Category Archives: ELVIS and OTHER SINGERS

Fats Domino and Elvis

Fats Domino and Elvis Presley at Table

As you know by now, Antoine “Fats” Domino has passed away due to natural causes at age 89. I won’t repeat all biography and statistical facts you have seen on TV and other websites. Let me just say he was one of the greatest early rock and rollers, and I grew up with his music. I bought his 45s and danced to his songs at parties and sock hops at school. I have 53 Fats Domino songs on my playlist and will listen to them while I write this blog post. I’m going to hear every one of those songs today and appreciate again just how great he was.

 

Now, about Fats Domino and Elvis Presley.

Rock-Hall-Inaugural-Induction

You probably know they were both Charter members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, inducted together in the first class in 1986. We lost Chuck Berry in March this year, and now Fats Domino. Hang in there Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. I really don’t look forward to writing one of these posts about either of you, but let’s face it, it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 1986 Inductees

 

Elvis was a big fan of Fats Domino and had great respect for him. On more than one occasion, Elvis called Fats the real king of rock and roll.

 

Fats Domino and Elvis Presley

It appears that their friendship flourished because they got together when they both were working at the same times in Las Vegas. The picture above was taken around 12.30am on August 1, 1969 at a press conference for Elvis’ return to live performing at the International Hotel.

Las Vegas Press Conference

 

In a June 2004 interview, Fats Domino had this to say about Elvis’ return to Las Vegas:

“[I] first met Elvis Presley in Las Vegas. When I was playing at the Flamingo Hotel. I went to his room and played for him. He used to call me ‘Mr. Blueberry Hill.’ I remember him telling me, ‘You know, Fats, I’m opening up tomorrow, but when I first came here I flopped.’

“But after he got back there, it was all gold… and every night it was sold out. Boy, he could sing. He could sing spirituals, country and western, everything he sang I liked.

“Elvis Presley did a lot before he passed. He made movies, he was traveling, everything. I don’t see how he did it; you’d have to stay up day and night.”

 

Fats Domino and Elvis in color

When a reporter at this press conference referred to Elvis as the ‘King of Rock ’n’ Roll’, he rejected the title, as he always did, calling attention to the presence in the room of his friend Fats Domino, calling him “one of my influences from way back. No one could sing those songs like he did.”

 

[My wife just yelled at me to turn it down. When “I’m Ready” came on, I cranked it up. I just love that song.]

 

Fats Domino had a long-time collaboration with Dave Bartholomew, a song writer/bandleader/producer who is also in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the same category as Sam Phillips. His son Don Bartholomew once said:

“The way Fats sang was all original… It’s hard to copy, but if you listen to some of Elvis’ records, where words are kind of shortened — that’s from Fats, I think. Elvis often commented that Fats and Dave were making Rock n’ Roll music before the term was ever coined.”

 

Elvis Talking on Stage

Elvis was famous for clowning around on stage, especially during his introductions of the band members. On February 23, 1970, he introduced his guitar player James Burton as Chuck Berry, piano player Glenn D. Harding as Steve Allen, and his band conductor Joe Cuercio as Leonard Bernstein. Then, Elvis said, “I used to be known as Fats Domino… until I lost weight.”

 

[My wife is yelling at me again. “The Fat Man” is another song I like loud.]

The Fat Man by Fats Domino

Speaking of “The Fat Man,” it was Fats Domino’s first record release in 1949. Many rock historians consider it to be the first rock and roll record. Nearly seventy years later, it sure holds up well.

 

Now I would like to tell a personal story about the time I got up close and personal with Fats Domino. The company I worked for held a huge convention in one of the big New Orleans hotels in the late 80s. The last night of the convention, we threw a big party in the ballroom, and to everybody’s delight, our entertainment for the night was Fats Domino and his band.

Fats Domino and the Band

This photo looks very much like the set-up that night. The stage was only about twenty inches high. There were no seats in front of it, just dance floor. So all us big Fats Domino fans could stand in front of the velvet ropes barely four feet away from him. He played for about two hours and did dozens of his hits.

