"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)


"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)


"The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image"


(Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden press conference, 1972)


"Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was actually stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something"

(David Bowie)


"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme"

(Mick Jagger)


"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother...there'll never be another like that soul brother"

(Soul legend, James Brown)


"Before Elvis there was nothing!"

(John Lennon)


"There were rock 'n' roll records before Heartbreak Hotel, but this was the one that didn't just open the door…it literally blasted the door off its rusted, rotten, anachronistic hinges...producing, no propelling, a fundamental, primordial and unstoppable shift in not only musical, but social, political and cultural history"

(JNP, BBC website)


"Elvis, the musician, is largely a relic belonging to the baby boomer generation...Elvis, the icon, is arguably one of the most potent symbols of popular culture"

( Dr. John Walker)


"It [rock & roll] was always about Elvis; not just because he was Elvis, but because he was the big star"

(Bono from U2)


"If they had let me on white radio stations back then, there never would have been an Elvis"

(Little Richard)


"Elvis loved opera, and he especially liked Mario Lanza. He would watch The Student Prince which was set in Heidelberg, over and over again. He loved the power of the big voices. And he loved big orchestras. He liked real dramatic things"

(Marty Lacker in 'Elvis and the Memphis Mafia')


"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead"

(Johnny Carson)

Elvis' #1 Pop Singles on Cashbox, USA:

Heartbreak Hotel (1956)

Don't Be Cruel (1956)

Hound Dog (1956)

Love Me Tender (1956)

Too Much (1957)

All Shook Up (1957)

Teddy Bear (1957)

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Don't (1958)

Stuck On You (1960)

It's Now Or Never (1960)

Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1960)

Surrender (1961)

Good Luck Charm (1962)

Return To Sender (1962)

In The Ghetto (1969)

Suspicious Minds (1969)

Burning Love (1972)

(The Cashbox chart is now defunct)

Elvis Facts:

Elvis was 5' 11" tall


Elvis' natural hair color was dark blond


Elvis' blood type was O Positive


Elvis' shoe size was 11D


One of Elvis'( maternal) ancestors, Morning White Dove (born 1800, died 1835), was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian


Elvis' uncle, Noah Presley, became Mayor of East Tupelo on January 7, 1936


The Presley family moved to Memphis on November 6, 1948


Elvis was issued a Social Security card in September 1950 with the # 409-52-2002


In 1954 some of the shows played by Elvis & The Blue Moon Boys were at the Overton Park Shell; the Bel-Air Club; Sleepy-Eyed John's Eagle's Nest Club and the Louisiana Hayride


Elvis' first manager was Scotty Moore, then Bob Neal, before signing with Colonel Tom Parker


The first DJ to play an Elvis record was Fred Cook (WREC), not Dewey Phillips (WHBQ). However, Dewey had the distinction of being the first DJ to play an Elvis record in its entirety


Elvis once dated famous stripper, Tempest Storm


Elvis was filmed from the waist up only during his 3rd and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show


In the 50s Elvis was friendly with rising stars, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner and Ty (Bronco Lane) Hardin


Gladys Presley was 46 years old when she died, not 42, as many books suggest


The Roustabout album sold 450,000 copies on its initial release, 150,000 copies more than any of the preceding three soundtrack LPs. It was Elvis' last "soundtrack" album to reach #1 on the major album charts in the US


Elvis received $1m for filming Harum Scarum (aka Harum Holiday). The film grossed around $2m in the US


Elvis and Priscilla married on May 1, 1967


They were officially divorced on October 9, 1973


Elvis earns nearly $3.5m in 1968 and pays just over $1.4m in income tax


Elvis' return to live performing in Las Vegas on July 31, 1969 was in front of an "by invitation only" audience. Stars in attendance included Wayne Newton, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey, Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson


On January 9, 1971, the national Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) announced Elvis as one of "The Top Ten Young Men of the Year". Elvis spoke at the official awards ceremony on January 16


"Elvis: Aloha From Hawai" made entertainment history on January 14, 1973, when it was beamed around the world by satellite. In the Philippines it drew 91% of the audience, in Hong Kong 70%. The viewing audience was estimated at more than 1 billion


For his 4 week Hilton Vegas season in August 1973 Elvis received $610,000

Sales of Elvis' 1973 album, Raised On Rock, were less than 200,000 units on its initial release


Elvis paid $2,959,000 in income tax in 1973


In December 1976 Elvis was sworn in as a special deputy sheriff of Shelby County (Memphis) by Sheriff Gene Barksdale


Elvis' final live concert was in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977

When Elvis died, he and his father Vernon, were embroiled in an FBI investigation called Operation Fountain Pen

