Category Archives: HISTORY

What It Was Like Discovering Elvis in 1956

Last week, frequent ElvisBlog commenter Katgirlblue wrote,

”Wow! You were a teenager in 1956?!! You actually witnessed the early explosion of rock ‘n roll and the Elvis revolution!? I can only imagine how great that must have been…. I’m so jealous.”

That reminded me I had written an article that touched on this subject in the Winter 1999 issue of Elvis International magazine.

Elvis International Article

 

The article went back to the year when I discovered Elvis. Of course, everybody discovered Elvis that year. He blasted into stardom and took us teenagers along for the ride.

However, 44 years later (back in 1999), I couldn’t remember exactly when I first connected with Elvis. So, I watched videos of all of Elvis’ 1956 TV appearances to find clues.

Elvis 56

It was pretty fun research to do, and it paid off. I was able to make an exact determination of my Elvis epiphany and wrote about it.

For this ElvisBlog post, I scanned the article, cut it up, and pasted it in sections. I stuck in relevant pictures to break up the long blocks of text. I hope you enjoy my personal Elvis story.

 

Joe Niagara

 

Elvis With Dorsey BrothersElvis with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey

 

 

(Magazine format changed from 2-column to 3-column at this point)

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s an interesting endeavor for a writer to critique something he wrote twenty years ago.  I am disappointed in myself for for the double that year.  The folks at Elvis International didn’t catch it either.

As I read it today, this story seems to wander a bit. It starts out about the Artist of the Century, and then goes into my search to determine when I discovered Elvis. It was seeing him on the Milton Berle show, but then I continued to describe his appearances on the Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan shows. And finally, because Sullivan showed him from the waist up, I explained how Elvis used his eyes and hands to connect with us fans.

If I had been writing ElvisBlog back then, I would have had enough subjects for four different posts.

 

Anyway, in spite of the wandering narrative, I hope you enjoyed this.

 

 

© 2019 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.

 

Postscripts to Earlier ElvisBlog Articles

Vegas Meowvis Pawsley-T-shirt

Do you remember the t-shirt I panned because the cat Elvis looked like he had a broken neck? Well, it turns out you get something good if you crop the picture just right.

Incredible Cat Elvis

How difficult is the challenge to draw recognizable elements of both a cat and Elvis in one picture? To me, the artist totally pulled it off. Over the years, I have posted concert pictures showing the intensity of Elvis’ eyes while performing. These eyes here are more subtle, but they are good, half-looking over the iconic Elvis shades. Please note the lip snarl on the cat. I don’t know why anyone would want to create a Cat Elvis, but I am impressed by the results.

 

Memphis Grizzlie Blocking Elvis Taking a Basketball Shot

Just last week, I posted this picture of a Memphis Grizzlie blocking an Elvis’ shot. That bear would have a lot tougher time against this Elvis.

Dunking Elvises

Notice the angled trampoline and the double landing pads. I guess these guys do flips before dunking the basketball. Anybody know who they are?

 

2012 ElvisBlog post about Jailhouse Rock Image

It’s been seven years since I did this post showing a lot of variations folks had created from the most favored pose on the right.

Elvis and Rock & Roll

This is pretty cool. It connects Elvis with early Rock ‘n Roll. You’ve got the 50s diner floor tile and the old album on the wall. Well done.

 

Chubby Checker

Do you remember the post about Chubby Checker performing on the Graceland Soundstage on June 22? Well, check out what that has morphed to:

Fabulous 50s Weekend at Graceland

Fabulous 50s Weekend sounds great to somebody like me who actually lived through the 50s. My four years of high school ran from 1956 to 1960, so I was a teenager during those most wonderful years of early rock and roll. I would love to go to this weekend if I could.

Here is more detail on all the good stuff they’ve planned for the Fabulous 50s Weekend:

Fabulous 50's Weekend Events at Graceland.

Note where I’ve marked the Graceland Exhibition Center. Last week I was searching for this venue, and now it shows up here. Those are three good-sounding exhibits.

I told you I’ve been  searching for it on Graceland.com/news since February, and still no pictures of the Graceland Exhibition Center have showed up. Can’t be long now.

 

One more thought on the Fabulous 50s Weekend. Chubby Checker was not a 50s rocker. His song “The Twist” entered the Billboard Top 40 in August 1960. One month later I started college at Penn State. We did an incredible amount of twisting my freshman year. “The Twist” reached #1 and stayed on the charts for 15 weeks.

However, “The Twist” had a second life. According to Billboard:

“’The Twist’ was the only single to be No. 1 twice on the Hot 100, in two different chart runs. After topping the chart in 1960, the dance caught on with the older generation. Checker was invited to perform “The Twist” on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Oct. 22, 1961, prompting a re-release of the single and a full-page ad in Billboard that proclaimed, “‘The Twist’ dance rage explodes into the adult world!” The grown-ups bought enough copies to send the song back to No. 1 in early 1962.”

But, who cares if Chubby Checker is really a 60s rocker. He’s going to put on a great show at Graceland.

 

Mount Rockmore

The first Eye Candy post featured this design called Mt. Rockmore. From left to right, we have Elvis, John Lennon, Bob Marley, and Jimi Hendrix.

Tiki Gods of Rock

Some fool tried to do a different version on Tiki poles. And they did a horrible job on Elvis. Makes him look like a criminal.

Mount Hollywood by Renato Casaro

Elvis looks way better on this, called Mt. Hollywood. Actually, they all look pretty good.

 

Alternate Kid Galahad (Pugno Proibito) posters from Italy

Two weeks ago, I noted how this Italian poster for Kid Galahad made it seem like Charles Bronson, not Elvis, was the star of the movie. I said he must have been really popular in Italy in 1962 for them to manipulate things like they did on this poster.

Then I heard from regular reader cc rider who said, “The Italian poster is a release made in the 70s. Bronson was very famous in Italy after he made Sergio Leone‘s “Once Upon a Time in the West”, in 68.”

So, it seems they re-released Kid Galahad in Italy in the 70s to capitalize on his fame.

