Photo Of The Week: Elvis Presley

p1170

Our last post reminded me of this photo from our general collection, a snapshot of Elvis Presley riding in a parade. Someone much more famous must be riding behind, because no one in the crowd is looking at Elvis. We aren’t sure where or when this photo was taken or who is riding along, but if you think you know please drop us a line in the comments. The photo was taken in 1955 at the Jimmie Rodgers Festival in Meridian, MS. The man on the left is Jimmy Snow.

You’re No Elvis

**UPDATE**  See the comments below for a more in depth discussion

Often we rely on our researchers for valuable information about the material in our collections: they are the ones who spend the most time with the material, and they definitely have the most expertise. A case in point: a recent discovery in our Elvis Presley Instantaneous Disc Collection, from a set of acetate masters for the soundtrack of the 1963 Elvis movie It Happened at the World’s Fair. A researcher who specializes in all things Elvis has pointed out that one of the the songs in the collection, “The Life I Love” (FD-1190), is not a recording of Elvis Presley at all, but most likely sung by P.J. Proby, a Texas native whose act the folks at MGM apparently found so Elvis-like that they contracted him to record demos of songs they were considering for Presley.

It makes sense that this particular song would only exist in demo form: “The Life I Love” never appeared in the movie, so it’s likely Elvis never recorded his own version, and the existing Presley discographies make no mention of the song.

P.J. Proby would go on to have a very impressive recording career of his own, scoring three top-ten hits in the UK in the mid-sixties, appearing on the Beatles TV special, and recording an album with the future members of Led Zeppelin. Later in his career Proby would continue to capitalize on his similarities to Elvis, portraying the King in various productions of Elvis: The Musical.

Listen to “The Life I Love”, likely sung by P. J. Proby (commenters seem to disagree as to who, exactly,  is singing this demo):

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.