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Thread: Elvis and Bill Blacks relationship question?

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    International Level JDD's Avatar
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    Elvis and Bill Blacks relationship question?

    I know this is a long shot, but this is a very knowledgable group here on this site.

    in 58 Elvis and Scotty and Bill Black went their seperate ways. I've heard differing accounts as to why over the years. Some said it was purely money , that they didn't think since the Colonel came on that they were getting their fair share anymore, and that they were more and more being barred access to their friend. Others said it was pretty much a Colonel Parker decision , and that there was heat or friction especially between The Colonel and Bill Black. Bill was supposedly one of the few that would tell the Colonel he didn't particularly like him .

    Now History shows that Elvis and Scotty Moore did make up and Scotty even appeared on the 68 special with Elvis (always wondered why there wasn't more with them) and DJ Fontana.

    With Bill Black though, we know that he passed away in 1965 of a brain tumor or cancer. I've always wondered is it know if Elvis and him spoke/made up after the professional parting of the ways in 58 and Bill Black's death? Supposedly Elvis did not attend the funeral because he stated he did not want it to turn into a Circus but he did Visit with Bills widow. Vernon did attend, which seems to suggest that
    personally maybe there never was a problem with Elvis, or it was healed by then.

    So my long winded point/Question is, again Is it known if Elvis and Bill ever spoke, made up after the split in 58? I searched the board I read back as far as I could I do not see this question asked of covered in the past.

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    Cadillac King nashville cat's Avatar
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    That's a great question JDD, and I would love to hear any comments anyone can make on this subject. Personally, I feel Bill Black was not a technically great player, but had the necessary feel and attitude that complemented EP during that period. If Bill had stayed with Elvis, he probably would have had a hard time adapting to the array of music styles Elvis tackled later on.
    "I can't see my reflection in the water. I can't speak the sounds that show no pain. I can't hear the echo of my footsteps. I can't remember the sound of my own name" - Tomorrow Is A Long Time

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    International Level JDD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nashville cat
    That's a great question JDD, and I would love to hear any comments anyone can make on this subject. Personally, I feel Bill Black was not a technically great player, but had the necessary feel and attitude that complemented EP during that period. If Bill had stayed with Elvis, he probably would have had a hard time adapting to the array of music styles Elvis tackled later on.


    I agree Cat, for the Gritty early days of Rock N Roll Bill Black was a good fit. They always say that he was such a fun natured clown on stage that in the early Days When Elvis was still nervous about being in front of an Audience that sometimes Bills goofing around would break the ice and help Elvis get settled and relaxed . Sam Phillips always Said He wasn't technically very good, but "Man he had a way of slapping that Bass that worked". Supposedly he had at least one top ten hit with the Bill Black Combo, after Elvis and him parted though I've never heard it thats what the guys at Sun Studio told me.

    So yeah hopefully someone around here can add some more insight for us. I have a feeling, that he was another casulty of the Colonel .

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    Cadillac King nashville cat's Avatar
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    I seem to recall hearing about the Colonel or somebody early on wanting Bill to tone down his act, because they thought it was taking away from Elvis. Anyway, by the time Elvis signed with RCA and started appearing on TV, Bill seemed more subdued. Have you read Last Train To Memphis, JDD? That might have some info. To me, one of the tragedies of Elvis professional life is the people around him were always discouraging Elvis from working, or getting to close with other creative people. Not that he needed them, but they did seem to challenge Elvis.

    I have got a few 45s in my collection of the Bill Black combo, but I can't recall which songs.
    "I can't see my reflection in the water. I can't speak the sounds that show no pain. I can't hear the echo of my footsteps. I can't remember the sound of my own name" - Tomorrow Is A Long Time

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    International Level JDD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nashville cat
    Have you read Last Train To Memphis, JDD? That might have some info.

    Yes in fact I just finished it for the second time, which is kind of what triggered the question in my mind and got me searching for info and then I found this group last week and signed up. They are interesting books. I seem to read them all, some leave me disgusted, some leave me wanting more info. He was a facinating man Elvis. Its ashame that he didn't have an official Biographer following him around like Muhammad Ali does, to document everything as it happened for future generations.

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    Bill Black died at Baptist Memorial hospital in Memphis on October 21, 1965 during surgery. Elvis went to the funeral.

    After leaving Elvis (September 21, 1957), he formed the Bill Black Combo. He also played on three more sessions with Elvis in 1958. With the BB Combo, he recorded several hit songs for Hi Records. Also with the Combo, he appeared in the 1961 movie 'Teen-age Millionaire'. The bass he used to play while he was with Elvis is now owned by Paul McCartney.

    Bill instigated the rift if we are to use that word. He urged Scotty and D.J to also leave Elvis.
    The Sun Never Sets On A Legend...

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    International Level JDD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0349054
    Bill Black died at Baptist Memorial hospital in Memphis on October 21, 1965 during surgery. Elvis went to the funeral.

    After leaving Elvis (September 21, 1957), he formed the Bill Black Combo. He also played on three more sessions with Elvis in 1958. With the BB Combo, he recorded several hit songs for Hi Records. Also with the Combo, he appeared in the 1961 movie 'Teen-age Millionaire'. The bass he used to play while he was with Elvis is now owned by Paul McCartney.

    Bill instigated the rift if we are to use that word. He urged Scotty and D.J to also leave Elvis.

