sábado, 29 de marzo de 2014

A Graceland´s Story


Program from a Hereford cattle auction at Graceland in 1942. In 1939, Ruth Brown Moore and her husband, Dr. Thomas Moore inherited 158 acres from Ruth's mother and developed it into Graceland and Graceland farms, naming it after Grace Toof, the original landowner. Dr. Moore was also a well-known breeder of prized Hereford cattle and Graceland would host occasional cattle auctions like one advertised in this program.
Charles and Ruth Cobb, who were residents of Graceland, show a photograph of Ruth's father, surgeon Thomas D. Moore, with one of the family's registered polled herefords at Graceland Barn, taken in the 1950s.

Ruth Cobb is one of the few people outside Elvis Presley's family to visit the upstairs of Graceland. It was before it opened as a tourist attraction, and Cobb, who lived there before Elvis, soon learned her old upstairs bedroom had been turned into a music room.

Cobb visited in 1967 at the invitation of Elvis' grandmother, and later when the Presley family planned to turn the home into a tourist attraction. It reminded Cobb of her own music career and left her slightly quizzical about a few decorating changes.

"We did not have a jungle room growing up," she says. There was also no fabric on the ceiling of the billiard room in her day. "We didn't have a billiard room," she says.

Other distinctive touches added during Elvis' ownership of Graceland drew little attention from Cobb, but there was one: "Elvis didn't like the chandelier we had in the dining room. It came from New Orleans. He put up some garish thing."

As part of this week's observations of Elvis' birthday, Graceland is celebrating its 70th anniversary, and mementos of its early years are part of a new tour.

Cobb, 82, and her husband, retired lawyer Charles Cobb, 86, married in 1948. She had grown up at Graceland as an only child. When she married Charles Cobb, they remained at Graceland with her parents at first while Ruth toured the country as part of a professional harp ensemble. She would later become harpist for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra from 1953 to 1973.

Her father, Dr. Thomas Moore, was a prominent surgeon and urologist. Her mother, Ruth Brown Moore, was a volunteer who enjoyed club work and became president of the Tennessee Association of Garden Clubs.

They built Graceland in 1939, naming it for Ruth's great aunt, Grace Toof, who had left the farm to Ruth's grandmother. The grandmother divided her 520-acre farm into three parts, leaving it to her three children. Two of them sold their shares to Ruth's father.

The house on 20 acres began as what Ruth Cobb calls "just a comfortable country home." It would become as familiar to America as Tara, Scarlett O'Hara's home in "Gone With the Wind," and it would rival Monticello, Mount Vernon and other once-private homes among the biggest tourist attractions in the country.

There, Ruth's father taught her to shoot well enough that she once downed three geese with a single shot. He also taught her to fish in a 25-acre manmade lake behind the house. But her first love was music. Ruth played the piano, but she loved the harp, studying, then touring with one of the world's leading harpists, Carlos Salzedo.

Her favorite music was classical, but Ruth says she liked all music from country to Elvis' music. "I wasn't really crazy about his music, but my mother marveled at his hymns," she says. When her mother decided the property was more than she wanted to keep up, she asked Ruth and Charles if they would like to stay.

"We just didn't have time to take care of a big house," says Charles. "It cost $1,000 a month to keep it up. The yard alone was like trying to take care of a golf course. We had a yard man who worked two to three days a week."

When the property was put up for sale, Ruth said there were three potential buyers -- Sears Roebuck Co.; a private party who wanted to turn it into an exclusive restaurant, and Elvis. By then, most of the surrounding land had been sold to developers for a subdivision, and the lake behind the house had been drained.

Ruth says a church, Graceland Christian Church, wanted to buy 5 acres on the northwest corner of the property. Sears and the restaurant interests did not want to split the 5 acres off for the church, but Elvis said he would be glad to have a church next door, she says. That helped seal the deal.

Ruth and Charles built their own home in Coro Lake and later moved to Central Gardens before retiring to Trezevant Manor.

