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Presleys in the Press

Late March 2004

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Late March 2004

  • After Elvis ... the Scottish roots of soul and gospel
    By Torcuil Crichton
    (Sunday Herald, March 28, 2004)

    LIKE every epiphany the truth came down to Willie Ruff when he was looking the other way. The 72-year-old jazzman turned up at a church in his native Alabama hoping for one of their fine catfish dinners after the sermon when he came across the first clue that black gospel music has its roots in the Gaelic psalms of presbyterian Scotland. He is now convinced the Gaelic style of precenting psalms - in which a lead singer recites a line for the congregation to repeat - was taken to the US by Scots emigrees and adapted into the call and response techniques used by gospel and soul singers such as Aretha Franklin and Al Green.

    "The singing I heard in that church is what my people took from the Gaelic cultural traditions they collided with at the time of slavery," said Ruff. "It has flavoured everything else that came out of the artistic soul of American blacks. This is the real roots stuff here." His discovery is yet more evidence of the cultural debt America owes Scotland, coming just days after claims that Elvis Presley's family roots can be traced to Peterhead.

    Ruff certainly has the musical pedigree to suggest he knows what he's talking about. He has been a jazz player for 50 years, performing with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Miles Davies. He is also a professor of music at Yale University. ...

  • Rugby Sevens fun goes beyond the field
    (Business-times Asia, March 27, 2004)

    BUSINESS can be pretty serious when you're fighting to grow market share, driving profitability, managing costs and evaluating that next big deal. But work should ideally be more than just 'work'. It should also be fun. The game of rugby is the same. It's very serious on the pitch when the players give their all to win. They will fight tooth and nail to beat their opponents. But off the pitch, it's quite something else.

    Sevens rugby crowds are unique. They appreciate the world-class play on the field and support their teams with 100 per cent passion and fervour. They are a special part of the Sevens atmosphere and often go to extreme lengths to dress up in unique fancy dress to add to the festivities. Certainly in Hong Kong or New Zealand it is not unusual to see groups of people dressed in some of the most bizarre costumes. In past years I have seen groups of nuns, nurses, the Village People, a German water polo team, Elvis Presley, Austin Powers, Egyptian mummies, Incredible Hulks, Batman & Robin, Spiderman and even Superman.

    (Tyler Morning Telegraph, March 27, 2004)

    ... One of the oldest and best known names in Fort Worth, however, is the historic Blackstone Hotel, the tallest pre-World War II structure in the city. It also is of art deco design and recently underwent extensive restoration to recapture its glory days when guests included the likes of Clark Gable, Herbert Hoover, Al Jolsen, Gene Autry, Elvis Presley and Bob Hope. ...

  • Lawrenceville woman wins Miss Life Care Center pageant
    By Shelley Davis
    (Gwinnett Daily Post, March 27, 2004)

    Patsy Glaze, 75, had never been in a beauty pageant until Friday, but she must have watched plenty. She knew exactly what the judges at Life Care Center of Lawrenceville's pageant wanted to hear when they asked her to talk about her greatest wish. "I wish for terrorism and hunger to be abolished from the world, and for the young men and women to come back from Iraq and Afghanistan," Glaze said. ... She told judges her favorite ways to spend time are studying the Bible or listening to Elvis Presley music, and that she is grateful God gave her the privilege to see the flowers, trees and birds each day. ...

  • Horoscope Jeraldine Saunders
    (Mercury News, March 27, 2004)

    BIRTHDAY GAL: Mariah Carey was born on this day in 1970, in Long Island, N.Y, and shot to stardom in the '90s using her famous five-octave voice. In 1993, the Grammy-winning Carey wed the much older record company executive Tommy Mottola, who had molded her career. The two divorced in 1997. Only the Beatles and Elvis Presley have had more number-one hits than Carey. ...

  • Resort plans Elvis convention
    (BBC News, March 27, 2004)

    A south Wales resort is set to be transformed into Las Vegas by the sea in October when it plans to host an Elvis Presley convention. Porthcawl's Grand Pavilion will be transformed for the event with organisers hoping the seaside town will be awash with rhinestone jumpsuits and blue suede shoes. The pavilion will be decked out in the style of a Las Vegas casino and will host competitions for the top Elvis look-a-likes. Organisers aim to attract thousands of Elvises from across the globe to the convention.

    Porthcawl Pavilion is a licensed marriage venue, and organisers hope to arrange a Las Vegas-style Elvis wedding, alongside a mass wedding blessing. There will also be a marathon showing of Elvis films and an exhibition of Elvis memorabilia, as well as an exhibition of 1950s cars and an attempt to recreate scenes from Elvis' films on the beach. Included in the award ceremonies for the tribute acts will be prizes for the best female Elvis, the best young Elvis and the best ethnic Elvis.

