Hello everybody, need some help here. For a long time I just took for granted that is was Homer "Boots" Randolph, the guy who plays saxophone for Elvis in what i might say almost every record from the 60's. Anyhow exceptions are noted well, but in the case of "Return to Sender", from the Girls Girls Girls sessions, most sources credit Boots as the sax player, but some sources (Im internet based) credit great saxophone player Bobby Keys as the one who played the opening riff on that Presley hit.
Bobby Keys is the guy who have played sax for countless R&R stars, has apeared on as many classic albums that you can recall, and we all have heard his playing on any Rolling Stones track that does has a sax line, yet at the time he played for Elvis in '62 (if there is any true on that) he might have been an unknown dude in the rock world, although a well demanded session musician already, but easely to skip on the sessions musicians list of the guys who played that night so...
Anyone know more about this, if myth or true?
Last edited by Brian; 02-09-2009 at 01:17 PM. Reason: s
Radio Recorders - Hollywood, California
Soundtrack Session for "Girls! Girls! Girls!" Paramount Producer : Joseph Lilley
Engineer : Thorne Nogar
Musicians: Backup Vocals:
Guitar : Scotty Moore The Jordanaires : Gordon Stoker; Neal Matthews; Hoyt Hawkins; Ray Walker
Guitar : Barney Kessel The Amigo's : Jose Vadiz; Miguel Alciade; Felix Melendez; Pedro Berrios
Guitar : Hilmer J "Tiny" Timbrell
Bass : Ray Siegel
Drums : DJ Fontana
Drums : Hal Blaine
Drums : Bernie Mattinson
Piano : Dudley Brooks
Saxophone : Homer "Boots" Randolph
Work in Progress!
Yes I know that, that is the same data I got, and as far as I know, Mr. Bobby Keys never played a session for Elvis.
But here is how the rumor is going:
Bobby Keys (born December 18, 1943, Slaton, Texas) (sometimes credited as Bobby Keyes) is an American saxophone player and together with Jim Price and occasionally Jim Horn formed the most in-demand horn section of the 1970s. They appear on albums by The Who, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, Eric Clapton, and Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
Keys started touring at age fourteen with Bobby Vee and fellow Texan Buddy Holly. Keys is best known as being the main saxophone player for The Rolling Stones, playing on every album from 1969 until 1974, and from 1980 to present, and performing on all Stones tours since 1970.
He is known for playing the saxophone solo on the 1971 hit "Brown Sugar" and for the film shot of him and Keith Richards (born the same day as Keys) throwing a television set from the 10th floor of a hotel somewhere during the 1972 American Tour, as seen in the Stones' unreleased 1972 concert movie Cocksucker Blues. Another famous recording by Keys is the baritone saxophone on Elvis Presley's "Return To Sender".
"Return to Sender" is a 1962 rock and roll hit single by American singer Elvis Presley. The song was written by Winfield Scott and Otis Blackwell. It is about a man mailing a letter to his girlfriend after an argument. She continually writes "return to sender" and while he keeps receiving the letter with various reasons for returning to sender, including "address unknown" and "no such person". He keeps mailing letters, refusing to believe the relationship is over. Elvis performed "Return to Sender" in the film Girls! Girls! Girls!.
The song peaked at number 1 on the United Kingdom music charts, and number 2 on the American Billboard singles chart, but reached number 1 on the rival Cash Box and Music Vendor singles charts. The single was certified "Platinum" by the RIAA for sales in excess of 1 million units in the US.
The memorable opening bars and backing on baritone saxophone is often credited to Boots Randolph, but was in fact played by Bobby Keys.
Last edited by Raised on Rock; 02-09-2009 at 02:43 PM.
Keys is a well known sax player. Interesting that he may have played on an Elvis tune. If true, I wonder if there are any others?
I got this info from a site I have never heard of before called
"The Penalty of Leadership" it is an indepth look at Elvis recording career and sessions" And it also only lists Boots as the sax player.
