"Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

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"Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby Mister Moon » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:09 pm

I wrote this post five years ago for another site, but I felt it could be nice posting it here too. I hope you like it.


*************


"Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?


Well, not really.

McPhatter was a fully-formed singer and stylist by the time Elvis came along. It was, as everybody knows, the other way around : Clyde was one of Elvis’ strongest musical influences. No need to go through the whole story once again, I'm sure.

But here’s a small example of Elvis “influencing” Clyde.

“Such A Night”, a Lincoln Chase composition, was first recorded by Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters in November 1953, for Atlantic Records. It was a hugely successful disk on the charts, and it was covered by many artists, from very different backgrounds : Johnnie Ray, Bunny Paul, The Four Lovers, Tommy Sands, Dinah Washington, The Joe Sawyer Trio, and others.

Then, in April 1960, Elvis cut the song in Nashville, at his second session after the Army period. The song was included as track 2 / side 2 of the legendary “Elvis Is Back !” album. In 1964, it was re-released as a single, backed with “Never Ending”.

And here’s where the story gets interesting. In early (March / April) 1962, Clyde McPhatter, already a solo act since the mid 50s, did a series of sessions for the Mercury label in Nashville, under the production of Shelby Singleton. Three of the songs scheduled to record were remakes of titles he had already done for Federal or Atlantic : “Sixty Minute Man”, “Money Honey”, and “Such A Night”.

Here’s the impressive list of musicians and backing vocalists used during those sessions (highlighted in bold red are the names also present on Elvis’ version of "Such A Night") :

--Guitar : Jerry Kennedy, Kelso Herston, Harold Bradley, Ray Edenton.
--Bass : Bob Moore.
--Drums : Willie Ackerman, Buddy Harman.
--Harmonica : Charlie McCoy.
--Piano : Hargus Robbins.
--Trumpet : Bill Justis.
--Tenor Sax : Boots Randolph.
--Backing Vocals : The Merry Melody Singers (Margie Singleton, Millie Kirkham, Neal Matthews Jr., Gordon Stoker, Ray Walker).


And here’s Clyde’s 1962 re-recording of “Such A Night” :


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4xH4IoLobc



As you can hear, this track bears more than a passing resemblance to Elvis’ 1960 version. The sax riff played by Randolph as the intro is virtually the same. And the whole arrangement is very similar. However, note that at mid-song Clyde does the same beautiful modulation he had done nine years before, and which is absent from Elvis’ reading.

All in all, it’s not strange that this version may sound similar to Elvis’, having been recorded in Nashville with some of the same musicians and vocalists who had backed Elvis in his version only two years earlier.

And, make no mistake, it’s also a superb version by McPhatter, a consummate master, although his own 1953 original is probably unbeatable.

Anyway, I’ve always been a big fan of Elvis’ version, the first one I knew. I heard it for the first time on the “A Legendary Performer
- Vol. 2” album, and I was stunned. Later, I got to hear it in the correct context, “Elvis Is Back !”. I think it’s an absolute masterpiece, too. Elvis is in total, effortless, command, and clearly enjoying himself. Just fabulous.



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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby John » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:26 pm

Mister Moon wrote:I wrote this post five years ago for another site, but I felt it could be nice posting it here too. I hope you like it.


*************


"Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?


Well, not really.

McPhatter was a fully-formed singer and stylist by the time Elvis came along. It was, as everybody knows, the other way around : Clyde was one of Elvis’ strongest musical influences. No need to go through the whole story once again, I'm sure.

But here’s a small example of Elvis “influencing” Clyde.

“Such A Night”, a Lincoln Chase composition, was first recorded by Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters in November 1953, for Atlantic Records. It was a hugely successful disk on the charts, and it was covered by many artists, from very different backgrounds : Johnnie Ray, Bunny Paul, The Four Lovers, Tommy Sands, Dinah Washington, The Joe Sawyer Trio, and others.

Then, in April 1960, Elvis cut the song in Nashville, at his second session after the Army period. The song was included as track 2 / side 2 of the legendary “Elvis Is Back !” album. In 1964, it was re-released as a single, backed with “Never Ending”.

