When I told my wife on Christmas Eve that I'd just read that Myrna Smith was very, very sick, she pulled out the CD Estelle, Myrna and Sylvia by the Sweet Inspirations. "To play it now seems appropiate," she said, and I agreed. When I read the sad news on Christmas Day that Myrna had passed away, we listened to the CD again.
I had the privilege to see Myrna Smith on stage five times, four of them when she toured together with the Elvis Presley In Concert show, in 1999, 2000 (two times) and 2010 respectively. But the one occasion I treasure the most took place in 2005 when the American Sound Studio Band performed in the Swedish town Uddevalla together with the Sweet Inspirations.
It was obvious that Myrna Smith, as well as the two other members of the Sweet Inspirations, Estelle Brown and Portia Griffin, had a great time on stage and were enjoying themselves. And that was something that rubbed off on the audience. Elvis knew what he was talking about when he used to say "They sure live up to their name," while introducing the group.
After the show the singers and musicians signed records and photos. In the printed program was a picture from That's The Way It Is showing Elvis rehearsing together with the Sweet Inspirations. The problem with that picture was that only Myrna Smiths' hairstyle was visible, while her face was hidden behind a music stand.
She solved that by writing "(Sorry!)" and drawing an arrow that pointed to her head in the picture. She then penned "Love, Myrna." It's a nice, personal memory of Myrna Smith that I treasure.
For more information about the Sweet Inspirations and their work with Elvis, check out The Mystery Train Elvis Blog and the post Sweet Inspiration Myrna Smith, 1941-2010.