Category Archives: ALBUMS

A Summer of 40th Anniversaries

Elvis 40

Elvis Week 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ passing, and EPE has a great event planned for the fans. There is so much quality stuff to do and see, enhanced by the new Graceland Guest House and Elvis Presley’ Memphis. I wish I was going.

Another 40th anniversary coming up is Elvis’ last concert performance on June 26 at the Haymarket Arena in Indianapolis. I had the privilege of contributing to an upcoming special on local radio station WIBC. Programmer Chris Davis interviewed me to get soundbites for the broadcast.

Elvis' last Concert - Indianapolis 1977

Not that I had attended the concert. He had already found some Hoosiers who had been there. He asked me general stuff like the difference between Elvis’ 1950s music and his 70s music, and what was it like to be a teenager when Elvis burst on the scene and changed everything. He also asked me my opinion of Col. Parker, but I’m pretty sure he won’t use my answer. I didn’t mince words about my disdain for Parker. If you’d like to read a 2009 blog post I did on Elvis’ final concert, click here.

 

Another 40th anniversary is the Elvis in Concert TV special on CBS. It aired on Oct 3, 1967, just a few weeks after Elvis died. However, it was conceived well before his death and was supposed to join the ranks of the ’68 Comeback Special and Aloha from Hawaii to create a trio of historic Elvis TV specials. The results did not live up to expectations, and Elvis in Concert has been mostly just a historical footnote.

TV ad for Elvis in Concert Special

This is a screen grab of the commercial CBS used to promote the program.

CBS advertisement for Elvis In Concert in 1977

 

Filming for the special was done on June 19 at the Omaha Civic Center and June 21 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota.

 

Start of CBS Special Elvis in Concert.

This is the opening shot from the one-hour broadcast.

Omaha Civic Auditorium

Elvis in Concert contained fourteen songs, but only three were included form the Omaha show. According to Peter Guralnick and Earnst Jorgensen, the authors of ELVIS – Day by Day, “it is one of the poorest shows Elvis has given to date, a sad and incoherent performance for the most part.”

 

Rushmore Civic Auditorium

Elvis was in much better two nights later in Rapid City. He performed memorable versions two songs, but one was not included in the special. Again, quoting ELVIS – Day by Day,

“Perhaps the highlight of the show (although it is neither easy viewing nor listening) is Elvis’ version of “Unchained Melody,” which will not be included in the television broadcast, though Elvis performs it in bravura fashion, alone at the piano.”

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody

 

I would like to disagree. There is footage on YouTube of Elvis performing “Unchained Melody” the same manner on April 24, 1977, two months earlier. If you have seen it, you’ll never forget it. Elvis was bloated, sweating profusely, and performing through a cloud of painkillers.

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody - Close Up

And yet, he gave an utterly moving rendition of the song. Maybe it wasn’t easy viewing, but it was compelling. It gave me the chills and a lump in my throat. It was a great triumph for Elvis to pull it off. I was so proud of him.

 

Are You Lonesome Tonight Laughing Version

The other memorable song in Elvis in Concert was “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Starting in 1969, when Elvis performed it onstage, he regularly played around with the words during the talking part part of the song. Often, this caused him to break into fits of laughter. If you’ve never seen a video of this, just go to YouTube and type in Are You Lonesome Tonight Laughing Version.

However in the Elvis in Concert broadcast, just before Elvis went into the recitation part of the song, the music was faded down and a devoted female fan is shown talking about her determination to see Elvis live in concert, then it switches back to Elvis after the talking part was finished. This may have been done so that viewers would not have to see Elvis fumbling through the recitation.

 

1977 Elvis in Concert double record set

Shortly after the broadcast, RCA released a double album also called Elvis in Concert.  Although it contained all the songs from the TV special, it also contained “Fans’ Comments,” “Elvis Talks,” a “Special Message from Elvis’ Father,” and a bunch of songs recorded at other concerts in June 1977.

 

The Elvis in Concert TV Special has never been officially released on VHS or DVD, and Elvis’ estate has issued a statement saying that they have “no plans” to release the special, due to the fact that Elvis was visibly “far from his best in the way he looked and the way he performed.”

However, the bootleggers have been busy putting out unofficial DVDs. Here are just a few.

ELVIS PRESLEY IN CONCERT 1977 DVD

 

And like everything else ever filmed, Elvis in Concert has shown up on YouTube – numerous times. Click here and take your pick.

 

 

© 2014 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.

 

Postscripts to Earlier ElvisBlogs

A Touch of Gold Vol 3 - Scarce Maroon label disc

I haven’t done one of these Postscripts in years, but some stuff has come up that will work. Like this interesting six-song EP.  It played at 45rpm but functioned as a small album.  The record has a maroon label,  making it even more rare and valuable to collectors. The cover is a variation of the classic album, with Elvis reduced to just three images.  I wish I had run across this a week earlier, because I could have put it into last weekend’s post on the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Peppers, which veered off to remade covers of 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.

