"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)






Tom Jones on Elvis

As he reaches pensionable age, Tom Jones tells Bob Guccione Jnr about the early days in south Wales, the nights with Elvis and Frank. And the legendary sparkle in his eyes.

He played the Ed Sullivan Show and was told, nine years after Elvis was filmed from only the waist up, that if he did his by-now "f" trademark snake-hips shake when singing, the camera would come off him.

Tom continued to play the legendary Copa, and of course Vegas, where he befriended Sinatra and Elvis and straddled the Strip as an equal colossus. And the mafia loved him, which, let's face it, is a lot better than the alternative.

"Thank God, they always said, 'Hey, Tommy, you're a man's man. Fuckin' beauuutiful!'" In Vegas, Jones and Sinatra played Caesar's Palace, and drew a lot of high rollers, and the mob.

"Frank told me himself, 'You know we got things wrapped up. When we're not here, they can shoot cannons off the stage and it won't fucking hit anybody.' He'd tell me, 'You know who is in the audience?' and I'd say, 'Oh, I see 'em,' and he'd say, 'They love you. They've taken to you like you're me.' I always thought I was closer to Elvis Presley, but in that Vegas thing, I was closer to Sinatra in terms of the people we were drawing."

They were great friends too, and often sang together but only in private, just the two of them playing guitars and singing their favourite songs.

Once when Jones was touring Hawaii, Elvis, there on vacation, invited him over to his house. Elvis thought Tom was the greatest singer in the world, and would sometimes walk out on stage (see photo above) when Jones was performing and say exactly that to the crowd.

When Tom arrived, Elvis was missing. He'd realised he didn't have any guitars at the house and had gone out to buy two, walking into the first instrument store he found and announcing to the dumbstruck shop assistant:

"Tom Jones is coming to my house today and I need two guitars."

Jones told me a story about being invited to Elvis's suite one day in Vegas. He walked in to find the King on an exercise bike, one that had the moving handlebars you're supposed to hold to work out your upper body at the same time. Elvis, in a tracksuit, was leaning back, pedalling, the handlebars moving in and out on their own, with a phone in one hand and a devilled egg in the other, a tray of devilled eggs balanced on his large belly and bits of egg between his fingers where he'd mushed them while eating.

"Do you exercise, Tom?" he asked. "Yeah, I do Elvis, every day" replied Tom. "Me too," said Elvis.

(News, Source: Sanja Meegin)

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Elvis Odd Spot (updated 4 April)