Monthly Archives: August 2021

Charlie Watts Promoted DJ for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

DJ and Charlie Watts in July 2015

DJ and Charlie Watts in July 2015

 

I’m a little late with this post because Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed away four days ago at age 80.  It stuck in my mind that I had written about him in ElvisBlog years ago, so I did some searching.  Here’s the history that I found connecting Charlie Watts and D J Fontana.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame created the Sideman Category in 2000, and Scotty Moore was one of the first five inductees that year. The group included two drummers – but not DJ.  Many Elvis fans wondered why.

In 2003, the Hall added a third drummer.  This is when the fans of DJ Fontana started to really get upset with the selection process.  Rumblings of ”let’s get DJ into the Hall of Fame” were heard at Elvis Week and other gatherings, and on Internet chat groups.  Hundreds of letters and petitions went to the Hall extolling the praises of DJ and cheerleading for his inclusion.

In 2004, four of the world’s most famous rock drummers formally approached the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Sidemen Nominating Committee about DJ Fontana’s qualifications.  They were: 

Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stone

Ringo Starr of the Beatles

Levon Helm of the Band

Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band

In spite of this intervention by all-star drummers with Hall of Fame credentials, the selection committee ignored DJ again for five more years until he and Bill Black were inducted in 2009.

 

Copyright 2021    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.

Continuing Our Look at a Big Elvis Scrapbook

After our break for Elvis Week posts, it’s back to part 3 of my 2011 series on Elvis scrapbooks.

 

Did you know there is an Elvis scrapbook in the Smithsonian Institution?  Back in January 2010, the Smithsonian opened a special Elvis exhibit titled One Life: Echoes of Elvis in the National Portrait Gallery.

The scrapbook they displayed was created just after Elvis died. It was found in a warehouse in Chicago, and the fan who assembled it is unknown.  A Smithsonian spokesman stated, “The devotion with which it was collected and labeled indicates how shocked Presley’s fans must have been at his early death.”  He also said he had confirmation that there were thousands of similar Elvis scrapbooks.

   

They didn’t let you flip through the pages of the Smithsonian scrapbook, but we can do it with the Elvis scrapbook we’ve been looking at for the last couple of weeks.

So, let’s check out five more pages.

Page 11 has all late 50s photos.  The top one may be hard for you to figure out, but this is a photo of Elvis in the Army.  He is tying his shoes while getting dressed in his fatigues.  That’s his belt hanging over his neck.  The picture to its left is from one of the Ed Sullivan shows in 1956.

The bottom photo is obviously from Jailhouse Rock.  I like the text below the shot, because it states that many people think it was Elvis’ greatest all-around performance.  I’d put it number 2, right behind King Creole.

 

Page 12 has three unexciting photos of Elvis.  The right one is of Elvis leaving a concert and getting in a limo.  The driver had to sneak past the fans to get back to the hotel.

The two articles are interesting.  The top one came out just after Elvis’ death, and according to the hand-written note, it is from a Catholic newspaper in September 1977.  The article contains the usual biographical information found in every Elvis news account after he died.  But, this also talked about Elvis’ faith.  “He was a young man of good intentions, a kind of man who had spiritual yearnings and a love of Jesus Christ.”  I like how the Catholic newspaper gave Elvis a pass on his assorted discretions because he had good intentions

The bottom article is a hoot.  It appeared in a February 28, 1977, issue of Newsweek magazine, and it is not complimentary.  Here are the title and selected quotes:

Rock ‘n’ Roly-Poly Elvis

“The entertainer’s cult shows no more signs of thinning out than its hero does.”

“The King – a jowly, raunchy figure…”

Fistfights broke out in the scramble for autographed scarves that Presley flung as he sang…”

Well, even though Elvis was on the decline six months before his death, the fans still came to his shows, and they still got rowdy, just like in the early days.  Elvis still had it.

 

  
Page 13 has two photos of Elvis holding guns.  The one on with the rifle should have had the caption:  “OK, fat man, now we’re gonna rewrite that rotten contract that gives you a 50% cut.”  The one with the pistol actually has this caption: “Elvis… and his boys liked shooting guns during parties, ranging from hand guns and rifles to Browning Automatic Rifles.”   Well, it’s a good thing there were never any drugs or alcohol at those parties.

