"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."
"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."
"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."
(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)
"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"
"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme"
"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!"
"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"
"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"
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)
Stuck On You (1960)
It's Now Or Never (1960)
Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1960)
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 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
Jack Lord & Elvis
- A touching friendship -
Elvis Presley had the ability to touch others’ lives as few human beings ever could. Just as people were magnetically drawn to him, so too, he had an almost fan-like devotion to those he admired. Among that group was Hawaii 5-0’s Jack Lord and his wife, Marie. The story of their friendship is a touching one & worth reflecting back on during this important month.
Jack Lord’s Special Memory of Elvis
By Marcia Borie
Elvis Presley had the ability to touch others’ lives as few human beings ever could. Just as people were magnetically drawn to him, so too, he had an almost fan-like devotion to those he admired.
Among that group was Hawaii 5-0’s Jack Lord and his wife, Marie.
Theirs was a relatively brief but extremely intense friendship so illustrative of the rapid magnet-like attraction Elvis had for those comparatively few people he ever really got close to once fame had crowded in on him.
A few hours after the shocking news of Presley’s death, I called Honolulu. I had known for several years of the personal relationship which existed between the Lords and Elvis. They had never wanted to talk about it publicly, but now, I thought they might want to share their knowledge of Elvis with those of us who care.
Mare answered the phone. Cautiously, I asked her if she’d heard of the latest news. There was a pause; then she said, "You mean about Elvis?" I could hear the shock in her voice; she went on, "Yes, we heard. It’s so ironic because Jack was just sitting here writing Elvis a letter and getting ready to mail him a package when his secretary came in and told us the news. He was so stunned. So am I. It just doesn’t seem possible." Her voice faded, her words seemed to hang in the air.
I told her of this special memorial issue to Elvis, and she and Jack readily agreed to allow me to include something that I’d know about for several years but had never written before.
Early in January, 1973, Elvis Presley was due in Hawaii. There, on the 14th, a little past midnight, he was to appear live at the Honolulu International Centre in a concert that would simultaneously be beamed by satellite all around the world live except for the United States. Shortly before the day of the concert arrived, Co. Parker had personally come to the condominium where the Lords live. By way of the manager, he had left a message inviting them to be Presley’s guests at the concert.
The following day Elvis’ road manager had called the Lords to re-emphasize how much it would mean to Elvis if they could come. As Jack had told me several years ago, "Ordinarily, Marie and I live like monks during the time I’m shooting. Both of us are up by five in the morning, so we never go out late during the week. But the invitation was so gracious that Marie and I just couldn’t turn it down."
The Lords went to the concert and were seated in the special section along with the rest of the Presley party. Midway in the show, after Elvis had introduced every one of the members of the band and vocal group, he said, "My favorite actor in the world is sitting in the audience and I want to introduce him."
Then he called Jack by name. The Lords, celebrities that they are, told me that as if they had been floored by the introduction and that it had been an almost unbelievable tribute from one artist to another. So Jack stood up and taken his bows, live for all the world -–except the U.S. – to see. Afterwards, they had gone backstage and met Elvis up close for the very first time. But as Jack would later say, "The moment we met and shook hands it was as if we had known each other all our lives."
Elvis then told Jack and Marie that he’d love to see them before he left Hawaii and asked if they could have dinner together. Marie, at the time, had said, "Well, I’m sure you don’t go out to restaurants." Elvis had smiled back and said, "Well, no, but I could come to your house."
The next days were busy ones for Jack on the set. Quite frankly, he and Marie had almost forgotten about seeing Elvis again – perhaps subconsciously thinking that with Presley’s schedule and Jack’s, a second meeting would never come off anyway.
Still, one evening a few days later, according to Marie: "I was in the kitchen fixing us an early dinner. The phone rang. Jack answered and then came in and told me it had been Elvis. It was his last night in Hawaii, and he’d said that most of his group had already gone back to the States but he asked if he could come over and say good-bye to us. They had arranged it for eight o’clock."
Promptly at eight o’clock, the doorbell rang. Marie called out over the intercom and asked who it was, and a voice answered, "Elvis." Marie opened the door and he was standing there – "a slim Adonis, looking gorgeous in a white suit with a white silk shirt that had a ruffled collar and cuffs." He kissed her as he came in – bringing seven members of his party!
As soon as Elvis sat down, Marie offered them drinks. Then, much to her horror, she discovered that none of the Presley group touched hard liquor! It was ironic because neither she nor Jack drink except on rare occasions. So, fortunately, their icebox was also full of diet sodas. A few of the guys did have beer, Marie said, but the six-pack was gone in a minute, so all of them sat there sipping soda drinks – and Marie could have dies. But Elvis didn’t seem to mind; he just seemed happy being there.
After about 15 minutes, he said to Jack, with a kid-type smile on his face: "I brought you a present, Jack. I tried to think of something to bring you that you don’t have. The only think I could think of was this." Inside the box he presented to Jack was a solid gold Walther revolver. Elvis explained that he had ordered a matched set from Germany a year before but that they had just arrived. "But I don’t need two guns, so I want you to have this one," he said to Jack, "plus six bullets – just in case you ever need them!"
