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Elvis Presley News

September 2010
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  • Elvis Mercedes to be auctioned in England
    (, September 15 2010)
    By DPA
    London - A slate blue Mercedes 600 once registered in the name of Elvis Presley is to be auctioned in December this year by the British auction house Bonhams with a pre-sale estimate of between 180,000 to 240,000 euros (231,000 to 309,000 dollars).

    It is one of the few cars that the King of Rock registered in his own name, having bought the 1970 model in 1969 before giving it to his friend James Leroy Robertson two years later. It then ended up at Robertson Motors in Memphis which again sold it in 2005.

    Elvis was known for his hobby of driving pink Cadillacs and other rare and exotic vehicles. ...

  • Elvis Presley Tribute Competition Awards Winner in La Crosse
    (, September 14 2010)
    An annual competition in Western Wisconsin has a new champion. Dwight Icenhower won 1st place at the annual LaCrosse Wisconsin's Elvis Explosion hosted by Ronny Craig.

    The competition and convention, held September 10-12, attracts dozens of Elvis Presley Tribute Artists from around the world each year. Preliminary competition was held on Friday and Saturday nights with the top 10 performers advancing to the finals on Sunday. Icenhower's performance in a light blue jumpsuit won him a $10,000 cash prize.

    Victor Torino Jr. was awarded 2nd place for his Rock-a-billy 50's and 60's era performance. and Irv Cass placed 3rd. Many of the entertainers believed this year's top 10 featured some of the best Elvis Tribute Artists in the industry.

    The Elvis Explosion benefits the Children's Miracle Network. Plans are already underway for next year's event.

    Here are this years Top 10:
    1. Dwight Icenhower
    2. Victor Tornio Jr.
    3. Irv Cass
    4. Brad Boice
    5. Jesse Aron
    6. Robert Washington
    7. Ted Torres
    8. Travis Morris
    9. Kevin Mills
    10. Matt Joyce

  • Elvis fans pay tribute to 'the King' at BBC concert
    (, September 13 2010)
    Elvis fans from across the UK paid tribute to The King at a concert in London's Hyde Park on Sunday, in the year he would have turned 75.

    Radio2 DJ Chris Evans hosted the Elvis Forever event, during which fans were treated to some of his best loved songs by artists such as Tom Jones, Craig David and Suzie Quattro.

    Priscilla Presley also made an appearance, thanking the British fans who never managed to see their idol play in the UK.

    But the evening belonged to the fans, some of whom paid homage in their own way.

    But why do so many try to emulate their idol and what makes a fitting tribute? Is it the costume, the hair, the voice?

    As one fan put it, "as long as you love his music, that's all you need".

  • PHOTO CALL: Jerry Lee Lewis Jams with Million Dollar Quartet
    By Matthew Blank
    (, September 12 2010)
    Rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis joined the cast of Broadway's Million Dollar Quartet for a special encore at the Nederlander Theatre Sept. 10.

    Lewis is the last surviving member of the original "Quartet." Actor Levi Kreis earned the 2010 Best Featured Actor Tony Award for his portrayal of Lewis in the musical.

    Eric Schaeffer staged the work based on the real-life 1956 recording that the foursome made at Sun Records' studio in Memphis. Million Dollar Quartet has a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux; the latter conceived and originally directed the musical. Million Dollar Quartet opened April 11 at the Nederlander Theatre following an acclaimed Chicago run, where the musical continues to play the Apollo Theater.

    Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Kreis and Rob Lyons, who all appeared in the Chicago cast, re-create their work for Broadway audiences. In addition to Kreis as Lewis, Clendening plays Elvis Presley, Guest is Johnny Cash, and Lyons is Carl Perkins.

    For more information visit MillionDollarQuartetLive.

    Jerry Lee Lewis and Levi Kreis
    Photo by Krissie Fullerton

  • Turn out the lights, blow out the candelabra: Liberace Museum closing
    (, September 12 2010)
    Asking Liberace Museum director Tanya Combs to describe some of its popular exhibits is an invitation to sensory overload.

    There's the outfit the late entertainer wore to Radio City Music Hall in New York. Decked in pink turkey feathers for that show, Liberace emerged from a giant Faberge-style egg to adulation. Then there are the matching piano and Rolls Royce, each covered in mirrored tiles. And the piano and car covered with crystal rhinestones? "Spectacular," Combs said Sunday. "He liked things in sets."

    Since 1979, fans of the larger-than-life pianist, who famously said, "I don't give concerts, I put on a show," have wandered a couple miles off the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada to see vestiges of the wonder that was Liberace.

