Concerts at the Graceland Guest House Theater – Part 2

Concert in Graceland Guest House Theater

Last week we took a look at the first big concert in the new Graceland Guest House Theater. Actually, big does not adequately describe the Joe Walsh “All Shook Up at Graceland” event.

Joe Walsh at Guest House Theater 2

It’s a package deal including two nights in the hotel, two parties, Graceland tour, a combination concert/ Q&A session/slide show by Joe Walsh, and much more. And it cost $1,795 per person.

There have been other concerts in the Guest House, and they have been on a more modest scale. For example:

Gospel Weekend at the Guest House Theater

This was a two-night package back in February, with Mark209 in concert on Friday, February, 24th, and Memphis Soul City performing on Saturday, February 25th. Anyone booked in a two-double bed room with a view of the central courtyard ($219 per night, double occupancy, plus 21% taxes and fees) could go to the concerts for free.

 

TG Sheppard and Kelly Lang

This is a straight concert, with no hotel room tie-in. You can be staying at any hotel or motel in town and come see this show for $25. T.G Sheppard had dozens of top 40 country hits, but his last was in 1988. He is 73 but maintains a busy touring schedule along with his wife Kelly Lang. I suspect that the Guest House will present more concerts of this nature than the extravaganza packages like Joe Walsh.

 

That being said, I would like to suggest three performers I think Graceland would be wise to schedule. While they are all up in age, they are still performing. And best of all, they all have a connection to Elvis, and I would love to see any of them in a concert.

Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson Smiling and Elvis

In 1955, Wanda Jackson was a seventeen-year-old aspiring country singer, with some minor hits to her credit and a half-hour radio show on KLPR in Oklahoma City. In July, she was booked on one of those packaged touring country music shows that were popular in the fifties. It was here that she met Elvis Presley, and they became fast friends. Wanda and Elvis performed in other touring shows in August and October, 1955, and again in early 1956.

Elvis Presley and Wanda Jackson April 15, 1956 San Antonio

April 15, 1956, San Antonio

Elvis and Wanda dated a bit, but her dad was her manager on the road, so things never got hot and heavy between the young singers. In an interview in Rolling Stone magazine, she said, “Our dating amounted to what we could do on the road. If we got in town early, we might take in a matinee movie. Then, after the shows, we could go places with his band — and my dad, of course… It was very important, a girl’s reputation, in those days. There were things you could and couldn’t do, and my daddy made sure I never crossed the line.”

Wanda Jackson and Elvis

Elvis urged Wanda Jackson to branch out and try rockabilly music. He said, “It’s the next big thing, and you need to be singing it.” She took his advice and decided to try her hand in this wild new world of rockabilly. “He broke my train of thought and made me realize I could stretch myself.” Rockabilly songs are what made her mark in music history. As Rolling Stone said, “Her songs were full of vinegar. She sang them all with gravel-throated gusto.” The Smithsonian Institution would later refer to her as the sweet lady with the nasty voice. Her first national hit was “Let’s Have A Party,” which Elvis fans know he originally recorded for the movie Loving You in 1957. Jackson liked the song and recorded it in 1958 for her self-titled first album.

 

Later Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson went on to have great success in other four different genres – rockabilly, country, gospel, and rock and roll. She had huge popular success in Europe and Japan. In 2009, Wanda Jackson was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 

In 2007, she recorded an album in tribute to her old friend titled I Remember Elvis. “[Elvis] has been a big part of my life. I worked with him and loved him very much for the person that he was, so it only seemed right that I should do a special tribute to him. I chose the songs he was singing when I was working with him in the fifties, and that gave it purpose. At the end of the CD, I also tell stories about my remembrances of the first time I met him, the first night I worked with him, and the last time I saw him.”

 

Wanda Jackson Concert Schedule

Although Wanda Jackson will turn 80 this year, she still does the occasional concert. I would be thrilled to see her perform at the Graceland Guest House Theater, and I’d bet she would pack the place. How about it, EPE? Please schedule Wanda Jackson while you still can.

Wanda Jackson in 2014

 

 

 

Johnny Rivers

Elvis & Johnny Rivers were friends in Hollywood in the early 60´s.

Johnny Rivers’ connection to Elvis started the same year as Wanda Jackson – 1955. At that time, he was Brooklyn-born John Ramistella, a twelve-year-old growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Young John and a buddy went to the local high school to see a country concert starring Minnie Pearl and Little Jimmy Dickens. Opening the show was an unknown singer named Elvis Presley. Minnie Pearl introduced him as “The Hillbilly Cat,” and he came out wearing a pink suit and white buck shoes. Elvis sang only two songs, “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” Rivers recalled, “All that sexual energy up there on stage, people didn’t know what to make of it.” He said to his buddy, “Wow. This guy’s really cool.”

Johnny got a second look at Elvis after that high school concert. He went around behind the auditorium and saw Elvis, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black loading their gear in a trailer. Actually, Scotty and Bill were doing the loading. Elvis was talking to some of the country acts. Johnny remembers this about Elvis: “He was bouncing around, he couldn’t stand still. I’m thinking this is the coolest guy I ever seen.”

Within a year, Johnny was playing guitar in local groups, and by age fourteen, he was fronting the band “Johnny and the Spades.” In 1958 he performed at the Lousiana Hayride in Shreveport. Later that year, Johnny traveled to New York to seek work in recording studios. It was there he met legendary disc jockey Allen Freed, who convinced him to change his name to Johnny Rivers.

The next stop was Nashville, then back to New York City, and finally Los Angeles. In 1963 Rivers and his group began an extended stay as the house band at a local nightclub. This led to a lucrative offer to open the new discotheque Whiskey A-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. Soon, his first album Johnny Rivers at the Whiskey A-Go-Go was released, and it quickly sold a million copies. Johnny Rivers’ career was on a roll.

With his newfound wealth, Johnny Rivers moved into a mansion in exclusive Trousdale Estates, and regularly drove his maroon Jaguar over to Elvis’ place in Bel Air for weekend football games, with other stars like Pat Boone and Jan and Dean.

 

Elvis on his 1966 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide and Johnny Rivers on a Triumph

Johnny Rivers and Elvis had one other interesting connection – the song “Memphis” written by Chuck Berry. Elvis recorded it during a two-day session in Nashville in May 1963 that produced fourteen songs. Time constraints limited “Memphis” to just two takes, and Elvis was not happy with either one. So, on January 12, 1964, Elvis went back in the studio to re-record “Memphis” and one other song. He wanted a more exciting, modern sound, because he planned to release “Memphis” as his next single. Elvis was dedicated and focused. He was in good voice, and he loaded up the studio with three guitar players and two drummers.

Elvis - Memphis Single

Elvis left the studio very pleased with the results, but “Memphis” was never released as a single – and Johnny Rivers was the reason. He and Elvis had jammed together on the song back in Bel Air. Rivers liked it so much he incorporated it into his repertoire at the Whiskey. In May 1964 a live version of the song hit the market and quickly went to #2 on the charts. That killed any chance of “Memphis” ever being an Elvis single.

Johnny Rivers- Memphis Single

 

There is one last Elvis/Johnny Rivers connection. I would strongly recommend his 1991 CD The Memphis Sun Recordings. Rivers recorded it at Sun Studios, with James Burton and Carl Perkins as special guests. It contains cover versions of four Elvis songs and three Perkins hits, plus others by Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Rich. It’s a terrific CD, and I play it a lot.

Johnny Rivers -- The Memphis Sun Recordings

 

I find it hard to believe, but Johnny Rivers has not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. How can they ignore an artist with 17 Top 40 hits, 9 Top 10 hits, and a Number 1 hit “The Poor Side of Town.” His most notable song over the years has been “Secret Agent Man,” which peaked at #3 in 1966.