Charles met Elvis during the closing on the sale of Graceland, but Ruth never met him. She has since returned to Graceland as a tourist with her grandchildren. "I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it didn't feel like home," she says.


domingo, 23 de marzo de 2014

Are You Lonesome Tonight spends 11 weeks in the Top 10


Are You Lonesome Tonight spends 11 weeks in the Top 10
Elvis's Are You Lonesome Tonight? entered Billboard's "Hot 100" at #35 on November 11, 1960. It charged past his own It's Now or Never, which was at #47 that week, on it's way down the chart after spending five weeks at #1. The next week Lonesome was at #2, before settling in at #1 on November 28, only it's third week on the chart. It displaced Stay by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs in the top spot. Are You Lonesome Tonight? held on to #1 for six weeks, before giving way to Bert Kaempfert's instrumental Wonderland by Night. Elvis's record held the #2 spot for two weeks before starting its slow withdrawal from the chart. In the end, Are You Lonesome Tonight? spent 17 weeks in the "Hot 100," 11 of them in the top 10.
Elvis wasn't the only one to capitalize on his hit recording. At least five female singers took a ride on Presley's rocket by recording answer records. In its December 5, 1960, edition, Billboard took notice of the phenomenon as follows:
"Elvis Presley's smash hit waxing of 'Are You Lonesome Tonight' has inspired the biggest flock of answer records to any one disking in years. And all of the answer disks are by fem artists, indicating the effect that Elvis still has his large, loyal and young female following. The answer records, complete with heartfelt recitations, include diskings by Dodie Stevens on Dot, Linda Lee on Shasta, Ricky Page on Rendezvous, Thelma Carpenter on Coral and Jeanne Black on Capitol."
The first four versions were all titled, Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight. They kept the original lyrics, adding only a change in the personal tense. Thus Turk and Handman were still credited as the writers and Bourne-Cromwell as publishers. Variety reported that at first the publishers "weren't anxious for an 'answer' song so soon after the release of the Presley disk for fear that it hurt the original's sales momentum." However, since all four recordings adhered to the original lyrics, they couldn't be stopped, and when it became clear that nothing was hindering sales of Elvis's record, the publishers were said to be "walking on clouds."
Jeanne Black went a little different route. Her answer song, Oh, How I Miss You Tonight, was a different tune, but with her own touching recitation added. "It is all as if they are singing to Elvis personally, thru the media of recording," Billboard noted.
Are You Lonesome Tonight earns three Grammy nominations
The scramble was on for the record labels of the five answer songs. "All of this romantic effusion has caused a wild sales race on the part of the five diskeries," Billboard reported, "as trying to get their copy of the Elvis answer to disk jockeys, distributors and dealers before their competitors can do the same. There are reports that some enthusiastic sales personnel are calling competitor's versions unauthorized but a check of the publishers indicates that all versions are not only authorized but welcome."
Meanwhile, Colonel Parker was ecstatic over all the furor created by Elvis's latest mega-hit. "Sort of confirms his belief that Elvis remains the No. 1 singing act in the business," noted Billboard of the Colonel. Insiders in the recording industry didn't agree. At the 1960 Grammy Awards, Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Elvis was nominated for "Best Performance by a Pop Single Artist" and "Best Vocal Single Performance" by a male artist. He lost in both categories to Ray Charles and his recording of Georgia on My Mind.

martes, 18 de marzo de 2014


.Heading to his afternoon show in Uniondale, NY on July 19, 1975 

summer of 1957

taken in the summer of 1957,  Elvis with a boy called Jackson Frank who became a noted figure in the British Folk music world of the 60s. The story says he was badly burnt in a severe fire at his elementary school, and thereafter Elvis sent him encouraging messages for his recovery. He and his mother stopped by at Elvis's new house Graceland, so it says, and having explained who he was , Jackson was invited in to meet Elvis. Elvis was a major influence on Frank at the time and when his mother took him to Graceland to help him recuperate was one of the highlights in Frank's tragical carreer.


Greeting a fan before his afternoon show in Seattle on April 29, 1973

Source - Seattle Times
April 30, 1973
Elvis excites two Arena audiences
by Patrick MacDonald

There was no penetrating Elvis Presley's security web around the Seattle Center Arena yesterday, where he had shows at 3 and 8 p.m. Both sold out weeks ago.
Jim Borda, 23, Mercer Island, collects Presley memorabilia and he showed up at the first show wearing Elvis buttons and carrying copies of Elvis' earliest recordings. 1954 releases from the Sun label in Memphis.
"One of the guys in the band saw me and got Col. Parker (Presley's manager) and he took me to see Elvis. "This is only going to be an in-out thing," Col. Parker told me before we went into the dressing room. He said we wouldn't be staying long. But Elvis talked to me a while after they took the picture."

