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Presleys in the Press

Elvis Presley News

February 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.

Early February
  • Festival organizers to put the Elvis in the 'Elvis Festival'
    By Carlie Kollath
    (Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, February 13 2009)
    Expect to see more of the King of Rock n' Roll at this year's Tupelo Elvis Festival, an event official said at the festival's formal kickoff Thursday night. John Avila, this year's festival co-chairman, said the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association is focusing on Elvis more this year since Tupelo is his birthplace. The association, which produces the festival, has discussed in past years whether the event is a music festival or a festival about Elvis. "The Elvis venue is going to be the growing force for us," said Avila, who chairs the festival this year with his wife, Sherry, and DTMSA treasurer Keith Henley.

    Avila said the Elvis Presley Enterprises-sanctioned tribute artist contest "allows us to really put the Elvis in the Elvis Festival. We anticipate being able to do more with it than ever before." Yet, DTMSA events coordinator Megan Daniel said the festival still will have a lineup of nationally recognized musicians, which will help draw a diverse group of people. She said the headliners will be announced within a month. The festival will be held June 5-7 downtown Tupelo.

    Audience growth is a key theme this year, especially when it comes to attracting different age groups, said DTMSA Executive Director Debbie Brangenberg. It's also reflected in this year's festival image, which was unveiled at the kickoff. The image, which is used on posters and all marketing materials, was designed by Pontotoc native Josh Mabus, a co-founder of the Mabus Birch Agency in Tupelo. It celebrates the anniversary of Presley's 1968 Comeback Special, a taped television special that jump-started the second half of his career.

    Mabus opted do to a more modern graphic-based poster, instead of a traditional hand-drawn poster, in hopes that it would appeal to a younger generation. In the poster, Mabus incorporated the red "Elvis" sign from the show into the poster's lettering. He also chose to use the picture of Presley in a black leather outfit. "It's my favorite," he said. "It identifies the '68 Comeback Special. It's so iconic."

  • Devangshu Datta: Charge of chaddi brigade
    (Business Standard, February 12 2009)
    New Delhi -- Buddy Holly was the first deity of the chaddi [panties] pantheon. Elvis Presley followed close on Holly's heels. Their successor, Jim Morrison is reckoned to be the high god with other luminaries like Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain well up there in terms of chaddi-quotient.

    Pramod Muthalik as a chaddi-recipient looks distinctly odd in this company. He doesn't look or talk like a rock-star. Nevertheless, as of today, he is the possessor of many, many pairs of possibly-used, definitely-pink unmentionables. Enough, in fact, for him to turn his party office in Hubli into a lingerie discount store.

    Unlike Morrison, or Jagger, Muthalik is not receiving these spontaneous donations from his adoring fans as he struts on stage. In fact, Muthalik doesn't have many fans if one goes by the fact that his party's candidates all lost their deposits in the last Karnataka Assembly elections.

    What he does have is chaddis, donated by women across India, who have been disgusted by his methods of registering disapproval of what women choose to do with their free time and money. Perhaps he can make enough selling those frilly nothings to fund his next election campaign.

    In sending chaddis to the Ram Sene, the Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women has found an interesting way to stay within the Gandhian chalk-circle of non-violent protest. It may appear pointless to send women's chaddis to an obscure obscurantist but then Muthalik is himself leading a pointless campaign. ...

  • Former teen country star Molly Bee dies
    By Peter Cooper
    (The Tennessean, February 11 2009)
    Molly Muncy, who rose to country music popularity as "Molly Bee," died on Saturday, Feb. 7, in Oceanside, Calif., after suffering a stroke. The singer, comedienne and sidekick on Tennessee Ernie Ford's daytime television show was 69.

    Ms. Muncy was born Mollie Gene Beachboard, and she was raised in Bell Buckle, Tenn., and in Phoenix, Ariz. At age 10, she was discovered by singing cowboy Rex Allen, and at 12 she was featured on west coast country maven Cliffie Stone's Hometown Jamboree show. At 13, she signed to Capitol Records.

    Singing as "Molly Bee," she had her first hit in 1952, singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." A classmate, Jimmy Boyd, also recorded the song, and the two duetted on the Ed Sullivan Show in late 1952.

    As a teen, Ms. Muncy was a regular on Ford's show, and she scored hits including "Young Romance," "Don't Look Back" and "5 Points of a Star." Her camera-friendly looks and her singing talent landed her spots on other shows including those hosted by Steve Allen, Jack Benny and Dean Martin. She dated Tommy Sands and Elvis Presley. ...

  • Duo's Grammy wins could raise Nashville's profile
    By John Gerome / AP
    (Yahoo! Finance, February 11 2009)
    If Robert Plant can rejuvenate his career in Nashville, who's next?
    What began as an unorthodox pairing of the golden-tressed singer for Led Zeppelin with bluegrass chanteuse Alison Krauss captured five Grammys on Sunday, including album of the year for their country-inflected collaboration "Raising Sand." The duo also won record of the year for "Please Read the Letter." Music Row insiders expect others to follow Plant's lead.

    "I'm sure a lot of people will look at the idea of Nashville collaborations in a different light," said Brian Philips, general manager of Country Music Television.

    ... Nashville has long attracted rock and pop stars looking for a fresh sound, or at least a fresh start. In the early days, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers recorded here. Neil Young and Paul McCartney cut songs in the 1970s. Today, it's Kid Rock, Jack White and Jessica Simpson. ...

  • 'All Shook Up' opens at the Broadway Palm Feb. 19
    (Fort Myers Florida Weekly, February 11 2009)
    Grammy success by Plant-Krauss project should raise Nashville's profile, industry insiders say * , AP Entertainment Writer * Wednesday February 11, 2009, 9:38 am EST

  • Play celebrates Presley's music
    (Daily Journal, February 11 2009)
    This show set in a square town in a square state during a square decade. Here a lonely young girl, Natalie Haller, dreams of hitting the open road. Into her life rides a guitar playing roust-about by the name of Chad who changes everything and kick starts a hip swivelin, lip curlin' adventure that will have audiences jumpin' out of their blue suede shoes. The score features such Elvis hit classics as "Heartbreak Hotel," "Burning Love," "Jailhouse Rock" and more.

    Cast members are Andrew Jarema of Pittsgrove as Chad; Kaitlyn Cox of Millville as Natalie Haller; Manetta Manson of Vineland as Sylvia; Lee Cox of Millville as Jim Haller; Carey Waldon of Vineland as Lorraine; Aaron Pierce of Fairfield Township as Dean Hyde; Zach Ott of Upper Deerfield as Dennis; Alysha Sokolov of Commercial Township as Miss Sandra; Jennifer Leigh of Bridgeton as Mayor Matilda Hyde; and Thurman Hogan of Pittsgrove as Sheriff Earl. The show also features a large singing and dancing ensemble.

    The stage and musical director is Walter A. Webster of Bridgeton, the choreographer is Sarah Hewitt of Hopewell Township and the pit orchestra will be directed by Nancy Bello of Elmer.

    Tickets for the senior citizen/family night performance are $7 and are available at the door only. Tickets for all other performances are $15 for adults and $13 for seniors, age 60 and older, and students through grade 12, discounts are available for advance ticket purchase. Tickets for married couples will be $13 per couple on Valentine's Day.

    For tickets or more information, call (856) 451 -5437.

    Send information and photos, in .jpg format, for Neighbors via e-mail to: Information and photos also may be mailed to: Lisa Voit, The Daily Journal, 891 E. Oak Road, Vineland, NJ 08360, or faxed to (856) 563-5308, attn: Lisa Voit/Neighbors.

  • Two local talents share a love of music
    (, February 10 2009)
    It's rare to encounter young individuals so focused on their music. Well, two Cy-Fair ISD middle school students are a shining example of this. Spillane seventh-grader Kaitlyn Knippers and Goodson eighth-grader Clay Melton are talented kids who met while performing in Tomball.

    Kaitlyn is a versatile singer and Clay is a guitarist who names Jimi Hendrix as one of his biggest influences.

    Kaitlyn began taking vocal lessons at age 7 and she's performed on The Maury Show, been featured on Oprah's website and sung at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. "I'd rather perform in front of a big audience than a smaller one," she said. "The only time I get nervous is if I think something is wrong, but usually I just let go and perform." Kaitlyn's musical influences are Elvis Presley, Hillary Duff and Hannah Montana (in her earlier years). "I'll pick songs I like to sing, but if they don't sound good or are too difficult, we'll change them," said Kaitlyn, who just began singing rock and pop songs last year. ...

  • Burton wins fourth Grammy for Paisley single
    By Donecia Pea
    (, February 10 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.
    Shreveport guitarist James Burton is still riding high from his Grammy win Sunday night. The rock 'n' roll legend picked up a Grammy Award with country music star Brad Paisley for best country instrumental performance for "Cluster Pluck," a track from Paisley's instrumental album, "Play." Burton played on the single alongside Vince Gill, John Jorgenson, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert and Steve Wariner, who all received Grammys for the single as well.

    "I was just really excited. It's a great honor," said Burton, who had just returned from Vienna, Austria, when he heard the news about his win. "Paisley is just such a great artist and great entertainer and guitar player. And for all of us to play on this one instrumental is fantastic."

    Burton said he was unable to attend the awards show due to his tight schedule, which includes traveling to Memphis, Tenn., and Nashville, Tenn., to record music for his latest project, a tribute album to fellow musician and friend Tony Brown. The win marks the fourth Grammy Award for Burton, who was lead guitarist for Elvis Presley from 1969 until Presley's death in 1977.

  • Northern People: Teen follows that dream - His respect for Elvis comes through in his act
    (Traverse City Record-Eagle, February 8 2009)
    Lip curl, gold lame jacket -- Thank you very much.
    For tribute artists, doing their best version of Elvis Presley is all about the details. For Jake Slater, a 17-year-old Elvis lookalike from Bellaire, it's just all about The King.

    He heard the first strains of "Hound Dog" at age 6 or 7 over his grandmother's Internet radio. Ever since, Slater is singin' all the time. He brought his Elvis act to area restaurants, clubs and last month's Saginaw King Fest, where he beat experienced tribute artists (don't call them "impersonators") to win his division.

    "It's never gotten old for me. There's always something new, and there's always something interesting to me. It's not so much the music that is my favorite part, but it's the person who he is," Slater said. "He did charitable things. He loved his mother... . If you can get past all of what people say about Elvis and see him for the person he actually was, you can respect somebody like that and actually wish there were more people like that now."

    The Bellaire High School junior fixated on Presley at a young age. He collected so many CDs, movies and memorabilia that his room "looks like a museum," and he discreetly practiced being Elvis. Around age 10, he and his parents were listening to a record when the boy announced, "Hey, I betcha I can dance like Elvis and sing like Elvis."

    "I definitely had studied. I had found that even when I was practicing, a lot of it came naturally," Slater said. "I had no idea that anybody had even ever made money off copying Elvis. I had heard of Elvis impersonators -- people who dressed like him and walked around Vegas. I didn't like that. To me, that was like a mockery of Elvis."

    His parents were his first audience, the living/dining room, his first venue.

    "We're a bit theatrical in our family, so it didn't surprise me," said mom Sherri Slater.

    From there, Slater studied Elvis in earnest, memorizing lyrics. He began with the ballads because they were slow and didn't require music. He sang at family parties, and each time grew more confident. Last fall, he performed publicly at area spots and in January entered his first contest.

    The inaugural Saginaw King Fest drew 19 tribute artists who performed in two eras, the "Early Years" and the "Vegas Years." Contest organizer Richard Rosenthal wasn't sure Slater was ready for that level of competition.

    "I was thinking, 'Wow. I know what he's up against. I don't want this kid to get discouraged when he gets his butt kicked,'" Rosenthal said. "But, when he got up and sang I felt like an idiot because here I am worried about this kid... (and) he basically blew the audience away."

    Slater won the "Early Years" division and performed with a live band against Vegas-era winner Kevin Bezaire of Ontario, who claimed the title "King of Saginaw." Rosenthal believes the teen has a future in the Elvis contest sub-culture, where judges critique vocals, appearance, performance and stage presence.

    "Everyone said, 'Watch this kid' because if he wants to, he is going to go places in this industry," Rosenthal said.

    Yes, "industry" is probably the right word. One estimate places the number of Elvis emulators around the world at 35,000. Official contests are licensed by Elvis Presley Enterprises. A jumpsuit can cost $2,000 to $3,000.

    Slater plans to sign up for more competitions but said only a handful of tribute artists make a living at their craft. His concerts run two to three hours and include 30 or more songs. He has about nine costumes created by a local seamstress, and his family dons matching shirts for his shows.

    "It's pretty overwhelming. It's breathtaking at times because I can't believe that the voice comes out of him, and sometimes you can't even tell if it's a record of Elvis," Sherri Slater said.

    Her son's routines inspired the same histrionics Elvis famously provoked -- tears and a certain look from fans when he hits the high notes. Slater was shy at first about his enthusiasm for Elvis. He knew it was a funny fascination for a kid born years after the King's death.

    "I had no idea that I would still be into Elvis at this age because even my family told me things and come go," Slater said.

    But Elvis is forever.

  • Chattanooga: Elvis fame opening doors for stepbrother's sermons: Elvis may have left the building, but his stepbrother has arrived here
    (Chattanooga Times Free Press, February 8 2009)
    Elvis may have left the building, but his stepbrother has arrived here.

    Rick Stanley, a longtime evangelist who was raised at Graceland in Memphis after his mother married Mr. Presley's father, recently was hired as director of ministry advancement and assistant to the president of Tennessee Temple University.

    "I'm the world's oldest hippie preacher," he said. "In this season of my life, I want to pour the next 15 to 20 years into helping students and really getting out into the community."

    For more than 20 years, since his graduation from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mr. Stanley, 55, has spoken about his life and testimony at churches, prisons, schools and other venues around the world. "He is quick to say doors open because of who his brother is," said David Wilhoite, development director at Tennessee Temple University, "but once you get to know him, there is so much more to him than Elvis' brother."

    Mr. Stanley was 6 when his mother married Vernon Presley. Moving into Graceland - with his older brother and younger brother - was akin to moving into Disneyland. As he grew up, he said, he met many other popular musicians - including the Beatles - and saw many incidents of his stepbrother's generosity, such as his purchase of a Cadillac for a woman who was looking longingly at one in a showroom.

    Later, Mr. Stanley said, he served as Mr. Presley's bodyguard and consultant. He was responsible for the singer's choice to wear leather onstage in the late 1960s, he said, but had no input on the iconic white jumpsuits Mr. Presley wore near the end of his career.
    v In his role as consultant, even as he battled his own demons of alcohol and street drugs, he had a first-hand look at the singeršs prescription drug addiction. "Everybody has issues," Mr. Stanley said. "He was a man after God's own heart, but he had a chink in his armor." Indeed, Mr. Presley, who made a profession of faith at the age of 10 and recommitted his life during a talk with evangelist Rex Humbard the year he died, "felt a call to preach but didnšt feel he had the ability," his stepbrother said.

    Mr. Stanley said even his last conversation with his stepbrother in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 1977, the day Mr. Presley died, concerned faith. Mr. Stanley said he told Mr. Presley about a woman friend who continually had prayed for him and telling him he could experience forgiveness for his wanton ways. "She's telling the truth,˛ the singer told his stepbrother. "Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the inside. People who talk about Jesus really care." Hours later, Mr. Presley died.

    Two months later, Mr. Stanley, with the encouragement of the woman who had been praying for him - now his wife - made a faith commitment and began his own ministry.

  • Elvis Presley Enterprises launches new campaign, exhibits at Graceland
    (Memphis Business Journal, February 4 2009)
    Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. has unveiled a new advertising campaign that will highlight the Graceland mansion and three new exhibits: Elvis in Hollywood, Elvis Lives: The King and Pop Culture and the addition of never-before-seen vehicles owned by Elvis in the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum.

    The campaign, which was developed by Memphis-based Combustion, will utilize print, outdoor, Internet and a new 30-second commercial featuring archival footage of Elvis.

    Scott Williams, vice president of marketing for EPE, says Elvis’ popularity on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace spurred the decision to increase Graceland's presence online by adding networking sites like Twitter, Bebo, Eventful and Flickr.

    "We want to make certain we provide fun tools that allow fans of Elvis to share their love of Graceland with other fans," Williams said in a statement.

    Memphis-based Elvis Presley Enterprises owns Graceland and the Heartbreak Hotel. The company also maintains a worldwide licensing program, merchandising, music publishing, and television, film, video and Internet projects for Elvis Presley's image.

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