Jack and Marie were speechless. The golden gun was a pure work of art. While Jack was still recovering from Presley’s generosity, Elvis had turned and said, "And I haven’t forgotten you either, Marie." He then handed her a tiny jewel box and watched eagerly as she opened it. There, sitting on a mount of velvet, was a gorgeous ring. Elvis took it out of the box and slipped it on her finger. As a former fashion designer, Marie knew only too well what the status of the gem was, but Elvis, like an eager kid, told her, "Those are emeralds and diamonds." She was absolutely floored.
Half an hour later Elvis asked if he could see the rest of their home, and Jack took him on the grand tour.
"over the years, Jack and I had a collection of rare musical instruments from all over the world," Marie had told me. "When we first moved to Hawaii, we had given most of them to the UCLA Music Department. Jack had only kept a few, which he considered real treasures. One was a rare six-string banjo which had been tuned to play like a guitar. The moment Elvis saw it he sat on Jack's bed strumming it. Marie was in the living room when Elvis suddenly ran in shouting, "Marie, Marie, Jack gave me a six-string banjo!"
His eyes were wide again like a kid, and he just couldn’t get over it – as though he, himself, wasn’t the world’s most generous person and as though he hadn’t just given Jack the golden gun and Marie the emerald and diamond ring.
Before Elvis left that night, shortly before midnight, he asked Jack and Marie to please be sure to come and see him in Las Vegas whenever they could or to come to his home and stay there anytime as his guest.
One month later and a short break from the Hawaii 5-0 series, Jack and Mare were headed for San Francisco and Los Angeles and, by coincidence, they learned that Elvis was just about to open in Las Vegas. So, they called Colonel Parker and told him they would like to come.
(Right: Jack Lord & Marie in 1968)
The day they arrived in Las Vegas was one that neither the Lords will ever forget. As they walked off the plane, there, standing at the foot of the ramp, was a tall Hawaiian man holding garlands of fresh flower leis. Colonel Parker had called him, and he was flown in especially from Hawaii with the flower, just to be at the airport to greet the Lords. Then, when they arrived at their hotel and walked into their suite, Marie remembers that they could hardly move around for all the flower baskets that surround them. It was an unforgettable moment.
That night the Lords sat at Elvis’ table and the lights went down and Presley came on stage. The curtains opened and there, on stage center, was the six-sting banjo that Jack had given Elvis, on display, a spotlight beaming down on it. Then, as he had done at the concert, half way through the show, Elvis introduced his group.
"I was in Hawaii recently and this great star and his wife took me into their home," Elvis said. Marie commented later: "He said it like he was some poor little orphan we had adopted. Then he called out Jack’s name, and Jack stood up. The applause was tremendous. Elvis grinned and said, ‘Sit down, Jack, you’re getting more applause than I am.’ Everyone laughed."
After the show, The Lords went backstage with Elvis and then up to his suite where he had his own chef prepare a low-calorie dinner which he always ate between shows. During the meal he looked at them sort of wistfully and asked if they would come and see his midnight show.
The Lords, still on their TV series schedule, were early-to-bed people, but for Elvis they couldn’t resist. After the late show, they again met with Presley, and he coaxed them to stay on the following day and come to see his show again that night. The Lords would end up staying three extra days and seeing the Presley show six times! They never left Elvis or their hotel. It was as though neither could get enough of the other, and for hours on end Jack and Elvis had talked like old boyhood chums.
On the last evening, Jack and Marie were in Elvis’s dressing room when they had previously seen Presley’s fantastic array of handmade costumes on one wall and, lining the other, hangers full of custom-made jewelled belts like the hi-huggers that Elvis wore over each of his jumpsuits.
One of those they had seen had been a special belt that did not match any outfit. Elvis had explained that this costume designer had spent years making this particular one, though it didn’t go with any of his outfits, but he always carried it with him because he loved it so. "It was an unbelievable thing," Marie said, "all embroidered with coral and jade and turquoise and amethyst."
Anyway, on their last night when the Lords walked into Presley’s dressing room, Elvis stood up and in his hand he had the special belt which he now held out to Marie. She began to protest, but Elvis cut her short. He explained that he couldn’t wear it because it scratched him, and he even showed where there was a gash on his hand.
But the Lords knew that Presley was just saying that as Marie had personally seen a girl at the last show grab for Elvis’ hand and then bite it in her enthusiastic joy at being so close to her idol. But Elvis wouldn’t take no for an answer. Marie now has that very special Elvis Presley jewelled hi-hugger framed on black velvet and it hangs in a special place of honor in the Lord’s home.
There were subsequent meetings and exchange of correspondence between the Lords and Elvis. There were phone conversations and yet, when you totalled it all up, they really only knew Elvis for such a brief few years. In fact, once he said rather longingly, "Gee, Jack, I wish I’d met you many years ago."
Now he’s gone. Elvis Presley that rare, talented, beautiful generous and yet lonely man. Lonely as only a few people are who ever reach such dizzying heights. A prisoner of fame and fortune and of a self-made legend surrounding him, but for those brief few years – especially during those times when Elvis, Jack and Marie Lord were together – when they were able to share the special area reserved for the famous. Inside it, together, none of them were lonely.