Mad Magazine Cover

Here’s a variation on Sgt. Peppers that’s not an album, but a magazine.  Good luck figuring out who all the faces are.

elvis presley parody album cover

50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong is not the only Elvis album to get copied. Recognize the album cover they’re copying here?

 

A month ago, we said Goodbye to Graceland Plaza. A newer shot makes a great comparison before and after.

Graceland Plaza

Graceland Plaza - All gone

Heavy machines sit where Graceland Plaza used to be.

 

Thanks to my friend Bob Strother, I have found something that would have been great in the Chuck Berry Tribute back in March. Here’s the story.

On August 20th, 1977, NASA sent up a two-hour recording of The Sounds of Earth on the Voyager I spacecraft. It included natural sounds of animals, a French poem by Gaugliere, a passage from the Koran in Arabic, and messages from President Carter.  Plus lots of music — everything from classical to Johnnie Be Goode by Chuck Berry.

The Sounds of Earth - Voyager 1

Soon, Steve Martin teamed up with the Saturday Night Live crew to do a skit about it.  Supposedly, scientists had received a response from space, and Time magazine had promised to print the message on the cover of the next issue.  Dan Aykroyd’s character says, “Yes. They’ve sent us a message. It may be just four simple words, but it is the FIRST positive proof that other intelligent beings inhabit the universe.”

The panel moderator asks, “What are the four words?

Steve Martin’s character replies, “The four words that came to us from outer space — the FOUR words that will appear on the cover of Time magazine next week – are… He holds up the magazine.  ‘Send More Chuck Berry’.”

 

Send More Chuck Berry

Clever, very clever.

 

Rocking New Upgrades

This goes along with the article three weeks ago about Soundstage A at Elvis Presley’s Memphis.  Judging by the prices, expensive might be substituted for rocking.

View from Soundstage A

I found this photo taken by someone in front of Soundstage A. The big building at the end is the Elvis the Entertainer Museum

View of Storefronts near Soundstage A

This shot is framed farther right, with the entrance to the Soundstage on the far right.

 

Diana Henry Cast Signed by Elvis Twice

This picture and commentary were posted nearly four years ago in a feature called According to Wikipedia — The 10 Weirdest Elvis Presley Memorabilia. To my surprise, I heard from Diana Henry, the girl wearing the cast when Elvis signed it twice.  Here is what she had to say:

“I was the owner of the cast. Elvis didn’t come into the audience. He was kneeling by the stage talking to me. I didn’t beg him to sign it again. He didn’t realize he dropped sweat on the first signature and I told him so he signed it again. I wrote the story and sold it with the cast and the turquoise scarf he gave me.”

This is one of the best fan stories about Elvis memorabilia I have ever seen.  Thank you, Diana, for telling us about it.

 

Elvis as Batman

Adam West, who played Batman on TV from 1966 to 1968, died yesterday at age 88.  This is not a picture of Adam West.  It is Photoshopped Elvis.  You have to look closely to see all the Elvis references.  Lip snarl, large jumpsuit collar, scarf, bat costume open at the neck, and wide jumpsuit belt.

 

We’ll miss you, Adam West.  Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

©  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.

 

 

Celebrating the 50th Birthday of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band — Elvis Style

Sgt. Pepper Cover With Elvis

Can it really be a half century since the Beatles released their landmark album Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band? Yes, it hit the stores on June 2, 1967.

Much of the print, TV and internet media is now covering this milestone, so ElvisBlog will, too – with an Elvis slant, of course. In the picture above, Elvis fits in nicely with the Fab Four. Carol Stephens, who did the fine cover for my book, Big E and the Santa Man, added Elvis wearing a costume from his film Frankie and Johnny.

Sgt. Elvis' Lonely Hearts Club Band

I found this picture on the internet. It must have taken somebody a long time to replace three-dozen people with Elvis shots. It’s fun to pick out the photos from his movies and the notable events in his career. See those two concrete busts at the bottom of the picture? I have one of those out on my back deck. The squirrels often sit on his head and eat acorns.

 

Monkees Lonely Hearts Club band

Sgt. Peppers is one of the most photoshopped album covers ever. This one featuring the Monkees has lot of recognizable faces.

 

Brexit Lonely Hearts Club Band

This is an interesting composite.  It pays homage to all the celebrities who died in 2016, plus Brexit.  David Bowie and Prince are easy to spot, but can you find Glenn Frey?

 

Phish Lonely hearts Club Band

Back to rock bands again. Is that four Elvises in white jumpsuits and shades on the top right?

 

Lego Lonely Hearts Club Band

How do you like the Lego figures replacing the Beatles in this one? They also replaced Elvis in another of the most altered album covers.

50,000,000 Lego Fans Can't Be Wrong

 

Let’s take a look at some more variations of Elvis’ album 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t be Wrong.

9,000,000 Facebook Fans Can't Be Wrong

Only 9,000,000?