 

Older Johnny Rivers

 

Johnny Rivers will turn 75 this year, but he still performs regularly.

Johnny Rivers Appearances

 

So, my second suggestion for an artist to appear at the Guest House Theater is Johnny Rivers. He could certainly wow the audience by performing the four Elvis songs on the Memphis Sun Recordings CD: “Mystery Train,” “Tryin’ To Get To You,” “That’s Alright, Mama,” and “I Forgot to Remember to Forget.” Plus there is “Memphis.” Rivers also released an album Blue Suede Shoes, and the title song is the best version I’ve ever heard. If Graceland books Johnny Rivers, I guarantee there will be dancing in the aisles.

 

 

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley

Yes, I know this is a Photoshopped photo

Did you see this choice coming? How absolutely cool would it be to have Jerry Lee Lewis perform at the Graceland Guest House Theater?

I presume it isn’t necessary to detail the connection between Elvis and Jerry Lee. However, stories about their rivalry persist, so that’s worth mentioning. Elvis had been gone from Sun Records for over a year before Jerry Lee burst on the scene. In some ways The Killer had the better of it in this presumed competition. For one thing, Jerry Lee had much bigger hits at Sun Records than Elvis did. The sales of “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On” and “Great Balls of Fire” absolutely dwarfed anything achieved by Elvis’ five Sun releases. “Breathless” and “High School Confidential” also made the Top 40, something not achieved by an Elvis song until he went to RCA. Jerry Lee’s career also shot out of the gates quicker than Elvis’. His first release “Crazy Arms” went nowhere, but the second, “Whole Lot of Shakin’,” instantly made him a national star.

 

Million Dollar Quartet

The supposed feud between Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley is on pretty shaky ground. Consider what Elvis said after the famed “Million Dollar Quartet” session, his first musical interaction with Jerry Lee:

“That boy can go. I think he has a great future ahead of him. He has a different style, and the way he plays piano just gets inside me.”

Jerry Lee wasn’t afraid to put his stamp on Elvis songs. He has recorded “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” Elvis covered Jerry Lee’s’ “Whole Lot of Shakin,” and a few lesser-known Lewis songs.

 

Jerry Lee Lewis RockHall of Fame Photo

Both men are charter members of the Rock& Roll Hall of Fame, inducted together in the inaugural class of 1986. Check out the picture the RockHall uses as their stock Jerry Lee Lewis photo.

These days, Jerry Lee doesn’t climb up on the piano. He will turn 82 this year and his performance schedule is pretty skimpy.

Jerry Lee Lewis New Years Eve 2016

Jerry Lee Lewis New Years Eve 2016

He performed at his own club in Memphis this past New Year’s Eve, and then at a Country Music Festival in late February in Indio, California. His website does not list any upcoming appearances.

Jerry Lee Lewis On Stage - May 4, 2013

Hopefully, there is still enough time for EPE to book Jerry Lee Lewis for the Graceland Guest House Theater, but they better hurry.

 

Nesbit, Missippi

He lives on his ranch just south of Memphis in Nesbit, Mississippi.  They could send a stretch-limo down there and transport him to the Guest House in style. They could put him up in the Vernon and Gladys Suite.

Vernon and Gladys Suite

 

All that would probably run up the price of tickets, but I don’t think they’d have any problem filling up the place.

 

Jerry Lee Lewis is a Rock and Roll legend.

Come on EPE. Bring him to Graceland.

 

Older Jerry Lee Lewis

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©  2017    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Concerts at the Graceland Guest House Theater — Part 1

Joe Walsh at Guest House Theater

Did you see this announcement on Graceland.com the other day? When I saw it, my initial reaction was positive, because I’ve been a Joe Walsh fan for over forty years. I have three of his solo albums in my record collection, plus the Eagles albums from his time with the band.

I also saw him in concert back in the early 80s. It was at a big nightclub and there was a cover charge of something like $20 or $25. He had a tight back-up band and did a great show. My best memory is Joe coming out on stage wearing fake rabbit ears and fluffy slippers, and banging on a bass drum strapped in front of him, like the Energizer Bunny. I think the idea was that in spite of the Eagles break-up, Joe Walsh was still plugging along.

Well, obviously, he is still plugging along thirty something years later, because he is going to appear at the theater in the Graceland Guest House. I thought to myself, Man, if I was in Memphis the first weekend in May, I would definitely take in the show. Then I saw this:

Price for Joe Walsh at Graceland Guest House Theater

WHAT???

 

$3.600 for you and your sweetie to take in this event. My wife and I took a five day vacation to Key West that cost less than that. But the promo picture said it was a three day deal, so I dug deeper to see what could be worth that much money.

Joe Walsh Graceland Package Includes

 

The two nights at the Graceland Guest House are in rooms with two queen beds and a view of the pool and central courtyard. Looks like a pretty nice room.

Graceland Guest House Two Bed Basic Room

The rate for these rooms on May 6 is $299/night plus 21% taxes and fees. So that accounts for $723 dollars’ worth of the package cost.

 

Then, there are two parties with a disc jockey playing the tunes, plus food and drinks. That sounds like fun, especially if there is a dance floor. The free food takes care of a couple of meals during your stay. If you want an alcoholic beverage, that probably costs extra.

 

Elvis Entourage VIP Tour

The package includes a tour of Graceland. It is hard to imagine this would be anything less than the Elvis Entourage VIP Tour. You can see all the stuff the regular price of $99 covers. Every one of them are things on my must-see list.

 

I don’t see any real value in the custom lanyard or the trip lamination, and what hotel room doesn’t have free internet access these days?

So that leaves the three items connected with Joe Walsh on the list. It doesn’t go into details on the autographed photo, but it better be where he does them on site and inscribes them as the guests request. It would be lame if they just pass out pre-signed pictures.

 

How ya Doin' Steve

 

The photo-op with Joe Walsh is another chance to get up close and personal with him.

 

So, that brings us to the performance. I could find nothing on Graceland.com that said whether it was on Saturday night, May 6, or Sunday night, May 7. So I went Joe Walsh’s website and found this.

Joe Walsh Concerts

Hey, there’s something wrong here. Joe Walsh can’t be in both Tampa and Memphis for evening performances on May 6. We can assume that the All Shook Up at Graceland show is actually on Sunday May 7, the second night of the package.

This is just a portion of a schedule showing a long series of concerts with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers joining Joe Walsh. Note that the next night after Joe’s gig at Graceland, they will be playing a Memphis show at the FedEx Forum. Just for kicks, I looked up the prices for this, and they go from $33 for nosebleeds to $645 for right up in front of the stage.

 

There are no nosebleed seats at the Graceland Guest House Theater. With a capacity of just 464, it is an intimate venue, and there are no bad seats

Guesthouse at Graceland Theater

This seems the perfect size setting for the advertised “private acoustic storytellers performance.” It sounds like Joe will perform without a backing band, but his acoustic versions of his old hits and the ones he sung with the Eagles could be quite enjoyable. It is all the other stuff he says he will do that will make the evening special.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do: Take an evening, invite an audience and just be me.

Answering almost all questions anyone would ask (except the ones that may incriminate me).

A big screen power point presentation put together and narrated by me.

Guitar shop talk, slide guitar 101.

I’m particularly excited to talk about my Elvis experiences—what he meant to me and what I meant to him.

True stories of road craziness and of course playing more music.

We’ll conclude with a Town Hall Meeting, including a strategy and platform discussion for my candidacy to run for President of the United States in 2020 and sing ‘God Bless America’ or something else (Elvis would want that).”

The show is going to have to be a long one to get in all that. And you have to admit that it is totally unique in the world of entertainment.

BUT… is it worth $3,600?

