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 Post subject: Elvis composer/arranger Billy Strange dies at 81
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:10 pm 
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Elvis composer/arranger Billy Strange dies at 81; Billy Strange guitarist & arranger (shown right with Elvis) was one of the hottest players on the L.A. studio scene but is now also well-known as the co-writer of Elvis' huge worldwide smash 'A Little Less Conversation'. With Mac Davis, Strange also composed 'Memories', 'Nothingville', 'Charro' and 'Clean Up Your Own Backyard' for Elvis. He also arranged 'Edge Of Reality'.
Billy Strange also produced Nancy Sinatra's 'These Boots Are Made for Walking' and as part of the 'Wrecking Crew' played guitar on the Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds' album.
Billy Strange first worked as musician with Elvis on the movie 'It Happened At the World's Fair' in 1962 and then played some cool guitar on the 'Viva Las Vegas' soundtrack. He continued with Elvis' sessions often as conductor/arranger, with his last session for Elvis being 1968's 'The Trouble With Girls' recordings.
As Billy Strange explains he once took the kind of phone call that thousands of musicians receive only in their best and wildest dreams.
"I was staying at a hotel in Nashville in 1965 when my telephone
rang and this unmistakable voice said, "Billy, this is Elvis. I'd like for you to stop by my studios and play some music with me"". "I was absolutely thrilled, so I went along and he just sat at the piano playing gospel songs. We had a lot of fun; so much so that we never got around to recording anything that first day."
That made it a rare day in Strange's life in the 1960s: He not only was one of the hottest players but also a successful songwriter, arranger and recording artist working in LA's top recording studios at what may have been the pinnacle of a long career in which he contributed to hit records by artists such as Presley, the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, the Everly Brothers, Dean Martin and Willie Nelson.
Strange, who died Wednesday in Nashville at 81, is most widely known for his role as musical arranger of Nancy Sinatra's first No. 1 hit, "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," in 1966 and her 1967 duet with her father, "Somethin' Stupid." Strange also was the budding pop singer's co-star on her eerie song "Bang Bang (He Shot
Me Down)," on which the only accompaniment to her wistful vocal were the strums and runs from Strange's tremolo-soaked electric guitar.
With his all-around skills as a songwriter, arranger and player, Strange was soon in high demand in recording studios, adding to sessions with Ricky Nelson, the Everlys and Spector, the latter connection segueing into work with Spector disciple Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, for whom he played on their high-watermark album "Pet Sounds" in 1966.
Those credits helped bring him to the attention of Presley, whose career as a recording artist faltered in the 1960s as he focused on formulaic Hollywood movies set up for him by his manager, Col. Tom Parker. After that first meeting, Presley and Strange became close friends.
As Billy Strange told author Ken Sharp - "Elvis and I always hung out together. When he moved to LA he was totally surrounded by young lady fans in this gated house that he lived in. About the only time he could get out of the house was late at night and we'd jump on our bikes and ride our Harleys all over the Hollywood hills. Elvis used to call me up around 2am or 3am and say, 'Hey Billy, let's go for a ride,' "
Certainly Elvis was familiar with what I had been doing with Nancy and Frank Sinatra and he made the choice of me as a producer and arranger for him. Everything I had ever done, particularly the Nancy Sinatra session, had a life and feeling of its own and whatever arranging capabilities I had fit the moment for Elvis. We were very lucky and had some hits.
Elvis worked like a trooper in the studio. He was as professional as anyone could be. He knew the material and knew when it was right for him. He knew exactly when a take was it. Elvis knew what he was. He was held down from being as good as he could be because of the class of material he was forced to do for his films-just his records proved that. Most of his hits weren't from films. They were songs that he chose because he liked them and knew that he could perform them well.
My favorite song that Elvis recorded of ours is "Memories." It's the most outstanding to me because I happened to just love the song. That ballad really fit Elvis at that point.
I lost a dear friend when Elvis died. I couldn't bring myself to go to the funeral of one who expired so needlessly and tragically."
Billy Strange was elected to the Musicians Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, both based in Nashville.
RIP Billy Strange - died 21 February 2012, aged 81.

(News, Source;KenSharp/ElvisInfoNet)



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Liliane
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"Value are like fingerprints. Nobody's the same, but you leave them all everything you do" ELVIS AARON PRESLEY
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 Post subject: Re: Elvis composer/arranger Billy Strange dies at 81
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:52 pm 
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Thanks for posting this Liliane, I didn't hear about it. He truly did some great songs with Elvis, and Elvis mentioned him a time or two but I can't recall what
exactly he said other than he admired his work, talent and abilities to bring out
the best in people (singers) and musicians. He especially loved Memories as it
was "heart music" he called it. So many people are going it seems, but then I
guess it is just our own age that makes it that way...they were our "genius"
people and celebrities. I recall how Grandma Suzy spoke of the people she knew
and had worked with who were celebrities of her day...now I know how she felt
when they began there spiritual departure. Billy Strange was unique and special.
We will miss his musical genius.
wjh



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author of "We Remember, Elvis" & "Elvis - Face to Face"
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 Post subject: Re: Elvis composer/arranger Billy Strange dies at 81
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:01 pm 
Jewel in the Lotus
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:hello: Yes Billy Strange will Really Be Missed, Boy Elvis is Getting All of His People That He Made Music With Over there Ain't He? :hug:



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WITH OUT A SONG THE ROAD WOULD NEVER END, WITH OUT A SONG A MAN AIN'T GOT A FRIEND.SO I KEEP ON SINGING A SONG! Elvis Aaron Presley!!
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