | May 26, 1956
Elvis, Scotty, Bill and DJ performed two shows at the UD Fieldhouse in Dayton | May 27, 1956
Elvis Presley Dayton, Oh., as Elvis left for Memphis | May 28, 1956
Elvis greeting fans at Los Angeles Airport, 1956
Elvis Presley 1956 | March/ June/ July
Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley swap autographs, Memphis | June 1, 1956
Elvis Presley Arriving in Oakland | June 3, 1956
Elvis Presley In Concert | Oakland California | June 3, 1956
The Milton Berle Show Los Angeles | June 5, 1956
Elvis Presley June 7, 1956 | Long Beach Municipal Auditorium
Elvis Presley June 8, 1956
Elvis Presley | Wink Martindale Show | June 16, 1956
Elvis Presley Interview with Wink and Sandy Martindale
Elvis Presley and Red West at Elvis' 1034 Audubon Drive House | June 14, 1956
Vernon, Gladys and Elvis Presley sing at the piano | 1034 Audubon Drive House | June 17, 1956
Elvis Presley and Barbara Hearn | June 19, 1956 | Fairgrounds Amusement Park, Memphis
Elvis Presley and Barbara Hearn at Elvis' 1034 Audubon Drive House | June 19, 1956
Elvis Presley with Susan Hayward | June 28, 1956
Elvis Presley Mosque Theater, Richmond, Va | June 30, 1956
Elvis Presley 1956 | March | June | July
Elvis Presley Hudson Theater | New York City | Steve Allen Show | July 1, 1956
Elvis Presley RCA Studio One, Memphis, Tennessee | July 2, 1956
Elvis Presley On The Train to, Memphis, Tennessee | July 3, 1956
Elvis Presley Russwood Park, Memphis, Tennessee | July 4, 1956
Elvis Presley St. Joseph's Hospital Memphis Tennessee | July 5, 1956
Elvis Presley Ocean Springs, MS. | Thursday, July 12, 1956
Elvis performs with The Statesman Quartet at Ellis Auditorium | July 27, 1956
Elvis Presley Water Skiing | Biloxi July 31, 1956
Elvis Presley Love Me Tender Movie Set Photos
Elvis Presley Olympia Theater, Miami, Florida | August 3, 1956
Elvis Presley August 5, 1956 | Tampa Florida
Elvis Presley Florida Theatre St. Petersburg | August 7, 1956
Elvis Presley Jacksonville, FL. Florida Theater (3 shows per day) | August 10-11, 1956
Elvis Presley August 7, 1956 | Candid Photos
Elvis Presley at the Knickerbocker Hotel, Hollywood | August 18, 1956
Elvis Presley Love Me Tender Recording Sessions | August 24, 1956
Elvis Presley August 31, 1956 | On the set of Love Me Tender
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show 1956-1957
Elvis Presley September 1-3, 1956 Recording Sessions
Elvis Presley First Appearance | The Ed Sullivan Show | September 9, 1956
Elvis Presley Asleep In Flight | Back To Memphis September 23, 1956
Elvis Presley September 26, 1956 | Tupelo, MS. Mississippi-Alabama Fairgrounds
Elvis Presley wearing the new 'Elvis Presley hat', backstage in Tupelo, September 26, 1956
Elvis Presley at the Mid-South Fair | Memphis September 29, 1956
Elvis Presley October 5, 1956
Elvis Presley Cotton Bowl, Dallas | October 11, 1956
Elvis Presley October 18, 1956
Elvis Presley October 19, 1956 | Assault Charge
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show Rehearsals | October 26-28, 1956
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show | Dress Rehearsals | October 28, 1956
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show | Press Conference | October 28, 1956
Elvis Presley gets his Polio Shot | October 28, 1956
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show | October 28, 1956
Natalie Wood and Elvis Presley outside the Hotel Chisca | October 31, 1956
What is an Elvis Presley?
The Million Dollar Quartet (December 4, 1956)
Elvis Presley December 11, 1956 | Mobbed by fans in Memphis after running out of gas
Elvis Presley's Last Louisiana Hayride Performance | December 15, 1956
Elvis Presley Touch Football | Dave Wells Community Center | December 27, 1956
The Movies Of 1956
1956, Love Me Tender, Twentieth Century Fox
The Movies In Photos
CDs | DVDs | Books
Buy Elvis Presley CD, DVDs and Books at ...
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.