July 16, 2002


EPE Luanches The Official Elvis Collectors Club

   Today, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. announced The Official Elvis Collectors Club
EPE - June 15, 2002

Benefits for members include a Membership Welcome Kit which contains a Tyvek holder, an official 3-Ring binder designed to hold the quarterly newsalog, a collectible "founding member" pin, a personalized membership card with your name and number, a welcome letter from Jack Soden, and an access code to the online club message board and database of other members' E-mail addresses if they have chosen to be listed. A great way to meet fans and collectors from around the world.

Members will also receive 10% off tour tickets at Graceland, 10% off the published room rate at Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, (Membership card must be presented at check in), 10% off food or merchandise purchased at Elvis Presley's Memphis on Beale Street, 10% off purchases at the Graceland, Heartbreak Hotel and Elvis Presley's Memphis gift shops, and 10% off purchases on elvis.com(excluding gift certificates and The Elvis Experience Package).

Members will also receive exclusive information about Elvis via a quarterly magazine and access to purchase extremely limited-edition collectibles that are being created by some of the top manufacturers in the world. In each issue there will be a small number of items for sale from the Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. archives and some behind-the-scenes archival photos of items that have never been displayed.

For more information and to join this exciting new club go to www.elviscollectorsclub.com



July 16, 2002 (updated - July 18, 2002)


Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis & Others On Sun Records Compilation

Yahoo Daily News (7/17/02, 3 p.m. ET) Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins highlight a two-disc set chronicling the history of Sun Records. Sun Records 50th Anniversary, due August 6 from BMG Heritage, features 44 tracks from producer Sam Phillips's famed Memphis label.

The compilation includes Presley's "Mystery Train," Orbison's "Ooby Dooby," Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," and Perkins's "Blue Suede Shoes." The set will also feature some of the label's earliest recordings, including its first release, "Driving Slow" by saxophone player Johnny London.

Disc One of Sun Records 50th Anniversary includes: "Drivin' Slow" by Johnny London, "We All Gotta Go Sometime" by Joe Hill Louis, "Easy" by Jimmy & Walter, "Just Walkin' In The Rain" by the Prisonaires, "Feelin' Good" by Little Junior's Blue Flames, "Tiger Man (King Of The Jungle)" by Rufus Thomas, "Mystery Train" by Little Junior's Blue Flames, "Lookin' For My Baby" by Little Milton, "The Boogie Disease" by Doctor Ross, "Cotton Crop Blues" by James Cotton, "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" by Pat Hare, "Rockin' Chair Daddy" by Harmonica Frank, "That's All Right" by Elvis Presley, Scotty & Bill, "I Feel So Worried" by Sammy Lewis with Willie Johnson, "Red Hot" by Billy "The Kid" Emerson, "Peepin' Eyes" by Charlie Feathers, "Mystery Train" Elvis Presley, Scotty & Bill, "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two, "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins, "Rock & Roll Ruby" by Warren Smith, "Slow Down" by Jack Earls, and "I Walk The Line" Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two.

Disc Two of Sun Records 50th Anniversary includes: "Ooby Dooby" by Roy Orbison & Teen Kings, "Red Headed Woman" by Sonny Burgess, "Shoobie Oobie" by Rosco Gordon, "Come On Little Mama" by Gene Simmons, "Feelin' Low" by Ernie Chaffin, "Flying Saucers R'n'R" by Billy Riley & his Little Green Men, "Matchbox" by Carl Perkins, "Love My Baby" by Hayden Thompson, "Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On" by Jerry Lee Lewis, "Rock Boppin' Baby" by Ed Bruce, "Raunchy" by Bill Justis & his Orchestra, "A Cat Called Domino" by Roy Orbison, "Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache" by Warren Smith, "High School Confidential" by Jerry Lee Lewis, "Shake Around" by Tommy Blake, "One More Time" by Billy Riley, "Mona Lisa" by Carl Mann, "Lonely Weekends" by Charlie Rich, "Big Dream" by Rayburn Anthony, "Who Will The Next Fool Be" by Charlie Rich, and "Cadillac Man" by the Jesters.

-- Sue Falco, New York

Classic Tracks Set For Sun Records Compilation
   Billboard - July 15, 2002

Recordings from Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison will be among those featured on a 44-song, two-disc set chronicling the history of Sun Records. Due Aug. 6 from BMG Heritage, "Sun Records 50th Anniversary," which will retail for $21.98, will contain such legendary tracks as Presley's "Mystery Train," Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes," and Sonny Burgess' "Red Headed Woman."

The Memphis label, launched by producer Sam Phillips after he recorded such artists as B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, and Jakie Brenston for blues label Chess Records, melded R&B and country to pave the way for rock'n'roll's mainstream acceptance. While a full tracklist was not available at deadline, the set begins with Sun' first release, "Driving Slow" from sax player Johnny London, and highlights some early '50s recordings such as Junior Parker's "Feelin' Good," the Prisionaires' "Just Walking in the Rain," and Jimmy & Walter's "Easy." A lesser-known take on "Mystery Train" from Parker, who wrote the song, is also featured.

"Anniversary" will come with a booklet that contains track-by-track commentary and a label history penned by Colin Escott. Additional artists featured on the album include James Cotton, Jack Earl, Ray Harris and Tommy Blake. Warren Smith's "Red Cadillac and a Black Mustache" and an alternate take of Little Milton's "Looking for My Baby" are also represented.

