KING RULES IN VEGAS AGAIN / NEW SONGS AND OLD IN HIS ACT
The King returned to his throne at the International Hotel, Las
Vegas, last week. And there was no doubting he is Monarch! He was
everything you could expect and more!
From the first pulsating moment he walked on stage, smiling that
confident grin and touching each person with those piercing blue
eyes, he had 2,000 people in the palm of his hand. Twice during his
performance the crowd leaped up to give him standing ovations.
Elvis put on everything he had! He was dressed in a one-piece
jumpsuit, well-fitted to his body with a low-slung, sexy,
beaded-tussled belt knitted tightly to his hips.
Even the older women in the crowd were sighing and moaning as the
tassel swayed back and forth across his body.
Elvis' repertoire for his second very live-appearances cabaret
season in nine years was well-chosen and showed him off to the very
best advantage. He repeated several of the songs from his last
engagement, obviously the crowd-favorites from that month-long
stand, and added new songs, mainly drawn from the South with its
It was a star-studded opening night. I saw Dean Martin and his new
girl friend Gail Renshaw; MGM's President Jim Aubrey; Zsa Zsa Gabor,
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and Juliet Prowse. Elvis' wife Priscilla
and his father Vernon Presley sat ringside for his show.
Once on stage, Elvis didn't waste a minute in rousing the audience
as he opened with a rollicking "All Shook Up." After each song Elvis
was forced to wait as the crowd just couldn't stop clapping.
"This was my first record, ladies and gentlemen," he introduced
politely, going into "That's Alright Mama." With a little
imagination you could envisage him on a battered wooden stage in a
shiny gold lame suit, with thousands of screaming pony-tailed
teenagers at his feet. The combination of "good ole rock and roll"
and a man who is so very much today is staggering. If anyone could
bridge a generation gap, it would surely be this man. Every age was
represented at the International that night and each was enjoying
Elvis in their own way!
Opening night, however, Elvis was plagued by every singer's nemesis
- Vegas throat! Therefore he kept his between-song patter to a
"My mouth's a little dry," he said after his first number "and I'm a
little bit shaky ... Welcome to the International. This is my second
live appearance in nine years. I'd like to do some songs for you
that were recorded by other people."
Here Elvis teased in his very own style, starting "Everybody ...
Loves Somebody ..." and Dean Martin laughed louder than anyone! His
next number was "Proud Mary." Played and sung funky. Elvis is at his
best singing songs of the South. It's like hearing a song for the
very first time when the King sings it!
His outstanding backing group is the same as last time (except for a
new drummer), led by lead guitarist James Burton. The Sweet
Inspirations and the Imperials provide expert vocal support again,
too. Excuse me while I get some water. It's kind of dry out here in
Las Vegas ... this is the record I just had out. I hope you like
Then he went into "Don't Cry Daddy," his current chart-topper here,
with a beautiful vocal harmony provided by Charlie Hodge.
"I'd like to do a couple of songs I recorded about 1929," Elvis
gagged, before going into an exciting medley of "Teddy Bear," "Don't
Be Cruel" and "Long Tall Sally."
Although his introductions were brief, each was touched with a bit
of humor as only Elvis can put it across. After singing "Let It Be
Me," Elvis bent down to one of the front tables and asked for a
glass of water, and about 13 glasses were shot towards him. He
reached for one and took a sip, then muttered: "If I'd get my hair
out of my eyes, I could probably see better ... but I can't blow my
image ... Although it's been blown before ... image ... image!"
Next he rocked into a soulful "I Can't Stop Loving You" and then a
new one - Joe South's "Walk A Mile In My Shoes." From there he went
directly and smoothly to "In The Ghetto."
The transitions Elvis makes in his shows, from fast, rousing
numbers, to softer ballads, keep the audience alert every minute.
From the ballad "In The Ghetto," Elvis switched to a comical
introduction that the crowd seemed eager to hear. I'm sure many were
disappointed that he didn't talk even more, for when he does, you
get the feeling you are getting to know the man so much more
"Elvis In Memphis (if you've heard his last live album you know how
he pronounces Memphis) ... Elvis In Memphis (he named the album
title again) ... Here's a song from that album I'd like to do right
now ... (pause) ... but I've forgotten the words to it! ... Excuse
me for a second while I get some water."
Then he turned and walked back to his friend Charlie to get a glass
of water and mumble to himself (so we could all hear) "Don't turn
your back to the audience, Elvis!" and continued. "This song is
called 'True Love Travels On A Gravel Road' and I hope you like it."
The music began and just as Elvis was about to begin we heard from
him: "Hold It! Hold It!" ... Conference ... "excuse me for just one
second." He walked back to Charlie. "Oh yeah! Now I've got it!" and
he began again, this time singing the right words.
This happened a couple of times during the show, but each time Elvis
stopped the orchestra and began again, as if he had to make it
perfect. And it was. My impression was the the audience got a
real-kick out of Elvis whenever he made a mistake, too.
It just showed us that he is human, however hard that is to believe
when you're listening to him or seeing him in person!
He sang "Memories," and as he did last time during the instrumental
breaks he'd walk around the stage and kiss some of the lucky girls
down front. Then "Sweet Caroline," bumping and grinding to the beat,
just the way we wanted him to.
"Let's go down to Louisiana," he said in his Southern accent, and we
heard Elvis' version of "Polk Salad Annie."
"I've got a new record that just came out ... I hope you like it ...
it's called ... What is it called? ... Oh, it's called 'Kentucky
The new song is beautiful and falls right into the line of
first-rate singles that Elvis has been turning out one after
another. Following "Kentucky Rain," he did "Suspicious Minds," and
ended the show as before with "Can't Help Falling In Love."
As Elvis stands with arms up-stretched and head bowed in thanks, the
You are swept up with the excitement of the crowd which is at its
In this moment of exhilaration, there comes a feeling of pain, too,
for you know it's over. And then you have to rely on your mind to
recall again the thrill you have just experienced.
I think the key to Elvis' over-whelming magnetism is not so much his
wiggling hips, his slender body generating so much sex appeal, or
even his beautiful and powerful voice as much as his whole aura of
simplicity and sincerity.
He doesn't clutter his act with useless prepared comic material, but
finds humor which is captivating.
And with every song he gives the audience exactly what they have
come for - chance to see and experience a living legend. In the end
his appreciation is real and you can feel it from the last seat in
the last row of the Showroom.
By Ann Moses, February 1970
Here are some news items from
the year 1961 which are from the
Although "Are You Lonesome
Tonight" was a No.1
first-smacker in Disc, El was
deprived of the second record in
succession to do this in the New
Musical Express, Britain's No.1
Musical Weekly. Reason?
Faulty pressings. Hundreds
were sent back to the Record
Company for replacement, thereby
robbing Elvis of the necessary
initial sales. But a
second British Golden Disc is
still a possibility, as sales
The name of the new army
minister in U.S.A. is ELVIS J
Stahr. He was nominated on
14th January by President
Another Gold Disc for Elvis.
This time from Germany for "It's
Now Or Never." A
Anyway, I now make it 38 Gold
Discs, and his fourth one for
this one disc (Germany, Sweden,
Great Britain, U.S.A.).
THE COPYRIGHT BUG BITES AGAIN!
Decca has kindly advised me that
the importation of "Tonight's
Alright For Love" would be an
infringement of copyright, as in
the case of "It's Now Or Never."
But worse is to come.
Unlike "It's Now Or Never," as
the song is almost identical in
wording to "Tonight Is So Right
For Love," it is extremely
unlikely that this will ever be
released in Great Britain.
And I suspect that writing
letters of disapproval to the
Company would be of little use,
so it's a case of grin and bear
it. Like sob!
Elvis's new role in MGM's
"Chautauqua" looks like being
his first real challenge.
No less than six top stars are
expected to be co-starred in
this, so big that U.S. fans are
already demanding that the Film
Company must give Elvis
top-billing. Shades of
Definite information promises an
elaborate spectacular in the
mid-west, around 1921, with
plenty of songs. Looks
like a further spate of oldies
from the golden tonsils - more
blues, more Dixieland, too -
will please many fans.
