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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.

Late February
  • Elvis Presley sang in the shower for Sir Tom Jones
    (The Sun, February 25 2009)
    SIR TOM JONES has revealed Elvis Presley once serenaded him -- as he was naked in the shower. Welsh star Sir Tom said the All Shook Up legend had come to see him perform. He was getting ready for the show in Las Vegas when Elvis, who died in 1977, said he had a tune he wanted to sing to him. Sir Tom, 68, said: "He couldn't wait. I was in the shower and I could hear Elvis Presley singing. "When I opened my eyes he was leaning over the door singing to me. I didn't have any clothes on. "I think he was checking me out."

  • Sid Vicious: from demi-monster to sleek cover boy?
    (The Globe and Mail, February 24 2009)
    Creamy white skin, sleepy, scary black eyes, a shock of spiky black hair and vivid arched lips, the colour of cherries.This is Sid Vicious all over the newsstands, on the cover of this month's Art in America, as painted by American contemporary artist Elizabeth Peyton. Peyton is also famous for her images of Kurt Cobain in a gold tiara and corset, and of Elvis Presley as a child ...

  • Hamburg High School Hall of Fame Nominees
    (Ashley County Ledger, February 23 2009)
    The Leadership Class of Hamburg High School has compiled a list of nominees for a Hamburg High School Hall of Fame. Readers are invited to vote on these candidates, and those selected will be recognized during a banquet in the spring.

    Ballots can be cast in the electronic poll at or there are ballots in the print edition of the Ashley County Ledger which can be clipped and returned to the Hamburg High School office on South Main. The nominees include

    ... Jimmy "Duke" Dumas
    Jimmy "Duke" Dumas was born on May 5, 1941, in Hamburg. By the age of nine he was singing professionally on the Southland Jamboree backed by the Riceland Playboys where he also began playing the guitar.

    At the age of 13 he met and backed Elvis Presley in El Dorado. He recorded several regional hits under the band's name The Toller Coasters from 1961 until 1964. Mr. Dumas has also worked in clubs, concerts, seminars, TV shows, and movies. Throughout his successful career he has worked with various artists including Elvis Presley, Floyd Cramer, the Oak Ridge Boys, Sam Cooke, Jimmy Swaggart, Ace Cannon, Jerry Reed, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Mr. Dumas recently worked on Memories of Elvis with Shaun Neilson and D.J. Fontana at Nashville Nite Life Theater. He is also a life member of the American Federation of Musicians. Mr. Dumas also recently released his first solo CD. He graduated from HHS in 1959 and lives in the Nashville, TN, area. ...

  • Get a Life: Some of today's singers need to exercise restraint
    By Loretta Laroche
    (Patriot Ledger, February 23 2009)
    QUINCY - I started taking singing lessons a few years ago to satisfy my urge to create a CD of my favorite songs. My favorite genre is jazz and Broadway tunes, but I also like classical music and a wide assortment of other styles.

    The one thing I can't stand is the lack of restraint that many of the "new singers" of the last decade incorporate into their repertoires. It seems that no matter what they're singing it has to have notes that are reminiscent of a Swiss milk maid yodeling as she hikes through the Alps. Why does every note have to have wobbles and wails attached to it? Some of them sound like they're birthing a calf.

    Perhaps it's because many songs today have very few lyrics that are memorable. The refrains are endless and could be used as techniques for interrogations. I know I'd spill the beans if I was told that I had to hear one of them for any length of time. I was.

    I was watching "American Idol" the other night, and I thought, "How are any of these people going to differentiate themselves from one another." Each one of them seemed to have the need to be part of the Alpine drama. I didn't honestly feel, with the exception of one young woman, that they had something truly unique vocally. OK, I know I'm sounding like my mother, who used to yell at me to turn down the record player when I was listening to Elvis Presley. (For those of you who don't know what a record player is, it was the precursor to tapes and CDs.)

    I think that Elvis had one heck of a great voice, however, and he didn't seem to have a need to go on and on and on with one note. He certainly knew how to belt out some of his tunes, but he also had the ability to be soft and sensuous. I find it interesting that many of the rockers like Sting and Rod Stewart have made albums that were from old standards. I loved their interpretations and found myself wanting to hear more. I know music constantly evolves, and it is necessary for it to do so. However, I can't help but wonder if any of the artists of today will last as long as Frank Sinatra and his music.
    Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, send e-mail to , visit the Web site at, or call toll-free 800-99-TADAH (82324).

  • Elvises get audience 'all shook up'
    By Joe Sweeney
    (The Buffalo News, February 22 2009)

    Of all the rock stars of the last 50 years, why is Elvis Presley the most impersonated?

