Jerry Obern Scheff (born January 31, 1941) is an American bassist, best known for his work with Elvis Presley in the 1960s and 1970s as a member of his TCB Band and his work on The Doors‘ final recordings.
Scheff grew up in the Vallejo, California. After serving in the U.S. Navy he returned to California, ending up in Los Angeles as a session musician. After working at the Sands nightclub in Los Angeles with 16-year-old Billy Preston, Merry Clayton, and Don “Sugarcane” Harris, he played on his first hit record, The Association’s “Along Comes Mary” (1966). That success led to other early record appearances with Bobby Sherman, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Rivers, Neil Diamond, Nancy Sinatra, Pat Boone, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Vinton, The Monkees, The Everly Brothers, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In 1971, he appeared on L.A. Woman, the final album recorded by The Doors, playing bass on every track.
In July 1969, Scheff became a member of Elvis Presley’s touring TCB Band. With the band, he performed in concert with Presley from July 1969 to February 1973 and from April 1975 until Presley’s final show on June 26, 1977 at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. He appears on Aloha from Hawaii (Elvis’ 1973 live television concert), “Back In Memphis”, That’s The Way It Is, Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden, the documentary movie from 1972 Elvis On Tour, and Moody Blue, among others.
In later years, Scheff worked with Willy DeVille, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Elvis Costello, The Doors, Sam Phillips, Richard Thompson, and many other artists. Scheff also was a bassist for Southern Pacific on their debut album. He also participated in the 1987 cable television concert Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night. In June 2009 he gave a sold out performance in Breda, Netherlands with the remaining TCB band members. Scheff has stopped touring with the TCB band due to creative and cultural differences.
Scheff has three sons: Jason, Darin, and Lauren Scheff. Jason was the bassist for the band Chicago from 1985 until May 2016. Jason Scheff co-wrote the song “Bigger Than Elvis” as a tribute to his father Jerry, featuring himself on vocals and Jerry on the bass guitar. As of 2010, Scheff splits his time between his native California and his home in a small village in Northumberland, England with his wife Natalie.
Scheff wrote the 2012 musical autobiography titled Way Down: Playing Bass with Elvis, Dylan, the Doors, and More: The Autobiography of Jerry Scheff.
In 2013 and 2014, Scheff performed two concerts in Birmingham (UK) with the singer Janson Bloomer, playing the greatest hits of Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and the Doors.