Circle had the chance to sit down with famed musician and producer Tony Brown. Tony was Elvis’ piano player during the last several years of Elvis’ life but his connection didn’t end there. He also produced Vince Gill’s “That’s Alright”. The Elvis cover tune was in Honeymoon In Vegas, starring Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Caan. (If you want to learn more about Honeymoon In Vegas, click here.)
Tony was touring with the gospel group, the Oak Ridge Boys as their piano player when he got a call from Elvis’ dad, Vernon Presley. He asked Tony to play gospel music for Elvis at his house whenever Elvis wanted. That means he hung out at Graceland with a few other gospel musicians or flew to wherever Elvis was. That meant Tony gave up a regular touring gig playing for thousands of fans to play in Elvis’ living room. For him, it was worth it.
“For the first year or so, we mainly just played songs for him in his house…..Whenever he called, we would go down and just start talking with Elvis and singing all the old gospel songs with him,” Tony recalls. This later helped him land a spot in Elvis’ touring band.
Tony was thankful for his first gig with Elvis because he got to spend quality time with him in his home getting to know him. Tony says, “On tour, Elvis would fly in 30 minutes before the show and meet us on stage.” Then, Elvis would leave the building while the band was still playing. So those gospel music memories Tony has with Elvis were some of his best.
Want to know more about Elvis Month on Circle? Tune in every Monday for our Monday Night Drive Ins featuring famous Elvis movies this month! Tune in Monday, August 8 at 9/8 p.m. CT on Circle TV for the premiere of Viva Las Vegas!