Category Archives: CDs / RECORDS

Remembering DJ Fontana

DJ Fontana at center of Band

Perhaps you do the same thing I do when musicians we love pass away. Last year when Tom Petty and Chuck Berry died, I pulled out old albums and CDs and listened to their music as a way to connect with them and commemorate their impact on me.

But when DJ Fontana died two days ago, it didn’t seem as satisfying to listen to Elvis songs. I wanted something unique to DJ. Then I remembered I had his book.

DJ Fontana book - The Beat Behind the King

 

Although I had read it when it came out in 2002, I sat down and read it again. I was wonderful. Everyone who has met DJ knows he is a down-home good ole boy, and his personality shines through the words.

DJ Fontana at Drums

 

But there was a special bonus in DJ’s book. It contained a CD titled “Life on the Road,” and for some reason, I had never listened to it before.

 

DJ Fontana - Life on the Road CD

Well, I plopped that thing into the player and was mesmerized for the next 23 minutes. It was like DJ and I were sitting together at a bar, and he was telling all these wonderful old stories. Now, I’m going to miss him even more.

I’m not sure, but I suspect that the audio on this CD was the taped interview that publisher Darwin Lamm used to write the book chapter also titled “Life on the Road.” Of course, some language was cleaned up and some other editing changed things a bit. There were also short stories that ended up in the chapters titled “Recording with Elvis” and “68 Special.”

 

DJ Played with 20 Singers

Tributes to DJ Fontana are all over the web now, and I would like to offer you something different than the same stuff you’ve already read. For example, DJ was a much in-demand session musician in his career after Elvis. This page from his book lists twenty artists he has played or recorded with.

 

DJ Played with 19 more Singers

Here are nineteen more. And you could add a few more that came along after 2002. I’m not sure why mostly pictures of Elvis were used on these two pages. There are plenty of other photos in the book, half or even full page shots, and DJ is in most of them.

 

DJ in Lederhosen - G.I. Blues

Bet you won’t see this picture in any other tribute to DJ. It was taken on the set of G.I. Blues. All the guys playing in the band in the German bar were dressed in lederhosen. DJ tells a story in the book about how he had to allow make-up to be put on his knees “to give them a bit of color.’

DJ appeared in three other Elvis movies: Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, and King Creole.

DJ's Solo Scene in Loving You

This is DJ’s solo scene in Loving You where he comes out of a high school after a spring hop and removes the sign that announced the performance they just finished.

 

DJ-Fontana-and-Karen-Arrive-on-the-Red-Carpet-at-Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Fame-Inductions

This is DJ and wife Karen walking on the red carpet to his 2009 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Bill Black was also voted in posthumously.

DJ Fontana, Nancy Shockley & Louis Black at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

This is DJ accepting his statuette. Beside him are Bill Black’s children, Nancy and Louis. At the far right is Max Weinburg, the drummer in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, who inducted DJ. Weinburg had campaigned for years to get DJ inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Max Weinburg Article in Elvis the Magazine

Max Weinburg Article in Elvis the Magazine

 

Phil Arnold, Joe Esposito & DJ Fontana

This is a picture of me standing behind Joe Esposito and DJ Fontana at Elvis Week 2007. I was supposedly doing security detail (making sure nobody pushed in line or stole the books they were selling and signing), but all the fans were well behaved and it was just fun for me. I met Al Wertheimer a few minutes after this picture was snapped.

DJ Signing Books at Elvis Week 2007

This is a shot from behind the table. DJ signed a lot of books that day. Everybody loved DJ.

 

I’d like to close with words from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as they remembered DJ:

Drummer DJ Fontana was a rockabilly icon and the indispensable pulse at the center of Elvis Presley’s songs. For fourteen years he played alongside of Elvis as part of the band. Together they recorded hundreds of songs and blew audiences away with rollicking, fun-loving, informal jams.

