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Former Elvis backing singer Gordon Stoker passes away

Former Elvis backing singer Gordon Stoker passes away

GORDON Stoker, who was a member of Elvis Presley’s backing group The Jordanaires, has passed away. He was 88.

The Jordanaires were already well established as gospel singers long before Elvis recruited them. Presley had admired the group’s work and is reported to have told them that if he ever got a recording contract he wanted the singers “to back me up”.

The King was true to his world. When he landed his first big recording contract he recruited the group to do backing vocals on Hound Dog (1956). It was the start of what was to be a long association between the group and Elvis. They provided backing on a long list of hits, including Don’t Be Cruel, It’s Now Or Never, Are You Lonesome Tonight and Love Me (see below).

The Jordanaires also featured on the soundtracks of many of Elvis’s movies. The singing partnership continued until 1970.

Mr. Stoker had been a professional musician since he had turned 15 and eventually joined the group as their piano player before becoming their tenor vocalist.

Over their long career, The Jordanaires appeared on recordings by a number of stars, including Patsy Cline (Crazy), Jim Reeves (Four Walls), George Jones (He Stopped Loving Her Today) and Kenny Rogers (Lucille).

Mr. Stoker passed away at his home in Brentwood, Tennessee. He is survived by his wife Jean and children Alan, Brent and Venita.

To see footage of The Jordanaires singing with Elvis Presley, click here.

To view an Elvis Medley in which the The Jordanaires feature, click here.

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