- Todd Martens, L.A.



July 14, 2002


King's reign ended by Gareth Gates
   Ananova - 19:12 Sunday 14th July 2002

Gareth Gates knocked the King off his throne, storming to the top of the singles charts with his second release.

Pop Idol runner-up Gates continued the show's chart domination with Any One of Us (Stupid Mistake), while Elvis Presley slipped to number three after four weeks at number 1.

Gates, whose song becomes the fourth from the TV contest to reach the top spot, has already enjoyed poll position in the singles charts with his cover of Unchained Melody.

Pop Idol winner Will Young has had two number ones.

A Little Less Conversation, remixed by Dutch DJ JXL, gave Elvis a total of 18 British number ones, breaking a record he had shared with the Beatles 25 years after his death.

But Gates's single ended the King's reign, as one of three new entries in the official top 10.

Ashanti took the number four spot with Foolish, and Bryan Adams delighted his loyal fans once again with Here I Am, going straight to number five.

Scooter's The Logical Song rose two places to number two.

Red Hot Chili Peppers notched up another success by going straight to the top of the album chart with a new entry, By The Way.

July 14, 2002


Gareth Gates Topples Elvis to Take No. 1 in Britain
Sun Jul 14, 2:29 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - "Pop Idol" runner-up Gareth Gates' new single "Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake)" shot to the top of the charts Sunday, bouncing a remix of rock king Elvis into third place, the Official UK Charts Company said.

The success of the single will give the spiky-haired teenage heart-throb another reason to celebrate after reaching the ripe old age of 18 last week.

Dutch DJ JXL's dance remix of Elvis Presley's obscure 1968 "A Little Less Conversation" relinquished the top slot after four weeks while Scooter's cover of Supertramp's 1979 hit "The Logical Song" went to No. 2 from fourth place.

Two new entries took fourth and fifth place -- Ashanti with "Foolish" and Bryan Adams with "Here I Am."

Jennifer Lopez' remix of "I'm Gonna Be Alright," featuring rapper Nas, fell to sixth place from No. 3 while Nelly's "Hot in Herre" moved up one place to seven.

At No. 8 was rock band Calling with "Wherever You Will Go," down two places as was Christina Milian's ska-inspired "When You Look At Me" at No. 9.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers rounded off the top 10 after their "By The Way" dropped eight places from last week's No. 2.



July 14, 2002


The King Is Undead: Elvis's Enduring Appeal
   By Richard Harrington - Washington Post, July 13, 2002

Elvis Presley's wake has now lasted longer than his career.

In fact, 25 years after his death, Elvis is No. 1 again, thanks to Nike, the World Cup and an obscure single dressed up with a little drum 'n' bass for the new millennium.

Last week the refurbished Elvis tune, "A Little Less Conversation," was Billboard's No. 1 single on the sales chart, selling eight times as many copies as 'N Sync's new "Girlfriend" remix in its first week of release. The single also opened at No. 50 on Billboard's Hot 100 (which measures radio airplay as well as sales), marking Elvis's 152nd appearance there. No other act in history has even reached 100.

"A Little Less Conversation" is in its fourth week at No. 1 in England and has topped the charts in Australia, Japan and several other countries.

And that's just the beginning:

•A box set just released, "Today, Tomorrow and Forever," features 100 previously unreleased Elvis recordings, mostly concert and studio outtakes.

• Elvis is the inspirational center of Disney's latest animated blockbuster, "Lilo & Stitch."

• His earliest live recordings, taken from radio broadcasts of the mid-1950s, will soon be at your local music retailer in the form of a "restoration."

• Elvis surfaces in "Without Me," the first single from the year's bestselling album, "The Eminem Show," in which Eminem raps: "Though I'm not the first king of controversy / I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley / To do black music so selfishly / And use it to get myself wealthy."

• And coming in September: "Elvis 30 #1 Hits," a single-disc anthology aimed at the same mass market that produced worldwide sales of 33 million for the Beatles' "1."

The Aug. 16 anniversary of Elvis's death in Memphis in 1977 at age 42 will set off a flood of projects (books, concerts, conferences) and marketing opportunities (Elvis furniture suites, bank cards, state lottery tickets). The celebration will culminate at Memphis's Pyramid Arena with "Elvis: The 25th Anniversary Concert." It will feature a live band, including many musicians who toured with Elvis, accompanying film and video images of the King performing, as if those rumors of his death are exaggerated.

"A Little Less Conversation," an obscure song from the 1968 Elvis film "Live a Little, Love a Little," became the soundtrack for a $100 million worldwide campaign for Nike -- that company's most expensive ever -- that ran during the World Cup.

The original reached only No. 69 when released 34 years ago. But this "Conversation" marks the first time the Presley estate, known as Elvis Presley Enterprises, and his label, BMG/RCA, have allowed an Elvis recording to be remixed by a contemporary producer. Chosen for the task: Amsterdam-based techno artist Tom Holkenborg, a 34-year-old known as Junkie XL (or, after a request from RCA and EPE, just JXL).

Elvis's vocal track is unchanged, but the underlying drum 'n' bass rhythm is much livelier. It sounds like he just came out of the studio.