    But not enough came in recent years. The show ends October 17. Dwindling attendance and a shaky economy led to Friday's announcement that the museum will close, officials said. Sixteen full-time workers, including Combs, and seven part-timers will be out of a job, said Combs, who has worked at the museum since 2000.

    Most of the items will go into storage until a day when, perhaps, another museum opens. The Liberace Foundation, which operates the museum, will put on a traveling exhibition of many of the items, probably late next year, said Combs. "The traveling exhibit is an exciting way to share the life and legacy of Liberace while providing an income stream for the Foundation," Jeff Koep, chairman of the Liberace Foundation, said in a statement. "In no way do we intend to close the doors and not continue to explore options that will allow us to reopen at a later date."

    Liberace, who died at age 67 in 1987, opened the museum on East Tropicana Avenue in 1979. Annual attendance once was about 450,000 and officials touted it as second to Hoover Dam for visitors who stepped out of Las Vegas. But the numbers declined dramatically in recent years, with perhaps 35,000 patrons so far this year, Combs said, adding many visitors to the Strip didn't want to pay cab fare to get to the museum in the Summerlin community.

    The museum is in a strip mall that has seen businesses depart, said Combs, who bristles at that those who claim the museum may have been overstaffed. She said the two-building venue required volunteers, too, because of its size and the fact that many of the exhibits are in the open air and needed to be watched.

    She points to another factor. "The tourists still support us," the Virginia native said. "I think we were not embraced by the locals here."

    Where once the museum sustained itself, in recent years the foundation had to pour money into the museum, Combs said. The non-profit foundation will continue its work of providing scholarships to the performing and creative arts. It has provided nearly $6 million in assistance to 2,700 students.

    Born in Wisconsin in 1919, Walter Valentino Liberace came from modest beginnings. "It's a rags-to-riches story," said Combs. The showman was on radio, television, stages around the world and performed for monarchy. A superb pianist, Liberace wore outrageous outfits -- including a white mink cape over a silver costume -- and had a signature candelabra perched on the piano. He influenced many performers, including Elton John and Cher, and reinvented himself, said Combs. As famous as he was in life, Liberace's legacy perhaps has faded a bit over the years. "People like singers," said Combs. "He was a fantastic pianist. He was a wonderful showman."

    When he died, no one stepped in to promote his legacy and market merchandise, as they did when Elvis Presley died, Combs said. "If you don't do that immediately, something is going to be lost." ...

  • Musical tribute to Elvis draws hundreds to heritage festival
    (, September 12 2010)
    "Elvis" rocked the house Saturday in Bassett.

    ... Henderson brought his Presley tribute, called "Illusions of The King," to the festival on Saturday. Several hundred people brought chairs to watch the show in the parking lot of Bassett Furniture Industries' main office; others stood for the 90-minute performance.

    ... Minnick was seated in front when "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" (the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey") began to play. Donned in an elaborately studded blue and silver jumpsuit, Henderson, of Chapel Hill, N.C., wound his way through the large crowd to the stage in front of the Bassett offices.

    "My name is Engelbert Humperdinck," he quipped after opening his show with "That's All Right."

    Henderson recognized Rudy Johnson of the Stanleytown Ruritans for working to bring his show to the festival. Robert and Jackie Coleman, also members of the Stanleytown Ruritan Club, said Henderson's performance was the group's way of giving something back to the community.

    "I've been doing 'Illusions of the King' for 32 years. Never once have I done the same show twice," in part because Elvis recorded 849 songs before he died in 1977. ...

    ... The only song he performed that was not recorded by Elvis was Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." Henderson sang that to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Before his performance, he recognized all members of the military, and said, "We don't ever need to forget that day."

    Elvis tribute artist Keith Henderson entertains a crowd at the Bassett Heritage Festival

  • Elvis kicks off Fine Art series
    (, September 9 2010)
    St. Paul United Church of Christ is hoping to leave you all shook up this year with the gospel music of Elvis and one of the biggest names in Irish music.

    These two and six other sure-fire crowd-pleasers will make up the 26th edition of the Belleville church's popular Fine Arts Concert Series. As always, admission to all concerts is by freewill donation.
    v The good times start Friday when Steve Davis & the River Town Sound present a tribute to Elvis Presley's gospel artistry, the only style of music for which the King earned a Grammy. A graduate of the theater education program at Northeast Missouri State University, Davis has been honing his musical skills for more than 20 years and fine-tuning his Elvis act for much of that time. ...