 

Unmatched Luxury at Graceland Guest House

If you’ve seen the photos of the lobby, restaurants, and bars at the Graceland Guest House, you know they’ve built a hotel that projects a sense of opulence. Look at the following shots and it’s hard to argue with their claim of unmatched luxury.

Graceland Guest House Founders Room

Graceland Guest House Lobby-3

Graceland Guest House Ballroom

 

The Graceland Guest House is certainly designed to attract a well-healed clientele, so I guess they will have no trouble getting two hundred or so couples to pony up $3,600 and take in this unique Joe Walsh experience.

But, it is way out of reach for fans of modest means like me and probably most of you, too. When I first visited Graceland in 1993, I stayed at the Days Inn across the street and down a block. It didn’t detract from my Elvis pilgrimage one bit. In fact, the area around the little pool was a great gathering place at night for us fans, and we had a wonderful time together swapping stories. I’ve been to Elvis Week four times, and never once was Unmatched Luxury something I looked forward to.

I hope EPE will remember the little people and find more reasonably priced ways for us to enjoy our visit to Graceland.

Graceland RV Park & Campground

That last thought caused me to check and see if this was still open, and it is. Did you know there was a RV park and campground behind Heartbreak Hotel? Now that the Guest House and Elvis Presley’s Memphis have been built, I hope EPE doesn’t have plans for any more big construction projects. If they do, the nice piece of land above may get snapped up to build something else with Unmatched Luxury.

 

Computers are from Hell

I have been in computer hell since March 7. I’ve taken my laptop to Geek Squad three times, utilized their Remote Service via the internet twice, and had one of their field tech guys come to the house twice. I bought a new hard drive, modem, and router, and it took until April 13 to get everything back running right.

Because of these problems, I have missed new posts three times in the past six weeks. This is totally unacceptable, and I apologize for it.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Concerts at the Graceland Guest House Theater.”

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Remembering Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry Photo and Record

I know I’m a little late doing this tribute to Chuck Berry, but I’ve spent the past two weeks in computer hell. It was so bad I had to skip the regular post two weekends ago, and I hate doing that. Anyway, I have loved Chuck Berry’s music for over 60 years, so his passing will get a well-deserved mention on ElvisBlog.

Chuck Berry's One Dozen Berries

This is the very first album I owned in my life. Not an image off the internet – this is my album, purchased in 1958 and in my possession ever since. It contained three of Chuck Berry’s hits – “Rock and Roll Music,” “Reelin’ and Rockin’,” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.” Surprisingly, the album disc is still in pretty good shape, but the cover is split along the top and bottom seams.

I bought my first 45 singles in the summer of 1956, and the collection grew until I went off to college. There were several Chuck Berry records in there, but when my son went to college, he “borrowed” my collection. He and his buddies loved this treasure trove of 50s rock and roll, and they played the heck out of them. Somehow, I never got that collection of 45s back, but the records were probably so beat up by then that they weren’t worth having.

 

Elvis-Presley-Chuck-Berry Together

Normally, when I do one of these Remembering… posts, it’s about someone who had a substantial connection with Elvis. Truth is, there is very little connection between Chuck Berry and Elvis. The main tie is their roles in the birth and explosion of Rock and Roll. I like the opening of Berry’s biography on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website:

“If Elvis Presley cracked open the door for rock & roll, Chuck Berry kicked it wide open.”

Click here to see everything the Rock Hall had to say about Chuck Berry. Both he and Elvis were members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction class in 1986.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - Class of 1986

What an outstanding group! I can’t believe the RockHall’s webmaster cropped the pictures of the thumbnail images so severely that parts of the heads of most are cut off. When you click on the thumbnail to go to the artist’s biography, the photos show everybody’s head.

Kieth Richars intorducing Chuck Berry at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony

This is a shot of Chuck Berry’s induction ceremony into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   None other than the Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards introduced him. Then they jammed together on “Roll over Beethoven.”

 

Chuck Berry at Chicago Show 2011

This is a picture of Chuck Berry performing in Chicago in 2011. Can you believe people were still paying to see him doing his thing at 84. Think what it might have been like if Elvis had kept on performing to that age.

 

Nine Chuck Berry Albums

Here are nine other Chuck Berry albums that are in my collection. He wrote so many songs. Did you know that Elvis covered four of Chuck Berry’s songs: “Memphis,” “Promised Land,” Johnny B. Goode,” and “Two Much Monkey Business.” If you’d like to read a great article on this subject, click here for my friend Alan Hanson’s post on Elvis-History-Blog back in 2011.’’

Here’s an interesting trivia thing about Chuck Berry’s songs. In addition to the four Elvis covered, the Beatles covered two and the Rolling Stones eight. But they all chose different songs. No duplication.

 

Three Later Chuck berry CDs

These are the three Chuck Berry CDs I own. The CD on the left is titled Chuck Berry – You Never Can Tell. It contains 108 songs he recorded for Chess Records from 1960-1966. When I got it out to take the picture, I realized I had never finished listening to all four discs. That will be corrected very soon. The CD at top right is the one album Chuck Berry did on Atlantic Records in 1979. He recorded and produced it in his home studio. The CD liner notes say it is his little-known and most under-appreciated recording. Not by me.

In between Chuck’s time with Chess Records and this Atlantic release, he also recorded five albums for Mercury Records between 1966 and 1969. His legacy of recorded songs is not as large as Elvis’, but Chuck Berry wrote the music and lyrics for every one of his.

I guess by now I have established my bonafides as a Chuck berry fan, so let’s move on to other stuff.

 

The King of Rock and Roll

This is an interesting website that supposedly determines who is the “King of Rock ‘N Roll.”  Chuck Berry won in categories like Song Writer, and Guitar Player, but Elvis prevailed at the end.

 

Marty McFly doing Duck Walk

Remember Marty McFly singing “Johnny B. Goode” and doing Chuck Berry’s famous duck walk in Back to the Future? Here is Chuck doing the real thing:

Chuck Berry Duck Walk 2

And he was still doing it at age 84:

84 year-old Chuck Berry Duck Walk

 

Chuck seemed to favor that Captain’s hat in his later years. Here’s a rare image of grey-haired Chuck Berry performing without it.

Older Chuck berry

 

Chuck Berry was honored with a star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 8, 1987. Here he is at the ceremony when his star was added.

Chuck Berry Star on Walk of Fame Ceremony

I’ve never seen the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but it must be really long. Chuck Berry was the 1,857th person honored, and that was thirty years ago. If you want to see Chuck’s star, it is on the west side of the 1700 block of Vine Street.

 

Rock. Rock. Rock. 1956

Did you know that Chuck Berry appeared in three movies? All of them came about because he was the lead act in famed DJ Alan Freed’s traveling rock ’n’ roll troupes for years.

This is Rock, Rock, Rock! from 1956. Alan Freed starred as himself, and there was a bit of a plot. But the film served mainly to high-light the performance of 21 songs by a long list of artists. Chuck Berry lip-synced “You Can’t Catch Me.” Although Chuck already had hits with “Maybelline” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” I guess the song choice for the movie was to promote his latest release.

Mister Rock and Roll 1957

Alan Freed was the title subject of this 1957 film. Chuck Lip-synched two of his lesser recordings, “Oh Baby Doll” and La Juanda.” Strange choices.

Go, Johnny, Go! 1959

This is the one movie with Chuck Berry in it you might want to check out. The music of Johnny B. Goode plays over the opening credits. Chuck performs “Little Queenie” and “Memphis.” But he also has a good, low-key acting part as Alan Freed’s partner.

 

The following picture needs a little explaining. It comes from the popular movie and TV data base IMDb.