First Presley-Film Swig For S.A. Sensors
So ran the newspaper headline
announcing the news that Elvis
Presley's latest film, "Flaming
Star," will not be screened in
South Africa. DEGBREEK,a
South African paper, inquired
into the matter, and through
certain trustworthy contacts in
Cape Town, they discovered that
the South African Board of
Censors have done a hush-hush
ban on the movie (bless their
The reason why the film has been
banned is because of the
unnecessary cruelty and
violence, as well as the fact
that Elvis portrays the role of
an Indian half-breed.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE 10 YEARS MAKE
Here are two little cuttings that I recently found, the first one is
a review for his first ever album and notice the difference ten
years later with a review from the New Musical Express that is
reviewing "Love Letters." It shows you what a difference 10 years
can make where Elvis was concerned.
Rock 'n' Roll dept. Elvis Presley, I learn ends up on all fours when
he performs "Hound Dog". His new long-play disc titled "Elvis
Presley" (HMV), got me flat on my back ... with boredom. Twelve
songs in a row is too much Presley - unless you're crazy about him.
Review of the first Elvis LP in the UK - 1956
SUPERB EL - ALREADY HE'S CRASHED CHART
"Love Letters"/"Come What May" (RCA)
A RUSH-RELEASE, which the shops received as quickly as me - which is
why my review coincides with its chart entry. Presley's first
specially recorded brand new single for ages is a revival of the
Ketty Lester hit, using the same-broken beat arrangement. Backing
consists of organ, drum-brush, humming girls and Floyd Cramer on
piano. Beautifully handled by El.
FLIP: This double-A side is a happy-go-lucky hand-clapped, with a
gutty sax. Infectious medium-paced beat, whistle able tune, and El
rocking quietly rather than dynamically.
NME July 8 1966
|Top of Page
In May 1956 Elvis made his first UK chart appearance with
"Heartbreak Hotel". Below is probably the first major article from
the New Musical Express.
ELVIS PRESLEY - the new star in the popular music firmament
KEITH GOODWIN tells you all about America's latest singing idol
From out of the blue, 21-year-old Elvis Presley rocketed on to the
popular music scene with all the scorching fury of a meteor flashing
across the sky. Make no mistake about it, Elvis is the new teenage
idol of America. His first long-playing album jumped to the top of
the best-selling charts in America's "Billboard" magazine within
weeks of its release.
But that's merely the beginning of the story! His "singles" -
"Heartbreak Hotel" in particular have had a similar impact.
"Heartbreak Hotel" leaped to the top of the American hit parade and
also had the double honor of being the disc "most played in juke
boxes," and "most played by disc jockeys." And now, these very same
records are finding an eager, excited public in this country.
What magic does this phenomenon called Elvis Presley possess that he
is able to mount the pinnacle of show business in such a small space
of time? Certainly, the man who has been dubbed "the hillbilly
Johnnie Ray" is already at the top - and present public reaction
demands that he should stay there.
He has been acclaimed as the successor to Johnnie Ray, and this has
brought forth a spate of fan letters both for and against this
But no matter what the outcome of the argument, one thing is certain
Elvis Presley is here to stay.
Reports in a national newspaper recently have helped back up the
Presley claim to mass idolization. Quite definitely, this tall,
lanky singer has already received the Johnnie Ray treatment.
He has been rescued from screaming crowds of teenagers in a police
wagon; girls have written phone numbers in lipstick over his car;
and in Jacksonville, Florida, admirers tore the clothes off his
back! This in addition to many letters of proposal! A single note on
his guitar can produce howls of admiration from a packed audience of
teenagers. A song can turn them into a screaming, yelling, almost
Winning polls has become quite a common occurrence for Elvis. Last
year he was voted the "most promising Country and Western artist" by
C. & W. disc jockeys in America. He was also acclaimed the "best new
male singer" and the "most promising country male vocalist of the
year" during the same year. But remember, Presley is still gaining
popularity, and the future holds even more honors.
And how do British fans feel about America's newest singing
sensation? Johnnie Ray fans claim he could never replace their hero
and, while some agree that "Heartbreak Hotel" is a good disc, they,
nevertheless, intend to remain faithful to Johnnie.
From the other side of the fence, Presley fans are adamant that he
doesn't copy Ray, and feel that he is already much better than the
great "one and only." Elvis certainly has the dark, swarthy,
mysterious good looks to get the fans on his side. But the fans have
also fallen for the deep emotion, power - and sex appeal - in his
Elvis has an interesting background. Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on
January 8, 1935, throughout his early youth he was always surrounded
by folk music and blues associated with the deep South.
He soon took an active interest in music, and at the tender age of
six began singing at folk gatherings, and also for his friends.
During his youth Elvis worked hard, in the firm belief that one day
he might reach the top.
He never had any professional instruction and his efforts at this
time were the results of self tuition. With no money to buy a
guitar, he practiced "picking" on a broomstick.
A little later he found money enough to buy a cheap instrument and,
after more practice and hard work, was able to play tunes. He also
sang on street corners to the accompaniment of his guitar.
Whilst still a young boy, he had his first taste of real success
when he won a prize in his first public performance at the Tri-State
Fair in his home town. And this is where the "show business bug"
left its teeth-marks on young Elvis.
Elvis went to high school when his family moved to Memphis,
Tennessee and, although his main interest was still with his guitar
and his singing, he earned a little extra money by doing odd jobs,
including lorry driving.
For the "kicks" and his own amusement, he decided one day to make a
private recording - at his own expense. With just this one thought
in mind, he walked into the Sun Record Company, Memphis - and, in so
doing, walked into stardom!
Sam Phillips, president of Sun Records, heard him sing - and signed
him to a contract on the spot. Within a few months, following advice
and coaching from Sun, Elvis had his first disc - "That's All Right,
Mama" - released on the Sun label. It became an overnight hit - and
Elvis has never looked back.
Since then his other discs have caught on with alarming rapidity.
Tunes like the aforementioned "Heartbreak Hotel," "Tutti Frutti,"
"Rag Mop," "I Was The One," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "I Forgot To
Remember To Forget" have made him a top recording artist, and an
album of words and music to "Elvis Presley Juke Box Favorites" has
now been issued in the States.
After graduating from High School, Elvis began to make his first
personal appearances, and at Shreveport he caused a minor sensation.
He won numerous polls, and enlisted the aid of well-known popular c.
and w. disc-jockey Bob Neal as his personal manager.
More coast-to-coast personal appearances followed, and as his
popularity grew, America's teenagers dubbed him the "King of Western
Sensation followed sensation! Teenage audiences were drawn to him
like metal to a magnet. They screamed louder and louder at each
performance, and just one indication of his immense popularity comes
with the latest news that he has been smashing box-office records at
theatres throughout the South and South-West.
In recent months, his appearances on CBS Television's "Stage Show"
have brought him an amazing amount of mail.
Personal details about Elvis prove just why he has become the latest
teenage "rave." Standing 6ft. 2ins. in his stockinet feet and
weighing 160 pounds, he has dark wavy hair, blue eyes - and is
He has a large appetite, and is reputed to eat a dozen eggs and
either two steaks or a pound of bacon - for breakfast!
Outside of music, Elvis's main interest lies in his two Cadillac's -
one in pink and black that carries him all around the country on his
personal appearances, the other is canary yellow that he drives in
his leisure hours. In addition, he also owns a station wagon and a
He spends a good deal of time buying clothes, and has recently
persuaded his 39-year-old father to retire. In his spare time, he
has designed some of the furniture for the home he has refurbished
for his mother. And - yes, there's more - he now owns his own
Elvis, 21, is one of the few artists who can claim "overnight
success" in anything like the true sense of the words. He is,
without doubt, one of the most astonishing personalities to break
into the field of popular music for many years, and only recently
was presented with a gold disc for his million-plus sales of
"Heartbreak Hotel" for RCA Victor, with whom he has signed a
contract involving one of the highest sums ever paid to a new
British fans may get the opportunity to see and hear Elvis in this
country in the near future, possibly in next year's London Palladium
variety season. And, by that time, the "King of Western Bop" should
have more than one gold disc to his credit!