More than 1,500 books have been published about The King in more than 30 languages


At Dec 2005 Elvis' biggest selling album in the US is the budget priced, Elvis' Christmas Album, with accredited sales of 9 million units (fingers crossed it reaches 10 million to give Elvis his first "Diamond" award)


By early2006, Sony BMG's "collectors label", Follow That Dream, had released more than 50 Elvis CDs


During the 1980s, tour guides at Graceland stated that Elvis' biggest selling album (globally) was Moody Blue, with sales exceeding 14 million


While Sony BMG estimates Elvis' global sales exceed 1 billion, the company is unable to substantiate this figure. Accredited sales worldwide are estimated to be less than 400 million
















































































































































































































































































Charlie Hodge talks to EIN

This interview was conducted as an informal chat between Charlie Hodge and Nigel Patterson (from EIN, then known as the ACT Elvis Presley Appreciation Society) over a few drinks during Elvis Week in 1986. It was one of two chats between Charlie and Nigel. This interview first appeared in the monthly fan newsletter, 'The Man From Memphis' in 1986. It has not previously been published on the Interrnet.


EIN: Charlie, for those fans who don't know, when did you first meet Elvis?

CH: It was in Memphis in 1956. I was big with my Foggy River Boys and Elvis came backstage when we were touring on Red Foley's Ozark Jubilee. Elvis came in with his cousin, Billy Smith. I talked to Elvis and Billy about the music scene and we swapped stories. Elvis told me he watched me every week on the Ozark Jubilee. It was a popular TV show broadcast on Saturday night's out of Springfield, Missouri. After that, the next time I'd see Elvis was in the Army.

EIN: Tell us about that..

CH: Elvis and I went into the Army at the same time but we weren't stationed together. When I found out where he was I went over and renewed my acquaintance.  I said, "I'm Charlie Hodge. I was the lead singer with the Foggy River Boys".

And he said, "Hey, man, I used to watch you every Saturday night on TV". We had a natural friendship, because we were similar in a number of ways. We both loved music, we both wanted to be in a gospel quartet, we knew the same people in the gospel field. We knew the same people in the country field. And we sang gospel songs together on the way to Germany. I was the only trained musician of the guys and I guess Elvis needed someone he liked who was also a musician.

EIN: Elvis took up karate during his Army stint.  What do you recall about his interest then in the martial arts?

CH: When we were in Germany Elvis heard about the karate champion, Jurgen Seydel, who was also in Germany.  He arranged to meet Jurgen and they started training together.  As I wrote in my book, Me 'n' Elvis, karate was a physical art that caught Elvis' passion.  Elvis and Jurgen became very close and they'd work out together on weekends.  Rex Mansfield, who was with us in Germany, also took lessons, and Elvis would work out with him whenever Jurgen wasn't around.

EIN: Elvis was a big fan of Mario Lanza?

CH: Elvis loved all types of music. He always wanted to know more about how the music came about, how particular singers and musicians did certain things. And he was a big, big fan of Mario Lanza. He watched movies like The Student Prince over and over again. Her especially liked how Lanza projected his powerful voice and the notes he could reach. I think Elvis would have loved to have been an opera singer. Just imagine how that could have changed music history!

EIN: Charlie, tell us about life at Graceland.

CH: Let me tell you, Elvis just loved Graceland.  It was his island away from the world where he could unwind with his family and the boys.  I was very fortunate to have lived there until after Elvis died.  I remember that Elvis would wander around Graceland singing.  I'd hear him and pick up the harmony.  Sometimes we weren't even in the same room.
EIN:  Elvis also loved Hawaii.

CH:  You got that right.  Elvis used to say the people of Hawaii were among the friendliest he ever met.  He loved their customs and their peacefulness. And he could go there and they wouldn't mob him like they did everywhere else he went.  We'd go to Hawaii for a holiday, to relax on the beach and play on the beach and in the water.  Elvis didn't like to swim much but he sure liked to play around in the water.

And of course he did his world famous Aloha concert from Hawaii, the first ever satellite concert beamed right around the world.  Over 1 billion people watched that show!

One of Elvis' favorite TV shows was filmed in Hawaii, Hawaii 5-0.  He was a fan of its star, Jack Lord. Elvis got to meet Jack backstage after one of his shows in Vegas.  Elvis also liked The Brian Keith Show which was also made in Hawaii.  Anything that reminded him of one of his favorite places.

EIN: How much TV did Elvis watch?

CH: Elvis could be a TV junkie.  He had a TV set in every room at Graceland and four in the TV Room so he could watch all channels.  He liked watching sport and he liked a lot of the comedies like Lucy and The Beverly Hillbillies.  He was big on war movies too. He admired John Wayne and Patton was one of his all-time favorite films. A lot of the time though if he was making a picture or out on the road we didn't get to see much TV.

