Monthly Archives: May 2009

Postscripts to Earlier Elvisblogs — 2

With 287 articles now posted on ElvisBlog, it is pretty common to run into something on the web or elsewhere related to a topic we have already covered.  Here are some interesting ones:

 

Elvis’ Grandson Benjamin Keough:  A regular ElvisBlog reader, who doesn’t want her name mentioned, has sent me a recent photograph of Benjamin Keough.  I don’t know how she gets them, but I sure am glad they are coming here.  Lisa Marie’s only son and Elvis’ only grandson will be seventeen in October, and he looks much different than the younger photos we last posted.  What do you think, does he look like Elvis?

 

It’s a little late to wish Benjamin’s sister a happy birthday, but Danielle Riley Keough turned 20 on May 19th.  She already has a successful modeling career, and maybe someday we’ll be writing about Ben’s musical career.  I sure hope so.

 

Strange Elvis Searches on Google:  Shortly after posting this column in April, my eleven-year-old twin grandsons visited for the weekend.  We had fun in many ways including some time playing around on the computer.  I showed them ElvisBlog and filled them in on what it was.   They were already well versed in using Google, so I told them, “Google ‘elvis pimples,’ and see how high Grampa Phil’s blog comes up.  When they saw it was Number 2, they laughed and thought that was so cool.
 
You should have seen the fun we had when they typed in “elvis ripped his pants” and “elvis picked his nose.”  Believe it or not, it seems my grandkids have now become Elvis fans.  It’s nice to have something to share with them.

 

Strange Elvis Photos on Flickr:  Somebody linked to ElvisBlog from this picture on Flickr.  It was featured in Elvis Commentary Mini-Nuggets # 14.  As you can see, it is a roll of toilet paper that Elvis autographed.

 

 

 

The Flickr category was “Elvis on the Toilet,” and I couldn’t resist checking out the other photos they showed.  Here are a few:

 

         

 

Don’t you just love the Elvis toilet paper dispenser?  I’ll bet that doesn’t have the official EPE seal on it.  Here is my favorite photo from the Flickr series:

 

 

Parade Float with Elvis on Giant Inflatable Toilet

 

Buddy Holly and Elvis:   Here is a great quote by Buddy Holly that should have been in the February article:

 “Without Elvis, none of us could have made it.”

Bare-Chested Elvis:  Although this is a doctored photo, it would have been a nifty addition to the photo essay a month ago.

        
 

Do you women wish Elvis had a bod like this when he filmed all those beach movies?

One More Last Hall of Fame Pitch:  I read arguments in magazines and on the web about who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and who doesn’t belong.  The argument against some singers is that they didn’t sing rock, they did soft pop.  Today, with all the options bringing us music, there are distinctly different broadcasts specializing on these two musical types and many more, like hard rock, rap, etc. But, back in the late 50s, all we had was AM radio, and every city had a rock and roll station.  I was 14 when I discovered Elvis and rock and roll music in 1956.  I listened to one of those rock and roll stations through all my high school years.  If it played on that station, it was rock and roll.  Including all the slow songs, as we called them, but now referred to as ballads.

So what’s the point?  Simply, that Pat Boone and Connie Francis belong in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Please don’t tell me no, no, they sang soft pop.  Wrong.  It was rock and roll back when it originally was played, so it should still be considered that today.  They belong in the Hall.

More From the Elvis Auction:  In March, we looked at the more significant items offered at the recent auction of Elvis memorabilia, but here is something else that’s pretty cool: Elvis Eau de Parfum

It was estimated to bring $100-200, but it went for $547.  No doubt the price was high because of the unique designer bottle.

DJ Fontana in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:  Here is a picture of DJ and his lovely wife Karen walking on the red carpet into the induction ceremonies last month.  Don’t they both look great?  DJ probably wished they would have just sent him the award, but I know Karen enjoyed every minute of the event.

 

 

Hello, My Name is F#@+&#  Y#@&:   Johnny Cash has been mentioned on ElvisBlog a few times, but this picture has nothing to do with any of the articles.  I don’t think I’ll ever come up with a logical Elvis-connected reason to post it, so here it is, anyway.

There must have been some bad hecklers in the crowd that night.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

CAPTION CONTEST # 13 — WINNER

A lot of previous winners were back again this time, but Phillip Jolly takes the prize for lucky contest # 13.  Here are the runners up:

John Migacz (winner contest #2)       “Catch and release?  Like Hell!”