And here’s where the story gets interesting. In early (March / April) 1962, Clyde McPhatter, already a solo act since the mid 50s, did a series of sessions for the Mercury label in Nashville, under the production of Shelby Singleton. Three of the songs scheduled to record were remakes of titles he had already done for Federal or Atlantic : “Sixty Minute Man”, “Money Honey”, and “Such A Night”.

Here’s the impressive list of musicians and backing vocalists used during those sessions (highlighted in bold red are the names also present on Elvis’ version of "Such A Night") :

--Guitar : Jerry Kennedy, Kelso Herston, Harold Bradley, Ray Edenton.
--Bass : Bob Moore.
--Drums : Willie Ackerman, Buddy Harman.
--Harmonica : Charlie McCoy.
--Piano : Hargus Robbins.
--Trumpet : Bill Justis.
--Tenor Sax : Boots Randolph.
--Backing Vocals : The Merry Melody Singers (Margie Singleton, Millie Kirkham, Neal Matthews Jr., Gordon Stoker, Ray Walker).

And here’s Clyde’s 1962 re-recording of “Such A Night” :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4xH4IoLobc


As you can hear, this track bears more than a passing resemblance to Elvis’ 1960 version. The sax riff played by Randolph as the intro is virtually the same. And the whole arrangement is very similar. However, note that at mid-song Clyde does the same beautiful modulation he had done nine years before, and which is absent from Elvis’ reading.

All in all, it’s not strange that this version may sound similar to Elvis’, having been recorded in Nashville with some of the same musicians and vocalists who had backed Elvis in his version only two years earlier.

And, make no mistake, it’s also a superb version by McPhatter, a consummate master, although his own 1953 original is probably unbeatable.

Anyway, I’ve always been a big fan of Elvis’ version, the first one I knew. I heard it for the first time on the “A Legendary Performer
- Vol. 2” album, and I was stunned. Later, I got to hear it in the correct context, “Elvis Is Back !”. I think it’s an absolute masterpiece, too. Elvis is in total, effortless, command, and clearly enjoying himself. Just fabulous.


I was waiting for the "whoo" at the end.

Thanks for that Mister Moon. It's interesting about the musicians, not only those on El's version, but a few more of them who appeared on other Elvis recordings.

For me, Elvis' version has never been beaten. He is in such command, as you say. Johnnie Ray's version is a travesty to me.

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby colonel snow » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:01 pm

After the original version recorded on 12 november 1953 by Clyde McPatter & The Drifters (Atlantic 1019) it was recordedn the next year by:

16-02-54 - Johnny Ray (Columbia 40200);
04-03-54 - Jane Turzy (Decca 29087);
15-03-54 - Dinah Washington (Mercury 70336);
00-03-54 - Bunny Paul (Essex 352);
00-03-54 - Perez Prado & his Orchestra with vocal Ray Baxter (RCA 20-5738).


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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby John » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:30 pm

colonel snow wrote:After the original version recorded on 12 november 1953 by Clyde McPatter & The Drifters (Atlantic 1019) it was recordedn the next year by:

16-02-54 - Johnny Ray (Columbia 40200);
04-03-54 - Jane Turzy (Decca 29087);
15-03-54 - Dinah Washington (Mercury 70336);
00-03-54 - Bunny Paul (Essex 352);
00-03-54 - Perez Prado & his Orchestra with vocal Ray Baxter (RCA 20-5738).


colonel snow

and none of them hold a candle to El's version. By the way, it's Johnnie Ray.

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby Colin B » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:57 pm

Yes, none of them equal the Elvis version !

In some ways, I prefer the original Drifters version to Clyde McPhatter's remake, in which his timing seems a tad off...
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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby cadillac-elvis » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:17 am

Colin B wrote:Yes, none of them equal the Elvis version !

In some ways, I prefer the original Drifters version to Clyde McPhatter's remake, in which his timing seems a tad off...


I agree, no one touches Elvis on this classic.

