I knew Elvis Presley
from November of 1972 until his death in August of 1977.
I was employed
as his personal bodyguard and often traveled with Elvis on concert
tours and witness many performances and was his friend and companion
until the day he died.
In August of 1973 Elvis purchased a home for me at 1317 Favell Drive
the Whitehaven area of Memphis.
From October 15 to November 1, 1973 Elvis was hospitalized at
Baptist Hospital in Memphis for pneumonia and pleurisy, an enlarged
colon, and hepatitis.
Elvis had been having health problems for some time and just been
released from the hospital.
It was during this first week in November of 1973 that Elvis and
Linda visited my home.
Elvis and Linda had come before and as usual someone followed for
security reasons. This time. as Elvis drove his black Stutz
Blackhawk into my driveway,
Ricky Stanley drove up behind him. Elvis, Linda and Ricky all came
inside and I called my mother and father and ask them to come over.
This was commen for us to do whenever Elvis visited one of us.
My mother and father lived on Lehr Drive, just a few blocks away,
and Elvis had bought their home also.
We all went into the small den at the rear of the house and began
Elvis picked an old 1966 Gibson acoustic 6 string guitar that he had
previously given to me and began to strum it.
Soon he began to sing softly and after a few minutes I turned on an
old cassette recorder I had in the den.
Elvis was aware that i was taping him and he smiled and winked. At
one point in de recording I heard him saying "Ladies and Gentlemen,
this is being recorded tonight live for a new album"...witch got a
big laugh from Elvis.
The tape is approximately 19 minutes in length and features Elvis
singing these (5) different compositions:
Baby What You Want Me to Do - I'm So Lonesome I could Cry - Spanish Eyes
- See See rider - That's Allright.
Additionally, the tape contains musical interludes where Elvis plays
the guitar and sings in falsetto.
It also contains conversations, jokes and comments from everyone in
the room... Elvis, Linda, Ricky Stanley, Louise Thompson (my wife),
Margie Thompson (my mother), Sanford Thompson (my father) and me.
You can even hear my old dog, Dusty, whining to go outside and my
mother telling Ricky to let him out.
Somewhat later the phone rang, it was the cook at Graceland telling
Elvis that his dinner was ready. Finally,
Elvis recites his famous robin poem to a round of laughter.
After a discussion of the hospital food he had endured and a
comparison to the food cooked for him at Graceland, the tapes end.
In 1978, after Elvis' death, I became acutely aware of what a unique
treasure I had in my possession.
Unfortunately the cheap cassette I used had broken more than once
and I had attempted to repair it.
I traveled to Nashville and asked my old friend David Briggs to help
David had been a musician for Elvis on the road tours and had been
romantically involved with my sister, Linda.
David had a recording studio called The House of David at 16th and
Grand in Nashville and I felt I could trust him with this treasure.
David made a copy of the cassette for me and returned the original
tape to me.
The original tape was kept in my possession until 1993 when we had a
house fire at my home in Germantown.
That tape and many other possessions were destroyed by fire. The
copy from the original tape, made in 1978 by David Briggs, is all
Sam Thompson 2020