Kid Galahad Italian Poster Forbidden Fist

This is also an Italian poster for Kid Galahad, but it must be from 1962 because Elvis is clearly the lead character, and Charles Bronson has fifth billing. The movie’s title translates to Forbidden Fist.

Kid Galahad Spanish Poster - Floor of Canvas

Charles Bronson must have been hot in Spain, too, in the 70s. He still gets fifth billing, but his two pictures are much more the focus than the two of Elvis. The title translates to Floor of Canvas, which refers to a boxing ring, but that seems like a stupid title to me.

 

A screaming crowd of teenage girls are restrained by police outside an Elvis concert in 1956.

I posted this shot of a mob of Elvis fans two weeks ago. Regular reader Sandra Van Horne advised that the photo was on Scotty Moore’s website with this caption: “Stage Door Glimpse of Elvis Starts Riot – Aug. 3, 1956 Miami.” Sandra also sent the text of a Miami Daily News article that read:

“After the first Olympia Theater appearance of the shouting shake-dancer, known to teenagers as “The Pelvis,” a crowd estimated at 2,000 became hysterical, tried to break a police line in rush for the SE 2nd Avenue stage entrance when Presley was seen briefly at an upstairs fire escape door. Police, losing to waving fans later regained ground in a big push back to the sidewalk line at the barber pole (top right in photo). The street was blocked off. What’s all the fuss about? Fans wanted just a signature or sign from the vaudeville Valentino.”

I’m not crazy about the lame snake-dancer or vaudeville Valentino references. But the fan hysteria mentioned in the press report had another result as shown in this photo.

Elvis with Ripped Pants after 1956 Miami Concert

That’s right — the fans ripped off one leg of Elvis’ pants. Miami has been the home to another rock star and pants episode. It’s where Jim Morrison dropped his pants on stage and got in all kinds of trouble.

 

Thanks to cc rider and Sandra Van Horne for their help in making this post.

 

 

©  2019    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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

 

Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before – Part 11

I haven’t done this in three months, and my files are full of stuff to show you.

Elvis Performing on a Flat-bed Truck

This is obviously from the very early days. Elvis and the guys are performing on a flat-bed truck. I especially like the picnic table right in front. Elvis definitely paid his dues. Can anybody identify this show?

 

Elvis and the Teen Town Singers

I can’t say that I ever heard of the Teen Town Singers. But how could they miss with those cool hats?

 

Elvis and 7 Chicks

Here’s some nice artwork. I think it’s a Italian poster for an Elvis movie. Let’s see, there’s Elvis and seven girls in bikinis. Could it be Clambake or Spinout? No, Bagnino means lifeguard in Italian, so the movie had to be Fun in Acapulco.

 

Elvis on location in Florida with co-star Anne Helm from Follow That Dream.

This is Elvis with Anne Helm, his costar in Follow That Dream. You’ve probably read the same stuff I have that says there was some serious kissing between these two off screen.

 

Well It's 1 for the Money

Well It's 1 for the Money - Copy

This is clever.

 

Speaking of Blue Suede Shoes, how do you like this picture?

Elvis Presley Autographed Facsimile Signed Blue Suede Shoes Poster 24 x36

This is a 24 x36 poster with a wonderful shot of Elvis. That is a fabricated signature at the bottom.

 

Elvis Taking A Break - Flaming Star

Here is Elvis taking a break from filming Flaming Star. He’s got the Indian make-up on his face and neck, but the rest of his body looks pretty white.

 

Elvis with Fans in Las vegas

This is Elvis with fans in Las Vegas. How do you like that coat? How do you like that hairdo?

 

Elvis Disco

The Elvis Disco was alive and well in 2018.

All Visual – All Night – Elvis Presley – Done Right…. OK!!

 

1960-04-20 train to California - Elvis with Joe, Charlie and Sonny

This was taken on April 4, 1960 during a train ride to California. With Elvis are Joe, Charlie, and Sonny. Don’t they all look young?

 

Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore between shows in the UD Fieldhouse in Dayton - May 27, 1956.

If you’ve been reading ElvisBlog for a while, you know I’m a big fan of Scotty Moore. This is a nice candid shot of Elvis and Scotty working on a song backstage before a performance at the UD Fieldhouse in Dayton on May 27, 1956.

 

Elvis Performing on May 27, 1956

Here is another photo from that show. But check out this.

Scotty Moore and Elvis Floating in Space

I love this version for the way Scotty and Elvis are lifted off the background, and they just seem to be hovering in space while Scotty is playing guitar and Elvis is dancing. I think this is the best picture there is of the two of them together.

 

Elvis and Bobby Dick

The small print in parentheses says, “Bobby’s the short one.” He’s also the one with the worst last name. The kids back in high school must have given him a lot of grief about that.

 

Elvis Presley and Carolyn Jones . She holds a cup of tea.

It looks like Carolyn Jones was drinking a cup of tea when Elvis moved in on her. Do you think she spilled any? If that had been you Elvis was smooching, could you have kept from spilling the tea?

 

Elvis is the air - Blue hawaii

So what do you think? Is this Photoshopped or could Elvis actually jump that high?

 

May 26, 1955 - Elvis Presley with Jimmie Rodgers Snow on Elvis´ pink Cadillac Fleetwood in Meridian, Mississippi - Jimmie Rodgers Festival parade....

The website where I found this shot had this tagline:

May 26, 1955 – Elvis Presley with Jimmie Rodgers Snow on Elvis´ pink Cadillac Fleetwood in Meridian, Mississippi – Jimmie Rodgers Festival parade.

Jimmy Rodgers Snow was Hank Snow’s son. Elvis said he bought this pink Caddy for his mom, but she didn’t drive, so he obviously had other motivations. This looks like a pretty good use for the car to me.

 

A screaming crowd of teenage girls are restrained by police outside an Elvis concert in 1956.

The tagline for this photo said: “A screaming crowd of teenage girls are restrained by police outside an Elvis concert in 1956.” I wish there had been more information. It is a legit photo because you can see one girl holding up a picture of Elvis and a couple of folks are wearing those Elvis hats the Colonel sold at every concert. Can anybody identify where it occurred?