IMBd Elvis Movie RankingsChuck Berry Songs in Movies 2015-16

This is a list of Chuck Berry songs that have been heard on movies and TV in just 2015 and 2016 alone. The total list comes to over 235, dating back to 1956. I wonder what kind of royalty income Chuck Berry has received from the use of his songs. It has to be a lot.

And he got money when other artists covered his songs on their recordings. According to USA Today, “more than 75 artists have done Chuck Berry songs. ‘Johnny B. Goode’ alone has seen at least two dozen versions.”

 

Rise of the Teenage Culture

This tribute to Chuck Berry has jumped around a bit, and it hasn’t told the whole biography as so much other media has done this past week. You’ve probably already read it, but if you’d like some more, please check out my friend Alan Hanson’s excellent article “Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry – Connections and Disconnects.”

 

Chuck Berry Close-up

 

Good bye, Chuck Berry. We’ll miss you. Say Hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

© 2017  Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Hard Rock Cafe Elvis Pins

Hard Rock Cafe Elvis Presley

It’s a safe bet that almost everyone reading this has visited a Hard Rock Cafe. Over the years, my wife and I have never failed to visit two, three, or more each vacation. She has purchased a Hard Rock T-shirt and pin at each one. They all celebrate the city where the cafe is located, but Hard Rock offers an incredible variety of pins. While researching for this post, I actually found a Hard Rock pin featuring cupcakes.

Of course, rock artist pins are a big deal, and Elvis shows up in hundreds of designs. Here are just a few I found of interest.

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Hard Rock Cafe LOS ANGELES – Hunka ELVIS Birthday DRAGON PIN:

LOS ANGELES 2009 Hunka ELVIS Birthday DRAGON PIN White Jumpsuit

From 2006. Hunka “Elvis” Birthday green & yellow Dragon wearing white jumpsuit and playing a mauve & red birthday cake shaped guitar. Limited edition of 300. Selling for $39.99.

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Hard Rock Cafe FOXWOODS ELVIS BURNING LOVE PIN:

2016 Hard Rock Cafe Foxwoods Pin Elvis Burnin' Love, Joe Petruccio Artwork

From 2016. Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Mashantucket, CT. The Joe Patruccio signature painting of Elvis, titled Burning Love. Limited edition of 300. Selling for $20.99.

 

ELVIS PRESLEY ebay Exclusive LICENSE PLATE Pin:

2001 ELVIS PRESLEY ebay Exclusive LICENSE PLATE PIN HRC 77

From 2001. Tennessee License Plate “Elvis 1” with the word Graceland and a gold record in the background. Limited Edition of 2500. Selling for $19.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe MEMPHIS — ELVIS PRESLEY Blue Suede Shoes Guitar Pin:

MEMPHIS 2001 ELVIS PRESLEY Blue Suede Shoes GUITAR PIN

From 2001. Guitar featuring the word Memphis and a pair of blue suede shoes. A rare silver base metal pin, although the number produced is not listed. Selling for $49.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe BOSTON — ELVIS 80TH BIRTHDAY PIN:

BOSTON 2015 ELVIS PRESLEY 80th Birthday PIN LOVE 1

From 2015. The Joe Petruccio signature ( barely visible because of glare) Elvis painting with the words LOVE and 80th Birthday. Limited edition of 300. Selling for $20.99

 

Hard Rock Cafe Staff Elvis TCB Bolt Gold Crown Pin Takin’ Care of Biz:

STAFF Elvis TCB Bolt Gold Crown PIN OLD VERSION Takin Care of Biz

Not much explanation given about this one except that it is the “old Style: Apparently it was not sold to the public but distributed to cafe staff. So there must be a lot of them out there. Selling for $14.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe MIAMI — ELVIS PRESLEY “50 Years of Rock” Pin:

Hard Rock Cafe MIAMI 2004 ELVIS PRESLEY 50 Years of Rock PIN

From 2004. Issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of “That’s Alright, Mama,” considered by Elvis fans the Birth of Rock and Roll. Limited edition of 200. Selling for $39.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe MEMPHIS — Elvis Presley Series Pin with Gold Frame:

Hard Rock Cafe MEMPHIS 2013 Elvis Presley Series PIN King GOLD FRAME

From 2103. More Joe Petruccio artwork – Elvis’ profile with the light shining on him during a performance. Limited addition of 400. Selling for $29.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe Elvis Presley Signature Series Pin – Rags Riches Rock Royalty:

Hard Rock Cafe Elvis Presley Signature Series Pin - Rags Riches Rock Royalty

From 2002. Lots of stuff here. Elvis in black, Elvis in white jumpsuit, real young Elvis, his name, the years of his life, and the text, “From Rags to Royalty to Everlasting Fame. One of the largest pins offered at 2” x 1-3/4”. No mention of it being a limited edition. Selling for $24.

 

Hard Rock Cafe Online Elvis Presley Series PIN:

2002 Elvis Presley Signature Series PIN Rags Riches Rock Royalty

From 2013. Another big one, and another Joe Petruccio drawing. A very limited edition of just 200. Selling for $24.99.

 

Hard Rock Hotel Tampa Elvis Presley Pin “Take My Hand:

TAMPA 2014 Elvis Presley PIN Take My Hand

From 2014. Not one of Joe Petruccio’s better Elvis images. But a big pin with the familiar ELVIS in red letters sign. Limited edition of 300. Selling for $24.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe BILOXI 2012 Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special:

Hard Rock Cafe BILOXI 2012 Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special

From 2012. The description of this one is a little confusing. I believe this is the front of the pin. And you can open it up like a book and see this:

Hard Rock Cafe BILOXI 2012 Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special - Open

Limited edition of 500. Selling for $39.99.

 

Elvis Presley 1977-2002 25th Anniversary Hard Rock Cafe Five Pin Boxed Set:

ELVIS PRESLEY 1977-2002 25th Anniversary 5 LAPEL PIN Boxed Set

From 2002. Five small pins in a 6”x 7” display box. Limited edition of 5000 (limited?). Selling for $49.99.

 

For some reason, Hard Rock Cafe Elvis pins don’t seem to show up at the Elvis auctions. But if you might be interested, there are tons of them available here.

Hard Rock Cafe on Fire

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Artwork on Foreign Posters for Elvis Movies

Hertitage Ultimate Elvis Auction PosterHertitage Ultimate Elvis Auction 2012

This Heritage auction had over 300 Elvis items up for bidding during Elvis Week 2012. They even commissioned their own Elvis drawing to publicize the event. It’s easy to imagine that the folks at EPE checked it out and realized this was popular with the fans and a good way to make money. So, Graceland got into the Elvis auction business, and Heritage hasn’t been back to Memphis since.

The Auction at Graceland March 4, 2017

Yet another Auction at Graceland was held this weekend, purposely scheduled to compliment to opening of Elvis Presley’s Memphis. In the past eight months, there have been three other of these –coupled with Elvis Week, the opening of the Guesthouse at Graceland, and Elvis’ birthday celebration. The proliferation of theses auctions at Graceland have completely sucked the Elvis market away from other companies that present entertainment memorabilia auctions.

 

Elvis Girl Happy Romanian Movie Poster

For some reason, the latest Auction at Graceland has over 40 Elvis movie posters, and most of them are from foreign countries. Like this Romanian poster for Girl Happy. I thought it was interesting that they chose to show Shelly Fabares doing her drunken striptease dance and Elvis and the guys looking through the blinds of the motel room window.  Almost looks like they are in jail.

 

Elvis The Trouble with Girls Belgian Movie Poster

Most of the foreign Elvis movie posters had artwork rather than screen shots from the film. This one above from Belgium for The Trouble with Girls has a terrific drawing. But most of the others were a little off the mark. (Some were off by a lot.)

Elvis Easy Come, Easy Go Australian Movie Poste

Like this Australian poster for Easy Come, Easy Go. Check out the close-up.