 

 

DJ Looking Spiffy at Elvis Week 2007

 

Goodbye DJ. We’ll miss you. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

© 2018 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 Collectibles that Failed to Sell in 1999 Get a Second Chance

Catelog - The Archives of Graceland Auction 1999

This is the 296-page catalog of the 1999 Archives of Graceland auction. It was held in the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, and the auction lots were open for public viewing for ten days. Admission was $5, or you could buy the catalog for $40 and get in free. I happened to be in Las Vegas at that time for a convention, and I gladly forked out the $5 to spend three hours looking at all the Elvis goodies while my wife played the slots. Years later I bought the catalog for a much reduced price from a vendor at Elvis Week.

Poster for the Archives of Graceland Auction

This is a very rare hotel poster (covered in plastic) announcing the Archives of Graceland auction. It probably has some collectible value of its own now.

It appears that not everything at this auction sold, and now they are back nineteen years later at the January 6, 2018 Auction at Graceland.

The Auction at Graceland Jan 6, 2018

I guess these items have been in storage in the Graceland archives all this time. But, with all the expanded exhibit space now at the Elvis the Entertainer Career Museum and five other exhibits at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, you’d think they would hang on to these items. However, they are for sale at auction again, and we will take a look at most of these repeat items. It’s interesting to compare the original 1999 estimates with those for 2018. Because the current estimates are all lower, we can assume the items were over-evaluated the first time, and nobody would pay that much for them.

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Love Me Tender 16mm Film and Acetates of Movie Songs:

Elvis Presley 16mm Film of Love Me Tender and Acetate

This is Elvis’ personal copy of the film in three metal reels and the original brown-strapped shipping case. The smaller case contains his personal acetates of the four songs in the soundtrack: “We’re Gonna Move,” “Love Me Tender,” “Poor Boy,” and “Let Me.” There were actually three versions of the title track “Love Me Tender.”

Address Label 16mm Film of Love Me Tender and Acetate

Back in 1999, the estimate was $5,000-7,000. Now it is just $1,500-2,500. But what if one of those unused versions of “Love Me Tender” is substantially different and has not already been released? It could be licensed for enough to cover the cost of the whole lot.

There are three other lots containing film reels and song acetates that also carried over from the 1999 auction: G.I. Blues, Kid Gallahad, and Live A Little, Love A Little. Their original estimates were less than Love Me Tender, but today they are the same. It seems unlikely that they will bring in as much as Elvis’ first film.

 

Original Screen Door from Graceland:

Original Screen Door from Gracelsnd

Can you believe it? I guess they figure anything related to Elvis has appeal to collectors, including this screen door from the back entrance to Graceland. It has presumably been in storage since 1967 when Elvis replaced with an ironwork door (still there today).

Back in 1999, the estimate was $3,000-4,000, but today it is $1,500 – $2,500. Sorry, if I had that kind of money to spend on Elvis collectibles, I’d get something besides a screen door.

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Elvis Presley’s Personal Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs - Front

This desk came from Elvis’ home in Palm Springs, not Graceland. Because the Colonel and others took care of all his business dealings, Elvis actually used it for little more than reading or to review his concert arrangements. The desk is 7-1/2 feet long and is an impressive-looking piece of furniture – angular kidney-shaped wooden desk with burl wood trim and brass handles.

Elvis Presley’s Personal Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs

Back in 1999, the estimate was $40,000 – $50,000, but today it is $10,000 – $20,000. I think they will get it. If a photo of Elvis sitting at this desk ever surfaces, the value would go way up.

 

Elvis’ Portable Sauna:

Elvis Presley’s “Scandinavian Products” Portable Sauna

This is something I most remember seeing at the 1999 auction exhibit, and I thought it was pretty weird. In the 1970s, the Colonel purchased this steam spa for Elvis’ Chino Canyon, Palm Springs home.

Elvis Presley’s “Scandinavian Products” Portable Sauna - Open

Elvis used this spa to maintain his heath  because the advertised benefits included detoxification, stress relief, weight loss, and improving circulation.

