Gotta Find My Baby!


Below we list members of Elvis' band between 1954 and 1977.
Only instrumentalists and backing vocalists who have worked extensively with Elvis, even in separate periods, are mentioned.
UPDATED ON April 23, 2022



Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935, Elvis came into the world with his stillborn twin Jesse Garon. Son of Gladys Love Smith and Vernon Elvis Presley, he would start his adult life working as a truck driver, but would soon be discovered by Sam Phillips, from Sun Studio, for his unique vocal gifts.

Along with Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D. J. Fontana, Elvis helped create and solidify Rock 'n' Roll in North America and around the world. His charisma, impeccable appearance and voice, quickly gained fans around the globe, remaining that way even when he retired from the music business to serve in the Army, and while he was in Hollywood.

In the 1970s, his return to the stage and recording music generated billions in sales. His shows were always sold out even in the midst of marital and health problems, because what he knew best was to make his fans happy.

Due to prescription drug abuse and other congenital factors, Elvis Aaron Presley died on August 16, 1977, aged 42.

  To learn more about his story, see Who Was Elvis Presley?


BAND MEMBERS I (1954 - 1961)

WYNFIELD SCOTT MOORE III (SCOTTY MOORE) (guitar and electric guitar)
STAY: 1954 - 1958 (stage and studio); 1960 - 1968 (studio)

Born in GadsdenTennessee, on December 27, 1931, Scotty was the youngest of 14 children. After serving in the Army between 1948 and 1952, he returned to his country and formed the band Starlite Wranglers before being called by Sam Phillips to form the trio The Blue Moon Boys with Elvis and Bill Black. For a few months he was Presley's agent, a position he left for Bob Neal.

Scotty was known for creating a distortion effect called "slapback". His contribution to Elvis' recordings took place mainly between 1954 and 1958, then he took part in fewer sessions until leaving for new ventures in 1968, as that of music producer. In addition to influencing the careers of Keith Richards and Paul McCartney, Scotty was guitarist for Ricky Nelson and Roy Orbison.

Moore was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the year 2000, and retired in 2007.

Scotty Moore passed away in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 28, 2016, aged 84.


STAY: 1954 - 1958 (stage and studio)

Bill Black was born on September 17, 1926 in Memphis, Tennessee. He spent his childhood watching his father play banjo and had his first experiences at age 16, playing honk tonk-style songs in local bars. During World War II, Black met Evelyn, the woman he would later marry.

The instrumentalist was called into the trio on the recommendation of Scotty, with whom he had worked in 1952, and for his well-known "slap bass" technique. His contribution was extensive from 1954 to 1958. In 1959 he would form his own band, Bill Black's Combo, which appeared on established programs such as The Ed Sullivan Show and had great success, although brief.

In 1962, Bill opened his own studio in the heart of Memphis. The following year, he found a brain cancer and his health declined. Without him, his Combo made history by opening The Beatles' first show in the US in 1964.

Bill Black died on October 21, 1965, aged 39. Elvis was criticized for not attending the funeral, explaining that he feared generating a "media frenzy".


STAY: 1954 - 1958 (stage and studio); 1960 - 1968 (studio)

Born March 15, 1931 in Shreveport, Louisiana, D.J. was hired at age 23 to be the house drummer on The Louisiana Hayride. His dynamism led to him joining Elvis' group in October 1954. A "feeling drummer", he always tried to follow the music's vibration with simplicity and without trying to stand out.

With Elvis, he worked extensively from 1954 to 1958 and was a studio drummer from 1960 to 1968. His last collaboration with the King of Rock was during the recording of the '68 Comeback Special.

D.J. Fontana has since become a drum icon, which has provided him with the opportunity to work with stars such as Paul McCartney, with whom he recorded "That's All Right (Mama)" in 2002 along with Scotty Moore.

D.J. was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, remaining active in events and concerts until 2018.

The drummer passed away on June 14, 2018, aged 87.


BACKING VOCALS (1954 - 1961)

STAY: 1954 - 1961 (stage and studio); 1956 - 1972 (studio)

Formed in 1942 by brothers Bill and Monty Mathews under the name Foggy River Boys, the group changed its name to Jordanaires in 1948. Members of the Grand Ole Opry since 1949, they signed to Capitol Records in 1951 and went on to do backing vocals for a variety of Gospel and popular artists. On October 3, 1954, they were on stage with Elvis in his only concert at the venue.

