Category Archives: ELVIS and OTHER SINGERS

Sorry, TCB Band — No Call from the RockHall, Again


On February 9, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame made an interesting announcement.  They will enshrine six rock backing-bands from the 50s and early 60s at the 2012 Induction Ceremony in April 4.  The bands will join all the previously announced bands and singers in this year’s class, the ones that survived a significant judging competition.

The funny thing is that these old bands got a pass straight into the RockHall.  No judging, just picked by committee.  I’m fine with their easy ride.  The more of these old rockers we can get in there the better.

That committee did have one criterion.  Each band had to play behind somebody already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The press release said, “[These] groups should be recognized along with the original lead singer inductee.”  This sounds like the powers behind the Hall of Fame realized an earlier mistake, and they are taking a move to fix it.  Good for them.

For example, Hank Ballard will no longer be considered a single performer.  From now on the name of the Inductee will be Hank Ballard and the Midnighters.

The other bands selected are:

Bill Haley and the Comets
Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps
Buddy Holly and the Crickets
James Brown and the Fabulous Flames
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

I’ll bet the Miracles and their fans have been hounding the hall since 1987, when it put Smokey Robinson without them.  That was wrong and stupid.  Congratulations to all the bands.  They deserved it.

So, I’m happy about what did happen, but I’m upset about what didn’t happen.  The TCB Band has again been ignored. (Ed. note:  Lead guitarist, James Burton was inducted in 2001in the relatively new “Sideman” category.)

ElvisBlog has frequently commented about how the Hall hasn’t inducted the other members of the band.  Scotty, Bill, and DJ from the Blue Moon Boys have all been in since 2010.   What is holding up recognition for the TCB guys?

Ronnie Tutt……….Drums
Glen Hardin………Keyboards
John Wilkinson….Ryhthm Guitar
Jerry Scheff……….Bass

These seasoned pros certainly belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  But, perhaps they didn’t fit the mold this time.  They weren’t a 50s/60s band.  And announcers at the performances didn’t regale the entrance of “Elvis and the TCB Band.’

So, it looks like Ronnie, Glen, John and Jerry will have to wait until the Hall adds 70s backing-bands.  Or maybe, the Hall could gain some sense and induct them as “Sidemen,” where they belong.  And do it soon.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved


Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Ferlin Husky and Elvis

We lost another of Elvis’ old musical buddies this week.  Ferlin Husky was a successful country singer based in Memphis who scored two huge cross-over pop hits “Gone” and “On the Wings of a Dove.”  He met Elvis in 1955 when the young swivel-hipped singer was added to several packaged tours throughout Mississippi and the south.


Poster for February 6, 1955 concert at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis (Husky's name is misspelled)

In addition to becoming Elvis’ friend, Ferlin Husky also got to know Presley's parents, Vernon and Gladys.   When Elvis was drafted in the late 1950s, he continued to correspond with Husky while serving with the U.S. Army in Germany.




Ferlin Husky, Elvis, Farron Young and Hawkshaw Hawkins backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, December 21, 1957 


On the occasion of Ferlin Husky’s death, it is appropriate to retell a story about him and Elvis’ passing.  In August of 1977, Husky had heart surgery in Minneapolis.  When he regained consciousness, he was read a list of the people who had left messages wishing him a speedy recovery.  One of these people was Vernon Presley.

Husky once recalled, “I don't remember the date of the surgery, but I will never forget date they took the stitches out. I was laying there on the table and there was small, black and white television monitor up on the wall. All of the sudden they flashed a news bulletin on the screen. Elvis had died. It was Aug. 16, 1977, the day I got the stitches out.”

“You don't know how I felt. He was a good friend and a good person. It really took something out of me.”


Early publicity photo of Ferlin Husky


Let us say good bye to Ferlin Husky with a happier quote he once made about Elvis.
“He was so eager to learn how to entertain an audience.  He'd watch everything I did.  How many people can say Elvis Presley opened shows for them?”


©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.


