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Bill Porter

February 23, 1994 OHC190


Recording engineer. Born June 15, 1931. Full name: Billy Rhodes Porter. Chief engineer for RCA Records Nashville, 1959-1963. Engineer for Columbia Records Nashville, 1963. Manager, Monument Records Nashville studio, 1964-1966. Operated his own recording studio in Las Vegas, 1966-1973. Engineered Elvis Presley’s stage shows, 1970-1977.

Interview Summary

1994 February 23
(no recording available; transcript only)
Bill Porter discusses recording sessions he engineered at RCA Studio B in Nashville. Discussion includes his background; being hired by Nashville’s WLAC-TV; becoming an engineer at RCA; Chet Atkins’s assistance in the studio; how Porter achieved echo effects; his impressions of Atkins as a producer; a typical session with Atkins; Porter’s gift for hearing various musical parts; recording “It’s Now or Never” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight” with Elvis Presley; trying to balance sound and vocals with the Browns on “The Three Bells”; acoustics of Studio B; working with Jim Reeves and Atkins’s relationship with Reeves; Atkins’s recording sessions; Floyd Cramer; recording “The End of the World” with Skeeter Davis; difficulties in studio with Connie Francis and Al Hirt; Hank Locklin and “Please Help Me, I’m Falling”; Bob Luman’s crossover hit “Let’s Think About Living”; Tommy Roe’s recording of “Sheila”; Sue Thompson’s “Sad Movies” and “Norman”; “Little GTO” by Ronnie and the Daytonas; recording “Till I Kissed You” with the Everly Brothers; and Johnny Tillotson’s “Keeps Right on A-Hurtin’.”

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