Back in 1999, the estimate was $8,000 – $10,000, but today it is $3,000 – $5,000

 

Elvis Presley’s Personal Globe-Shaped Free-Standing Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Globe-Shaped Free-Standing Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home - Closed

 

In 1967 when Elvis and Priscilla moved to the two-acre, two-story home in the elegant Holmby Hills neighborhood of California, Elvis made sure to furnish his home with only the best stuff. Amenities included a soda fountain, a pool table, a projection room and this stately Italian-style Old World Globe Bar.

Elvis Presley’s Personal Globe-Shaped Free-Standing Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home

Of course, Elvis didn’t drink, and the inside doesn’t have much room to store anything, so my guess us that it was just a conversation piece. The globe/bar was put into storage in Los Angeles in 1975, and presumably has been stored away ever since.

Back in 1999, the estimate was $4,500-$5,000, but today it is $1,500 – $2,500. I think it will sell this time, possibly going for a good bit more than the estimate.

 

VCR from Elvis’ Bedroom:

Elvis Presley VCR from His Bedroom at Graceland

According to the auction website, “Not only was Elvis featured in many films, but he also thoroughly enjoyed watching movies. He often went to the theater as a young man and that habit continued into adulthood when he would rent out an entire theater to watch a film. As technology progressed and the video recording system became a popular format in the mid 1970s for home viewing, Elvis would watch his favorites in the comfort of his bedroom at Graceland.” with his own personal VCR player.

Elvis Presley VCR from His Bedroom - Controls

Elvis was passionate about technology and acquiring the latest and greatest, and this high-tech JVC model CR-6300U video player certainly was that at the time.

Back in 1999, the estimate was $4,000 – $6,000, and it is still pretty close today at $3,000 – $5,000.

 

Elvis Presley’s Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room:

Elvis Presley’s Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room

Although fans call it the Jungle Room today, Elvis referred to it as the den, and the auction website calls it the original man cave. However, during the 70s, the furnishings were not the ones we see in Graceland today. We can be thankful that all the original tiki-inspired furniture was saved and ultimately restored to its iconic domain.

The auction website says this rocking chair was a favorite of Elvis’ in his earlier rendition of the room. They acknowledge that a photo of the wrong chair ended up in the 1999 catalog.

Elvis Presley’s Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room

To my eye, this one looks way more like something from the Jungle Room than that spindly one above. But the one in the new picture is what’s for sale and the estimate is $10,000 – $15,000. Back in 1999 it was $20,000 – 30,000. Without a photo of Elvis sitting on it, I don’t think it will sell.

 

Elvis Presley Original Acetate of Beatles Songs “Hey Jude” and “Something”:

Elvis Presley Original Acetate of Beatles Songs “Hey Jude” and “Something”

In 1969 Elvis recorded The Beatles’ hit “Hey Jude” at the American Studio in Memphis. “Hey Jude” was released by The Beatles in 1968 and topped the charts in Britain and the U.S. and is often cited as one of the greatest songs of all time. Elvis’ rendition of “Hey Jude” was included on his 1972 album Elvis Now.

“Something” was another song written by George Harrison and released on the 1969 Beatles album Abbey Road. Elvis included the song during his third season at the Las Vegas International Hotel in August 1970, and performed it during his Aloha from Hawaii television special in 1973, so the song was included on the namesake album as well.

This rare acetate of Elvis singing both famous tunes is described on the auction website as a historic relic of incomparable significance. I don’t understand why it did not sell at the 1999 auction when the estimate was only $650 – $750. Contrary to everything else we have looked at in this post, the current estimate is even higher at $1,000 – $2,000. I predict it will sell at that or more.