David Bowie and Elvis


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

Mini Elvis Blog


My thanks go out to Tygrrius, chief blogger honcho at for posting a guest article on ElvisBlog a few days ago.  It is the second time he's appeared here, but the last time we just swapped earlier blog articles from our sites.  Some day, when my wife's health problems are clearly in the past, I will have to pay Ty back.  I'm not into sci-fi the way he is, but the challange to come up with something appropriate for his blog will be fun.

On the news this morning, I heard that it is the 40th anniversary of the Beatle's Abbey Road album.   I have a few pictures in my Altered Elvis photoshop file, so now is a good time to share them with you.



Of course, you Beatle fans will remember that the boys walked from left to right the album cover.  So, this had to be an alternate shot that some Photoshop jockey found.  Of all the photos of Elvis to add to the scene, why did he pick this one in the ugly plaid coat?


This one obviously has nothing to do with Abbey Road, but it is interesting.  However, what kind of band has four guitar players and no drummer?


This is my favorite Elvis/Beatles picture.  Looks like John Lennon travelled to Germany to meet with Elvis and sing some tunes for him.  Very well done.

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie


I’ve never much cared for Michael Jackson, and I am certainly glad of one thing about him.  Decades ago, the media bestowed the title “King of Pop” on Jackson.  If the media had taken away Elvis’ title as the “King of Rock and Roll” and given it to Michael Jackson, I would have been very upset.  I hope the autopsy doesn’t reveal Jackson had a system full of prescription drugs when he died.  We can do without the endless comparisons to Elvis that would result.

I never figured on writing about Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson in ElvisBlog, so I never accumulated much about them in my files of possible story ideas.  However, with Jackson’s passing yesterday, it was time to dig up something to write.  Within minutes of hearing the news about Michael Jackson passing, I was on the computer gathering information for this article.

I was particularly pleased to find six photos of the happily married couple.  They were posted at 7:38 last night.  By midnight, ElvisBlog had more hits than on any day since Elvis Week, when interest is always high.  Google did a great job bringing people to the site.  Then, Lisa Marie made a public statement about Jackson’s death, and all the news and entertainment websites picked it up.  Now, ElvisBlog is way down the list of sites on the Google list about Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie.  Oh, well.

Here is Lisa’s statement:  “I am heartbroken for his children who I know were everything to him and for his family.  This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me.”  Words did not fail her during two appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show.  During the first one, Oprah asked her to describe her marriage to Jackson, and she replied, “Holy Mother of God.  It was insane.”  In 2005, Oprah asked, “Do you think he loved you?”  Lisa replied, “It’s hard for me to answer that question.  I don’t know the answer to that, to be honest with you.”  In answer to a follow up question, Lisa said Jackson loved her as much as he was capable of loving someone.  Lisa also confirmed to Oprah, “It was a consummated marriage.  Yeah, that’s all I have to say on it.”  However, ten years earlier on ABC’s Primetime Live, Diane Sawyer wondered about the same thing.  Lisa answered, “Do we have sex?   Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Acording to, Lisa first saw Michael Jackson when Elvis took her to a Jackson 5 concert in Las Vegas in 1975.  Supposedly, they met backstage.  When Lisa was sixteen, Michael asked Priscilla to meet him for dinner, and he was very insistent that she bring Lisa with her.  Priscilla thought Lisa was too young and said no.  Michael persisted, but Priscilla held her ground. Years later, Michael and Lisa were connected by a mutual friend.  They married on May 24, 1994, at the elegant Case de Campo resort in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  The couple kept their marriage secret for as long as they could.  On August 1, 1994 they finally confirmed the rumors and announced their marriage.  Lisa said, “I am very much in love with Michael.  I dedicate my life to being his wife.”

Seventeen months later, Lisa Marie filed for divorce.  It was finalized on August 20, 1996.

Michael Jackson’s life was pretty weird, and it spawned its share of jokes.  There are even a dozen Michael/Lisa jokes listed on  Most are pretty lame, but here are two better ones:

Q – What was Lisa Marie’s newlywed complaint about Michael Jackson?

