ELVIS UK TOUR 2001
Few things glorify a great talent more than surrounding it with other great talents. Elvis Presley worked with some of the music industries finest singers and instrumentalists, and they are now
reunited for Elvis - The Concert:
Joe Guercio, Musical Director
He was Musical Director and conductor for Elvis concert shows from 1970 to August 1977 when Elvis made his last concert appearance. Elvis was known for spontaneity and improvisation on stage and the
cast has to be ready for anything. Guercio remembers "Hed just turn around and start a tune. The rhythm section knew him backwards and forwards, but when you're up there conducting a twenty-six piece
orchestra, what are you gonna do?" In describing that experience, Guercio once commented good-naturedly that conducting for Elvis was "like following a marble
down concrete steps." Guercio later found his tux stuffed with marbles and a few hundred more rolling around in his dressing room, along withthe marbles was a note: Follow the marble.
It was Joe Guercio who created the now almost iconic six note theme for Elvis stage entrances and bows. It was also Guercio who suggested that Elvis shows open with Theme from 2001 - A Space Odyssey
(Also Sprach Zarathustra). The inspiration came when Guercio and his late first wife saw the now-classic science fiction movie in a theatre, when the music began Mrs. Guercio whispered to her husband
"Youd think Elvis was about to enter."
Joe Guercio first left his native Buffalo as an accompanist for Patti Page. He has lived in Las Vegas since 1967 and has been a musical director for Diana Ross, Jim Nabers, Florence Henderson,
Dianne Carroll, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, among others. His arrangement for the medley Sweet Inspiration/Where You Lead was a 1972 hit for Barbra Streisand. Recently, Guercio accompanied
B.B. King to Rome to meet Pope John Paul II and perform in the Vaticans fifth Christmas Concert. Joe Guercio served as musical director for the Elvis in Concert 97 event in Memphis and reprises this
role in the current touring production.
James Burton - Lead Guitar
James Burton began his career at age 14, playing guitar in the house band for Shreveports famed Louisiana Hayride. While playing in Dale Hawkins band in 1955, he wrote the music for the hit song
Susie-Q and recorded it with Hawkins. In 1957, he began a nine-year run as guitarist for Ricky Nelson, including recording sessions and concert tours with Nelson and weekly appearances on the Nelson
familys classic television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet . Among the many artists he has recorded with over the years are: Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, John
Denver, George Harrison and many others. Elvis called James and asked him to put together a band for his 1969 engagement in Las Vegas. Burton was
Elvis lead guitarist in concerts for Vegas and national tours, and on many recordings from 1969 until Elvis death in 1977. Today, he works with a wide variety of artists in the studio and on the
road. Among guitarists James Burton has become an icon, and his influence on generations of guitar players is unmistakable.
Glen D. Hardin - Piano
Glen D. Hardin grew up in Texas and made his way to Los Angeles in 1961 after leaving the U.S. Navy. By early 1962 he was playing piano at the Palomino Club and soon started touring with the
Crickets. Over the years he has worked as an arranger and recording session pianist with artists
such as Elvis Presley, Emmylou Harris, John Denver, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, Bing Crosby, Linda Rondstat and many many others. He toured with Emmylou Harris for three
years, the Crickets for eleven and John Denver for sixteen. He worked with Elvis from 1970 to 1976, playing live concerts and creating some of his arrangements as well as
being a part of numerous Elvis recordings.
Jerry Scheff - Bass Guitar
Jerry Scheff grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, he started playing tuba in grammar school and soon began playing string bass. Scheff joined to U.S. Navy at the age of eighteen and wound up in
the Navys school of music in Washington DC. He took a course studying theory and
harmony, getting to play with some great musicians. moonlighting as a player in jazz clubs. Moving to Los Angeles he played local clubs working with such notables as; Bill Preston, The
Association. Recording with Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. Dionne Warwick,
Barbra Streisand and Linda Rondstat. By the late 60s James Burton called him when putting together the band for Elvis in 1969. Scheff worked with Elvis from 1969 to 1973 and 1975 to 1977, on stage
and on a number of recordings. Today he continues to work as a session musician
with a wide array of artists. Both of Scheffs sons, Darin and Jason are musicians. Jason Scheff took over Peter Ceteras spot in the band Chicago.
Ron Tutt - Drums
Ronnie Tutt is originally from Dallas, Texas. He studied music at the University of North Texas. In 1963 he moved to Memphis and played with some of that citys great rhythm sections during an
exciting time in Memphis music history. In 1969 he auditioned for Elvis, who was putting together a band for his Las Vegas engagement. Beyond talent as a drummer, what seemed to put him beyond
the competition was his way of connecting with Elvis - watching him, making eye contact, anticipating where Elvis was going with a song. Their musical communication was a
key part of making a great show. From 1969 to 1977 he was Elvis drummer on stage and on a number of recordings. His work with Elvis is his most celebrated, but his list of recording credits with
other legends of pop, rock and country music is long. For several years he was part of the
Jerry Garcia Band, doing albums and extensive touring. Since 1981 he has been a member of the Neil Diamond Band.
The Sweet Inspirations - Vocals
Estelle Brown, Portia Griffin, Sylvia Shemwell, Myrna Smith
The soulful harmonies of the Sweet Inspirations have enriched recordings by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and other legends. They have collaborated with writers and producers such as Carol King,
Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Theyve had success with R∓B, gospel and pop
recordings of their own, most notably their first hit single Sweet Inspiration, which gave the group their name in the last sixties and earned them a Grammy nomination. It was that song that caught
the attention of Elvis Presley he hired them to sing backing vocals and be and opening act for his record-breaking 1969 Las Vegas engagement. The "Sweets" worked with Elvis in Vegas, on his national
concert tours and on recordings from 1969 to 1977. Myrna Smith, Sylvia Shemwell, Estelle Brown and Cissy Houston (mother of superstar Whitney) made up the
original group. Houston left the group to go solo. The remaining members stayed together through the Elvis years, but eventually went their separate ways professionally. In the 90s, they reunited as
a group and have been performing and recording together again, and they have reestablished the Elvis connection with various projects with Graceland. In the mid-1990s, new member Portia Griffin
joined the group.
Former Members of The Imperials - Vocals
Sherman Andrus, Terry Blackwood, Joe Moscheo, Jim Murray
The Imperials first worked with Elvis doing some of the backing vocals in the 1966 sessions for his How Great Thou Art album. The Imperials worked on a regular basis with Elvis on stage and in the
studio from 1969-71. This collaboration was highlighted with the Grammy award winning recording of He Touched Me. Over the years, the group in its various membership incarnations has released over
forty albums with fourteen of their songs hitting number one and winning twelve Grammy Awards.