The single's overseas success made "Conversation" eligible for "Elvis 30 #1 Hits" -- and it is now being added on as a bonus track. Fearing piracy, RCA has so far identified only half of the 30 tracks, though it shouldn't take a lot of detective work to guess which 30 of Elvis's 34 American and British No. 1s will make the cut. (We suggest excising "Good Luck Charm," for one.)

"Today, Tomorrow and Forever" is the eighth Elvis box released since 1992, but such sets are usually aimed at longtime fans and collectors. Knowing that Elvis's original fan base is now eligible for Medicare, BMG is clearly looking for ways to foster new generations of fans. The "Conversation" remix and "#1 Hits" are just a part of rebranding him for a younger demographic.

Much younger: Disney's animated "Lilo & Stitch," which has already grossed more than $100 million, uses eight classic Elvis songs (six originals, two covers) on its soundtrack. Only Elvis's own movies have ever featured that much of his music. Lilo is a lonely young girl in Hawaii who consoles herself with Elvis records that belonged to her deceased parents. She has no friends until she adopts Stitch, a mischievous newcomer who turns out to be an alien hound dog. In one bonding scene, Lilo teaches Stitch how to behave like that "model citizen, Elvis."

"A Little Less Conversation" was written by country singer and actor Mac Davis and guitarist Billy Strange, who was music director on three Elvis films, including "Live a Little" (notable mostly as the first film in which an Elvis character "goes all the way").

"I remember playing 'Conversation' for Elvis and he seemed to have a great time with it because it was up-tempo and kick-ass," recalls Strange, now 72 and retired in Nashville after a long recording and production career. "The song's not a world-beater, but Elvis loved it and he performed it in his Las Vegas nightclub act for years."

The original recording was no great shakes, Strange concedes. "Elvis's records were always lesser than what he was vocally. He had more talent than he was ever able to show, particularly with the motion picture songs, which were not very good material. He was never happy with them, and therefore did not perform them that well."

Holkenborg, who was 9 when Elvis died, has done music for such films as "Blade" and "Resident Evil" and wrote the soundtrack to the new Xbox computer game "Quantum Redshift." He was asked to choose music for Nike's high-profile World Cup campaign. Terry Gilliam, the filmmaker and alumnus of the Monty Python troupe, directed the multimillion-dollar commercials, in which eight three-man teams featuring some of the world's most famous soccer players take part in a secret contest ferociously played in the rusting bowels of a container ship.

More famous Elvis songs like "Love Me Tender" or "Jailhouse Rock" were, Holkenborg says, "perfect pop songs. There was no need, and no point, to touching them. This track sounded to me like something they put together really quickly in the studio. And we all thought the line 'a little less conversation, a little more action' was so spot-on for football. . . .

"Without touching the core of the song, I thought I could do something really 2002 with it, and to make it work with the commercial," says Holkenborg. "Since Elvis is an icon, the only way to pull it off is to make it believable, like he was alive and there in the studio with you."

Holkenborg notes: "There were so many junctures where things could have gone wrong. First I had to please the advertising company, then they had to go to Nike, then to the Elvis estate for approval, and to BMG."

People had warned Holkenborg how difficult it would be to get those last green lights. Elvis Presley Enterprises and BMG had never allowed anyone to tamper with the master recordings.

"We're not really against it, but we've not gone there yet," says Todd Morgan, director of media and creative development at EPE. "But we loved the look of the commercial -- it was inventive, fresh and original, beautifully and artistically shot. And when [EPE head] Jack Soden and Lisa Marie Presley listened to the remix, everybody was ready to get up and dance. It just felt right. They got a fast yes."

He adds: "It says a lot about Elvis's voice and the material he worked with that it stands up year after years, generation after generation, and there can be new applications for it. He's timeless."

The reaction in England to the Nike commercial was little surprise. Since Marvin Gaye's 1968 hit "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" climbed to No. 1 in 1985 after being featured in a Levi's commercial, a half-dozen advertising-fueled classics have topped the charts there.

"A Little Less Conversation" created such a buzz that radio stations began playing promo copies of the remix, forcing BMG Europe to rush-release a single to stores. Its leap to No. 1 catapulted Elvis past the Beatles, with 18 chart-toppers in Britain to the Beatles' 17.

Music channels in Europe, Asia and Latin America started airing the Nike commercial as a music video, removing the Nike logo -- with Nike's permission, of course. The original three-minute video is available for download at www.nikesoccer.com or www.elvisnumberones.com

Top 40 stations around the United States, including New York's influential WPLJ (but no D.C. stations yet), have added the song to their playlists.

All of which made Richard Sanders's job as executive vice president and general manager of RCA Records more difficult. RCA started working on "Elvis 30 #1 Hits" last fall. "Never did I think we would have a new Number 1 to worry about. We haven't had a hit song from Elvis to think about in a long time, much less a contemporary track driving a record. It's been about marketing, not promotion."

Thankfully, most of Elvis's No. 1 songs were short, so 31 tracks will fit onto a single CD.

Which is good news for Billy Strange.

"I'm thrilled to have written a hit song so old it has whiskers and now it's vibrant and everybody's loving it again," says Strange. Told of the sales numbers for the Beatles' "1," Strange considers the possible royalties: "It's going to help with the house payments."