It was an awesome night, and there are some things that still live in my memory all these years later.

The band had four, yes four, sax players. Their contribution to the music was much greater in concert than on the records. They really wailed.

The drummer was either on drugs or drunk, or both, because he fell off his stool right in the middle of a song. He was out cold, so a bald white guy sat in for the rest of the show. I think he was Fats’ road manager or something, and he did a passable job.

The unannounced opening act was another New Orleans resident and performer named Clarence “Frogman” Henry. If you are old enough you will remember his hits “Ain’t Got No Home,” and “Troubles, Troubles.”

A middle-aged black groupie somehow worked her way through the crowd and up to the stage. She had her eye on Fats big time. She had orange-colored hair piled on her head, heavy eye make-up, bright red lipstick, tons of jewelry, and lots of cleavage showing. It was pretty obvious she wasn’t associated with our convention, and pretty soon, the security guys assisted her out of the ballroom.

Fats was impeccably dressed that night. His suit looked like it was made out of sharkskin. It absolutely shimmered. Very classy.

He wore several huge rings on the fingers of both hands.

Fats Domino Wearing Lots of Rings

 

Fats Domino was in the news when Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans’ Ninth Ward where he lived. Somehow, a rumor came out that he had died. Look what somebody painted on his home.

R.I.P. Fats Domino

That message was premature back then, but unfortunately, now it is true.

 

Fats Domino at the Piano

 

Good bye Fats Domino. You certainly will be missed. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

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

 

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Glen Campbell and Elvis

Elvis and Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell died yesterday, August 8, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81.

Elvis and Glen Campbell had been friends for over a decade before Campbell became a star in 1967 with songs like “Gentle on my Mind,” and “By the Time I get to Phoenix.”

Glen Campbell first met Elvis on April 12, 1956 when Elvis performed at the Armory in Albuquerque, NM.

Elvis in Albuquerque

Campbell later recalled, “I saw him in the rough. He was so electrifying.”

They remained friends over the years. When Campbell moved to Los Angeles in 1960, he started playing at a little club called the Crossbow. They had a private room upstairs seating 15 to 20 people, and Elvis would bring the guys and watch Campbell perform.

In 1963, Glen Campbell was in the group of studio musicians that backed Elvis on the soundtrack songs for Viva Las Vegas.

Elvis Presley, Red West, Glen Campbell at George Klein's wedding, 1970

Elvis Presley, Red West, and Glen Campbell at George Klein’s wedding, 1970

 

There is a video on YouTube where Campbell tells a wonderful story about Elvis. In March 1975, Campbell had just finished a run at the Las Vegas Hilton. Elvis was the next headliner, so Campbell stayed around to catch his first show. With Campbell sitting in the audience, Elvis said:

“I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine. He just closed here last night…and he should have. I’m only kidding‘, ladies and gentlemen, he’s one of the finest voices around. He plays a fair guitar, his hair never moves, Jack, no matter what he does. Naw, he’s a great friend, Glen Campbell.”

The good natured ribbing continued:

Elvis — Hey, Campbell. I understand you’re trying to do me on stage.

Glen — I am doing you. (Audience laughs)

Elvis — If you don’t stop doing me, me and the boys will sit in the front row and read newspapers during your show.

Glen — If I’m going to do you in the future, I’m gonna have to gain some weight.

With that line, the audience booed Glen Campbell. He and Elvis got together later and had a good laugh about it. Elvis gave him some good-natured grief: “You smart ass.”

 

Glen Campbell Wearing Elvis Jumpsuit - 1975

This is Glen Campbell wearing a jump suit and “doing Elvis” in 1975.

