Monthly Archives: November 2008


Congratulations to reader Kevin Coyle for the Elvis caption below.  There will be another caption contest next week.

“Stupid cow, wandering in here where we're doin' maneuvers.  Welcome to splatter city.”


This week we have an honorable mention.  Although the intent of the contest is to come up with a hunorous caption, reader Anna Ferroni  provided one that was so historically accurate, it deserves posting here, too.

Elvis in Germany, 1958 to 1960, Graffenweir, West Germany, with the Company D, 1st Battallion, 32nd Armor, 3rd Armor Division





Have you ever visited Graceland and written a message on the fieldstone wall that surrounds the property?   This phenomenon started while Elvis was still alive, and the grounds keepers worked diligently to keep the wall clean.  After Elvis died, the volume of fan graffiti proved overwhelming, and the estate decided to leave the wall alone.  Only crude messages were pressure-washed off.  The rest would last a year or so until exposure to sun and rain faded them, giving newer visitors a chance to add their thoughts.


A few years ago I purchased a small book called “Dear Elvis:  Graffiti from Graceland,” written by Daniel Wright, and It contained a selection of messages from fans.  Mr. Wright returned to Memphis numerous times between 1989 and 1996 to record and photograph the ever changing Graceland graffiti for his book, and I would like to present some of the best here.

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If this was Disneyworld, I’d buy a pair of Elvis ears!


Elvis.  I wish I was your belt buckle for a day.  Gina


Please quit writin’ on my wall.  Thank you, thank you very much.  “E”


George Burns is bringing cigars and news about Ann-Margret!


Elvis, yesterday I realized how much I love you, so I broke off my engagement to Adam.  Please come home to Mama! – Monique


Elvis, you had great taste in women.  Priscilla is a babe! – Dave


Elvis kicks butt!


You had a weird decorator.  Thank God he didn’t write music! – Connie


Elvis, Elvis, let me be.                                                                                                

Keep your pelvis far from me!


Elvis, thanks for helping me celebrate my fortieth birthday.  Too bad you missed the party!  Sheila


Elvis, I’m bearing your ghost child, and I’m confused because I’m a man!


We love you, and so does the rest of Oz! – Melissa


You wouldn’t have liked the way Caddies look today, anyway. – Mary Lou


“If you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair”?!?  Ouch!


AGB – Atomic Graceland Babes


I can’t believe I’m doing this!  Please don’t sandblast me! – Riedy


Elvis makes me hot! – Jerrie


Dear Gladys & Vernon – YOU DONE GOOD!


Elvis I came for a short visit, but a part of me will always remain… Jen




Elvis, it’s me again in ’93.  Remember?


Hey Elvis:  Lisa Marie made a big mistake.  Come back and straighten her out.  Mary, 1994


Dear God:  Bolton and Cyrus for Presley?!?  Let’s TRADE!!!


Can Elvis come out and play??  Jewels


Elvis, please call Kevin.  He heard you were dead and he’s BUMMED.


Elvis, your burning love left a hole in my heart.


THANK YOU dear Elvis for all the happiness and the miracle.  Wish I could stay forever.  I will come back… Hatice


I love you now and forever.  I will be with you someday.  I will dream of you until then. — Jen


We travelled a long way, but, for you, we’d do it again in a minute!  T.L.C!


You are fantastic!  I never got to see you, but I have come to Graceland each August for 15 years.  It still hurts, but the love from your fans all over this world helps mend these broken hearts.  Thank you, Love, for your music and all the wonderful things you did and will forever do.  You bring the world together in friendship and love.  The world is full of beautiful people.  Elvis, you are the most beautiful in every way.  The world has learned, and always will learn, much from you and be grateful always.  Till next year.  You sing forever in our hearts.


©   2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved

Elvis M&M Ornaments for Christmas

Like many of you, I receive e-mail notices from announcing their latest hot deals on Elvis merchandise.  I’m not sure, but I think I’m on their mailing list by virtue of being a member of Elvis Insiders.  As noted in ElvisBlog before, I am trying not to accumulate any more Elvis stuff because I have plenty (too much according to my wife).  However, I do scan through the ShopElvis offers out of curiosity.