EIN: Charlie...Elvis and Priscilla.

CH: You know I've read a lot of wrong things about Elvis and Priscilla. Elvis loved her, he told me that many times. And while he may not have wanted to get married when he did she was the love of his life. Initially, we all got along well with Priscilla but after a while I guess she wanted more time with Elvis and we were always around. You can understand that even if we didn't like it at times. It's only natural for her to want to be alone with her husband.

Priscilla was good with us. She could be tough when she wanted and that was usually when the rest of the guys all came over and would start putting in orders with the cook as if Graceland was a restaurant or hotel. She used to say "This isn't a short order restaurant!" (laughs) I lived at Graceland so I guess I knew her better than most.

EIN: The Colonel?

CH: The Colonel was a character. I got on well with himand he used to entertain us with stories of his days as a carny. He especially liked telling Elvis and the boys his stories around the dining table. He'd puff on a big cigar and tell us stories he'd told us a hundred times before. But he was a natural born entertainer and he could make you laugh. He wasn't the ogre many people make him out to be.

One of his favorite stories was the hot dog trick he pulled on customers during his carny days. The disappearing hot dog. The Colonel would drop a hot dog in the dust in front of the counter where the customers lined up to buy the hot dog. The carny would wipe a bit of mustard and catsup on an empty bun and give it to the customer. Of course the customer would complain there was no hot dog and the carny would look at the hot dog on the ground and say, "Look there, you must have dropped it." The Colonel could be a rogue, but he was also very likeable. And his stories kept us in stitches a lot of the time. He was such a colorful character.

Opposite: Charlie with the legendary Gene Autry

The Colonel was not a person you messed with. He could be very, very tough when he was displeased about something, but usually he was a fair person.

EIN: The Memphis Mafia. How well did you guys get on?

CH: We got on real well. We laughed, we cried, we partied, we played practical jokes together. Like any group closely living and working together, there were times when tempers ran hot but they cooled off quickly. It was a fun time and there were a lot more good times than not so good times.

There were many members of the MM. Some of us were there from the start and others drifted in and out over the years or were there for only a short time. Elvis knew who he liked and who he wanted to be in the group.

EIN: Elvis used to give the Memphis Mafia guys nicknames. What was yours?

CH: Elvis called me a few names but the main one was "Slewfoot". It's a well known name in country music circles in the Southern statesof the US. Jerry Schilling was "Cougar", Joe was "Lion", sometimes "Diamond Joe", Lamar was "Buddha" or "Lardass" because of his size. Elvis always liked nicknames, I think for him they symbolised closeness between friends and also the secret nature of groups where only those inside know what it's all about. A lot of the nicknames Elvis gave out were influenced by his love of karate.

EIN: Did Elvis drink alcohol and smoke?

CH: Elvis rarely touched alcohol.  It was not something he cared for.  When he was younger he smoked occasionally.  There are a few pictures of him with a cigarette. And he in the late 60s he liked smoking cigars. He'd go through phases like that where he had a passion for something, then before you knew it, it was something new he was trying.

EIN: Charlie, the pills?

CH: There have been so many nasty, misinformed things said and written about Elvis and so-called "drugs". So many people, especially the media, want to put him down. I never knew Elvis to take 'street drugs'. He despised them and the pushers behind them. Yes, Elvis took medications, but they were prescribed for him by Dr Nick. And they were for very real conditions Elvis suffered from.

Not only that, Elvis knew all about the interactions between the medications he was taking. He had a copy of The Desk Physician's Reference Guide with him all the time. If he'd wanted, he could have become a pharmacist, he knew that much about drugs and their interactions with each other. He was a walking pharmacy encyclopedia.

EIN: The Colonel is well known as a gambler. What about Elvis?

CH: Elvis didn't care for gambling. He might do it if he was bored to pass the time. But he never gambled much. I remember one time in Vegas he put a $ coin in a slot machine and he hit the $100.00 jackpot. Elvis went on playing the machine and every few coins he'd hit the jackpot again. It turned out the machine was faulty. The pit bosses got upset but they couldn't stop Elvis from playing the machine and he wasn't going to stop, he was having too much fun.