 

50,000,000 Elvis Costello Fans Can't Be Wrong

Uh, oh. The wrong Elvis.

 

Rod Stewart - Body Wishes

Red leather(?). Not as cool as gold lame.

 

Hail to the King All star Tribute

They put Roy Orbison, Link Wray, Jeff Beck, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis in gold lame suits. I wish they had done Little Richard, too.

 

50,000,000 Santa fans Can't be Wrong

There are Santa fans.

50,000,000 Elves Fans Can't Be Wrong

And even Elves fans,  Don’t you like Santa in gold lame?

 

100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong

Bon Jovi upped the ante to 100,000,000 fans.

 

I guess this post got a little off subject. Let’s get back to the Beatles.

300,000 Beatles Fans Can't Be Wrong

Yeah, I paired up the Beatles and Elvis again. Here is the last time.

Elvis Looking Over The Beatles

I really like this image.

 

Happy 50th birthday, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

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© 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.

 

Elvis’ Special Christmas Radio Program

Elvis Special Christmas Program Reel-to-reel Tape

Do you know what this is? Until this week, I had never seen it, so it was a surprise to me. Here’s a newspaper clipping that will give you an idea.

 

3,00 Stations Carrying Elvis Special Christmas Radio Program

The year was 1967, and Col. Parker dreamed up the idea for the Elvis Presley Special Christmas Program. A year later, Elvis would present his famous TV special, but this one was for radio. The picture above is a reel-to-reel tape recorded by RCA that Parker had sent to radio stations all over the country.

 

At this point, Elvis had recorded just one album of Christmas music: Elvis’ Christmas Album in 1957:

Elvis' Christmas Album

 

For the special, they used six of the twelve songs on it:

Here Comes Santa Claus
Blue Christmas
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Silent Night
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
I Believe

 

In June 1966, Elvis recorded the single If Every day Was Like Christmas, and it also appeared on the Special Christmas Program:

Elvis Presley - I wish Every Day Could be Christmas

 

The radio special also included the title songs of these two albums:

Elvis Presley - How Great Thou Art

 

Elvis Presley - His Hand in Mine

 

But the special had more than just songs. Here is the sequence as shown on the box came in:

Elvis Special Christmas Program Sequence

Everything was planned out: a five-second musical intro, then the disc jockey talks for 27 seconds, then a song, and so on.

 

Elvis Special Christmas Program Season's Greetings from Elvis

This is the front page of the complete DJ script for the special. Here are the rest.

Elvis Special christmas Programming Script Page 1

Elvis Special Christmas Program Script Page 2

Note that the tape included a long message from actor Dale Robertson for Christmas Seals.

1967 Christmas Seals

 

The script frequently reminds listeners to buy those Elvis Christmas and sacred albums at their local record dealers.

Elvis Special christmas Program Script Page 3
There were no breaks for regular ads, but the DJ script got in plugs for Elvis records and even his current movie Clambake. I believe Col. Parker wrote this script, and he got his name into the text twice. He also was clever to allow one minute at the end of the program for local public-service announcements.

 

Elvis Special Christmas Program Poster

This is a poster that went out to record stores to promote the special. It says “more than 2,000 stations” but the news article above says 3,000. I guess the number was hard to determine because airing the special was up to the stations. However, to help motivate them, Col. Parker sent station managers 100 Elvis Presley Christmas cards, fifty 1968 Elvis Presley calendars, a package of Christmas Seals, and catalogs of Elvis albums and 8-track tape cartridges. That would have motivated me.

Graceland is big on celebrating anniversaries of all things Elvis. Maybe next year they will present a 50th Anniversary edition of this radio special. With today’s technology, they could have George Klein do the DJ part and offer it as a new download available through an app to our smart phones. That would be cool, too.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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A Tribute to Scotty Moore – Part 2

Scotty Moore and Elvis Presley Performing at New Frontier Hotel 1956

This is the way most people think of Scotty Moore – playing guitar on stage while Elvis performs. Scotty will forever be linked with Elvis, and that’s fine, because his guitar skills played a huge part in Elvis’ music starting a revolution.

Scotty Moore died ten days ago at age 84, cause not announced, and ElvisBlog presented a tribute that generated much positive comment. Because there is still more to say about this rock pioneer, here is A Tribute to Scotty Moore, Part 2.

 

Elvis Leaning on Scotty Moore's Wife's 1954 Chevy Bel Air

This photograph has appeared on the web everywhere. The emphasis is always on Elvis’ wild clothes, especially the pink shirt, back in the early days. The thing most people don’t realize is that the car he is leaning on is Scotty’ wife’s 1954 Chevy Bel Air. The group used this car to travel on all their initial road tours. So, not only was Scotty’s guitar work instrumental in creating Elvis’ Rockabilly sound, he also made it possible for the singer to travel to appearances that added to his growing fame.