"Girls, Girls, Girls" session:
Backing Vocal Alan Davies
Backing Vocal Bill Cole
Backing Vocal Ernest Newton
Backing Vocal Gilda Maiken
Backing Vocal Gordon Stoker
Backing Vocal Hoyt Hawkins
Backing Vocal Mack Mclean
Backing Vocal Max Smith
Backing Vocal Neal Matthews
Backing Vocal Norma Zimmer
Backing Vocal Ray Linn Jr.
Backing Vocal Ray Walker
Backing Vocal Sally Stevens
Backing Vocal Thurl Ravenscroft
Bass Ray Siegel
Drums D. J. Fontana
Drums Hal Blaine
Guitar Barney Kessel
Guitar Robert Bain
Guitar Scotty Moore
Musical Conduction Joseph Lilley
Percussion Bernie Mattison
Percussion Harold Brown
Piano Dudley Brooks
Rhythm Guitar Hilmer J. 'Tiny' Timbrell
Saxophone Homer 'Boots' Randolph
Vibes Homer 'Boots' Randolph Technicians/crew:Assignment Name
Engineer Thorne Nogar
This site also has an A-Z listing of musicians who played on Elvis sessions and I did not fine Keys listed.
Work in Progress!
Bobby Keys Biography from Artists Direct site:
The "Return to Sender" mention is not here.
Best-known for his long association with the Rolling Stones, tenor saxophonist Bobby Keys spent several decades as an in-demand session man and touring musician, able to play blues, R&B, and rock & roll with equal flair. Born and raised in Texas, Keys was playing in rock & roll bands as early as the '50s, and worked with Buddy Holly and Bobby Vee, among many others. Keys worked regularly at the famed Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama before meeting the Stones in 1969; his work on Let It Bleed (not to mention the simple fact of association) quickly made him a hot property. Over the next few years, Keys played on albums by George Harrison (All Things Must Pass), Delaney & Bonnie, Eric Clapton, Humble Pie, the Faces, Carly Simon, Nilsson, Joe Cocker, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and B.B. King. He also continued his relationship with the Stones, appearing on classics like Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, and striking up an instant chemistry with Keith Richards. In 1972, Keys recorded a self-titled solo album for Warner Bros., which featured an all-star guest lineup including members of the Beatles, Cream, Mountain, and Traffic, plus his longtime trumpet-playing partner Jim Price. By the mid-'70s, his activities with the Stones were beginning to tail off, though he maintained a working relationship with the band over the years, both in the studio and on the road. He continued to find work through his old connections, and in 1979 joined Ron Wood's touring band the New Barbarians. In more recent years, Keys has continued to tour with the Stones and guest on the occasional album (including Sheryl Crow's The Globe Sessions), and also performed with the Lubbock, TX-based band the Ace Liquidators. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide
Work in Progress!
According to Ernst Jorgnsen, Bobby Keys DID NOT play the sax on the "Return to Sender" track. Boots Randolph was flown to Los Angeles with Scotty Moore and D. J. Fontana a few days before recording began and rehearsed the songs that had been chosen for the movie. Elvis arrived a few days later and would record them with Boots, Scotty, D. J., and some session musicians from Radio Recorders.
Apparently if Bobby Keyes recalls playing the sax for this session, he is incorrect. Could it possible that he was a session musician and 'could' have played the session until he realized that one had already been provided.
"More people today should see him not simply as a performer, but as an artist with a great soul."
John Bakke, professor emeritus
University of Memphis
I have stumbled across discussions on Elvis between what appears to be arbitrators who debate the info posted for validity.
Could be that someone is just misinformed about this and has made the addition of the "Return to Sender" sax solo into his bio at Wikipedia. Or perhaps someone is trying to pad his references-which seems unnecessary considering his many legit performances in his biography.
But no other source seems to back up this claim that Keys was even at the session let alone played on it.
Work in Progress!
Last edited by Raised on Rock; 02-10-2009 at 11:55 PM.
Nobody but Boots Randolph played on this classic.
Getlo - cute'n'cuddly
I just think someone who put that into Keys bio at Wiki is misinformed or wants to add to Keys credentials by adding the Elvis song into Keys work.
Work in Progress!