New Musical Express - 11 May 1956
This is an article from the New Musical Express, Friday, 28 July
NM Exclusive from Hollywood correspondent BOB DAY
ELVIS: I WEAR FOUR LIFE JACKETS WHEN I GO WATER SKIING!
Curt remark about Sinatra
ELVIS has definitely changed. He's much more mature.
He must be - he no longer calls me "sir." As I hadn't
talked with the affable and personable Mr. Presley for some time
I was prepared for a change in the man when I went to meet him
I was greeted at the door of Elvis' movie lot dressing room by
the portly, popular Colonel Parker. In the outer reception
room, lolling around in easy chairs, were Elvis' several Memphis
pals who also serve as the bodyguards.
They eyed my suspiciously, I thought. But maybe I was just
scared that one of them might try some of their much publicised
judo on me!
In the inner sanctum Elvis was as charming, frank and polite as
ever. And, as I noted earlier, he no longer punctuates all
his answers with "sir."
My immediate reaction was that he still has the same
ingratiating humility and friendliness, yet he is even more
Elvis didn't have to spell out for me the fact that he doesn't
like Frank Sinatra personally - possibly because of his reported
quarrel with Frank over the affections of dancer Juliet Prowse.
"Let's just say that I admire Frank Sinatra's success," he said
curtly and pointedly.
He wouldn't tell me his favourite singers this time "I might
offend someone," he explained.
"Actually, I think I have every kind of record, from Caruso to
hillbilly, he informed me. "Spirituals seem to interest me
most. I like Mahalia Jackson and spiritual quartets
especially. I was raised up around this sort of thing.
Every morning, when I get up, I sing spirituals." ("And
how I hate to get up in the morning!" he added, as an
"While we're on the subject then, what other weaknesses do you
have Elvis?" I questioned.
"Well, when I have a lot on my mind, I bite my nails."
"Also, I'm always afraid of water. I swim very little.
When I water-ski, I have three or four life jackets on."
What are Elvis's outside interests?
"At first, I just wanted to be a truck driver. Really,
though, if I wasn't in show business, I'd like to be a football
"All I do at weekends is watch football games on TV. And,
you know, every year, in the autumn I have a desire to go back
to school to play football.
"I'm a 'nut on movies too. I always see most of the movies that
come out. I hire them to show at my home. I think
that 'Psycho' was my favourite in the last year.
"I study films for the acting, too. I am always
particularly impressed with James Dean - remember 'Rebel Without
Cause" - and Spencer Tracy."
I queried Elvis about his study of Karate, a form of judo.
Yes, I'm very keen on it," he agreed. "I took private
lessons in Germany, while I was in the army. Later I
studied with some Japanese masters in Paris."
What did Elvis think of Paris?
"I can't imagine any man not liking Paris," he replied.
And how about the Lido night club? "That's what I mean" he
countered, with a smile.
Which led us, naturally, to the subject of girls.
Elvis' name has been linked, most recently, with a girl disc
jockey from his home town of Memphis, a Los Angeles secretary
and the wardrobe girl at 20th Century-Fox film studios, but he
made no comment.
Elvis suffers terribly from a complete lack of privacy on his
dates. Fans won't let him alone, specially when he's with
a girl. But he doesn't resent this in the slightest.
"Anytime I want privacy I can always get out of the business and
go back to driving a truck," he grinned philosophically.
With me,at this interview with Elvis, was an attractive young
lady who had dated both Frankie Avalon and Paul Anka. Her
impression, in the romantic vein, of the new Elvis: "He's
just as pretty, but now more of a man."
Elvis didn't agree that he was forsaking his out-and-out rock
style, so beloved by teen fans.
"I'll always be loyal to the younger people," he insisted.
"But I do want to earn the respect, too, of older people.
I doubt if I'll ever work in night clubs though. I just
don't like 'em."
An amusing sidelight happened when Elvis drove up in his Rolls
Royce to call on his neighbour Pat Boone. Pat's 6-year-old
daughter Cherry thought he was Fabian!
After meeting Boone's four daughters, Elvis turned to Pat's
wife, Shirley, and said:"You know, I've got to get married and
get me some kids!" Maybe his visit to the Boones will have
far reaching effects!
New Musical Express, Friday, 28 July 1961
NEWS FROM "THE COLONEL" 1968
Because each one of the past Elvis years has had its own special
highlights and surprises the same can be promised for 1968, and
RCA Victor Records has started it off by bringing out a bright new
Elvis birthday single, GUITAR MAN/HI-HEEL SNEAKERS. You already know
the excitement that it has created. Then along comes MGM Studios
with their springtime release of a comedy western, STAY AWAY JOE,
with such great stars as Joan Blondell, Thomas Gomez, Katy Jurado
and Burgess Meredith along with Elvis. With a combination like that
you know something has got to happen. RCA Victor has its own special
springtime surprise that will have to wait until it is announced.
Then on into early summer when MGM releases SPEEDWAY which stars
Nancy Sinatra and Elvis, and things really do happen in this film.
In the meantime Elvis swings into 1968 to meet the challenge of the
new year and what lies ahead. Two pictures for MGM Studios, one for
National General Corporation, and a number of RCA Victor records
along with a multitude of other activities. The Elvis family of fans
is going to be sharing in what we expect will be a year of fun,
excitement, and Elvis at his best.
It is timely to mention that the avalanche of mail of the past month
has been so great that we have been unable to keep up with it and we
hope you will understand the difficulty of making replies to every
letter, though we keep trying.
Year end polls in this country and abroad have again placed Elvis
among the front runners and this is due to each and every one of you
joining together to make it possible. Special note should be made of
the recent birthday party presented by the International Elvis
Appreciation Society in London, England. This has become an annual
event and this year's birthday party attracted the largest gathering
ever from England and Europe. It is an inspiring example of the
great bond of friendship and affection that exists between Elvis
fans everywhere, and a bond which Elvis himself is honored to be
included in. Each year the Elvis family grows larger and closer
together. Nothing can make life more rewarding than dedicated
friends and we hope that your life will continue to be so enriched
throughout the coming year of 1968.
Col. Parker's Office Rita
Top of Page
Here is an article from 1968 on the set of "Charro."
ELVIS THE GUNSLINGER
Having become Elvis fans rather late in his career, we missed out on
any television appearances he did earlier; also any personal
appearances. So we had to content ourselves with his movies and, of
course, records. We, like thousands of other fans would have given
our eye teeth to have been able to see him perform in person.
Well, talk about luck of the Irish, in less than a year Elvis had
made 2 movies in Arizona; "Stay Away, Joe" and "Charro." Since we
live in Phoenix, we were able to make several trips to both
locations. We not only got to see our King, but were able to speak
to him. We took some great pictures including some "knocked out"
Then, as the crowning touch, Elvis made his TV Special. We wrote for
tickets the minute we heard he was going to do the show. Much to our
surprise, we received the tickets. We flew to California for the
show and saw one of the segments being taped. It's really fabulous
... I can hardly wait for "E" day, December 3.
"Charro" was filmed in Apache Junction which is only 30 miles from
our home. Guess there is no need to tell you where we spent all our
time the two weeks Elvis was there. Since my mother works on a grave
yard shift, we had the days free to spend on the set.
We went to the hotel (Superstition Inn) where he had the whole
second floor reserved. We waited and and waited but the first day
Elvis didn't come down at all. Rodd Redwing, he's in the picture,
went up to Elvis' room. Rodd is a real expert with the six-gun and
coached Elvis for the roll. Elvis really learned fast.
We learned that there was a 2 o'clock call for shooting the next
day. So back we went and at 1:10 Elvis came down the back stairs to
go out to the location in the mountains. We thought that he looked
very handsome with his beard. But then he'd look good with his head
in a bag. He signed a few autographs for people and signed some
pictures we had taken in Sedona. He looked puzzled for a second when
I handed the pictures to him. I said, "Sedona" and he smiled and
said, "Oh, yeah. Oh, you're letting your hair grow. What's your name
again?" I said, "Sandy." He laughed and said, "I'll be all right ...
I started to write Dandy." (What a doll). He then got back into the
big black Cadillac and took off like a shot (Mr. Kelly was driving).
Mr. Kelly was the National General Corp. driver and drove Elvis
everywhere that he went. Mom and I thought that Mr. Kelly was one of
the nicest people we have ever met. We followed some of the crew to
the location, but didn't get to stay that day. The next day, they
started filming at Apache land Movie Ranch. This is really a cute
old western town and is open to the public. Of course, they raised
their prices while Elvis was there and I dare say they did quite
well. We watched for several hours and saw them film three exciting
scenes. This is a very tense, serious drama with a lot of fast
action. It should be "out of sight."
One day at Apache land, Elvis came over to the roped off area to
talk and sign autographs. He is so marvelous with his fans. Elvis
has a way of making each one feel important. When he talks to you,
he gives you his undivided attention, in spite of everything that is
going on around him. He looks directly at you, which is just a bit
disconcerting. I usually manage to forget at least half of what I
wanted to say. When he got to me, I was just standing there watching
all the fun. He asked, "You don't like my beard do you?" I answered,
"Yes, I like it, don't you?" He said he didn't like it at all. I
told him I thought his TV special was going to be great. He again
looked puzzled and I explained that my mother and I had flown in to
see it at the NBC studios in Burbank. He asked which day we were
there and I told him Thursday, June 27. He asked what we thought of
it and I told him I thought it was going to be really the greatest.
He grinned and said. "Thank you." There is no way to describe the
impact that Elvis has on a live audience. What a fantastic showman
The last day Elvis filmed here, they were doing some scenes on
location in a really wild canyon. The scene showed Elvis (whose name
is Jesse Wade) roping a big, black wild stallion which he rides in
the picture. He is holding the rope and the horse is bucking and
rearing and dragging him around. It's very exciting. After the first
take, he kept looking at his hands and rubbing them on the sides of
his pants. By the time they had done the scene two more times, his
hands were badly rope burned.
That evening, after dinner, as he was leaving the hotel for another
location, we spoke to him again and he had band aids on his fingers
and the palms of his hands. When he tried to sign some autographs,
you could tell that it was an effort even to hold the pen. You know
that he must have been in pain. It didn't seem to affect his sense
of humor, though. I asked where he was going now, to Memphis or
Hollywood. He got that slow twinkle in his eyes and said, "Why no
honey, I'm going out on location now." He paused and then said, "I'm
going to Los Angeles when we finish up here." Whenever you talk to
Elvis, be prepared to play straight man. His great sense of humor is
always there, just under the surface waiting for a good straight
line. With this, he jumped into his Cadillac and was off again. This
was the last time we saw him. The next day, we hoped to be able to
see him leave but the time for departure kept changing and finally
my mother had to leave for work.
Strictly Elvis, November 1968.
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Here is a review I found of the album "A Date With Elvis"
A Date With Elvis
Like its companion release ("For LP Fans Only"), "A Date With Elvis"
has left varying impressions on different generations of Elvis
Presley fans. If you were around in 1959, the first thing you
probably noticed was that it was the gatefold jacket, with lots of
really cool photos inside and out of Elvis Presley in uniform.
Hearing this album which contained not a word about where or when
the music on it was recorded - one would have been struck by just
how raw and lively the music was, more exciting, in fact, than the
music on his last pre-Army LP release, the "King Creole" soundtrack.
As they had with "For LP Fans Only," RCA had assembled a "new" Elvis
Presley album by reaching back to five of the best of his best Sun
Records sides, augmented with a few songs left over from the "Love
Me Tender" and "Jailhouse Rock" soundtrack EPs.
1954-1955 recordings of "Milkcow Blues Boogie," "Good Rockin'
Tonight," "Baby Let's Play House," etc., with their lean textures,
frantic sound, and Scotty Moore's slashing lead guitar, were a far
cry from anything heard on "King Creole." It was the height of irony
that the two "new" Elvis albums of 1959 gave national audiences
their first real chance to plunge into the sound of the "old" Elvis
of 1954-1955, when he was known as "The Memphis Flash" and "The
Hillbilly Cat." A few years later, during the mid/late1960s, when
some listeners started getting serious about Elvis' music, and
others, born too late to have been buying the records in 1956,
started discovering his work for the first time, the word got out
about "A Date With Elvis" and "For LP Fans Only" - that these were
the real article, at least as worthwhile as the first two RCA albums
and the easiest way to get the King's early Memphis sides.
By the second half of the 1960s, "A Date With Elvis" and its
packaging had become irrelevant to 99 percent of rock listeners, but
serious fans grabbed up copies - even Rolling Stone magazine
recommended "A Date With Elvis" and "For LP Fans Only" (especially
their mono pressings) in the course of guiding readers through the
already confusing maze of his releases. By the late 1970s, when the
Sun material had been gathered together in a more orderly fashion,
"A Date With Elvis" fell out of favor once again, and it has seemed
superfluous for most of the time since, in terms of musical
scholarship. But listening to it 47 years after its release, one is
still hard-put to find too many albums that are more viscerally
exciting; what's more, it is a reminder of how those Sun sides were
best known for the first two decades after their release, and how
they first got out to most of us. It's a keeper in any form, with
special regard for mono vinyl pressings .
or the 2001 Japanese CD reissue, in 24-bit digital audio
Here is a little news cutting which I found, it dates from 1958.
Elvis Presley has attracted the largest audience in ten years at the
Odeon, Marble Arch - for the first week of "King Creole." The film
is currently the greatest attraction in any West End cinema, and
takings show no signs of decreasing.
New Musical Express, September 1958
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Here is another little news article from the British press during
1958, this time it's about the possibility of Elvis being stationed
IT'S ONLY A RUMOR BUT ...
Twice in the past few weeks rumors have reached this office about
Elvis Presley's army posting. it is said that he may be drafted to
the American Camp at Ruislip in Middlesex. Whoever started this
story is one jump ahead of Presley, the Army and the American
Embassy. We checked. "We haven't heard of it," said an Embassy
spokesman, "but I can't see any reason why he shouldn't be posted
here." If Ruislip does get him, they can prepare for an invasion.
Nearest station, South Ruislip, Central Line. Nearest bus route 158.
Here is another newspaper cutting from the British press in 1956.
U.S. ATTACK ON ROCK 'N' ROLL
William Rose, American songwriter and showman, yesterday condemned
Rock 'n' Roll as a musical monstrosity, and trounced what he called
animal posturing of Elvis (the pelvis) Presley.
He said Al Jolson, Nora Bayes and Eddie Cantor used to be the
salesmen of song. But now - "Its a set of untalented twitches, and
whose appeal is largely to the zoot-suiter and the juvenile
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Here is a report from the British press in 1966.
SUZANNAH BANNED FROM NEW PRESLEY FILM
Elvis Presley's leading lady in "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" -
21-year-old blond British actress Suzannah Leigh - has been banned
by the powerful Screenwriters' Guild of America from making a new
film with Elvis.
For the film, "Easy Come, Easy Go," Susannah was cast as a
yacht-owning American millionaires with Elvis as a deep-sea diver.
But the American Guild says that with so many American actresses
available a British girl should not get the part.
Says Suzannah, who was the first British girl to play opposite
Elvis: "The part was specially written for me. I think it's pretty
rotten of them not to tell me until a few days before I was due to
This is a news item from the New Musical Express - 1958.
ELVIS PRESLEY TALKS TO YOU ON FUTURE EP
Novel disc for his fans
RCA-VICTOR are planning a sensational new recording project
following Elvis Presley's departure for Army duties in Europe this
They have recorded the whole of the press conference which Elvis
gave to more than a hundred reporters and cameramen in New York on
After editing it, RCA will rush it out - together with a specially
recorded message from Elvis to his fans - as an EP in America and
The 40 minute conference held at the embarkation point at Brooklyn
Army Terminal, was one of the most fantastic ever given by a singing
star. Even the U.S. Army issued a hand-out!
In reply to reporter's questions, Elvis spoke about his plans to
visit London, Paris and Rome during his tour of duty in Europe and
about his wish to "look up Brigitte Bardot."
He also talked about rock 'n' roll and his ambition to become a
successful actor when he returns to civilian life.
The day after the news conference, Elvis sailed in the U.S. navy
transport "General Randall" for Bremer haven, Germany. He is due to
disembark there on October 1. The ship will not call at Southampton.
Elvis is one of 1,300 trainees who are sailing as replacements for
the 3rd Armored Division in Europe.
Also coinciding with his arrival in Europe is the long-awaited
British release of his latest album "Elvis's Golden Records,"
an LP including many of his biggest hits and four titles previously
unreleased in England.
This news item is from the New Musical Express - 11 November,
GOLD DISC IN DOUBLE QUICK TIME
PRESLEY'S 'NOW OR NEVER' BREAKS ALL SPEED RECORDS FOR SALES!
DEALERS OVERWHELMED BY CROWDS DEMANDING DISC
ELVIS PRESLEY - THE UNDOUBTED KING OF RECORD STARS. THAT IS HOW HIS
LATEST BRITISH TRIUMPH HAS BEEN HAILED. THE SALES IN THIS COUNTRY OF
"IT'S NOW OR NEVER" HAVE BEEN FASTER THAN ANY PREVIOUS HIT ANYWHERE
IN THE WORLD. IT IS VIRTUALLY CERTAIN HE WILL GET A GOLD DISC WITHIN
A MONTH OF ISSUE - HIS FIRST FROM BRITISH SALES ALONE.
Less than two weeks after it had been released, sales exceed
three-quarters of a million and the waxing is selling in such
quantity that by early next week,
demand could have boosted sales to a million!
Presley broke all records with an advanced order of more than
548,000 for the disc by its issue on October 28.
On Wednesday of this week, just twelve days later, Decca, who
distribute Presley's label RCA, had received orders from dealers for
One dealer in a London suburb reported selling twelve times more
copies of "It's Now Or Never" than any other disc last Saturday.
Another, in an effort to cope with the fantastic crowds thronging
his shop for two hours, only admitted those who wanted the Presley
The previous fastest selling disc was Harry Belafonte's "Mary's Boy
Child" (another RCA issue) which between mid-October and December,
1957, sold a million copies in this country alone
60 years ago in
June 1946, RCA Victor introduced the vinyl plastic phonograph
In the UK,
"Frankie and Johnny" is being shown on ITV1 on Sunday 4 June at 1.20
pm. This is how the TV magazine reviewed the movie.
Elvis Presley plays a bad guy for a change, but this isn't nearly as
impressive as Jailhouse Rock or King Creole. Elvis is a riverboat
singer and gambler who's lost everything except his doting
girlfriend Frankie (Donna Douglas). There are some fantastic songs,
but it's ultimately forgettable.
It's nice to know that the reviewer knows that there are some
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A news article from
ROCK 'N' ROLL LULLABY
A radio station in Chicago has broadcast a 12-hour concert of
records by Elvis Presley the rock 'n' roll singer - from 7 a.m. to 7
p.m. It reported the following results: One woman asked when there
would be an interval for a long newscast. She wanted to hang out her
washing, but did not want to miss any songs.
The mother of a six-month-old child said the baby usually cried all
morning, but went to sleep peacefully when Presley sang.
A woman said she had not missed work in more than two years, but
pretended to be sick so she could hear the program.
The station broadcast 33 Presley records over and over from 7 a.m to
7 p.m.- - Reuter
Rita’s Meeting with Elvis - Las Vegas 1972
Rod and I decided to go on the first ever British
Elvis Presley Fan Club trip to America to see Elvis just thirteen
weeks before they were due to depart on the 28th August
1972, but in that time we had to get everything sorted out.
There was no such thing as the Internet in those days so everything
had to be done by post or by telephone, well phoning was far too
expensive, especially to Las Vegas, so the only alternative was by
post, so that was the way we did it, we took a chance and booked for
extra shows, that chance worked because after a couple weeks we got
a postcard from Las Vegas confirming the dates we’d asked for. One
show we did not have to book for was the Dinner Show, 4th
September, as the fan club did a block-booking for that show.
We were now getting really excited, and were ticking off the days to
Sunday the 27th August 1972, had finally
arrived, everything was packed and ready and so we made our way down
to London’s Gatwick Airport and the waiting to board the plane
seemed never ending but 4 am finally arrived and we boarded the
World Airways Boeing 707 that was to take us to America for the trip
of a lifetime and I was also looking forward to seeing my penfriend
Gitt Nyman from Sweden who was also on the trip.
During the journey we had plenty of Elvis music
playing and just 45 minutes after we took off we had a champagne
breakfast and the drinks were free all the way to America.
What an atmosphere we had on that plane and we were still sober when
we arrived in America!
Our first touch down was in Bangor, Maine for the
customs check, this was our very first footsteps on American soil.
Elvis was getting closer and we were getting more excited by the
minute. It seemed strange to see the security men around the
area were actually wearing guns, something that we never saw in
England, though it is a common practice now. After the check
we then boarded the plane again and headed for Nashville – the place
where Elvis recorded some of his best music. When we
arrived at our first destination there were coaches waiting to take
us into the centre of Nashville, as we could not get into the Albert
Pick Motel, where we were staying until 12 o’clock, so we decided to
have a wander round Nashville and some of the sites we saw was the
Grand Ole Opry, which was probably our first Elvis site, we then
went to the Ernest Tubb Music Store. After finally
getting into our motel and sorted things out Rod decided to switch
the TV on, which I suppose is what all tourist do! After all,
we British had heard so much about the American TV system NTSC (we
knew it as Never Twice Same Colour) and what was on … “Sink the
Bismarck!” a British movie, thousands of miles away from home and we
get a British movie.
In the afternoon five of us decided to take a taxi
cab to the Music Hall of Fame, which was most interesting as it had
lots of Elvis goodies, for example, the recording machine which
Elvis used. We were really getting excited now, how often do
you see anything that Elvis has actually touched, well, especially
not in England that is! We didn’t even get the Gold Cadillac,
which went on tour a few years earlier! After the Music Hall
of Fame the five of us took a stroll down the street to see the RCA
Recording Studios, another landmark. We had not been in
America a day yet and we have already seen lots of things associated
In the evening, WSM TV invited our party to attend
their filming of the “Porter Wagoner” TV Show with guest star Dolly
Parton. This was for us another thrilling event, after all we
have never been to a TV filming and to see how a show is put
together was most interesting; when everyone was clapping or
laughing I always thought it was spontaneous, but it wasn’t, there
was a guy at the front out of camera range holding up a board saying
either clap or laugh. We were allowed to take photographs as
long as we did not use a flash, after all the lighting at the front
was sufficient enough. There was an old country singer on the
programme, but I don’t recall his name, and as a tribute he sang
“Hound Dog” for us, you should have heard us all cheering.
After the filming I got to meet Dolly Parton, she was really nice
and so friendly, a true star!
After the filming, several of us went upstairs to
another area and there we were interviewed for a news programme,
which was due to go out on the television that evening. We got
talking to a policeman, his name was Barry Touchtone, and what a
really friendly and a super guy he was, and there was also another
guy on switchboard duty, can’t remember his name though. After
he had finished his switchboard duty they both took us on a tour of
the studio, and we even saw the news being broadcasted. The
people we met all seemed to be interested in learning about England
and our way of life to the American way of life. After the tour we
had some fun trying to teach Barry and the other guy how to make
English tea, we were in hysterics at how they were making a cup of
tea - a cup of hot water with a tea bag on a bit of string, dangling
in the water for about a couple of seconds, and then calling it tea.
What a great time that was!
It was now getting very late so Barry and the other
guy said they would drop us all of, in two cars, to our motel.
It was certainly an experience being chauffeured in a police car and
speeding down the highway. On the way back they showed us a
few more Elvis sites before we arrived back to our motel. Upon
arriving back we then all stood there having another conversation.
It was a good job no one from our party saw us getting out of a
police car; they would have been wondering what we’d been up to!!
By now the time was 12.30 am! Well to think we did all this in
just one day – and we hadn’t had any proper sleep since Saturday, 26
August but who cares! We were in America and we were lovin’
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After just five hours sleep, we were up again at 6 am
ready to start another day. After breakfast we boarded the
coaches that were to take us to Memphis … and so we say - farewell
to the Albert Pick Motel and hello Memphis.
At 9 am we were on our way along Route 40, westward
bound for Memphis, home of Elvis, gee it is getting more and more
exciting by the minute. The scenery was absolutely beautiful
and we finally arrived at our hotel, the Sheraton-Peabody at about 2
pm. Inside the hotel there was a big fountain and on top there
was a display of flowers and ducks swimming inside the fountain,
then a red carpet was rolled out and the ducks got out the fountain
and casually walked down the red carpet for us – what a welcome!
After we found our rooms and sorted things out Tony
Prince (DJ from Radio Luxembourg who made sure everyone was having a
great time) herded us all onto public buses to Highway 51 (South) to
Graceland. The other passengers on the bus we were on were
amused at our antics, as we kept stopping the bus every time we came
to an Elvis site to take photographs. I think the driver was
really enjoying all this as he kept laughing and he took it all in
good fun. Finally, we arrived at our destination and there in
front of us was the famous gates and high wall … and this is it
Graceland, home of Elvis! Elvis had the gates opened up for
his British fans so that we could all wander round the grounds and
do what we wanted to do. At first, we started walking up the
long drive … we got so far but nobody could wait so we all made a
run for it … can you imagine us all running up to the front of
Graceland, that really was a sight to see, just like a race, seeing
who could get there first!
How wonderful it was of Elvis to let us all come up
to his house, take photos, sit on the steps, stand at his doorway
having photos taken, it was great. We even had photos taken
with Uncle Vester, our very first Presley! Vester was a
wonderful person and really great to talk to. He was only too
pleased to answer all the fans questions; it was really lovely to
meet him. He was so down to earth, he even made calls for cabs
for those fans that wanted them, but we decided to take the bus back
to the hotel.
After dinner there was a party organised in the
Sheraton with a singsong and dancing for the fans that were
interested but we decided to do some more sightseeing.
Sightseeing at night-time in Memphis at that time was something we
were advised against but being British we did the opposite and
decided to take a walk down Beale Street, all was pleasant until we
came across a group of black youths lounging on the pavement and
then all of a sudden a can was kicked in our direction and then a
car pulled up near us and a guy got out of the car and walked in
front of us and dropped his car keys, he was literally built like an
army tank, he blamed us for him dropping his keys, so we just said
“sorry” and quickly walked away and eventually found ourselves
in Handy Park. I remember seeing a statue of W C Handy (he
wrote the song St Louis Blues), the park was that dark so we made a
quick exit out and headed back to our hotel where we joined the
party and finished the night in the hotel. When we went back
to our room we decided to put the TV on and showing was an old
British Frankenstein Hammer movie. I can’t believe this, each
time we put the TV on it was a British movie! We were so
exhausted we fell asleep only to wake up with a black and white “I
Love Lucy” programme being shown, which we had seen back home!
THE TUPELO MISSISSIPPI FLASH
Today, we are having another one of the highlights of our holiday
and another Elvis landmark. Being only a few hours away
from Memphis we were going to see Elvis’ birthplace, I was getting
really excited yet again!
We departed at 8.30 am in our air conditioned
coaches; our cavalcade of coaches drove through Tennessee and into
the State of Mississippi, when we reached the Tupelo City limits we
were met by a second cavalcade – this time it was a police escort,
waiting to give us a royal welcome. It is something I will
remember all my life. Motorcyclists flanked our coaches with
police cars at the front and rear of the coaches as we made our way
through the town and on to the Elvis Presley Park and Elvis’
birthplace. It must have been a sight for the locals seeing
coaches being escorted by police, I sometimes wonder if they knew it
was Elvis fans heading for that little shack.
When we arrived at Elvis’ birthplace we received a civic reception
from Mayor Ballard, It sure was great to have priority treatment
like we did. It’s such a strange feeling seeing the little shack
where our Elvis was born, sort of reminded me of American tourists
going to see Shakespeare’s Cottage in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The
countryside in Tupelo was absolutely beautiful, little old shacks
scattered everywhere, and we even saw houses like those in the movie
“Gone With The Wind.” When we got to the birthplace our party
lined up to sign the visitors book and go inside, we took photos of
about every inch possible inside and outside, in fact, we could make
a blue print from the photos and build our own little shack!
Inside the shack are just two rooms and on the walls are photos of
Elvis including one of him when he was young and another one of him
with his parents that was used for the “Elvis Country” album.
The Elvis Presley Center was quite quaint with a
little stagecoach and spring horses which like little kids we played
on, naturally! It wasn’t exactly the theme parks which we know
of today but still quite nice. The people in Tupelo were
really friendly and they even came out their houses to invite the
fans in for cookies and coffee.
Later on we were treated to a guided tour of all the
local Elvis sights; his first school, the Church he had attended –
The First Assembly of God, the Alabama State Fair, the park where
Elvis performed in September 1946 and even a former school buddy of
Elvis’ was pointed out to us.
I was really surprised at the Southern hospitality we
received from the locals.
To think in just a couple of days we have seen Graceland and now
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After a very good meal, Southern style, we left for
Memphis and again the police was escorting us. During our
journey back we stopped and had a little look at the Natchez Trace
Parkway and a look at the cotton fields. Unfortunately, the police
did not go all the way to Memphis with us.
Back in Memphis that evening some of us went down
the Mississippi on an original Mississippi Paddle Steamer, a touch
of the old “Frankie and Johnny” here, I wouldn’t even have been
surprised if one of the fans weren’t singing “Everybody Come Aboard
The Showboat Tonight.” We were then taken to Mud Island where
something like search lights from the riverboat lit up the island
for us where we were able to embark and have a walk round, it was
really fascinating and very unusual. What a great ending to a
Part II VIVA LAS VEGAS
Thursday, 31 August, and we were on our way to the
Memphis airport. A two and a half hour flight on
International Airways and we were getting nearer to Elvis and a
thirty-two year wait for me is now nearing its end and I am on my
way to see Elvis in Concert. I can’t wait!
For the duration of our stay in the USA the
temperature around Nashville, Memphis and Tupelo had averaged around
80-90°F. We were bound for LAS VEGAS, and here it can get as
hot as 120°F. As soon as we stepped off the plane, the
heat hit you and boy it was hot, so we quickly boarded our coaches,
which were to take us to our hotel. On every approach road to
the city were giant billboards picturing Elvis in his Burning Love
red jumpsuit – what a wonderful greeting – we were now so near to
Elvis and all of us on our coach were getting really excited, but a
problem arose, we should have been stopping at the Circus–Circus but
due to that hotel overbooking, alternative arrangements had to be
made so we just had to sit in our coaches for quite some time while
the problem got sorted out. We ended up staying at the
Westward Ho which was more or less next to the Circus–Circus but who
was bothered when Elvis was just a few minutes walk from our hotel,
I certainly wasn’t.
We were told later that Colonel Parker went to the
Las Vegas Airport to meet our flight and welcome us all to Las Vegas
but we arrived a little bit too early and our paths did not cross on
When we got into our hotel, Rod switched on the TV
and on the news was “200 fans from England arrived today in Las
Vegas to see Elvis Presley in Concert.” Boy what a greeting,
I’m just wondering why he has to keep turning on the television!
What was he expecting an Elvis movie!
By arriving on Thursday we had the opportunity of
seeing extra Elvis shows. Our first show was supposed to have
been on the Friday but we could not wait that long, so we quickly
left our room and headed for the Hilton Hotel which was quite close
to where we were stopping. That walk up to the Hilton was an
experience in itself and it was a strange feeling, the nearer we got
to the hotel the faster our walking became until in the end we
nearly ran there, to think that Elvis was in that building, what a
strange feeling that was. When we finally got there we confirmed our
bookings, which were ok and we also managed to book for today’s
Midnight Show and the 3 am show on 3 September. I found it is
so amazing that you could book for Elvis shows so easily and after
all it was Labor Day Weekend and he was the biggest attraction in
The wait for the Midnight Show seemed to really drag,
we must have queued up for hours but it was worth it. When we
eventually started to move into the showroom, I thought to myself -
this is it; boy what a feeling I got my heartbeat was really racing.