A – He leaves the lid off the mascara, causing it to dry out.



Q – What did Elvis say after seeing Michael and Lisa Marie on television?

A – “Boy, that’s a relief.  I thought she married a black guy.”

Likewise, had an interesting comment on the question, “How did Michael Jackson get Lisa Marie Presley to marry him?”  They offered this list of perks:  Neverland, a house that actually trumps Graceland; a pet chimp (named Bubbles); and the bones of the Elephant Man.

Now, maybe the jokes will stop.  Rest in peace, Michael.

(C)  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved



Eye-Liner Story


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

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

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

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







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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Elvis convulsed in laughter. 

It was the end of my experiment with eyeliner.


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

Elvis Wearing Eyeliner

Elvis Wearing Eyeliner

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


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

Elvis and Buddy Holly


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.  It happened at the local Cotton Club on October 15, 1955.  Buddy and his friend Bob Montgomery opened the show as Buddy and Bob, before Elvis came out and took over.  Buddy Holly also opened for Elvis that year 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.

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

Elvis And His Buddy, Tom Jones

I would have thought Elvis and Tom Jones were performing artist rivals, but I keep coming across things that say they were buddies.  The most recent came from Uncut magazine, and it is so funny.  I’ll share it with you, but first, let’s look at Elvis’ history with Tom Jones.

When Tom Jones was teenager, his idol was Elvis Presley.  In early 1965, Jones rocketed to popularity with the huge hit “It’s Not Unusual.”  Later that year, they met at the Paramount stage, where Elvis was filming Paradise Hawaiian Style.  After that, they became good friends, spending more and more time together in Las Vegas. Their friendship endured until Elvis' death in 1977.




Elvis had some good natured fun at Jones’ expense during the 1970 filming of his performances at the Las Vegas Hilton for the movie That’s The Way It Is.  Elvis pretended to read four telegrams of congratulations including this one:  “Here’s hoping that you have a very successful opening and that you break both legs.” [Signed.] Tom Jones.



Later in 1970, Elvis was headlining in Portland and mentioned Jones during a monologue:  “I played this town when Tom Jones was first learning how to do this…”  Elvis was just five years older than Jones, so when Elvis first played Portland in 1957, Jones would have been sixteen, a teenager working on his singing.

Here is a quote where Tom Jones talks about Elvis and him sitting around and singing in Elvis’ suite at the Las Vegas Hilton, where Elvis performed for so many years.  Jones said, “I think he was the only person I’ve spoken to that felt the same way about music as myself, as far as versatility is concerned.  Because he loved ballads as well as rock ‘n’ roll, he loved Gospel, he loved pop.  And we would sit in the suite and talk about music… and we would sing, mostly jam…”



In August 1974, Elvis gave a big introduction to Tom Jones, who was catching one of his shows:  “There’s somebody in the audience I’d like you meet.  To me… he’s my favorite singer.  He’s one of the greatest performers I’ve ever seen, and the greatest voice, Tom Jones.  There he is.  He’s too much.  Tom, you open at Caesars palace tomorrow night, right?  Folks, if you get the chance, go over and see him.  He’s really something.  He always comes to see my show here and I go to see his.  It’s a mutual respect.”

A few photos exist that show Elvis taking in Tom Jones’ performances in Las Vegas.  Here is a shot showing Elvis sitting in the audience watching Tom Jones on stage at Caesars Palace.  It looks like his seat was right up front.




Here is Elvis on September 4, 1973, as Tom Jones introduces him in the audience.  Note Linda Thompson to Elvis’ right.




