I don’t usually pay a whole lot of attention to Elvis-related items that go up for auction. A lot of times, it is boring stuff like locks of his hair.
A recent British auction caught my eye, though. From Elvis Unlimited, here are excerpts from a description by Scotty Moore, Elvis’ first guitarist, of the lot he put up for auction in May:
I write this letter to confirm that I own a very special collection of records that used to belong to Elvis, and to confirm the story of the records: In early January 1968 […], Elvis asked if I could transfer his old favourite 78 RPM records to reel-to-reel tape for him at my studio. I told him yes.
When we met at the sessions in Nashville, which took place on January 15th and 16th 1968, Elvis brought with him a briefcase with 26 78s wrapped in the January 14th edition of the Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal.
Elvis left me the briefcase with the records and asked me to mail the tape back to his house in Memphis, which I did. I made a safety copy for myself and kept the records and tape in my studio in Nashville. Elvis never asked for the records to be returned. […]
Some years later – around 1973, I believe, I was cleaning out my studio when I noticed the briefcase with the 78 RPM records. I called Graceland who took notice of the titles, and I took the records back to my home studio in Nashville where they have been kept safe in my home ever since. […]
These records were some of Elvis’ first and all time favourite records. They influenced Elvis as a musician and vocalist for sure.”
For me, I find this a fascinating look at Elvis the music fan. That’s right, it’s Elvis as one of us.
Below is the list of records. If Elvis lived in modern times and had an iPod, this could certainly have been one of his playlists. I’ve italicized songs that Elvis is known to have professionally recorded.
- Joe Turner: Corrine Corrina b/w Boogie Woogie Country Girl
- The Dominoes: That’s What You’re Doing To Me b/w When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano
- Ivory Joe Hunter: It’s A Sin b/w Don’t You Believe Her
- Roy Brown: Hurry, Hurry Baby b/w Travelin’ Man
- Fats Domino: Blueberry Hill b/w Honey Chile
- The Crickets: You’re Mine b/w Milk And Gin
- Tommy Edwards: It’s All In The Game b/w All Over Again
- Ray Charles: I Got A Woman b/w Come Back
- Hank Snow: I’m Gonna Bid My Blues Goodbye b/w Just A Faded Petal From A Beautiful Bouquet
- Louis Jones And His Band: Rock And Roll Bells b/w All Over, Goodbye
- Lowell Fulson: Reconsider Baby b/w I Believe I’ll Give Up
- Brownie Mcghee: I’m 10,000 Years Old b/w Cherry Red
- The Four Lads: Moments To Remember b/w Dream On, My Love, Dream On
- Johnny Ace With The Beale Streeter: My Song b/w Follow The Rule
- Roy Hamilton: Hurt b/w Star Of Love
- Sammy Davis Jr: Because Of You Parts 1 & 2
- Fats Domino: Ain’t It A Shame b/w La-La
- Lloyd Price: Lawdy Miss Clawdy b/w Mailman Blues
- Buddy Blake: Rosie b/w You’ll Cry For Me
- The Pearls: Your Cheatin’ Heart b/w I Sure Need You
- Ivory Joe Hunter: Since I Met You Baby b/w You Can’t Stop This Rockin’ And Rollin’
- Carl Perkins: Matchbox b/w Your True Love
- Billy Ward And His Dominoes: Rags To Riches b/w Don’t Thank Me
- The Billy Vaughn Orchestra: The Shifting Whispering Sands Parts 1 & 2
- Arthur Gunter: Baby Let’s Play House b/w Blues After Hours
- Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton: Hound Dog b/w Night Mare
The lot of 26 records ending up fetching well over $100,000 US at auction. It was a big check to write, but I’m looking forward to receiving the records.
Just kidding, I don’t have that kind of splurge money. However, I did think of one relatively inexpensive way to “win” this auction – by buying and downloading the same songs from iTunes or Amazon. Plus, I already have a few of them on my iPod.
It turns out that 39 of the above songs are available on iTunes. The 13 “missing” songs are not currently available for download from the US versions of iTunes or Amazon. However, they may be available on CD – which I did not check as of yet.
A couple of CDs were released in the last few years purporting to contain songs that inspired Elvis, including some of the above tunes. Personally, I think it’s more fun to track down the exact ones in his collection – almost the equivalent of a young Elvis finding a much-wanted single in a Beale Street record shop.
In any event, for about $50 or less, you can download and listen to songs that Elvis enjoyed and gain new insight into the artist. For more information on the records, including pictures, see the official Scotty Moore site.