you witness dawn of Elvis' career?
tests recall of longtime Biloxians
KAT BERGERON THE SUN HERALD
anyone seen Elvis Presley in Biloxi?
is meant as a historical question, not one of those
modern "Elvis never died" searches. A foremost authority
on The King wants to know if any Biloxians, or South
Mississippians for that matter, remember 1955 when Elvis
performed in the area. What did he wear to concerts
or to local clubs where he might have picked up a spur-of-the-moment
microphone. What did he sing? What kind of shoes did
Jørgensen is piecing together a jigsaw puzzle of the 18 months
from July 1954 when "That's All Right" hit the charts to December
1955 when Elvis' shy, sandy-haired country boy ways morphed
to make him King of Rock 'n' Roll.
those 18 months Elvis traveled the South with bandsmen Scotty
Moore and Bill Black, recorded at Memphis' Sun Records and
performed at least six times in Biloxi at Keesler Air Force
Base, the Biloxi Community House and the Slavonian Lodge.
no photographs and little description of those or other 1955
performances have surfaced.
The Elvis Hunter, as the music media has dubbed this researcher
and producer for Elvis' record label RCA, a subsidiary of
Sony/BMG. Jørgensen is asking people who might have attended
any of those Biloxi concerts or clubs to dig into their memories,
photo collections and maybe even audio tapes.
suffer from a frustration of early Elvis in Biloxi before
he became all headliners and television," Jørgensen said.
know Elvis came to Biloxi in 1956, too, but by then he was
already a sensation. What we are trying to do is tell the
early Elvis from those 18 months." Jørgensen is credited with
Elvis' second comeback of popularity by diminishing "fat Elvis"
images that overshadowed his music for the decade after his
year on the 50th anniversary of Elvis' step into show business,
Jørgensen will publish a book and CDs on that long-overlooked
18-month period. As RCA's resident Elvis expert he has a number
of other projects under his belt, including "Elvis Day by
Day." Jørgensen, who lives in Denmark, is working with associate
researcher Danny Kane of Louisiana to help dig through the
large number of responses that come whenever a different town
is queried about early Elvis visits. They hope the same will
happen with the Biloxi request.
is a Mississippi native son," Kane said, "so for us Biloxi
is Elvis' back yard, and we know there are some good stories
just waiting to be told." "What makes Elvis bigger than life?
First of all, Elvis had three fundamental advantages: musically
very talented, good voice, good looks. The key element was
Elvis' ability to combine elements of all types of American
music into his own music, without the usual prejudice of most
artists. On a last note, I believe that dying young often
creates legends. The 'tragedy' touches our most basic human
Elvis stories What: The search is on for the early Elvis
Presley. Ernst Jørgensen and Danny Kane are researching Elvis'
visits to the small-town South in the 18 months from July
1954 to December 1955, to be included in a 50th anniversary
RCA release of music and timeline of memories. Such stories
will help document the early career of this American icon.
researchers are looking for: Memories, descriptions, stories
and photographs from local people who attended 1954-1955 concerts
by Elvis Presley, or who saw him in local clubs, before he
became nationally famous. Known Biloxi visits in 1955 are
June 26, Slavonian Lodge; June 27 and 28, Keesler AFB; Nov.
6, Biloxi Community House; Nov. 7 and 8, Keesler. The researchers
are hoping to locate information on a Sgt. Zoller who booked
Elvis for the Keesler shows.
contact researchers: firstname.lastname@example.org; or leave a voice message
with callback number at (718) 247-4448.
Source: The Sun Herald, South Mississippi)