Their latest e-mail touted “Special Free Items,” but it turns out the four free items are only free if you spend over $50, $100, $150, or $250.  One in particular interested me.  If you spend $100 on other stuff, you get a free M&M Ornament Set.  This had the potential to challenge my no-more-Elvis-stuff position, because I love M&M collectibles and have accumulated a few over the years.


So, I clicked on the link to the Free M&M Ornament Set, and look what came up:  Four cute little Elvis M&M figurines.  They are 1-1/2 inches tall, and the set can be yours for $11.99 if you don’t want spend $100 on other purchases to get them for free.

Free Elvis Mini M&Ms Ornament Set

Two of the little guys look pretty cool to me.  The blue M&M with the red outfit reminds me of the young Elvis, and the Red M&M with the sunglasses makes a great 70s Elvis.  But if I get the set, the other two guys won’t be hanging on my Christmas tree.  The yellow M&M reminds me of a fish more than Elvis, and the Orange M&M looks like Kermit the Frog.  Those two would have to go

I scrolled through all of the ShopElvis’ ornament offerings, and found another set of Elvis M&Ms.

Elvis M&Ms Jumpsuit Ornament Set

These guys are 3-1/2 inches tall and seem like a pretty good deal for $10.98.  They are hand-painted resin which hopefully means they are more durable than blown glass.  I like the red guy with the blue jumpsuit and blue guy with the white jumpsuit the best.  The hair and sideburns on the yellow guy seems to be an extension of the black jumpsuit, and that looks a little weird.


Just for kicks, I Googled Elvis M&M Ornaments to see what else might come up, and look what I found on Amazon.

M&M Elvis Presley Christmas Ornaments

This set cost more than twice as much as the others at $26.99, but you get some extra features.  Three of them are holding microphones and the other has a guitar.  I like them all.  How neat is a ’68 Comeback Special Elvis M&M?  And I love yet another variation of Elvis in his Gold Lamé Suit.  The blue M&M in the white suit is very cool with his gold belt buckle and mic stand.  The orange M&M in the red coat is special because he is the only one holding a guitar.  That gives it a good Elvis connection, which makes up for the fact that he looks a little like Cartman from the TV show South Park.

So, I guess I will give in and ask my relatives to get me some M&M Elvis ornaments for Christmas presents.  I’ll put out the hint I’d like the mini set from ShopElvis and the more expensive set from Amazon.

There is one other interesting note on the Amazon set.  It was created by noted Christmas tree ornament designer Karl Adler.  You can click on a link to go to “Other Kurt Adler Products.”  I did, and there are some interesting items.  However I found one other Elvis ornament I wish he had never made.

Elvis Dancing Cow Christmas Ornament


Unlike the M&M Elvis ornaments, there is no mention on the webpage of “Officially Licensed Merchandise.”  I’m guessing EPE doesn’t even know this horrid design exists, and if they ever find out, Mr. Adler can expect a strongly worded ”cease and desist” letter from Graceland’s lawyers.  For once, I would agree with EPE.  The Elvis Dancing Cow will never hang on my Christmas tree (although it would be kind of fun to see my wife’s reaction if I did try to hang one there).

©  2008    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All rights Reserved


Congratulations to reader John Migacz for the Elvis caption below.  There will be another caption contest next week.

The result after Vernon lectured Elvis on not spending all his money so fast.

A Second Look at Graceland Cellars ine

I saw something in the sports section this week that had me shaking my head in disbelief.  A California winery has introduced a line of boutique red wines called the Vicktory Dogs Wine Collection.  That is not a misspelling on Vicktory.  It is spelled that way because the bottles feature portraits of 22 pit bulls confiscated from Michael Vick’s sordid kennel that provided combatants for illegal dog fights.


Well, if they can put Michael Vick’s pit bulls on wine bottles, I guess it is not so strange that Elvis Presley’s name and image adorn a line of wines.  Graceland Cellars wines were introduced in 2004 and obviously have been a success.  Back in March 2005, I wrote about Graceland Cellars in just the seventh article in the young life of ElvisBlog, so now might be a good time to do an update.