 

Good bye, Glen Campbell. 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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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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Concerts at the Graceland Guest House Theater – Part 2

Concert in Graceland Guest House Theater

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

Joe Walsh at Guest House Theater 2

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

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

Gospel Weekend at the Guest House Theater

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

 

TG Sheppard and Kelly Lang

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

 

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

Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson Smiling and Elvis

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

Elvis Presley and Wanda Jackson April 15, 1956 San Antonio

April 15, 1956, San Antonio

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

Wanda Jackson and Elvis

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

 

Later Wanda Jackson

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

 

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

 

Wanda Jackson Concert Schedule

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

Wanda Jackson in 2014

 

 

 

Johnny Rivers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Elvis - Memphis Single

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

Johnny Rivers- Memphis Single

 

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

Johnny Rivers -- The Memphis Sun Recordings

 

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

 

Older Johnny Rivers

 

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

Johnny Rivers Appearances

 

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

 

 

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley

Yes, I know this is a Photoshopped photo

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

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

 

Million Dollar Quartet

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

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

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

 

Jerry Lee Lewis RockHall of Fame Photo

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

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

Jerry Lee Lewis New Years Eve 2016

Jerry Lee Lewis New Years Eve 2016

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

Jerry Lee Lewis On Stage - May 4, 2013

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

 

Nesbit, Missippi

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

Vernon and Gladys Suite

 

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

 

Jerry Lee Lewis is a Rock and Roll legend.

Come on EPE. Bring him to Graceland.

 

Older Jerry Lee Lewis

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

 

 

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Concerts at the Graceland Guest House Theater — Part 1

Joe Walsh at Guest House Theater

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

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

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

Price for Joe Walsh at Graceland Guest House Theater

WHAT???

 

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

Joe Walsh Graceland Package Includes

 

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

Graceland Guest House Two Bed Basic Room

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

 

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

 

Elvis Entourage VIP Tour

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

 

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

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

 

How ya Doin' Steve

 

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

 

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

Joe Walsh Concerts

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

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

 

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

Guesthouse at Graceland Theater

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

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

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

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

Guitar shop talk, slide guitar 101.

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

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

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

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

BUT… is it worth $3,600?

 

Unmatched Luxury at Graceland Guest House

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

Graceland Guest House Founders Room

Graceland Guest House Lobby-3

Graceland Guest House Ballroom

 

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

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

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

Graceland RV Park & Campground

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

 

Computers are from Hell

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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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.

 

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 and David Bowie

David Bowie and Elvis

David Bowie passed away yesterday at age 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Back in 2009, I read that Bowie and Elvis shared the same birthday – January 8.  So, I Googled both names together to see if there were any other connections.  What came up was a website called The Ziggy Stardust Companion.  They listed a number of things connecting Elvis and David Bowie, and I decided to do an ElvisBlog article commenting on their points.  That article is reprinted below.

 

Elvisblog strives to bring you articles you won’t find on any other Elvis websites or blogs.  Certainly, that is accomplished with this topic discussing a connection between Elvis and David Bowie.  That can’t be possible, you say.  Well, there is one website that thinks there is a case to be made.  According to The Ziggy Stardust Companion, “David Bowie and Elvis Presley have many similarities, and Presley also served as inspiration for some aspects of the Ziggy Stardust phenomenon.”

For those of you who don’t know, Ziggy Stardust was a stage persona David Bowie assumed during concerts in the 70s.  I linked to the Ziggy website from Google Images, where I found this picture:

         

               

This is both sides of a 45RPM record (inside the paper sleeve) that RCA released in Thailand in the mid-70s.  “Space Oddity” was Bowie’s first hit, reaching #15 in the US, and who knows why RCA didn’t just use the original “B” side for its Thailand release.  Instead, they picked “Fool,” which was already an obscure Elvis “B” side on “Steamroller Blues,” his #17 hit in 1973. 

Elvis recorded with RCA from 1956 to 1977, and David Bowie was with RCA from 1973 to 1980.  Besides recording for the same company, here are some of the other similarities between Bowie and Elvis as stated on “The Ziggy Stardust Companion.”

They share the same birthday.  Elvis was born on January 8, 1935, and David Bowie was born on January 8, 1947.  This is an easily verified connection between the two performers.