The tagline for BMG's $25 million campaign: "Before anyone did anything, Elvis did everything."

And for years, the Presley estate tried to sell everything Elvis recorded, two or three times over, with little attention to quality. Now, years of squabbling have been resolved, with RCA gaining greater creative control over the Presley catalogue in exchange for a smaller share of revenues. The label has eliminated many marginal and duplicative titles as it embarks on the biggest corporate synergy effort in the history of Bertelsmann, the parent company of BMG, with its Random House division publishing three Elvis-related books, including "The Elvis Treasures," a photographic coffee table book, and its Gruner & Jahr magazine unit offering an "Elvis Then & Now" special publication.

Bertelsmann won't be alone in its marketing. AOL Time Warner, in a joint venture with EPE, has created a toolbar link on AOL's Internet keyword page leading to Elvis music, pictures and news of Graceland happenings, including the annual Elvis Week (Aug. 10-18) and the third annual live Vigilcast on AOL (Aug. 15).

Benefiting from all this hoopla, Tomato Records' "Roots Revolution: The Louisiana Hayride Recordings" is set for release the week of the Elvis anniversary -- and it's likely to get some die-hard fans all shook up. The radio show played an important part in Elvis's rise to fame. Now Tomato has digitally "restored" his earliest live recordings, with Elvis's voice and Scotty Moore's guitar sounding cleaner than in the rough radio transcriptions made between 1954 and 1956.

But Bill Black's bass lines and Presley's rhythm guitar have been re-recorded, note for note, by contemporary musicians.

From 1948 to 1960, the Shreveport, La.-based "Louisiana Hayride" was one of the top country-oriented radio programs in America, rivaling the Grand Ole Opry; it was also the first national showcase for Presley, and a barometer of his growing artistry and popularity. On his first appearance on Oct. 16, 1954, in front of a few hundred people at the Municipal Auditorium, Elvis was still a quiet, somewhat tentative country-western singer; by the time of his last appearance, Dec. 16, 1956, before 10,000 people at the Louisiana Fairgrounds, he was an assured, almost hyper rock-and-roll star.

Recorded off a single vocal mic with monaural equipment, the 19 "Hayride" recordings extant are primitive by any standard. They've also been available for many years in vinyl and CD collections, some legitimate, some bootlegged. They are the only Elvis recordings not totally under the control of EPE and BMG, thanks to gray areas in Elvis's pre-RCA contracts.

The new Tomato collection features only nine music tracks. The others, according to label owner/producer Kevin Eggers, were distorted beyond redemption.

Some Elvis fans may think the same about Eggers, who counters that there are people angry that "they restored the Sistine Chapel."

Not that Eggers is equating the Hayride with the Vatican.

"We're not changing anything," Eggers insists. "No notes are being changed, there's no reinterpretation of the music. The [original] tapes are badly distorted; we're just restoring it to the way Elvis heard it. This was not meant to be a torturous listening experience -- we're just giving the modern listener a chance to hear how it sounded."

Eggers did that by creating digital versions of the original tracks on Pro Tools and then isolating Elvis's vocals and Moore's guitar lines, which happened to be on the same frequency.

"We raised them up, made them crisp and clear -- and the vocals and guitar sound fantastic," Eggers reports. "But we lost all the rhythm guitar and bass. So we decided to double the parts in the studio with new musicians, with note-for-note replication, using the same vintage instruments."

"I'm for stuff like that, finding new uses," says Moore, 71 and still touring. "But they ought to check the union rules, pay us recording session scale. Unless they're going to pay me for it, tell 'em don't send me a copy."

The bass lines were played by Paul Nowinski, who plays with Keith Richard and Les Paul and happens to be a huge Bill Black fan (Black, who left Elvis in 1958 over pay inequities, died in 1965). Elvis's acoustic rhythm guitar was doubled by Jon Paris, who's played with Johnny Winter. The band that appeared on "Hayride" was a trio; it's there that they hooked up with D.J. Fontana, the show's house drummer. Only one of the "Hayride" tracks featuring drums was salvageable; on that one, "Hound Dog," session drummer Steve Wolfe fills in for Fontana.

"We decided not to add anything that wasn't there," says Eggers. The CD's other tracks feature Elvis interviews by the show's producer and announcer, Horace Logan, as well as Logan's attempt to quiet the crowd so the show could continue after Elvis's final "Hayride" performance. It was the first time anyone heard the now-famous phrase "Elvis has left the building."

Sure seems like he's back.



July 13, 2002 (Updated - July 14)


New VHS/DVD ...


Loving You (DVD)

Release Date : August 05, 2002

Loving You (DVD)

Digitally re-mastered for superior sound and picture quality, Loving You is a genuine Elvis classic and a absolute must have' for any true fan of the undisputed King of rock'n'roll from the days when he was lean, mean and magnificient and had a hip wiggle that drove the girls crazy. Only Presley's second feature film and his first in colour, this rocking romance uncannily mirrors Elvis's own explosion onto the music scene and rocket ride to fame and fortune. His raw animal presence leaps sensationally from the screen in the all singing all dancing story of humble delivery boy turned rock'n'roll star Deke Rivers - featuring the hit songs Teddy Bear, Got A lot Of Lovin' To Do, Hot Dog, Mean Woman Blues, Party and of course the tender ballard of Lovin' You. First released in the cinema in 1957, the movie showed Elvis had genuine acting talent with his gitty and emotional portaryal of a simple country boy catapulted to stardom. Interestingly, two versions of the title songs were recorded for the film and, although two versions are the Complete Fifties Masters, both are shorter than the 2 minutes 12 seconds on-screen version here!