    At least part of the reason is that the artist wasn't much more than an act himself - even though his contributions to music are undeniably important, Elvis was still a carefully packaged, strategically marketed pop star. His looks, moves and mannerisms were as crucial to his success as his musical talent, which was fairly anemic when compared with true rock originators like Chuck Berry and Little Richard.

    But no matter what you think about The King, a talented Elvis impersonator can be a good time. And on Saturday night in the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts, a pair of excellent King apers pretty much brought the house down.

    The first half of the night belonged to Scot Bruce, a California singer/songwriter and parttime soap opera actor who has turned his more-than-passing resemblance to Presley into a lucrative career. Bruce hit the stage in full 1950s Elvis garb — blood-red jacket, black button-down shirt, white tie and shiny, two-tone shoes. And from the opening tune, the Carl Perkins classic “Blue Suede Shoes,” it was clear that his vocal mimicry was going to be even more convincing than his looks.

    Concert Review

    Love Me Tender: The Ultimate Elvis Bash

    With Mike Albert and Scot Bruce on Saturday night in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, Amherst.

    On “Shoes” and subsequent hits like “All Shook Up,” “Love Me Tender” and “Devil in Disguise,” Bruce delivered every word in Presley’s honeyed tenor, trembling at just the right moments and never getting cartoonish. And the man knew the moves, gyrating his hips and shaking his entire frame into spasms in that classically controversial fashion.

    A crowd full of Elvis buffs drank it all in, reacting with equal fervor to the expected hits and lesser-known cuts like “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care” and the beautiful gospel nugget “Peace in the Valley.” “Can’t Help Falling in Love” was given a warm, loving treatment, and throughout it all, Bruce showed nothing but reverence to Presley’s legacy. Rock historians might argue his claim that “That’s All Right (Mama)” was a “brand-new sound” that fused R&B, country and gospel, something that Ray Charles had been doing for years, but his act was just too much fun to be a stuffy naysayer.

    And if Bruce’s performance was a loving homage, the second Elvis — Mike Albert of Columbus, Ohio — was undiluted entertainment.

    Albert’s re-creation of a 1970s Presley camp-fest was truly hilarious in a way that remained reverent to The King, combining the overblown arrangements of his later-period concerts with lots of audience interaction. Albert was decked out in a patently ridiculous white and gold jumpsuit, complete with two giant, rhinestone-encrusted suns on either side, and plenty of room to see the gold chains resting on a tangle of chest hair. His performance of songs like “I Got a Woman,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and “It’s Now or Never” was just as flamboyant, embracing Elvis’ total lack of vocal subtlety with tender loving care.

    Albert proved himself to be a bit of a comedian as well — while singing “Tryin’ To Get To You,” the singer pulled a woman out of her seat and serenaded her. After the woman embraced and kissed him with unexpected fervor for the rest of the tune, Albert presented her with an autographed silk scarf and gently reminded her, “I am an impersonator. This is 2009.”

  • Seeing music through Andy Warhol's eyes
    By Rachel Leibrock
    (Sacramento Bee, February 22 2009)
    Andy Warhol met Mick Jagger in 1964, and then, everything changed. The artist, already famous for pop art pieces that depicted Hollywood Technicolor icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, shifted his celebrity obsession from film to music and embarked on a quest to explore the relationship between sound and image until his death in 1987. ...

  • Stanford's Top Talent Hailed From Small Mississippi Town
    By Laurence Davidson, Michael Forsythe and Peter Robison
    (, February 21 2009)
    Baldwyn, Mississippi, was perhaps best known for its proximity to Elvis Presley's home town of Tupelo until this week. Now, it's becoming famous for a native son and daughter who were top executives in R. Allen Stanford1s company. ...

  • Heritage, authenticity are keys to project
    By Alexandyr Kent
    (, February 20 2009)
    Music tourism translates into a big business when the brand is right.

    In Memphis, Tenn., 4 million of its 10 million annual visitors flock to Beale Street. In Nashville, Tenn., nearly 3.7 million of 10.5 million annual visitors go for music-related tourism. In Branson, Mo., more than 6.5 million of its 8.4 million visitors attend live music and shows. Shreveport-Bossier City attracts 3.1 million visitors per year. The prospect of adding the Louisiana Hayride Music Village to the Bossier City riverfront - adjacent to the Louisiana Boardwalk shopping and entertainment development, which lures 6 million to 8 million shoppers annually - sounds promising.

    ... Turning history into tourism

    The trick will be leveraging the history of the Louisiana Hayride - a legendary radio show that launched the careers of Elvis Presley and Hank Williams Sr. - into a marketable, contemporary tourism draw. ...