    0349054,
    thanks for the response, I'd always read that he didn't attend and the rockabilly HOF site says :

    "Blackie" was buried in Forest Hill Cemetary, Memphis. Gladys and later Elvis were also buried there, prior to their being moved to Graceland on Sunday, 2nd October 1977. Elvis didn't attend the funeral. His father, Vernon, did. Apart from the fact that he'd just completed "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" in Hawaii, he'd told Evelyn that he wouldn't go because he didn't want to turn a private affair into a circus by being present. Elvis and Priscilla later visited Evelyn and the girls at their home.


    I don't know that he did or didn't but, I'm curious where you heard , saw he did? It always seemed like an Elvis move to me that he wouldn't , which was the same reason he claimed he didn't attend regular church services anymore. The rest of what you say all sounds like what I have read in the past so that gives me more confidence in that aspect.

    So have you read that or heard from other sources , if the rift, was ever healed during Black's lifetime? I enjoy your posts on the site. I'm just trying to get a clear a picture as I can from the available accounts. From what I know of Elvis, he didn't like people to be angry with him and would usually find some Elvis way to smooth things over (he did this with most of the MM at different times). So I would assume he did. I had a chance to meet Scooty Moore at a Sun Studios anniversary event awhile back and ment to ask him just this but it was so crowded that other then a hello I didn't get the chance. He did sign a nice Photo though that I love with him behind Elvis but I digress.

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    International Level Menwithbrokenhearts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nashville cat
    That's a great question JDD, and I would love to hear any comments anyone can make on this subject. Personally, I feel Bill Black was not a technically great player, but had the necessary feel and attitude that complemented EP during that period. If Bill had stayed with Elvis, he probably would have had a hard time adapting to the array of music styles Elvis tackled later on.
    Wasn't there a song at Rca that they were trying to record but Bill couldn't get the bass line right so he stormed out and Elvis just picked up the bass and recorded it himself?

    As far as patching things up, I just did some research and as far as I can tell, they did not. Elvis brought Scotty and DJ back into the studio but not Bill. He sent out an official statement to the press when Bill died, but as far as I can tell, did not attend the funeral. As much as loyalty mattered to Elvis , when they all split off from him and he couldn't get Bill back and then Bill forms another group, it looks as though Elvis sort of washed his hands of him. The press statement at the time of Bills death is heartfelt and respectful, as Elvis always was in these matters.
    Got my family, my kids, my books and my music, I'm good, yeah, I'm good.....

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    International Level JDD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menwithbrokenhearts
    Wasn't there a song at Rca that they were trying to record but Bill couldn't get the bass line right so he stormed out and Elvis just picked up the bass and recorded it himself?

    As far as patching things up, I just did some research and as far as I can tell, they did not. Elvis brought Scotty and DJ back into the studio but not Bill. He sent out an official statement to the press when Bill died, but as far as I can tell, did not attend the funeral. As much as loyalty mattered to Elvis , when they all split off from him and he couldn't get Bill back and then Bill forms another group, it looks as though Elvis sort of washed his hands of him. The press statement at the time of Bills death is heartfelt and respectful, as Elvis always was in these matters.


    That song would be from Jailhouse Rock, the one played in the pool party scene though elvis don't play it in the film was, " (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" .

    Thanks for the response. I guess maybe they just drifted apart for a number of reasons. Hopefully there wasn't any real hard feelings .

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    Larry Geller told me. He said Marty and Alan also attended. I think Guarnlick wrote in one of his books that Elvis didn't attend, however his source for that information was another book that hadn't done their research!

    I wasn't there so obviously I can't say for sure, but I do tend to believe the guys more so. Elvis also spent over an hour comforting Bill's wife.


    Quote Originally Posted by JDD
    0349054,
    thanks for the response, I'd always read that he didn't attend and the rockabilly HOF site says :

    "Blackie" was buried in Forest Hill Cemetary, Memphis. Gladys and later Elvis were also buried there, prior to their being moved to Graceland on Sunday, 2nd October 1977. Elvis didn't attend the funeral. His father, Vernon, did. Apart from the fact that he'd just completed "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" in Hawaii, he'd told Evelyn that he wouldn't go because he didn't want to turn a private affair into a circus by being present. Elvis and Priscilla later visited Evelyn and the girls at their home.


    I don't know that he did or didn't but, I'm curious where you heard , saw he did? It always seemed like an Elvis move to me that he wouldn't , which was the same reason he claimed he didn't attend regular church services anymore. The rest of what you say all sounds like what I have read in the past so that gives me more confidence in that aspect.

    So have you read that or heard from other sources , if the rift, was ever healed during Black's lifetime? I enjoy your posts on the site. I'm just trying to get a clear a picture as I can from the available accounts. From what I know of Elvis, he didn't like people to be angry with him and would usually find some Elvis way to smooth things over (he did this with most of the MM at different times). So I would assume he did. I had a chance to meet Scooty Moore at a Sun Studios anniversary event awhile back and ment to ask him just this but it was so crowded that other then a hello I didn't get the chance. He did sign a nice Photo though that I love with him behind Elvis but I digress.
    The Sun Never Sets On A Legend...

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    Backstage Pass tcbeus's Avatar
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    youtube.com/watch?v=Q5gPoGK2Cac&search=elvis/... The bass he used to play while he was with Elvis is now owned by Paul McCartney.

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