Elvis and Bowie experimented and got into trouble with their hair styles in high school.  Well, we know Elvis wore his hair differently than his classmates, and if Bowie’s later preference in hair styles is any indication, he was a rebel in high school, too.

         

              

Bowie says that he first discovered the power of music when he saw his cousin get up and dance to Elvis’ “Hound Dog.”  Excuse me, but this hardly seems like a major connection between Elvis and David Bowie.

Bowie had his clothes designer Freddi Burretti copy Elvis’ jumpsuits for Bowie’s own use at Ziggy Stardust concerts.  Well, “copy” would be a stretch.  Perhaps “inspire” might be a better word.  Bill Belew and Gene Doucett never designed anything for Elvis like these Bowie/Ziggy jumpsuits.

                              

Bowie’s manager – Tony DeFries – was a big fan of Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker and would quote from Parker’s book to anyone who would listen.  This is another pretty weak connection between Elvis and Bowie.  If it is true, I wonder if DeFries took a 50% cut of Bowie’s earnings, like the Colonel did with Elvis.

Tony DeFries used the announcement “David Bowie has left the building,” as was done for Elvis Presley concerts.  I have been unable to verify this, so I am skeptical.

The lightning bolt motif Bowie wore for the Aladdin Sane album cover was partly inspired by a ring that Elvis wore – which had a lightning bolt emblem along with the letters TCB.  Of course, Elvis was more famous for his TCB pendants than his ring, but that’s beside the point.  Do you really think Elvis’ lightning bolt inspired this?

         

                 

David Bowie was a big fan of Elvis.  At short notice, he crossed the Atlantic on a plane to attend an Elvis concert in New York in 1972, even though he had a strong fear of flying.  “The Ziggy Stardust Companion” printed this quote that Bowie made in 1996 concerning the Elvis concert he attended.

“[Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I’d gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set.”

As he looked out from the stage and saw this freaky-looking character take his seat up front, I’m sure Elvis thought to himself, “Man, I’ve got a lot in common with this guy.”

 

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    

 

Elvis-David Bowie Morphed

Elvis and David Bowie Morphed

One news report on Bowie’s death mentioned that he kept changing his appearance and personna and had several distinct successful careers.  In that reguard, he and Elvis had a direct parallel.  There was Elvis the young brash rocker in the 50s, Elvis the movie star in the 60s, and Elvis the record-breaking concert performer in the 70s.  I wonder why The Ziggy Stardust Companion missed that connection.

 

David Bowie in Costume

David Bowie was a unique entertainer.  He will be missed.  Goodbye David.  Say hi to Elvis for us.

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

 

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B.B. King and Elvis

BB King at 86

By now you surely know that blues legend B.B. King died last week at age 89. I did a lot of deep Google searching to find things connecting B.B. and Elvis, and I found a few to use in this post celebrating the blues master’s life and career. Most interesting were the quotes B.B King said about Elvis over the years, interspersed here between a few photos.

 

Elvis and BB King -2

An early photo of Elvis and B.B. King – occasion and place unknown.

 

“He used to come around and be around us a lot. There was a place we used to go and hang out at on Beale Street. People had little pawn shops there and a lot of us used to hang around in certain of these places, and this is where I met him.”

From: ELVIS – His Life from A to Z by Fred W. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius

 

 

Elvis, Claudia Ivy and BB King

Photo taken of Elvis, Claudia Ivy, and B.B. King at the WDIA Goodwill Review on December 7, 1956. Elvis and George Klein hung out backstage. Elvis made a brief emergence from behind the curtain, and received rousing applause from the audience. Also on the program were Ray Charles, the Moonglows, and Rufus Thomas.

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“When I first met Elvis, I didn’t think too much of Elvis Presley. I thought he was a handsome young man, but he wasn’t singing as he started to sing later. So I didn’t think too much about him – his guitar or his singing – at the time. But I thought he was a nice person – it wasn’t that I disliked him.”