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Signed Title to Elvis’ Circle G Ranch:

The background story of this deed is presented nicely on the auction website:

Elvis was an avid rider and purchased his first horse, Domino, as a Christmas gift for Priscilla. Elvis’ passion grew and soon the barn at Graceland was being cleaned to house the horses Elvis began to acquire. It was during a horse-buying excursion in Mississippi that Elvis spotted a 65-foot white cross overlooking a manmade lake on a beautiful piece of land. At the time, Elvis was reading a lot about spirituality, so the mystique of the property moved him enough to stop and knock on the owner’s door. Elvis didn’t even bother negotiating the price of “Twinkletown Farm” with the owner, Jack Adams, but proceeded to put down an initial payment of $5,000 against the total asking price of $437,000 for the house, cattle, farm equipment and 160 acres of land. Shortly after, Elvis moved nearly 40 horses to the property, eight trailers for his friends and family and spent $100,000 on vehicles for the ranch. Elvis renamed the farm “Circle G Ranch,” with the “G” for Graceland. Much time was spent by Elvis, Priscilla and his entourage at the ranch as it provided a getaway from the pressures of Hollywood and superstardom. Elvis had quickly spent a small fortune on the ranch and the cost of maintaining it became too much of a financial burden, so in May of 1969 Elvis sold the property for $440,000.

Elvis Presley Signed Title to His Circle G Ranch

So, the two-page title from Mid-South Title Company in Memphis, dated February 8, 1967 for the Circle G Ranch is back at auction. The title is signed in blue ink by Elvis.

The new estimate has an unusually wide range: $10,000 – $20,000. This puts it both above and below the 1999 estimate of $13,000 – 15,000. I don’t think they know what this signed deed will bring. I hope it goes high.

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1973 Tennessee Motorcycle License Plate:

Elvis Presley 1973 Tennessee Motorcycle License Plate

Elvis owned a lot of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in his life, and this license plate was on one of them. But the best the auction website can say about it is, “The plate may have been used on a custom-made Harley-Davidson that Elvis bought in 1971.”

What’s strange is that this plate is only one of four offered at the 1999 auction.

Elvis Presley License Plates

That set included two white Tennessee plates and a black one from California. The combination was expected to bring $10,000 – 12,000 in 1999. Now the green Tennessee motorcycle plate alone is estimated at just $1,000 – $1,500. It might bring that.

 

The Auction at Graceland January 6 2018

This is just a taste of the 271 Elvis items that will be auctioned on January 6 in Memphis during the Elvis Birthday Celebration. To see everything, click here.

 

© 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.

Organizing My Elvis Pictures – Part 2

Elvis Signing Something

I’m on the internet all the time looking for stuff to inspire an ElvisBlog post. Like a news item or a historical story, but often I will type something Elvis-related in the Google search box, and just check out the images that pop up. Surprisingly, I find some of the best pictures after scrolling down four or five pages where the images start to waver off your original search term. Like the picture above with Elvis writing something, or more likely, autographing a page for a fan.

I have a nice file of Elvis autographs compiled from dozens of auction results, but this photo didn’t seem right to file there. So, to save time when I discovered it, I just put it in my humongous master folder called Photos for Blog Articles.

Photos For Blog Articles File

Here you can see the first fourteen files in my blog photo folder. There are a total of 145 files with hundreds of sub-files. But there are also hundreds of individual pictures just in the folder, but not filed.

So, I will do this post about organizing some interesting ones into the proper files. Like the photo at the top. Believe it or not, that file is Elvis in the Army. The site where I found it said it was taken in Bad Nauheim, Germany.

 

Elvis in Thonburi, Thailand

The website information on this one said it was a giant Elvis billboard in Thonburi, Thailand. I had no idea where to file it. It just didn’t fit anywhere. So, I’m going to put it in Images, which is kind of a catch-all for interesting pictures of Elvis himself or his first name. Like this:

On Sun Record

Or this.

Elvis plus Guitar

 

Here’s one that’s pretty strange.

Born on January 8

It is kind of distressing to know that Kim Jong Un shares the same birthday as Elvis. I had no idea where to file this, but I’m now putting it in Elvis and Other Stars. David Bowie already has a sub-file in there.