The photo certainly paints a graphic picture of the impact Elvis had with teenagers early in his career. Pretty impressive.

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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

A Belated Goodbye to George Klein

Yesterday I checked back with Graceland.com to see if the ticket prices for Elvis Week had been announced, but they weren’t. While there, I clicked on the News tab, and was surprised to learn that Elvis’ buddy George Klein had passed away. For those of you who have not read that post, here is what EPE had to say:

Graceland.com - Remembering George Klein

Nicely done. George Klein was one of the good guys. Unlike the others in Elvis’ Memphis Mafia, George was never on the payroll. He had his own career as a radio DJ. When he hung out with Elvis at Graceland or traveled to movie sets with him, George did it because they were buddies.

Elvis, Larry Geller, George Klein, Alan Fortas.

Elvis, Larry Geller, George Klein, Alan Fortas.

 

So, I did a search to see what I had written about George Klein on ElvisBlog over the years. He has been mentioned dozens of times, but I never wrote an article just about him. The closest I did was a funny story in a post about Elvis and Ann Margret. Here it is from August 28, 2005, just seven months after the blog was launched (and years before I started adding pictures).

Elvis and Ann-Margret ElvisBlog Post

Here is the rest of that article:

One night, during the filming of Viva Las Vegas in 1963, Elvis invited Ann-Margret over to his house. He specifically told all his buddies to disappear before she arrived, but Alan and George Klein asked if they could stay if they promised not to leave their rooms. Elvis agreed, but he should have known better.

After Ann-Margret had been there awhile, Alan and George snuck on to the patio and peeked into the den. According to Alan, “They were dancing and cuddling and talking, and George and I were going crazy.”

Then, Elvis left the room to get something and walked around to another part of the house. From this vantage point, he could see the two spies plain as day. When Alan and George realized they had been caught peeping, they panicked. George tried to run off and slammed right into the glass patio door, nearly breaking his nose.

 Alan Fortas, Lamar Fike, George Klein, and Elvis

Alan Fortas, Lamar Fike, George Klein, and Elvis

 

 

This is George Klein’s autobiography. The text above the big ELVIS is a quote by Priscilla, “You told your story with class, mister. Elvis would be proud.” I agree. This is not a tell-all of bad stuff about Elvis. If you haven’t read it, you should. My copy has a cover price of $29.95 on it, but you can get a copy for as low as $6 on Amazon. A great book at a low price.

The photo on the book’s cover was taken at George’s wedding to Barbara Little. Here are some other pictures of this event from my files.

Elvis at George Klein's Wedding 1970

I liked this one because Elvis is holding a gun to George’s head. Please note he does not have his finger on the trigger.

 

The Presleys and the Kleins

The Presleys and the Kleins. I have read often that Elvis didn’t smoke, but there are quite a few pictures around showing Elvis with a stogie in his mouth.

 

This photo is both good and bad. I like the shot of George and Barbara’s hands on their Certificate of Marriage. However, the certificate showed up for bid at auction a few years ago, probably because it had Elvis’ signature on it. Kind of sad.

 

1954 Humes High School Class Officers

As the press release said, George Klein and Elvis became friends at Humes High School. The above picture from their 1954  yearbook shows that George was senior class president.

 

George Klein Text about Elvis

George is not in this picture, but the text has an interesting quote from him.

 

Elvis Palbearers Jerry Schilling, Joe Esposito, George Klein, Lamar Fike, Billy Smith, Charlie Hodges, Gene Smith, and Dr. Nick

This shot had a caption identifying Elvis’ pallbearers as Jerry Schilling, Joe Esposito, George Klein, Lamar Fike, Billy Smith, Charlie Hodges, Gene Smith, and Dr. George Nichopoulos. I believe George is the second on the right. He had longer curly hair in 1977.

 

George Klein and Elvis 1957

The tag on this simply says 1957. Backstage at a concert? Or maybe on a movie set?

Speaking of movies, George Klein had bit parts in at least four Elvis movies.

George Klein in Elvis movies

 

Here are a few other photos of Elvis and George Klein.

George Klein and Elvis Leaning on Car

 

set of Speedway- Standing – Jerry Schilling, Marty Lacker, Larry Jost (sound department), Elvis, Don Sutton, and Richard Davis. Kneeling – George Klein and Joe Esposito

On the set of Speedway. George with Elvis, four Memphis Mafia buddies, a sound guy, and baseball pitcher Don Sutton (second from right).

 

Elvis on train to NY to embark on the SS Randall for Germany. The train stopped briefly in Memphis which is why George Klein is in the picture. Elvis is kissing a fan

This strange shot was taken in 1958 when Elvis was on the train to NY before embarking on the SS Randall for Germany. The train stopped briefly in Memphis which is why George Klein is in the picture. Elvis is kissing a fan.

 

Red West And George Klein with Elvis first guitar

Red West and George Klein with Elvis first guitar. This photo was taken just two years ago.

 

 

George Klein - Elvis Presley's Friend

 

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

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before – Part 9

Elvis Backstage at Maple Leaf Gardens ~ Toronto ~ April 2, 1957

This shot shows Elvis’ disdain for the pants of the famous Gold Lamé Suit. He is clowning around in them (and the gold shoes) on a prop dolly backstage at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on April 2, 1957.

Look how baggy and stiff they are. No wonder Elvis didn’t like them.

 

Elvis at Arcade 1956

This is Elvis and his cousin Junior Smith at an arcade in 1956. He had an entourage of one back in the early days. In the later years, this room couldn’t have held all the guys hanging around Elvis.

 

Elvis wiith Diana Goodman in the back of his limo July 19, 1975

This is Elvis with Diana Goodman in the back of his limo on July 19, 1975. We can’t see any of the rings he surely was wearing, but check out the gold bracelet and the gold chain around his neck. That is some serious weight of gold. On the downside, it was time for Elvis to give this coat away to Charlie Hodge, or one of the other guys. He had definitely outgrown it.

 

 

Long White Fringe Suit...Elvis only wore one time. The fringe got all tangled up when he danced.