Sometimes Elvis would make a surprise appearance on stage during one of Tom Jones’ performances.  Elvis seems to be showing Jones some moves in this shot.
It’s hard to tell exactly what they are doing here, but Elvis sure is having a good time.
And now, the funny story Tom Jones told about Elvis.  Although they were great friends for years, Jones and Elvis never worked out together when Elvis was slim and in good shape.  In his last years, Elvis put on a lot of weight, and he joined Jones on the exercise machines.  However, it wasn’t what you would expect.  Here is what Jones remembers:  “I was great friends with him…  As time went on, he started putting on weight.  Instead of regarding it as the problem it was, he started having fun with it.  I saw him doing it a few times, sitting on his exercise bike eating pizza.  We were in his suite at the Hilton in Vegas.  He used to sit in it and put his feet on it but not touch the handlebars and say, ‘are you still working out, Tom?  Me too, look,’ as he sat with his belly poking out and popped another devilled egg into his mouth.”
If a photo of this existed, the caption would read:  “Elvis’ Pizza and Devilled Egg Workout.”
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©  2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved


I don’t usually write an extra article just one day after a regular post, but I have been a Bo Diddley fan since my high school years, so this is my small tribute to the rock & roll legend who died today at age seventy-nine.  There isn’t a huge connection between Bo and Elvis, but there are a few goodies.
The First Bo Diddley Album I Purchased
Elvis was also definitely a Bo Diddley fan.  In 1956, while Elvis was in New York to appear on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show TV program, he went to the Apollo Theater to see Bo Diddley perform.
In the early years of Bo Diddley’s career, he wiggled his hips a good bit while singing.  Elvis was becoming a national sensation with his gyrations at the same time, so some people thought Elvis was copying Bo Diddley’s style of performing.  Bo has been quoted, “If he copied me, I don’t care.  More power to him.  I’m not starving.”  Of course, Elvis had been shaking his hips since an August 1954 concert at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, so Elvis came up with his movements a year-and-a-half before ever seeing Bo Diddley perform.
However, the myth of Elvis copying Bo endured.  In an August 16, 2007 article, NY Daily News writer David Hinkley wrote:  “The one bright spot in the trip, apparently, was a trip to the Apollo Theater to see Bo Diddley.  Elvis loved Bo's music and Bo would later say Elvis stood in the wings and studied Bo's moves, close variations of which would later show up in Elvis' own act.”  It sounds like Bo Diddley cared more than he had originally let on.
So far as is known, Elvis performed one Bo Diddley song in concert.  On December 28, 1976, at a performance in Dallas, Elvis sang “Hey Bo Diddley.”  Technically, the song was an instrumental featuring drummer Ronnie Tutt, with Elvis just scatting along from time to time.  You can here this version on the bootleg Elvis album called “A Hot Winter Night In Dallas,” or the CD of the same name, released in 1998.
And finally, here is my favorite Bo Didley story, reprinted from the February 11, 2007 ElvisBlog article titled “Elvis and Ed Sullivan.” 
Early in 1956, as Elvis’ career took off, Ed Sullivan was not interested in booking Elvis on his show. Sullivan even stated to the press, “He is not my cup of tea.”  So, when Col. Parker offered to book Elvis for $5,000, Sullivan turned it down.
Another reason for Sullivan’s rejection was the famous Bo Diddley incident that turned Sullivan against all rock & rollers.  In November of ’55, two of the hottest songs in the country were “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford and “Bo Diddley” by Bo Diddley.  Sullivan booked both singers on the same show, but Ford had to cancel at the last minute.  For some reason, Sullivan thought the song was more important than the artist, and he pressed Bo Diddley to sing “Sixteen Tons” on the live show.   
If you remember “Sixteen Tons” and the music of Bo Diddley, you know how ridiculous that notion was.  Bo Diddley certainly must have thought so, but he was just starting out and needed the exposure.  He didn’t fight with Sullivan’s producer.  They printed up cue cards with the lyrics to “Sixteen Tons” for Diddley, and he did the song in rehearsal.  However, when it was show time, Diddley performed his own song.  This enraged Sullivan, and he vowed to see that Diddley would never appear again on TV.  Of course, this did not happen, but he was banned from ever appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show again.
Bo Diddley Performing In 2006
Bo, you were an original, and we will miss you.
(C)  2008   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved



Earlier this week, I read that Waylon Jennings was born on June 15, 1937, so we would be celebrating his 70th birthday had he not passed away five years ago.  That was a good enough reason for me to Google Elvis and Waylon Jennings to see what connection there was between the two.  There was some, not as much as usually makes a good Elvisblog article, but here’s what I found.