    Ken Shepherd, father of blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, is a founding board member of FAME. He sees the Louisiana Hayride development working on two levels. For starters, music history lovers won't be able to resist it.

    "It's really interesting to me that it's hard to find any artist that doesn't know that Elvis was discovered there, or that Hank Williams Sr. got his start there," Shepherd said. If developers can connect that appreciation for history with music programming that captures a younger demographic, they could successfully pair the old with the new.

    ... Heritage matters most

    If Bossier City and the Louisiana Hayride Music Village can learn one big lesson from successful music tourism destinations, it's that authenticity matters. A lot. "The heritage has to stay in focus. You don't want to be an Anywhere, USA," said Regena Bearden, vice president of marketing for the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. "That's something that Memphis has done right." Tourists flock to Graceland because Elvis lived there. They go to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music because it is the original site of Stax Records.

    In Nashville, music tourism is a natural because the city's working music industry alone directly injects $2.64 billion into the local economy, according to a 2006 study. (Counting secondary spending and tourism dollars, the Nashville music industry totals a whopping $6.38 billion.) "More and more cities say we're going to capitalize on music," said Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's easier said than done. There has to be demand. The piece that you have to have is that it's authentic, that it's real, that it's a part of the fabric. That allows you to extend it into the clubs and into the marketplace."

    He also notes that history isn't an automatic draw. The city's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum attracts less than 500,000 visitors a year, he said. "At the end of the day, they need private event rentals. They need endowments."

    What Nashville can boast is decades' worth of live music that attracts live audiences. The Grand Ole Opry, Spyridon said, is "a historic icon that you want to see at least once during your life." ...

  • Music of the King provides solace
    ( / The Journal News, February 18 2009)
    Riverspace's Wednesday night at the movies presents 'Houndog' at 7: 30 p.m. The film is about a spirited young girl in 1950s rural Alabama who struggles to rise above the repression that surrounds her. She finds comfort and safety, as well as a place to put her hurt and rage, in the music of Elvis Presley. Film stars Dakota Fanning, Piper Laurie, David Morse and Robin Wright Penn.

    (, February 18 2009)
    Rock and roll legend ELVIS PRESLEY has beaten MADONNA as the pop idol fans would most love to meet. The legendary singer, who died in 1977, topped the list in a poll by digital broadcaster Music Choice, with the Material Girl in second place. Former Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and Beatles legend John Lennon came third and fourth respectively, while U2 singer Bono rounded out the top five.

    A spokesman for Music Choice says, "Classic hits hold more memories the older they are."

  • Top icon Elvis Presley
    ( / BANG Media International, February 18 2009)
    Elvis Presley has been voted the pop icon fans would most like to meet - despite being dead.
    The singer - who passed away at home in 1977 - narrowly beat '4 Minutes' singer Madonna to the top spot in a list which contained six dead stars. Queen frontman Freddie Mercury - who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991 - came in third, with assassinated Beatles legend John Lennon in fourth place. 'No Woman No Cry' singer Bob Marley, guitar hero Jimi Hendrix and The Doors frontman Jim Morrison were the other deceased stars to make the list, compiled by digital music channel Music Choice.

    ... Meanwhile, Elvis' former Memphis home, Graceland is celebrating its 70th birthday with new exhibitions about the 'Suspicious Minds' singer. Elvis In Hollywood examines the singer's movie career with memorabilia from his big-screen successes, while Elvis Lives: The King and Pop Culture shows the star in action via a video presentation. The Elvis Presley Auto Museum will introduce new additions, including the six-door Mercedes Benz limousine featured in 'Elvis on Tour'.

    The 70th Anniversary exhibition, included as part of the VIP Tour package, also features the original architectural drawings of Graceland, a signed cheque from Elvis for the down payment - $102,000 - on the home in 1957, the deeds to Graceland, which was built in 1939, and a video presentation that includes memories from those who lived there.

    Music Choice's Top 10 pop idols music fans would like to meet:
    1. Elvis Presley
    2. Madonna
    3. Freddie Mercury
    4. John Lennon
    5. Bono
    6. Bob Marley
    7. Jimi Hendrix
    8. Jim Morrison
    9. Michael Jackson
    10. Robbie Williams

  • Backup singer to Elvis and ex-Stamps Quartet member to perform in Fort Gibson
    Information: Terrill White
    (, February 17 2009)
    Trinity Family Worship, 500 E Poplar, in Fort Gibson, presents a special "Concert of Praise" with former Elvis Presley backup singer, and former member of The Stamps Quartet, Donnie Sumner, at 11 a.m. March 8.

    Sumner has been featured recently in the Gaither Homecoming videos. Admission to "Concert of Praise" is free and a love offering will be received for Sumner. Sumner, raised the son of a minister, enjoys all gospel music styles from foot-stompin'-hand-clappin' revival tunes to what has become known in today's market as contemporary sacred music, according to a media release.

    Having devoted more than 40 years of his life to music, Sumner has carried on the tradition of others in his family who also have made their mark in this industry. He is the nephew of the late J. D. Sumner, nationally acclaimed as the "world's lowest bass singer." Both Donnie and J. D. were closely associated with the late Elvis Presley on both his stage appearances and his recordings.

    Donnie Sumner is among the list of America's most renowned inspirational composers, having made numerous contributions sacred music's standard repertoire.

  • Elvis still generating big bucks
    By Neil Dowling
    (Perth Now, February 16 2009)
    ELVIS Presley's best mate Joe Esposito talks about the man, the money and the memories in an exclusive look at the extraordinary value of Elvis the asset.

    Even in death, Elvis Presley can't stop making money. The business of Elvis - Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) - last year turned over almost $100 million.

    EPE is majority-owned by New York Stock Exchange listed company CKX and is growing even when the US economy is faltering.

    CKX bought 85 per cent of EPE in 2004 for $US100 million (now about $150 million). The Presley family retains 15 per cent.

    CKX owns all of EPE's business activities except the music - Graceland and its tour operations, the Heartbreak Hotel across the street from Graceland, the trademark licenses for Elvis' likeness, songs and name.

    CKX also has a similar stake in the name, image, likeness and intellectual property of Muhammad Ali. In addition, it owns the American Idol TV show.

    The opening of the Elvis-themed cabaret show in Las Vegas this year which will follow in the lines of the successful ‘Love'’ show based on the Beatles will undoubtedly generate more substantial income for CKX.

    CKX also plans to demolish the 128-room Heartbreak Hotel, opposite Graceland on Elvis Presley Boulevard, to build two 400-room hotels, restaurants, an amphitheatre and shops.

    In the 2007 calendar year, CKX reported income of $US12.1 million on sales of $266.8 million - a 32 per cent jump on the previous year.

    But it's not just the big companies who live on Elvis.

    Elvis's long-time friend Joe Esposito - in Australia this week as a consultant to Gold Coast-based beverage distributor Global Beverage Marketers-Daiquiri Group - makes a living off touring the world talking about Elvis.

    "It's amazing. He's been dead for 31 years and he's still a big part of my life,'' Mr Esposito said from yesterday from the Gold Coast.

    "I have come from England and Ireland and now I'm in Australia, and then I'm in Sweden and France - I love it. I have a lot of answers and people just want to talk about Elvis.''

    Mr Esposito (71) retired in December after working as a casino host in Las Vegas.

    He first met Elvis in the late 1950's after they were both drafted in the US Army for duty in Germany.

    "I was an office clerk in Chicago and was drafted when I was 20. Most of the guys, including Elvis, were 23. I though getting drafted would change my whole world. It did," he said.

    "I met Elvis, we struck up a friendship and before I left the Army in March 1960, he asked me to come and work for him.

    "At my discharge from the Army I was told I had flat feet and a bad ankle. I was also too young. I shouldn't have been in the Army in the first place, yet it was fate. I met Elvis and he changed my life.''

    He worked for Elvis for 17 years, was the best man at Elvis' 1968 wedding, was a pallbearer at Elvis' 1977 funeral and went on to manage the Bee Gee's, Michael Jackson and John Denver.

    He was sacked five times by Elvis - usually an overnight event because it was forgotten the next morning - and endured the bitterness that came with a tell-all 1976 book "Elvis - What Happened?'' written by former Elvis bodyguards.

    "That book crushed him,'' he said.

    "It was all he talked about - `why did they say those things?' he would say. It hurt him tremendously.

    "The book, with all its negativity, depressed Elvis. He took pills and more pills. I think that 50 per cent of the cause of Elvis' death was that book.''

    "I don't care for those people (who wrote the book). They're not Elvis' friends.''

    The US has an estimated 30,000 Elvis impersonators, each with a business of unpublished worth and Mr Esposito believes Elvis wouldn't have minded being represented in that way.

    "They're doing something they enjoy and I'm sure Elvis wouldn't have been upset with that,'' he said.

    Mr Esposito is now charged with helping promote GBM's push to distribute beverages - primarily the German premium beer Krombacher - into the US casino and hospitality sector.

    Incidentally, Krombacher was the beer Mr Esposito drank while on duty with the Army in Germany in 1959.

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