We were shown by a waiter to quite a decent table, the trick to get
ringside tables was to give the waiter a tip, the dollars would be
wrapped up in the palm of your hand and then passed over to the
waiter without anyone seeing the transaction. At the midnight
show you got three free drinks of your choice. The show starts with
The Sweet Inspirations and then Jackie Kahane, his act seemed to go
on forever, I was getting more worked up by the minute and I kept
thinking to myself - c’mon hurry up! How much longer have we
got to wait and then when he eventually finished we knew that was
After a little lull the 2001 Theme started pounding
out and your heart starts beating faster and faster and then the
introduction to “See See Rider” and from the right-hand side of the
stage out comes Elvis and the crowd goes berserk and so did I. I
just cannot believe that after all those years of waiting Elvis was
there in front of me. He looked so handsome and that smile, it
was enough to melt anybody’s heart. He moves to the left side
of the stage and back to Charlie Hodge who hands Elvis his guitar
and then goes straight into “See See Rider.” Afterwards Elvis
sings “Johnny B Goode” he then removed his guitar and he sang “Until
It’s Time For You To Go” which really showed how great Elvis’ voice
was, it is much more powerful than on his records. Elvis then
said thank you to the applause at the close of the song and then
stands with his back to the audience facing Charlie Hodge with his
right-hand out, twisting it sideways and then swings round for the
start of “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.” During the show Elvis
seemed to drink a lot of water and all of a sudden he would throw a
glass full over some unsuspecting member of the band.
Some of the highlights from the other shows, which we
saw, were for instance, when he sang “Polk Salad Annie,” which was
really fantastic and a real showstopper. This was Elvis at his best
and at the end of the song he went down into a karate pose which is
so unbelievable and the reaction from the audience was so
enthusiastic and you cannot help but get hysterical yourself, I
didn’t care Elvis was there! The pounding of the music made it
even more exciting by second. After the exciting ending of
“Polk Salad Annie” he then said to the audience … “I’m gonna get
serious now, “ I could see Elvis laughing, then he said “No, I’m not
serious enough yet” and the orchestra starts the intro again … “Ok
I’m ready” and then he went into “What Now My Love” which was really
beautiful and Elvis sang it so powerfully and he put a lot into the
song. Another outstanding song was “Fever” this was another
real show stopper and another unbelievable performance.
was very unusual for this one as Elvis stood in front of a circle of
red light that that fell on the stage behind him, Elvis stood with
is legs apart and near the middle of the drum beats his legs started
a circle motion out and round the back of him, first one leg then
the other, he repeated it again more quickly, the audience got
really excited and naturally there was a lot of screaming.
Next came a medley of his old songs “Heartbreak Hotel,” “All Shook
Up” and several others. During “Love Me Tender” Elvis throws
out scarf’s and collects kisses. When it came to “Hound Dog” Elvis
bends right down and said “In 1956 I did a song on the Ed Sullivan’s
Show … I have to stand like this because in those days my voice was
much higher and if I stood up straight, I’ll strip my gears” and he
then goes into the slow version of “Hound Dog”, but instead of
singing “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog,” he sings “you don’t
know what I’m gonna do, no you don’t” and the audience shouts for
“Hound Dog” and Elvis replied “You ain’t nothing but a bear-cat!
Woolly Bulllie! And several more weird phrases and then into Hound
Dog and during this song he throw out three stuffed hound dogs to
Elvis then said this was his favourite song,
which was “I’ll Remember You”, and the backing was much richer and
fuller; again the lighting started off with all blue lights and was
really lovely when the pinks and mauves were added. Another
highlight of the show was “Suspicious Minds” which was really mind
blowing, at one part Elvis went down on one knee saying to the
audience ‘oh this floor is hard’ and reverses round to face the left
on the other knee and up again.
After his introduction of the Sweet Inspirations, The
Stamps and Joe Guercio Orchestra he then sang “My Way” which showed
again how powerful Elvis’ voice really was, absolutely fantastic!
Next was “You Gave Me A Mountain” and some fans in the front seats
said that Elvis had tears in his eyes at the end. According to
some fans I was talking to said that on Tuesday, 29th
August, Lisa and Priscilla were at the show, apparently Elvis
requested that they came. He introduced Lisa but not
Priscilla. He also cut his show short that night and that
after the show in his dressing room Elvis really broke up and cried
Over the monumental applause Elvis said, “Thank you,
you’re a very wonderful audience.” Charlie Hodge then fixed a
cape onto his shoulders and Elvis sang “Can’t Help Falling In Love”
during the song he puts a lot of feeling into it and then throws out
more scarf’s and the crowd all rushed to the stage and at the end
the curtains start coming down and Elvis throws his arms in the air
displaying his cape, as the curtains started to fall to the floor
Elvis went down on one knee with his arms raised out still
displaying his cape and then he stands up for us to have one last
look at him and then he was gone. The long wait was over and
was it worth the wait, YES, it certainly was. Disappointed –
On the way out of the Hilton I was walking back to
the Westward Ho in a DREAM!! At 4 am in the morning I still
had not got to sleep! All I kept thinking about was the show.
Taking photos in the showroom was a major problem. At
the dinner show on the following Saturday, we were seated with some
people from Texas, they were really nice and we had some great fun
with them. This particular show Rod was using the camera to
take some photos of Elvis, and when the flash went off the security
guards were rushing around everywhere trying to find out where the
flash came from; he quickly dropped the camera onto the floor to
hide it and then one of the guards came up to our table and asked us
if we were taking photos, one of the guys said “No, not us” and sent
the security guard in another direction. We really found that
funny as you can imagine! The best time to take photos was
when the show was finishing because all the females were rushing to
the stage and it was really chaotic.
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Part III THE DAY I MET ELVIS
Saturday night was the night something really special
happened and it was so unexpected, we did the same thing as we did
on Friday, we queued up, we waited and we saw two shows, but this
time it was different, there was the 3 am show for Sunday morning,
3rd September. After we came out from the midnight show Rod decided
to have a wander around the Casino to stretch his legs so I waited
near the manager’s office for him to return. Whilst I was waiting I
was joined by another fan from our party. In the meantime, the door
of the manager's office opened and sitting inside was Colonel Parker
who was chewing on a long cigar, we asked him if he was
the Colonel because he looked much younger than we imagined him
to be and he said "Yes," so we got talking to him, then my Rod came
back and joined us
We had a nice little conversation with the Colonel
and he told us all about the forthcoming Hawaii Show in January
1973. He was very enthusiastic about this project, and so were
we, as he told us that it was going to be screened worldwide by
satellite. The Colonel asked us how old we thought he was but
we kept quiet about this and he just smiled at us and proceeded to
tell us how old he was. We were then introduced to the RCA
Executive, George Parkhill and the Colonel signed his autograph for
us, which I have been told was very rare. About this time,
another two fans joined us as. Then all of a sudden the phone
rang and we were going to depart but the Colonel told us to wait,
when he had finished his phone conversation he asked us how many of
us there was, I replied, "there are five of us," and he told us to
follow him along with George Parkhill. We all followed them into the
Showroom and we thought we were going to be taken to some special
seating but we were taken through a No Exit door and along a
corridor with all security guards along the way and we then all
realized where we were being taken, down to see Elvis. We
entered a large room where we noticed The Stamps, The Sweet
Inspirations and Kathy Westmoreland, all sitting down watching TV
(this was the room in “Elvis That’s The Way” where Elvis is reading
all the telegrams). We were shown into a small room where Elvis must
have rested in between the shows, as there was a bed in there with a
white telephone on it, so I sat on the bed, and near the door was a
cabinet and on the top was a large red Japanese doll (I noticed the
doll because my penfriend in Japan sent me a miniature version).
First of all, the Colonel introduced us to Vernon
Presley. He was just wonderful and I received a kiss from him
and Rod shook his hand. Red West appeared in the room for a
couple of seconds, I suppose to check if everything was alright, he
did not speak and quickly left. Vernon asked us where we had
been and so we told him that we had been to Graceland and Tupelo,
also that we had met Uncle Vester. He was pleased that we had been
able to meet Vester. When Vernon left the room the Colonel came back
eating a sandwich, so he asked us if we’d like some sandwiches, we
said “No, thank you,” after all who could think of eating at a time
like that! So we were asked if we would like a drink, so we
all settled for a drink. The Colonel went out to get the
drinks for us and whilst he was in the other room, Rod heard the
Colonel say "Elvis can you come and see some fans from England."