The bottom section is an ad for a set of three Elvis eight-track tapes.  Sign of the times.

 

Page 14 has two color pictures of Elvis in jumpsuits.  Looks like old Elvis could still put a charge in the fans, although he’s got quite a gut in the smaller picture to the right.  I didn’t know Elvis threw pink scarves to the fans, but what else could he be holding?  Definitely doesn’t look like a bra or panties.

The bottom photos show younger Elvis with an unidentified woman, and a shot taken in Hawaii in 1972.

 

Page 15 is the third large color photo of Priscilla, but with cute little Lisa Marie in it, too.  Lisa looks to be about four-years-old.  If so, that would put the date around February, 1972, the month Priscilla left Elvis.  Based on all the pictures of Priscilla I have seen, I would say that whole breaking-up period was the least photographed time in her life.  So, this is a rare picture.  Priscilla would have been twenty-seven then, and I’ve decided she was at her peak of beauty in these scrapbook pictures.  Too bad they are all so badly aged and discolored.

 

©  2010    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.

 

We Still Miss You, Elvis

Elvis Week Flashbacks — Part 3

This is the last post in my trilogy of Elvis Week 2007 memories.  I have added some photos that weren’t in there originally. 

Elvis Week has changed significantly with the Graceland Guest House, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, and the Graceland Soundstage affording new experiences. But, I’ll tell you, even without them, we had a ball back in 2007.

 

More Stories from Elvis Week 2007

If you were willing to allocate a bunch of time and money for Elvis Week, you would come back from Memphis with one terrific experience. Over the course of ten days, there was a wonderful array of Elvis stuff for you to do and see, and most people tried to cram in several every day.

Good for them. I didn’t get to do many, but what I did was a super intense Elvis experience, so I’m happy. And, I did pick up a few stories that will be fun to pass on.

While talking with Millie Kirkham backstage, I asked her about once wearing a mini-skirt on stage with Elvis, and she brightened up and got very talkative. Here’s the story. Back in 1970, Elvis, along with the TCB Band, The Imperials, The Sweet Inspirations and Millie traveled to Las Vegas for the filming of Elvis, That’s The Way It Is. Millie went to one of the better clothing stores on the strip and bought an evening gown to wear during the concert filming. When everybody showed up, Millie saw the Sweet Inspirations were all wearing mini-skirts. Millie thought she would look out of sync with them, so she hurried out and bought a mini-skirt.

In the film, they show Elvis and everybody walking briskly from backstage toward the International Hotel concert stage. The clip lasts a few seconds, and you can clearly see Millie moving along on in the group. The mini-shirt is plainly visible.

Millie says she didn’t have mini-skirt legs, and she cringes every time she sees that footage. What really bugs her is that so many new Elvis DVDs have come out in the past twenty years, and they all seem to include that clip.

Another story is about a rumor that floated around the mezzanine level of the Peabody Hotel. Two days before the finals of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, the word was that Shawn Klush already had it wrapped up. One reason offered was that he was already signed up to perform on The Elvis Cruise in September. But the big reason was supposed to be that Shawn had done the Elvis part in the filmed helicopter trip that would be the lead-in for Elvis, The 30th Anniversary Concert.

Well, it turned out that Shawn Klush was crowned the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist. I don’t have a clue if there is anything to the rumor, and I don’t care. I were a judge, he’d get my vote. Shawn Klush is a terrific talent and the ideal package of Elvis looks, voice and moves. I don’t know what Darwin Lamm paid him this year to perform in his Spirit of The King concerts, but he’ll never get Shawn for that price again.

If you went to Scotty Moore’s tribute concert, The Last Man Standing, you were treated to a fine vocal performance by Billy Swan. Billy is good. He was very approachable, and autographed my mint-condition 45 record of his hit “I Can Help.” He also gave me a copy of his 1990 CD, Billy Swan’s Best. It is excellent, and I just love his cover of “Don’t Be Cruel.” Billy does it real slow, and it’s like a different song.

Billy has done this sort of thing before — his 2000 CD of Elvis covers called Like Elvis Used To Do. That’s a strange title, considering that Billy doesn’t do any of them the way Elvis did.   “Mystery Train” gets speeded up and gets some heavy guitar work,   “Viva Las Vegas” is done as a gospel number, “Too Much” become a blues song, “That’s All Right” is done as reggae, and “Jailhouse Rock” and “King Creole” are combined into a speeded-up medley. It is a very clever and most refreshing change from the usual. If you can’t top Elvis, you might as well put a new spin on his songs. The CD is available on Amazon, and I recommend it highly.