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby colonel snow » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:51 am

John wrote:
colonel snow wrote:After the original version recorded on 12 november 1953 by Clyde McPatter & The Drifters (Atlantic 1019) it was recordedn the next year by:

16-02-54 - Johnny Ray (Columbia 40200);
04-03-54 - Jane Turzy (Decca 29087);
15-03-54 - Dinah Washington (Mercury 70336);
00-03-54 - Bunny Paul (Essex 352);
00-03-54 - Perez Prado & his Orchestra with vocal Ray Baxter (RCA 20-5738).


colonel snow

and none of them hold a candle to El's version. By the way, it's Johnnie Ray.



I'll repair my files; Amazon advertised Johnny Ray.

JOHNNY RAY - JOHNNY RAY 45 RPM IN THE HEART OF A FOOL ...

colonel snow

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby John » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:53 am

colonel snow wrote:
John wrote:
colonel snow wrote:After the original version recorded on 12 november 1953 by Clyde McPatter & The Drifters (Atlantic 1019) it was recordedn the next year by:

16-02-54 - Johnny Ray (Columbia 40200);
04-03-54 - Jane Turzy (Decca 29087);
15-03-54 - Dinah Washington (Mercury 70336);
00-03-54 - Bunny Paul (Essex 352);
00-03-54 - Perez Prado & his Orchestra with vocal Ray Baxter (RCA 20-5738).


colonel snow

and none of them hold a candle to El's version. By the way, it's Johnnie Ray.



I'll repair my files; Amazon advertised Johnny Ray.

JOHNNY RAY - JOHNNY RAY 45 RPM IN THE HEART OF A FOOL ...

colonel snow

I knew it wasn't you getting it wrong colonel snow. It's a common mistake made by the media etc.

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby KEV » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:13 pm

Presley had this thing at times were he would take a song and put it up to another level.

You think what that man could have recorded if he had free reign to sing what he wanted,and his love of ATLANTIC label with his love for country and 1st love church music etc.
Last edited by KEV on Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Keep the FAITH MIKE :!: :!:


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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby Mojo Filter » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:17 pm

Good topic.

Those ace musicians certainly did get around a bit. I'd love to know all of their itinerary throughout their careers, not just Elvis but before him and after. Some I know about but i'm sure there will be others that will surprise me.

Anyhow, love Clyde's 1953 "Such A Night" version. The Drifters with Clyde were great, my second favorite group from the Clovers. But when Clyde left the Drifters the group wasn't the same.

But I think Elvis' version knocks all the others out of the window. His has far more power to it. One of the highlights of the "Elvis Is Back" album.

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby Mister Moon » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:17 pm

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby John » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:21 pm

Mister Moon wrote:540123.JPG


Lilty and gay. Wonderful review.

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby Colin B » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:09 am

John wrote:Lilty and gay. Wonderful review.


Yes !

And the way it describes 'Lucille', it sounds like it's the song which was a later hit for Little Richard !

And there was me thinking it was a Little Richard original !
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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby Mister Moon » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:49 am

Colin B wrote:
John wrote:Lilty and gay. Wonderful review.


Yes !

And the way it describes 'Lucille', it sounds like it's the song which was a later hit for Little Richard !

And there was me thinking it was a Little Richard original !


They are two different songs, Colin, and both are originals in their own right. ;)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4NlTkzGPLc

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Re: "Such A Night" - Did Elvis influence Clyde McPhatter ?

Postby Mister Moon » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:16 am

Mojo Filter wrote:But when Clyde left the Drifters the group wasn't the same.


Clyde and The Drifters stayed together for a little over a year (1953-54) only, and they recorded 20 masters. Those tracks were released either originally as singles by the entire group or later as Clyde singles, and a couple as LP fillers.

Between 1955 and 1958, before they totally "re-shaped" the group with outside members, they still recorded many outstanding tracks, with different lead singers. "Fools Fall In Love" (1956), which Elvis later recorded, is one of them, with stunning singing from Johnny Moore. One of my favourites is "Your Promise To Be Mine" (1955, see below), sung at perfection by baritone Gerhart Thrasher (who along with his brother Andrew had been in the original Clyde line-up).

The best way to get those early 40 tracks is this 2-CD set from 1988. It was an extended version of an older 2-LP set, and it was later reissued also as 2-CDs, but with a different cover:

https://www.discogs.com/The-Drifters-Let-The-Boogie-Woogie-Roll-Greatest-Hits-1953-1958/release/10946713



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8c1mt2prEc


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