Elvisworld had a busy year again in 2006. Let’s take a look at the most significant events and the new offerings of Elvis DVD’s, CDs, books and other products.
We Lost Another Elvis Buddy:
The saddest event had to be the passing of great friend Charlie Hodge at age 71. He was a loyal, long-term friend who lived right at Graceland for years. Charlie is best known as the fellow who sang harmony with Elvis during the 70s concerts and who handed Elvis the white scarves he passed out to screaming female fans.
The most publicized event had to be the July visit to Graceland by President Bush and Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan. This was all over the papers, TV, and the Internet for days. Priscilla and Lisa Marie greeted the two heads of state, and it looked like everyone had a grand time.
In March, Graceland was designated a National Historic Landmark. It was certainly a justified honor for America’s most recognizable residence after the White House.
Lisa Marie married Michael Lockwood in Kyoto, Japan on January 22. It would be nice if this union works, and so far it seems to be.
In December, the building that formally housed Elvis Presley’s Memphis on Beale Street came back to life as EP Delta Kitchen and Bar. It was sad to see Elvis Presley’s Memphis close in 2003, but EPE admits that it suffered a significant loss throughout the six years they operated it. Now they have worked out a deal with Jimmy Ishii, an established restaurateur with eight restaurants in Memphis and nine others from Florida to Missouri. EP Delta Kitchen and Bar has an emphasis on music from several genres, especially the blues.
Elvis 56 and Elvis After Dark exhibits opened in the Graceland visitor center in March. 1956 was the year Elvis’ career exploded, so there are plenty of goodies featured in Elvis 56. The Elvis After Dark exhibit is a clever concept. As EPE expressed it, “For much of his life, Elvis Presley was a night person. After the sun went down, Elvis came out to play.” I look forward to checking out both of these new attractions during Elvis Week in August.
Follow That Dream Collector’s Label came out with seven new releases in 2006: “Something For Everybody,” “I Found My Thrill,” “Elvis Presley,” “Clambake,” “Let Yourself Go,” “Writing For The King,” and “His Hand In Mind.” This program is designed to steer fans away from buying bootleg recordings, and they have released some interesting selections. The FTD series deserves more detailed comment in a future Elvisblog article.
“Million Dollar Quartet 50th Anniversary Release” came out in September, and the 1956 session was released in its entirety and in the sequence in which it was originally recorded. This CD is great from a historical standpoint, but the music is such that most people who buy it won’t be playing it over and over.
Elvis’ songs have been repackaged before (notably in the Time/Life series), but Sony BMG released six titles under the Elvis Genre Collection in 2006: “Rock,” “Country,” “Inspirational,” “Live,” “Movies,” and “R&B.” With 20 songs each and a reasonable price, this seems to be a pretty good deal.
“Elvis: The 25th Anniversary Concert” is the August 16, 2002 show held at The Pyramid arena in Memphis. I saw that version of “Elvis The Concert,” and it was great, so if you haven’t seen a touring version of this multimedia event, the DVD might be an alternative to consider.
“Elvis: The Ed Sullivan Shows” is not just film segments of Elvis on the shows; it is all three programs in their entirety, plus lots of other goodies.
“Elvis: The Ultimate Film Collection” is a big ticket item but worth the cost. It contains 9 DVD movies, 2 special DVDs (“Elvis: Black Leather Concert” and never before seen home movies), a music rarities CD, movie posters and photos, collectible booklets, a copy of the “Jailhouse Rock” screenplay, all presented in a fancy collectors case. This one will definitely be on my next Christmas wish list.
“Elvis By The Presleys” The four-hour TV special on CBS is now available as a double-DVD which also contains four new special features.
“’68 Comeback Special – Single disc DVD.” We had the original video, and then the four-DVD release showing every outtake during rehearsals. I guess this is something in between.
“Aloha From Hawaii – Single disc DVD.” Same history as the Comeback Special.
“Me And A Guy Named Elvis”, by Jerry Schilling. This is another long-time Elvis buddy, and he held off doing the inevitable Elvis book for 29 years. This title has been very successful.
“GRACELAND: An Interactive Pop-Up Tour.” I kind of dismissed this one until I watched a film clip about it on www.elvis.com. Now I think it is a really cool idea, and it is very well done.
“Remembering Elvis” by Joe Esposito. The man who was Elvis’ best friend and tour manager has done other books, but “Remembering Elvis” is a cut above. It is a classy book with tons of content that you won’t find anywhere else.
“Elvis At 21 – New York to Memphis” by Al Wertheimer. There have been a few good ‘coffee table’ books done about Elvis, but this one is the Grand Champion. The book is an absolutely spectacular presentation of hundreds of the photos Wertheimer took of Elvis in 1956. If you get “Elvis at 21” don’t just look at the pictures. The text by Wertheimer adds wonderful insight into the life of Elvis during the year he burst on the national scene.
Needless to say, there are dozens of other books (and CDs, and DVD’s) about Elvis that came out last year, but space doesn’t allow covering all of them here.
Other New Products:
Elvis Coffee and Hot Chocolate. How about a cup of “Love Me Tender” Easy Roast” or “Double Trouble” Elvis Hot Chocolate. Four other flavors, as well.
New wines from Graceland Cellars. New selections include “All Shook Up” California Brut Champagne for $12.99, and “Velvet Elvis Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for $99.99. Wow – $99.99. That’s what the press release says. I’ve got to do some research on this on.
So, all in all, there was a lot going on in Elvisworld in 2006. We can expect more of the same in 2007, as the 30th Anniversary year unfolds. Elvisblog will do its best to comment on all of them as they happen.
© 2007 Philip R Arnold All Rights Reserved www.elvisblog.net