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Elvis Presley News

April 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.

  • EU ensures that rock's oldies will bring in goodies for longer
    By David Charter
    (, April 24 2009)
    Ageing rock stars were given the hope of a boost to their pensions yesterday after the European Parliament voted to extend performance copyright from 50 to 70 years. The news marks a partially successful end to a campaign led by Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Paul McCartney and Roger Daltrey to keep the royalty cheques for their early hits rolling in. However, the wheels of the EU have turned too slowly for them to continue to profit from some of their most venerable work. ... This means that Sir Cliff will lose control of income from his first hit, Move It, as well as from Living Doll, his fourth single, written by Lionel Bart and recorded in late April 1959, which sealed Cliff's place as Britain's answer to Elvis Presley. ...

  • Ann-Margret to get honorary Rocky doctorate
    (, April 22 2009)
    Actress Ann-Margret will be the guest of honor at the Rocky Mountain College President's Reception and Dinner on May 9. Her career spans starring with Elvis Presley in the 1960s to "Grumpy Old Men" with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in the 1990s, to today, when she has four movies in production. ...

  • You're either over the hill or close to it if . . .
    (, April 22 2009)
    You still can't believe that all that Priscilla Presley got out of Elvis when they divorced was $750,000. ...

  • Elvis to play the NEC!
    (Shropshire Star, April 22 2009)
    Here's something we never thought we'd announce. Elvis Presley is to perform in concert at the NEC . . . sort of.

    In fact a live band, including some of the King’s original musicians will be playing live to a giant video screen featuring some of Elvis’s most celebrated performances.

    It’s the famed production which was the high point of Elvis Week 2007 when it was performed as the 30th Anniversary Concert at the Fedex Arena in Elvis's home city of Memphis, Tennessee. Now, two years on, Elvis is on tour “One More Time”.

    The tour arrives at the LG Arena on Saturday, February 20, 2010. Tickets priced £33.50 and £35 plus booking and transaction fees go on sale at 9am this Friday, April 24.

    Members of the TCB Band, Sweet Inspirations, The Imperials and Full Orchestra under the direction of Joe Guercio will perform a full two-hour concert including Elvis’s greatest hits and performances.

    Elvis sings lead vocals on video, as his songs and arrangements are played live by 21 musicians including some of his original band mates, backing vocalists and full orchestra.

    The producers have edited together a collection of Elvis’s finest concert performances that exist on film and video and removed all sound from the footage except for Elvis’s vocal track.

    The Elvis footage is projected on state-of-the-art video screens. All music heard in the concert production is performed live.

  • Elvis fan club's license plate is fit for a 'King'
    ( / AP, April19 2009)
    Elvis Presley always wanted a youth center in his birthplace of Tupelo. Fans hope a new specialty license plate will help pay for it, more than 50 years after the rock ‘n’ roll icon came up with the idea.

    The Tupelo Elvis Presley Fan Club pushed the tag through the Mississippi Legislature last year. The club needs to collect 300 applications to ensure production of the plates featuring an image of Elvis over a picture of his birth home. They hope to hit that goal by May 10. About 120 applications have been gathered so far from supporters who will pay an additional $31 for the tag.

    Club president Scott Reese said Elvis held benefit concerts in Tupelo in 1956 and 1957 to raise money for a new youth center, but it was never built. The club hopes to form a partnership with the city and the Tupelo Aquatic Club and use proceeds from the plate to build a center that would include a pool and dressing rooms, Reese said Tuesday.

    ... Presley moved to Memphis, Tenn., when he was 13, but never forgot where he grew up.

  • Playing to the Gallery: From paintings of pop stars' bedrooms to videos that celebrate rave, contemporary artists seem infatuated by the mystery of music
    By Laura Cumming
    ( / Observer, April19 2009)
    Pop stars, pop artists - that is where it all begins, the romance between contemporary music and art. It is no coincidence that two of the defining images of the 60s just happen to be love letters to the greatest voices (and faces) of the day: Mick Jagger and Elvis Presley.

    Andy Warhol's Elvis (1963), with his ominous stare, is literally printed on a silver screen - a still of a movie image. In one half of the diptych he performs in sharp black and white, in the other he is already dissolving into the glittering shadows of legend. And Richard Hamilton's deathless Swingeing London 67, showing Jagger cuffed in the back of a police van after being sentenced for possession - the handcuff solid sparkling silver - is just as much of a votive icon. The establishment's last attempts to hold back the tide, the beautiful rebel shielding his eyes against the paparazzi glare: songs of revolution in the air.

    From the 1950s onwards, our art colleges may have nurtured some of the most influential names in music. But in the past couple of decades, the creativity has gone both ways to such an extent that there is now time-honoured continuum. ...