This is a jumpsuit Elvis wore only one time. His jumpsuits all had cool names like Black Butterfly, Inca Gold, or King of Spades. This one is simply referred to as ”the Long White Fringe Suit.” Elvis wouldn’t wear it again after the fringe got all tangled up when he danced.

I think the whole thing is pretty ugly, and I’m surprised Elvis even put it on. Anyway, the Long White Fringe Suit joined the baggy gold pants in the Elvis wardrobe rejects hall of fame.

 

oks like Charlie Hodge and Elvis are Dancing

All you good fans recognize this as Charlie Hodge on stage with Elvis. At first glance, they seem to be dancing together.

 

February 12, 1977 - Elvis Presley Palm Beach International Airport 3

This is Elvis during his best interpretation of Bo Diddley.

 

Bo Diddley

If you are too young to know about Bo Diddley, look him up. There’s a lot more to the Bo Diddley story than that square guitar.

 

Elvis Presley & Gene Vincent

Here’s Elvis with Gene Vincent. I loved all three of his hits, and wish he had made more. Gene Vincent is another early rocker with an interesting story. Look him up, too.

 

Elvis On stage at 68 Comeback Special

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the main three outfits Elvis wore in the ’68 Comeback Special. Here is a fourth one. It’s not up to the brilliance of the white (If I Can Dream) suit, the black leather outfit, and the burgundy gospel suit.

 

Young Lisa and Elton John

This is an interesting photo of young Lisa and Elton John. Compare it to one many years later.

 

Lisa and Elton John - Later

 

This is from Stay Away Joe, and there’s a lot of girls in that car with Elvis.

Elvis and Girls in Car in Stay Away Joe

 

But this is from real life.

Elvis in a Car with Three Girls

How about that look on his face? Elvis, you lucky dog.

 

 

© 2018 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.

 

’68 Comeback Special – A Wardrobe Review

Celebrating the 68 SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY

When I realized that December 3, 2018 would be the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ incredible TV special, I knew I had to post an article to commemorate the occasion.

I also knew every other Elvis website and blog would be doing the same thing. I wanted to come up with something different, and I have. We are going to learn what a leading British fashion design journalist has to say about what Elvis wore on the show.

Zoey Goto regularly writes about fashion in Elle, Numero, GQ, and GQ Style. She gets to report from the front row of London Fashion Week. And she has written the delightful book Elvis Style, where we get all of the text to follow.

 

Burgundy Suit from the Gospel Sequence:

 

Elvis - 68 Comeback Gospel suit

You might expect this photo-essay to start with the Black Leather Outfit, but be patient. It’s coming up.

Elvis sang a three-song Gospel medley wearing this burgundy suit:

“Where Could I Go but to the Lord”
“Up Above My Head”
“Saved”

lvis - 68 Comeback Gospel Suit

Here is what my friend, Zoey Goto had to say about the Gospel suit. (I asked her to write it on just six days’ notice, and she really came through).

The burgundy suit is so very of its time – the earthy colour, the sheen of the fabric, the slim cut of the suit, and the exaggerated double breasted lapels all scream late 60s/early 70s menswear! Perhaps this is why the outfit is often overlooked when we think about the legendary ’68 Comeback Special. Because this style was so fashionable at that time, it now looks more dated than for example the leather suit, which was not such a part of the zeitgeist.

The most effective part of this outfit was the styling of the white shirt, with its elongated collars worn over the top of the suit jacket, teamed with the apache tie scarf, which really framed Elvis’ face. From the chest upwards he looks fantastic! However, in comparison to the white suit – which is roomier and has a nipped in waist – the tight, straight up-and-down cut of the burgundy suit is unforgiving. Yet Elvis is in such good shape physically, that he still manages to pull this outfit off with panache!

Elvis 68 Comeback Dancing in Gospel Outfit

 

Well done, Zoey. That was great. And the passages from your book coming next are even better.

 

The white suit she mentioned is this one.

White Double-Breasted Suit from the “If I Can Dream” Finale.

 

Elvis 68 Comeback White Suit in front of Big Red Letters

Again, here is Zoey Goto’s review:

Out of the darkness, Elvis steps forward, his white suit instantly illuminated under the stage lights. He clutches the microphone between his hands almost as if praying, while behind him the word ELVIS is emblazoned in red lights.

It is the grand finale of his ’68 Comeback Special television program, and Elvis is giving an emotional rendition of the song “If I Can Dream” wearing a white double-breasted frock coat with a deep, single vent flap running down the back of his jacket – a signature of traditional American tailoring – which also allows Elvis to move with ease and to throw his arms wide at the end of the performance.

Six buttons run down the centre of the jacket, white slanted front pockets and a nipped-in waist emphasize his broad shoulders. Although the double-breasted jacket can add inches to the torso, the slim-line Elvis with his 32” waist, carries it off with grace.

Elvis - 68 Comeback White Suit

His coordinated front pleated pants graze his ankles without a break, creating a pleasing line from the hip to his white leather ankle boots. To complete the look, Elvis wears a deep red scarf in the style of an Apache tie – an accessory that had become synonymous with Country & Western fashion, where a colourful scarf or hanky is secured at the neck with a scarf ring.

Elvis - 68 Comeback White Suit Closeup-

As a fashion statement, Elvis’ white suit is all about the Deep South. Stepping on stage, Elvis looks every inch the Southern plantation owner, a choice that initially seems incongruous, given that Elvis has borrowed so heavily from black music and is currently on stage singing a song about brothers walking hand in hand.

However, look at his costume again and it becomes a sartorial symbol of his success – Elvis has been elevated from his humble sharecropper origins to finally becoming the Big Boss Man, as he had been previously singing that evening. In essence, his outfit can be seen as a take on upward social mobility – one of the key factors of the American Dream, which Elvis had long been associated with.

Elvis 68 Comeback White Suit Standing

 

And now, the one you’ve been waiting for.

