While Elvis was not known for being a musician, he actually could play a few instruments. Of course, he did not need that talent. His phenomenal voice, charisma, stage presence, and incredible knack for entertaining were plenty. Not to mention his acting and his talent for producing. (He had a big part in producing his music and had an ear for picking out the perfect songs)
Some Elvis instrument facts…
In the recordings for the movie, Jailhouse Rock, when Elvis sang ‘Baby I Don’t Care,’ he was the one playing electric bass. Bill Black played only the upright bass and didn’t feel comfortable yet with the electric.
Elvis only knew a few guitar lead licks, but he played a unique rhythm guitar. He had so much rhythm in his body, and it transferred to his hands when he played guitar. His special brand of rhythm guitar can be heard on songs like Blue Christmas, One Night, and Reconsider Baby. He did play a little bit of lead in the ’68 special. Johnny Cash once said that Elvis didn’t really know a lot about the technique of guitar playing, but he was great and Johnny could ‘listen to Elvis play rhythm guitar all day long.’
(Black leather and a sweaty chest…oh my…)
One very unique guitar skill that Elvis displayed was when he would turn it over and slap the back of it, almost like a drum or bongo sound. He did this in the recordings of “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck,” “Treat Me Nice,” and it can really be heard in “Don’t Be Cruel.” (video of the recording below)
He also could play the piano quite well.
Finally, a very little known fact, while this was one area that Elvis definitely did not excel, he played a little drums.
Elvis and Boots Randolph
Of course, when you sing, dance, and look like he did, and have the star power he had, those other skills are not necessary. They’re just icing on the cake for a man who was the whole incredible, amazing, delightful package. 🙂
Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.
Learn more here, including how to donate:
END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!
On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.
All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.
Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.
What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?