  • Gospel group's roots trace back to 1934
    (, April18 2009)
    For nearly 50 years, Ron Blackwood of the Blackwood Quartet has been mesmerizing audiences with the harmonies of "He Teaches Me," "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" and other gospel favorites. He knew Elvis Presley, he's performed with big names and notyet-big names and he likes to relax by watching Bill O'Reilly.

    ... Ron Blackwood's musical roots began in 1934 in Mississippi. His father R.W. began singing baritone with the group as a 13-year-old. The Blackwood Brothers were Doyle, James and Roy Blackwood. Vardaman Ray and Gene Cartledge rounded out the group, which would evolve into a famous singing family. The quartet moved to Memphis in 1950. Four years later, the Blackwood Brothers lineup of Bill Shaw, James Blackwood, R.W. Blackwood, Bill Lyles, with Jackie Marshall on piano, won a national talent competition.

    But tragedy struck just 16 days after the award. Ron's father died in a plane crash in Clanton, Ala., along with Lyles and a friend who wasnıt in the quartet. Ron had a difficult time for many years following. He was 13 at the time of the crash.

    "I hated the world," he said. "I hated God. Daddy was my hero. I had all that anger. I was unruly," he said.

    Soon after, Ron said, he turned back to God. And turned to another gospel great in his family's circle, J.D. Sumner.

    "He took my daddy's place when he died. I was an idiot back then. J.D. said to me, 'I love you no matter what you do; I'm here for you.' It was a turning point. Time has really helped."

    Sumner took over Lyles' bass part in the quartet, and R.W. Sr.'s brother Cecil did the baritone part. In the following years, Sumner and James Blackwood became the first to customize a bus for group travel and are the also founders of the National Quartet Convention. Sumner, as well, contributed to the Blackwood Brothers as a songwriter.

    Elvis Presley was inspired by the group's bus. Upon seeing it, he went out and had one made for him. A replica of the early Blackwood bus can be seen at the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

    Ron Blackwood remembers Elvis with affection. While recognizing the late singer's problems with prescription drugs, he counted him among his friends.

    "One time he looked at me and he said, 'I'd give anything to sing with the Blackwood Brothers.' Sometime later we were in Vegas and I saw him and said, 'Elvis, if you sang with the Blackwood Brothers, no one would know who you are.'

  • One night, three Elvis artists to boost Jr. Football
    (madison_eagle, April 17 2009)
    DLB Productions will present "The Greatest Elvis Tribute Show On Earth" on Saturday evening, May 30, at the Madison Junior School, 160 Main St., with a portion of the proceeds dedicated to the Madison Junior Football program. The evening will offer three tribute artists ­ Doug Church, Jim Barone and Rick Virga - portraying Elvis Presley at three distinct stages in the King's career. ...

  • Elvis pal Red West discovers 'Solo' stardom at age 72
    By Stephen Schaefer
    (, April14 2009)
    Some actors hit stardom overnight. Others, like Red West, take a longer route to fame. At 72, West has his first leading role since he began acting 40 years ago, in the critically acclaimed "Goodbye Solo."

    "I wanted to be in movies since I saw Roy Rogers as a kid. I never thought this would happen," said the Memphis native. West grew up with Elvis Presley, joined his entourage, then became a stuntman. ...

  • Music Review: Elvis Presley - Elvis: The King Of Rock 'N' Roll - The Complete 50's Masters
    By David Bowling
    (, April13 2009)
    Every once in awhile you have to clear the musical palate and return to basics. Elvis Presley may not have invented rock n' roll but he helped to establish the form and his music is always a nice place to visit.

    I can't count the number of Presley compilations that the RCA Label has released since his death over thirty years ago. The Decade Sets remain the most comprehensive and best of those releases. I recently reviewed From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60ıs Masters and Walk A Mile In My Shoes: The Essential 70's Masters, which as representative of their respective decades have some ups and downs. Elvis: The King Of Rock 'N; Roll - The Complete 50's Masters has no such problem as it presents the heart of the Elvis catalogue. It was this 1950s material that made him a household name and established rock as a commercial and cultural presence in The United States. The music contained in this box set was essential in steering rock 'n' roll from its country and rhythms and blues origins to the advent of The Beatles sound in 1963.

    This massive 140 track, 5 CD set contains every original master released by Elvis Presley during the 1950s plus 14 unreleased performances. The huge booklet contains an excellent biography, notes from each session, and a number of pictures from the era. When you add it all up you have one of the better box sets in existence and certainly one of the most essential.