Legendary Black Leather Outfit:

 

Elvis - 68 Comeback Black Leather - Back

Earlier in the ’68 Comeback Special performance, Elvis had performed a medley of his earlier hits while wearing fitted black leather trousers and jacket, with a black low neck t-shirt underneath. The outfit was a nod to Elvis’ rebellious 1950s image, but this time a more aggressive, sexual presence was evident. Black leather had long been strongly associated with motorcycle gangs, as illustrated by Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953).

Marlon Brando - The Wild One

In his youth, Elvis had admired James Dean, but back in the 1950s, Elvis’ own rockabilly image and flashy Lansky Brothers clothing belonged to a very different tribe of rebellion.

Aside from owning a couple of leather jackets, Elvis had never been a devoted leather wearer, but given the luxury of revisiting his youthful image, Elvis embellished and reinterpreted history. Up on stage, as Elvis gyrates his way through a string of nostalgic hits, he instantly acquires the toughness and potency that his leather outfit lends.

Elvis - 68 Comeback Black Leather - Lip Curl

Look carefully at Elvis’ leather outfit, though, and it differs considerably from Brando’ Perfecto motorcycle jacket. Rather than the traditional studded biker jacket, with zippers running across the torso and a belted waist, Elvis’ version is essentially a denim jacket shape, but made in leather. This was not accidental – the designer Bill Belew was at the time finding inspiration in the blue jean outfits that the kids on the street were wearing.

Knowing that Elvis avoided denim as he associated it with the poverty of his childhood, Belew decided to have a denim jacket and trousers traced and remade in black leather, adding a few touches such as a front seam running down the trousers and hand stitching the yoke.

Elvis - 68 Comeback Black Leather Seated

Here are some other tidbits Zoey Goto shares with the readers:

This outfit marks the first time Elvis wore the high, Napoleon-inspired collar, which later became a signature of his jumpsuits and was employed to frame his face.

Close Up of Elvis' Black Leather Suit

On each wrist is a leather cuff. Although leather cuffs had been worn by cowboys to protect their wrists for over a century, Elvis’ buckled cuffs looked more like precursor to the leather wristbands worn by the punks in the mid-seventies.

Elvis - 68 Comeback Reproduction Elvis Black Leather Cuffs

Reproduction

Elvis’ ’68 comeback Special jacket and trousers were made from cordovan leather, the thick hide of the rump of the horse which is usually only used to make shoes. Elvis became so sweat-drenched in this rugged material that he had to literally be peeled out of the costume at the end of the performance.

 

Zoey meshed her thoughts with those of Japanese-born designer Atsuko Kudo to sum it all up nicely:

We all dress for sex appeal and attention, and this look does that in a very big way – he was like a peacock. This was Elvis’ comeback performance, the pressure was on to make a big statement and to dress in a way that empowered him. This outfit did that.

Elvis - 68 Comeback Black Leather - Arms Raised

 

I am so thankful Zoey Goto went along with me repeating part of her wonderful book Elvis Style. I’ve covered parts of it twice before in ElvisBlog:

A Look at Elvis’ Taste in Hats

Elvis’ Fashion Legacy

 

But Elvis Style covers so much more than just Elvis’ wardrobe. As the back cover says,

“Zoey Goto investigates why Elvis was, and continues to be, an icon of style, focusing on his wonderfully expressive hairstyles, clothes, cars, and interiors.”

This is such a uniquely different Elvis book. I highly recommend you get a copy.

Elvis Style - Cover

 

 

 

©  2018    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.

 

Deeper Look at a Recent Elvis Auction Item

I started out to do my usual Elvis auction review on the November 3 Heritage Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction. However, I got stuck on the very first Elvis item – a handbill for his’ March 25, 1961, Pearl Harbor concert.

Pearl Harbor Concert Handbill - Front

 

[Just real quick for you newer Elvis fans that might know about the concert, it was to raise money toward the proposed memorial for the USS Arizona that was sunk by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 1102 American seamen perished that day.]

 

I’ve looked at this handbill picture several times before, and one time I wished I knew how to Photoshop, so I could do an upgrade on it. Elvis did not wear those baggy gold pants at the Pearl Harbor concert. Just the gold coat.

Elvis at Pearl Harbor Concert

I wanted to take the handbill picture and Photoshop some black pants on Elvis – get him to look like he did when he performed. Then, I realized that the black pants wouldn’t show against the handbill’s black background. So, I gave up on the idea.

 

There were other things about this playbill I found interesting. It was obvious that Bill Black was no longer part of the Elvis band. DJ Fontana and Scotty Moore are listed in the marquee sign along with the Jordanaires.

All Star Cast on Pearl Harbor Concert Handbill -

 

By March 1961, Bill Black was into the third year of his career with Bill Black’s Combo. They were touring around the country playing hits like “Smokie – Part 2” and “White Silver Sands.”

Bill Black Combo 1962
Note that Bill Black has traded his stand-up bass for an electric one.

 

The man who replaced Bill Black in Elvis’ band for the Pearl Harbor show was Nashville session musician Bob Moore. The rest of the All-Star Cast referred to above was Floyd Cramer on piano, Hank Garland on rhythm guitar, and Boots Randolph on sax. All Stars indeed.

 

The back of the playbill featured three photos and lots of text.

Pearl Harbor Concert Handbill - Back

 

Here’s a better look at the three pictures.

USS Arizona War Memorial Rendering

This is the architect’s rendering of what the planned USS Arizona Memorial would look like.

 

USS Arizona Memorial Construction Sign

And here we have a picture of the sign on the site where the memorial would be built.

 

Col. Parker and Bigwigs Before Pearl Harbor concert

Col. Parker with the chairman of the memorial commission and the head Navy guy.

 

Another thing that struck me was the very brief narrative Heritage Auction’s website gave to this handbill, a significant collectible.

Elvis Presley Bloch Arena, Pearl Harbor Concert Handbill (The Pacific War Memorial Commission Proudly Presents, 1961). Very Rare. Double-sided, for a benefit show in Hawaii on Saturday March 25th. One side is printed in gold and black, showing a full-length image of Elvis wearing a gold suit, listing the support act as Minnie Pearl. Measures 9.25″ x 12.25″. In Very Good condition.