When the singer signed with RCA, one of his requests was that the Jordanaires be asked to record with him. The record company wanted The Speer Family and, in order not to lose the contract, called only Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires. Elvis, unaware of the agreement and the reason for the absence of the other members, spoke to Stoker, who told him what happened. From then until 1972, the Jordanaires would be on almost every Elvis' recording session.

The group's lineup would change between the 1970s and 2000s, but the fame and work with big names would continue.

The Jordanaires officially disbanded in 2013, after Gordon Stoker passed away.


BAND MEMBERS II (1969 - 1977)


JAMES BURTON (lead guitar)
STAY: 1969 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Born in Dubberly, Louisiana, on August 21, 1939, Burton was self-taught on guitar since childhood. In 1953 he was called to be part of The Louisiana Hayride house band and became Ricky Nelson's official guitarist until 1964. He also collaborated with artists such as Buffalo Springfield and Roy Orbison.

James first worked with Elvis in the studio, recording for the '68 Comeback Special. The following year, he became Elvis' official lead guitarist and would remain in the position until 1977. From 1975, he recorded and toured with Emmylou Harris and John Denver while also performing with the King.

Denver offered James the opportunity to be his official guitarist, a position he only accepted after Elvis' passing. In his spare moments Burton also worked with Merle Haggard, Gram Parsons and Rodney Crowell.

Aged 82, James has played with several artists and is an official member of the TCB Band at "Elvis: The Concert" shows around the world. He's a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.


JOHN WILKINSON (rhythm guitar)
STAY: 1969 - 1977 (stage and studio)

John Richard Wilkinson was born in Washington, DC on July 3, 1945 and became a self-taught guitarist at age 5. At 9 he went to an Elvis concert just with the intention of telling the singer that he played very badly and ended up playing guitar for an impressed King of Rock who said: "One day I'll see you again."

John formed the band The Coachmen and got his first paycheck at age 13. In 1964, he met Elvis again and learned of plans to leave the cinema and return to the stage. John was called to Graceland in 1968, where he participated in a jam session with other musicians. By the end of the night, with a simple oral contract, John was Elvis' rhythm guitarist.

Under contract to the TCB Band, he recorded his band's singles in 1969. After Elvis' passing, he formed the band Justice and worked at Radio Shack and in the aeronautics until suffering a debilitating stroke in 1989, returning to the stage in 2002.

From the following year the guitarist battled cancer, which took his life on January 11, 2013, at age 67.


STAY: 1969 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Charlie Hodge was born in Decatur, Alabama, on December 14, 1934. His musical career began at age 17, when he joined the Gospel group The Foggy River Boys, which was hugely successful at the time. Four years later, he would greet Elvis for the first time after a show where both attractions were present in Memphis.

His association with Elvis began in 1958, when they became friends in Germany. From then on, Hodge was inducted into the Memphis Mafia, participated in the King of Rock's recording sessions, wrote some songs and arranged others, backed Elvis and lived at Graceland for 17 years. He was also responsible for suggesting James Burton and The Stamps Quartet for the singer.

After 1977, Charlie devoted the rest of his life to promoting and protecting Elvis' image, performing with other band members at special events, writing his autobiography, "Elvis 'n Me", and producing the DVD "The Elvis I Knew".

Hodge discovered in October 2005 that he had lung cancer and passed away from it on March 3, 2006, aged 71.



STAY: 1969 - 1977 (stage); 1972 - 1977 (studio)

Ron Tutt was born in Dallas, Texas on March 12, 1938 and became interested in dance and instruments at age 3, but it wasn't until he was 18 that he found drums. His first contact with Elvis, though only by sight, was in Texas in 1956, when he was playing banjo for Rusty Brown.

In 1969 Elvis began evaluating instrumentalists and Larry Muhoberac, who managed a production company with Tutt and had been chosen as a pianist, called his friend. Ronnie was one of the last to audition, but he enchanted Elvis and remained as the official drummer until 1977. In the studio, his first collaboration was with "Burning Love", in 1972, a song he produced.

From 1975 onwards, Tutt also worked as drummer for the Jerry Garcia Band, making him absent from some Elvis shows, and associated with names such as Elvis Costello and Neil Diamond, for whom he was drummer from 1978 until the singer's retirement in early 2018. Ronnie was drummer for the "Elvis: The Concert" shows and performed at conventions until 2021.

Tutt passed away peacefully on October 16, 2021, aged 83.