Does this look like Elvis to you?

 

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster

This poster from Spain for It Happened at the World’s Fair has both a good Elvis image and a bad one.

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster - Close-up 1

This is pretty good.

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster - Close-up 2

This is definitely not a good reproduction of Elvis.

 

Elvis Kissin’ Cousins Italian Movie Poster

This Italian poster for Kissin’ Cousins also has two drawings of Elvis.

Elvis Kissin’ Cousins Italian Movie Poster - Close-up

Soldier Elvis looks a little better than mountain-man Elvis.

 

Elvis Roustabout Argentinean Movie Poster

This Argentinean poster for Roustabout is the first of two showing Elvis on a motor cycle.

lvis Roustabout Argentinean Movie Poster - Close-up

Doesn’t quite cut it. For me anyway.

 

Elvis Clambake Belgian Movie Poster

And this is a Belgian poster for Clambake.

Elvis Clambake Belgian Movie Poster - Cl

It’s fair, I guess. But what is she wearing? Is that supposed to be a helmet?

 

Elvis Jailhouse Rock Australian Movie Poster

This is a better Elvis on an Australian poster for Jailhouse Rock. At least they did a terrific job on the hair. While the movie was in black and white, most American posters were color. I guess the Aussies thought it was artsy to do the poster in B & W also.

 

Elvis Easy Come, Easy Go German Movie Poster

Here’s another poster for Easy Come, Easy Go, this time from Germany.

Elvis Easy Come, Go German Movie Poster - Close-Up

This guy sort of reminds me Elvis. I don’t like the brown smudge on his cheek and chin.

 

Elvis Speedway Turkish One Sheet Movie Poster

Elvis movies even played in Turkey. The artist for Speedway liked Elvis skinny and Nancy Sinatra buxom.

Elvis Speedway Turkish One Sheet Movie Poster - Close up

Handsome guy. Sort of looks like Elvis.

 

Elvis Fun in Acapulco Australian One Sheet Movie Poster

Another Australian poster. The Elvis image this time isn’t near as good as their one for Jailhouse Rock.

Elvis Fun in Acapulco Australian One Sheet Movie Poster - Close-up

Sorry. Not so much.  Looks like he has a knife wound on his cheek.

 

 

Elvis Roustabout Belgian Movie Poster

Let’s end with a good one. This is a Belgian poster for Roustabout.

Elvis Roustabout Belgian Movie Poster - Close-up

Looks like Elvis to me.

 

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Elvis’ Fashion Legacy

Elvis Presley Wearing Long Black Leather Coat

Sometimes I am sent a comp copy of a new Elvis book about to be released. ElvisBlog does not make a practice of giving free publicity for things. However,if a book contains something unique that I can build a blog article around, I’ll go with it.

Elvis Style Book Cover

I’ve already used one chapter of Elvis Style by Zoey Goto for a blog post back in September. This fascinating book covers Elvis’ history and influence on design and fashion. The last chapter is titled Elvis’ Legacy, and with the author’s permission, I reproduce it here, illustrated with a lot of photos. Here’s what famous fashion and design journalist Zoey Goto had to say about Elvis.

Elvis and Zoey Goto

Elvis and Zoey Goto

Elvis’ career and personal style were bookended by sheer brilliance. In the mid-1950s, Elvis Presley managed to singlehandedly change the way that America, and much of the world beyond, dressed.

Elvis 1960 Tied Shirt

 

From his clothing to his hair and home, he wrote the rulebook on how to use cultural appropriation with panache.

Elvis in Pink and Black

 

As a master of reinvention, he shape-shifted into a dapper Hollywood leading man in the 1960s and, just as others were writing him off as irrelevant, Elvis set the record straight with the legendary ’68 Comeback Special.

Elvis Backstage in Black Leather Suit

 

The pure drama of the subsequent Las Vegas era opened the floodgates for a wave of androgynous glam rockers…

androgynous glam rockers

leather-clad punk rockers, and attention-grabbing male peacocks.

leather-clad punk rockers

 

Certain aspects of Elvis’ lifestyle were ahead of the curve. He had a fondness for eclectic and kitsch interiors before the Postmodernism movement had truly taken hold. Elvis was also devoted to Southern-style cooking, decades before bearded hipsters would flock to cosmopolitan restaurants to sample it. It is, however, in the worlds of fashion and entertainment that Elvis continues to have the most tangible and direct influence.

Cool Elvis Out the Sun Roof

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“There isn’t a costume designer alive who hasn’t been inspired by Elvis,” acknowledges Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the regarded designer who created Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller costume and the wardrobes for Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis and Indiana Jones Outfit

Deborah Nadoolman Landis

She is, however, quick to note that although Elvis’ style was very distinctive, he is also part of a larger continuum of showmen and women. Having been influenced by the theatricality of performers such as the great Liberace,

Liberace

Elvis in turn inspired a subsequent generation of style icons that bring us up to the present day.

“What do we ultimately have to work with as costume designers? Silhouette, colour and reflection. Elvis was able to harness all of these, but he certainly wasn’t the first person to do this. He is part of a long tradition of performers who use clothing as a tool – Michael Jackson, Madonna and Lady Gaga have all done this since.”

Michael Jackson Thriller jacket

For Nadoolman Landis, Elvis’ style bequest was showing men how to power dress. “Elvis’ 1970s stage-wear was almost a military look and the high collar was incredibly powerful.”

Elvis Presley Chain Jumpsuit

This is what he’s remembered for,” she states.

 

For Patricia Fields, fashion stylist for the hit television show Sex and the City,…

Patricia Fields and Sex and the City Costumes

Patricia Fields and Sex and the City Actresses

Elvis’ lasting legacy was the freedom of expression that he initiated. Nicknamed ‘The Great Seducer’, Elvis’ gyrating stage act was considered so sexual that his 1957 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was censored from the waist down.

Elvid on Ed Sullivsn Show Singing Dont Be Cruel

 

By challenging the social and moral values of his era, Elvis paved the way for erotically charged pop videos and stage acts that have since become customary. “Elvis made the girls scream and he made sexy cool. That is why he is The King,” Fields observes.

 

Barely a fashion season passes without at least a handful of designers tapping into the early Elvis rockabilly style. Alex Bilmes, editor of Esquire magazine

Alex Bilmes of Esqure Magazine

Alex Bilmes

recognizes that Presley’s style heritage has influenced contemporary musicians as much as everyday street wear. “Elvis’ influence on men’s style is incalculable. He is one of a handful of icons of mid-century Americana and you can still see his legacy everywhere.”

Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys)

For example, Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys is channelling the ‘68 Comeback Special even when he’s just popping to the shops for cigarettes,” Bilmes comments. “Elvis’ legacy can also be seen in the enduring appeal of jeans and jackets: that indefinable but instantly recognizable point where preppy meets rocker meets work wear meets tailoring,” Bilmes concludes.

 

Elvis may have dipped in and out of fashion throughout his career, but he always retained his natural style. All that Elvis was – from his fondness for camp interiors to his commitment to Southern home cooking, from his pastiche outfits to his theatrical shopping trips, was an uncompromising expression of his unique identity – now that’s true style!

Graceland's Elvis Fashion King ExhibitElvis Presley Fashion King Exhibit

Graceland has also been aware of Elvis’ fashion legacy. They launched this exhibit on March I, 2010.

 

The Elvis’ Legacy chapter in Elvis Style ended with several photographs. Here are a few along with the accompanying text.

Gold Suit

Liberace may have worn it first, and Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber since, but Elvis still remains the most famous star to step out in a dazzling gold suit. This recent reincarnation was sent down the runway by the Italian fashion house Costume National.