 

Cartoon of Scotty Moore

I don’t know the story behind this drawing, but I’m glad I found it. However, I’d change the tagline to “The Man that made the King Rock.”

 

Now for a few things about Scotty Moore you may not know.

 

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists -- # 29 Scotty Moore

Scotty Moore's Bio on Rolling Stone

How about that. When Rolling Stone magazine selected the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Scotty made the list. His # 29 position put him ahead of many famous names, such as Prince, Stephen Stills, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Kurt Cobain. Of more interest to me was how Scotty fared against his contemporaries in the early days of Rock & Roll. Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley placed ahead of Scotty, but Duane eddy, Dick Dale, Buddy Holly, and Carl Perkins trailed him. In case you’re curious, Elvis’ guitar player in the 70s, James Burton, placed # 19.

 

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists

I was particularly struck by the praise Rolling Stone magazine heaped on Scotty. In a flip on the widely-accepted notion that Elvis was the first to mix country, gospel, and blues music, Rolling Stone‘s bio on Scotty said:

“Moore’s tight, aggressive runs mixed country picking with blues phrasing into a new instrumental language.”

Think about what that says. Was it the guitar player or the singer in those 1954 Sun recording sessions that deserves the credit for the monumental change in music that followed? Probably both together, but Scotty deserves more credit. I’m glad Rolling Stone got it right.

 

Priscilla Presley, Scotty Moore, and Gail Pollock

There are two women in this picture with Scotty. One you easily recognize as Priscilla Presley, but can you identify the other? She is Gail Pollock, who was the woman in his life since the early 80’s. I met Scotty at four Elvis Weeks, and Gail was with him every time. They were a team.

Gail Pollock passed away in November 2015, and I am only guessing here, but I think her passing may have hastened Scotty’s death. With her gone, Scotty must have had a huge emptiness in his heart.

That's Alright Elvis - Scotty Moore Bio

I remembered there was a cute story about Gail and Scotty in his autobiography, That’s Alright, Elvis. (Side note: The book is out of print, and the prices for used copies on Amazon have zoomed up since Scotty died). I got out my old signed copy and looked up the story. Back in 1973, Scotty lived in Nashville and worked as a free-lance recording engineer, frequently at Monument Records. Gail Pollock worked there, but had no idea of his background. Scotty never talked about it to anyone.

One day a man came into Monument Records to book studio time, and Gail introduced him to Scotty. After Scotty left the room, the man asked, “Is that the real Scotty Moore?” Gail had no idea what he was talking about. He said, “Scotty Moore, the one who played with Elvis?” Gail answered, “No, he’s an engineer.”

Since then, Gail learned everything about Scotty, and the two of them had long friendships with most of Nashville’s ‘A Team’ session players, singers, and producers. She became famous for her “Southern Mother” cooking for countless recording sessions, jam sessions, or any other reason just to have friends get together.

Scotty Moore and Friends on his Back Deck

Here is Scotty (far right) with several friends socializing on the back deck of his Nashville home. We can presume that Gail either snapped the shot or was in the kitchen.

 

Colorized Scotty & Elvis on Stage

Here’s another strong photo of Elvis and Scotty on stage together, one of my favorites. I guess I am jumping around here. Hope you don’t mind.

 

Scotty on Elvis Trading Card

I wish they had used a clearer picture here for the only Elvis trading card that included Scotty.

 

Scotty Moore in Jailhouse Rock

Last week we looked at some photos of Scotty in the movie Loving You. Here he is at a recording session in the movie Jailhouse Rock.

 

Scotty Moore Album - The Guitar that Changed the World

This is an album that Scotty released in 1964, and I own a cassette copy made from it. It has since been released on CD, and Amazon’s Editorial Review says:

“Scotty Moore deserves this album’s title, exclamation point and all. His big, hollow-body Gibson electric provided the architecture that allowed Elvis Presley’s raw talent and charisma to assume its shape on those early Sun and RCA singles.”

Then, Amazon’s Editorial Review goes on to say some less complimentary things about the album itself. This is no surprise to me, because lots worse has been said about it, as related in an article I wrote for Elvis International magazine back in 2000.

“About ten years ago, I came across an interesting book in the music section of a large bookstore. The title was something like The 100 Worst Record Albums of All Time, which spiked my curiosity as an avid record collector. I flipped through it with mild amusement to see what albums the author had selected, but had quite a jolt when I came upon The Guitar That Changed The World by Scotty Moore.

“Wow,” I thought, “I didn’t know Scotty Moore recorded a solo album of Elvis songs.” Although I was pleased to learn of its existence, it bugged me that some jerk author could write such a bad review about the work of a legendary rock guitarist held in high esteem by Elvis fans. His argument was basically that the original songs were so outstanding nobody should have the audacity to record cover versions.”

Well, I got that cassette copy of Scotty’s album. I review each song in the article and had this summary, The Guitar That Changed The World is absolutely not one of the worst record albums of all time, but it sure is hard to find.”