Private Elvis (VHS)
Private Elvis (VHS)Release Date : July 15, 2002

Private Elvis is the full and fascinating story of one of the least covered – but most important – periods in the life of Elvis Presley. For two years between 1958-1960, he was drafted and served as an ordinary soldier. Now, those who served alongside Elvis share their unique memories of army life with the King, illustrated by rare newsreel footage, photographs, private colour cine film of Elvis and even personal audio recordings of Elvis relaxing and talking about his taste in music.





Private Elvis Box Set (DVD, CD And Book) 
   Release Date : July 29, 2002
Private Elvis (Box Set)


This release contains a 100 page hardback book, an audio CD, plus a DVD featuring footage of Elvis Presley as a soldier on and off duty in Germany.









Elvis In The 50s (2-DVD
   Release Date : August 05, 2002
Elvis In The 50s (2-DVD)
Elvis '56 1956 was Elvis Presley's breakthrough year, when popularity gave way to national and international fame and, as a 21-year-old, he changed the face of popular music forever. Elvis '56 captures Elvis's initial television appearances including his early performances on the Dorsey brothers' Stage Show and his historic and controversial hip-shaking rendition of 'Hound Dog' on The Milton Berle Show. Narrated by The Band's vocalist and drummer Levon Helm, and featuring exclusive footage and early recordings. Tracklist includes: Blue Suede Shoes, Shake Rattle And Roll, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, Don't Be Cruel and many more.

Elvis In Hollywood Containing fascinating and previously unseen footage, Elvis In Hollywood is a unique, behind-the-scenes view of the world's greatest entertainer during his early movie career. Featuring film clips, home movie footage, photographs and in-depth interviews with Elvis's manager, friends and colleagues. Tracklist includes: Heartbreak Hotel, Jailhouse Rock, Baby I Don't Care.

DVD Extras: Full-colour 16 page companion booklet. Selection of sepia-toned postcards.



Elvis At The Movies (DVD)
Release Date : August 05, 2002
Elvis At The Movies (2-DVD)



With more than thirty movies to his credit this programme looks at Elvis' contribution to the cinema. Released to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death.






Early Elvis (DVD)
Release Date : August 05, 2002
Early Elvis (DVD)



Released to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Elvis' death this programme looks at his early life when he was at the height of his powers...






Elvis - All The King's Men - Vol 1
   Release Date : August 05, 2002
Elvis - All The King's Men - Vol 1 (3 Video Box)

The Secret Life Of Elvis
Packed with amazing revelations covering Elvis' life from the beginning to the end.This incredible video contains never-seen before photos and home movie footage.

Rocket Ride To Stardom
More never-before-revealed intimate details of Elvis' early life, from his rise to stardom to his near death experience in the army, this myth exploding tape will paint a portrait of the young Elvis as you have never known him.

Wild In Hollywood
Wild parties, love affairs with his leading ladies, spending money with abandon, Elvis takes on Hollywood. You'll get the inside story of his movie making days in the glamour capital.



Elvis - All The King's Men - Vol 2
   Release Date : August 05, 2002
Elvis - All The King's Men - Vol 2
Elvis' close friends reunite for the first time since his funeral. Contains rare glimpses of 'The Memphis Mafia' plus unseen footage.

The King Comes Back
Get the real story of hoe Elvis resurrected his singing career. You'll find out what John Lennon said the day Elvis met the Beatles. Hear the real reason why Elvis demanded and got a meeting with President Nixon.

Collapse Of The Kingdom
Hear the amazing stories of a legend out of control as Elvis' drug habits began to take a toll on the once vibrant idol. Discover how packing Elvis in ice saved his life.

The Legend Lives On
From this young country boy's humble beginnings, to rise to stardom and fall from grace, this anecdotal history will follow this legend through three decades of the most exciting period in rock and roll history. Filled with exclusive, never seen before photos!



July 13, 2002


Gareth 'records Elvis cover version'
(Ananova - July 13,2002)

Gareth Gates has reportedly recorded an Elvis Presley cover version.

He plans to release Suspicious Minds as part of a double A-side with Will Young.

The other main track will be their duet on the Beatles' song Long And Winding Road.

Gareth's decision to cover an Elvis song could defuse controversy over the move to delete JXL's remix of a Little Less Conversation, reports The Sun.

Pop Idol judge Dr Fox has criticised BMG's decision as a cynical attempt to allow Gareth's new single Anyone Of Us to get to number one.

Suspicious Minds made it to number two in the UK when Elvis first released it in 1969.

Will and Gareth's joint effort will be out in September.



July 13, 2002


Hop on the shuttle and follow the King
Hit high points on a day visit to Memphis

   (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Memphis -- Entire books have been written about how to make the most of a pilgrimage to the city Elvis Presley called home for nearly 30 years, most notably "Memphis Elvis-Style" (John F. Blair Publisher, $11.95).

