"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)






Did you witness dawn of Elvis' career?

Request tests recall of longtime Biloxians


Has anyone seen Elvis Presley in Biloxi?

This 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 he wear?

Ernst 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.

During 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.

But no photographs and little description of those or other 1955 performances have surfaced.

Enter 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.

"I suffer from a frustration of early Elvis in Biloxi before he became all headliners and television," Jørgensen said.

"We 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 untimely death.

This 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.

"Elvis 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 feelings."

Ernst Jørgensen

Your 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.

What 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.

To contact researchers: dannykane@cox.net; or leave a voice message with callback number at (718) 247-4448.

(News, Source: The Sun Herald, South Mississippi)









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Elvis Odd Spot (updated 13 Jan 2005)