 

Scotty, DJ and George Harrison

Last week, I wrote about how big Scotty Moore fans the Rolling Stones are. Same for the Beatles. Scotty and DJ Fontana hang out with here George Harrison in this shot. Scotty has done the same with Paul McCartney, and he has recorded with Ringo Starr.

 

Elvis and Scotty

Let’s finish up with a few more shots of Scotty and Elvis together. That’s probably the 54 Chevy Bel Air Scotty is sitting in.

 

Scotty and Elvis At New Frontier Hotel

This shot comes from May 1956 when Elvis performed at the New Frontier hotel in Las Vegas. It was nice that Elvis always moved back and let Scotty front the band when he did his guitar solos.

 

Scotty has already been buried in his hometown of Humboldt, Tennessee. However, his webmaster announced on www.scottymoore.net that a memorial celebration will soon be held in Nashville. When we read the media coverage of all the people in attendance, it will confirm that Scotty Moore was a very special person loved by many.

 

Good bye, Scotty Moore. I’m so glad I got to spend some time with you.

 

©  2016    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.

 

An Elvis Fan’s Farewell to Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard's Farewell to Elvis Album

By now you all know that country music superstar Merle Haggard died yesterday on his 79th birthday. But did you know the he was so moved by Elvis’ death in 1977 that he paid tribute to the King by recording an album titled My Farewell to Elvis?

Here is the list of songs:

From Graceland To the Promised Land
In the Ghetto
Don’t Be Cruel
Jailhouse Rock
Love Me Tender
That’s All Right (Mama)
Heartbreak Hotel
Blue Christmas
Blue Suede Shoes
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Merle’s Farewell To Elvis

 

Merle Haggard's Farewell to Elvis CD

In 1995, My Farewell to Elvis was released on CD with a different cover. Both vinyl and CD versions are available on Amazon.

 

Goodbye Merle Haggard. You will be missed. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

© 2016 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 and the Grammy Awards — Revisited

Grammy Awards

Something weird happened on ElvisBlog two days ago. I can’t figure out why, but I’ll sure take it. Thursday, March 17, 2016, will forever rank as the day when the most people came to the blog – 11,370 visitors!!!

 

ElvisBlog March 17,2016 Stats

This chart shows the ElvisBlog visitors for the past month. Look how March 17 dwarfs the others (which represent the normal daily totals of 700-900 visitors).

 

ElvisBlog March 17, 2016 Pages Viewed

My blog software showed that about 95% of the total came from searches for “Elvis won only three Grammy Awards,” which is the exact wording in the first line of a 2006 ElvisBlog article. The search results had the article, Elvis and the Grammy Awards, at the top of the list.

I did some research to see if there was something in the news about Elvis’ Grammies that would have sparked this spike in interest. I found nothing.

Then I realized a lot of todays’ regular readers might not have ever read the post from 2006, so I am reproducing it here. Several formatting changes and new pictures have been added to bring it up to the style used today.

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Elvis and the Grammy Awards

 

Elvis Presley's Three Grammy Awards

Most fans are aware Elvis won only three Grammy Awards, and that they were all for Gospel recordings. There’s a lot more to the story.

How could the King of Rock & Roll not win any Grammys for his rock & roll records? One big reason is that the Grammy awards did not start until 1958. In 1956 and 1957, Elvis changed the sound of popular music and had hit after hit. If there had been Grammy Awards for those years, Elvis surely would have won a cabinet full of trophies. There is no way he could have been denied the award for these categories:

Best Vocal Performance, Male

Best Performance by a Top 40 Artist

The same goes for his hit singles. An Elvis song would have been a shoo-in for Record of the Year in 1956 with choices like:

“Heartbreak Hotel,”
“Love Me Tender,”
“Hound Dog,”
“Don’t Be Cruel.”

The Album of the Year for 1956 would undoubtedly have gone to Elvis’ first RCA album, Elvis Presley.

 

In 1957, there would have had to be a winner in this list for Record of The Year:

“Too Much,”
“All Shook Up,”
“Teddy Bear,”
“Jailhouse Rock”.

Elvis’ Christmas Album was the definitive rock & roll Christmas album of the period and would have been a strong contender for Album of The Year in 1957.

 

Elvis was off in Germany in the Army when the Grammy Awards were created in 1958, and he had no nominations. However, the next year he received three.

 

Elvis Hit - A Fool Such as I

“A Fool Such As I” was a 1959 nominee for Record of The Year, but got beat by Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife,” a really huge hit.

 

Elvis Hit - A Big Hunk of Love

“A Big Hunk of Love” received two nominations in 1959. However, Nat King Cole won Best Performance by A Top 40 Artist for “Midnight Flyer” (I can’t say that I even remember the song), and Dinah Washington won Best R&B Performance for “What A Difference A Day Makes.”

