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Elvis Presley News

August 2010
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Late August
  • Elvis festival fails to draw the fans
    By JOHN LAW, QMI Agency
    (, August 22 2010)
    The King was here, but his followers missed the memo. The first annual Niagara Falls Elvis Festival was marred by slim crowds and some angry vendors over the weekend.

    Most wondered why the event wasn't promoted more, and felt sorry for the top notch entertainers gathered at Oakes Garden Theatre. "One of the Elvis' said (on Friday), 'I'm not sticking around, there's no one to sing to,' " said vendor Sheila Szalai, who paid nearly $600 with her husband Karl to operate a jewelry booth for the three-day event. By Saturday afternoon, they had made just two sales. "We won't be back." ...

  • Elvis appears at Phoenix man's home
    By Jim Jagneaux
    (, August 22 2010)
    Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 at his home, Graceland Mansion, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42-years-old.

    While Presley's death shocked and saddened millions, his memory lives on among the thousands of fans who traveled to Graceland this week to celebrate the American icon's life.

    Thirty-three years after his untimely death, the third week in August has come to be known as "Elvis Week" by fans worldwide. For seven hot days each summer, Las Vegas casinos bring out their best talent, television networks pay tribute in their weekend movie line-ups, local deejays spin their favorite Elvis tunes, and no August would be complete without an Elvis sighting or two.

    Saturday night, a Phoenix man had just finished watching 3,000 Miles to Graceland when something strange happened. The 2001 hit starring Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner is about a gang of ex-cons who rob a Vegas casino during Elvis week. As the credits rolled and Elvis tunes played in the background, the man noticed a strange shadow on the blinds covering his sliding glass door. Somehow, something was casting a shadow that looked an awful lot like Elvis. Was it a sign? Does it really look like Elvis? Was it staged? You be the judge. Watch this video and tell us what you think.

  • The King is often imitated but never duplicated
    (, August 20 2010)
    A 6-foot-high statue of Elvis Presley has a new home at Rich Harvest Farm.

    The man once known as the King of Rock and Roll would have been 75 years of age this year, and for those who follow such historical happenings, this past week marked the anniversary of his death, still painfully remembered by a legion of followers.

    Elvis Presley represented the dawning of a new age to my generation as he became the most recognizable name in the rock and roll craze that engulfed the 1950s. When Presley sang Hound Dog or Don't Be Cruel, a generation stood up and took notice.

    Adults in authoritative positions were not overly enamoured of the spell he cast on teenagers, cautioning that this type of music went hand in hand with drugs and other
    The Pembroke I remember from the 1950s wasn't inundated with drugs, but addictions such as alcohol and tobacco were slowly trapping many of our citizens, both old and young. The only drugs most of us were aware of were sold at Rowan's or Discher's by prescription.

    But the bridge to Quebec had been newly opened and it was a short hop to the other side to get a quick high from booze sold out the back door of Quebec hotels to underage drinkers.

    Paranoia ran rampant when it came to Presley, as he gyrated and swiveled his hips on stage much to the pleasure of his young fans but to utter shock and horror from adults. Such was the hysteria that when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, the most popular variety show on television at the time, network executives dictated that the cameras focus on him only from the waist up.

    In an era that also featured Pat Boone, Fats Domino and Bill Haley and the Comets, it all seems so tame and innocent now when compared to the rock and roll invasion of the '60s and the sex, drugs and scandals that were rampant at the time.

    But regardless of Presley's stage actions or the negative effect he had on teenagers, even adults had to acknowledge that this special entertainer had an exceptional voice and charisma that held everyone spellbound.

    I never saw Elvis live in concert or ever came close to him, not unless you count the numerous impersonators I saw in tribute concerts. On a trip south last winter, my wife and I decided to take in an Elvis tribute show in Myrtle Beach. Anyone who has ever attended the numerous musical shows in this city will be aware that on entering the theatre you are invited to be photographed with some of the performers. The catch, of course, is that when you exit the theatre you are also invited to purchase the pictures for a price usually ranging from $20 to $30.

    Much to our surprise on this occasion, when entering the theatre we were face to face with Elvis, looking as fresh and lively as he did in the 1950s. As we posed for pictures with the King, Pierrette and I assured him that we were big fans from way back in the day. Forever beaming, he gratefully replied: "Thank you....thank you very much," in that inimitable Elvis voice.

    But as I watched this very exciting performance, it dawned on me that while there are now literally thousands of Elvis impersonators all over the world, one of the very first to ever attempt to imitate Elvis in the '50s was a young singer right in our very own town named Noll Sheedy.

    Noll was a talented young teenager with a gifted voice and a desire to perform. He also had a flair for hockey, so it was a tossup in which direction life would steer him. In his formative years, he rose through the ranks in our minor hockey system to tend goal for the Little Lumber Kings and Pembroke Domestics juniors in the early 1960s.

