Bill Porter

Date: 1995 April 06
Length: 218 min.
Call Number: OHC231


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

1995 April 6
(3 hours, 38 minutes)
Recording engineer Bill Porter talks about his work in Nashville recording studios, describes several of his recording techniques, and talks about the Las Vegas phase of his career. Discussion includes his educational background; the number of his recordings that charted; his work schedule at RCA; a description of the 1959 RCA studio; recording gospel quartets; recording the soundtrack for the Elvis Presley movie, Follow That Dream; recording Eddy Arnold; recording Roger Miller; recording Al Hirt; comments on the Nashville Sound; comments on the role of the engineer in the music business; the difficulties associated with recording different instrument types; his reputation for creating a “clean” sound; using an echo chamber in Roy Orbison’s recordings; working with Fred Foster; comments on the production styles of Fred Foster, Chet Atkins, and Archie Bleyer; his decision to relocate to Las Vegas; obstacles he faced owning a recording studio in Las Vegas; the addition of Brent Maher to the Las Vegas studio; artists recorded in Las Vegas, including Bobby Darin and Paul Anka; the Vegas Music International (VMI) publishing company and record label; and the end of his Las Vegas studio business.