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Q&A With Joe Tunzi Part III

October 15, 2006 | People
Part III of the Q&A with Joe Tunzi by you, the readers of ElvisNews and For Elvis CD Collectors. Part III focuses on Elvis and Elvis’ music

Joe Tunzi On Elvis In General

42. What information do you have on Elvis making any statements about USSR? (Question from Narek Markarian)

Joe: Elvis had a deep appreciation of people from all over the world but I really have no idea if Elvis ever commented any way regarding the USSR. Elvis wasn’t a person to make political statements. Elvis was in a business where he understood the power of the podium. He knew that if you’re not knowledgeable in an area in which you‘re talking about, it could get you into trouble with the media. A lot of people underestimate this aspect of Elvis.

43. I heard that if not for Elvis Presley's benefit and contributions the Pearl Harbor Memorial may not have been completed is this true? (Question from Steve).

Joe: No, it’s more likely that the USS Arizona Memorial would have been built irregardless of Elvis’ concert. It may have taken a little longer to build the memorial but I believe it still would have gotten done. Six months after the benefit concert, Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye was able to secure $150,000 in federal funds to assist in building the memorial. These funds had been lobbied for by AmVets National Commander Harold Berc. So it really didn’t stop with Elvis and it didn‘t really begin with him either. Construction of the memorial had already begun in late 1960 and concluded in the spring of 1962. There were many others besides Elvis who contributed their time and effort to getting the money raised. It’s a shame that Elvis has overshadowed the other individuals and their contributions of time and money.

44. I am curious to know what was inside the gift Elvis gave to Priscilla on her birthday in a long box that she opens but we cannot see what is inside. In the film she is dressed in green and then she cries having Elvis by her side. I was wondering what it could be? (Question from Vera Regina Prandi)

Joe: I’m not really an expert on this but I would have to guess that the home movie was taken in Palm Springs shortly after their wedding where Elvis may have given Priscilla a gift. I would have to guess that it’s either a necklace or a bracelet.

45. Elvis was always known for his generosity, especially to those in need. What has surprised me is that I have never heard of Elvis providing help for guitarist Hank Garland following Hank's debilitating accident. Similarly, no book I have ever read has even mentioned what Elvis might have thought about his accident. Legend has it that Hank was leaving an Elvis session when the accident occurred. Do you know how Elvis responded? (Question from T-roy Sims).

Joe: I have spoken several times to Brian, Hank’s nephew and his caretaker before Hank passed away several years ago. I don’t recall Brian ever making mention of Elvis contributing any money towards his medical bills but I’m sure that Elvis felt very bad that Hank was involved in a serious accident. This doesn’t mean that Elvis didn’t do anything. He may have done it without any fanfare.

46. In your book Recording Sessions vol. 3 it states that Elvis’s funeral service was recorded. Is this true and who has this audio of this sad service (question from Darren Cavanagh).

Joe: The audio was recorded by Bill Porter and was turned over to Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley. More than likely the recording is still contained in the Graceland archives.

47. Do you know how many guns Elvis owned, what his favorites were and what happened with the collection after he died? (Question from Kenneth McGowan).

Joe: I would have to think that Elvis owned many guns. Collecting guns and badges was a hobby in as much a sense as Elvis fans collect Elvis’ music and movies. It would be hard to guess how many guns Elvis ever purchased, given that he collected guns his entire career and that he purchased guns as gifts for family and friends.

Joe Tunzi On Elvis’ Music

48. This question relates to the female backing vocal(s) to the on soundtrack songs “Pocketful of Rainbows'” and “Spring fever”. Do you have any information when these overdubs were done, such as who recorded the “Pocketful of Rainbows” vocal, as well as dates, locations, and if any other production numbers were assigned to either cut during the recording process or after these overdubs were finished. (question from Garry Brennan).

Joe: "Pocketful Of Rainbows" was sung by Juliet Prowse. As for "Spring Fever" I believe this was done by B.J. Baker. Both of these were sung during post-production of their respective films.

49. You mention in Sessions III, possible recordings of Elvis and Tom Jones. Do you think they really exist and chance for a release? (Question from Samuel Ketenjian).

Joe: This rumor comes from a well known paparazzi photographer, Peter Borsari. He took several pictures of Elvis and Tom Jones together for a then upcoming article in a magazine. He told me several years ago before he passed away that he witnessed Elvis and Tom Jones fooling around singing while a portable cassette or a reel-to reel recorder on a table was in use. One of the titles he distinctively recalls Elvis singing was the Billy Eckstine number “With These Hands.” In the biography “Tom Jones: Close Up” by Lucy Ellis and Bryony Sutherland, it is mentioned that Tom first met Elvis on the set of “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” and Elvis came up to Tom singing “With These Hands.” Tom also mentioned in the book that he regretted not being able to locate some 8 mm film of him and Elvis jamming together that he said was shot by Joe Esposito and that Priscilla was unable to locate. Whether this is of the same jam is unclear.

50. What can you say about rumor that John Lennon suggested Elvis to sing Imagine in duet? Have they ever met after the meeting with Beatles? (Question from Narek Markarian)

Joe: No, Elvis and John Lennon did not ever meet again after their meeting on August 27, 1965 at Elvis’ home. As for the rumor regarding “Imagine” I would be willing to guarantee that it is not valid at all.

51. Do you think the unreleased takes and studio talk/clowning from Elvis' May 1971 Nashville recording sessions, where he recorded a lot of Christmas music, will ever be released by BMG or FTD? (Question from Jeanne Pellicani).

Joe: A great idea would be for FTD to do two 7”CD sets of the 1971 albums “Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas” and “He Touched Me.” Rarely anyone mentions these two albums for potential classic album material. A third FTD could be dedicated to outtakes from the non-secular material from the March, May and June sessions. If FTD wants three releases in November, this would be the ideal way to present these 1971 outtakes.

52. Do you feel the CBS 77 tapes should be released by EPE? ((Question from Cory)

Joe: Yes, absolutely the Estate should release “Elvis In Concert.” Elvis only did three television specials. Why should the Estate deny the fans the material or for that matter try as much as they may to eliminate something from the public consciousness so as to make it that it didn’t ever happen. If any person from the media wanted to know about “Elvis In Concert” all they would have to do is search the internet to read about it. Also, in this day and age the media is more concerned with other agendas as opposed to Elvis’ appearance during “Elvis In Concert.” How the “Elvis In Concert” material is presented is another question. It doesn’t have to be both shows complete. It could be a DVD that contains the best of the ‘77 material.

53. In Sessions 3 you stated that the 6/28/73 St Louis Mo concert in on Soundboard in your opinion could this be a possible release? (Question from Mark Wengler).

Joe: This comes from solid information we received that the June 28, 1973 show in St. Louis was recorded on soundboard. It tied together with other information I’ve researched y
Peter@EM wrote on October 18, 2006
Well, thank you so much Joe, for taking the time to answer all these 70 (!!) questions. It was an email-interview, and you almost wrote another book ;-) -- Thank you for the insight, the details AND your super books!
Danny Fisher wrote on October 31, 2006
I agree, thank you Joe, for taking the time to answer all these questions.
Greg Nolan wrote on November 09, 2006
Very interesting! It sure would be nice for those '69 rehearsal tapes to be found, but I think I can take a pass on the funeral tape....