The authors are longtime fans Cindy Hazen and Mike Freeman, who own the home at 1034 Audubon Drive, Elvis' address before he bought Graceland. The home will be open for tours Aug. 10-18 during Elvis Week 2002.

Their book, dedicated to "all who search for the spirit of Elvis in Memphis," guides fans to the King's former homes, his favorite restaurants, stores where he shopped, the places where he partied, the dealerships where he bought his cars and motorcycles, and even the bank where he stashed his considerable fortune.

It could take days, weeks even, to check out all the sites in the Hazen-Freeman book. But if you only have a day, take advantage of Sun Studio's free shuttle bus that runs between Heartbreak Hotel, Graceland Plaza, Sun Studio, Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum and Elvis Presley's Memphis restaurant. The bus makes eight runs between 10:50 a.m. and 6:35 p.m., picking up on the hour at each location -- so you can get on and off throughout the day. However, it's first-come, first-served, so have a backup plan.

Here's what you can't miss:

It began at the Sun

Start the day at Sam Phillips' Sun Studio, where an 18-year-old delivery truck driver for Crown Electric Co. paid a hard-earned $3 to record a song called "My Happiness" in 1953.

"We are the birthplace of rock 'n' roll -- hands on," says our enthusiastic tour guide, in her 20s, who tells us her name is Planet.

With 15 or so tourists gathered in a small upstairs room filled with memorabilia (including Elvis' first guitar), she shares the genesis of the recording studio that began as Memphis Recording Service and launched R&B acts such as B.B. King, Roscoe Gordon and Rufus Thomas as well as five singing jailbirds, Johnny Bragg and the Prisonaires, whose 1953 recording of "Just Walkin' in the Rain" was Sun's first big hit.

The governor of Tennessee agreed to allow Bragg and his backup singers to make the recording, which was an immediate hit on local airwaves and sold 250,000 records for Phillips.

That summer, Elvis dropped in -- and the rest, as they say, is history.

When Planet plays the actual first Elvis recording -- made by Phillips' business manager, Marion Keister, as Elvis accompanied himself on a dime-store guitar -- it's hard not to feel chills. Keister was sold, but she had a hard time convincing her boss. Then, Phillips heard Elvis' rendition of "That's Alright, Mama," and he knew he had something. The old blues tune by Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup became Elvis' first professional recording at Sun on July 5, 1954.

The group follows Planet downstairs and into the building next door. As she points out the three small rooms -- an office, recording studio and sound booth -- she announces, "This is the legendary Sun Studio."

Here, Elvis would cut five singles on Sun before a cash-strapped Phillips sold his contract to RCA for $35,000.

"That's Alright, Mama" hit the radio three days after it was recorded.

"If you were in Memphis July 8, 1954," says Planet, "you heard the opening shot of the rock 'n' roll revolution. The kids heard that song and, of course, they went wild."

Even with Elvis' departure in 1955, Sun continued to have success with acts including Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. Charlie Rich's 1959 "Lonely Weekend" was the last hit recorded in the original studio before the operation moved to a three-story building nearby on Madison Street.

The studio still has the original acoustic tiles, sound baffles and lighting fixtures.

"This," says Planet, standing on the worn tile floors, "I consider sacred ground."

Sue and Bill Bradle of Weatherford, Texas, couldn't resist taking turns at the mike for photos.

"I'm a music teacher," says Sue, "and I have some old 45s. I'm interested in roots rock 'n' roll. This puts it all together for me."

After the tour, you can shop for souvenirs and recordings next door in the old Taylor's Cafe, which is operated by Sun as a ticket office, gift shop and soda fountain.

You might run into regular visitor Charlie Romaine, who this day was drinking a vanilla milkshake and passing the time with Sun employee Mick Walker.

Romaine, a Northwest Airlines pilot who moved to Memphis 13 years ago, likes to hang out just to meet people.

"They come from all over the world," he says. "England, Germany and Japan seem to have the biggest number of tourists coming through. Last week, we had 20 firefighters from Lower Manhattan."

Sun Studio: Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tours every hour on the half-hour. $7.85, children under 12 free. 706 Union Ave. 1-800-441-6249, www.sunstudio.com.

Going to Graceland

No one would accuse Elvis or his various decorating advisers -- primarily Priscilla and subsequent girlfriends -- of being restrained.

But Graceland isn't the shrine to bad taste you expect it to be. Especially when you remember the 1970s were the days of avocado and gold appliances and shag carpeting.

The living room's 15-foot cream sofa and peacock blue curtains (which match the peacock stained-glass panels that set off the adjacent music room) and the gilded furniture and crystal chandelier in the dining room across the entry hall probably seemed quite glamorous at the time.

OK, the purple color scheme in his parents' bedroom and the French poodle-motif wallpaper in their bathroom is maybe a little too precious.

But the much maligned, brunt-of-many-jokes Jungle Room is rather quaint, actually, in a taste-be-damned sort of way. The den is dimly lit, the custom stone waterfall is soothing and, well, you can just imagine Elvis chillin' with the tikis as he lounged on the faux-fur covered furniture with ornately carved frames. And, heck, the green shag carpeting even looks like moss.