STAY: 1967 - 1980 (studio); 1976 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Ralph Gallant was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on October 15, 1943, and at age 15 began studying drums on his own. His first break came when he was a dishwasher at a restaurant and the house drummer didn't show up. In 1957 he formed the band The Headliners, which in 1965 was the first all-white band to be accepted on a Motown label, adopting the stage name Larrie Londin.

In 1967 he became a studio drummer and went on to feature on recording sessions for The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Elvis, with whom he worked for 13 years (counting posthumous overdub sessions). When Ronnie Tutt wanted to leave the King of Rock's band and started working as a drummer for other groups in 1976, the first to be cast to replace him was Larrie. The drummer was on stage at Elvis' last show and, by all indications, would take Tutt's place in 1978.

The 1980s were very fruitful for Londin, who recorded alongside the likes of Diana Ross, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carpenters and B.B. King.

On April 24, 1992, Larrie suffered a heart attack followed by collapse that put him in a coma. The drummer died exactly four months later, aged 48.


STAY: January - July 1970 (stage)

Robert Lanning was born in Miami Shores, Florida on April 4, 1948. The son of singer Roberta Sherwood, he soon became interested in music and drums. In 1969, when Elvis was looking for a new drummer for the January/February 1970 season (the Colonel had not warned Ronnie Tutt that Elvis would return to the stage after 1969 and the drummer did not renew his contract), Scheff suggested the rookie.

Lanning was hired after a short audition and it's his drums that we hear on the "On Stage" LP and at the acclaimed shows at the Houston Astrodome. When Tutt managed to return in August 1970, while recording for TTWII, he never left the post. Lanning last spoke to Elvis in 1972, when the singer praised his work and said he would call him again (which never happened).

After working as a studio drummer between the 1960s and 1990s, Bob lived a secluded life, far from modernity, until 2014. The following year, he accepted a producer's invitation to tour with other musicians who worked with Elvis, but soon returned to his seclusion, where he remains today, at the age of 74.


STAY: 1971, 1975 e 1977 (stage)

Born in Washington, DC, in 1944, Jerome took up drums at an early age and began a career as a drummer for Motown studios in his teens. After playing with the likes of Gladys Knight, Wilson Pickett and The Vandellas, he became widely recognized and was hired as official drummer for The Sweet Inspirations in 1967.

As such, he had the opportunity to replace Ronnie Tutt on stage three times; in all of them, "Stump" (nickname he was given for being short) stated in later interviews that he "wasn't playing, it was God," due to the extreme fear he felt of making a mistake with Elvis. The memorable occasions were in Philadelphia in 1971, in Las Vegas in 1975, and in Madison on June 24, 1977.

After Elvis' passing, Stumps continued to work with the Sweet Inspirations until the group's first disbandment in 1979. Throughout the 1970s and into the 2000s, he continued to perform and record with world-renowned music artists.

Today, at age 68, he is retired and performs at several conventions.



STAY: 1970 - 1975 (stage and studio)

Born in Wellington, Texas, on April 18, 1939, Glen became interested in music at the age of 20 and soon became part of the Palomino Club band, one of the most important on the US West Coast, which played for names like Johnny Cash , Willie Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis.

His popularity led him to the resident band of the show "Shindig!", which aired on ABC-TV from 1964 to 1966, which featured celebrity appearances. As a studio pianist, Hardin recorded with the likes of Frank and Nancy Sinatra, John Denver, Johnny Rivers and Dean Martin starting in 1967. With Larry Muhoberac leaving the TCB Band, Elvis personally called Glen to replace him and made him an active voice in the studio and on stage until 1975.

Frustrated with the "sameness" of Elvis' performances, Glen left the TCB Band and joined Emmylou Harris' group. Later, he was involved in special projects like the TV show "A Black & White Night" in honor of Roy Orbison's 30-year career in 1987.

Glen has been touring Europe since 2007 and currently, at age 83, is also part of the TCB Band at the "Elvis: The Concert" shows.


STAY: 1964 - 1968 (studio); 1969 (stage)

Lawrence Gordon Muhoberac, Jr. was born in Louisiana on February 12, 1937 and at age 5 he was already playing the accordion and piano. In 1957 he joined Woody Herman's band, moving to Memphis in 1959. In 1961, under the pseudonym Larry Owens, his band opened for Elvis' benefit concerts in Memphis. The King of Rock chose Larry for the recording sessions for 4 soundtracks between 1964 and 1968, placing him in the ranks of the best.

