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Presleys in the Press

Elvis Presley News

January 2009
Links are provided to the original news sources. These links may be temporary and cease to work after a short time. Full text versions of the more important items may available for purchase from the source. This site provides selected media reports. It does not claim to provide comrehensive coverage.

late January
  • The King of parking space savers
    (, January 29 2009)
    Late actor Heath Ledger has joined Elvis Presley and John Lennon on a list of celebrities who earned more after their death than when they were alive.
    Elvis Presley may be gone, but a bust of the King lives on -- as a parking space saver. Reader Jon Titone took this photo on P Street in South Boston, in response to a recent Globe story about the proliferation of space savers that violate the city's 48-hour rule.

    Without adequate enforcement, the space savers remain. That means law-abiding drivers must find another place to park or move the savers -- which are often much less creative than Elvis -- and live with the fear that their car could be keyed or their tires slashed.

    According to the City of Boston's website, space savers are only allowed after the declaration of a snow emergency, which hasn't occurred since Dec. 18. Most drivers, however, use space savers after digging out from any plowable snow. ...

  • Ledger in top posthumous earnings list
    ( / WENN, January 27 2009)
    Late actor Heath Ledger has joined Elvis Presley and John Lennon on a list of celebrities who earned more after their death than when they were alive.
    The Brokeback Mountain star died aged 28 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs last year (Jan 2008), shortly after he completed filming on Batman movie The Dark Knight, which smashed box office records when it was released in the summer (08).

    Ledger earned an estimated 21.8 million from his estate last year (08) - and experts predict he could pull in a further 3.6 million this year (09) if he scoops the Best Supporting Actor gong at next month's (Feb09). The money in Ledger's estate, as well as any posthumous earnings, will go to his daughter with actress Michelle Williams, three-year-old Matilda. Blue Suede Shoes hitmaker Presley is still at the top of the highest earners' list, more than 31 years after his death in 1977, followed by Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. ...

  • Violin as instrument of survival, happiness
    (Las Vegas Sun, January 25 2009)
    The 84-year-old violinist looks as if he stepped out of GQ - natty blue turtleneck and matching jacket, snow-white hair carefully combed, oversized black-rimmed glasses.

    For the 50 years Sasha Semenoff has played in Las Vegas, he has always dressed impeccably. He wears a tuxedo when he performs, as he did alongside the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand, and wears sharp sports clothes at other times.

    Semenoff was conscientious about how he dressed even as a teenager in Nazi concentration camps. Playing music for Nazis saved his life, before disease and malnutrition eroded his strength. ...

  • Baa, baa, baa, at 100 Whiffenpoofs sound just as good as ever
    By Donna Doherty
    (New Haven Register, January 25 2009)
    They are pretty much not poor, nor have they lost their way. They have sung before almost every president since the 1900s, and their iconic theme song has been recorded by everyone from former Yalie Rudy Vallee to Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley. The Yale Whiffenpoofs, arguably the world's best-known collegiate a cappella singing group, and also the first, have been baa, baa, baa-ing for 100 years this month. ...

  • Ramblin Rhodes: In '56, Elvis got so lonely he could die
    By Don Rhodes
    (Augusta Chronicle, January 22 2009)
    It was 53 years ago next Tuesday that RCA Records released Heartbreak Hotel , the company's first single by Elvis Presley. Presley made his national TV debut the next day, on Stage Show, (with band-leader brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey as hosts).

    Heartbreak Hotel , written by Mae Boren Axton (mother of singer Hoyt Axton) and Tommy Durden, sold 300,000 copies in its first week and was Presley's first gold record. ...

  • For What It's Worth: Elvis' talents became buried in embarrassing, formula plots
    By David Coddon (Contact)
    (, January 16 2009)
    Elvis is Lucky Jackson. And Rusty Wells. And Lonnie Beale. And Tulsa McLean. And Pacer Burton. And Johnny Tyronne. Those are just some of the interchangeable hunks the King of Rock 'n' Roll was compelled (by Col. Tom Parker) to play during the dark movie days of Elvis Presley's career.

    From 1956, the year of his first film role, in "Love Me Tender," through 1969, when he co-starred with Mary Tyler Moore (who played a nun undercover) in "Change of Habit," Elvis' musical career took an unfortunate back seat to an ill-conceived attempt to make him a movie idol for teen audiences. Like the clean-cut, singin' heroes he portrayed, the formula plots of these lightweight flicks varied little from picture to picture. Turkeys like "Harum Scarum," "Double Trouble," "Tickle Me," "Girl Happy," "Roustabout," "Clambake," "Speedway" and "The Trouble With Girls." Worst of all were all the "songs" Elvis had to croon, tunes unworthy of his towering talent. Anyone for "There's No Room to Rumba in a Sports Car" (from "Fun in Acapulco")? How about "Do the Clam" (from "Girl Happy")? Elvis even renders "Old MacDonald (Had a Farm)" in "Double Trouble."

    As Priscilla Presley recounted in a TV Land "Myths & Legends" episode this month (the month of Elvis' birth), her [ex]husband was justifiably embarrassed by the schlock he was appearing in. Who could blame him?

    There were a couple of exceptions. The early (1957) "Jailhouse Rock" doesn't disgrace Elvis' rebel image, nor does "King Creole" ('58), which was actually directed by Michael Curtiz ("Casablanca"). "Viva Las Vegas" (in '64) at least has Ann-Margret, a terrific title song and, well, Las Vegas.

    But today, 32 years after Elvis Presley's death, I cringe for him as he must have cringed himself during the "heyday" of these exploitive cotton-candy flicks. I suppose the memory of them is nobler than that of the overweight, drugged-out Elvis onstage in Vegas near the end of his life, but not much. The King deserved better. Rock 'n' roll deserved better.

    Elvis was really before my time. I never got to see him in concert. I first heard his records on oldies stations and I remember, as a kid, liking "Fun in Acapulco." That's because I didn't know who the real Elvis was. I didn't know what I was missing.

    Now we all know what we were missing, and we still do.

  • D.J. keeps beat for many Elvises: Concert Preview
    By Chris Varias
    (, January 16 2009)
    It has to be a make-believe Elvis' dream to have his rhythm provided by the real-life thing.
    D.J. Fontana, Elvis Presley's drummer, will keep time for the Elvis impersonators performing at the Taft Theatre Saturday night. Fontana, 77, talked about his late, great boss on the phone while on tour with the Elvis-tribute troupe.

    Question: The first time you performed with Elvis was at (the radio program) Louisiana Hayride. Do you remember the first show?

    Answer: He come in, him and guitarist Scotty (Moore) and bass player Bill (Black), and I was just sitting there, and he said, "Will you work with us?" And I said, "That's why I'm here," and I said, "Let's go in the dressing room and talk about it a minute." So they brought their instruments back there and played "That's All Right (Mama)." That's about the only thing he had, really.

    Q: Had you heard of him at the time?

    A: On records only. I heard "That's All Right (Mama)," those things he had early on, and I thought that was such a unique, great sound. As it was, they didn't need me anyhow.

    Q: Elvis' producer Chet Atkins is known for cultivating a refined country sound. Did he try to temper the band's rock sound?

    A: No, he never said a word. He was afraid to, 'cause Elvis would jump him. They didn't get along that well anyhow.

    Q: So Elvis was running those sessions as much as Chet?

    A: Elvis run 'em all, period. He was the main man. He chose the songs, he chose the engineers. Whether we were in New York or whatever, he had his own guys. He knew what he wanted to hear, so that's what we did. We tried our best to get what he wanted.

    Q: The band had its share of salary disputes with manager Col. Tom Parker, and it would lead to people quitting. Whose side would Elvis take in those disputes?

    A: Usually, he wouldn't say nothing, and he'd stay out of it. I don't know how he got away with it, but he did. I never did actually quit. (Moore and Black) quit. We was doing a picture out in Hollywood, and they sent him a letter and said, "We're gone." So they left. By the time I got home, he called me on the phone and said, "Man, I'm glad you didn't go." I said, "Well, you've always treated me fair," so I stayed on.

    Q: It had to be aggravating that Elvis wouldn't stick up for you guys.

    A: A little bit, but I tell people we were friends first of all, so if he wanted to do what he wanted to do, let him do it. We still had a good time. That was the main thing.

    Q: You mentioned shooting a picture. What did you think of Elvis' string of movies in the '60s?

    A: Well, the early ones were good. As it got on and on, it got to be a duplicate of each other. It kind of fell apart. Boy meets girl, he has a fight in a bar, same thing over and over. And he wasn't happy with them either.

    If you go

    What: The Elvis Tribute Artist Spectacular
    When: 8 p.m. Saturday
    Where: Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., downtown; 513-721-8883
    Tickets: $41, $31, $21

  • Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson Among New Rock Hall Inductees
    (, January 16 2009)
    Wanda Jackson, songwriter - keyboardist Spooner Oldham and two members of Elvis Presley's early band are among this year's inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bassist Bill Black, who died in 1965, and drummer D. J. Fontana are being inducted in the Rock Hall's sidemen category for their work with Presley. Scotty Moore, who also played in Presley's band during the'50s, was inducted in the sidemen category in 2000.

    Jackson, who will be inducted in the early influence category, was one of the few female rockabilly singers to achieve widespread success in the '50s. In the '60s, she recorded a series of country hits such as "Right or Wrong" and "In the Middle of a Heartache." ...

  • Lisa Marie Presley's Twin Baby Girls!
    By Amy Elisa Keith
    (, January 14 2009)
    Time to paint Graceland pink! Elvis Presley's only daughter, Lisa Marie, is now a doting mom to 3-month-old girls Finley and Harper - and she is showing off her tiny additions in the new issue of PEOPLE. "I really wanted these babies," says Presley, 40, who tried for two years to get pregnant before conceiving the twins. "My blood was too thick and would clot, which caused several miscarriages," she tells PEOPLE. "The moment I took blood thinners, I got pregnant."

    Presley and her guitarist husband Michael Lockwood, 47, also share their L.A. home with Presley's children from a previous marriage: daughter Riley, 19, and son Benjamin, 16.

    Life as a bustling family of six is "chaotic bliss," says Presley. The outspoken star - who proudly bared her baby bump after tabloids accused her of having an "unhealthy appetite" - also opens up about losing her baby weight. "I was unable to see my toes by the fourth month," she admits. "But I only gained 30 lbs. total. I worked out up until the seventh month."

  • Lisa Presley's twins emotional bonding with her father
    (newkerala.com9, January 12 2009)
    Presley reveals the moment she realized she was following a family tradition, "I knew my family history - my father had a twin who died at birth and my other grandmother also had twins. "But at the ultrasound, the doctor goes, 'There's the heartbeat.' Then she says, 'There's another one.' I started crying, Michael started crying." And she insists three-month-olds Harper and Finley will get to learn about their very famous ancestor, adding: "There will definitely be a music lesson on Grandpa."

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