 

Me as Fill-in Security Guard for Joe Esposito and DJ

When Joe Esposito came to our sales tables to sign books and photos, he quickly drew a crowd. Part of the security staff was unavailable then, so I was asked to put on a security shirt and fill in. When I showed the above photo of me  ‘guarding’ Joe and DJ to a real security man, he said one thing was wrong: “Security guys never smile.” Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

The last Elvis Week story is about Scotty Moore. There was also a rumor about him. His traveling group showed up at the sales tables with 1000 CDs autographed by everybody in The Mighty Handful band. Everybody, including Scotty Moore. Well, we wondered how Scotty could have signed all of them, considering his arthritis problem. The rumor was that he was OK with the repetitive motion of signing his name. It was the salutations, like “To Rosemary,” or “To Katherine” that were the problem. The 1000 CDs had just his name, so it sounded pretty logical.

Scotty Moore and 63 Gibson Super 400

My wife’s name is Bev, and she admonished me to bring back some autographed pictures of Scotty and DJ addressed to her. I probably broke protocol when I asked Scotty to sign for Bev. I provided an article I wrote in the Birthday Tribute ’07 issue of Elvis…The Magazine. It contained a sharp color photo of Scotty, in his mid-forties, holding his beloved Gibson Super 400 guitar. Scotty had absolutely no trouble signing “To Bev,   Scotty Moore.” I have to admit, I kind of wish that one said “To Phil.”

 

© 2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

 

Editor’s Note: If I could go a a time-machine trip, I’d head back to Elvis Week, 2,007, for sure.

Elvis Week Flashbacks — Part 2

This is the second post of my personal Elvis Week 2007 story.  Reading it again brought back so many good memories for me.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

So, How Was Elvis Week?

 

If it is possible for an experience to be both a letdown and an exhilarating success at the same time, then that is the summary of my Elvis Week 2007. I’m not real happy about never getting over to Elvis Presley Boulevard and soaking in some of the Graceland aura.   It’s hard to believe I never got down to Beale Street to party… and it was only two blocks away. But the worst thing was that I never left the Peabody Hotel for four days, except to walk across the street to restaurants each night.

Wow. Sounds like a bad Elvis Week for sure. On the other hand, I don’t know how anyone else in Memphis could have had a more Elvis-connected experience than I had. Over a three-day period, I had breakfast with Joe Esposito, sat ten feet away from Priscilla at the restaurant in the Peabody, and hung around in the Grand Ballroom backstage area with Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, the Jordanaires, and the TCB Band. Nobody else did that.

I got people to take 30 photos of me with these music legends, and I got dozens of autographs from them, signed on articles I had written about them in Elvis…The Magazine. My mission had been to use this unique opportunity to gather a treasure trove of memorabilia, and it worked out perfectly.

Darwin Lamm, Publisher of Elvis…The Magazine certainly got plenty of work out of me at the tables selling concert tickets, magazines, books, DVDs and T-shirts.

I’m not used to standing on my feet for eight hours a day, so my legs got plenty sore. For some reason, our sales group had the same club sandwiches and fries brought in for lunch all four days, and that was pretty lame.

The trade-off for the other workers was free tickets to three great concerts. The trade-off for me was unlimited backstage access. The reason I got the better deal is because of all the articles I had provided Darwin for the magazine and various promotional pieces.

The TCB guys got their performer badges from me, so they were comfortable around me from the start. When everybody got backstage, they seemed fine with me sitting around the table with them in one of the two rooms. I mostly just listened and laughed at their stories. They all seem to genuinely like each other, and backstage is fun for them. When the subject of Elvis impersonators came up, they called them “impersonators,” not “tribute artists.” As you might expect, the TCB guys are not too fond of Elvis impersonators. That figures; they were around the real thing and have the best possible basis for comparison.

Jerry Scheff got some grief about thinning hair, but James Burton avoided the same fate. He wore a black TCB baseball cap all week. In 2004, he had very little hair left, so the hat is a good look for him. Ronnie Tutt has been wearing a ball cap for years, but I’m betting he’s got plenty of hair. He certainly has plenty of beard.