  • Sir Tom's shock at meeting Elvis Presley
    (, September 9 2010)
    Elvis Presley greeted Sir Tom Jones by singing one of the Welshman's songs during their first meeting. Sir Tom, 70, told Chris Evans on his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show that Presley had asked to meet him when they were both at a film studios in California.

    The Pontypridd-born singer said the pair became friends and stayed in touch with one another until two years before Presley's death in 1977.

    Sir Tom is taking part in a Presley tribute event in London on Sunday.

    "I was at Paramount Studios talking about a song for a film, and they said 'Elvis is here and would like to meet you'," said Sir Tom.

    "I said 'My God', I didn't know that he knew that I even existed because it was my first year. I went on set and he was there filming and then he stops for a minute and is walking towards me, and I had a ballad out at the time called With These Hands and there comes Elvis Presley singing With These Hands walking towards me, it was like a dream, and I thought 'My God, this is unbelievable'.

    "When he got to me he said 'how the hell do you sing like that?' and I said 'Well you're partly to blame'."

    He is taking part in Elvis Forever, a concert at Hyde Park on Sunday to commemorate what would have been Presley's 75th year. It will be hosted by Evans and broadcast live on BBC Radio 2.

    Sir Tom has been enjoying chart success with his latest studio album, Praise and Blame. His new gospel and blues-inspired album sees him exploring issues of faith, sin and redemption.

  • Elvis Presley's Mercedes-Benz 600 to be auctioned
    (, September 8 2010)
    There's always something to blow you away at Bonhams' traditional end of year sale of Important Motor Cars and Fine Automobilia. And this year, it takes place on December 6 at a new venue -- Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey.

    Among the standouts are a Mercedes-Benz 600, which lists Elvis Presley as its owner, and a 2000 Ferrari 550 GTZ. Already, the excellently-restored Mercedes-Benz 600 has received a pre-sale estimate of 150,000 - 200,000. ...

  • Lindsay Lohan's open letter from ex-'Insider' Pat O'Brien
    (, September 3 2010) Talk about "The Insider" -- former television host Pat O'Brien has penned an open letter to Lindsay Lohan, detailing the struggles with addiction he presumes he shares with the actress, and also warning her of the choices ahead.

    O'Brien, once host of "Access Hollywood" and "The Insider," has taken to the pages of the Hollywood Reporter to reflect on Lohan since she's been sprung from jail and rehab, and the blame she's placed on media outlets and her parents. He also likens her to icons Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. ...

  • Pricey Elvis statue stolen from Foothill Bar
    (, September 3 2010)
    Thieves stole a life-size statue of Elvis from a Foothills restaurant, and now the town of Pioneer is pleading for its safe return. "Everybody's been really shocked; who would take Elvis?" said Terri Stephens, bartender at the OK Corral in Pioneer.

    Thieves loaded up the three-foot-tall, 150-pound Elvis Presley statue into a truck and took off right before the band wrapped up last weekend's concert at the saloon.

    The owner of the OK Corral, Bud Ford, has his own theory. "I think Elvis got jealous. Everyone thinks he got stolen, but I think there's more to the story," says Ford.

    But in all seriousness, the statue of the King is valued at $15,000 and is a collector's item that is nearly impossible to replace. "Taking Elvis out of the building and not putting him back is going to make you an unlucky person," says Ford.

    The OK Corral Saloon sits along Highway 88, and is a popular tourist spot on weekend nights. It's likely an out-of-towner snatched the beloved statue. "The owner and I were talking about chaining the figurines down so no one takes them," says Terri Stephens.

    Ford says that they hope someone brings Elvis back, and if they do bring it back, there will be no questions asked.

  • Elvis Gives the Colonel a Hunka Hunka Burning Lead
    By Pat Pemberton
    (, September 3 2010)
    Each week, in Picture Book, we present an iconic photo from rock 'n' roll's past or present, accompanied with insightful commentary. Whether it's a famous picture or an unearthed rarity, these striking images will serve to illustrate the visual side of music.

    While some accused Colonel Tom Parker of robbing Elvis Presley -- the manager reportedly taking 50 percent of Elvis' proceeds -- here Elvis jokingly plays the stickup man on an early-'60s film set. After making Elvis a superstar in the '50s, Parker, a former carnival worker, persuaded Elvis to focus on movies after a stint in the Army slowed Presley's music career.