From: http://www.pbs.org/americanrootsmusic

 

 

Elvis Wearing Jacket like BB Kings Jacket

Elvis must have like the plaid coat B.B. wore in the above photo. Check out the jacket Elvis wore on the day of his induction into the Army.

 

“Finally I heard him do some Arthur Big Boy Crudup. I heard him do some of those songs, and then I started to turn my head a little bit. That ain’t the same Elvis Presley that I been hearing. And he went on from there doing some other things that sound black to me. That’s when I started having respect, respect, respect. And he sorta earned it, earned that respect from me at that time.”

From: http://www.pbs.org/americanrootsmusic

 

 

Bobby Blue Bland and BB King

This is B.B. King in concert with Bobby Blue Bland, who got his start as B.B.’s limo driver. They were together back in 1999, the only time I ever saw B.B. perform.

BB King Concert Ticket

It was such a wonderful concert, even though B.B. performed while sitting on a chair for most of the show.

 

Bobby Blue Bland and Elvis

Elvis also had contact with Bobby Blue Bland back in the early days of their careers.

 

“I remember Elvis as a young man hanging around the Sun Studio. Even then, I knew this kid had a tremendous talent. He was a dynamic young boy. His phraseology, his way of looking at a song, was as unique as Sinatra’s. I was a tremendous fan, and had Elvis lived, there would have been no end to his inventiveness.”

From: http://www.elvis.net/whattheysay

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B.B. King's Blues Club, Memphis

This is B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis. During Elvis Week 2002, two fine ladies and I drank and danced there for hours. We closed the place down and then went to the Candlelight Vigil. My knees killed me the next day.

BB King's Blues-Club, Memphis

This isn’t the band we had that night, but you get the idea. The girls were from Japan and Canada, which illustrates a fact about Elvis Week. People come from all over, and it’s so easy to make new friends. Elvis fans are just good people.

 

B.B. King and Elvis Presley Welcome Center - Memphis

Here is an Elvis/B.B. connection you may not be aware of. The white sign says “B.B. King and Elvis Presley Welcome Center.” The huge mosaic egg says, “MEMPHIS – Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.”

B. B. King and Elvis Presley Welcome Center Map

If you’ve got enough time during your next visit to Memphis, you can check it out. While you are down on the banks of the Mississippi, be sure to take in Mud Island Park, too.

 

“Finally I had a chance to meet him and I found out that he really was something else. He started to be more and more and more. And he was still like that to me, Elvis was, until he died. As far as I was concerned, he was growing all the time.”

From: http://www.pbs.org/americanrootsmusic

 

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Elvis and B.B. King

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“He was unique. And he loved the blues, it’s a pity he didn’t do more.”

From: http://www.elvis.net/whattheysay

 

 

B.B. King

 

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

 

 

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

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Happy 10th Birthday ElvisBlog


Happy 10th Birthday Banner

I don’t know exactly when blogs got started, but I read an article in late 2004 about how popular they had become.  So, I thought I’d like to check out whatever Elvis blogs there were out there.  Guess what? There were none.

Then I looked into it and found out how to set one up.  I bought the URL www.elvisblog.net for $11, and on January 30, 2005, ElvisBlog was born.  To celebrate its 10th birthday, this post will be a retrospective of articles published on (or very close to) the anniversary date each of these ten years.

 

Year 1, The First Article:    Elvis Jukebox Rankings – 1/30/05:

Guess what is Elvis’ most successful record in terms of jukebox play?

According to the Amusement & Music Operators Association, it is HoundDog/Don’t Be Cruel from 1956, the 3rd biggest jukebox hit of all time.  This trade association of jukebox owners, operators, and suppliers compiled their list back in 1989 (100th anniversary of the jukebox).  They updated it again in 1996, and there were no changes in the top of the rankings.

So,Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel seems to be permanently locked into the #3 position.  It’s no surprise that this double-sided hit got the most play of all the Elvis records featured on jukeboxes.  Hound Dog stayed at the top of the record charts for twelve weeks, and then Don’t Be Cruel took over the next week.   That’s a long run of popularity during an age when jukeboxes were really big.