After a few minutes the Colonel and George Parkhill came back with
our drinks. Then all of a sudden Elvis appeared in the
doorway. He was dressed all in black with an open neck black
shirt wearing a claw medallion, and another thing I noticed was that
he had a number of rings on his fingers. His hair was combed
straight back. He was wearing some gorgeous aftershave.
He looked absolutely amazing; his photos just did not do him
justice. He was so tall and really handsome, he looked so
young too. I just could not take my eyes of him. The two guys
shook his hand and I received a kiss, I made sure I wasn't dreaming
all of this so I kissed him again; he gave me a wonderful smile and
obviously found it funny. He asked us if we had a good journey to
America and he asked quite a few other things, but you have to
listen carefully because he talks very soft and I was still in a
dream! He signed autographs for us all and the only thing I
had with me was a menu from the dinner show earlier. He asked
me my name and would you credit it, I could not remember it.
He gave me wonderful smile and said “You must have a name”, and then
I just said “Oh … Rita” and Elvis replied with a laugh in his voice
and said “Rita, are you sure,” to which I said “Yes” so then he
signed my menu “With Love Rita, Elvis Presley”.
After a while the Colonel came back and said,
“Well, we’ll have to go back up now as I’ve got to sell Hound Dogs
out front.” Elvis shook hands again with the guys and I held
his hand and I received another kiss, Elvis then said goodbye to us
and started to make his way into a small room, which must have been
where he got ready for his shows, as inside on the wall was a large
mirror. Just before he went into the room, one of the other
girls said to him “Elvis, you’ll always be the King in England,”
then Elvis replied “Thank you, I’ll be coming to England one
day.” He then went into the room and we returned to the room
we first entered and there we met The Sweet Inspirations and Kathy
Westmoreland. The Colonel asked us to follow him and we went back up
by lift as the Colonel mentioned it’s better to go this way as he’d
had a bit of trouble with his back. We came out at the
back of the stage; this is the part where you see Elvis walking down
with his group towards the stage in “That’s The Way It Is.” It
was a great feeling when we got back into the showroom, those
already seated were looking at us, and they obviously knew where we
had been! The Colonel then had a few words with the
Maitre' D, who then had a word with one of the waiters and we were
shown to the best seats near the Colonel to enjoy the 3 am show.
This show did not cost us anything it was like a present from the
On this show Elvis wore a light blue jumpsuit.
During the show Elvis introduced Shirley Maclaine and several other
American stars and Tom Jones who sat about three tables away from
us. When Elvis was performing “
Suspicious Minds” Tom got up and left the showroom and went to Elvis’
suite. Elvis said that he had had some requests to do a karate
demonstration and this is something you had to see to believe it,
it was so unbelievable and just fantastic!!
Elvis gave a really fantastic performance on this
show and I did hear later that it was the best show of the season.
This really was the most exciting time of our holiday, which we will
never ever forget.
On Monday, 4th September, in the morning
200 of us went to the Colonel’s suite in the Hilton in parties of
30. When we got to the 4th floor there were
pictures of Elvis and toy Hound Dogs all along the corridor.
The Colonel made up special packages for us of Elvis goodies for
$5.00 in an “Elvis Now” carrier bag, which contained posters,
badges, Hound Dog,
Elvis Summer Festival Hat and a record album (mine was “
Elvis, That’s The Way It Is” and Rod got “On Stage”).
When we entered the room Rod heard Colonel Parker say to George
Parkhill “Where is she” and George said “Over there, here she
comes”, and everyone was looking at me, boy if only they knew why!
When we saw The Colonel and George Parkhill they both remembered us
and the Colonel asked if we were alright, I replied “Yes,” and I
thanked him again for letting us meet Elvis for which he replied
“You’re welcome but I cannot do this very often” so later when we
saw the other three that went down with us to meet Elvis we agreed
to keep it a secret until we left Vegas.
The fan club were presented with a 7-foot Hound Dog,
two lovely purple elephants and two smaller Hound Dogs,
these were from Elvis and The Colonel.
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In the evening the 8 pm show was the fans show - the
fan club block-booking - we all had to form a line together at a
certain time. Our party entered the showroom through the
Colonel’s invited guests section. Whilst we were being shown to our
tables we were being filmed, with those bright lights shining on us
we could hardly see where we were going. Even when we were having
our meal we were being filmed, it was really funny because everyone
was looking at us, wondering what was happening. This was the
night when Todd Slaughter and his party went to meet Elvis and
presented him with some sort of trophy, my pen friend Gitt Nyman
also went with them to meet Elvis and she presented him with a small
Before the show Tony Prince stood on the stage and
explained to the audience about us and then Tony lead the fans into
the chant “Give me an E” and we replied “E” right the way through
ELVIS and Tony asked who the King was in England and we all yelled
What a fantastic time we had!
We sure let Elvis know we were all there when he
walked out on the stage and all through the show we had Elvis’
attention, he kept looking at our tables, which were the best seats.
Elvis also told the audience “I’d like to acknowledge a fan club
from England, ladies and gentleman. There are about 200 of ‘em
here. Thanks for coming, hope you enjoy the show.” We
felt real proud and we all gave a great cheer! That was also a show
to remember because it seems the show was especially for our fan
The Midnight Show was the last time we ever saw
Elvis in concert and as usual he gave a fantastic performance.
During the concert Elvis hardly got through a song without a laugh.
He was really funny. He also introduced Bobby Darin and Elvis
said that “I think Bobby opens here tomorrow (5th) but
it’s only what I’ve heard, they don’t tell me anything, I only works
Actually Bobby Darin did open the following night with Shirley
It was very sad because at the end of “Can’t Help
Falling In Love” and the curtains lowered for the last time and we
knew we would never see Elvis again but we have really wonderful
memories that we will always treasure!
HELLO HOLLYWOOD – BYE BYE AMERICA
For the rest of the week we went to Hollywood and
enjoyed being just tourists, we did the usual things what tourists
usually do like going to Disneyland, Santa Barbara, shopping and the
usual site seeing, some fans even went to Mexico and San Francisco.
In Hollywood we stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel, and on the day we
arrived we were in our hotel room and we heard some sirens, we
looked out of our window but could not see anything but we did hear
later that a hot dog stand was held up near our hotel, what a
welcome! We were told that we were going to have a
special preview showing of “Standing Room Only” (Elvis
on Tour) but unfortunately due to the movie not being finished
in time, this event had to be cancelled, which was a big
disappointment for us all, as we had been looking forward to seeing
it and after seeing Elvis it would have been just perfect.
On Friday, 8th the last evening of our
fourteen day United States holiday went off with the biggest bang.
All “on the Colonel,” a leading band was hired, loads of food and
drink, as well as lots of surprises, even John Wilkinson was there
and he told us stories which I thought was really interesting and
typical of Elvis. He mentioned the recordings being made only
minutes after first hearing a song, he said that “Burning Love” was
done in Hollywood and after playing the demo in the studio, Elvis
had never heard the song before and they had no music to play from
and everything was picked up from the demo disc. John also
told us a story about when his mother went into hospital, he said
there was nothing seriously wrong with her but somehow Elvis got to
know about her and it wasn’t until a few weeks after she went in
that it was discovered that Elvis paid her bills for the hospital
and sent her a large bouquet of flowers also. He also told us
that they were not poor or anything like that, but it’s just the
sort of thing Elvis did, he’s very thoughtful and loves to do things
for people. Then he mentioned that Elvis really loves his fans
and that he always thinks of them. John was a really nice guy
and he was only too pleased to sign autographs and let us take
photos of him.
This was a great ending to a holiday of a lifetime
and plenty of surprises for me! Not only seeing Elvis ten
times in Concert but also meeting him, which I never dreamt would
happen. Was I disappointed with Elvis and America … No NEVER!
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