    Elvis Presley and Colonel Tom Parker, early '60s

  • Life Remembered: Van Cagle championed C-U music
    By Ed Baker
    (, September 2 2010)
    Van Cagle hailed from Elvis Presley's hometown of Tupelo, Miss., and he came to worship the King, as well as such princes as David Bowie and Lou Reed. He championed the Champaign music scene before going on to a professorship at Tulane University, where his rock course made the pages of the Rolling Stone.

    Mr. Cagle, who died in his sleep last week at the age of 55 in Tupelo, was also the author of a well-received book, "Reconstructing Pop/Subculture: Art, Rock and Andy Warhol" from Sage Publications.

    The book combines a scholarly analysis of trends since the 1960s in art, music and gender issues, with fascinating details about artists and bands like the Velvet Underground and the MC5.

    A second project explored the cult of Elvis, with special emphasis on British fans who make pilgrimages to Maui as part of their worship of his film "Blue Hawaii" and choreograph special dance steps for each of Presley's hits.

    Mr. Cagle was a tall, elegant man who spoke in a Southern drawl deepened by tobacco. Local rocker Don Gerard, late of the band Moon Seven Times, took a University of Illinois class with Mr. Cagle.

    "He looked cool, he sounded cool, every word that came out of him was cool," Gerard said. "His taste in music -- impeccable," said Phil Strang, a former owner of Campustown's Record Service. "Van gave substance and respect to the scene in those days. He was almost like a one-man support system, championing local groups like the Vertebrats, the Outnumbered, Screams, the Elvis Brothers," said Greg Springer of Urbana, a former entertainment writer for the now-defunct Courier as well as the Daily Illini.

    "He embodied the joy and enthusiasm and could back it up with an intellectual understanding of the music, its roots and its social impact. He was everybody's friend."

    Though he was born in Tupelo, the king's hometown, Cagle said he was late in appreciating Presley.

    "I was a victim of the '70s and enjoyed '70s music," Cagle said in a 1995 News-Gazette article, when he was working at the Developmental Services Center. His previous job was cataloging Presley memorabilia for a mammoth auction.

    For a boy who grew up in Tupelo, where Elvis was a living god, and soul, gospel and blues music were ubiquitous, Mr. Cagle had limited early ambition to actually make music, his sister says. ...

  • South Shore Christian Academy headmaster takes charge in Weymouth
    By Ed Baker
    (Wicked Local Weymouth, September 2 2010)
    South Shore Christian Academy headmaster Jeff Pinnow has not graded the local slang and Boston accent since he began his new duties at the 250-student school on Broad Street last month.

    "I'm still learning the local acronyms," said Pinnow, a Memphis, TN native, with a laugh. "I'm from the land of the King," a reference to the late Elvis Presley. ...

  • Chillin With The Presley Collection At Graceland
    By Nancy Brannon
    (, September 2 2010)
    (left) The Stable at Graceland and (right) the "Presley Collection"
    - real horses with the Breyer toys.

    (left) The Stable at Graceland and (right) the "Presley Collection" - real horses with the Breyer toys

    The real ones and the Breyer collection

    The 2010 extreme Memphis heat has made it difficult to keep horses cool this summer, but in the newly renovated stable at Graceland, the air feels surprisingly cool. Alene Alexander, Stable manager, and her staff at Graceland's Stable "work hard" to keep the "Presley Collection" cool in the Memphis heat. "We have fans on both sides of the aisle, misting fans mounted outside blowing through the windows, and the barn was built with the large exhaust fans in the front," Alene explained. Plus, the barn has a very tall loft. "The huge loft with the air pocket saves us," she said. Another successful innovation is the soaker hoses mounted on the metal roof. "We turn them on in the morning and they run about 5 hours to cool the metal roof. They run periodically throughout the day, but are more effective in the early morning. They make a 15 to 20 degree difference in the temperature in the barn," Alene said.

    ... The stable has been packed with visitors all summer. "Children, horse people, and Elvis fans all love to visit the stable. We were extremely busy in August," Alene said. Tours are at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Labor Day weekend. The Stable is closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and during the winter, reopening Memorial Day weekend. The tour includes extensive conversation with the stable staff, the history of the stable, Elvis' love for horses, Priscilla's involvement with the horses, and, of course, visitation with the four horses of the "Presley collection." ...

  • Losing right to vote trumps all allegations
    By Eugene Kane
    (, September 1 2010)
    Elvis Presley once sang about broken romance in a song called "Return to Sender." It would be a particularly heartbreaking experience if "address unknown" led to losing your right to vote.

    The state Government Accountability Board has revealed that more than 18,000 Wisconsin residents could be made ineligible to vote after letters sent to their home addresses were returned as undeliverable. ...

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