When I first read it, my thought was, “I wonder what Jeff Marren and Laura at Graceland Auctions would have to say, because they do such a great job on the narratives.” I inquired them, and found out they did have two tickets for the Pearl Harbor concert at auction last year. This is what they said then.

“Perhaps what endears Elvis Presley to his fans so much is the fact that it seemed like there was no end to his willingness to give. In December 1960 an editorial ran in an L.A. paper about the stalled efforts to complete the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. This article was spotted by the Colonel, and Elvis answered the call to duty.

“A benefit concert was organized to raise $50,000 towards the completion of the memorial. On January 11, 1961, a press conference was held and it was announced that Elvis would perform this benefit concert on the condition that every penny from the concert must go to the fund.

“Having honorably served his country in the Armed Forces, Elvis held this memorial and the soldiers that perished near to his heart.

“Ticket prices ranged from $3 to $10 for reserved section seats, and $100 for the 100 reserved “ringside” seats—and Elvis was the first to buy a ticket.

“The concert was set for March 25, 1961, and 4,000 screaming fans, 15 songs and $54,000 later, Elvis left the building. As a result of the concert and the huge amount of media attention it garnered, public and private donations flooded in from all over the country. On May 30, 1962 (Memorial Day) the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial was dedicated.”

Perhaps it doesn’t matter, but I’d like to think wonderful background text like this might bring some higher bidding.  In fairness, the concert playbill went for $1,125 as presented, which is pretty impressive.

And I love this line about Elvis, “it seemed like there was no end to his willingness to give.” Elvis’ generosity is well documented, but this is the best description of it I have ever read.

 

$100 Ticket for Elvis Presley Pearl Harbor Concert

Here’s one of those $100 tickets. That’s almost $900 in today’s money. Note there were no assigned seats. It must have been like a special private party area where you just socialized until it was time to find a seat and settle down for the show.

 

There are three interesting things in the text on the back of the handbill.

Under the heading Symbol of Freedom, it said, “The benefit performance by Presley… is symbolic of a new generation of Americans who have not forgotten the price of freedom or how dearly it has been maintained.” That sounds like Elvis to me.

Congress had authorized construction of the memorial three years earlier, but fund raising had slowed down to a crawl. Prior to the concert, only $300,000 of the needed $500,000 had been raised. One of the commissioners worried that “today the Arizona is but a rusting tomb.” The Colonel and Elvis jumped in to turn that situation around.

Two days after the concert, Elvis started the filming for Blue Hawaii.

 

The USS Arizona's anchor

My wife went to Hawaii twenty years ago with girlfriends, and of course, they went to the USS Arizona Memorial.

 

USS Arizona War Memorial Finished

So she’s seen it, and I haven’t

 

People Entering the USS Arizona War Memorial.

My wife said it was a moving experience. I’m happy for her, but I’m a little jealous.

 

Photos and text used by permission, copyright 2018 GracelandAuctions.com

 

© 2018 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.

 

ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets # 23

Jailhouse Rock Minifigure Box

 

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Jailhouse Rock MiniFigure:

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Jailhouse Rock MINIFIGURE

An email from ShopElvis.com came in earlier this week offering yet another Elvis figurine. The price of $9.95 sounded pretty reasonable until I read that it is just 1-1/2 inches tall.

MiniFigure Box and Figure

This is the picture that’s on the ShopElvis.com order page, so it looks like the box is way bigger than it needs to be. The ad says the Minifigure is sold in stores, so you can’t blame them for using packaging that makes shoppers assume it’s much larger. Better for that impulse buying, of course. If the Jailhouse Rock Minifigure was packed in a box just big enough to hold it, I doubt many people would buy.

Another interesting thing on the order page was the statement: “Two facial expressions.” How do they do that?

Jailhouse Rock Minifigure 9.95

Here’s the little guy blown up to see better. Compare its face to the one on the box above. They are definitely different. If anybody buys one of these Minifigures, please go on Comments and let me know how the two facial expressions are accomplished.

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If I’m Going to be Attacked, I Would Rather It be by Females:

I really like this fun quote from Elvis. Surprisingly, I could not find it in ELVIS -Word for Word by Jerry Osborne, the excellent book of Elvis quotes. But Elvis did say it to Las Vegas reporter Nancy Anderson. The story is so typically Elvis, as you will read below.

Newspaper Article about Elvis Being Attacked on Stage

Makes you kind of wish Vernon had let Elvis go – and he decked another of the jerks.

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What Do You Read ElvisBlog On?:

I use a service called Google Analytics that provides all types of information about ElvisBlog – like stats that show only 64% of the readers are in the U.S. But here is one that really surprised me.

Devices Used to Read ElvisBlog

I had no idea that almost half of you read ElvisBlog on your phone.

 

Owning Elvis DNA:

There is no picture to show here, just a Comment that was posted by a reader named Buck.

“I have two band aids taken off his fingers during a concert in the 70’s.”

It’s reasonable to assume if Elvis wore the Band-Aids there would be some of his blood in them. If Buck ever wants to sell them, he should have a winner, because he can advertise he’s got two samples of Elvis’ DNA.

 

More Elvis DNA;

Michelle Kimpel #1

Another reader named Michele wrote in to tell me about her unexpected find of three Elvis items. Here is her message:

“I have a garage sale find that you might find interesting. I would like to send you photos. I don’t know if it’s real or not, but I went to a garage sale and they were selling a sealed container of early 70s vintage mailman uniforms. My husband is a mailman, so I thought it be fun for $20 to get it.

“When I got home I found a bag in one of the sleeves of the jacket. I open the bag and it contained a wisdom tooth, hair sample, and a container of liquid. Everything on it was typed with the name Elvis, Arron, Presley. There is a date on the bottle that says 3/21/60. If you’re interested I’ll gladly email you the photos so you can get a look.”

Of course, I was very interested, and Michele kindly sent me the photos.

Michelle Kimpel #3

The label on the vial  says “Sample for Testing.” How intriguing is that?

