The TCB Band ( Elvis Presley’s band 1969 -1977)

Written by Cameron K
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Elvis Presley adopted "Taking Care of Business in a Flash" as a motto and when he returned to live performances a group of professional musicians was formed as his support.

They were known as TCB (Taking Care of Business) and although the line-up changed between 1969 -1977, the original members were James Burton (lead guitar), Jerry Scheff (bass), John Wilkinson (rhythm guitar), Larry Muhoberac (keyboards, replaced by Glen Hardin in 1970) and Ron Tutt (drums). TCB first appeared at Elvis Presley’s first Las Vegas performance at the International Hotel on July 31, 1969.

At the height of his rock and roll fame, Elvis Presley was drafted into the United States Army in 1958 and served until 1960. In the two years, he was away from the US, musical tastes changed and when Sergeant Presley was discharged he was no longer the King of Rock ’n Roll. Colonel Parker moved Elvis into popular films, acting and singing the soundtracks. In 1965, the Beatles were invited to meet Elvis at his home in Bel Air, California, and when Lennon quipped, ‘what had happened to the old rock'n'roll Elvis?’ Presley ordered guitars to be brought into the room and they started to jam together working their way through rock'n'roll classics, as well as some Beatles and Presley hits. Despite the much-hyped meeting, neither party was overly impressed with each other but Presley did realise he did enjoy the camaraderie of other musicians.

Being exiled in Hollywood making movies instead of touring, Presley had been out of the public eye for some time. Before the long-awaited TV spectacular, “’68 Comeback Special,” and was very nervous, but dressed head-to-toe in black leather and surrounded by his original sidemen he relaunched his career with style. Backed by guitarists Scotty Moore and Charlie Hodge; and D.J. Fontana (percussion), and percussionists Alan Fortas, Lance LeGault, and Fontana. Other sidemen and singers joined them. The show’s soundtrack album made it into the Top 10 with the single, “If I Can Dream,” which became his highest-charting releases since 1965.

Following the success of the 1968 NBC television comeback, the Col planned to return Elvis to live performing but Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana were unavailable. James Burton (guitarist) was asked to form a group and after Glen D. Hardin initially declined the position, Larry Muhoberac played keyboards. Jerry Scheff (bass) and John Wilkinson (rhythm guitar) joined the group and the line-up was completed with drummer, Ron Tutt. With Presley's approval, two backup singing groups (a male gospel quartet, the Imperials, and a female soul group, the Sweet Inspirations) were added and Bobby Morris & his orchestra helped broaden the sound into a huge cinemascope sized production. In 1970, Glen D. Hardin replaced Muhoberac and Bob Lanning temporarily replaced drummer, Ron Tutt. Between the inception and the death of Elvis Presley in 1977, other musicians came and went from TCB, but the continuity of live act was maintained throughout.

Elvis performed his first sell-out show in the showroom at the International Hotel Las Vegas in 1969. He went onto perform regular engagements at the property for the next seven years. In total, he made 837 consecutive sell-out performances in front of an estimated 2.5 million people. He was the must-see concert attraction in Las Vegas. Elvis Presley died of a heart attack on Aug. 16, 1977, at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn.

TCB band members pursued their own musical careers when not backing Elvis. James Burton, Ron Tutt, and Larry Muhoberac joined Ry Coder and many others backing Johnny Cash on his 1975 album, John R. Cash.

In the same year, Emmylou Harris invited James Burton, Glen Hardin, and Ron Tutt to join her new Hot Band. They recorded Elite Hotel which became Harris' first #1 country album. Burton left in 1976, to remain with the TCB band and was replaced by guitarist Albert Lee.

Just before Elvis died, James Burton began working with John Denver in 1977. Asked to play on a John Denver television special the two got on so well the singer invited him to join his European tour. Unfortunately committed to TCB and Elvis at the time, Burton refuses, but shortly after Elvis’ death in 1977 Denver invited him to contribute to his album, ‘I Want To Live’. The John Denver Band was formed with Burton and fellow TCB musicians, Glen D. Hardin and Jerry Scheff. For the next 16 years Burton, Hardin, and Scheff worked with John Denver recording 12 albums and touring the world.

Between 1975 – 77, Ron Tutt also played drums for The Jerry Garcia Band. He briefly re-joined them in 1981. After drumming with the Jerry Garcia Band before Presley's death, Ron Tutt was invited by Neil Diamond to become his permanent concert and recording session drummer. His drum fills and cymbal crashes become a popular feature at Diamond's concert shows. Ron Tutt also appeared on several recordings by Nancy Sinatra.

In 1979, The TCB Band reunited with a new line-up to record a tribute album of covers of Elvis Presley songs with Gospel Singer, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps. Two years later, they played on Tony Sheridan’s tribute album to Elvis. In 1986, Larry Muhoberac left and moved to Australia where he became an arranger and producer until his death in 2016. In 1987, Glen Hardin, James Burton, Jerry Scheff, and Ron Tutt played with Roy Orbison on Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night.

Between 1997 and 2017 Burton, Hardin, Scheff, and Tutt reunited again to perform at Elvis commemorative concerts. They also toured together, sometimes backing Austrian singer Dennis Jale and his band. They have also backed Greg Page of the Wiggles for two solo albums and some live concerts. Jerry Scheff left TCB in 2017 after the 30th-anniversary concert and was replaced on tour by Nathan East and Norbert Putnam. In 2013, John Wilkinson died aged of 67, and Putnam and East left the band.


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Cameron K

Cameron K

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