• “When people nowadays say that Elvis was the first white guy to sound black, I have to shake my head; what can you do? At the time of ‘That’s My Desire’ 1947 they were saying that I was the only white guy around who sounded black.”


  • “I did all the usual things. I think I did everything that everybody else does. I did auditions. I went to see people. I went to see the right people in some instances, the wrong people in others. The wrong time in others. The right time in others. Nothing seemed to make any difference. I quit 5 times! I always went back to try again when circumstances came around to it.”


  • “I fool around with guitar and I can fool around on piano. I don’t really play either instrument although I can play a couple of songs on guitar. You don’t really need to be able to play to compose. There are many composers and arrangers who work out of their heads.”


  • “In my leaner days I failed many an audition because, I was told, I sounded “too black” . . . I’m certain the confusion was the direct result of the music that influenced me while I was developing my style. I guess I became the first of the so-called blue-eyed soul singers.”


  • “if I had it to do over again, there is one thing I would change. I would make it [success] happen maybe ten years sooner. Ten years is a good stretch of scuffling. But I scuffled for 17 years before it happened and 17 is a bit much.”