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History of Sherrill Nielsen and Elvis Presley

Sherrill Nielsen was born on September 10, 1942 in Montgomery, AL. Little did the world Elvisknow what to expect when Sherrill entered into this world. God gave Sherrill one of the most amazing tenor voices around. Sherrill started his singing career at the tender age of four, singing in his local Nazarene Church in Montgomery. The same church that Dad and Mom SherrillSpeer attended. Sherrill sang throughout the state of Alabama and when he was 14, he won Mr. American Youth singer on the same stage where Bill Shaw (tenor for the Blackwood Brothers) won Mr. Gospel Singer. Sherrill cut his first solo LP – A Name I Highly Treasure, when he was 15. He worked with some local quartets in and around Montgomery until Uncle Sam called him for his military duty. He signed up for the Air Force, completing his basic training at San Antonio, TX and then onto Omaha, where he was soloist with the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command Band in Omaha, Nebraska.

Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, MS. Elvis began his singing career at the age of 19 with Sun Records. By 1956, Elvis was an international sensation. As a result of his diverse musical influences, he ushered in a new era of American music and culture. Uncle Sam inducted him into the Army in 1958. He completed his basic training at Fort ElvisHood, TX and was stationed at Friedberg, Germany until 1960, when he returned to his home in Memphis. They both served their country so that we can experience the freedom that we enjoy so much today.

When these two music icons met, an immediate bond was made and a lifelong friendship was created, one that lasted until Elvis’ death in 1977. Sherrill met Elvis in May 1966, when Elvis was cutting his “How Great Thou Art” record at RCA in Nashville, TN. Felton Jarvis was Elvis’ producer and A&R. Sherrill was the tenor singer for Jake Hess and the Imperials. Elvis was a fan of Sherrill’s from watching the Imperials TV programs and on this special day, Elvis walked into the RCA Studio, went straight over to Sherrill and said “Hi, I’m Elvis Presley and I have all of your records and you are one of my favorite singers”….the rest was history in the making. It was at this time that Elvis admired the fancy stage-type shirt that Sherrill was wearing. This shirt was designed and made by Brenda Nielsen, who later had to make several fancy stage-type shirts for Elvis. Brenda designed and made stage shirts for the Oak Ridge Boys, Felton Jarvis, and other music related staff.

TrioThe next big encounter that Sherrill and Elvis had was in 1969, Sherrill was singing with Hovie Lister and the Statesmen Quartet and had a concert at the Long Beach auditorium. Elvis attended this concert, requested that Sherrill sing “The Impossible Dream” for him and after the concert, Elvis went back stage and presented Sherrill with a Taking Care of Business (TCB) necklace. When Elvis presented a TCB it meant that you were part of his inner circle. After this concert, Elvis told Felton Jarvis that Sherrill was his favorite singer.

In 1973, Sherrill had put together a trio he named, the Rangers. EnterpriseThe Rangers was doing backup work singing on the Grand Ole’ Opry. It was during this time that Elvis contacted Sherrill and hired Sherrill and his group to sing backup on his shows, write music and travel with him. Elvis considered the trio to be “his” personal group, his employees, separate from Colonel Parker’s supervision. Elvis renamed Sherrill’s group calling it VOICE. The group VOICE stayed with Elvis up until they disbanded. After their separation, Elvis kept Sherrill on as a solo backup singer to perform solo’s and sing duets with Elvis. Sherrill performed with Elvis up until Elvis’ death in 1977.


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