When Elvis returned to the stage in 1969, James Burton had originally contacted Glen Hardin for the band; as Glen had other commitments, Burton turned to Larry, who, being Tutt's friend and business partner, appointed him as drummer. The pianist only stayed in the band for the 1969 season, preferring to continue as a producer and composer.

In the following years, Larry played Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Ray Conniff, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand and Nancy Sinatra.

In 1986 he moved to Australia, where he continued to engage in production, songwriting, arranging and recording sessions until his passing on December 4, 2016, aged 79.


STAY: 1975 (studio); 1976 (stage)

Shane was born in Huntington, West Virginia, in 1952, and at the age of three he already had a basic understanding of how to play the piano. At 19 he was already a highly regarded studio musician and moved to Memphis, where he joined the staff of Stax Records and, in 1971, the renowned house band of American Sound Studio. His career became meteoric in 1972 in Nashville, and in 1974 he was personally called by Paul McCartney to record some tracks.

This caught the attention of Elvis, who cast him in the Hollywood sessions in March 1975 that spawned the "Promised Land" album. Early the following year, with the departure of Glen Hardin, the singer again requested that Shane accompany him to Las Vegas for eight shows while Tony Brown was unavailable to replace Hardin.

Keister continued to work as a studio musician after Elvis. His career blossomed in the 1980s, when he scored several films. In 1989 he moved to New York and became a staff member, musician and arranger for Atlantic Records.

12 years later Shane decided to open his own production company, where he still works.


STAY: 1976 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Anthony Brown was born on December 11, 1946 in Greensboro, North Carolina, and from an early age he showed an interest in the piano. As a pastor, his father didn't allow common music in his house, which is why Tony was more interested in Gospel music in his youth.

In 1966, at age 19, JD Sumner hired him as a pianist for The Stamps Quartet. In 1972, also through JD, he joined The Blackwood Brothers. It didn't take long for his fame to reach Elvis' ears and Tony became the pianist of the TCB Band until the last show.

After Elvis, Brown replaced Glen Hardin in Emmylou Harris' band until 1981. He then became a producer and worked with the likes of Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Pat Green and George Strait. As such, he has won four Grammys and four other ACM Awards, including Music Producer of the Year, starting in 1979; this led to the presidency of ACM in 1994. Eight years later, he co-founded Universal South Records, a division of Universal Records dedicated to Country.

Today, at 76, Tony continues to produce the biggest names in music.



STAY: 1966 (studio); April 1976 - February 1977 (stage)

David Paul Briggs was born in Killen, Alabama on March 16, 1943. He learned to play the keyboard at an early age, getting his first break as a studio musician at age 14. With singer Tommy Roe, Briggs opened for The Beatles and became a sought-after musician under contract to Decca Records.

David first worked with Elvis in May 1966, during sessions for "How Great Thou Art"; he ended up recording the classic "Love Letters" with the King of Rock and was asked to take over the organ for the remaining sessions. Well-liked by Elvis, Briggs remained on the sessions until 1976. At the start of the 1975 first season, the keyboardist replaced Shane Keister; the following year he took up piano and would remain in position until February 1977.

Co-manager of Quadraphonic Studios since the late 1960s, David sold his share and opened House of David in 1976, a studio that would work with Joe CockerB.B. King, Nancy Sinatra and Roy Orbison. Briggs was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2019.

Today, at age 79, David remains active in music production.


STAY: March - June 1977 (stage)

Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1945, Robert Ford Ogdin began training classic music at age 4. By the age of 8 he was already playing piano and violin in the Knoxville Symphony, but his interest shifted to the guitar when Elvis arrived on the music scene. With the popularity of Ray Charles, and the style of Jimmy Smith, he moved on to keyboards and formed the band The Sierras.

After graduating from college, Ogdin was offered to go to Nashville and become a studio musician; at this stage, he worked with the likes of Johnny Cash and Tom Jones, in addition to doing some overdubs for Elvis, becoming one of the most in-demand studio keyboardists. His psychedelic style made David Briggs recommend him to Elvis to replace him on stage starting in March 1977 and the singer, having heard of Ogdin's fame, had no objection.

Bobby continued to perform with big names through the 1980s to 2000s, when he went on to assume prominent positions in the presidency, treasury and deal brokerage of Nashville's biggest music associations.