 

Michelle Kimpel #4

Elvis’ hair has always brought high bids at auctions. According to Wikipedia, a single strand of Elvis’ hair sold for $1,700 at a Henry Aldridge & Son auction in 2009. A jar full of Elvis hair sold for $115,000 at an on-line auction by MastroNet in 2002.

Michelle Kimpel #2

One of his crowns sold for $8,150 at Omega Auctions in March 2012. I can’t imagine what a real Elvis tooth would go for.

Of course, REAL is the important question about Michele’s find. She emailed me, “I have contacted Graceland, and they put me in touch with their DNA archives office to start a process of finding out if they are real. I will keep in touch with you if you’d like to let you know how it turns out.”

If it turns out to be real, Michele has a goldmine. And who knew Graceland had a DNA archives office.

 

Speaking of Big Bucks for Elvis Collectibles:

Elvis' Belt Sold at Julien's Auction, May 2018

A week ago I got an email from a reader named John who sent me a link to Julien’s Music Icons Auction back in May.

Here’s what the auction website had to say about the above belt:

“A heavily embellished white leather belt worn by Elvis Presley during a performance in November 1972 in Hawaii and gifted to actor and friend Jack Lord. The belt is adorned with faux turquoise, lapis lazuli, and coral, all set in gold-toned metal pieces. The buckle has a dragon-like resemblance, and three dangling brass chains are affixed to the bottom. Presley wore the belt with at least two different ensembles, including his well-known heavily jeweled “Thunderbird.”

Close up of Elvis' Jumpsuit belt

I wonder how much this belt weighs. So, we would assume this outstanding concert belt would go for a high bid, but look at this:

Winning Bid on Elvis Belt.

WOW!!!

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Let’s Deconstruct One More Photoshopped Elvis Picture:

Elvis and Marilyn - Do Not disturb

Pairing up Elvis and Marilyn Monroe seems to be a favorite thing for Photoshop jockeys. I have almost 50 Elvis/Marilyn pictures in my files. I like the pairing of the world’s two biggest pop culture icons because the photos are fun. I felt there was no intent to trick people into believing they are real. Then I saw this one.

Young Elvis Photoshopped with a young Norma Jean

Somebody felt it was a smart idea to pair up eleven-year-old Elvis with a young Norma Jeane Mortenson, who later became known as Marilyn Monroe. Why? What’s the point? Anyway, here is the original photo of Elvis with twelve-year-old Mary Magdalene Morgan.

Elvis and Magdalene Morgan - 1946

It was taken in 1946 shortly before Elvis’ family moved from Tupelo to Memphis. You will note that the original shot was flipped from left to right.

1942 Norma Jeane Mortenson Before She Became Marilyn Monroe

And here’s young Norma Jeane. She got flipped side-to-side, too, and other modifications were made with her arms.

I think it’s pretty crummy that people are now messing with kid pictures of Elvis. As another rankled reader, Leon’a, said in a Comment, “I don’t know how to stop it either. Maybe EPE should get involved. It should be illegal.”

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What’s it Worth?

In this post, I have mentioned things five ElvisBlog readers have put in Comments. I like getting most comments, but here’s one that hit me the wrong way.

I have a large poster signed by Elvis. It reads “Best Wishes Linda Sincerely Elvis”. What is it worth?

I also have 8-track tapes of Elvis records. Are they worth anything? If so, how much?

I have a 45 record titled “Guitar Man”. What is it worth?

Here’s my reply:

Linda: I’m happy to give my time to reply to comments posted by readers of ElvisBlog. Some of these nice folks say something like “I love your blog.’ Could I ask a favor, please? Then there are others who find ElvisBlog while doing a Google search for Elvis photos, autographs, records or some other Elvis collectible they recently acquired. They always jump right to it and end with, “What is it worth? Sometimes they ask that about three different items, and never even bother to say “Thank you.” I used to answer these folks, but I’m not anymore.

However, I do have an Elvis book out titled, “BIG E and the SANTA MAN.” If you would like to purchase an autographed copy for $10 delivered, I would be happy to send it to you… and help you out with your questions.

Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

I probably should have just ignored this rude and thoughtless person, but I’ve seen stuff like this so many times. I can always tell they aren’t regular readers. You guys are polite.

 

Elvis’ 1955 Income Taxes:

Elvis' 1955 tax return

This may be too small for you to read, but Elvis’ gross income in 1955 was $25,414, and he paid $7,383 in taxes. Adjusted for inflation, that equates to an income of $237,244 today. Not bad for a twenty-year-old, but it was chump change compared to what he made in 1956 when he hit the big time with records recorded at RCA, appeared on TV, and made movies.

 

My thanks to all you readers who posted things that I could use in this article.  Keep them coming.

 

 

© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Celebrating the ’68 Comeback Special’s 50th Anniversary

Celebrating the 68 SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY

 

I am posting this article on August 16, a very important day for all Elvis fans.  It is the 41st anniversary of Elvis’ passing.

So, why start the article with a picture celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ’68 Comeback Special?  I got the idea from EPE. They’re doing that today, too.

This picture is one of several Graceland has produced as part of a big promotional push they’ve got going on for the ’68 Comeback Special right now.  For years, they have been trying to drop the word Comeback, and just call it the ’68 Special, so seeing Comeback in the text was a bit of a surprise.   I like it.

 

However, you probably know this TV special was simply called ELVIS when it aired back in 1968.

Ad for Elvis 68 Comeback Special

 

There’s an interesting piece of information on this ad for the show.  The date was December 3rd.  So why is Graceland celebrating its 50th anniversary now?  Perhaps you remember that it was filmed several months before it was broadcast.  Maybe they are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the filming.