Jennings was born in the small West Texas town of Littlefield.  He dropped out of high school and got a job as a radio disc jockey while still a teenager.  When a copy of Elvis’ first Sun Records’ single came into the radio studio, Jennings was impressed. “I looked at that yellow Sun label from Memphis as if it was from Mars.”  He was even more impressed with the music. “I thought, what a wild, strange sound… They didn’t know what to call Elvis yet on the radio, though they thought of him as a country artist.”


However, when Elvis later performed in nearby Lubbock for the first time on January 6, 1955, he was billed as the “King of Hillbilly Bop.”  Jennings did not make it to that show, but he didn’t miss Elvis’ next appearance in Lubbock on February 13 (now billed as the “Be-Bop Western Star of the Louisiana Hayride”).  Jennings used his DJ connections to get free tickets and to go backstage and meet Elvis.  He remembers, “[Elvis] was about the hottest thing to hit West Texas… He and Scotty Moore were standing over by the stage, and Elvis was just jumping around everywhere, bouncing and bubbling over with enthusiasm, full of more energy than anybody I ever saw.  He was talking to me like he’d known me for a thousand years.”


Waylon Jennings and Elvis crossed paths a few more times in their lives, mostly in Las Vegas.  RCA invited Jennings to see one of Elvis’ shows and Elvis requested that Jennings visit with him afterwards.  At the time, Jennings wore a leather wristband to aid in the recovery of a fractured arm.  The wristband had a metal peace sign in the middle.  “Elvis really liked that wristband; I think he wanted it.  He kept admiring it – ‘you hillbillies sure know how to dress’ – and calling attention to it.”  Jennings never did part with it, but if he had, Elvis would probably have reciprocated with a Cadillac or something (and added another story to the lore of his legendary generosity).


The rest of the Elvis/Waylon connection is in the singing of each other’s songs.  There is an interesting bit of trivia on the one Waylon Jennings song that Elvis recorded.  Jennings wrote and recorded “You Asked Me To” in 1973, and it went to #8 on the Billboard Country Charts.  Elvis recorded it for his 1975 album Promised Land, and it was reworked with different instrumentation for the 1980 album Guitar Man.  That version was released as a single in 1981, and guess how high it went on the charts?  #8 Country, same as Jennings’ version.


Jennings did a medley of “That’s All Right”/”My Baby Left Me” on his 1977 album ‘Ol Waylon.  He sang “Suspicious Minds” in a duet with his wife Jesse Coulter on the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws.  He also performed it on the DVD Waylon Jennings: Live From Austin TX, a recent release of his 1989 appearance on Austin City Limits.


The 1998 CD The Old Dogs featured Jennings, Mel Tillis, Bobby Bare and Jerry Reed.  They did an amusing song titled “Elvis Has Left The Building.”  That was not Jennings first tribute song to Elvis. On the 1994 CD Waymore’s Blues Part 2, he sang the song “Nobody Knows.”  It doesn’t mention Elvis by name, but the message is clear.  Here are some of the lyrics:


            Well, I nearly got caught at the Burger King

            And a couple of times on a plane.

            I thought I was safe from detection

With all of the weight I had gained.

            But walking around in a jumpsuit

            That didn’t work worth a damn.

            So, I bought me some Levis and grew a beard,

            And you’ll never guess who I am.


Elvisblog hsve noted comments by Pat Boone and Carl Perkins on how handsome Elvis was, but this quote attributed to Waylon Jennings might be the topper:  “Elvis may have been the most beautiful man in the world.  His face was carved like a stone, chiseled out of rock, he was just that good looking.”


©  2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved