sam thompson

SHAPED 1 2 |CD'S | Books|


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 talking.
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 me.
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 that survives.

Sam Thompson 2020


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