    Elvis fan Peter Phillips told BBC Wales: "Elvises will be in the building come the first weekend of October. It's the perfect venue - one thing is that it's licensed for weddings. So they are going to have a mass Elvis blessing ceremony - Chapel of Love it's called."

  • Music's Final Four comes down to Elvis, Eagles, Beatles and Neil Diamond
    By Anthony SanFilippo
    (Daily Times, March 26, 2004)

    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: At this time I would like to steal a line from Jack Black in the movie "School of Rock." "Raise your goblet of rock in honor of those who rock." It is time to unveil our Final Four in our Music March Madness competition. (This thing seems to have a new title each week, doesn't it?)

    Frankly, I wouldn't have guessed these four acts at the beginning of the tournament, but over the past few weeks I've learned a lot about Daily Times readers, and now nothing surprises me. First, I want to thank the hundreds of voters who have taken part in this silly little game of mine. This week, I received more than 1,000 e-mails with votes for the Final Four. Sure, about 450 of them were that same mad e-mailer who loves Neil Diamond, but still, the fact that we got 550 legitimate voters has been fantastic. The only downside has been manually tabulating the votes. So here they are, in all their glory, the Final Four. (All final scores are in percentage points.)

    1. John Region: The Beatles
      Winning the John Region in our closest quarterfinal contest was the No. 1 seed The Beatles who took out Elton John by a score of 56 to 44. Not unexpected to be in this position -- after all, they were the top overall seed and the regions were named after the band members -- the Fab Four had a surprisingly difficult time with Elton John, who proved his worth as a quarterfinalist by almost knocking out the most revered band in music history.

    2. Paul Region: The Eagles
      In the Paul Region, the No. 2 seed Eagles cruised to a 64-36 victory over Bruce Springsteen. The Eagles, who were my pre-tournament prediction to win the whole thing, have yet to have a competitive matchup. Something tells me that may change in the next round. Meanwhile, the Boss gave a limp showing in the quarterfinals, proving to me that his music did take a turn for the worse over the past decade.

    3. George Region: Elvis
      In the George Region, the king kept his crown as No. 1 seed. Elvis Presley had an easy victory over Bob Dylan, 58-42. Elvis may have been dead for 28 years now, but there's no doubting his legacy to the music world. Elvis spanned three decades, and if not for his untimely death, he most likely would have gone even further. Kudos to Dylan though for getting as far as he did, even if he can't sing.

    4. Ringo Region: Neil Diamond
      And finally, in the Ringo Region, and I'm sure the fan club is sitting by with eager anticipation, No. 6 seed Neil Diamond easily knocked off rock legends and No. 1 seed Led Zeppelin 71-29. I'm not going to knock Neil, because he is a great singer and songwriter. But to have him knock out the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel and Zeppelin in three consecutive weeks is a more unbelievable Cinderella run than Villanova in 1985. The question around this office is "How much longer can this go on?" Having corresponded with a number of his fans over the past few weeks, anything is possible.

    Cast your ballots now
    So, the semi-final matchups? It's the top-seeded Beatles versus everyone's favorite underdog, Neil Diamond; and Elvis Presley squares off against the Eagles. Send me your votes to by Wednesday at 6 p.m., and we'll announce the Championship Game next Friday.

  • Katz reveals steamy images of 'pop art'
    (, March 26, 2004)

    If images of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley come to mind when you hear the phrase "pop art," think again. Jonathan Katz, executive coordinator of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies, spoke to an audience of almost 100 people in the Yale Center for British Art yesterday about the complexities of the pop art movement. The lecture was titled, "Sex Tourism: Transatlantic Projections of Desire in Pop Art." ...

  • The King Has Left (And Sold) The Building (2nd item)
    (, March 26, 2004)

    The Palm Springs home once owned by Elvis and Priscilla Presley was sold for $1.25 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. The house isn't quite as fanciful as Graceland -- it is a historic home, built in 1946, and it is located in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains. The Presleys bought the property for $85,000 in 1970, and Elvis had it when he died in 1977 (he kept it after the couple divorced). The home has five bedrooms, four and a half baths and it is more than 5,000 square feet. It may not be as expansive as Graceland, but it does have its own Elvis touches. The King reportedly built a spa into the corner of the property that is covered by a gazebo so he wouldn't be visible to helicopters, and he made sure the Jacuzzi was large enough to fit 12 people. He also added a master bedroom, decorated in black and red, which was accessible through the patio, according to a Press-Enterprise report.

