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Presleys in the Press

Elvis Presley News

July 2010
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 July
  • Elvis Presley's White Knabe Grand Piano Expected to Bring $1,000,000+ at Auction
    (, July 31 2010)
    Elvis Presley's beloved White Knabe Grand Piano, as featured in his music room at Graceland from 1957 to 1969, is expected to bring $1,000,000+ as the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions' SignatureŽ Elvis Memorabilia Auction, Aug. 14, in Memphis, TN.

    "This elegant musical instrument, so well-loved and played by Elvis, is presented with wonderful provenance back to the 1930s," said Doug Norwine, Director of Music & Entertainment Auctions at Heritage, "not to mention that it was an emotionally-charged prized possession of the King himself."

    The Knabe piano, besides being owned by Elvis for more than a decade, is a storied set of keys that occupied the position as the house piano in Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, TN from the early 1930s through 1957, when Elvis himself bought it and had it refurbished in white. Not only is it an instrument that Elvis loved to play in his own home, it is also the very piano played by his favorite gospel performers at revivals that Elvis attended as a boy, during which, as an enthralled member of the audience, he surely must have dreamed of his own future stardom.

    "During the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s, the stage at Ellis Auditorium was graced by the greatest local and national touring musical acts of the period including W. C. Handy, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, and certainly many, many others," said Norwine. "In 1957, this Knabe grand piano was sold during a remodeling project at the Ellis. He could have afforded any piano on the planet, but when Elvis heard this one was for sale, he didnšt hesitate."

    The piano is the emotional centerpiece of an auction that features a number of truly spectacular pieces of Elvis memorabilia, more than 270 in all, that reads like nothing less than a Pop Culture survey of the mid-Twentieth Century, when Elvis was ubiquitous and easily one of the greatest stars on the planet. ...

  • Elvis Presley Celebration Gig In Hyde Park
    By DeanN
    (, July 30 2010)
    Chris Evans, apparently something of an Elvis afficionado, will host the gig, and though there's no word yet on the line-up, a collection of "the greatest names in pop and rock" is promised. True fans are probably more concerned about what the catering will be like: expect plenty of Fool's Gold Loaf and peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. The King was long thought to have never stepped foot in England -- his sole UK appearance a whistle-stop tour of Glasgow's Prestwick Airport, commemorated by a plaque and lounge (not to mention a bizzare Kingsmill advert). However, in 2008, Bill Kenwright made the starling claim that Elvis had been taken on a secret trip around London in 1958, conducted by none other than pop rival Tommy Steele.

    Sadly this piece of pop trivia was debunked by one Lamar Fike, of the Memphis Mafia, who was living with Presley at the time, and said that he was the one who had the tour. Doesn't say much for Tommy Steele's eyesight, really.

  • Elvis Presley Spotlighted in Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Exhibit
    (, July 30 2010)
    Elvis Presley is spotlighted in a new exhibit, Loving You: Collecting Elvis Presley, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The exhibit honors the 75th anniversary of his birth year and will be located within in the museum's permanent exhibition through January 2011. Incorporating documents and artifacts from the Museum's collection, the exhibit examines his global appeal and the enduring support of his fans more than 30 years after his passing.

    The display includes a Munsingwear bathrobe and a Lord Nelson wristwatch owned by Presley, as well as collectible items bearing Presley's likeness, such as a bronze bust designed by Armand LaMontagne, a Christmas ornament, a bottle of Always Elvis white wine, a porcelain music box and more. Presley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998. ... In related news, Legacy Recordings will release Viva Elvis -- The Album in November. The project stems from Viva Elvis by Cirque du Soleil, a production at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The audio project mixes Presley's vocal tracks into a broad variety of new musical settings.

  • Tom Jones Praises Frank Sinatra's Character
    By Steve Baltin
    (, July 30 2010)
    With more than four decades of chart-topping success, Tom Jones has rubbed elbows with the titans of music. Few men still alive today can tell tales of hanging in a Las Vegas hotel suite singing gospel tunes with Elvis Presley or grabbing a drink with Frank Sinatra at Caesar's Palace, but the 70-year-old Jones can. Even after all he's accomplished in his legendary career, including the massive popularity of his new critically acclaimed 'Praise and Blame' album, the Welsh icon remains truly in awe of the things he's experienced.

    "Those people, they've gone on since. They've passed away, so I think, 'My god, I was there. I knew them. I knew these people,'" Jones tells Spinner. "It reminds me, when I'm telling people about it and they're going, 'Wow,' I'm still going, 'Wow' myself. It's a thing that I haven't gotten used to."

    Like any fan, Jones is proud of the photographic proof he has from hanging with the "chairman of the board." "I've got pictures to prove it. I used to have a drink with Frank at the bar in Caesar's Palace sometimes and I have a picture of that," he says. "He's got his hand on my shoulder, looking over my shoulder. A fan came over and saw us together and said, 'Oh my god, Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra at the same place. Can I take a picture?' And he said, 'If you want a picture, let's do it right.'"

    Jones is aware of the mythology surrounding Sinatra, saying, "Sinatra's had all kinds of things written about him in his private times," but he never witnessed that seedy side. "I saw him in his private time and he came across tremendous," he says. "He was huge as a person as a character and I got to know that."

    Tom Jones' 'Praise and Blame' is available now. On Aug. 5, he'll kick off a string of 14 shows at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

  • Elvis Presley's piano expected to nab $1 mil
    By Jill Serjeant
    ( /Reuters, July 27 2010)
    Elvis Presley's white grand piano and his 1955 contract with RCA Records are going up for auction in Memphis next month, with the piano expected to fetch more than $1 million, auctioneers said on Monday.

    The purchase agreement for the King of Rock 'n' Roll's Graceland mansion, and a letter Presley wrote in 1955 to his then girlfriend shortly after entering the U.S. army, are also among the highlights of the 270-lot Elvis Memorabilia auction on Aug. 14.

    The white Knabe piano was owned and played by Presley for a decade. The singer bought it in 1957 from the Ellis auditorium in Memphis where it had been played by visiting gospel performers for more than 20 years.

    The piano was placed in Graceland's music room until 1969.

    Doug Norwine, director of music & entertainment at Heritage Auctions said the piano was "an emotionally-charged prized possession of the King himself."

    The singer's personal services contract with RCA Records, signed by Presley, his father and his manager Colonel Tom Parker, is expected to fetch more than $150,000.

    Norwine said the contract marked the transformation of Presley from a popular southern act on the Sun Records label to an international superstar.

    The 1957 purchase agreement for Graceland is expected to fetch $35,000, and Presley's four-page handwritten letter to sweetheart Anita Wood in 1958 has an estimate of $75,000.

    Other items include Presley's personal address and phone book, a pair of custom gold-framed sunglasses and his gun.

    Presley died in 1977 at the age of 42 from heart problems after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs. Demand for his memorabilia remains strong with a single lock of his hair selling for $18,300 at auction last year.

  • Book Review: Return of the King: Elvis Presley's Great Comeback by Gillian G. Gaar
    (, July 24 2010)
    When it comes to Elvis Presley, most people tend to remember him in two distinct eras. One, as the rebellious rock and roll firebrand who forever changed the face of American culture with songs like "Heartbreak Hotel," even as he shocked the older generation with his appearances on television programs like The Ed Sullivan Show (shot from the waist up as they were).

    The other Elvis we remember more sadly is, of course, the bloated, more Vegas-y caricature of himself he had become in the years leading up to his death. It's not at all surprising that when America chose to honor the King with a postage stamp, they chose the former, far sexier Elvis over the latter.

    But Seattle based author Gillian G. Gaar's Return Of The King explores another Elvis altogether. For lack of a better description, you could call this third version of Elvis the "comeback Elvis." In this very well written and researched book, Gaar conducts new interviews with longtime fans and associates to gain a better perspective on Elvis' comeback period from roughly 1968-1971.

    During his carefully crafted, latter-day resurgence -- which began with the now legendary 1968 NBC TV Special most now refer to as "the comeback special" -- the King would record what many feel to be some of the strongest work of his career in songs like "In The Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds," and albums like From Elvis In Memphis.

    By 1967, after a string of bad movies accompanied by equally lackluster soundtrack albums, the once mighty "King Of Rock And Roll" had become largely irrelevant. With the sixties' rise of the Beatles, followed in short order by Bob Dylan and the psychedelic rock of groups like the Doors and Jefferson Airplane, the youth of America by now regarded Elvis as outdated and uncool -- a fact of which the King himself was painfully aware.

    In Return Of The King, Gaar revisits how an interesting group of players ranging from Elvis' notoriously controlling manager Col. Tom Parker to record company and television executives engineered his miraculous, if brief, artistic comeback -- even as they often seemed to be working against each other. Garr paints a particularly vivid picture of the intimate concerts taped in the NBC studios that would become the comeback special.

    For fans, her detailed, song-by-song descriptions of these shows are the real collective high point of the book. They instantly transport you there in such a way as to send you scrambling to dust off that old DVD copy of the 1968 comeback show.

    Equally interesting are behind-the-scenes accounts of the various attempts by Parker and others to water down the presentation in such a way as to potentially sabotage it. The backstage stories of a very nervous pre-show Elvis (he repeatedly asks anyone willing to listen if "you think they'll like me?"), reveal a far more insecure and even vulnerable King Of Rock And Roll than one would normally picture in such a towering figure of American culture.

    Gaar also recounts the American Studios sessions for From Elvis In Memphis, an album many regard to be his finest. As was the case with the comeback special, Parker and various RCA suits nearly derail the album over issues like publishing rights. But ultimately producer Chips Moman, along with the seasoned crew of Nashville session musicians, is able to rein the session and the egos in by asserting control in a way that Elvis was previously unaccustomed to. Here again, Gaar's detailed account of the sessions is an eye-opener.