There will never be another Elvis Presley, and Jack and Marie Lord feel his loss so deeply. They will never forget their special friend …and neither will any of us.
Elvis introduced Jack Lord at his Midnight show in Las Vegas on Feb 10, 1973. This was released as a bootlegged audience recording called ‘I'd Like You To Meet Jack Lord.'
(Right: The CD cover)
The Gold Berretta... 1973
Elvis was resting in his dressing room right after the "Aloha From Hawaii" television special seen by two billion people around the world. One of the guys came in. "Elvis, there's a guy out here that wants to see you. It's Jack Lord."
Elvis tossed down the towel and looked up with a big smile. "Oh, yeah? Send him on in."
Elvis was tickled to death.
Jack Lord lived on the island of Oahu and starred in the Television series, "Hawaii Five-O." Each television segment opened with a close shot of Jack standing on a balcony of the Ilikai Hotel. Elvis watched the show every week, back at Graceland or wherever he was. He admired Jack but had never met him.
Elvis wiped the sweat off his face and neck again. He always worked like a horse on stage. He gave his fans all he had. Jack came in and shook Elvis' hand. They liked each other from the start.
"The show okay?" Elvis asked.
Jack smiled. "You didn't see me standing up on my chair and whistling?"
Elvis laughed. "The spotlights pretty well blind me, after I'm out there so long," he said.
"You know, a whistle can be the highest compliment," Jack said. "It's a tradition of the theater world, a high compliment between one actor and another.
"At that moment, I wanted every person in this auditorium to stand up and cheer.
"I don't mean that as flattery. It means I suddenly got a gut feeling of the kind of thing you were going through on stage.
"I have never heard such dramatic music in my life. Not anywhere. From anyone."
Elvis pointed a finger at me. "Charlie, get this man a chair. We don't want to lose him."
Lord took a chair and crossed his slender legs.
"Marie, my wife, and I want you and Priscilla to bring your entire party over to our place one night this week. Please, come." He looked around the room. "Everyone. Please, come. We want you to."
Lord's condominium faced the ocean on the Oahu side of the island. It was gorgeous. The walls were covered with beautiful paintings.
Jack and Marie took Elvis and everyone on a tour of their place as soon as we all arrived.
Elvis kept noticing Jack's signature in the lower corner of the paintings.
"You're also an artist, Jack?" he said.
"That was my first career ambition," Jack said. "I studied art back in New York. The acting thing just sort of happened."
"It's amazing how a thing like that can run away with you," Elvis said.
Jack nodded. "You've noticed."
The other thing Elvis kept noticing as he wandered through the place was all the guitars and other kinds of musical instruments.
In one music case by a window was a banjo. It was no ordinary banjo. I had heard stories about this one but I had never seen one. There were only about 20 of them made.
Jack took it out of the case and handed it to Elvis. It was an early 1900s Gibson. The remarkable thing was that it had six strings instead of the normal five strings. This banjo could be tuned and played like an ordinary guitar.
Elvis strummed it. It was out of tune.
"Do you play all these instruments around here?" Elvis said.
"Not well," Jack said. "I try, of course. I've loved music all my life. All kinds of music. Marie is a great lover of music, as well. We're two of your greatest fans, Elvis."
Elvis patted his shoulder affectionately and said, "Thanks, Jack. That's something special to me, coming from you guys."
Jack seemed really touched.
Elvis and Priscilla wandered off toward the punch bowl.
I bumped into Jack a few minutes later, in one of the halls. "Charlie, I want you to do something for me," he said. He found the case with the Gibson banjo and he got it out. "I've decided to give this to Elvis," he said. He turned it in his hands, looking at it. "When you get back to Los Angeles, would you see that new strings are put on it for me?"
"Don't do it, Jack," I said.
He had started down the hall. Now he turned back. "Why not?" he asked.
"Don't do it," I said. "I'm very serious. Oh, Elvis would appreciate it. But he just wouldn't play it very much. Maybe a little. Then he'd put it aside and forget it. I know him."
Jack shook his head. "Did you see what he handed me when he walked in tonight?" he said.
"What was that?" I said.
"He walked in with a matched pair of Berrettas," Jack said.
"For personal security," I said.
"I admired them," Jack said. "He gave them to me. So I want to give him something. I really want him to have this banjo. It's very rare, you know."
"Very rare," I said. "I know all about them. Well, I'll make you a promise. It won't get stacked away somewhere in the attic with all the other stuff he gets. Even if I have to keep it out in my room where he'll be sure to see it."
I kept my promise as long as I lived at Graceland-which was many months after Elvis died.
In Elvis' upstairs suite was his private office. In it, Elvis kept a piano, an organ and his own personal guitar.
Leaning in one corner of the office was Jack Lord's six-string banjo.
Jack Lord died 21 January 1998.
Marie Lord died 13 October 2005.
Charlie Hodge died 3 March 2006
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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"
"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"
"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"
"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"
"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)
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 Memphis touch football league. In the 1962 final, EPE narrowly 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 offered $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