Laura Harrison (winner contest #8)   “My girl, my girl… Stay off my blue suede shoes.”

Jean Pyle (winner contest #10)         “It ain’t no big thing.  Butt–It’s growing.”

 

And, the winner is…

Elvis tries out a new way to pick up girls.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY, ELVIS

 

Eye-Liner Story

 

ElvisBlog readers who are also fans of American Idol know that heavy-favorite Adam Lambert surprisingly missed the top spot this week.  I don’t think that matters a bit, his career is going to take off starting now, and he will be a huge star.

What I like is that there have been some references to the fact that Adam Lambert looks a lot like Elvis, and affects certain Elvis-style mannerisms.  Here is a quote from www.blueblood.net,  “Adam Lambert performed ‘Tracks of My Tears’ in a sharp pale cool gray suit with a dark shirt and went for a less made-up look with just dark mascara and a rockabilly hairstyle with a clearly intentional Elvis circa 1957 vibe.”  Matthew Garbutt, Conductor of the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops, said, “He should definitely do stadium concerts. He reminds me of Elvis Presley. He has that kind of attractiveness.”

But, the best one comes from David Zurawic, a critic for the Baltimore Sun:  “The icon of that era from which Adam descends is, of course, Elvis Presley…  Elvis was non-parentally-approved, bad-boy sex in the backseat of a hot car parked down by the deep, dark river with lots of pelvis-to-pelvis grinding in the midnight hour.”  I take it he sees Adam Lambert the same way.

Here are two sets of photos that show a great deal of similarity.

 

    

       

 

    

 

Lambert has been getting plenty of buzz recently in the pop culture media about his use of eye-liner on stage, as shown in this photo.  There is an Elvis connection here, too.

 

The fact that Elvis also wore eye-liner is not that well known, so now is an excellent time to repeat a rare story found in the new book ELVIS – He Touched Me by Darwin Lamm.  I was honored to be asked to write the “About the Author” section in this book and to edit the reminiscences by Pat Boone, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Carl Perkins, Steve Allen, and song writers Leiber and Stoller.  Here is what Carl Perkins had to say about Elvis and eye-liner. 

One time I came into the dressing room to find Elvis picking at his eyes, or so it appeared.  When I got closer, I saw Elvis working on his lower line of eyelashes with a Maybelline eyeliner stick.  I asked, “Whatta ya doin’ with that on your eyes?”

“It makes your eyes look bigger,” Elvis told me as he dabbed carefully at his lashes.

“Look around here,” I ordered.  Elvis turned his head so I could peer at his handiwork.  “Damn!  They do look big.”

“Go ahead, man.  Try it.”  Elvis handed the eyeliner to me.

Bending down toward the mirror, I aimed for my upper eyelid.  Being a bit wobbly from having had a few slugs of Early Times, I missed the target and poked myself in the eye.  “Damn!”  I dropped the eyeliner and began checking my eyeball for damage.

Elvis convulsed in laughter. 

It was the end of my experiment with eyeliner.

 

Is that a fun scene, or what?  Carl Perkins and Elvis, out on the road playing small towns in 1955.  Drinking and cutting up in the dressing room.  Of all the movies about Elvis out there, not one has this scene.  Someday, a smart director will do that scene and get a lot of laughs.

Elvis Wearing Eyeliner

Elvis Wearing Eyeliner

If you want to read more private memories about Elvis by his friends and associates – stories that haven’t be seen all over the place already, you ought to get ELVIS – He Touched Me.  It is available at the Graceland gift shops, if you are headed to Memphis this year.  Or, you can e-mail elvisint@aol.com and order a copy.

 

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Aunt Delta

Do you know how many members of Elvis’ family lived at Graceland with him?  There are some easy answers like Priscilla and Lisa Marie, and of course, his mother and father, Gladys and Vernon.  Knowledgeable Elvis fans will also know that Vernon’s mother, Minnie Mae, lived with them, too.  In fact, Elvis’ grandmother had lived with them going back to the Tupelo days.  After divorcing her husband in 1946, Minnie Mae soon moved in with Vernon, Gladys and young Elvis.

Minnie Mae moved into Graceland with the rest of the family in 1957, and she stayed there until her death in 1980 at age eighty-seven.  Originally, her bedroom was a former maid’s quarters.  After Elvis returned from the Army, and Vernon moved to a near-by house of his own, Minnie Mae moved into what had been Elvis’ parents’ bedroom.

Only the really dedicated Elvis fans will know the name of the other Presley family member that lived in Graceland.  One of Vernon’s three sisters was named Delta Mae.  When her husband died in 1966, she moved into Graceland, sharing the room with her mom, Minnie Mae.

Elvis’ Aunt Delta

 

Because Elvis called her Aunt Delta, soon all the other people in his circle called her that, too.  After Elvis died in 1977, the estate permitted her to live in Graceland.  Even after public tours started in 1982, Aunt Delta’s bedroom and the kitchen were excluded in order to accommodate her.  She lived until 1993, passing away at the age of seventy-four.  Two years later, her room was converted back to resemble the way it was as Elvis’ parents bedroom, and it and the kitchen were added to the Graceland tour.

Aunt Delta’s Room, Now Converted Back to Elvis’ Parents Bedroom for the Graceland Tour

Aunt Delta liked to drink a lot and was notorious for her bad temper.  Which brings us to a delightful Aunt Delta story I recently discovered.  It comes from a website called www.10zenmonkeys.com, so I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but it sure is funny.

Let’s go back to Christmas, 1975.  Elvis decided to do something different.  Instead of giving his buddies their Christmas presents at Graceland, he got everyone transported over to the airport and boarded on to his private jet, the Lisa Marie.  Then, they had a big airborne Christmas party, and of course liquor was served.  Aunt Delta was aboard, and the cocktail glass in her hand saw plenty of action.

By the time Elvis started passing out jewelry gifts to his posse, Aunt Delta was getting into a nasty mood.  She suddenly yelled at one of them:

“You ain’t no damn friend of his!  And, I got a good mind to take the .38 I got in my purse and just shoot you dead!”  Then, she looked at another hanger-on and said, “And you ain’t worth a shit either, you wall-eyed son-of-a-bitch… All you sons of bitches are here for the same thing.  You just want his damn money!”

 

 

It is stories like this one about Aunt Delta that make writing about Elvis so much fun.  There just can’t be any other subject that could provide so much cool material.  Elvis, you had the most incredible life.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

One Last Hall of Fame Pitch

 

OK, now that DJ Fontana and Bill Black have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we fans are happy that all of Elvis’ bandmates of the 50s are honored in the “Sidemen” category.  We’ve talked about that here, and I’ve also asserted that the rest of the 70s TCB guys should join them next year.  Surely there aren’t any more Elvis-related musicians worthy of Rock Hall cheerleading.  Actually, there is one.

The Hall of Fame seems to favor Elvis’ guitarists. They honored Scotty Moore and James Burton, but what about the main guy in the time between them – Hank Garland.  He recorded and performed with Elvis from 1957 until 1961.  The connection between Elvis and Hank Garland would have continued even longer, but Garland had a car crash in 1961 that put him in a coma for months.  Over the years he gained some mobility, but his career was over.

And that career was going quite well up until then.  Garland recorded and performed with the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams and Marty Robbins.  Notice anything interesting about that group of singers?  They are all in one or more Halls of Fame.  Counting Elvis, Hank Garland played with seven Hall of Fame singers.  What more can a “Sideman” do?


 

Hank Garland with Elvis at the USS Arizona concert in 1961

Here are praises for Hank Garland written elsewhere on the web.  ElvisNews.Com has called him, “the talk of Nashville, known for musical riffs that could take a record from humdrum to dazzling.”  Musician Wolf Marshall said, “He is heralded as the quintessential Nashville studio guitarist.”  That sounds like a Hall of Fame “Sideman” resume by itself, doesn’t it?   Plus Hank Garland had many accomplishments with Elvis. 

So, what music did he make with Elvis?  Garland replaced Scotty in the recording studio on June 10, 1958 at RCA Studio B in Nashville.  The pressure was on to get some hits in the can before Elvis went in the Army.  Elvis recorded just five songs but got huge mileage out of them: Top 10 hits “I Got Stung,” “A Big Hunk of Love” (#1), “I Need Your Love Tonight,” and “A Fool Such As I” (#2).  My fellow Elvis blogger Alan Hanson at  www.elvis-history-blog.com says, “Garland really shines in the 1958 session, especially in “A Fool Such As I” and “I Need Your Love Tonight.” On the latter song, his guitar part is so strong that it overpowers Elvis’ vocal.”

When Elvis finished his Army service and returned from Germany in 1960, there was a similar urgent need for songs to release as singles.  Scotty Moore was back in the fold as guitarist for the March 20, 1960 session, but Hank Garland partnered up with him on electric bass.  They did six songs, including three hits:  “A Mess of the Blues,” “Fame and Fortune” and “Stuck on You” (#1).