    Disc one traces Elvis' evolution from country rockabilly singer for the Sun label to his earliest releases for RCA. Songs such as "Thatıs All Right," "Mystery Train," "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone," and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" have a raw appeal as they present the pre-rock Elvis who is still in a developmental stage. By the Time "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Blue Suede Shoes" blast out of the speakers that development is complete.

    Discs two through four are the heart of the release and of the early soul of rock 'n' roll. "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," "All Shook Up," "Jailhouse Rock," "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck," and others are still instantly recognizable a half century after their release. In addition his entire Christmas album is included plus his first gospel recordings also make an appearance. Through good times and bad Elvis would always be sincere when recording holiday and spiritual songs and contained here are some of his best which also provide a nice counterpoint to the rest of the material.

    Disc five is the only one that I could have done without. I think RCA meant well but the fourteen unreleased songs are just different versions of his better known hits. I just donıt need a slow version and an up-tempo version of "Loving You." After a listen for curiosity sake it is not a disc I return too.

    Realistically five hours of music and a high price may be more time and money many people want to invest. There are certainly more modest ways to explore the Elvis legacy. However, if you want to celebrate some of the best music in history and the roots of rock 'n' roll, this box set is the place to start.

  • Wanda Jackson still going strong
    By Andrew Gilbert
    (San Jose Mercury News, April 9 2009)
    When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame passed over rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson her first time on the ballot four years ago, some of her fans and admirers decided to take matters into their own hands. Elvis Costello drafted an open letter to the nominating committee, making a compelling case for Jackson's enduring impact as rock's first babelicious bad girl. ... Someone clearly got the message, because the next time the Oklahoma native came up for a vote, she carried the day. Last week, Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall as an "early influence," a category that fits well enough but doesn't quite capture her foundational role in rock's amalgamation of R&B and country music.

    ... Her latest CD, 2006's "I Remember Elvis," is a tribute to Elvis Presley, with whom she toured widely from 1955 to 1957. They even dated for a while, and after the romance he remained a musical confidante who played an essential role helping Jackson make the tricky transition from country to rock 'n' roll. "He said, 'You can see it's the kids who are filling our auditoriums,' " Jackson recalls. "'Before our songs were aimed at adults, but the kids are the ones buying the records and coming to concerts. They have a voice, you need to do songs that appeal to them.'

    "I'm just a country singer, I can't do that! 'Sure you can.' He'd take some song that I knew, and show me how he would do it, and I got the hang of it." A quick perusal of YouTube clips from various television shows featuring Jackson singing "Hard Headed Woman," "Let's Have a Party" and "Rock Your Baby" makes it evident that she more than got the hang of it. She handles the driving beats with aplomb, delivering the lyrics with a sexy growl, looking sweet and sounding tough. At the time, there were so few women in rock that she had to start writing songs to keep herself supplied with material. ...

  • Rockin': Some Ticket Prices Down For Elvis Fest: Tupelo Festival This Weekend
    ( / AP, April 8 2009)
    Organizers of Tupelo's Elvis Presley Festival are trimming some ticket prices to make the June event more affordable to the public. ... Festival co-chairman John Avila has said the ticket price drop is in response to "realistic expectations" about visitor spending in a troubled economy.

  • Sale of Limited Edition Elvis Series Harley-Davidson Motorcycle to Salute the King of Rock 'n' Roll and His Reign in Las Vegas
    Source: Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
    (Yahoo! Finance, April 7 2009)
    To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Elvis Presley's triumphant return to live performances in Las Vegas in 1969, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) and Graceland Harley-Davidson are offering a special edition 2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide with Elvis imagery and additional extras worthy of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Beginning April 19th, 2009, this limited edition of five bikes will go on sale at a cost of $50,731.69 each. From the front fender to the rear wheel, the world has never seen a bike like the Vegas Elvis Harley-Davidson Street Glide with its customized Elvis packaging. ...

  • Elvis Presley and 'King Creole' help Cocktail Film Festival pour another round
    Posted by Mike Scott, Movie writer, The Times-Picayune
    (, April 7 2009)
    I'll drink to this: The second Cocktail Film Festival is being served up Saturday night (April 11) at the W New Orleans, with a trio of spirited movies on tap. It all starts at 4 p.m. with the locally shot 1958 Elvis Presley film "King Creole". It will be followed at 8 p.m. by 1988's Tom Cruise crowd-pleaser "Cocktail" (which turns 21 this year, festival organizers point out), and director Baz Luhrmann's 2001 trippy musical-drama-romance "Moulin Rouge" at 10 p.m. Refreshments inspired by each movie will be on hand. ...