 

Elvis Hit - Are You Lonesome Tonight

1960 was Elvis’ best year for Grammy nominations with five, but he was up against Ray Charles who was having a huge year. “Are You Lonesome Tonight” had three nominations: Record of the Year, Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist. “Theme From a Summer Place” by Percy Faith won the Record of the Year, and Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles took the other two categories. He won a total of four Grammys in 1960.

 

Elvis presley - G.I. Blues Album

Elvis also had two album nominations in 1960, both for GI Blues. However, Ray Charles beat him again. The Genius of Ray Charles took the award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, Album. The Best Soundtrack Album award went to Ernest Gold for Exodus.

 

Elvis Presley - Blue Hawaii Album

Elvis had another shot at Best Soundtrack Album in 1961 with the nomination of Blue Hawaii. Ray Charles didn’t beat him, but Henry Mancini did with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 

For the next five years, Elvis’ priority was making movies, and none of his songs or albums received Grammy nominations

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Elvis Presley - How great thou Art Album

In 1967, he finally won a Grammy for Best Sacred Performance for the album How Great Thou Art, which sold over a million copies and reached #18 in the Top Albums Chart.

In 1968, he was nominated again in the same category for the single “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” but the award went to Jake Hess for “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.” This was ironic because Hess had been a big influence on Elvis.

As the lead singer for the Statesman Quartet, Jake Hess made an impression on young Elvis at the monthly “All-Night Gospel Singing” at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. Elvis particularly admired Hess’ powerful voice and unique styling. One year before beating Elvis in the singles category, Hess was part of The Imperials who did backing vocals during the recording session for Elvis’ Grammy winning album How Great Thou Art. In 1977, Jake Hess was part of an elite group of Gospel music stars to sing at Elvis’ funeral service.

 

Elvis Prslet - He Touched Me Album

In 1972 Elvis won his second Grammy when his album He Touched Me took the Best Inspirational Performance award.

 

Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis

In 1974 Elvis won this category again for his third and last Grammy. But instead of winning for a single or an album, Elvis won for the live version of the song “How Great Thou Art” from the album Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis.

 

Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

It should be noted that the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences partially rectified their earlier snubs of Elvis by granting him their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.

 

If you would like to read more about Elvis’ Grammy Awards, you can check out the Elvis Awards section on Graceland.com. or the Graceland Blog article Elvis Presley and the Grammy Awards.

 

 

© 2016 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.

 

The New Elvis Stamp — Let the Merchandising Begin

Elvis Presley Forever CD

At first glance, you might think that’s a picture of the new Elvis stamp above. Nope. It’s the front cover of a CD the US Postal Service is selling online.  New stamps don’t have a price on them anymore, so the word FOREVER appears instead. Because they used the stamp picture on the cover, the Postal Service has cleverly named this CD “Elvis Presley Forever.”

Song List for Elvis Presley Forever CD

This track listing may appeal to new fans, but everybody who owns other Elvis CDs probably has the songs already, except for the last two. These previously unreleased versions may spark some interest, and the $10 price is not prohibitive.

Forever Elvis Collection Inside

The Postal Service used a similar name on another collectible they call the “Forever Elvis Collection.” For $24.95 you get:

-One mint 1993 Elvis Presley stamp pulled from the U.S. Postal Service vault.

-A sheet of 16 new 2015 Elvis Presley stamps.

-A bold 8 x 8-inch cachet [whatever that is] with an affixed 2015 Elvis Presley stamp and exclusive postmark printed in metallic gold and black inks. (I guess this is in the center behind the sheet of stamps))

-The collectibles are housed in a handsome [USPS lingo] six-panel folio with a die-cut slipcase. The folio panels contain photographs of Elvis shot by Alfred Wertheimer during 1956, as well as a narrative on the 1993 stamp, the 2015 stamp, and the life and music of The King himself.

The Forever Elvis Collection - $24.95

This is the front cover of the “Forever Elvis Collection.” In my opinion, a less washed out photo would make it more handsome.

 

One other note. The Forever Elvis Collection can be purchased at USPSstamps.com, same as all the stamp options covered last week. The CD is not listed there, just at store.usps.com.

 

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album

The idea of a commemorative folio containing Elvis stamp memorabilia was also used in 1993. The folio above was designed to look like a gatefold 33rpm album. Same exact size.

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album Contents

When you opened it up, you could see part of a wonderful color booklet through the die-cut hole.

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album Contents

Here’s the cover of the 16 –page booklet.

Inside 1993 E;vis Stamp Booklet

And this is an example of the content. It is very well done. In addition to the booklet, this collection contains:

10 Elvis stamp sheets in original sealed sleeves

Elvis stamp limited edition print

“First Day” ceremony program

I have seen the whole set listed several places on eBay. Used ones go for $25 and still sealed ones are asking $100-125.

 

Elvis Stamp T-Shirt

Back in 1993, to tied in with the 1993 Elvis stamp release, a new ShopElvis.com catalog showed up containing 28 items featuring the image of the stamp. I bought the above T-shirt, which I still have (in pretty good shape, because I seldom wear white T-shirts). Here are the other items I purchased.