DJ Fontana looked so smart in his shiny grey suit and red shirt and tie. He complained about his favorite men’s store in Nashville closing down. We spoke about his upcoming performing schedule. He has a continuing tour with Shaun Klush, who is probably the top ETA right now. (I have no trouble calling them Tribute Artists.) We spoke about his new podcasting venture. I want to follow up on that, because it sounds like some interesting stuff he talks about. And, all his recorded conversations so far have been with special Elvis people.

I have enough stories from Elvis Week to fill up several articles, so I’ll save some stuff for future posts. One thing I have to write about now is my wonderful experience with Scotty Moore. Everybody loves this man, and I got to experience hanging out with him for almost half-an-hour. Again, I mostly listened to Scotty and the other guys in the Mighty Handful band talk around the table.   But every three minutes or so, I slid something over to him, along with an open Sharpie pen. I knew his arthritis problem was the reason he wouldn’t be signing autographs after the show, so I didn’t want to be a pest. But after a three-minute rest, I figured his hand was OK for another one.

I ended up with five Scotty Moore autographs: two on photographs, two on my magazine articles, and one on a reprint of an article I wrote that is posted on Scotty’s website.  He is always gracious and accommodating to fans, but this was something special he did for me.

image

The photo above is Scotty Moore as he exited the stage after “The Last Man Standing” concert. The future will determine if Scotty ever chooses to do another live performance. If not, maybe I caught Scotty’s last two seconds on a concert stage.

I guess I can give up Graceland and Beale Street for one year. Not a bad trade.

 

© 2007 Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

 

Editor’s Note:  Some of you are still sending comments even though I can’t get them to post after the blog articles.  I read them all and appreciate the personal messages.

 

 

Elvis Week Flashbacks

We are right in the middle of Elvis Week 2021, so I’d like to repost something from 2007 to celebrate the event.

If you are a long-time reader, you know I went to Elvis Week four times. My experience in 2007 was outstanding. I knew it would be, so I did a post in anticipation of going, and two more after I got home.

I think you will enjoy reading them for the next three days, back to back to back.

 

I’m Going to Elvis Week!

Lately, I’ve been walking around saying (practically singing), “I’m going to Elvis Week.” I’d better cut it out, or my wife is going to get mad. Being gone for four days is problematic enough, so there is no point in broadcasting how much fun I’m going to have.

This will be my fourth Elvis Week, and it may be a while until I take in another. After this year, there won’t be any more “Good Rockin’ Tonight” concerts from Darwin Lamm, Editor of Elvis… The Magazine. That’s been the connection that brought me to Memphis each time, but he says this is the last. He has been host to concerts in most years from 1992 on, but 2007 will be end the  run of great Elvis Week shows for Darwin Lamm.

Elvis fans from all over the world have regularly supported his concerts, and they’ll be glad they made the trip this year. For his grand finale, Darwin is presenting a incredible six shows. I’m excited; being a ‘gofer’ backstage is a great job.

I also have a sad, personal story about this Elvis Week. Five months ago, I bought a bunch of albums and 45s from an old guy, and it included a near-mint copy of Boots Randolph’s Christmas promo release “Sleigh Ride/White Christmas.” I was planning on taking it to Memphis and getting Boots to autograph it. That won’t happen now. We’ll miss you, Boots. But, we’ll carry on.

I recently sent e-mails to eight people I expect to see during Elvis Week. One of them is a musician coming in from Nashville to perform during the festivities. The thing that struck me was his enthusiasm. He is as excited as a fan.

Who wouldn’t be, in his situation? He said, “It will be nice to see many old friends, including many of Elvis’ friends we have become close to over the years.”

How would you like to have that going for you next week? The quote comes from Steve Shepherd, who will be playing keyboard at two Scotty Moore tribute concerts. The last time I saw Steve play behind Scotty, Steve also served as stage manager and ran rehearsals, so he will probably do that again this year.

The concerts where Steve will appear are called Scotty Moore: The Last Man Standing. There’s a code word in the title. If you can find a Las Vegas bookie who will give you odds that this will not be the last time Scotty Moore is up on stage, it might be smart to put a little money on the bet.