Two weeks later everybody was back in Studio B, this time with Scotty and Hank sharing guitar duties.  Elvis recorded a dozen songs, including #1 hits “It’s Now or Never” and “Are you Lonesome Tonight?”

With that output behind him, Elvis took a recording breather in the middle of 1960.  He finally returned to the studio in October – to record a spiritual album.  Again, Scotty and Hank shared the guitar work on His Hand in Mine.

In March 1961, before starting the filming of Blue Hawaii, Elvis gave a benefit performance in Honolulu to raise money for the USS Arizona Memorial Fund (The Arizona sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor).  Elvis stayed with the double guitar team of Scotty Moore and Hank Garland.  This turned out to be Elvis’ last live performance for eight years. 

And then the car accident ended it all for Hank Garland.  He had a short career, but it was full of outstanding “Sideman” accomplishments.  He recorded a dozen hits with Elvis, including four #1s.  His songs with Elvis filled up three albums.  In addition, he played with all those other Hall of Fame singers. 

Come on, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Put Hank Garland in.

 

Hank Garland shortly before he died in 2004

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

CAPTION CONTEST #12 — WINNER

We have our first two-time winner.  Jean Plye, who won with a poem caption a month ago, has done it again.  Thanks, Jean.  Very clever.

 

When a child claiming to be Elvis' son showed up, Elvis wrote this on the return envelope:

“Return to Sender.
This child's unknown.
No such offspring.
No boy I own.”

MORE UNFINISHED HALL OF FAME BUSINESS

A thought struck me while watching the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.   Now that drummer DJ Fontana and bass player Bill Black have been honored in the “Sideman” category, all of Elvis’ 50s bandmates are in the Hall.  Guitarist Scotty Moore was inducted back in 2000, so this recognition of DJ and Bill was long overdue.  Nine years overdue, in fact.

Part of the delay may have come from the Selection Committee losing interest in the category. For some reason, the Hall of Fame added only six new members to the “Sideman” category from 2000 to 2007.  There were no inductions to the category at all in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.  Somehow, the category must have fallen out of favor, because there were plenty of people out there deserving the honor.

The “Sideman” category came back to life a bit in 2008 with the induction of Little Walter, an excellent blues harmonica virtuoso and singer.  He was a long-time sideman to Muddy Waters (also in the Hall).

In 2009, the “Sideman” category had good action with three inductees.  Keyboard artist Spooner Oldham joined DJ and Bill this year.  He has played with a huge list of singers during his forty-year career.

So, if the “Sideman” category is getting on the ball and trying to catch up a bit, I have a suggestion.  I think it’s time for the rest of the TCB Band to be inducted. 

Guitarist James Burton has been a member of the “Sideman” category since 2001, so the rest of the TCB guys have been waiting only one year less than DJ and Bill.  To continue that any longer would now be stupid.

Drummer Ronnie Tutt, piano player Glen D. Hardin, bassist Jerry Scheff and rhythm guitarist John Wilkinson should go in the Hall of Fame next year.  Their absence is just not right; the whole band needs to be in, together.  A band is a unit, and that great music behind Elvis in the 70s came from the shared talents of these guys. They deserve equal honors.

 

James Burton

    

Ronnie Tutt

 
   Glen D. Hardin

Jerry Scheff

 

John Wikinson

Years ago, at Elvis Week 2005, I was backstage before a concert, and drummer Ronnie Tutt autographed his photo in an article I wrote about the TCB Band in Elvis… The Magazine.  He asked me if I could write something new to help get him in the Hall of Fame.  I told him I would, but not until we had DJ Fontana in there first.  Well, Ronnie, that time has come.

It’s time to push for the rest of the TCB Band to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  There is no way they haven’t earned it.  Elvis surrounded himself with great musicians, great sidemen.  Ronnie Tutt, Glen D Hardin, Jerry Scheff and John Wilkinson belong in the “Sideman” category.  They belong in the Hall of Fame.  End of story.

Hopefully you will read lots of other articles and columns that support putting the rest of the TCB Band in the Hall.  Every Elvis website, blog and fan club should speak up for this long overdue recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Graceland will certainly be pushing for these guys.  All except John Wilkinson are part of the travelling TCB Band that works with EPE on Elvis The Concert, the Elvis Cruise, and most Elvis Weeks.  I hope our combined efforts make a lot of buzz.

 

Remember you heard about it here first.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net