 

Elvis understood the power of attention-grabbing stage wear, memorably using it for the tailored suit worn for the ’68 Comeback Special. The high-street retailer H&M created a similar, Southern-plantation-style suit for their eco-conscious collection in 2013.

 

Shift Dress Printed with Elvis' Portrait

Ashley William’s’ debut collection at London Fashion Week took early Elvis as its inspiration. Williams experimented with double-denim, cigarette pants, teddy bear bags, and shift dresses printed with Elvis’ portrait. The nostalgic Americana collection also featured the embroidered catchphrase “My heart belongs to Elvis Presley.”

 

The source for this post, Elvis Style, by Zoey Goto has been a very successful book. If you’d like to own a copy, click here.

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Remembering Marty Lacker

Marty Lacker and Elvis Presley

On Tuesday, this appeared on Graceland.com/news:

“The staff of Elvis Presley’s Graceland wishes to send its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Marty Lacker, who passed away yesterday.

“A member of Elvis’ inner circle, known in the fan world as the Memphis Mafia, Marty’s friendship with Elvis stood the test of time. Among his contributions to Elvis’ legacy, he served as one of the best men at his wedding to Priscilla Presley and connected Elvis with famed American Sound producer Chips Moman.”

I’m sorry, but Marty Lacker was a special trusted friend to Elvis, and he deserves more than a four-line biography.

Priscilla and Marty Lacker at the Wedding

To be fair, Graceland.com did include a photograph of Elvis, Priscilla, and Marty at the wedding.   The shot above shows Priscilla and Marty at the reception. The first photo in this post is a color shot of the occasion. For some reason, most of the ones circulating around are black-and-white.

They also could have shared a photo of Marty along with Chips Moman at the famous American Sound Studios recording session, like this one:

Marty Lacker and Chips Moman

 

The Memphis Commercial Appeal put it this way:

Memphis Commercial Appeal on Marty Lacker

Two of the other songs were hits and should have been mentioned: “Kentucky Rain” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” Elvis recorded a staggering total of 35 songs in the two sessions at American Sound.

 

Here’s a picture of Elvis and Marty Lacker on the set of Paradise, Hawaiian Style. Have you ever seen this one before?

Elvis and Marty lacker on set of Paradise, Hawaiian Style

 

Elvis fans deserve to know more details about Marty’s life and death. Here’s a good explanation from website EIN:

“Marty’s passing so easily demonstrates the fragility of life. His death being caused by a simple home accident (he fell over while doing laundry) which caused him to be hospitalized with internal bruising and eventual kidney failure. Marty was such a character that he even apologized for being in hospital and not replying to all his friends emails!

“Marty Lacker was born in Brooklyn, NY but grew up in the South Bronx until he moved to Memphis in 1952. In 1953 he transferred to Humes High School where he became aware of Elvis because they both dressed alike which was unlike most of the kids back then. Carrying his NY influences Marty would also wear bright, loud color clothes with collars up and had semi longer hair than the regular crew-cuts of the time. It was later after Marty’s time in the army, early 1957 that he started going over to Graceland.

“While Elvis was in the army Marty became Production Director for Memphis WHHM Radio, and it was only in 1961 that Elvis persuaded him to join Elvis’ core team full-time.

Unlike many others in the ‘Memphis Mafia’, Marty Lacker managed a separate career (working for radio stations as well as starting his own label Pepper Records in late 1967 before becoming VP and General Manager of Chips Moman’s American Studios in 1969) as well as staying a best friend to Elvis.”

 

Gold and Diamond Ring Elvis Gave to Marty Lacker

As research for this memorial to Marty Lacker, I searched for him in the ElvisBlog archives. I found the ring above in a 2012 article about the Ultimate Elvis Auction held by Heritage Auctioneers. The website printed this recollection from Marty:

“One night in the 70’s, I was upstairs at Graceland with Elvis, and he was going through his jewelry case. He turned around came over to me and said ‘let me see your hand’. I had no idea what he meant so I put my left hand out and he slid this ring on my finger. I thought it was a good looking ring. I looked at it and started to take it off to give back to him and he said, ‘keep it, it is now yours.’ That was a typical move for Elvis… I have worn it on my left hand every day for the last 40 years.”

The ring sold for $5,250, including the auctioneer’s premium.

 

Another gift from Elvis to Marty showed up at the Heritage Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction in 2013: For some reason, the number of clothing items Elvis gave to other Memphis Mafia members like Charlie Hodge, Red West, and Richard Davis was substantially more than what Marty Lacker got. Maybe he wasn’t so interested in fashion.

Elvis Wearing Shirt he later Gave to Marty Lacker Heritage August 2013 $3,000

This photo verified the shirt had been worn by Elvis before he gave it to Marty. It may be a shot you haven’t seen before. The shirt sold for $3,000.

 

Elvis and Priscilla's Marriage Certificate

Believe it or not, Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage certificate actually showed up at the first Auction at Graceland in August 2014. You will note the signatures of Elvis’ two co-best men, Joe Esposito and Marty Lacker. The pre-auction estimate was $40-60,000, but it didn’t even bring the minimum of $15,000. Seems like somebody would have considered it worth that much.

 

Elvis-Autographed-Americas-Ten-Outstanding-Young-Men-Program

Remember when Elvis was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of 1970 by the Jaycees? Elvis’ entourage at the ceremony included not only Marty but his parents.

Elvis Signed Program for Marty Lacker's Parents

This is Elvis’ inscription and autograph on the Lacker’s program.

 

Elvis Shooting Robert Goulet on TV

Marty Lacker is credited with revealing what happened when Elvis shot up a TV. This is the story published some years ago on www.elvisinfonet.com

“Elvis harbored some bad feelings about Goulet from back in the late 50s when he was in the Army. Elvis’ girlfriend Anita Wood was a singer and she did shows with Goulet and Buddy Hackett. Anita would often write Elvis in Germany, and one time Goulet added a postscript to one of them telling Elvis in a sly way that he was personally taking care of Anita. Elvis didn’t like that and he never forgot, so when he saw Goulet on TV, he shot the TV out.”

 

In closing, I would like to share these sentiments from my friend Jeff Schrembs at ElvisCollector.info:

“Along with being a trusted friend, Marty worked with Elvis in several positions including bookkeeper, secretary, and “sounding board”. However, no “title” can fully/adequately define the relationship between Elvis and Marty that endured for three decades.”

 

Older Marty Lacker

 

Good bye, Marty Lacker. We’ll miss you. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

(Editor’s note:  Recently ElvisBlog received a message from Marty Lacker’s daughter.  Here it is:  Phil….sincere thanks for your tribute to my father and highlighting his very endearing roll in Elvis’ life and the deep and abiding friendship that my father and Elvis mutually had for each other. Many people, especially those most closely associated with the estate, like to negate or ignore Marty’s place in the Inner Circle and the many honors both pre and post Elvis’ passing that my father was responsible for creating and/or facilitating…but that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things because his family, his best friends Billy and Jo Smith and he and Elvis know the truth and that will never change…and for that I am comforted. Again, heartfelt appreciation for your kind memorial to my father, Marty Lacker—may he and his buddies passed be having a wonderful reunion now. 🙂)

 

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Elvis’ Oddball Antics on Stage

Elvis Laying Next to Nipper

You have probably seen this photo before, but do you know the story behind it? The dog is a large replica of RCA Records’ Nipper, and he sat on the stage as Elvis preformed in Los Angeles on October 28, 1957. When Elvis got to “Hound Dog” on the set list, he started singing it to Nipper.

Elvis and Nipper

As things reached the finale, Elvis rolled on the stage with Nipper. This caused so much commotion that the next day Dick Williams, entertainment editor for the LA Times Mirror, used this headline on his review: 6000 KIDS CHEER ELVIS’ FRANTIC SEX SHOW. I wrote a blog post back in 2008 about the whole episode. Click here to read more.