Currently, at age 78, Ogdin is semi-retired.



STAY: 1969 - 1973; 1975 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Jerry Obern Scheff was born in Denver, Colorado, on January 31, 1941, and spent his teenage years in California. After serving in the US Navy, he pursued a career as a studio musician. It was in 1966 that he gained notoriety with his work on The Association's album, "Along Comes Mary", which led to him being called by renowned artists to play in their recording sessions.

With Elvis, Scheff worked from 1969 to 1973, when he left to pursue other directions. Like Glen Hardin, his spirits were wearing thin with the repetitiveness of Elvis' repertoire and the only way out, since the Colonel did not approve of changes, was to leave the band. Emory Gordy, Jr. and Duke Bardwell replaced him until his return on April 24, 1975.

Jerry was one of the most highly regarded bass players in music after Elvis' passsing. In addition to working with the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, The Doors and Roy Orbison, he performed with the TCB Band on "Elvis: The Concert" from 1997 until 2009, when he left due to differences.

Today, at 81, Scheff is performing in Italy with musician Luca Olivieri in a tribute to Elvis.


STAY: 1972 (studio); 1973 (stage)

Emory Lee Gordy, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 25, 1944. His musical training began at age 4. As a teenager, he was part of several marching bands and arranged music. At the age of 19 he was already a studio musician in Atlanta for big names in music, reaching his peak when arranging the single "Walk On" for Roy Orbison in 1968.

In 1970 Emory moved to Los Angeles, where he made arrangements for Liberace, joining Neil Diamond's band the following year. His first meeting with Elvis was in March 1972, when he replaced Jerry Scheff on the sessions that created "Burning Love" and "Always On My Mind", in addition to the studio filming for "Elvis On Tour". With Scheff's departure, he took over the bass on TCB Band on stage throughout 1973.

Emory was the official bassist for Emmylou Harris' band from 1974 to 1979, when he joined John Denver's group. In 1983, he became a producer at MCA, the studio that'd consecrate the career of his future wife Patty Loveless.

Now 77, Emory is retired and makes occasional appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, one of the places where Elvis started his career.


STAY: January 1974 - March 1975 (stage and studio)

Duke Bardwell was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1943, and at age 5 he was already playing the ukulele, piano, guitar, and trumpet. With a great voice, he found himself in Louisiana's best R&B bands in the 1960s, formed The Greek Fountains and recorded a single that took them to the highest levels, opening for The Animals, Sonny & Cher, Emmylou Harris, and others.

It was in 1972 that Duke met Ronnie Tutt and talked about Elvis. Nearly two years later, Tutt informed Bardwell that Emory Gordy, Jr. was leaving and that there would be auditions in Los Angeles. Ronnie categorized him as "simple but with feeling", which led Elvis to accept him. However, for some unknown reason, the King of Rock never seemed to be satisfied with his work on stage and on the few recordings at RCA's California studio in March 1975.

After leaving the TCB Band, Duke stayed in California and formed another band. Returning to Baton Rouge, he devoted the 1980s to composing music and the 1990s to managing a restaurant.

In the following decade, he formed another band, Hubba Hubba, with which he performs to this day, aged 79.

BACKING VOCALS - SOLO (1969 - 1977)


STAY: 1957 - 1966 (studio); 1969 - 1970 (stage and studio)

Mildred Eakes was born on June 24, 1923 in Hermitage, Tennessee. Her passion for music led her to join several school bands in the early 1940s, before landing a spot as studio soprano at RCA. Through her association with The Jordanaires in the 1950s, Millie was dearly titled "the 5th member".

Her collaboration on Ferlin Husky's 1957 hit "Gone" led directly to Elvis and his hits "Blue Christmas", "Surrender" and "How Great Thou Art," not to mention Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman". Logic dictated that she be the singer's soprano on his return to the stage in 1969 and on recordings such as "Just Pretend" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in 1970.

In 1970 Kirkham decided to follow new directions, opening the vacancy that would be filled by Kathy Westmoreland, by joining Sonny James' vocal group, being best remembered for her incredible demonstration of skills in "Take Good Care of Her". The 1980s and 1990s were one of studio collaborations with established artists, in addition to retirement.

Millie made guest appearances until her passing on December 14, 2014, aged 91.


STAY: 1970 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Kathleen Westmoreland was born in Texarkana, Arkansas, on August 10, 1945, but lived her entire adolescence and adult life in Los Angeles, where she moved with her family in 1963 to study music. She soon became well known in the community and was given great opportunities to perform in theaters and arenas.