Elvis with Red West, Lee Ricketts and Sonny West in Las Vegas February 1973. Lee worked with the Hilton Hotel security for a while and then went on with Bobbie Gentry as a Security person

2 above are...Backstage with fans in Las Vegas on February 18, 1973
by Willy Weerts (Dutch fan, now living in Australia)

Although there were 94 people on the trip only about 25 were real Elvis fans & members of the Australian FC. One way or another Col. Tom Parker heard about our bad seating at the first show we saw in Vegas (16th Feb dinner show), so the next day he called Bob (Stephens) and they arranged with Emilio for better seating for the next 4 shows that we saw. The Colonel also promised Bob that he could pick 4 people who would meet Elvis backstage. Virginia (Coons) picked the lucky numbers (I remember Rex you sitting in the same booth as her that night). 3 girls were the lucky ones (my wife being one) + another guy and of course Bob. Just after 8pm on the 18th, the lucky ones were led to the place where Elvis would come out from. They waited for about 40 minutes, talking to The Stamps etc. before Elvis appeared. When The King appeared it was all in a big rush. According to my wife the meeting lasted about a minute. Still in that time they were introduced and some photos were taken (4 slides and 1 colour photo, the later is re-produced on the right). They were all given a blue scarf by Mr. Diskin (see photo). This particular photo was taken by Tom Diskin with my wife´s camera. Elvis is wearing the blue jumpsuit with gold scrole, Bob Stephens on El´s left, with Willy´s wife standing in front of Elvis.

Before his matinee show at the Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale (Long Island, NY) on June 24, 1973 - In the photos are members of the Norwegian Fan Club, "Flaming Star", presenting Elvis with the Norwegian silver record for She's Not You/Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello and Aloha From Hawaii. Members of the group included Fan club President Pål Granlund, Erik Lorentzen and artist Per "Elvis" Granberg -

2 above are...With members of the Pittsburgh police department on either June 25 or 26, 1973

the week Elvis spent in Memphis during Sept 1956, Sept 23 through Sept 30.

the week Elvis spent in Memphis during Sept 1956, Sept 23 through Sept 30.



With a couple of female fans at the Memphian Theater in Memphis in June or July 1969

Arriving for a New Year's Eve party in Memphis on December 31, 1969 - Photo taken by Elvis fan Margie Thornton. She stood outside when Elvis arrived and asked if she could take his picture. He said she could, and she dropped her flashcube being so nervous. Elvis kindly picked it up for her and she took this shot -


Leaving the Macon Coliseum on April 15, 1972

Meeting a young cancer patient before his show at the Tingley Coliseum in Alburquerque, NM on April 19, 1972

The young girls name was Denise Sanchez. During the show Elvis dedicated the song 'YOU GAVE ME A MOUNTAIN' to her but before he started the band struck up 'LOVE ME TENDER' instead as an affectionate gesture towards Denise

Boarding his chartered jet in Oakland, CA on his way to San Bernardino, CA on November 12, 1972

1962 at the Fairgrounds in Memphis

Early morning of July 20, 1962 at the Fairgrounds in Memphis


The original concert poster for Elvis' performance at Memphis' Ellis Auditorium on February 6, 1955. Despite Elvis' local popularity and rising fame on the Louisiana Hayride, Elvis was billed on the poster below more established performers like Faron Young, Ferlin Husky and Martha Carson, whose song "Satisfied," was one of Elvis' favorites.
On May 15,1956 Elvis played a show at the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis to a full house. They had to open up both the North Hall and the South Hall to accommodate all 7.000 fans. Elvis, clad in a violently green jacket, did a great show singing such hit songs as "Heartbreak Hotel," "Long Tall Sally," "Blue Suede Shoes," "I Was The One" and "Only You," during which he turned toward the dressing rooms instead of to his audience. Many a teenage girl wondered if he sang the song for Carolyn Joseph from Columbia, Mo., with whom he was later seen holding hands.

May 27, 1956 Dayton, Oh
  3 above... Oakland, CA on June 3, 1956
Elvis backstage at WDIA Goodwill Revue, Memphis, December 7, 1956

lunes, 17 de marzo de 2014

Elvis in the Big Apple prior to his press conference and Elvis & his Dad at his June 9, 1972 press conference in the Mercury Ballroom of the New York Hilton

Elvis in the Big Apple prior to his press conference on June 9, 1972
Elvis in the Big Apple prior to his press conference and Elvis & his Dad at his June 9, 1972 press conference in the Mercury Ballroom of the New York Hilton 

74´s PICS


Backstage before his opening night performance in Las Vegas January 26, 1974

With Oral Roberts before his evening show at the Mabee Center at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK on March 1, 1974
Driving around the grounds of Graceland with Linda Thompson and Billy Smith on July 6, 1974
 Stephanie Spruill with Elvis backstage at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas after her performance with Tom Jones on September 4, 1974
 Leaving his hotel to go perform the evening show in Dayton, OH on October 6, 1974._,___