    From there, Return Of The King jumps right off into Elvis' subsequent decline, following the triumphs of 1968-1971. What's never fully explained here is how or why Elvis' allowed this to happen after fighting so hard to regain control of his career, and especially after winning that battle. Exactly why the same record company practice of glutting the market with inferior product is repeated -- particularly after it had already come close to destroying his career once before -- is never really made clear, nor is why Elvis himself once again surrendered complete control over these decisions to Parker and others.

    What does become clear though is that it had a deep personal impact on Elvis. In mostly shutting himself out from the outside world, he became bored artistically, and deeply depressed and lonely on a personal level. In a modern-day context, perhaps Michael Jackson provides the closest comparison to this sort of isolation.

    Return Of The King is also dotted with numerous interesting anecdotes about Elvis along the way, such as how he originally met George "Dr. Nick" Nichopoulos, and how Parker deep-sixed a deal that would have given Elvis a much coveted serious acting role alongside Barbra Streisand in A Star Is Born. Garr also devotes nearly an entire chapter to the infamous story of Elvis' meeting with then President Richard Nixon to offer his services in the War On Drugs (as it turns out, all he wanted was the badge).

    Return Of The King is a well written and researched effort by Gaar, that also contains just enough new information to qualify as a welcome addition to any Elvis fan's library. It is also one of the more engrossing reads about Elvis' "comeback years" to come down the pike in awhile.

  • Elvis autopsy tools removed from auction
    By Belinda Goldsmith
    ( / Reuters, July 25 2010)
    A grisly collection of autopsy tools used to prepare Elvis Presley';s body has been removed from auction after doubts were raised about their provenance and authenticity.

    Chicago-based Leslie Hindman Auctioneers last week said rubber gloves, forceps, lip brushes, a comb, eye liner, needle injectors, and a toe tag, all of which were used on Presley ahead of his funeral in 1977, would go on sale on Aug. 12.

    The instruments were said to have been saved for years by an anonymous, retired embalmer at the Memphis Funeral Home. The auctioneer estimated a sale price of up to $14,000.

    But Mary Williams, a spokeswoman for the auction house, said the instruments had been withdrawn from auction after the funeral operator laid claim to them.

    "Due to questions of ownership, the retired embalmer and his son have decided to turn over the property to the Memphis Funeral Home and its parent company, Service Corporation International , with the intention of donation," Williams said in a statement.

    Memphis Funeral Home President E.C. Daves also told The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Tennessee that there was no way to tell whether the items being offered for sale were authentic.

    He said the retired embalmer claims he took the items after Presley was embalmed, but another employee told him the equipment was sterilized and used again.

    Daves said the funeral home had no plans to take any legal action if the items were returned.

    When announcing the sale last week, Williams admitted the auction may be controversial as some people "are going to be disappointed" by the sale of these items.

    Elvis memorabilia, however, is always in strong demand with a lock of his hair selling for $18,300 at an auction last year.

    Presley died from heart problems after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs on Aug. 16, 1977, at the age of 42 but he continues to be one of the top earning dead celebrities, bringing in $55 million in 2009 according to

  • Elvis Presley's autopsy kit goes under hammer
    By Daniel Lippman
    (, July 21 2010)
    AUTOPSY tools used to embalm and prepare Elvis Presley's body for his funeral in 1977 and a toe tag used on the singer for identification purposes are set to go under the hammer at a Chicago auction house.

    The instruments up for sale at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on August 12 include rubber gloves, forceps, lip brushes, a comb and eye liner, needle injectors, an arterial tube and aneurysm hooks, all of which the auction house say were used only once.

    The collection, saved for years by a senior embalmer at the Memphis Funeral Home who wishes to stay anonymous, also includes a toe tag marked "John Doe" which was used as a replacement after the original was stolen by a fan during chaos at the hospital. "The mortician, who prepared the body, retained this tag and the instruments, along with the preparation room case report, the case sheet, dry cleaning tags, the hanger to the singer's suit and tie and the coffin shipping invoice, which are marked 'Elvis Presley'," said Mary Williams, a spokeswoman for Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

    The items will be sold in two lots, and the auction house estimated the lots will sell at between $6,000-8,000 and $4,000-6,000, respectively.

    Williams admitted the auction may be controversial as some people "are going to be disappointed" by the sale of these items but Elvis memorabilia was always in strong demand with a lock of his hair selling for $18,300 at an auction last year.

    Elvis died from heart problems after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs on August 16, 1977, aged 42, but he continues to be one of the top earning dead celebrities, bringing in $55 million in 2009.

  • Instruments from Elvis' embalming to be auctioned
    (, July 21 2010)
    Instruments used in Elvis Presley's autopsy and embalming are going up for auction in Chicago, including the "John Doe" toe tag used after the original was stolen amid the chaos at the hospital following his death.

    Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will hold the auction Aug. 12, four days before the 33rd anniversary of Presley's death.

    The auction house said Tuesday that all of the items used in the autopsy and funeral preparations will be available, from rubber gloves and forceps to a comb and eye liner. Even the coffin invoice and the hanger used to hold Presley's burial suit will be sold.

    The items were saved by the senior embalmer at the Memphis Funeral Home, which prepared the singer's body. The items will be auctioned in two sets valued at up to $6,000 and $8,000.

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