Imagine writing a song in a short amount of time, only to turn it over to Elvis Presley and have him record it. This was the plan for Bruce Belland. All that needed to happen was for Presley to record this song, and it might have been another hit for “The King.”
Sadly, that never happened. Belland, who had quite a career as a member of the Four Preps, was on his own back in 1977. He stopped off at an all-night Denny’s for some food. He happened to be holding a copy of Billboard in his hands. A waitress made her way over to the table to take Belland’s order. By this time, Belland had left the music scene and was producing shows like Name That Tune.
Belland is out sharing this and other stories in his memoir. It’s titled, Icons, Idols and Idiots of Hollywood: My Adventures in America’s First Boy Band.
“She saw my Billboard and said, ‘You’re a musician?’” Belland, 87, recalled to Fox News Digital. “And she said, ‘Boy when I come home all weary after a day’s work and my feet are killing me, my old man’s asleep on the La-Z-Boy by the television. I go into my bedroom, kick off my shoes, lay out on the bed, and put on my earphones. I listen to Perry Como, and I listen to Eddie Fisher And all my cares just melt away. And I think, what would I do without my music?’”
Elvis Presley Songwriter Has Bright Idea
For Belland, a light bulb went off. He quickly grabbed her pen and scribbled down lyrics about the power of music. Then, he had another idea or epiphany.
“I had dated at one time a woman who is now in Elvis Presley’s entourage,” he explained. “Well, the more I looked at the song and studied it, the more I said to myself, ‘This would be a great song for Elvis.’ I called her, I told her the premise of the song. She said, ‘Get it to me right away.’ I sent her a demo. The next thing I know, about two weeks later, she called and said, ‘He loves your song. Elvis is going to record it. He’s got a session scheduled with the gospel choir to back him on it.’”
Belland was stunned. Yet another surprise would await him.
“She said, ‘Wait a minute,’” he shared. “Next thing I know, I hear Elvis’s voice on the phone. He was so polite. He was a good ol’ Southern boy. [He said], ‘Yes sir, I like your song a lot. I think it could do for me what ‘My Way’ has been for Frank Sinatra. I’m looking forward to recording it, sir.’”
“I’m on Cloud 10,” Belland said. “For the next week or two, I’m already spending the money.” Belland never got to hear Presley sing his song. Thirteen days before Presley was to record the track, he died of a heart attack at age 42.
Belland Told Song, Sheet Music Still In Graceland
“I’ve been told by people who tour Graceland that the demo of the song and sheet music is actually on a table somewhere,” said Belland. “It was recorded by T.G. Sheppard, Roy Clark, and a lot of country artists, but it never caught on as it would’ve with Elvis.”
Belland had some TV appearances in his belt, too. The Four Preps backed Ricky Nelson when he sang in public or on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Another tragedy would touch Belland’s life as Rick Nelson was killed in a plane
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