Jerry Scheff (Elvis Presley, The Doors )

Courtesy of Jerry Scheff Bio Courtesy of Jerry Scheff Bio

Courtesy of Jerry Scheff Bio

By Thomas Semioli

He anchored two cats named Elvis, and what could arguably be considered among the greatest rock and roll ensembles of all time; Elvis Aaron Presley’s “Taking Care of Business Band.” From its fiery inception in 1969 until The King’s crash and burn in ‘77 – the core collective of guitarists James Burton and John Wilkinson, drummer Ron Tutt, keyboardist Larry Muhoberac, and bassist Jerry Scheff never failed to tear it up on stage (and in the studio) regardless of the condition of their bandleader. The TCB band could swing, rock, and groove through any musical genre Elvis threw at them.

Scheff broke into the studio biz after a stint in the Navy and helmed several hits and album tracks before, during, and following his work with Presley, including such artists as The Doors, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Buckingham Nicks, Todd Rundgren, The Association, Neil Diamond, The Monkees, Sammy Davis Jr., Nancy Sinatra, Everly Brothers, Willy DeVille, Richard Thompson, John Denver, and Johnny Mathis, to cite a select few.

His tome Way Down: Playing Bass with Elvis, Dylan, the Doors, and More: The Autobiography of Jerry Scheff is essential reading for bassists and rock history buffs.

Jerry’s weapon of choice during his most active period was the Fender Precision with its signature warm tone and occasional growl or “bark.” Given that he backed many of pop music’s greatest singers and songwriters, Sheff’s melodic lines were often build around rudimentary triads and subtle rhythmic variations which served the compositions and recordings.

To my ears, Scheff’s best work can be heard throughout The Doors final slab with Jim Morrison L.A. Woman waxed in late 1970 and early ‘71. Jerry’s movement defines the title track, and his jazzy phrasing and note choices for “Love Her Madly” are the stuff of bass virtuosity.

This writer cited Jerry Scheff in Huffington Post: 11 Bass Players Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (December 2017)

Dig Jerry with The Association “Along Comes Mary”

Dig Jerry on upright with Elvis Costello “Eisenhower Blues”

Dig Jerry with Bob Dylan “Changing of the Guards”

Dig Jerry in rehearsal with Elvis and TCB in 1970

Dig Jerry and Elvis Live in Hawaii in ‘73

Dig Jerry with Richard Thompson “Read about Love”

Dig Jerry with The Doors:

“L.A. Woman”

“Love Her Madly”

Courtesy Jerry Scheff Com Courtesy Jerry Scheff Com

Courtesy Jerry Scheff Com