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Elvis Stamp Beach Towell

Beach Towel

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Elvis Stamp Baseball Cap

Baseball Cap

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Elvis stamp Refrigerator Magnet

Refrigerator Magnet

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Elvis Stamp Key Chain

Key Chain

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Elvis Stamp Watch.

I didn’t buy the Elvis stamp watch. My wife gave it to me the following Christmas.

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Here are a couple of other items with the stamp picture on it that I did not buy. Not my kind of Elvis collectible.

Elvis Stamp Bear

Gold Lamé Bear

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Elvis Stamp Collectible Plate

Elvis Stamp Plate

1993  Elvis Stamp Mug

And what would a Graceland merchandising theme be without a coffee mug?  They have put out so many different ones over the years.  If I had pictures of them all, I could do a whole blog post on them.

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I’m sure EPE has worked out some kind of deal with the Postal Service to market all kinds of stuff with the new Elvis stamp on it. There will be another Graceland catalog out before Elvis Week, so we will see pretty soon.

Unfortunately, I’m not as enthused about purchasing anything with the new stamp picture on it. It’s a black-and-white photo, dull compared to the 1993 drawing in brilliant color. But I’ll bet lots of folks will still buy them.

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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The Second Auction at Graceland — Part 3

So far, we’ve looked at the big winners and the items with excessive minimum bids that nobody would pay. This post will be about the items that did way better than expected.

Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster:

lvis Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster, 1964

If you have any high-end Elvis memorabilia that you want to sell, the Auction at Graceland has quickly become the place where you want to sell it. There is no doubt in my mind that you can get more money for your stuff there than at any other auction. Maybe it’s the whole vibe associated with Elvis’ birthday celebration and Elvis Week that energizes the bidders and gets them to loosen the purse strings. Here’s an example.

This 27” by 41” poster in Very Fine condition had a minimum bid of $250, and an estimate of $4-500. This is in line with a sale of the same item in a June 2014 Heritage Auction which went for $418.25. However, twenty-two bids at the Auction at Graceland pushed the price up to $1,750, four times as much.

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Tickle Me Movie Poster:

Elvis Tickle Me  Movie Poster, 1965

This one is even harder to believe. Again, same size, condition, minimum bid and estimate as the Viva poster. However, thirty-two bids resulted in a final price of $2,500. On the Heritage Auctions website, a search for Elvis Tickle Me resulted in dozens of these posters selling since 2009, at a top price of $155 for one rated Very Fine. Come on, people. Do your research before blowing away thousands on something.

 

Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge:

Elvis' Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge

Although EPE sponsored this auction, they made it clear that all items came from private owners, not the Graceland archives. They did, however, state that they would be bidding on some items to add to their display of Elvis memorabilia.

Elvis' Law  Enforcement  Badge Collection

Part of Elvis’ Law Enforcement Badges Collection on Display at Graceland

When I saw that the badge up for auction had a minimum bid of $1,500 and an estimate of $2,500-3,500, I thought Graceland might go after it to add to their display of Elvis’ collection of law enforcement badges. Well, it went for $8,750, so I’m guessing they dropped out of the bidding.

 

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register

This checkbook register from 1975-76 was offered at the first Auction at Graceland last August during Elvis Week. However, nobody thought it was worth the minimum bid price of $6,000. So, what did the owner do? He brought it back this year with the minimum bid dropped down to just $1,000. After eighteen bids, it topped out at $3,750. I think this is a bargain. There are 43 pages with Elvis’ writing (not his signature) on them. The auction says, “This checkbook is a treasure trove of examples of Elvis’ generosity.” The checks totaled $89,000, and many of them went to charities and his friends.

 

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975:

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975

This size 46 red wool and black-leather-sleeve, varsity-style jacket had a minimum bid of $2,500, which I thought was a little high because it was not part of Elvis’ personal wardrobe. These jackets were made for his security guys so Elvis could see them from the stage. Even the Letter of Authenticity from his personal nurse, Tish Henley, states that Elvis never wore the jacket. However, it was inside Graceland one night when it was pouring rain outside as she was leaving, and he handed it to her to wear and keep dry getting to her car.

Again, it seems the bidders didn’t read the fine print in the item description, because this jacket’s winning bid was $8,125. Pretty steep price for something that Elvis merely touched.

 

Used Guitar Pick:

Elvis Used Guitar Pick

I can’t believe what this guitar pick went for. Even though it was accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from Graceland Authenticated, there is no way it would be worth $3,125 to me. I have seen many dozens of Elvis items at auction over the years priced less than this, that I would much prefer to have.

 

“That’s All Right” 45 Record:

Elvis' Sun Record #209 45 RPM That's All Right

This record is characterized as a File Copy. I’m not sure what that means, but the item description says it has never been played and is in pristine condition. The reason is because Cecil Scaife, who worked for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, took it home and stored it safely away.