It was this recognition that led to Elvis' soprano role, joining the group as Millie Kirkham's replacement on August 22, 1970. Having common interests with the singer, the duo soon developed a romance that lasted about two years. Aside from a 1975 show scuffle when she walked offstage after a comment from Elvis, their relationship was professional until 1977.

After Elvis, Kathy continued performing as a soprano. Her career almost ended in tragedy in 1982, when she suffered a serious car accident that she recounts in her biography, "Elvis and Kathy", released in 1987.

Kathy retired from public life in 2011 and today, at age 76, is battling some illnesses.



STAY: 1973 (studio); 1974 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, on September 10, 1942, Sherrill began singing in churches at age 5. As a teenager, he recorded and sold his own single in revivals, catching the attention of big names. Jake Hess was responsible for his joining The Songfellows in 1955, and later The Imperials.

The Imperials would first record with Elvis in 1966, during the sessions for the album "How Great Thou Art". Sherrill, who would leave the group shortly afterwards, did not work with the singer again until 1973, leading his own quintet, The Rangers. The following year, the King of Rock asked for the group's name to be changed to Voice and hired them for the stage. An infighting caused Sherrill to leave Voice, but Elvis rehired him as a solo tenor for an exorbitant fee of $2,000 a week.

The tenor continued his career until moving to Denmark in 1990. In 2004 he returned to the US to remarry Brenda Hall, from whom he had split in 1964, and to recreate his group, now as Sherrill Nielsen and VOICE.

The singer passed away due to lung cancer on December 10, 2010, aged 68.



STAY: 1971 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Born on November 19, 1924 in Lakeland, Florida, John Daniel Sumner showed an interest in Gospel music from an early age. By 1945 he was already known in the middle for his extremely low notes. Sumner formed his own quartet in 1948, but the idea lasted only a few months and his big break didn't come until 1954, when he joined The Blackwood Brothers; it was at this stage that he met Elvis, without attaching the name to the person.

In 1962 JD became an agent and member of The Stamps Quartet. Nine years later, with The Imperials leaving his group, Elvis would invite them to join the backing vocals on stage and in the studio, but only on one condition: JD would have to sing too. Idolized by the King of Rock, Sumner became a confidant and close friend of the singer until 1977. Suffering from his increasingly strong alcoholism, he was advised by Elvis to stop drinking, which, according to him, saved his life.

The 1980s and 1990s were filled with sold-out concerts until JD started having health problems. Despite having to sit in a chair during performances, Sumner continued to sing until 1998.

JD passed away on November 16, 1998, aged 73.



STAY: 1969 - 1977 (stage and studio)

Formed in 1950 by sisters Dee Dee and Dione Warwick, the group became famous for their work as studio backing vocals. Cissy Houston, Whitney's mother, would join the group in 1963 and remain until 1969.

In 1967 the group had its first contract for solo recordings; the line-up that'd sing with Elvis until 1977 (Myrna Smith, Sylvia Shemwell and Estelle Brown) was formed. Less than two years would pass until their contract with the King of Rock, who considered them essential for his music to sound as it should.

The group broke up in 1979 due to ideological differences. In 1994, they performed again with a new member, Portia Griffin. Between 1997 and 2010, they returned to work with the TCB Band on "Elvis: The Concert".

Sylvia had suffered a heart attack and left the group in 2001, passing away on February 13, 2010, aged 68; on December 10 of the same year, Myrna would die of pneumonia at age 69.

Estelle disbanded the group in 2011 but continued to make sporadic appearances with Portia and Kelly Jones until 2014. Estelle, 79, is retired.


STAY: 1966 - 1971 (studio); 1969 - 1971 (stage)

Formed in 1964 by former member of The Statesmen Quartet, Jake Hess, the group aimed to be the best in Gospel and therefore had weight names like Hess himself, Henry Slaughter, Gary McSpadden, Armond Morales and Sherrill Nielsen. With Slaughter leaving and Joe Moscheo joining, Jake left the group in early 1966.

Elvis loved them and wanted to use them on the LP "How Great Thou Art", which won him a Grammy. Two years later, The Imperials were still recording with Elvis and were part of his backing vocals on stage. In November 1971 the group left Elvis' band, both on stage and in the studio. In their place were JD Sumner and The Stamps.