What two songs could possibly beat Elvis?  #2 is the 1979 Bob Seger hit. Old Time Rock & Roll, no doubt helped by Tom Cruise singing it in his underwear in the movie, “Risky Business.”  #1 is Crazy by Patsy Cline.  That song came out in 1962, but I’ll bet you can still find it on some jukeboxes in 2005.  Talk about staying power.  Elvis’ next best finish in the jukebox rankings is All Shook Up at #38.  Seems like it should be higher.

(Editor’s note: This premier ElvisBlog article racked up a grand total of six hits during the entire first month of the blog’s history.)

 

1st Birthday:    OK, I Finally Visited Elvis-A-Rama — February 5, 2006

Elvis-A-Rama

Thanks to my company’s annual trade show in Las Vegas, I finally got to see ELVIS-A-RAMA.  None too soon, either.  The museum will shut down for good on August 15 this year.  Do you think there’s any significance that the death of ELVIS-A-RAMA will come one day before the anniversary of Elvis’ death?  The good news is that the memorabilia will not be permanently lost to us fans.  It will be sent to Memphis, added to the extensive EPE collection, and ultimately will be part of Elvis-themed attractions in Las Vegas and other major cities.

 Elvis-A Rama Jumpsuits

I’m glad I took in ELVIS-A-RAMA, and I got my money’s worth for the $13 admission cost.  Visitors with only a casual interest in Elvis could probably blow through the exhibits in 30 minutes, but I stayed there for over two hours.  The 4 cars, 3 rings, 9 pendants, 4 guitars, 9 layman badges, 4 guns, 2 jumpsuits, and dozens of other clothes items catch every visitor’s eyes.  Plus, there were brass plaques that gave the history of nearly every significant item.

Elvis-A-Rama Wall Mural

Some folks barely noticed the wall covered with every Elvis 45 and album released during his lifetime.  Not me.  I loved the year-by-year approach, each with a plaque telling that year’s highlights in record rankings and sales figures.  Below the plaques were the releases.  I learned that Elvis’ five Sun Records singles came with printed picture sleeves.  I had never seen them before.

Blue Suede Shoes at Elvis-A-Rama 

I spent a lot of time with all the paper documents contained in eleven, tall, freestanding, two-sided display panels.  There were tickets, contracts, letters, receipts, photos and all kinds of other stuff.  I took time to read all the descriptive plaques and really studied the items on display.  Now I know that Elvis’ phone bill for the entire month of May 1963 was only $6.84, for example.  I do have one complaint.  Each side of the displays had three framed sections.  The top one was a little high for comfortable reading.  The middle one was perfect, but the bottom one was only 6 inches off the ground.  My knees were so sore after squatting up-and-down to read everything.  Several times I wished I had a flashlight, because it was tough to read the plaques when they were at the very bottom.

Elvis-A-Rama Elvis Bentley

The sources for much of the museum’s collection were revealed in the various plaques.  As mentioned in a previous Elvisbog article, some key items came form Jimmy Velvet.  Norman Taurog, who directed eight Elvis movies, provided much of the movie memorabilia.  A lot of Elvis’ personal items were purchased from Trish Henley, who was his nurse for eleven years and lived behind Graceland with husband, a guard for the mansion.

Elvis-A-Rama Elvis Pistol

Of course, there is a gift shop as part of the ELVIS-A-RAMA experience, but it’s pretty cool.  In addition to the usual coffee mugs, pocketbooks, and T-shirts, there is actual memorabilia for sale.  One of the most expensive was a shirt owned by Elvis going for $4,000.  The price includes two 1973 photos of him wearing the shirt.  I was impressed with the presentation of a ticket from Elvis’ 1956 concert in Tupelo ($1.50 face value).   For $99 you can buy it in a large framed and matted collection of photos and other mementos of the event.  A similar framed presentation was used to offer a set of five Sun Records colored-vinyl 45’s.  It is an impressive sight, but the price was $875.  That seems pretty steep for bootlegs.

Red Vinyl Elvis Sun 45

All in all, I’m glad I finally got to visit ELVIS-A-RAMA.  If you travel to Las Vegas in the next seven months, be sure to see it.

(Editor’s note:  All these pictures were just added.  ElvisBlog didn’t post photos back in 2006)

 

2nd Birthday:   Visitors to Graceland — January 28, 2007

In addition to politicians and TV stars, the list of famous visitors to Graceland includes movie stars, sports figures, models, country singers, pop music singers, and rock groups – lots of rock groups.  It seems like every music act that ever performed in Memphis also made a visit to the home of Elvis Presley.  I was especially impressed with all the heavy metal bands that came to Graceland.  You know that the music of groups like Ratt and Poison is about as far from “Hound Dog” or “Suspicious Minds” as you can get, but they still paid their respects to rock music’s seminal pioneer.  Here’s some of the bigger names in heavy metal music that checked out the Jungle Room and the rest of Graceland:

Metallica

Metallica
Judas Priest
Motley Crue
Kiss
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (Led Zepellin)
Axl Rose (Guns and Roses)

And check out this line-up of classic rock bands who made the pilgrimage to Elvis’ home:

Aerosmith

Aerosmith
Bad Company
Bon Jovi
Cheap Trick
Crosby, Stills, & Nash
Doobie Brothers
Duran, Duran
Van Halen
38 Special
Styx
Keith Richards & Ronnie Woods (Rolling Stones)
REO Speedwagon
Pink Floyd
Tom Petty
Moody Blues
Meat Loaf
Journey
Don Henley (Eagles)
John Fogerty (Credence Clearwater Revival)
Fleetwood Mac

Bruce Springsteen is listed just like everybody else on the list, but his visit to Graceland has an interesting story.  He jumped the fence and tried to get into the house before the security guards escorted him off the premises.  This was back in 1976, just after Springsteen had blasted to the top of the music scene.  His picture had recently appeared on the covers of both Time and Newsweek.   Memphis was a stop on his Born To Run tour, and after the concert, Springsteen took a cab to Graceland.  He noticed a light on up at the house, so he climbed the wall and ran up to the front door.  When security nabbed him, he asked, “Is Elvis home?”  They informed him Elvis was in Lake Tahoe (true).  Springsteen tried to explain who he was, but the guards apparently hadn’t heard of him yet.

Bruce Springsteen and flashing Born to Run Elvis Button 1975

If Bruce Springsteen ever decides to visit Graceland again, it’s a good bet the security guys will recognize him.

(Editor’s note: Portions of the original article have been deleted because of links to URLs that no longer work.  Also, the photos have just been added.)

 

3rd Birthday:   Fun with Elvis on Photoshop — February 3, 2008

Now that I’m retired, I spend even more time on the Internet searching for Elvis stuff.  Not just the big Elvis sites that come up on the first two Google search pages.  What I really like to find are sites where Elvis isn’t the whole deal – other kinds of sites that happen to contain some obscure Elvis content.  You find strange and wonderful stuff that way.

Like altered photos of Elvis.  I guess these are done on Photoshop or something similar, and some of them are so clever.  Like this one where Elvis looks like an Arab.  It’s pretty dark, but you can see that somebody did a great job of putting Elvis’ face inside that headdress.

image

For the past two years, every time I find a really good one of these altered Elvis photos, I copy it to a file.  There’s enough in there now to do a couple of blog articles.  Here’s another picture with a different twist.  In my photo file, I label it Melting Elvis, and you can see why.

image

Another way of doing this is to put someone else’s face on Elvis body.  Bill Clinton is a natural for this, because his election staff in 1992 called him Elvis.  Here’s what he looks like in a jumpsuit.

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While we are on Presidents, here are Bush’s that served before and after Clinton.