    (Press and Journal, March 26, 2004)

    A Man who spent 19 years locked in a legal battle with the Elvis Presley estate said last night the Buchan community of Lonmay should make the most of its newly discovered links with the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Sid Shaw, owner of the Elvisly Yours merchandising company in London, has warned Lonmay not to be put off by Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. He used to sell Elvis merchandise to Graceland when he started exporting his line to the US. But after his relationship with Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) broke down, a legal battle ensued. In 1991, after years of court appearances, Mr Shaw was finally defeated in the US courts and cut out of an estimated 70million US market for Elvis souvenirs.

    But Mr Shaw did not lose heart and when EPE applied for a number of UK trademarks in the early 90s, he decided to fight back. In 1999, he won the case against EPE in the Court of Appeal on three trademarks - Elvis, Elvis Presley and his signature Elvis A. Presley. He has now told the residents of Lonmay not to be put off by Graceland's reputation for jealously guarding its trademarks. "If Elvis Presley's ancestors came from Lonmay, then it has every right to promote the fact. What you have got here is historical fact. The Presley name is known all over the world and, if the marketing is done right, Scotland could do good business out of this. You have a potential goldmine in that area, but it has got to be done properly. You could have a chapel there; people could get married. You could build a theme park and attract people from all over the world. But you need something that is worth travelling to see. You could do a lot with a bit of imagination. But it means investing - these things do not happen without a large amount of funding."

    Mr Shaw said he had already written to the local MP, SNP leader Alex Salmond, and to Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson and the Scottish Tourist Board to offer his services in future ventures. Greig Morrison, a consultant with the intellectual property and technology unit at Aberdeen solicitors Paull and Williamsons, said that, no matter who owns the trademark, Lonmay should be able to capitalise on its links. He said: "The mere fact of their registration will not stop the residents of Lonmay using the terms 'Elvis' or 'Elvis Presley' in a descriptive sense. To amount to a trademark infringement, it must be used in a trademark sense, such as an attempt to brand goods or services. It is hard to see how the opening of an Elvis Presley museum, for example, would infringe any of the trademarks owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.

    "That being said, the production of memorabilia on which the words appeared, or which were marketed in conjunction with the words, would be likely to infringe one of the numerous trademarks in the Presley Enterprises portfolio. "If Lonmay chose to style itself the home of Elvis Presley's ancestors, any resulting threat from Presley Enterprises might, under UK legislation, amount to an unjustified threat, which would leave Presley Enterprises open to legal action by those against whom such threats are made."

  • Elvis's Scottish roots welcomed
    ([Pakistan] Daily Times, March 26, 2004)

    A leader of the Scottish National Party has welcomed claims that Elvis Presley had his family roots in Scotland. Scots author Allan Morrison says Presley's roots can be traced back to Lonmay in Aberdeenshire, from where an Andrew Presley emigrated to North Carolina in 1745. Alex Salmond, the SNP's leader at Westminster, has now tabled a House of Commons motion to welcome the news. Mr Salmond, whose constituency includes Lonmay, said: "The area has a rich musical tradition - much of which did travel to America with emigrants - and now we discover that it is the ancestral home of the King of rock and roll."

  • Don't be cruel, villagers tell Elvis empire
    By Craig Walker
    (Daily Record, March 25, 2004)

    VILLAGERS were shaken and rattled yesterday by threats over their Elvis history. But they are vowing not to roll over after the mega-rich Presley empire tried to warn them off. Tiny Lonmay only discovered its links to Elvis's ancestors this week.

    But yesterday, within 48 hours of the Aberdeenshire village celebrating its new-found fame, the money men in America were demanding their cut of any money the villagers make from the connection. Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc, who control rights to the rock legend's image from his former home, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee, said they objected to unauthorised use of their trademarks. But media director Todd Morgan added: 'We are always open to hearing proposals from any entity seeking the appropriate and necessary permissions.'

    Last night, villagers were amazed at the huge corporation's stance. The Ban Car Hotel has already discussed plans to commemorate Elvis, possibly by changing its name to Heartbreak Hotel or renaming one of its dining areas. Barman Michael Stewart, 37, said: 'I can't believe Graceland are coming out with this already. The place has been buzzing since we found out Elvis is linked to the area. 'Everyone thinks it's great and we are planning to hold some kind of celebration for his birthday. We're just having a bit of fun. I think the bosses at Graceland are getting a little bit carried away.'

    Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson slammed Graceland's 'heavy- handed' tactics. He said: 'They should be flattered to be linked to Scotland. I am sure whatever they try to do, we will see people coming from America and all over the world to see where the great man came from. This is a gross over-reaction and if Graceland have a look at the situation they will realise we are a little bit off taking over their mantle. However, this might just spur on the couple of dozen residents of Lonmay to do just that.'

    The row started when Scots author Allan Morrison claimed this week he had traced Elvis's ancestors back to Lonmay and tourism bosses predicted a surge in visitors to the village.

