Power of Love with Tommy Cogbill on Bass
- TCB -- In her cover of Otis Reddings song RESPECT, Aretha Franklin would change lyrics of the original and add the line “Take care, TCB . When Aretha sings this line my thoughts are sparked as any Elvis person knows the TCB in a flash symbol was Elvis logo he designed with Priscilla in the early seventies. Franklin's cover was a landmark for the feminist movement, and is often considered as one of the best songs of the R&B era, earning her two Grammy Awards in 1968. After some research i found the acronym was widely used in African-American culture during the late sixties,early seventies. Charlie Hodge and Kathy Westmoreland have told how the Elvis TCB logo came about. "Elvis liked to sketch his ideas for his concert jumpsuits and was always drawing lightning bolts. Since childhood, he favored comic books featuring Captain Marvel, the superhero who had a large gold lightning bolt across his chest. During this particular flight the sketch he drew was a cloud with a lightning bolt coming out of it.” " Elvis was at this time, fond of the Bachman/Turner Overdrive song, ‘Taking Care of Business.’ Charlie Hodge says "this was Elvis way of saying and telling us we are going to take care of his business in a flash." Elvis had TCB necklaces made for the guys and TLC which is Tender Loving Care made for the ladies in his entourage. It was soon after this that the TCB Band was given their name. They included Glen D. Hardin on piano, James Burton on guitar, Ronnie Tutt on drums, and Jerry Scheff on bass. They had been with Presley since his triumphant return to the stage in Las Vegas and they remained, until his death, at Graceland on Aug. 16, 1977. Felton Jarvis who produced Elvis recording sessions from 1966 until his death has the TCB logo with lightning bolt on his grave marker.
- Pink Cadillac and Rock'n'Roll-- The days leading up to Aretha's funeral which was on August 31st the anniversary of Lady Diana's death. The programming of it started to be revealed and when the Pink Cadillacs parade came to light, my mind went off again. This was no doubt connected to Aretha's song We're riding on a Freeway of Love in my Pink Cadillac. It was early 1955 when Elvis bought his first Cadillac, a 1954 Fleetwood Series 60, which was the color pink. The car provided transport for Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys. It caught fire between Hope and Texarkana, Arkansas, on June 5, 1955 and was a right off. It was around this time Elvis had his first national hit with "Baby, Let's Play House" and in this song is a reference to the iconic Pink Cadillac. Since then it has been sung about in popular culture many times . On July 5 1955, after the fire, Elvis purchased a new Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 in blue with a black roof. Elvis had the car repainted by Art, a neighbour on Lamar Street a customised pink color which Elvis named "Elvis Rose," but the car kept its black roof. Once the car was finished Elvis gave it to his mother Gladys as a gift. Gladys Presley never had a driver's license, and Elvis drove the car with the members of his band for most of 1955/1956. In March 1956 Elvis had the upholstery replaced, the body retouched and roof painted white.The car is now preserved in the Graceland museum, in Memphis, Tennessee.
- Sweet Inspirations -- The original backup group began in the early 1960s and they included Doris Troy and the two Warwick sisters,Dee Dee and Dionne. Doris and Dionne were enjoying solo careers at that time and the Sweets backed them on "Just One Look" and "Don’t Make Me Over". In 1963, Sylvia Shemwell replaced Doris while Cissy Houston took over from Dionne and with Dee Dee Warwick became the leader of the group. In 1965 Myrna Smith and Estelle Brown would join the group and Dee Dee would go her own way. If you needed female backup vocals in the sixties,the Sweet Inspirations were the go to group. They found their way onto numerous recordings, including hits by the Drifters, Van Morrison, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke and Aretha Franklin with whom they often toured . In 1969 they were offered the gig of backup vocals for Elvis. They accepted and there they stayed until his death in 1977 with one exception Cissy Houston who would leave the group, after the first Vegas season with Elvis, to continue a solo career. The girls always had good things to say about the king and my favorite of the group was Myrna Smith who i do believe may have had a closer relationship with Elvis than the others. Her smile and attitude would always light the show up and i can see why Elvis was attracted to her.
Here is the last of the Sweets, Estelle Brown introducing Cissy and dedicating Sweet Inspiration for the recently departed Sylvia and Myrna at Elvis in Concert Show 2011 with the TCB Band. .
- Memphis and the Music-- During the 1960s the civil rights movement greatly affected the city. On April 4 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr was killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel by a sniper’s bullet. The music district of Memphis is Beale Street also known as home of the blues and many blues artists who lived in Memphis performed here including Howlin Wolf, Ike Turner and B.B.King . It was made popular by the Father of the Blues W.C.Handy . Memphis has also been called the birthplace of rock and roll. Elvis Presley was one of many musicians who launched careers from Memphis’s Sun Studio. Memphis made a huge contribution to the development of soul music as well, with Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, and Al Green being just a few of the significant soul artists who recorded in Memphis or called it home. Aretha was born here in 1942 before her and the family moved Detroit a few years later.
Marc Cohn Walking in Memphis
- Memphis History --Fort Adams was built on land where Memphis is situated today by the United States in 1797 . Then in 1819, John Overton, James Winchester, and Andrew Jackson purchased land that was previously inhabited by Chickasaw Indians and Memphis was founded. They named it for the ancient Egyptian city on the Nile. Memphis at the entrance of the Nile was one of the oldest and most important cities in ancient Egypt, located nearby was the Nile River Valley and the Giza plateau which housed the pyramids and was the resting place of many Egyptian Gods. It served as the capital of ancient Egypt and an important religious cult center. The rich lands of Egypt became the property of Rome after the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC. At this time it began to decline and by the 4th century CE with the rise of Christianity people stopped visiting the old temples and shrines of the Egyptian gods. By the 7th century CE, following the Arab Invasion, Memphis was a ruin whose buildings were harvested for stone to lay the foundations for Cairo.
Elvis Aretha and the Sweet Inspirations