Downstairs, the navy and yellow TV room (with its mirrored ceiling, three TVs and white ceramic monkey statue) and the pool room (with its Tiffany glass light shade hanging above a pool table and yards of multicolored fabric on the walls and ceiling) look like fun places to party.

And, no, you will not see Elvis' bedroom, much less the bathroom where he died Aug. 16, 1977. In fact, you will not be allowed upstairs into the King's private quarters during a tour of Graceland. But in the exhibit hall annex, you'll see his circa 1970 round fake-white-fur bed, a re-creation of his upstairs office and memorabilia representing his sports interests and hobbies.

The tour continues outside the 1939 mansion to his father Vernon's office, the Trophy Room with costumes, gold and platinum records, awards and movie clips, and the racquetball court, which now houses a collection of his Vegas-era jumpsuits and capes.

Finally, the tour leads into the Meditation Garden, where the Presley family is buried. Elvis' grave is marked by an eternal flame. Visitors pause in respect, speaking in hushed tones, if at all.

Daily throughout the year, time is set aside for free walk-up visits to the garden (7-8:30 a.m.) for those who perhaps have visited the mansion before but want to pay their respects. There is an additional free walk-up time, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Aug. 7-18 (but no walk-up on Candlelight Vigil night, Aug. 15) and 6:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 19.

If you plan to tour Graceland during Elvis Week, reservations are recommended. Tickets to tour the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, Elvis' airplanes and the Sincerely Elvis Museum -- all in Graceland Plaza, across Elvis Presley Boulevard from the gated mansion -- are not on a timed/reserved basis like the mansion tours, but you can save money by purchasing the Platinum Tour package, which includes all attractions.

The car museum features the King's favorite wheels organized around a re-creation of a '50s drive-in movie theater. Here's where you'll find the famous 1955 pink Fleetwood Cadillac, two Stutz Blackhawks, a black 1975 Ferrari, Harley-Davidsons and other vehicles, including a snowmobile.

Through the 25th anniversary year, the Sincerely Elvis Museum is paying tribute to the relationship between Elvis and his fans with memorabilia and audiovisual installations.

Fans the day I visit seem interested but subdued -- no weeping or swooning. Elinor Logan of Lake of Egypt, Ill., and her niece Barbara Botka of South Bend, Ind., were cooling off with a beverage in the Chrome Grill after the tour.

While they don't consider themselves rabid fans, Logan admits, "When I was in high school, I had an Elvis picture in my locker."

The two visited Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo, Miss., last year, and figured they ought to see Graceland.

"When you've seen both places," says Logan, "you get a feel for his extreme poverty and his meteoric rise in fortune. Talk about humble beginnings. . . ."

By now, it is late afternoon, and down the street at Boulevard Souvenirs, Jerry Mac -- the karaoke king of Elvis Presley Boulevard -- is crooning "For the Good Times" to passing motorists. Store owner Rick Roberts, outside sprucing up his property, is eagerly anticipating a deluge of fans come August.

Roberts -- himself a huge fan, thanks to the influence of his older sisters -- says a visit to Graceland is "a very sacred thing during the anniversary, especially the vigil. It's spiritual. All I can say is Elvis touched a lot of hearts, and I don't think the memory will ever die. Elvis would be proud."

Graceland: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays (mansion closed Tuesdays Nov. 1-March 1). Platinum Tour (including all Graceland attractions): $25, $22.50 students and senior citizens 62 and older, $12 ages 7-12, free for 6 and under. On Elvis Presley Boulevard, one mile south of I-55 Exit 5B. 1-800-238-2000, www.elvis.com.

A hunka, hunka food

After a long, hot day on the trail of Elvis memories, it is good to relax on a white leather banquette in the cool, dark comfort of Elvis Presley's Memphis with a sweet iced tea.

The 300-seat restaurant/show bar is on Beale Street in the old Lansky Bros. Men's Shop, where Elvis bought many of his clothes. Elvis favored the flashy, bold-colored clothing geared to the store's mostly black clientele. In the pre-fame early '50s, Elvis could only afford to window-shop, but he vowed he'd be back one day and buy them out.

Twenty years after Elvis' death, the restored clothing store opened as a restaurant serving meals made from Elvis' mother's recipes and other favorite dishes. The fried peanut butter and banana sandwich is tempting, as is the Hunka Hunka burger and the meatloaf, but I feel sure Elvis would have wanted me to order the 16-ounce charbroiled T-bone steak topped with his favorite steak butter sauce. I know, too, that he would have me try the fried dill pickles -- and it would have been a shame to leave without trying a bowl of the homemade banana pudding. I kept one eye on the door for a raid by the cholesterol cops.

This night, the Dempseys -- a high-energy rockabilly trio -- are onstage. They are booked two or three times a week, rotating with other regulars such as Zoe and the Alexander Band and the Distraxshuns.

The Dempseys, sweat-soaked within minutes, blast through an hourlong set that includes "Working Man's Blues," "Freight Train," "Heartbreak Hotel," "That's Alright, Mama" and an original composition, "Sunday Mornin' You'll Pay (But Tonight Let's Drink Some Juice)."

During the set, Joe Fick, who plays upright bass, crawls all over his instrument and even switches instruments with guitarist Brad Birkedahl without missing a lick. Just watching them wears me out.