About a week ago, a press release was sent out announcing the special edition Blue Christmas 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  At $18.99 suggested retail price, Blue Christmas is touted as “a serious wine in a fun package.”  The key here is “serious wine,” and I’m starting to think all Graceland Cellars wines can truly be thought of with this designation.

One way I recognize a serious wine (without actually tasting it) is to note how much of the wine-metaphor-description-thing it gets.  I love the interesting ways the experts think up to describe wines, however, I’m not sure the spin for Blue Christmas Cabernet sounds so good:  “a complex, structured wine with hints of leather, cherry, cedar and smoke.”  Leather, cedar and smoke?

Another gift idea from Graceland Cellars is the Elvis Presley Party Pack.  For $34.99, you get three wines in special packaging with Elvis trivia on the side panel, and a bonus Elvis Christmas CD inside.


The Party Pack includes Jailhouse Rock 2006 Merlot, Blue Suede Shoes 2007 Chardonnay, and The King 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Here’s what they say about Jailhouse Rock Merlot:  “Young and vibrant.  Aromas of berries and fresh herbs are followed by varietal characteristics of red currant, green olives, sage and wild berries.”  Did you think you would ever hear green olives mentioned in the description of a wine?

The Blue Suede Shoes Chardonnay spin says:  “…has attractive floral, citrus, pear and appley aromas followed by a rich, complex beam of apple pie, fig, apricot and peach flavors.”  Hey, this is an Elvis wine; let’s get some banana and peanut-butter aroma in there.

The King Cabernet Sauvignon has more fruit references in its description:  “This wine is lush, ripe and juicy, with intense black cherry, current and blackberry fruit that’s smooth and focused.”  We certainly don’t want any unfocused wine now, do we?  I wonder why wines don’t smell and taste like grapes.


There are other Graceland Cellars wines available for holiday giving, including the Stuck On You 2005 Shiraz, a bargain at $9.99.  I must admit I have no idea what Shiraz is, but it sounds yummy:  “Crafted in a fruit-forward, ripe style, our Shiraz is brimming with red berry, pepper, and chocolate aromas.  Spicy tannins layer with vanilla and cedar to build flavor upon flavor in this medium-bodied red.  A perfect partner to outdoor grilling or to Memphis style slow cooked ribs.”   Sorry, I would rather have beer with my ribs.  Barbeque sauce on a beer can is OK, but it looks bad all over your wine glass.



Graceland has another product they recommend for your holiday partying.  It is aptly named the All Shook Up California Champagne and is available for $14.99, or in a 2-bottle set for $29.98.  I guess they don’t need to give us all the jive about aroma and taste.  Just drink it and have fun.


Graceland Cellars offers a few special selections that definitely fit into the “serious wine” category discussed earlier.  The picture above is the limited edition Velvet Elvis 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  Only 3,600 individually numbered jet-black velvet-label Magnums were produced, and they go for $99.99 each.  According to a Graceland Cellars spokesman, “We blended the popular craft of velvet painting that became synonymous with Elvis’ image along with our best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and bottled it into a stunning package.”  If you buy one of these and drink the wine, I’ll bet the empty bottle will be a keeper.


The same can be said for the top of the line Etched Elvis 2005 Limited Production Cabernet Sauvignon, which goes for $119.99.  That picture you see etched on the bottle is one of the popular Elvis images done by EPE artist Joe Petruccio.  A good portion of the price has to be for his artwork, but I’ll bet the wine is spectacular, too.

The last Graceland cellars wine I want to mention is the Jailhouse Rock 2005 Merlot I received as a gift last Christmas.  In a few weeks, I will be going to the annual Christmas party for my local writers group.  Two of the members are devoted Merlot drinkers, and they don’t believe a wine with Elvis’ picture on it could be any good.  I’m taking my bottle and serving it to them, and then I’ll get their evaluation.  In particular, I want them to describe its fragrance.  If they say it has aromas of green olives, sage, and wild berries, I’ll probably faint.

