Graceland spokesman Todd Morgan said Monday the music from the tape "is completely and perfectly preserved in the vaults of BMG/RCA. Whether it's OK to cut up a deteriorated original tape that found its way into a private collection could be debated endlessly." But Morgan said Graceland does not own the tape and it was "not our decision to make. The project would have happened with or without us. Our licensing department's decision was whether to grant the requested licensing cooperation. Master Tape Collection presented convincing evidence of the tape's authenticity and our licensing department thus felt comfortable working with them."
EPE licensed Elvis photographs and the Elvis name to be used by Esposito's company as part of the marketing effort for what Master Tape calls "one of the single most important reels of tape ever to be unearthed."
Michael Esposito said:
The tape owner Michael Esposito said he acquired the 6-inch-diameter reel from a "broker" for a Nashville warehouse where the tape was stored until the 1990s. When the tape's owner failed to make rental payments on the storage facility, the tape went to the facility owner by default, he said. He declined to say how much he paid, except that it was a "substantial amount." Since the tape was extremely fragile and could only be played once, two digital copies of the tape were made.
"Exactly how many we make is function of how many pieces of tape will withstand cutting," says Michael Esposito, president of Master Tape Collection, based in Bloomfield, N.J. "The song 'That's Alright, Mama' runs 2:20, and the tape runs at 15 inches per second, so that piece of tape alone could allow us to produce 800 to 900 plaques."
The tape contains:
This original source tape includes ten of those famous Sun Session recordings:
SONG 1- "THAT'S ALL RIGHT." (™) Recorded July 5, 1954. Hit single on Sun Records July 1954.
SONG 2 - "HARBOR LIGHTS." Recorded July 1954. Released 1976 on "Elvis Vol. 2 A Legendary Performer."
SONG 3 - "TRYING TO GET TO YOU." Recorded February 1955. Released on first RCA Album 1956.
SONG 4 - "MYSTERY TRAIN." Recorded February 1955. Released July 1955.
SONG 5 - "WHEN IT RAINS IT REALLY POURS" (3 takes). Recorded November 1955. Released 1983 on "Elvis Vol. 4 - A Legendary Performer."
SONG 6 - "I'M LEFT YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE." Recorded March 1955. Released 1986 on "A Golden Celebration."
SONG 7 - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" Recorded July 1954. Released July 1954 on Sun Records.
SONG 8 - "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE." Recorded July 1954. Released 1956 on "Elvis Presley."
SONG 9 - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" Recorded March 1955. Released as a "B" side on Sun Records in April 1955.
SONG 10 - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" Recorded September 1954. Released on first RCA album "Elvis Presley," 1956.
Ersnt Jorgensen said:
If this is real. The leading authority on Elvis's recording career has serious doubts. Actually, that's putting it charitably. Ernst Jorgensen, the author of "Elvis Day by Day" and the man who oversees the CD repackaging of Presley's back catalogue for RCA, the King's label, heard the tape when Esposito tried to sell it to RCA a few years ago. He passed, convinced that he was listening to a copy of a master tape that RCA already owns.
"We [RCA] have the original and Sam had only one tape machine, and he certainly didn't have the money to run two tapes at the same time," he said. "And there's nothing new on the tape they have. About 95 percent of it has already been released in the marketplace, and the rest will eventually be released in the coming years."
Plans to cut up and sell pieces of an original tape of Elvis Presley's Sun Studio recordings are "shameful," a curator for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said Tuesday.
Corator Rock And Roll Museum
Howard Kramer, curatorial director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, said the museum does not pay for exhibits, so it was not asked to buy the tape which includes 10 songs recorded by Elvis in 1954 and 1955. "By the time they called us about this it was a done deal," said Kramer.
He was contacted in late December by a spokesman for Michael Esposito, head of a Bloomfield, N.J., company, Master Tape Collection, he said. "The only thing that was offered to us was a framed piece of tape. We said, 'No, thank you.' " Kramer said he considers Esposito's plans to cut up and sell the tape in 2-inch segments "nothing to be proud of. It's shameful."
Fan reactions were:
"I think it would be crazy. Very little is done in the name of Elvis. It's always a money thing," said Mary Stonebraker, president of Elvis' Hometown Fans club.
One of Elvis's aunts, Lois Smith, in her late 70s, said she's mystified by any potential market for pieces of audiotape: "I don't like it worth a dang . . . Who in the world is going to buy a little old piece of tape if it won't even play?"
"Next they'll be selling little bits of the Mona Lisa," huffed someone identified as Greg on the elvis-collectors.com message board, "or maybe a slice of the U.S. Constitution or the dead sea scrolls."
"If this is real, I'm pretty sure that God made a commandment against doing this kind of thing!!" fumed "elvis fan" on the same page.
Source: Various / Updated: Jan 27, 2004