 

Wearing Helmet and Goggles on Stage

Elvis usually managed to have some fun time while performing on stage, especially during the 70’s. I have no idea what the story is behind this strange-looking helmet and goggles. If anyone knows, please share it on Comments below. I wonder if the items were tossed up on stage, or did Elvis bring them out himself.

 

Elvis Holding Up Bra

There’s no doubt this bra was thrown up on stage by a fan. You can’t blame Elvis for having some fun with it.

 

Elvis Holding Rubber Chicken

Talking about things being tossed up on stage, here’s an odd one. Why would anyone carry a plastic chicken to an Elvis concert? Is there a message here I’m missing?

 

Elvis on Stage with Duck

This appears to be a live duck. Why??

 

Elvis with Strange Expression on Stage

Let’s see some good shots of Elvis interacting with his audience. His expression here makes you wonder what the little girl said to him, doesn’t it?

 

Elvis - Hey, Look

This look appears to be in response more to something touched, rather than something said.

 

Elvis and Very Chummy Friend

I wonder how many times when Elvis got in this position, and the girl didn’t grab for the scarf.

 

Elvis Peaking Under Curtain

Whoops!

 

Elvis Squatting on Stage

I guess Elvis was trying to get up close and personal with the ladies on the front row.

 

Elvis and Chummy Fan 2

He’s certainly doing that here, but what is the fan doing? Looks like a belt in her hand. Whatever it is, Elvis seems to enjoy her attention.

 

Elvis Sitting on Stage

Another shot of Elvis sitting on stage. In 2013, I did a blog post on Elvis’ stage contortions and moves. There were no sitting shots there, but lots of great kicks and stuff. If you haven’t read that one, click here to check it out

 

Elvis Reading Song Lyrics

Looks like Elvis could have used some reading glasses for this. Hopefully, he isn’t reading the lyrics to the song he is singing.

 

Elvis Climbing off Loading Doc

Yes, I know Elvis is not on stage here, but this picture is so strange, and I have been looking for an excuse to use it for years. Elvis is obviously climbing down a loading dock, but look at the trash. Certainly not a highlight of that evening.

 

Elvis with Four Mics

Here’s two images snapped at the same concert. Elvis has four mics.

Elvis with Mics in His Ears

Now he has two in each ear.

 

Elvis Wearing Big Glasses

I’m sure you’ve seen this one before, but it always gives me a laugh, so here it is again.

 

Elvis with Guitar Pick in Mouth

This one is not so well known. From back in the seats, that guitar pick must look like a big buck tooth. Yes, Elvis always managed to have some fun on stage.

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Happy 12th Birthday, ElvisBlog

Happy 12th Birthday

Do you know how long internet blogs have been around? At least since late 2004, when I read a newspaper article about this new thing called blogs. It said they were popping up devoted to all sorts of topics, so I thought to myself: I would like to read a blog about Elvis. I wonder if there is one.

So, I Googled Elvis blog, but nothing even close came up in the results. Hmmn. I’m a writer and Elvis fan. I should start one. And I did. On January 31, 2005, ElvisBlog was born. Because it was the first, I created a silly handle for myself: Original ElvisBlogmeister. Nobody has ever challenged this claim, so I guess it’s mine to keep.

 

ElvisBlog - Elvis Jukebox Rankings

This was the first post, all 228 words of it. There were no pictures until two and a half years later when I posted an article on Elvis outfits and wigs.

ElvisBlog - Being Elvis for Halloween

Today, pictures and photos are the main appeal of ElvisBlog, with a bit of text to add interest and sometimes a little humor.

 

Happy Birthday ElvisBlog

Every two or three years I publish a Happy Birthday, ElvisBlog post. The above from the 2007 mentions 108 blog articles so far. Now the total is 730 posts.

ElvisBlog - 730 Posts

 

Also, on the second birthday post, I mentioned that the total hits over the two-year period had reached 80,000. For the year 2016, the total was 301,336, up 4.4% from the previous year.

2016 ElvisBlog Stats

Visitors is a more important number to me. People accessed ElvisBlog almost 168,000 times last year. I am very proud and grateful for this support. Thank you.

 

Elvis Blog on Google Search

Please indulge me with one more brag. Today, the results are much different than in 2004 when you search for Elvis blog. 18 million results? The brag is that for the time being, ElvisBlog is higher in the results than Graceland’s official Elvis Blog. I am sure this position will reverse sometime soon, with their huge mailing list and Graceland Insiders membership. I have praised this blog in several posts and provided links to it. It is quite good, and you should check it out. (but don’t skip this blog to do that).

 

Here’s a list showing the international spread of ElvisBlog readers.

2016 ElvisBlog Stats by Country

Japan used to be in the top 10 ten, but they have dropped off and Brazil has moved in. I have no idea why.

2016 ElvisBlog Stats - - Minor Country

This is the bottom of list (cut off at a minimum of 20 page views). Somebody in Iraq has been checking in to read ElvisBlog. Do you think they run the risk of being beheaded if they are caught reading about Elvis?

And where in the world are Guernsey and Reunion located?

 

There is one last picture I would like to show you. This fall, I will be introducing another book: BIG E and the SANTA MAN – Part 2. Here is the artwork for the cover.

Big E Flying Caddy Jet Sled

Isn’t this outstanding? I am so grateful to Carol Stephens at 2D Creative Designs for her brilliant work creating this picture of Big E’s gold Cadillac jet sled. He and Santa will be flying around in it to defeat another plot by Scrooge to ruin Christmas. After the success of the first book, I was moved to write a sequel. Stay tuned for more news on BIG E and the SANTA MAN – Part 2 as we get closer to the Christmas season.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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A Look at More of Elvis’ Wardrobe

Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Jacket

It’s been some time since the last ElvisBlog post on items of Elvis’ wardrobe. Not that much has been offered for sale at auction recently, but by combining those at the last three Auctions at Graceland we get a nice selection.

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Blue Suede Jacket:

Elvis Presley wearing blue suede jacket

The first picture above shows the coat, and the second one is a long shot of Elvis wearing it over his shoulders. It’s too bad there isn’t a close-up picture of Elvis with it on, because it would made an excellent addition to the portfolio of Elvis as a fashion icon. This luxurious blue-suede jacket was custom made for him at a Hollywood shop called Hell Bent for Leather. It features zipper pocket and a front tie through two grommets. It sold for $4,750 including the 25% auction premium.

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Rainfall” Pattern, Button-Down, Dress Shirt:

Elvis Presley “Rainfall” Pattern, Button-Down, Dress Shirt

Elvis gave many items of his personal wardrobe to his hair stylist Homer “Gill” Gilleland, and most of these have now found their way to auction. The website said this about shirts like this with polyester fabric and bold patterns utilizing abstract themes. “They were all the rage from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s as styles moved from psychedelic and bled into disco. The offered garment most likely emanates from the latter end of that period, with its burgeoning collar and cuffs, use of earth tones and kickin’ rainfall pattern.”

Close-up of Elvis Presley Rainfall Pattern Shirt

The website also says, “few have the strongly distinct look of “Elvis” that this shirt does.” Bidders agreed and someone shelled out $5,250 to buy it.

 

Brown-and-White Diamond Pattern Shirt:

Elvis Presley - Brown-and-White Diamond Pattern Button-Down Shirt Gifted to Stamps Member Larry Strickland

We’ll look at several shirts in this post, but this one has an especially interesting. Remember how it was difficult to get Elvis into the recording studio in 1976, so they finally set up a session in the Jungle Room at Graceland. After a day of recording, Charlie Hodge told the assembled musicians and back-up singers that Elvis was redoing his entire wardrobe and wanted the guys to come upstairs and pick what they wanted.

