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Oct 13, 2022

Elvis - "Songs of the Heart"

Elvis Single 1974 Promised Land - It's Midnight


Stax Studios Recording Sessions. December 10, 1973.


"It's Midnight"

Composed by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Chestnut.

A beautiful ballad that Elvis interprets in a passionate and heartfelt way. The score is good and superbly performed, but a simpler accompaniment would have raised it to perfection. Although we believe that there is too much embellishment behind it that makes a song that can be wonderful due to its singing, be excessively recharged. At this time the heartbroken song was what Elvis sang best, with a slow rhythm, Elvis's voice that gets lost with the great melody. Also overload of string instruments that equally overshadow Elvis's work. It was a song that caught Elvis because of the intensity of the desolate feeling and the description of loneliness at night due to abandonment.

The lyrics could perfectly describe Elvis's own feelings and he poured into it. Elvis recorded this song, written by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Chestnut, at Stax Studios on December 10, 1973. The song was released as a B-side single to Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" in late September 1974. It has been included on several LP Albums such as "Promised Land". Later on "Our Memories Of Elvis", "Always On My Mind", "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and "The Country Side of Elvis".

The released single would reach number 9 on the Billboard country chart. Elvis sang this song live from the summer of 1974. Versions from these concerts were included on "Live in Las Vegas", the FTD releases "It's Midnight", "Dragonheart", "Big Boss Man" and "Southern Nights" , etc.

There are also bootlegs, pirate recordings. Other studio versions have appeared on "Platinum: A Life In Music" and "Made in Memphis".

When these recordings were made, many things were tried, especially considering the choir, with more or less voices and in different verses Elvis's voice was accompanied , but in the final version so much voice would be discarded to make the interpretation easier and focus it on Elvis's voice, but the production made the final result a little cloudy.

Several instruments were also tried with the accompaniment. Elvis worked on the song for hours, though at one point he got discouraged every time he made a mistake. Finally on take nineteen, the high point of the recording, Felton told Elvis that enough was enough, although he was not satisfied, but he reassured him with his usual encouragement. Elvis didn't believe him, but after listening to the playback, he finally accepted that the song was okay. what they had recorded. Jerry Donald Chestnut, the composer of this song was known for his country music. He would have several hits including "Good Year for the Roses", recorded by Alan Jackson, George Jones and Elvis Costello and "Trouble", recorded by Elvis Presley and Travis Tritt.

In 1968, Jerry Lee Lewis's successful recording of Chestnut's "Another Place, Another Time" was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 1972, Chestnut was named Billboard's "Songwriter of the Year" and in 1992 he became a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The songs "Love Coming Down" and "Woman Without Love" composed by him would also be recorded by Elvis Presley. Billy Edward "Edd" Wheeler, the other composer was a singer-songwriter and playwright.

Wheeler was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001, the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2011 and more awards.

Up to 13 ASCAP Awards, etc. His songs include " Jackson ", winner of the Grammy Award for Johnny Cash and June Carter, " The Reverend Mr. Black ", " Desert Pete ", " Ann ", " High Flyin' Bird ", " The Coming of the Roads", "It's Midnight", etc. Billy knew Lamar Fike, to whom he gave the sheet music for Elvis, but when Elvis heard it for the first time, Elvis snapped, 'Are they about me and Priscilla?' Lamar replied: 'Elvis, not all the songs I bring you are about you and Priscilla.'

On Elvis's initial version of 'It's Midnight,' he stopped after the first verse and told Lamar, "I can't sing this like the demo." Lamar said, "Well, record it how you feel." But Billy says he made it exactly like his show! It is one of the best songs recorded in these sessions at Stax Studios.

"Following the Path of the King..."

Information provided by FROM TUPELO TO MEMPHIS

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