Ticket to Filming of 68 Comeback Special

 

No.  It was filmed on June 27 and 29.  So, what is the reason Graceland chose to celebrate it in mid-August?  Elvis Week, of course.  It goes on for ten days, and they need lots of events to keep the fans busy. So, why not schedule two ’68 Comeback Special happenings on the big day — August 16.  That’s a smart plan

Here’s what they said on Graceland.com/news about these events:

 

Conversations on Elvis: ’68 Special

 

10:00 AM. Graceland Soundstage, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. $25

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ groundbreaking television special “Elvis” – or known to many fans as the “’68 Comeback Special.” Hosted by Tom Brown, the event features Steve Binder, who conceived, directed and produced the ’68 Special, called by TV Guide “the second greatest musical moment in television history next to the Beatles debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.” Binder will share his memories of working with the king, and he’ll discuss what’s in his upcoming book, “Comeback ’68 Elvis: The Story of the Elvis Special.”

 

Steve Binder today

Steve Binder today

 

Steve Binder and Elvis in 1968

Steve Binder and Elvis in 1968

 

More special guests will include: musical director Billy Goldenberg, writer Allan Blye, guitarist Mike Deasy; and Tanya Lemani George, the belly dancer who performed during “Little Egypt.”

 

Tanya Lemani with Elvis in Background

She’s the one I’d be most interested in seeing (I’ll bet she can still do a mean belly dance).

 

 

’68 Special 50th Anniversary Celebration

 7:00 PM. Graceland Soundstage, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. $55

Join us as we celebrate Elvis Presley’s groundbreaking NBC television special that aired in December 1968, “Elvis.” The show will feature an enhanced screening of what has become known as Elvis’ “’68 Comeback Special” with live music, special guest appearances and performers, and much more.

Special guests include Steve Binder, Allan Blye, and Billy Goldenberg introducing segments of the program and sharing behind-the-scenes stories.

If you went to the “Conversation of Elvis – ’68 Special” show earlier, you might be hearing some stuff for a second time.   That’d be OK.

 

Shop Elvis '68 Special

 

Another concurrent event is the recently expanded selection of ’68 Special items on sale at store.graceland.com.  A month ago, there were 37 choices; now there are 72.  Here are a few that caught my eye for one reason or another.

LVIS BLACK LEATHER MULTI DANGLE CARABINER KEY RING

I like this one because of its name, which is, “Elvis Black Leather Multi-Dangle Carabiner Key Ring.”  You just can’t have too many Elvis Multi-Dangles.  The carabiner is the thing at the top.  The little gold record is a mini version of the magnet I sold on here last week. You can get one of these key rings for $8.99.

 

68 SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION Elvis COIN

This is a limited edition coin for $12.99.  The front looks good to me, but the back seemed off somehow. To look closer, I blew it up.

Back of Elvis 68 SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY Coin

 

This is the worst depiction of Elvis I have ever seen.  His hair looks like it turned into an eel with its head over Elvis’ eye.  There are worms crawling over his face and leeches on his body. The rest of it defies description.  Here’s the photo they were trying to replicate.

 

ELVIS 68 SPECIAL - Favorite Image

 

Wow.  Think I’ll skip the coins.

 

Elvis '68 Special Comforter Set $140

 

They did a much better job reproducing that image on this comforter set.  If you want one, it will set you back $140.

 

Elvis 68 Special Comeback Bobble head 29.99 8 inches tall

 

Here’s an 8 inch tall Elvis Bobblehead dressed in his famous black leather outfit.  The price is $29.95.  I had to show this item because I have one in my Fuzzy Room that I’ll be selling one of these days – for half that price.

 

Elvis BLACK LEATHER ROUND MAGNET

Here’s another image that ended up on a lot of the 50th anniversary merchandise.  This is a 2-1/2 inch diameter refrigerator magnet prices at $4.99. Take a look at the thing on Elvis right wrist.  You can get one of them, too.

 

Elvis BLACK LEATHER BRACELET

 

They call this a bracelet, and it actually is real leather. The website says it is inspired by the bracelet that Elvis wore while filming the ’68 Comeback Special, so it might be a different design. I’m not sure if many folks, even Elvis fans, would make the connection if they saw it on someone.  The price is $29.99.

 

Elvis' 68 SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY ELVIS WHITE SUIT T-SHIRT

 

This T-shirt features a third Elvis image associated with the ’68 Special – the white suit he wore when singing “If I Can Dream.”  Although it does not have the words ’68 Special on it, the famous red ELVIS marquee sign and the white suit easily identify it.  Cost is $24.99.

 

ELVIS SILHOUETTE 50TH ANNIVERSARY 68 SPECIAL CAP

 

Same thing with this baseball cap.  $17.99.

 

 

There is one other ’68 Comeback Special event scheduled for today, August 16, but it is for all of us who didn’t make it to Elvis Week.

 

Elvis 68 Special in Movie Theaters

 

This was the announcement in Graceland.com/news.  When you clicked to open it, there was very little information, except a link to this:

 

Fathom Events Elvis 68 Comeback at Movies

 

Tickets in my area are $15.75, but they may be different around the country. Here’s what they had to say about the movie:

This anniversary event includes the legendary television special, plus an exclusive look at the making of the special, featuring a walkthrough of the NBC soundstage with insights from director/producer Steve Binder and others influenced by Presley, his music and this iconic event.

Sounds pretty good, but a little pricey.

 

 

 

AP photo_Elvis Presley Candlelight Vigil

 

Let’s end with a picture that reflects the real meaning of August 16 for Elvis fans.  The Candlelight Vigil has more significance to them than anything else going on during Elvis Week.

 

We miss you, Elvis.

 

 

 

 

©  2018    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering DJ Fontana

DJ Fontana at center of Band

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

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

DJ Fontana book - The Beat Behind the King

 

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

DJ Fontana at Drums

 

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

 

DJ Fontana - Life on the Road CD

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

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

 

DJ Played with 20 Singers

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

 

DJ Played with 19 more Singers

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

 

DJ in Lederhosen - G.I. Blues

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

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

DJ's Solo Scene in Loving You

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

 

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

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

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

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

Max Weinburg Article in Elvis the Magazine

Max Weinburg Article in Elvis the Magazine

 

Phil Arnold, Joe Esposito & DJ Fontana

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

DJ Signing Books at Elvis Week 2007

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

 

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

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

 

 

DJ Looking Spiffy at Elvis Week 2007

 

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

 

© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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