Bartender, another sweet tea. And make it a double.

Elvis Presley's Memphis: Open for lunch and dinner. 126 Beale St. 901-527-6900.


Getting there: AirTran, Delta and Northwest airlines fly direct to Memphis. It is about 400 miles from downtown Atlanta, an eight-hour drive.

Staying over

Heartbreak Hotel: The perfect location for Graceland-goers -- just across the street. 124 rooms. 3677 Elvis Presley Blvd. 1-877-777-0606.

Days Inn -- Graceland: Also convenient. 60 rooms. 3839 Elvis Presley Blvd. 1-800-329-7466.

Peabody hotel: Official Elvis 25th Anniversary event hotel. The place with the ducks. 468 rooms. 149 Union Ave. (downtown). 1-800-7322639.

Memphis Marriott Downtown: Official Elvis Week 2002 host hotel. 400 rooms. 250 N. Main St. 1-888-557-8740.

Information: Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, 901-543-5333, www.memphistravel.com.



July 12, 2002

Boots Randolph Joins Cast of Elvis: The 25th Anniversary Concert
EPE - 7/11/02
Elvis & Boots Randolph

Saxaphone great, the legendary Boots Randolph has now joined the cast for Elvis: The 25th Anniversary Concert. The "Yakety Sax" man will be featured on several numbers. Boots performed on many of Elvis' recordings and appeared on stage with him when Elvis gave his March 1961 benefit concert for the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Hawaii.








July 10, 2002


New Book "The Elvis Treasures" By Robert Gordon
Released - August 1, 2002

About This Book

On October 3, 1945, ten-year-old Elvis Presley climbed atop a chair to reach the microphone and performed the song "Old Shep" for a crowd of several hundred at the Tupelo fair, coming in fifth place in the talent contest. Ten years later, the King created his first full-scale riot after an appearance in Jacksonville at a baseball park. Girls poured through an overhead window, catching the police off guard, and stole or shredded almost every stitch of clothing Elvis had on. He scaled the shower area and clung to the pipes overhead while fans clamored to touch and take home a piece of him. Now Graceland has opened the doors to its extensive archives for the first time ever, allowing previously inaccessible historic documents and memorabilia to be reproduced in facsimile, collectible form. With biographical text by acclaimed Elvis expert Robert Gordon, The Elvis Treasures tells the King's life story through handwritten letters, press releases, movie scripts, photographs and additional artifacts. Where else can you get a ticket to "Frank Sinatra's Welcome Home Party for Elvis Presley," evaluate the King!¦s hand-drawn football plays, read his first RCA contract, and check out a book that he borrowed from the Humes High School library as an eighth-grader? Published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Elvis! death, this unique interactive book also contains a 60-minute CD of interviews spanning his career, providing a formerly unavailable portrait of the King in his own words.

The Elvis Treasures contains 22 removable documents, including:
- rare promotional photos issued by Sun Records in 1954-55
- a 1958 Christmas card from Elvis and the Colonel (as Santa)
- Elvis's letter to Anita, his Memphis girlfriend, expressing his love and commitment to her while he was stationed in
- an invitation to the premiere for Viva Las Vegas
- telegrams Vernon received upon Elvis' death from Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes, Governor George Wallace, B. B. King,
  Little Richard and others

Description of the 60-minute CD of interviews
The first interview, track 1, was conducted in 1955 by Mae Boren Axton, months before the song she gave him, “Heartbreak Hotel,” would become his breakthrough hit. Track 2, recorded roughly a year later, finds Elvis admitting, in an unguarded moment, that his performing style was inspired in part by the gospel quarters he’d always loved; it’s a confession that comes back to haunt him in the following interview, conducted in August 1956 by Paul Wilder of TV Guide (track 3). When Wilder uses the term “holy roller” in asking him about the religious influence on his music, Elvis interrupts him –“I have never used that expression” – with the hair-curling command of a preacher. The TV Guide interview makes for fascinating listening, as Elvis uses charm, biting sarcasm, and the sheer force of his conviction to parry Wilder’s interrogation. Tracks 4 and 5 are far more joyful in spirit, as we hear first Elvis’ parents and then the singer himself tossed about in the maelstrom of his triumphant Tupelo homecoming concert in 1956. (“Baby Play House,” his mother responds unforgettably when asked her favorite Elvis song.)

Then we jump ahead to Elvis’ Army years and a montage of clips reflecting his life in the service, America’s reaction, and his return home (track 6). Elvis speaks earnestly about working the same details as the other soldiers, but by the end of the selection seems quite happy about returning to his “normal” life. Track 7 finds him back at work, in a brief interview on the set of Blue Hawaii. But what follows, an excerpt from a long conversation with Lloyd Shearer of Parade magazine (track 8), is perhaps the most introspective interview Elvis ever gave. (Elvis’ half of this conversation was released on the RCA boxed set Elvis Aron Presley as “An Elvis Moonsong;” fans may enjoy hearing this excerpt in full, with Shearer’s quiet questions intact.) And the final two recordings, tracks 9 and 10, find Elvis at new conferences before his landmark shows at the Houston Astrodome (1970) and Madison Square Garden (1972)–disarming the press with clever quips, and expressing his love of good old rock ‘n’ roll–that undying love of music that had always been with him.


Source : The Random House



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