Author Archives: Phil Arnold

Disparate Prices on Elvis Clothing at Auction

Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auction
Gotta Have Rock and Roll continues to offer a wide selection of rock artist memorabilia, but their most recent auction didn’t bring the kinds of prices we are used to seeing on several Elvis items. The Auctions at Graceland have a distinct advantage by offering a hundred or more Elvis collectibles and having them on display when thousands of fans are in town for events like Elvis Week.

So, if you have some collectibles you want to sell, stick with the Auctions at Graceland, but if you are looking to buy, be sure to check out the next Gotta have Rock and Roll auction. Their Pop Culture Auction last month had a few items that went cheap or had no bids at all.

 

Pink Stage Pants with Black Saddle Stitching:

Elvis WearingPink Stage Pants With Black Saddle Stitching

Do you remember this photo of Elvis in a pink suit and Scotty and Bill wearing pink vests? I’m not sure what happened to Elvis’ coat, but the pants were auctioned last month.

Elvis Presley's Pink Stage Pants With Black Saddle Stitching

Elvis gave the pants to his cousin Gene Smith, along with some other clothes. Gene was the first of the ever-present Elvis buddies and performed many duties for Elvis including attending to his wardrobe. He provided a letter of provenance, and Gotta Have Rock & Roll supplied their own Certificate of Authenticity. In addition, the pants contained a Lansky Bros. label and another one that said Styled for Elvis Presley.

Lansky Bros label on Pink Pants

Styled for Elvis Presley Lansky Label

So, with all that, you’d think it was a slam dunk for the pants to meet or surpass the estimate of $3-5,000, but only three bids came in and the pants went for just $2,200. A real bargain.

 

White Leather Boots:

Elvis Presley's White Leather Boots

Elvis wore these white leather boots with square toes and black heels both on and off stage. He gave them to Charlie Hodge, who received dozens of clothing items during the sixteen years he lived downstairs at Graceland. It’s hard to find an auction of Elvis collectibles that doesn’t include at least one Elvis-gifted item to Charlie.

Elvis Wearing White Leather Boots

Gotta Have Rock and Roll may have dampened the enthusiasm of some buyers in their description of these accompanying photographs. The website says “photos of Elvis wearing the same, or nearly identical, boots on stage. I added the italics. However, Charlie Hodge provided a letter of provenance, so the estimate of $4-6,000 seemed reasonable. Only one person bid on the boots, and picked them off for just $3,000.

 

Painted Leather & Suede Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather & Suede Jacket

Elvis usually wore this brown leather jacket with painted birds and whip-stitching as a shirt. When I saw the pre-auction estimate of $5-7,000 on this jacket, I thought it was too low. Look at this blow-up of the design on the back.

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather & Suede Jacket -- Back

Elvis gave this beautiful jacket to Shaun Nielson, a friend and singer in his back-up group The Voice, after a recording session in the Graceland jungle room. The jacket came with a letter of provenance from Nielsen and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. However, only one person bid on it and he got the shirt for just $4,000. If the seller had provided a photo of Elvis wearing it, the price probably have been double or more.

 

Blue Warm Up Suit with Red and White Stripes:

Blue Warm Up Suit With Red and White Stripes

Here’s another example of where a photo of Elvis wearing an item of clothing adds much to its value. He wore this warm up suit both at the racquet ball court and when he traveled from city to city on his plane the Lisa Marie. It is yet another item Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. Of course it was accompanied by a letter of provenance from Charlie and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. However, the photo they offered was Elvis wearing a very similar warm-up suit.

Elvis Wearing Different Warm Up Suit

Close doesn’t count. The estimate was $4-6,000, but potential buyers must have been unimpressed, because not one even bid the $3,000 minimum.

 

Bell-Sleeved Shirts:

Elvis Presley's Bell Sleeved Shirts

This is a very informative comparison. Elvis owned these custom-made, pullover, V-neck shirts with large pointed collars and balloon sleeves in two colors, red and blue. He gave both to his close friend and valet Richard Davis one day when he was cleaning out his closet. Both had the same Elvis Presley custom made label and the IC Costume Company label. Both were accompanied by a letter of provenance from Richard Davis and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. Both had the same minimum bid of $3,000 and estimate of $4-6,000, yet one had no bids and the other had nine bids and went for $8,565. Can you guess why the difference?

Elvis Presley Wearing Royal Blue Bell-Sleeved Shirt

There was no picture of Elvis wearing the red one. Like I’ve said many times, if you want to get into collecting Elvis clothing, buy the items with photos of him wearing them.

 

To be fair, some other Elvis wardrobe offerings at this auction brought in pretty substantial prices. Let’s look at them.

 

Custom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat with Faux Fur Collar

Elvis Presley's Custom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat With Faux Fur Collar

This tan suede trench coat with large faux fur collar was custom made for Elvis at Lansky Bros. This is another prime piece of his wardrobe that Elvis gave to Shaun Nielson. It has the Lansky Bros. label, letter of provenance, certificate of authenticity, and the all-important picture of Elvis wearing it. The bidding topped out at $8,577.

Elvis wearingCustom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat With Faux Fur Collar

 

Kissin’ Cousins” Film Worn Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

Elvis Presley's Kissin' Cousins Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

Wardrobe items from Elvis’ movies always have accompanying photos of him wearing them. I’m not sure why people go after movie clothes rather than personal ones, but this one brought in a smooth $6,000, a bit below the estimate.

Elvis Wearing Kissin' Cousins Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

 

Blue Suede Pants with Brown Suede Flames

Elvis presley's Blue Suede Pants With Brown Suede Flames

Back-up singer Shaun Nielson picked out some really cool stuff when Elvis let him rummage through his closet after that recording session at Graceland. Elvis purchased these dark blue, suede bell bottom pants with brown suede flame design down the legs from what the website refers to as his favorite store in Las Vegas, Suzy Creamcheese. This is an exception to the rule when it comes to providing a picture of Elvis wearing the clothing item up for bid. There was none, but the pants went for $7,786 anyway, well above the estimate.

 

“EP” Blue Pajama Top:

Elvis Presley's EP Blue Pajama Top

The story is the same on this blue Munsingwear pajama top with his initials embroidered in white over the chest pocket. Elvis gave the pajama top to his good friend, and some time hair stylist Patti Parry, the only “female member” of his Memphis Mafia inner circle of friends. Patti sometimes styled Elvis’ hair, including for his Aloha from Hawaii special. Elvis gave the pajama top to Patti at his home in California when day when she was cold and asked for something to put on to keep her warm. She felt he always kept his room too cold. There is no photo of him wearing the pajama top, but it still went for $7,797.

 

There was no Elvis jewelry offered at this Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction, but there is an impressive item a fan from Denmark gave to Charlie Hodge for his many years of devotion to Elvis.

Charlie Hodge Bracelet

There’s a lot of 14k gold in this bracelet and dozens of diamonds. What I like best is the different TCB design with a horizontal lightning bolt.

Charlie Hodge Bracelet - Close-up

If Elvis had owned this, it surely would have gone for big bucks. It has been appraised at $14,000, but no one bid the minimum of $4,000. Wouldn’t the gold and diamonds alone make it a good investment? The owner should try again at the next Auction at Graceland.

 

© 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.

 

Soundstage A — The New Epicenter of Elvis Week

Elvis Presley's Memphis Under Construction with Graceland Plaza in Front

I posted this aerial shot last week to show how much bigger Elvis Presley’s Memphis is compared to Graceland Plaza. Then I got curious about what the different buildings are. So I went to Graceland.com and found this:

Map of Elvis Presley's Memphis

Wow, there’s numbers in blue squares, more numbers in black circles, letters in black diamonds, and other symbols. And to figure out what is what, this code was provided:

Map of Elvis Presley's Memphis - Copy

Okay, let’s see. There are 15 attractions and exhibits and four places to eat. Then there was a separate list of six stores. I went back and forth to figure out what was what, but finally had to create this:

Finished Map of Elvis Presley's Memphis

 

Maybe in a later post we’ll look at the exhibits in detail. For now, just note the new auto museum on the top left, the huge Elvis the Entertainer Career Museum that’s got all the stuff they moved from across the street, and finally Soundstage A with the circle around it.

SoundStage A

 

This theater is huge. It seats 1,700 people; nearly quadruple the 464 at the Graceland Guest House Theater. The website says this about Soundstage A:

The Soundstage will be an extraordinary venue for live music performances, movie screenings and premieres, video productions… It will also be usable for private events, corporate meetings, conferences and trade show exhibitions.

During the Grand Opening, Soundstage A played host to a variety of live music acts that showcased the history of music in Memphis and the best of Memphis music today.

 

Side View of Soundstage A

This is Soundstage A from the side. It’s a big building, 20,000 square feet. You go through the gate and up to the ticket office. Turn right there and you are headed toward the theater entrance.

Walk to Ticket Office at Elvis Presley's Memphis

 

I think it is fair to say that Soundstage A will be the epicenter of Elvis Week festivities this year. It will host fifteen different events over a nine-day period. Here’s the list:

Elvis Week 2017 Fifteen Events at Soundstage A

EPE did a fine job scheduling two big parties on the first day, Friday the 11th. This should encourage some folks to come early.

So, there are five concerts: a gospel music show, three Ultimate Elvis contests, A Band of Legends Remembers Elvis, and The Ultimate Return.  I love that title, and it works because the concert features ten past Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist winners. That should be quite a show.

Those four different 10 AM Conversations all sound good.

Elvis 101 could be a sure thing for me. It’s got some guests I’d like to hear. The Salute to Sam Phillips is half talk and half music.

 

Hopefully these brief comments have made you want to know more. For full details on all of these events at Soundstage A, please click here.

There, you can also read about the events at the Guest House Theater and ballroom, The Fedex Forum, and the Elvis Week Entertainment Tent. The tent will be at Graceland somewhere, but right now they can’t tell you. That problem surely will be solved by Elvis Week.

Soundstage A and Exhibits

 

Yes, there are other strong Elvis Week events not at Soundstage A. But it is going to be one busy place. Fifteen events in nine days. Sounds like the epicenter of Elvis Week to me.

 

 

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.

 

Say Goodbye to Graceland Plaza

Drawing of Graceland Plaza

If you’ve made the pilgrimage to Graceland you have certainly sent time in Graceland Plaza across the street. You probably have memories of eating at the Chrome Grill, shopping in the Elvis After Dark shop, or enjoying At the Movies with Elvis. Well, that’s all gone now.

Elvis Presley's Memphis Under Construction with Graceland Plaza in Front

In the bottom left of this aerial photo you can see Graceland Plaza. But look at the much larger complex of buildings under construction behind it. This is Elvis Presley’s Memphis, and all the good stuff has been moved here. It opened in March, and since then, the empty Graceland Plaza has been surrounded by a chain link fence.

More Buildings to the Left

Now demolition has begun and will be completed soon, if it hasn’t already. Graceland Plaza will be replaced by a park setting with lawn, bushes, and trees. It will provide a nice buffer between Elvis Presley’s Memphis and the busy street.

Current Graceland Plaza in Memphis

This is the ‘before’ shot showing what the above section used to look like.

 

Elvis Car Museum at Graceland

This is the car museum at the far left end of the plaza.

Old Car Museum with No car out Front

And this is it prior to demolition. Note that the shrubbery is gone and the Caddy has been moved from the stage.

 

Still More to the Left

This photo is taken from farther down to the right.

Graceland Plaza 3

The hedge and trees are gone.

 

Farther to the left

The demolition equipment is in place.

 

Graceland Plaza 2

The following are several shots of this section under demolition.

Graceland Plaza Demolition 5

Graceland Plaza Demolition 3

Graceland Plaza Demolition 2

Demolition of Graceland Plaza to the Left Of Airplanes

All gone.

 

Graceland Plaza Demolition 1

This picture is of the area just to the left of the airplanes.

Graceland Plaza 4

We’ll finish with a last look at what Graceland Plaza used to be. From the car museum in the upper left to the airplanes at the bottom right, Graceland Plaza had much to offer. It is part of our memories made during visits to pay tribute to Elvis. Now we have to go to Memphis again and see all the new stuff they’ve built. (Bring lots of money. It isn’t cheap.)

 

Many thanks to Scooby on Phoenix – The Elvis Forum for discovering a few of these photos on Facebook. His forum post on May 9 alerted me to the current demolition. I also checked on YouTube and found a walking tour filmed on May 9. Click here to view the footage.

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© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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Happy Star Wars Day — Elvis Style

Star Wars Day

By now you have probably heard that today, May 4th, is Star Wars Day. ElvisBlog is happy to join in this celebration, so this article will be a few days earlier that the usual weekend post.

So, what does Elvis have to do with Star Wars, you might ask. To be honest, not much, except in the minds of clever Photoshop jockeys.

Darth Vader 68 comeback Special

I don’t know someone came up with this idea, but I love it. Darth Varder in Elvis’ black leather outfit. Too cool.

Here’s another Vader image inserted into a classic Elvis photo:

Elvis-Darth Vader

There’s another version of this where Darth Vader replaces Elvis, not Nixon, but that’s lame compared to this.

 

He isn’t the only Star Wars character to get the Elvis treatment:

Yoda Elvis

How about Yoda in an Elvis jumpsuit? I don’t think the artist totally captured Yoda’s face here, but it is so much better than this next one.

Elvis and Yoda

Yoda looks like an escapee from the Muppets, and Elvis/Luke Skywalker looks part Asian.

 

Remember this famous photo of Han Solo?

Famous Han Solo Picture

Could anything be more natural to get the Elvis treatment?

Elvis-Han Solo

And here is Elvis/Han with a different Elvis head.

Triple Elvis-Han Solo

Of course, you recognize the overlapping multiple images pioneered by Andy Warhol. Like this:

Andy Warhol -- Double Elvis

Why not steal this technique with Han Solo images?

Double Han Solo - Andy Warhol

 

Do you remember the Gamorrean guards who were employed as security forces for Jabba the Hutt? How do you like them guarding Elvis and Graceland?

Elvis and two Gamorrean guards

Of course, Jabba the Hutt was a bad guy who tried to make Luke Skywalker walk the plank into the dreaded Sarlacc Pit. How did somebody get the idea to replace him with Elvis? In the gold lame suit, no less.

Elvis at the Sarlacc Pit

 

Elvis even replaces Princess Leia in one Photoshopped picture. Remember the hologram image where she tells Luke and Obi-Wan about the Empire taking her ship and then passing on her father’s instructions to them?

Elvis as a hologram

 

I thought Elvis replaced someone in this shot at Chalmun’s Cantina in the pirate city Mos Eisley on the planet Tatooine. However, I watched the clip on youTube, and Elvis was added into the empty space next to Han.

Chalmuns Cantina located in the pirate city of Mos Eisley on the planet Tatooine

 

This next picture is LEGO Elvis in a Star Wars storm trooper/jumpsuit combo outfit. How else would you get Elvis Troopers?

StormTrooper-LEGO-Elvis

 

And finally, do yo you remember this from the beginning of the first Star Wars movie?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away

Well, even it has been copied for the design of an Elvis T-shirt.

Elvis Has Left the Planet

It’s been fun discovering the many ways two major forces in pop culture could be connected.  I hope all ElvisBlog readers have a happy Star Wars Day.

 

May the force be with you

 

 

© 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.

 

Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 8

Elvis -- Diamond and Opal Ring - Side View

The past two Auctions at Graceland have been loaded with Elvis rings. The one on January 7 (during the celebration of Elvis’ birthday) had five rings, and the one on March 4 (during the opening celebration for Elvis Presley’s Memphis) had six. And one ring at first appeared to have been sold at both auctions, but a closer look revealed they are examples of Elvis purchasing multiples of the same or similar rings from his favorite jeweler, Lowell Hays. First, here are the rings sold in January.

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Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring:

Elvis -- Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring

The auction website had this to say about this gentleman’s cocktail ring:

Elvis’ star shone bright and part of that sparkling came from the jewels that adorned his fingers. The offered flower-shaped seven-diamond cluster ring was worn on stage by Elvis as documented in photographs from the period. The 10k gold ring weighs 6.5 grams with seven diamonds, one weighing 0.18 carat and measuring 3.5 mm while the remaining six each weigh 0.12 carat and measure 3 mm.

Although they mention Elvis was photographed wearing this ring, no picture was offered as verification. Instead, a Letter of Authenticity from Joe Esposito was included to prove Elvis actually wore the ring. But the LOA included something strange. Instead of saying Elvis gave him the ring, Joe states “This ring was given to a particular friend.” I wonder who that might have been, and why the name wasn’t given.

The ring fell a little short of the $10-15,000 estimate, going for $9,375 (which includes the 25% auction house fee).

 

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Gold and Diamond Lion Head Ring:

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Lion Head Ring

The next four rings were all originally given by Elvis to Charlie Hodge. It is part of a group of twelve rings Charlie sold to an unnamed man is the early 80s. Here is a portion of the man’s letter describing the event:

At one point in the very early 1980s there was an event in Antwerp, organized by the Belgian fan club, that featured Charlie Hodge as the headliner. He was one of the very first people who had known Elvis up close to come to Europe to speak at an Elvis event. I found Charlie in one of the hallways at one point and talked to him for about twenty minutes. He was a bit shocked to hear a teenager asking if he had any of Elvis’ stuff for sale, but I convinced him that I was very, very serious about expanding my Elvis collection with as many personal items as possible. He told me to visit him at his hotel the next morning.

He showed me a small black box full of rings, and said Elvis had asked him to hold on to them at some point in the early 70’s and then had never asked for them again afterwards. He said this kind of stuff would happen all the time, because Elvis would go through a lot of rings and other jewelry all the time. He asked me if there was any ring I liked best, that I was most interested in buying from him. I could not take my eyes off the box and immediately knew I wanted the entire thing! Within minutes we agreed on a price for all 12 rings that were in the box. I was short so I borrowed some money from my parents, and we left with a dozen of Elvis’ rings!

The gold and diamond lion head was the star of the Elvis jewelry at this auction. It blew past the estimate of $10-15 and topped out at $37,500 (including the auction fee).

 

White Gold and Star Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- White Gold and Star Sapphire Ring

This is another ring Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. Elvis had a fascination with sapphire jewelry, perhaps because of the special significance of sapphires in numerology, of which Elvis was an enthusiast.

This 14 karat white gold ring has a black star sapphire, which weighs 14 grams, mounted above two sapphires each weighing 0.08 carat. While the estimate was for the same $10-15,000 as the lion head ring, it sold for only a fourth as much, topping out at $9,750.

 

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 $2-1/2 Indian Head Gold Coin Ring

Elvis -- 1911 Indian Head Gold Ring

Elvis had a number of rings made with gold coins. This one is a U.S. 1911 $2½ Indian Head gold coin. Rings of this ilk were worn during many of Elvis’ hallmark moments on stage and screen, including during the filming of the 1970 documentary film Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.

The coin is set in 17 grams of 14-karat gold. I’m surprised the ring did not blow past the estimate of $10-15,000. Somebody took it home for $9,375.

 

Gold and Diamond “Pyramid” Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond “Pyramid” Ring

This is the last of the four Elvis rings given to Charlie Hodge and sold at the January 7, 2017 auction. However, there are four more coming up in the March 4, 2017 auction.

Elvis showed this affinity for jewelry by wearing and gifting a hundreds of rings in the 1970s. This 14-karat gold men’s ring weighs approximately 9.5 grams and contains a 0.18 carat diamond.. The diamond is centered in a starburst, which is centered in a pyramid-shaped concentric surround. With just one small diamond, this ring brought in a modest $8,125.

 

The March 4, 2017, Auction at Graceland provided multiple phots of the rings, but no shots of Elvis wearing any of them.

 

Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring

This 14-karat yellow gold panther head ring has marquise-shaped diamond eyes that each weigh 0.18 carat, a diamond in the panther’s mouth that weighs 0.20. It was gifted by Elvis to Tom Hulett who, with Colonel Parker, managed Elvis’ live performances in the 1970s.

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring - Front

The auction website had this to say:

The ring is a stunning example of the kind of dramatic touch that Elvis was always seeking in his wardrobe and especially in his jewelry. Elvis adored larger rings later in his career, and since the symbolism of the panther represents courage, valor and power, this ring would have been a perfect choice for Elvis in his career.

Like most of Elvis’ rings in this auction, it had an estimate of $10-15,000, and it did go for $15,000.

