Music publishing fiascos, creative frustrations, and Elvis Presley’s scrapped 1977 Nashville session

Jeremy Roberts
9 min readFeb 18, 2022
Forty-one-year-old Elvis Presley radiates happiness as he leans down from the stage of the Omni Coliseum to accept gifts from the 17,000-strong crowd on December 30, 1976, in Atlanta, Georgia. The “Promised Land” rocker had shed significant weight since his abysmally-reviewed tours earlier that summer, sporting the white Arabian jumpsuit for the first time since 1974. The impending New Year seemingly foretold that Presley was back with a vengeance, but his opiate addiction, depression, diminishing health, and inability to stop catering to a girlfriend half his age would overtake him eight months later in a lonely Memphis mansion. Photography by Keith Alverson / Restoration by Matt Ashton / For Elvis CD Collectors Forum

An exclusive interview summit with Elvis Presley’s TCB Band pianist Tony Brown is imperative to unraveling the boy from Tupelo’s latter-day career discontent. Brown, who veered from his origins as a gospel accompanist to kingpin of MCA Nashville, is also the recipient of an Academy Award nomination in the Best Original Song category for producing Reba McEntire’s “Somehow You Do.”

The Tony Brown Interview, Part Nine

On January 20, 1977, three months after the “Way Down” sessions were hastily assembled inside Graceland’s Jungle Room, Elvis was booked for five days of recording at Buzz Cason’s Creative Workshop [2804 Azalea Place] to cut further material for his next album — Moody Blue. The “Everlasting Love” songwriter’s Nashville haunt would have been the first time Elvis had set foot in a real studio since you tracked “Bringing It Back” with him at RCA Hollywood in March 1975. “That’s What You Do to Me,” “Energy,” “Yes I Do,” Tony Joe White and Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night in Georgia,” Dennis “Burning Love” Linde’s “By Day by Day,” and Layng “Way Down” Martine Jr.’s Let Me On” were all contenders at Creative Workshop. Either romantic frustration with significantly younger girlfriend Ginger Alden or a sore throat inhibited Elvis from recording a single note. Desperate producer Felton Jarvis was ordered by RCA Victor to accompany Elvis on his April 1977 tour, recording any new material that his disinclined client might sing on the spur of the moment to complete the LP [“Little Darlin’”, “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)”, and “Unchained Melody”]. Elvis’ studio output was over.

The entire TCB Band [along with rhythm guitarist Chip Young, percussionist Randy Cullers, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, former Voice tenor Sherrill Nielsen, Sweet Inspiration Myrna Smith, and soprano Kathy Westmoreland] went to Creative Workshop. Felton would say, “Everybody, are we ready? Elvis will be here in a minute.” Elvis didn’t show up the first day. Or the second…and so on. We heard he had left the motel and driven back home to Graceland.

A guy that rented out microphones had written a little poem about this microphone that was gonna be used in Ronnie Tutt’s kick drum. It was…

Jeremy Roberts

Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ something fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: