How many songs did you rehearse in February 1970 (approx.)?
Oh gosh, it was a lot, as I remember.
Elvis loved to get together.
With him it was more than just get together and work.
He just loved to get together, hang out with the guys and have a good time.
But while he was at it, we'd get a lot of work done.
As I remember, we ran through an awful lot of songs.
And some of them we only ran through one time, just in case he ever wanted to do it.
So we got a lot of work done - it was a lot of songs.
But I think most of us grew up with his music, so we knew it.
It wasn't like I had to learn an awful lot of things.
Elvis often played piano in private.
Did he ever jam together with you?
I know he did play a little bit...
I thought he was about the worst piano player I ever heard! (laughs)
How did you start arranging material for him?
I did right from the start.
He came in one day, and started singing 'Let It Be Me', the Everly Brothers song.
The orchestra took a break, he started singing it and we started playing along with him.
But he didn't know the words, he couldn't remember them.
I didn't know them either.
And then when the orchestra came back after the break, he said: "Well, maybe we'll work on that tomorrow or sometime when I get the words".
So when the rehearsal was over that day, I went upstairs and called Los Angeles and got the words, and I sat down and arranged that.
I put that together for him, and had it there the next day.
Hired some people to copy the music and all that.
And when he came in to rehearse, I had a security guard come and tell me that he was coming down the hallway.
Just as he got to the door, I kicked it off with the orchestra, and then he'd know what it was.
I handed him a big lyric sheet with all the words on it.
He just loved it.
And it's such a beautiful song, you know, it's just one of those that you can't miss.
So that's how it got started.
Your first recording-session with him was in March 1972.
Was there a big difference between playing live and recording in the studio?
I would have thought we recorded before that, but I'm not sure.
Was it in '72?
Yes, March 1972 at RCA Hollywood.
I would have thought we recorded before 1972...
Yes, but that was live.