"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)






Sonny West in Australia

EIN's Bev McKinlay soaked up the intimate atmosphere when Sonny West visited the Gold Coast to talk about his life with Elvis - an evening of loving reminiscences & laughter. This is Bev's review:

With a touch of Elvis furnished by four of his jumpsuits lining the Southport, Gold Coast, stage Sonny West enthralled the Queensland crowd last Saturday night with sincere stories of his life with Elvis.

While you may have also heard both Joe Esposito & Red West on similar Australian tours, Sonny was far friendlier and there was a lovely atmosphere, almost like sitting in the lounge with him sitting 6 feet opposite you and just talking.

Sonny either stood on stage or walked around a bit or sat on a high stool and talked, and laughed and talked and laughed.

He reminisced lovingly and told so many great stories.

For instance one about Elvis’ visit to the White House. When Elvis arrived he had about 5 guns on him but he only removed three 3 and naughtily kept the other two. So when Elvis went to the restroom - and the security guards went too - he bent over and one fell out from the waist of his pants and clattered like hell on the floor but the guards just ignored it!

Elvis said to Sonny and Jerry later, "Just as well I didn't tell them about the derringer in my boot too!"

From stories like these you get to understand more about the playful & happy side of Elvis’ character - there was also another really long story about the trick they played with JD Sumner, on the Stamps, over a shooting threat and it was hilarious.

He also told an incredible story about Elvis trying to order a taxi in LA .... and it was so funny that it had us all in stitches. On the serious side Sonny also talked about being sacked by Elvis and about how devastated he was the day Elvis died.

I was impressed that he didn't really gloss over anything. After Sonny finished talking, he then came back on stage a couple of minutes later and showed footage of Graceland explaining each room to everyone, which was great as there were many fans in the audience who have never been there, as you can imagine.

I learnt that the door at the top of the stairs leads directly to the stairs that come up/go down to the kitchen. There also is/was a small bedroom downstairs off the pool/TV room area where Charlie Hodge laid his head.

At the end of the show he offered the captivated audience of around 70 fans a chance to ask questions. And while there were quite a few from people who didn't seem to know that Elvis had produced more than one Readers Digest set of Greatest Hits, Sonny answered them all gracefully and gave everyone the same amount of time.

As Sonny said, once these guys are gone, everything you hear is only going to be second-hand. Interestingly Sonny also admitted that while he didn't mind Elvis impersonators, and thought most of them did a great job, the two things he didn't like were the ones who tried to talk like Elvis afterwards, and also the fact that so many people rave on about how this one or that one sounds "just like Elvis".

He said that no-one, but NO-ONE sounds just like Elvis and never will.

Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by Chris Drummond but, since Sonny talked for so long, he only got to sing about 4 of Sonny's favourite Elvis songs.

The performance was really so relaxed and comfortable, and Sonny was really, really human, which I think describes the whole night well.

The show was incredible and he is hoping to come back next year, including NZ on the tour and do a bigger and better show - I would certainly go back.

They were having a draw at the end of the tour for a trip for 2 to Graceland, ..... all entries from every concert were in the draw. I guess I didn't win it as I haven't had that magic phone call about it ... YET !!

Source: Bev McKinley











CD: Tom Green
Show: Sonny West
CD: A Legendary Performer Vol. 5
CD: Young & Beautiful (TV Guide)
DVD: Elvis by the Presleys "Target" bonus disc
Mini-series: Elvis
FTD: Big Boss Man
VCD: Joe Esposito's Home Videos of Elvis
Book: Complete Guide to Elvis Presley
CD: Now What (Lisa Presley)
CD: In The King's Shadow
Show: All Shook Up
DVD: Elvis In Concert (3 hour version)
More on Elvis on TV
"Orion" gunned down!
Elvis Is Back
Elvis - Hero with 1000 faces
Elvis Film Guide
Elvis rules on television! (updated May 2005)
Elvis & other major artists miss out on Grammy Awards
How did Elvis die?
Priscilla Presley
Marshall Terrill
Lisa Presley on Larry King Show
Tony Joe White
Stanley Oberst
Bud Glass (part 2)
Bill Burk
Lisa Presley on EPE sale
Red & Sonny West
Ed Bonja (Part 2)
Ernst Jorgensen
Phil Aitcheson (Presley Commission)
Listen to the Elvis "strung out" in Vegas audio
View video of "All Shook Up" opening night on Broadway
View EPE Graceland tourism ads
The "Real" Elvis off-stage
Unreleased Elvis audio now online
Did you miss?
Sale of EPE "Archives"
6th Elvis Website Survey
Online Elvis Symposium
All about Graceland