  • Thousands visit village linked to Presley
    ( / Associated Press, March 25, 2004)

    A Scottish writer's assertion that Elvis Presley's ancestors came from a quiet corner of northeast Scotland has fixated fans and brought batches of journalists and TV crews to Lonmay, a Scottish village near Aberdeen.

    Mindful that Elvis's Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn., gets more than 1 million visitors a year, the Aberdeen and Grampian Highlands Tourist Board has seized on the prospect of an Elvis connection with delight. "It could be really good for tourism," said Ian Hainey, spokesman for the Aberdeen and Grampian Highlands Tourist Board. "We get Elvis fans coming to Prestwick, even though Elvis only spent an hour there once," he said, referring to Presley's stopover at the Scottish airport in 1960. ...

  • Elvis was from Scotland, says new research
    (Hello!, March 23, 2004)

    He once sang Auld Lang Syne, and he did spend an hour at Prestwick airport in 1960 on his way home from national service in Germany, but until now that's been pretty much the sum of Elvis Presley's relationship with Scotland. But that's all about to change. Scottish researcher Allan Morrison has stirred up huge excitement with the revelation that he's traced the King's roots back to the tiny village of Lonmay in northeast Scotland, where, he says, Elvis' great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather lived in the 1700s. The offspring of his marriage, Andrew Presley, emigrated to North Carolina in 1745 and started the American branch of the family.

    "I definitely think this is true as there are a lot of Presleys in the area," says 70-year-old Jim Presly, who lives near Lonmay and whose own surname lost the second 'e' decades ago because of a spelling mistake. Inhabitants of the hamlet, which boasts neither a shop nor a school, are now hoping that the discovery will put Lonmay on the tourist map for Elvis' famously tenacious fans. "Elvis was at Prestwick for an hour in 1960 and fans from throughout the world visit, so you can imagine what might happen to Lonmay," points out one local Elvis expert. "Graceland still attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year 26 years after his death," agrees Mr Morrison, who is the author of a book about Andrew Presley. Other reactions to the news were less hopeful. "It's not going to be as big as Loch Ness," prophesies the president of the Elvis Presley Fanclub of Great Britain.

  • Scottish village all shook up at link with Elvis
    (Yahoo! News / FP, March 23, 2004)

    As locals point out, it is more familiar with wellington boots than blue suede shoes, but a tiny Scottish farming village has a new claim to rock and roll fame -- as the ancestral home of Elvis Presley. Lonmay, to the north of the country, has been identified by a writer and amateur genealogist as the home of Presley's great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, the Times newspaper said on Tuesday.

    Parish records show that one Andrew Presley got married in the village in 1713, and that his son, also Andrew, emigrated to the United States 30 years later to continue his trade as a blacksmith. Scottish author Allan Morrison told the newspaper that he had traced the generational line all the way to Elvis, who was born in Mississippi in January 1935. "I started looking into Elvis's past when I heard rumours of him coming from Scotland," Morrison told the Times. "I was able to trace his family tree, and when it got to Lonmay, it was like striking gold."

    Scotland could previously make only one relatively tenuous claim on Presley, as the site of his solitary, and very brief, visit to Britain. On March 3, 1960, as Presley returned to the United States following his service with the US army in Germany, he made a two-hour stopover at Prestwick Airport near Glasgow. Lonmay locals -- who pointed out that a lot of Presleys still lived in the area -- said they were hopeful the news could boost the village's current trickle of tourists, while admitting it was more rural than rock and roll. "I'm pretty sure we've no suede shoes here," hotel manager Jim McCue told the Daily Telegraph newspaper, which also carried the story. "There are a lot of wellington boots, as this is a farming community."

  • Elvis Presley's Ancestors Traced to Scottish Hamlet, Times Says
    By Svenja O'Donnell
    (, March 22, 2004)

    Elvis Presley's ancestral heritage has been traced back to Lonmay, a small village in north east Scotland, the London-based Times said, citing Allan Morrison, author of a book on Presley. Parish records are said to show how eight generations before Elvis was born in 1935, his ancestor Andrew Presley married Elspeth Leg in Lonmay on August 27, 1713, and their son was the first Presley to leave Scotland for America, the newspaper said. Elvis only once set foot in the U.K. when he spent 60 minutes at Scotland's Prestwick airport in 1960 on his way home from national service in Germany, the newspaper said. Paul Downie, a spokesman for the singer's Scotland's fan club said although Lonmay is so small it is often left off maps, it may become a draw for fans, the newspaper said.

    "Elvis was at Prestwick in 1960 for an hour and fans from throughout the world visit, so you can imagine what might happen to Lonmay," the Times cited Downie as saying. Morrison said his research into the Presley line started when he "heard rumors of him coming from Scotland,'' the newspaper said. "I was able to trace his family tree and when it got to Lonmay it was like striking gold,'' the newspaper cited Morrison as saying.

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