This shirt was one of several items Elvis offered to Larry Strickland, a member of the Stamps gospel group. In his accompanying letter, Larry recalls the “pretty surreal” experience of standing in Elvis’ bedroom closet with him having Elvis hold his own clothes up to Larry as if to see if they were a good fit.

This brown-and-white diamond patterned shirt features a high Napoleonic collar and the elastic bicep band that cinched to create a flounced effect to the sleeve. In the ’70s Elvis had several of the same style custom made in varying patterned fabrics. It sold for $4,000.

 

Blue Munsingwear Pajama Top:

Elvis Presley - Blue Munsingwear Pajama Top

Sometimes, interesting items are included with Elvis’ clothes offered at auction. Elvis gave this pajama top to Sheila Ryan, whom Elvis dated for a while in 1975 after Linda Thompson. Sheila was an October 1973 Playboy cover girl, and was introduced to him by Joe Esposito in Las Vegas.

Elvis Presley and Shiela Ryan on Movie Mirror Cover

After her time with Elvis, Sheila Ryan dated actor James Caan and later married him. So this issue of Movie Mirror was included for some reason. Don’t you like the subtitle: Elvis Wins in Hollywood Love Swap. The pajama top attracted 17 bids and went for $3,125

 

White Factor/Rothschild Pajama Top:

Elvis Presley - White Factor-Rothschild Pajama Top Given to Girlfriend Shelia Ryan

This is another pajama top that Elvis gave to Sheila Ryan. I wonder what happened to the bottoms. They probably stayed in Elvis’ bureau drawers. He would certainly have preferred his ladies to wear just the tops.

This one just doesn’t have the Elvis cool factor of the previous blue one, and it brought only $2,375 at auction.

 

White Button-Down Shirt with Blue Circles Pattern:

elvis Presley -White Button-Down Shirt with Blue Circles Pattern

This white shirt with blue concentric circle pattern was custom designed by Bill Belew, known for creating Elvis’ famous jumpsuits. But he also designed both performance and personal wardrobes for Elvis. This shirt was made in the summer of 1968 after the production of seven or eight outfits for Elvis’ TV Special, the most famous being the black leather outfit.

This shirt has the high Napoleonic collar Elvis favored in his jumpsuits and elastic at the biceps and wrists. Like almost all Elvis clothing that comes up for sale, it is one he gave away. The lucky recipient was uncle Vester Presley. Bidding on it topped out at $3,375.

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Zig-Zag Design Shirt:

Elvis Presley - Button Down Shirt Gifted to Stamps Member Larry Strickland During 1976 Jungle Room Recording Sessions

The auction website states, “Men’s fashion trends of the 1970s included glam rock and disco styles, with Elvis always being at the forefront as this groovy shirt exemplifies.” The black, brown, yellow and white patterned shirt has the high Napoleonic collar that Elvis favored and the flounced puff sleeves with elastic at the bicep like we have seen before. This was the second Elvis shirt in the auction that he gave to Stamps member Larry Strickland.

He never wore it and kept it in storage for years until his wife, Naomi Judd, was selling her stage clothes for charity. Larry decided to include the shirts in the benefit auction. I don’t know what it sold for then, but in 2017, it brought $4,400.

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White Munsingwear Pajamas:

Elvis Presley Owned and Worn Pajamas – Found Among his Personal Effects Left on the Lisa Marie

Now we have a full set of pajamas. Elvis never gave the top away to a girlfriend, but there is a good story to tell, anyway. The pajamas were recovered from the Lisa Marie airplane, along with a number of other personal items, after he passed away in August 1977. The pajamas were offered with a letter from Richard Grob, one of Elvis’ bodyguards from 1967 through 1977, in which he details the circumstances surrounding acquiring the pajamas from the plane:

“This was owned and worn by Elvis Presley. Shortly after August 16, 1977, when Elvis Presley, passed away, Vernon Presley, Elvis father, asked me to go to the airport and check the Lisa Marie, Elvis’ airplane. Vernon asked me to remove any items on the aircraft that maybe were left by Elvis when the plane was last used. I went through everything in the main cabin as well as the cargo areas below, in the aircraft belly. The result of my search produced weapons, clothing, papers and other items. Some of these items I was very familiar with since I was present when Elvis acquired them and I knew he did not wish to take them to Graceland so his father would not know about them. (Editor’s note: what do you think they might have been?) Upon completing my search I informed Vernon of all the items I located, and he told me to keep them. These items have been in my possession.”

“Elvis would wear these pajamas on the aircraft while traveling after a concert. Elvis would be hot and sweaty from the show and would strip out of his jump suit he wore during the show and put the pajamas on to rest. When we were about to land he would change from the pajamas into other clothes to leave the aircraft. Elvis last wore these pajamas on the evening of June 26, 1977 when he left Indianapolis Indiana after doing his last show and was flying back to Memphis.”

Only two bids were received, but the pajamas brought in $4,200.

 

“EP” Monogrammed Dress Shirt:

Elvis Presley EP Monogrammed Dress Shirt

This is another article of clothing that Elvis gave to hairstylist Homer Gilleland. This blow-up shows the EP monogram on the left breast pocket.

Elvis Presley EP Monogrammed Dress Shirt Close Up

This is a rather plain shirt compared to most that we have seen, and the condition is questionable. The shirt has moderate wear and has one button missing from the back of the collar. There is some mild but extensive staining on several areas of the shirt. The collar tag has been removed, leaving a small tear in its place. In spite of this, it still sold for $4,000.

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Blue Dress Shirt from The Trouble with Girls:

Elvis Presley Screen-Worn Blue Dress Shirt from The Trouble with Girls

While the other shirts we looked all sold for $4-5,000, this one topped out at $13,750. The others were shirts Elvis actually owned, not part of a movie wardrobe. You would think his personal shirts would be the most sought after. So, why so much for this one. My guess is because there are numerous screen shots available of him wearing it in the movie.

Elvis Presley and Marlyn Mason in The Trouble with Girls

It seems to me that the value of any Elvis shirt is greatly enhanced by a photograph of him wearing it. None of the other shirts had any collaborating photographs. They were accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated. There’s no way that’s as cool as a sharp color photo.

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Black Shirt, Black Pants and Gold Metal Belt Ensemble:

Elvis Presley Black pants and Shirt, Gold Belt

I really like the description on the auction website: “Elvis owned a lot of clothing during his lifetime, but few outfits scream ELVIS like the offered trio of a jet-black shirt, pants and metallic gold belt.” It came with a number of photographs of him wearing the outfit, but they are long distance snapshots that don’t show Elvis or the clothes off to best advantage.

Elvis Presley Gold Metal Belt

Elvis gave the outfit to Harold Loyd, his first cousin on his mother’s side. Loyd worked as a nightshift gate guard at Graceland until Elvis’ death.

In addition to the letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated, there was also a letter written by Loyd on TCB stationary. Unfortunately, it contained many spelling errors, including short words like about, his, the, and worst of all, shirt. He left out the R, resulting the funniest authenticating document I’ve ever read.

The good news is that the three-piece outfit sold for $37,500

 

Hawaiian-Style Sport Coat:

Elvis Presley Hawaiian-Style Sport Coat

As much as the previous black pants and shirt outfit screamed ELVIS, this sport coat seems to scream NOT-ELVIS. He bought it off the rack in Honolulu in March 1961, when filming Blue Hawaii.

It is yet another item Elvis gave to his hairstylist Homer “Gil” Gilleland. Since it shows almost no wear, Elvis probably realized his mistake buying it when he got back to Memphis, and quickly gave it away. It went for $6,550 at auction, and I wonder what the price might have been if there had been a photo of him wearing it included. If there had been one, it definitely would not have made the portfolio of Elvis as a fashion icon.

 

 

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