EIN: Do you think Elvis would have married Ginger Alden?
CH: Well, they were engaged.  I can confirm that.  But whether Elvis would have married her I don't know, but I doubt he would.  There was some friction between them when Elvis died.
EIN: Elvis not touring overseas is one of the frustrating parts of the Elvis story.  What can you tell us about it?
CH: Man, touring overseas was a real big issue for Elvis.  He wanted to tour Europe badly and especially wanted to perform in Germany and France as he had such happy memories of being in both countries.  He wanted to repay the people for their hospitality and of course his fans in other countries.  There were so many big offers for Elvis to perform in other countries and we never really knew why the Colonel said no to them.  We used to talk about why it never happened.  Sometimes the Colonel would say it was security concerns or there weren't suitable auditoriums and other times the price of tickets would be too high.  But it used to annoy the hell out of Elvis.  He got very angry about it more than one time.
EIN: You appeared in several of Elvis' movies.  What was that like?

CH: I had small parts in Clambake, Speedway and Stay Away, Joe.  I cut Elvis' father hair in Clambake and he wouldn't sit still for me to do it.  It's a funny scene. James Gregory played Elvis' father in the film.  Most of the boys got to appear in one or two of the films. Elvis loved making pictures and even though he got tired of it towards the end it was usually a fun time on set.  Some of the directors didn't like how we played up but most realised it helped us let of steam and the frustrations of a boring day on the set. And it was Elvis who would usually start it all. He was a real practical joker. It was his way of unwinding from the boredom and pressure.

It was the same when we were on the road. It was tiring and boredom could set in quickly. Spo the practical jokes kept everyone up. J.D. Sumner was just as bad as Elvis. He loved a good practical joke especially if it wasn't on him.

Elvis had an accident before filming started on Clambake and while it wasn't one of his favorite experiences we sure had fun. I remember coming out on set one morning and , splash, they got me with a bucket of water. And as I looked up, splash again, they threw a second bucket of water on me from high up in the catwalks.
My shirt was soaked through and I took it off and put it near a heater to dry.  I got a new shirt from wardrobe and every so often I'd go back and check to see if my shirt had dried.  Well it ghadn't and I couldn't work it out.  Then one time I looked around the corner (laughs) and there was Elvis spraying it with a fire extinguisher.
Arthur Nadel was the director of Clambake and he got hit so many times by firecrackers he started coming to the set wearing a Nazi war helmet.
The crew got their own back on Elvis one time though.  It was at the end of filming of That's The Way It Is.  Arthur Nadel was the director of that one too.  As soon as he yelled "WRAP" Elvis got hit, as did anyone around him, by hundreds of pies.  It was mayhem and there were so many pies hitting the floor that it became very slippery.  People were falling like 10 pins.  Even though he was the victim of the practical joke this time, Elvis loved it.
EIN: Do you still get royalties for your role in Clambake, Speedway and Stay Away, Joe?

CH: (laughs) If only!  The number of times Elvis' films are shown on TV I could be rich if I only got a $1 each time they are on.

EIN: Charlie, thanks so much for talking to us.

CH: You're most welcome.

Click to comment on this interview



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"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Gary Enders)


"Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"



"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)


"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")


"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)


"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"

(Carl Perkins)


"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"

(Bob Dylan)


"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"

(Sir Paul McCartney)


"You can't say enough good things about Elvis. He was one of a kind"

(Johnny Cash)


"And don't think for one moment he's just a passing fancy....he's got enough of it to keep him on top for a long time"

(R. Fred Arnold, Fury magazine, Aug 1957)


"It isn't enough to say that Elvis is kind to his parents, sends money home, and is the same unspoiled kid he was before all the commotion began. That still isn't a free ticket to behave like a sex maniac in public"

(Eddie Condon, Cosmopolitan)

Elvis records reaching #2 & #3 on the Cashbox Pop Singles chart:

#2: A Fool Such As I (1959)

#2: A Big Hunk Of Love (1959)

#3: Hard Headed Woman (1958)

#3: One Night (1958)

#3: (You're The Devil) In Disguise (1963)

Elvis Facts:

Tickets for Elvis' show on March 29, 1957 in St. Louis cost $2.00 to $2.50


While in Germany Elvis was hospitalised with tonsillitis in October 1959


Despite being an illegal immigrant, photographic evidence shows Colonel Tom Parker traveled to Canada with Elvis in 1957


Elvis strongly believed there weren't enough good songs in King Creole to justify releasing a soundtrack album. RCA initially agreed, releasing two very successful EPs from the movie. A soundtrack LP eventually followed


During the 1960s Elvis had his own football team, Elvis Presley Enterprises, which played in the Menphis touch football league. In the 1962 final, EPE narrowlt lost to Delta Automatic Transmission. 6-13


In Clambake, (Elvis) Scott Hayward's driving licence shows February 23, 1940...taking 5 years off Elvis' real age


In the 1970s Elvis was ofered $5m to stage a concert in front of the Pyramids in Egypt. When the Colonel declined the offer, Saudi billionaires raised the offer to $10m