©  2008   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


Congratulations to reader Dave Newell for the Elvis caption below.  There will be a new caption contest next week.

Elvis' new and improved Memphis Mafia stands by, ready for action.


You have probably seen different types of Rock & Roll lists presented in the media. Over the years, I’ve been able to write a full ElvisBlog column about three of them.  They all had to be categories that interested me, of course; serious polls like “The 50 Most Awesomely Dead Rock Stars” and the “Sexiest Rock & Roll Artists of All Time,” and the “100 Most Outrageous Moments in Rock & Roll.”  There was lots of Elvis stuff in all three, so they were fun to write about.

However, the rest of the lists I’ve come across have been put in a file folder for extended languishing.  Now it is time to empty the contents of that list file and make a few comments as we go.

The results I am happiest with are on a list from Q Magazine: the “Top Ten Singers Ever”.  Elvis heads the list, just ahead of Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra.  Aretha was the only woman.  Number 4 was a big favorite of mine, Otis Redding.  I remember going to parties in the late 60s and dancing to Otis Redding songs for hours.  If your music horizon doesn’t go back far enough to include Otis Redding albums, you need to learn about this great performer.  Get some of his CDs; his live concert recordings are incredible.  Number 10 on the list is Tim Buckley, and I don’t think I’ve ever listened to his music.  I guess I need to follow my own advice and get a Tim Buckley CD and find out why he ranked so high.

Here is the award winner for the list with the longest name: “Best Ever Acting Performance By A Musician,” put out by Contact Music.  Elvis got nudged out by Frank Sinatra for his performance in From Here To Eternity.  We all know Frank did a superb job in that role, so I’ve got no problem with Elvis coming in second for his work in Jailhouse Rock.  But, look at who came in next: Eminem, in his only acting job, 8 Mile.  I haven’t seen it, so I really can’t say anything, but if he’s such a good actor, why hasn’t he made any more movies?  Even though I’m pleased that Elvis’ acting in Jailhouse Rock was so esteemed, I can’t imagine why Elvis in King Creole didn’t make the Top 10 on this list.  For my money, the best acting job Elvis ever did was in King Creole.

Billboard has done a number of lists, and they have some credibility when it comes to making their picks.  However, they won’t get me to accept Elvis as #4 on their list of “The 100 All-Time Top Artists.”  Maybe I won’t quibble with The Beatles being picked as #1, but Madonna and Elton John are not above Elvis. He wasn’t the only one given a bum rank.  The Rolling Stones came in #10 – behind Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.  No way.

VH1 produced two of the lists in my file, and one of them just amazes me.  They selected the “50 Greatest Teen Idols,” and you’ve got to figure Elvis would do great in a poll like that, right?  Well, he did not.  In fact, he didn’t make the cut.  I read that list three times to make sure, but Elvis’ name was not to be found.  That’s ridiculous.  They had top winners Britney Spears (1), David Cassidy (2), and N’Sync (3).  All big teen idols for sure, but nothing compared to the idolatry Elvis received in the 50s.  How in the world did anyone think Rick Springfield, Scott Baio and Corey Feldman were bigger teen idols than Elvis?  To show you how skewed against older icons this stupid list was, it did not even include James Dean.

To their credit, VH1 partially made up for their omission by placing Elvis #3 in another list: “100 Greatest Pop Culture Icons.”  He was behind Oprah Winfrey and Superman, and ahead of Lucille Ball.  They sure must have had an older group of judges for this one.  There were older icons all over this list.  I’ll bet that when the judges picked Elvis, they were thinking about him in white jumpsuit and cape saying, “Thank you, thank you very much.”

I just noticed something interesting on one of the pages in my list file.  It shows that VH1 has also produced “The Greatest: 40 Hot Rock Star Girlfriends” and “The Greatest: 100 Most Wanted Bodies.”  Elvis had dynamite girlfriends and young Elvis has to rank pretty high in that bodies list.  I need to check out these two polls and see if there is enough there for another column.  They sure sound interesting.  Don’t know how I missed them before.


© 2008  Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved