jueves, 10 de diciembre de 2009

33 Things You Should Know About Elvis Presley






Elvis Montage by Surly Bratt. 

33 Things You Should Know About Elvis Presley

1. Even in the South, Elvis was a pretty strange name.
"The first time I heard it, I said, 'Weird name,'" recalls Scotty Moore, who played guitar at Presley's first recording session at Sam Phillips's Sun Records.  "Sam's secretary wrote it down for me."

2. Elvis had an amazing memory.
He'd hear songs on the radio and then sing them immediately.  "It seemed like he knew every song in the world," Moore says.  "Country, pop, R&B.  Elvis had a sponge for a brain when it came to lyrics."

3. He was very polite ...
"He was always taught manners," Sam Phillips says.  "His mother thought there was no reason to treat people except with great respect.  If you didn't say 'yessir' and 'nosir,' that was a cardinal sin."

4. ... But you wouldn't like him when he was angry.
"He was real slow to anger," Phillips says.  "But once he was angered, pound for pound I don't know of a person who was stronger.  I remember one time at the gas station out the back of The Peabody Hotel.  This one person who didn't like his long sideburns wouldn't leave him alone.  Elvis had him down on the concrete in no time flat."

5. Colonel Tom Parker really was a colonel.  Kind of.
Presley's legendary manager was given an honorary colonel's commission in October 1948 by Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis.  Parker did serve in the U.S. Army in 1930 and 1931, but he didn't attain the rank of colonel. 
(Parker wasn't his real name, either.)

6. Elvis's gold suit was the genuine article.
The colonel had it designed for him for the opening date of a 10-city tour in 1957.  It was made by famous Hollywood tailor Nudie Cohen and cost $2,500.  During the show, Elvis fell to his knees and left a pile of gold leaf on the stage.  Afterward, a distraught Parker begged him never to do such a move again.

7. Elvis had "it."
"He had a very, very contagious personality," Phillips says.  "He was just like flypaper.  Get close to it, and watch out—you'll get stuck!"

8. He really loved his mother, Gladys.
At her funeral in 1958, he tried to jump into her grave.  For days afterward, he carried her nightgown around with him.

9. Uncle Sam first got him into drugs.
Private Presley was given amphetamine pills by a sergeant in 1958, and he became an epic pill enthusiast.  He bought them in quart bottles from the dispensary.

10. But he never got drunk.
Ernst Jorgensen, RCA Records's official Presley archivist and historian: "It wasn't like Elvis never drank alcohol as a principle. 
He just drank very little."

11. He was a very spiritual man.

Larry Geller, who became Presley's hairdresser and guru in 1964, introduced him to spirituality.  Geller gave him books he would cherish for the rest of his life: Autobiography of a Yogi, The Impersonal Life and Beyond the Himalayas.  "I've always known there had to be a purpose for my life," Presley once said.  "There's got to be a reason why I was chosen to be Elvis Presley."

12. Elvis "dropped" acid.
He'd read Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception and Timothy Leary, and encouraged members of his Memphis Mafia entourage to try LSD.  On Christmas 1965, he took it with his wife, Priscilla, and two friends at Graceland.  "Like everything else Elvis did, he tripped Elvis-style," Geller says.  "No beaded curtains or incense.  Several hours after we started, we watched a science-fiction movie and sent out for pizza."

13. He nearly became a monk.
In March 1965, Presley, driving his RV outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, saw the face of Joseph Stalin in a cloud.  "And then it happened!" he said.  "The face of Stalin turned into the face of Jesus, and every fiber of my being felt it."  He decided to enter a monastery.  Then he changed his mind and began work on the film Harum Scarum instead.

14. For a time, he believed he could control the sprinkler system at the country club golf course behind his Los Angeles home …
… using only mind power.

15. He made 31 movies over 13 years.
"Elvis hated most of those later films," says friend and bodyguard Red West.  "I mean, in Stay Away, Joe, they had him singing to a bull!"

16. Elvis could pick hits. But he never wrote his own songs.
"There are exceptions, when he changed arrangements so drastically that he got a writer's credit," Ernst Jorgensen says.  "That's what happened on 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'All Shook Up.'  But Elvis never saw himself as a writer."

17. He once slept with the entire chorus line of a French nightclub show.
On leave in Paris in 1959, Presley and several of his army friends took the dancers from the Lido nightclub back to their hotel suite.  The next afternoon, the Lido's manager called the hotel.  He needed the girls back, he insisted, so he could reopen for business that night.

18. He never sold more records in a year than in 1956.
That's when the single "Hound Dog" and its B-side, "Don't Be Cruel," sold 4.6 million copies in the United States.

19. And never fewer than he sold in 1967.
That year was the nadir of his Hollywood period.  "The Easy Come, Easy Go EP never charted," Jorgensen says.  "That's when Presley's management realized something had to change.  The movie was horrible.  The songs were poor and poorly recorded, with bad arrangements.  And Elvis didn't sing them particularly well.  I'm told the Cokes and burgers during the sessions were OK."

20. He didn't think the Las Vegas comeback was going to work.
Sam Phillips went to Presley's opening night in Vegas in July 1968.  "He combed his damn hair about 50 times before he went out, and that was a pretty good indication that he was real nervous," Phillips recalls.  "He hadn't been on the stage for about nine years.  But before he got through his opening medley, there was a standing ovation.  And then everything was over, baby!"

21. He once played the International in Las Vegas with a pistol in each boot.
In 1970, he received a death threat before a show.  "If some son of a bitch tries to kill me," he said to bodyguards Red and Sonny West, "I want you guys to get him.  I want you to rip his goddamned eyes out.  I don't want him sitting around afterward like Charlie Manson with a grin on his face saying, 'I killed Elvis Presley.'"

22. Nobody planning to go to bed early ever invited the King to come by.
"When he came to the house," Phillips says, "he didn't want to impose, but he'd stay all night."

23. Pinball wizard?  Nope.
"He loved pinball," Phillips says, "but he liked to cheat a little bit.  That's the only thing I ever saw him cheat on."

24. Elvis was an officer of the Memphis Police Force.
Shelby County sheriff Roy Nixon made the King a chief deputy in 1970.  He had legal authority, and could have made arrests.

25. "Fat Elvis" wasn't as fat as commonly believed.
"He was a lot less overweight than people think," Jorgensen says.  "In the Fat Elvis period, the last three years of his career, he was bloated. 
He had a lot of water in his body."

26. He never called the TV repairman.
"There were a number of times I was around when he had been unhappy with the TV — the vertical hold wasn't holding or something," says his tour physician, Dr. George Nichopoulous, known as Dr. Nick.  "He would get tired of adjusting it, and he'd shoot the set.  They'd just go out and get another one."

27. Elvis remixes are very uncommon.
"I know that not only have [requests to remix] been denied in the past, but the use of Elvis's music in movies and documentaries has always been very, very restricted," says JXL, who mixed the surprise 2002 summer smash "A Little Less Conversation."

28. Maybe they're uncommon because he has been remixed before.
In 1983.  Very badly.  "It was called 'The Elvis Medley,'" Jorgensen says.  "It included 'Jailhouse Rock,' 'Hound Dog,' 'Teddy Bear,' 'Don't Be Cruel,' 'Burning Love' and 'Suspicious Minds.'  It was in the tradition of Stars on 45.  It was a terrible idea."

29. Nobody exactly knows who first said "Elvis has left the building."
"It would have been a stagehand in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1956," Jorgensen says.  "It was basically to stop people from tearing down the building trying to get in the stage doors.  Al Dvorin, who was Elvis's announcer on tours in the late '50s and the '70s, picked up the phrase.  I think he even claims he invented it."

30. His martial arts skills helped his dancing.
"The last time I saw Elvis was in 1969," says his former girlfriend June Juanico.  "He had incorporated karate moves into his act, which was a lot better, because his dance rhythm left something to be desired.  He had rhythm in his hands and his feet, but as far as putting 'em together with his body—he couldn't."

31. Elvis had at least 11 different drugs in his system when died on August 16, 1977.
Among them were Butabarbital, codeine, Demerol, Placidyl, morphine, Pentobarbital, Quaaludes and Valium.

32. Sometimes it's like he never went away.
James Burton, the lead guitarist of Presley's band from 1969 until his death, continued touring with synchronized footage of Presley playing behind him on a huge screen.  "We play the music live, but Elvis introduces us from the screen.  You hear Elvis's voice — he'll say, 'Play it, James!'  You could be there five minutes, you could be there an hour, and all of a sudden you feel his presence.  You forget he's really not there."

33. But he's definitely dead.
"He is very much in spirit, but bodily, no, he's not alive," Sam Phillips says.  "How can I be sure?  I touched his face and kissed him in the casket.  In the music room of Graceland.  I don't think I'm gonna lie about that!"  Says Scotty Moore: "I would like to believe that he is still alive.  But I don't believe he'd be hiding if he was."




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