Speaking of Kim Jong Un, did you know his father was a big Elvis fan?

Kim Jong Il in Elvis Jumpsuit

That’s Kim Jong Il in an Elvis jumpsuit. He’s filed in Elvis Impersonator Losers, a file with way too many crummy looking Elvis wannabies. Then I got curious about whether Kim Jong Un inherited the same genetic preference for Elvis.

Kim Jong Un as Elvis Presley

The best I could find was this Photoshopped image. I made two copies and filed one in Altered Elvis and the other in that loser file with his dad.

 

Elvis Presley's Memphis

Do you remember when EPE opened an Elvis-themed restaurant in the old building where the Lansky Bros. clothing store used to be? The restaurant folded after a few years, but Graceland still owned the name Elvis Presley’s Memphis and used it again when they opened the new entertainment complex this year. I have decided to file this picture under Lansky Bros.

 

Linda Thompson and Bruce Jenner

I don’t know why I didn’t immediately file this one in the Linda Thompson sub-file of the Elvis Girlfriends folder, but it’s in there now. How do you like the good-looking fellow Linda paired up with after Elvis? I think his name is Bruce, but I could be confused.

 

Elvis Bacon

This one is now in Products. It’s not a good fit, but where else can I file a piece of bacon that looks like Elvis? Somewhere in my master folder there’s a potato chip that looks like Elvis. And a cloud, too, I think. Maybe I can find them and start a folder called Stuff That Looks Like Elvis.

 

British Passport - Elvis Autograph on Page 32

This could have been put in the Autographs folder, but I didn’t initially do that because I thought I could use the interesting story about it in a blog post. Well, here it is. This is page 32 of the British Passport of Pauline Mary Harvey. Apparently, she met Elvis in 1963 and needed something for him to autograph. I believe the little picture of Elvis was pasted in later.

British Passport - Pauline Mary Harvey - 1963

 

I am sure you all have seen the photo of Elvis making a face while getting a shot. It’s filed in the Caption Contest folder.

Elvis Getting A Shot

This blood pressure picture will go in there, too, although it will be harder to come up with a funny caption.

Elvis Having Blood Pressure Taken

 

Woodstock From back of Stage

This doesn’t really belong in any Elvis folder because it is a shot of the crowd at Woodstock taken from the back of the stage. I saved it because I thought it was such a cool photo, but it will stay in limbo because I just don’t know where to file it.

 

Sketch of Elvis made by Jimi Hendrix in 1957 - 14 years old

Speaking of Woodstock, one of the best performers there, Jimi Hendrix, made this drawing of Elvis in 1957 when Hendrix was fourteen years old. Look hard and you can make out all the Elvis song titles he added. This picture is now filed in Elvis and Other Stars.

It hasn’t been widely reported that Elvis was an influence for Hendrix. What do you think?

 

24 Hour Church of Elvis

How about the 24 Hour Church of Elvis in Portland, Oregon? It just doesn’t fit in any folder category, so I put it in Odds and Ends, which is not much of an improvement over not filed at all.

 

Album of Elvis Novelty Songs

Here is a two CD set containing 25 Elvis novelty and tribute songs. You can buy it on Amazon right now for $12.99. I put it in Elvis Records even though it’s not one of his own.

 

Barbara Hearn Dancing With Elvis

I must have discovered this picture early in my days of collecting Elvis photos and wasn’t sure who the girl was that Elvis danced with. Now, I immediately recognize her as Barbara Hearn, because there are several other photos of her wearing this dress. So the photo has now been filed in the Barbara Hearn sub-file of the Elvis Girlfriends folder. Look what else I have in that file – One of the shortest but expressive love letters to Elvis you will ever see.

Barbara Hearn Dancing With Elvis

Elvis not only made the girls swoon, he made them sigh.

 

The last time I did a post about organizing my Elvis photos was back in June 2014.  Click here to check it out.