 

Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring

Elvis -- Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring

Back to the rings Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. According to the auction website, the owl is known to symbolize wisdom and it was a favorite of Elvis’, who would wear jewelry adorned with the depiction of an owl. Of the eighty Elvis rings featured in these ElvisBlog posts, there have been three owl rings.

Elvis -- Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring - Front

This 14-karat yellow gold ring weighs 12 grams and has two round blue sapphire eyes which each measure 2.9 mm and a singular V-shaped brow of 15 1-point diamonds. This owl ring is 14K and has gold-feathered texture surrounding the eyes, brow and beak. It had the usual $10-15,000 estimate, and thirteen bids ran the price up to $13,750.

 

Gold and Diamond Cocktail Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Cocktail Ring

This ring is another that Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. Remember the first ring in this post that Elvis gave to a “particular friend.”  Here it is again:

Elvis -- Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring

And here is one given to Dave Hebler covered in Part 7 of this series:

Elvis Presley's Diamond Circular Ring from Julien's May 2016

The auction website stated: “When Elvis discovered a style he liked, he would often acquire several examples of the piece of jewelry.” This flower-shaped diamond cluster ring is certainly a good example of that. Who else but Elvis would buy rings in bulk to give to people?

The Charlie Hodge version on this ring is only 10-karat, but it contains seven champagne-colored diamonds, one weighing 0.12 carat and the remaining six each weighing 0.15 carat. The gold in the ring weighs 7 grams. Of the three versions shown here, the Charlie Hodge had the highest bid of $16,250.

 

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Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring

The auction website says, “The shimmering rays of the star effect in the star sapphire is called asterism, from the Latin word astrum, or “star.” Black star sapphires owe their stars to the included crystals of the shiny, dark mineral hematite.”

Elvis -- Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring - Side View

This diamond and black star sapphire ring was a favorite of Elvis’ and he was as known for wearing this style as he was for gifting it to friends and family. The men’s yellow 14-karat gold ring, with black star sapphire weighs 10 grams and is mounted in a nugget-style setting that is marked 14K and “Heirloom” on the interior band. The ring measures approximately size 10 with three diamonds each measuring 1.5 mm.

This diamond and black star sapphire ring was a favorite of Elvis’ and he was as known for wearing this style as he was for gifting it to friends and family. The men’s yellow 14-karat gold ring, with black star sapphire weighs 10 grams and is mounted in a nugget-style setting. The three diamonds each measure 1.5 mm. It sold for $11,875.

 

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Diamond and Opal Ring:

Elvis -- Diamond and Opal Ring

This large white opal ring got fourteen bids, the most of any of the rings in this auction. Bidders must have liked the big size of the emerald-cut opal (19.5 x 14.5 mm). There are 40 diamonds surrounding the center stone which each measure .01 mm. The 24k gold ring weighs 10.5 grams. Elvis gave it to his concert tour promoter Tom Hulett during the 1970s. Hulett certified that Elvis wore it both on and off stage. “Opal held a special meaning for Elvis and wore it often.”

Unlike the other rings in the auction, this one had a lower estimate of $8-10,000, but fourteen bids ran it up to $15,000.

 

Gold and Red Star Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Red Star Sapphire Ring

I get a kick out of the auction website that says, “Star sapphires were one of Elvis’ favorites.” They have said that about black onyx, opal, diamonds, lions, tigers, owls, horse heads and many more. It seems like everything was an Elvis favorite.

Elvis -- Gold and Red Star Sapphire Ring - Side view

A star sapphire is named because it has needle-like inclusions that refract a star-shaped pattern in effect known as “asterism.” Star sapphires are typically blue—but this is the less common red star sapphire . This 14-karat white gold, oval cabochon red star sapphire measures weighs 9.5 grams. The star sapphire is mounted in a textured white gold setting with two channels down either side.

There must have been many bidders hoping to score an Elvis ring without paying big bucks, but fourteen bids ran the price up to $6,875. If the winner ever finds a photo of Elvis wearing it, it will be worth a lot more.

 

 

The next ElvisBlog post or the one after it will also cover Elvis items sold at an auction. But this is a unusual one that has a Smith & Wesson revolver expected to bring $160-225,000, a diamond and ruby studded sheriff’s badge ($50-75,000), plus Elvis’ contract to purchase Graceland, two more guns, and two Nazi knives. Stay tuned.

 

© 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.

 

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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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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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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