I know another person who is going to Elvis Week and is super happy about it. She gets to celebrate her 50th birthday in a bar across the street from the Peabody Hotel. Kathy DeNike booked the “Big Foot Lodge” for the blast, and it is shaping up to be great fun. I’m going with two lovely ladies, Judy and Shirley, wonderful friends from near Toronto.

Kathy DeNike is a talent manager for a gang of Elvis Tribute Artists, and several will perform in Memphis. She has a huge e-mail list of contacts and Elvis fans, so it must have been a chore to pare it down to the short list of the people who got invitations. The invitations were e-mailed, and must be printed out and presented at the door. What a great touch. It will be fun to come up to the door with my invitation clutched tightly in my hand. I even printed it in color.

For a lot of reasons, I’m pumped to be going to this Elvis Week. I’m prepared to experience some bittersweet moments as I get an up-close view of aging artists performing. Maybe, that will make it more special.

Any way,  “I’m Going To Elvis Week. I’m Going To Elvis Week.”

 

© 2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

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Editor’s note: Sorry there were no photos in this.  I wasn’t very good at posting them back in 2007

Getting Back to the Elvis Scrapbook Reposts

Back in June, I reused a post from 2011 about a fan’s huge Elvis scrapbook. It was so big that it took four posts to cover everything in it.  Here is part 2 in the series.

 

Last week we started a discussion on Elvis Scrapbooks and took a look at the first six pages of one I recently borrowed.  50s teenagers enjoyed compiling Elvis items in organized scrapbooks.  It should come as no surprise to you that Col. Parker saw the fad for Elvis scrapbooks and marketed a few to meet this demand.  Of course, there was no shortage of newspaper and magazine articles to cut out and past in the books.  Here are three scrapbooks that went on sale early in Elvis’ career.

                        

                    

Zippered 3-Ring Elvis Scrapbook

 

The Elvis scrapbook we looked at last week was totally a home-made endeavor.  Here are the next four pages with a few comments.

 

Page 7 gets into older Elvis – a shot from the ’68 Comeback Special, a color Jumpsuit shot (probably from a magazine) and two black-and-white jumpsuit newspaper photos  Finally, there is the second Priscilla picture.  It is another look at Priscilla around the time she parted with Elvis.  Although it’s not full page like the first one, it does have a nice caption: “Friends say he never got over their divorce – and never stopped loving her.”

 

Page 8 is a real hodge-podge of pictures.  We get a shot of Elvis on the set of Flaming Star with an unidentified woman, probably a fan.  Then, yet another picture of Elvis and Natalie Wood.  The caption reports that Wood said Elvis had almost mystical beliefs.  At the bottom of the page, Elvis hangs out with film crew on location.  Too bad they didn’t say what movie it was.  Next, we get our second look at Lisa Marie, perhaps a little older than in the earlier photo.  Finally, we get the scrapbook’s third shot of Priscilla, and she looks young in all of them.  Priscilla was twenty-eight when she and Elvis divorced, and it would seem all these photographs were taken shortly after that.

 

Page 9 is a strange one.  The three newspaper photos are nothing unusual.  You can see the date 9/12/77 written on the picture of Elvis performing, so it appeared in the weeks after his death.  The photo on the right side seems to be from Viva Las Vegas.  And the bottom one says, “Elvis leaves a concert in a flurry of action and tension.”

The newspaper article is sort of interesting.  It quotes Richard Fulcher of the Brentwood Historical Society in Tennessee, who traced Elvis lineage through eleven generations..  He states that Elvis father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all struggled as sharecroppers in the Mississippi bottom land.  It was during Reconstruction after the Civil War that the fortunes of Elvis great-great-grandfather turned for the worse and he moved his family to Mississippi.

According to Mr Fulcher, things were much better for the earlier generations of Presleys, who lived in Tennessee.

 

Page 10:  This does not look like a casual photo snapped at random.  I know it was done during a professional session, because I have another pose in the same outfit. 

 

In these shots, Priscilla is twenty-eight or so, and she has an appearance that is different from both the early black hair and heavy makeup period and the mature period when she appeared on Dallas on TV and the Naked Gun movies.  I’ll go out on a limb and say her peak of beauty was at the time of these photos.

More Elvis Scrapbook stories to come.

 

©  2011    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.

 

Editor’s Note:  The problem with comments not appearing has still not been fixed.  I have approved all those sent in since the problem began.  Hopefully, they will be visible soon.