 

 

© 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.

 

Interesting Elvis Memorabilia – Part 37

The Auction at Graceland Sign

I have run out of ideas for different titles on these posts featuring Elvis collectibles, so I’m just going to number them from now on. Here are the titles for the memorabilia articles posted so far in 2017.

2017 Elvis Auctions

So, the 37th post in this series will feature items for the recent Elvis Week 2017 Auction at Graceland. The number of lots for bid increased to 309, so the items I find interesting will fill several posts.

 

1954 Elvis Presley Ceiling Hanger Advertisement:

 

1954 Elvis Presley Ceiling Hanger Advertisement

You have to be impressed when a hanging advertisement for an Elvis record sells for $2,000. This 14 inch diameter in-store promotion featured Elvis’ second single “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” released on September 25, 1954. The auction website calls it custom-made, so presumably Sun Records made just a few for the local record stores. This one came from Popular Tunes, a record store in Memphis where Elvis shopped and hung out. It is rumored that when he released a new song, Elvis would hide around the corner to watch people go in and buy his new record.

 

Signed 1953 Humes High School Yearbook:

Signed 1953 Humes High School Yearbook

Every year or two another one of these Humes High School yearbooks shows up at auction. Elvis must have autographed the books of nearly every girl in his graduating class, and his usual message was a variation of, “Best of luck to a cute girl,” as it is in this one. The auction website describes all the pages in the yearbook pertaining to Elvis:

Elvis is depicted in his senior class portrait wearing a suit jacket and tie with a curl of hair falling onto his forehead. He has listed his major as “Shop, History, English” and his activities as “R.O.T.C., Biology Club, English Club, History Club, and Speech Club. The yearbook is 112 pages and Elvis is also mentioned on page 30 in the class’ Last Will and Testament in Section 83: “Donald Williams, Raymond McCraig and Elvis Presley leave hoping there will be someone to take their places as ‘teachers’ pets.’” Elvis is also pictured on page 56, in the 5th period 12th grade English class photo, in the back row.

If you would like to see these pages, click here.

These yearbooks are always popular with bidders, and after 15 bids, the price on this went up to $4,250, about what they usually bring.

 

1957 Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Toppings Canisters from the Graceland TV Room:

Elvis Presley’s 1957 Soda Fountain Ice Cream Toppings Canisters from the Graceland TV Room

When Elvis bought Graceland in 1957, he started remodeling immediately. He hired an interior decorator and let him decide what to do with the place. But Elvis did ask for two specific things. He wanted the most beautiful bedroom in Memphis for his mother — and he wanted a soda fountain so his friends could come and sit and have soda. He installed the ice cream machine, along with the soda fountain and topping canisters, in the bar area of the basement TV Room downstairs.

There are six ceramic canisters. The taller ones are 9 inches tall and have a soda pump. The three toppings canisters are 6 inches tall and have a chrome lid with a serving spoon attached.  Two of the soda fountains are labeled “Coca Cola” and “Root Beer,” while two of the topping canisters are marked “Marshmallow” and “Strawberry.” Two labels are missing. The set stayed in Graceland until 1974 when Linda Thompson did the remodel.

Bidding was rather light on this, but it went for $4,000. If the new owner could find a photo of Elvis standing in front of it, the value would surely go up.

 

Two Reels of 8mm Film from 1959-62:

Two Reels of 8mm Film from 1959-62

I believe someone got a real steal on this. These two rolls of film had the ridiculously low starting bid of $500 and pre-auction estimate of $1,000-1,500. They sold for $3,750.

These very interesting reels of 8 mm film contain footage of Elvis Presley and his Graceland home over a number of years, plus Elvis on location for Follow that Dream in 1961. The total viewing time is almost 20 minutes, but there is no sound. The scenes include:

Elvis Playing Football in 1961
Elvis Playing Football in 1962
His 21st Birthday Party where he kisses half a dozen different girls on the cheek as they pose for still photos.
Miscellaneous scenes showing Graceland.
Elvis signing autographs on location for Follow That Dream in Aug. 1961.” The scene shows a crowd discovering Elvis at his hotel and surrounding him, and soon he diligently signs autographs.

Based on labels on the reels, it is assumed that Ms. Pam Drew of Chicago shot this film. It seems like she (and perhaps girlfriends) caught up with Elvis a few times and had the camera ready. It is uncertain whether this film was ever shared or distributed.

The reason I think the top bid was a steal is because of the possibilities all the screen grabs present for marketing. Those shots of Elvis kissing the girls at his birthday party should alone generate big bucks for licensing. Somebody could add narration and music and editing and turn the footage into a DVD. There were 32 bids on this film, making it all the more surprising it didn’t go for a larger sum.

 

1953 “Annual Minstrel” Talent Show Program at Humes High School:

1953 “Annual Minstrel” Talent Show Program at Humes High School -- Front

Well, you wouldn’t be allowed to put an image like this on a program for a high school variety show these days. Apparently, it was okay back on April 9, 1953. Elvis is the 16th act, listed as “Guitarist,” but the interesting thing is that his last name is spelled “Prestly.”

1953 “Annual Minstrel” Talent Show Program at Humes High School - Inside

The winning bid for this program was $2,125, about what the pre-auction estimate projected.

 

Necklace – Possibly Stage-Worn in 1957:

Elvis Presley Necklace - Possibly Stage-Worn in 1957

I’m not sure why the auction website was so cautious about saying Elvis wore this item. Although they didn’t have a Letter of Authenticity from J.D. Sumner, to whom Elvis gave the neckless (along with additional tokens given to him by fans). But, they did have a LOA from Mike Moon of The Elvis Museum. Sumner gave it to the museum in the 1970s. The pendant, contains Catholic symbols on a clover-shaped design on the front, and reads on the reverse, “I am Catholic, please call a priest.”

This photo was snapped prior to Elvis’ March 28, 1957 performance at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago where he wore his famous gold-leaf suit. The website says the pendant in the picture “is very possibly the exact pendant” in the auction. Bidders must have believed this, because they ran the final price up to $8,750.

 

Complete Set of Five Elvis Presley Sun Records 45 RPM Records:

Complete Set of Five Elvis Presley Sun Records 45 RPM Records

I agree with the auction website that most collectors have to build this collection piece by piece, so it was a rare occasion to have all five Elvis Sun singles available together. Twenty bids ran the price up to $8,750

The collection includes:

1954 Sun 209 “That’s All Right” / “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (Sample stamped in red on both sides)
1954 Sun 210 “Good Rockin’ Tonight” / “I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine”
1955 Sun 215 “Milkcow Blues Boogie” / “You’re A Heartbreaker”
1955 Sun 217 “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” / “Baby Let’s Play House”
1955 Sun 223 “Mystery Train” / “I Forgot to Remember to Forget.”

Can you make a guess which of these is the most difficult to acquire? The answer is Sun 215 “Milkcow Blues Boogie.” Four of the five records in this set are rated Very Good or better. # 217 has single crack through playing surface. You can bet the new owner of this set will still be looking for a better copy of “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.”

 

Historic January 25, 1956, Elvis Presley First Signed Document as an Adult – Certifying Earlier Agreements with Colonel Parker:

Historic January 25, 1956, Elvis Presley First Signed Document as an Adult - Certifying Earlier Agreements with Colonel Parker

Col. Tom Parker convinced Elvis and his parents to allow him to manage his career and had them all sign a contract in August 1955. Gladys and Vernon had to sign it because Elvis was just 20 years old and considered a minor. The Colonel obviously wanted something stronger, so when Elvis turned 21, Parker had Elvis sign another contract where he reaffirms his agreement to the earlier contract. It seems like Parker skipped using an attorney and composed it himself using his best legal-sounding language. He refers to himself as both “me” and Col. Thomas A Parker in the document. And when he refers to Elvis as an “infant,” he obviously meant “minor.” Have fun reading this attempt at legalese.

On this 25 day of January, 1956, before me personally appeared ELVIS PRESLEY, to me known to be the individual described in and who executed this instrument, and he duly acknowledged to me that on November 21, 1955, he entered into and signed certain management and representation agreements with Col. Thomas A. Parker, that said instruments were formerly signed and executed by him when he was still an infant under the age of 21 years, that he has since arrived at full age and is desirous of confirming the signing and execution of said agreements, and he now acknowledges that he does hereby confirm said agreements as and for his act and deed, for the purposes therein contained.

Of course the contract had a big effect on Elvis’ life. It also sold for $21,250 at this auction.

 

1956 Signed Copy of His First Album Elvis Presley:

Signed Elvis Presley Album

As far as I know, no autographed Elvis album has sold for as much as this one. The estimate of $5-10,000 seemed reasonable, but 37 bids rocketed the price up to $25,000.

What makes this album so special? The auction website says that signed copies of the Elvis Presley LP are few and far between. However, this one has an extra feature – a close connection to the inner workings of the Presley organization. The back cover has an inscription, “To Trude, A great little gal. Thanks and good luck, Elvis Presley.” This is Trude Forsher, Elvis and Colonel Parker’s west coast secretary and promotions coordinator from 1956-1961.

You may not know this fact about Elvis’ first album as explained on the auction website:

In 1956, “Heartbreak Hotel” was already a smash hit, and RCA wanted to capitalize on the heavy TV presence of its young star. So five songs RCA acquired from Sun Records when it bought Elvis’ contract were combined with seven RCA recordings to round out the album.

The front and back of the sleeve have separated from heavy use. The back of the sleeve has several areas of tape and tape residue, including one that affects “Trude” in the inscription. None of these distresses affect the Elvis signature. The bidders apparently didn’t care about this album cover not being in the best of shape. Although the photos show that the vinyl record is included, not one word was said about its condition.

 

Wraparound Sunglasses – Worn on the Set of Follow That Dream:

Elvis Presley's Wraparound Sunglasses – Worn on the Set of Follow That Dream

I know you have heard of Ray-Bans and Foster Grants, but how about Renauld sunglasses?

In the 1960s, Renauld of France created a stylish and futuristic wrap-around style sunglasses that were popular with celebrities and sport enthusiasts. The above “Sea & Ski Spectacular” model was touted as appearing to float on the face. The green lenses were guaranteed distortion-free and contained a special UV formula filter.

Elvis always wanted to be at the forefront of fashion, so it was important to him to have this latest hot item. The story of how Elvis got this pair is described in a letter from Elvis’ buddy Alan Fortas on the auction website:

“I was with Elvis during the filming of the movie Follow That Dream down in Ocala, Florida. Elvis has wanted a pair of these new wrap-around sunglasses that had just come out. He had me look in shops around town and I couldn’t find any. When Elvis wanted something he wanted it ‘NOW.’ There were hundreds of people around the set wanting autographs and just wanting to watch Elvis.

“Well, eagle eye Elvis saw someone in the crowd with a pair of the sunglasses that he wanted. He yelled at me and pointed to the person in the crowd and told me to go and ask him where he got them, and, if I had to, buy them from him. When Elvis gave you a task you followed it. Turned out the guy that was wearing them got them as a gift and he didn’t know where they came from. I said I’ll give you $50.00 for them. He said make it $100 and he’d sell them. That’s how Elvis finally got these sunglasses he had been wanting. He wore them constantly when we weren’t filming. Eventually Elvis got tired of these when he started wearing another style and gave these to me.”

The Renauld sunglasses went for $11,875, which is more than Elvis’ familiar EP design from the 70s bring at auction. There have been many of those, but this pair of Elvis shades is one of a kind.

 

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

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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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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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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.

 

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