  • Elvis impersonators to compete in N.H.: Each will have 15 minutes to perform
    (, April 6 2009)
    How many Elvis Presley impersonators does it take to make an Elvis festival? Twenty, but they prefer to be called Elvis tribute artists, or ETAs, thank you very much. Wannabe-Elvises from as far as England and Australia will come together to compete for the title of ultimate Elvis tribute artist at the first annual New England Elvis Festival, taking place Sept. 4-6 in Manchester, N.H. ...

  • Artist says his Elvis tribute is 'respectful'
    (, April 6 2009)
    Those who love Elvis Presley's music will not want to miss "The Voice of Elvis and Legends Texas Tour" concert at 6 p.m. March 12 at the Bayou Theater on the University of Houston at Clear Lakeıs campus, 2700 Bay Area Blvd. Award-winning second-generation tribute artist Jesse Aron, 33, of Wisconsin, will perform from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. taking on two roles - Elvis and Roy Orbison. ...

  • Shake, racquet and roll with Elvis
    By Dom Joly
    (, April 6 2009)
    Now I presume that you all know where Elvis died. On the bog at Graceland, an undignified end for a man who'd sold over four hundred million records. Did you know, however, what "the King" was doing before his last trip to the bathroom? I was visiting Graceland this week as part of a huge American road trip and discovered the answer. "The King" had been playing racquetball.

    I didn't really have him down as a sportsman. I thought the most exercise he'd do was pressing the remote controls on the three televisions in his underground den. It turns out, however, that Elvis was obsessed with the game - so much so that he had his own court built in the grounds of Graceland.

    I visited the court, which he had overseen the building of with some pride. Sadly, the actual playing surface was no longer there, as the building has been requisitioned to house some of the thousands of gold and platinum discs he received.

    ... I wish that footage of him playing the game existed. I just can't help wondering what Elvis's sports outfits would look like. There'd be sequins, lots and lots of sequins - that's a given. How about the flares? These are remarkably impractical for sporting purposes, as are capes, platform heels and collars that rise halfway over your head. At least the goggles would not be a proble - he could have a pair specially made that looked just like his trademark sunglasses, so all would not be lost.

    Outside Graceland is a myriad of supremely tacky stores selling absolutely everything that you can think of with Elvis's face on it. At least, I thought that they'd thought of everything - there was no Elvis sportswear to be seen. I really think that they've missed a trick here ...

  • Tuneful tribute to Sun Records
    By Kevin W. Smith
    (Arizona Daily Star, April 5 2009)
    The old Sun Studio in Memphis, Tenn., was the early home of some legendary music artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and B.B. King.

    On Wednesday, a tribute concert, "Good Rockin' Tonight - A Salute to Sun Records," will feature the classic music of Sun Studios performed by the talented lineup of Robert Shaw, Mr. Boogie Woogie, Steve Grams and Danny Krieger. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. The cost is $25. Call 882-9721 for ticket info.

  • Metallica, Run-DMC headed to Rock Hall of Fame
    ( / AP, April 5 2009)
    Hello, Cleveland. It's been a while. Just as Derek Smalls, the fictional bassist for Spinal Tap yelled as he and his bandmates stumbled around backstage looking for a Cleveland stage in the iconic rockumentary, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony found its way back to this self-proclaimed rock capital on Saturday. And the night was expected to be loud, rowdy and spontaneous - more rock concert than scripted celebration.

    Back in Cleveland for the first time since 1997, the no-holds-barred show, previously held in New York's Waldorf-Astoria, was open to the public. Nearly 5,000 fans crammed the balconies inside renovated Public Auditorium and overlooked the 1,200 VIPs paying as much as $50,000 for a table.

    Heavy metal heroes Metallica, whose menacing sound has inspired headbangers for nearly three decades, headlined the eclectic 2009 class that included rap pioneers Run-DMC, virtuoso guitarist Jeff Beck, soul singer Bobby Womack and rhythm and blues vocal group Little Anthony and the Imperials.

    Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson will be inducted as an early influence. Drummer DJ Fontana and the late bassist Bill Black - both of Elvis Presley's backup band - and keyboardist Spooner Oldham will enter in the sidemen category. ...

  • Elvis's secret trip to England
    (, April 2 2009)
    ELVIS PRESLEY once paid a secret visit to England, it emerged last night. For 50 years it was thought that the king of rock 'n roll had never set foot in the country, with a sole visit to Scotland his only time in the UK.

    But yesterday theatre tycoon BILL KENWRIGHT revealed Elvis, then 23, visited his pal TOMMY STEELE in 1958. Mr Kenwright said: "Elvis flew in for a day and Tommy showed him round London. He showed him the Houses of Parliament and spent the day with him." Entertainer Tommy, 71 - regarded in the 50s as the UK's answer to Elvis - said: "It was two young men sharing the same love of their music."

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