In February 1972, The Imperials surprised everyone by hiring Sherman Andrus and becoming the first group of their kind to have interracial members. It lost a lot of fans in 1987, when the group decided to abandon pop and go rock.

The only original member still active today is Armond Morales, who continues to manage The Imperials and has returned the Gospel focus to performing.


STAY: 1971 - 1977 (stage and studio)

The group's history dates back to 1924, when Virgil Oliver and Frank Stamps set out to create one of the first Gospel vocal groups in the US. Its foundation paved the way for other groups such as The Songfellows, The Blackwood Brothers, The Speer Family, and The Imperials to thrive in a field that had previously failed to generate interest from non-Gospel audiences.

In 1962, JD Sumner became the group's agent, and officially joined the Stamps three years later. JD's fame and Elvis' idolatry of him made the singer personally ask his group to join his backing vocals in 1971, replacing The Imperials. Ed Enoch, leader of the Stamps, Ed Hill, Bill Baize, Larry Strickland and Donnie Sumner, as well as his uncle JD, became close friends with Elvis.

After 1977, the group continued to perform under JD's management until his passing in 1998. In 2002 they were invited to compose backing vocals on "Elvis: The Concert", where they continue to this day. With dozens of albums and renowned songs, The Stamps, still led by Ed Enoch, continue to sell out concerts and be recognized.


STAY: 1973 (studio); 1974 - 1975 (stage)

After leaving The Imperials and venturing into other groups, Sherrill Nielsen formed The Ranges in 1973. Frequently playing the Grand Ole Opry, they caught the eye of Elvis - who remembered Nielsen from the 1966 sessions with The Imperials - and consequently , were contacted. The singer wanted the group to accompany him on some recordings at his home in Malibu (where "Are You Sincere" came from).

With the good rapport of that impromptu session, Elvis wanted them to be part of his group on stage starting in January 1974 and asked that the name be changed to Voice. Nielsen was always praised by Elvis, which made the other members jealous and generated discomfort that caused Sherrill to disband his group in early 1975; the tenor continued with the King of Rock solo until 1977.

After moving to Denmark in 1990, Sherril returned to the US in 2004 to marry Brenda Hall and recreate their group, now under the name Sherrill Nielsen and VOICE. The new group performed regularly until Nielsen's passing on December 10, 2010.


ORCHESTRAS (1969 - 1977)


PERMANÊNCIA : 1969 - 1970 (palco)

Bobby Morris could have started his career as a drummer at an early age, alongside Liberace. The piano king had invited him to perform in a show that would pay a mere $43, which Bobby found insulting. As a result, Liberace became an international star and Bobby had to wait a while.

Trained in almost every possible musical field, whether at universities or through life, he became a conductor and formed his own orchestra.

Called by the Colonel to direct Elvis' show on his return to the stage in 1969, Morris had just six weeks to learn how to follow the singer to shows and learn, along with his orchestra, dozens of songs. Morris conducted the orchestra on Elvis' first two live albums, but the International and the Colonel wanted something more vibrant and profitable - an in-house orchestra.

Morris and his group gave way to Joe Guercio and his orchestra in August 1970. Bobby continued to conduct for the likes of Billy Joel, Joe Cocker, Tony Bennett and Tom Jones for the next 30 years.

Bobby passed away on May 1, 2021, aged 93.



STAY: 1970 - 1977 (stage)

Born in Buffalo, New York in 1928, Joe Studied music and had the opportunity to interact with some of the best names in the business, and soon began to dedicate himself to conducting. Before working with Elvis, he was music director for the likes of Diana Ross, Jim Nabors and Florence Henderson.

With Bobby Morris leaving the Elvis group, Joe was contacted. He'd be musical director of the International and Elvis' on his tours, his first task being to arrange, with Glen Hardin, the songs that would be heard on the recordings for "That's the Way it Is". In 1972, when The International was sold to the Hilton, Guercio went on to direct The Hilton Horns, remaining with Elvis until 1977.

During and after working with Elvis, Joe collaborated with other names in music. In 1972, he arranged "Sweet Inspiration / Where You Lead" for Barbra Streisand; in 1975, he arranged for Gladys Knight on "The Way We Were". In the 1980s and 1990s he worked with B.B. King and performed at the Vatican; from 1997 to 2014, he was conductor on "Elvis: The Concert".

Joe Guercio passed away on January 4, 2015, aged 87.