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Of the three presidents, I think Clinton looks the best, probably because he’s wearing a jumpsuit.  However, there is one other president who gets my prize for the best President in a jumpsuit.  Does Ronald Reagan look cool, or what?

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Here’s one more of Reagan, but on this one he’s doing the Richard Nixon thing, and George W gets to be Elvis.  How do people come up with these ideas?

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I wish the quality on this next one were a little better, because the concept is great:  Elvis in a gift box.  I sent e-mail birthday greetings to two female friends and asked them how they would like to open up that present.

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Did you ever wonder what Elvis might have looked like if he had been born twenty or thirty years later and sang heavy metal Rock & Roll?  Here’s your answer.

image

I labeled the next one “Shiny Elvis” for obvious reasons.  If I knew anything about Photoshop, I put some clever phrase in that bottom right turned-up corner and send it out to my Elvis friends.

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I wish I had kept track of where I found all these photos.  Talented folks made artful creations and should be credited.  The best I can do is say thanks to all of them for having fun with Elvis while still respecting his legacy.  Well, with the possible exception of this last one.

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(Editor’s note:  Photos became a regular part of ElvisBlog posts in 2008)

 

4th Birthday:   Elvis and Buddy Holly, February 1, 2009

Tuesday, February 3 will be the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. This story will be covered thoroughly by all the entertainment media, so I won’t repeat it here. What I want to look at is the connection between Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley.

Young Buddy Holly was a nineteen-year-old aspiring musician in Lubbock Texas when he first met Elvis in 1955. Buddy and his friend Bob Montgomery opened the show as Buddy and Bob, before Elvis came out and took over.

Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery Looking at Elvis

Buddy Holly also opened for Elvis later in 1955 at the Fair Park Coliseum.

Here is an interesting legend to come out of these meetings, according to Elvis – His Life from A to Z by Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius:

“According to legend, Elvis told Holly and Montgomery that if they came down to the ‘Louisiana Hayride,’ he’d get them on the show, but when they did show up, Horace Logan [ed. note: station manager at KWKH, which produced the Louisiana Hayride] turned them away, and Elvis wasn’t there.”

In spite of this, Holly has been quoted, “Without Elvis, none of us would have made it.

  

Here’s a little-known nugget. Elvis’ band, Scottie Moore, Bill Black and DJ Fontana, caused almost all West Texas Rockabilly bands to change their style, including the Crickets playing behind Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison’s band.

Elvis and Buddy Holly must have liked a lot of the same songs, because they both recorded these songs by other popular singers:

Good Rockin’ Tonight (Roy Hamilton)
Reddy Teddy (Little Richard)
Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins)
Shake, Rattle and Roll (Joe Turner / Bill Haley)
Rip It Up (Little Richard)

Elvis never recorded any songs released by Buddy Holly, and Holly never recorded any Elvis songs except one. He once said, “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” was his favorite Elvis song. He recorded it as a demo during a visit to a radio station in 1956. To my knowledge, it was never released during his life.

After his death, all sort of rare Buddy Holly music was released. Because Holly’s career was cut so short, the total number of songs he recorded was much less than Elvis accumulated. But that didn’t prevent historians and record producers from finding every scrap of tape with Holly playing and singing on them. Then they put out albums like this. He was the undisputed king of the lost-basement-tapes, until they started digging for Jimi Hendrix material a decade later..

It is generally known that Waylon Jennings was part of the Crickets on that fateful night fifty years ago. He was supposed to be on the charter plane with Holly, but gave up his seat to the Big Bopper. There are few photos of Jennings with Holly, but here is one:

There is one last Elvis and Buddy Holly connection. Both Elvis and Holly are charter members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1986, when the first ten inductees to the Hall were named, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly were chosen. Two rock icons, for sure.

 

Happy 10th Birthday Balloons 2

That concludes the first five articles from the archives to celebrate ElvisBlog‘s 10th birthday.   Next week we will look at the five articles that were posted at the time of ElvisBlog birthdays in 2010-2014.

 

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

 

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