what Frank is listening to #47- TOMMY SANDS – Sands Storm – (RCA) – 1959
Tommy Sands was one of the million Elvis rip-offs in the late 50s (eg: Gene Vincent, Terry Stafford, Bobby Darin, Ral Donner, Dion, Ricky Nelson, Buddy Knox, Jack Scott etc). No offence to any of these artists because some of them were legends in their own right but still "rip-offs". OK, rip-offs is perhaps a bit too strong but Sands, like the others, was influenced by Elvis and Elvis' success. They all took aspects of Elvis' style in different ways and adapted it to their styles … by way of example, Gene Vincent took the histrionics and made a career out of that, whilst Darin took the ballads and went down the lounge path. Tommy Sands took the "clean" Elvis path. He had, however, been a credible soft rockabilly singer who had some minor hits ("Teenage Crush" was a #2 hit in 1957). By the time of this album (his third) the record label were trying to soften his image, perhaps scared of any anti-rock backlash (which never happened) after the Presley riots and moral outrage in 1956/57.
Q. Tommy, you were once referred to as "One of the more talented of the Presley imitators." Were you, in any way trying to imitate Elvis?
A. I think there might have been a subconscious influence there, because I liked him so much. I can say that honestly now without any loss of dignity. When I met him, I was so young, and he influenced me so much, just as James Dean did as an actor. There were little pieces of Dean and Elvis in what I did, and that's quite normal. But, the people who managed me did a whole lot to take almost all of Elvis out of me, because they were much more conscious of it then me. They took away the guitar from early on. I never again after "The Singing Idol" appeared with a guitar that I remember. They had me cut my sideburns, cut my hair. It was a conscious attempt on their part to make me totally different. If I would've had my own way, I would have been even more identifiable as an imitator because I liked him so much.
- Maybelline – the Chuck Berry classic.
- Oop Shoop – the Shirley Gunter doo wop track.
- Hey Miss Fannie – The Clover hit.
- Tweedlee Dee – the Lavern Baker hit.
- Such a Night – Elvis later covered this track though it's generally assumed he was inspired by the Clyde McPhatter version.
- Blue Velvet – a great song – it doesn't matter who does it.
- Chicken and the Hawk – a shameless rip off of "Shake Rattle and Roll" by writers Leiber and Stoller no less.