The top bid is actually not a surprise. The estimate was $7,500-8,500, and the bids stopped at $7,500. Of course, the 25% buyer’s premium meant he had to write a check for $9,375.

 

Flashing Blue Police Light:

Elvis-Owned Blue Police Light

Did you know that Elvis was an accredited Captain on Memphis’ police force? All his other badges were honorary, but the one from Memphis PD was official. Elvis took it seriously and bought these flashing blue lights to keep ready in his cars in case a situation arose where his action was needed.

This item is not a surprise with a high bid compared to the estimates. It’s just a surprise to me that it went for as much as it did without a photo of Elvis sitting in one of his cars with this light sitting on top. It went for $2,000, but if that photo had existed and been offered with it, no telling what the bidders would have forked out.

 

Red and White 7-Button Shirt:

Elvis' Red and White Shirt From Homer Gilleland

Of all the Elvis shirts I have seen sold at auction during the past seven years, this one epitomizes him the absolute least. It rates about a 2 on the Elvisishness scale. And no photo was offered of Elvis ever wearing it. In spite of this, someone shelled out $7,500 for it. I would hate for him to know about all the other cool Elvis shirts (with photos) have sold for less than that.

One other note. The item description listed the longest chain of ownership I have ever seen on an Elvis collectible. It went from Elvis to Homer Gilleland (his personal hairdresser) to Thomas B. Morgan, Jr. to the LeBonheur Children’s Hospital to the seller (unnamed before the auction), and of course, it now has the new owner.

 

Four of Elvis’ Personal Telephone/Address Books:

nside pages Elvis Presley’s Personal Address Books

This is another item that failed to generate its minimum bid ($7,000) at the first Auction at Graceland, but staged a comeback at the recent one. This time they showed samples of the open pages rather than the closed books, and it paid off. Somebody got all four of these books for $7,500. If they had been sold individually, I am sure the total would have been higher.

Elvis Address Book

The item description said, “These books are an encyclopedia of his friends, family and acquaintances — today’s equivalent of having Elvis’ iPhone contacts.” I believe showing the books open to sample listings helped make that point and juiced up the bidding.  On the pages above you can see Priscilla, Col. Parker, and Vernon Presley.  Priscilla must have moved a lot.  Note she had five different phone numbers in Elvis’ book

 

Army First Aid Kit:

Elvis Presley’s Army First Aid Kit

I think this is one of the coolest Elvis collectibles to show up at auction. If you owned it and were showing it off to other folks, you could point to the hand-printed “EP” in blue ink at the top. Then you could turn it upside down and show the stamp with Elvis’ Army service serial number “53310761.” Then you could open it up and see the red stamp on the interior stating “SP1 ELVIS PRESLEY – US53310761, 1st Med Tank Bat. 32nd Armor 3rd Div. APO 33.” If all that wasn’t enough, Elvis also signed near the stamp, “E. A. Presley” in blue ink. The supplied Letter of Authenticity from Graceland Authenticated almost seems superfluous.

Elvis’ Army First Aid Kit had a minimum bid of $3,000, but spirited bidding ran it up to $7,500. Well worth it in my opinion.

 

I had a few more items to present, but something came in the email yesterday that deserves to be noted. It came from info@graceland.com, one of four EPE related mailing lists I seem to be on.

Solicitation for next year's Auction at Graceland

Just three weeks after their successful second Auction at Graceland, they are out soliciting collectibles for the next one. They are trying to prevail against the auction houses that frequently offer Elvis memorabilia, and I believe they will be very successful.

Heritage Auctions Ad Solicitation

Here is an ad in the current issue of the record collector magazine Goldmine showing Heritage Auctions soliciting consignments for their next entertainment memorabilia auction. It shows items from past auctions, including an Elvis standee.

Gotta Have It Ad Solicitation

From the same magazine, here is a solicitation for consignments by Gotta Have Rock and Roll for their next pop culture auction. Notice Elvis’ Peacock jumpsuit at the bottom. Like I said at the top of this post, it seems like people with Elvis collectibles can realize a higher return at the Auction at Graceland. I think EPE made a brilliant move coming up with the idea of auctioning Elvis memorabilia during Elvis Week and the birthday celebrations. They will put a hurtin’ on the competition.

I see this as similar to Graceland’s move into the Elvis Tribute Artist business. For the first two decades after his death, Graceland distanced itself from the hordes of men who performed as Elvis impersonators. Actually, they went farther than that. Ever protective of his ‘image,’ EPE filed a lawsuit against the Legends In Concert in 1983 to prevent the show’s “Elvis” from looking like, dressing like, or moving like the real Elvis.

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

But over the years, it became obvious that the fans liked the ETAs. So, in 2009, Graceland changed its tune and started the Ultimate Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis during Elvis Week. It is now an extremely popular, so I’m not complaining. But it and the auction prove if somebody is making a profit off Elvis, EPE will move in and get their share.

 

© 2014 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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