    Over six feet tall, he was an imposing figure in goal, blocking shots just as he was on a stage belting out songs. We grew up together in the west end and attended Holy Name School where we played for the school teams. Even as a bantam hockey player, big Noll was a looming figure and played defence mainly because of his size. Still vivid in memory are flashes of Sheedy on the blue line, lining up for a shot on goal and teammates and opponents on the ice all parting like the Red Sea.

    But it was as a musician that he made his mark, playing in local bands at various times with Clem Mousseau, Jim McCallum and Chuck Dupuis. Always pre- sent was his Elvis Presley routine and soon he was playing at summer resorts in Wasaga Beach and in hotels throughout the Ottawa Valley.

    Still a young teenager in 1957, he placed second in an Elvis Presley contest run by an Ottawa radio station when Presley played the old Auditorium. He and his band eventually cut a record titled "The Hern."

    There was a lively music scene in Pembroke in the 1960s with entertainers in demand at the Pembroke and Copeland Hotels and in Quebec hot spots such as Moorehead's, Chez Charles and Fred's in Chapeau. No one quit their day jobs, but local musi- cians were kept busy and Sheedy was one of the busiest. Often he would be on stage with North Bay country legend Irwin Prescott at Fred's.

    But the musical route to fame can be a long and troublesome road full of disharmony and flat notes, and some never complete the journey to the top of the mountain. Noll devoted his young life to his music and lived life to the fullest on his own terms. His was a life much too short to ever achieve all his goals and dreams. He died in 1976 at the age of thirty-four.

    Elvis Aaron Presley died a year later at the age of forty-two. He was the king of rock and roll, having ascended the mountain. But as so often is the case, fame is only fleeting.

    The legacy he has left is an "Elvis Presley impersonation industry" that a young Pembroke singer helped to perpetuate. But to true believers there can only be one Elvis. To many he will always be the King.

  • Blago's Elvis statue now in Sugar Grove
    (NEMS Daily Journal, August 20 2010)
    A 6-foot-high statue of Elvis Presley has a new home at Rich Harvest Farm.

    Keith Rich, son of Jerry Rich, founder of the Rich Harvest Farm and complex along Dugan Road, spent $20,500 this week to buy the life-size statue from a storage area auction of items belonging to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. An Arlington Heights storage company put items belonging to Blagojevich on sale because he did not pay his tab there.

    Keith Rich said he bought the statute for his mother, Betty. "She's a big Elvis fan," he said Friday afternoon, chuckling. "Others wanted it, so they bid it high. It's a piece of artwork."

    Rich said he is unsure what the statue actually is made of, but it was the highest-priced item sold among Blagojevich's keepsakes and papers. Rich admitted he purchased a few things besides the statue, including Blagojevich's office paper shredder. "It was a good day," he said. "It was fun, a lot of people were there and it went to a good cause."

    The estimated $30,000 raised during the sale will be donated to Children's Memorial Hospital.

    For the record, it appears the statue truly is life-size. Elvis was listed at anywhere from 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-2, but his U.S. Army records show him at 6 feet.

    Keith Rich bought this life-size statue of Elvis Presley at an auction Thursday of items that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich had stored at a facility in Arlington Heights and neglected to pay the bill. Rich is giving the statue to his mom, Betty, who lives in Sugar Grove.
    (The Associated Press)

  • Elvis' co-star attends screening
    By M. Scott Morris
    (NEMS Daily Journal, August 20 2010)
    Elvis' co-star in "The Trouble with Girls" wasn't a fan of his music when she met him. "I was always into show tunes," said Marlyn Mason, who portrayed Charlene in 1969's "The Trouble with Girls."

    Mason was in town Wednesday for a screening of the movie at the Lyric Theatre. She shared some of her memories, like the day she became an Elvis fan.

    "His special, the one with him all in black leather, came on TV when we were making the movie," Mason said. "I saw that, and I went to work the next day and said, 'You're talented. You're good.' That was an amazing special."

    Mason, 70, said the 10 weeks she spent making "The Trouble with Girls" were among the most enjoyable of her career. She thinks Elvis had fun, too.

    "He came on the set during his day off. That showed me another side of him. Nobody ever came to work on their day off," she said. "We were kind of like a family to him, I think."

    For about a 12-year span, Mason was on every television show known to Hollywood "except 'Gunsmoke' and 'Love Boat,'" she said.

    Her credits include appearances on "Bonanza," "Hoganšs Heroes," "Ben Casey," "Perry Mason," "Dynasty," "Newhart" and many more.

    ... This was her first visit to Tupelo. It provided a chance to visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace. It also let her meet people like herself, otherwise known as Elvis fans. "His brilliance was he was always natural. He never acted," she said. "He always gave 110 percent of himself and was never phony. Whatever he was that day, that's what you got, and he was great."

  • How do you rate Elvis Presley?
    (, August 20 2010)
    Last week was Elvis Week - apparently. That got me to thinking about Elvis Presley; about what he means in this day and age. I've always thought it odd that people write him off as being a marionette rock'n'roller - the token white guy used to represent songs from black guys.

    There's no denying that some of that is true. His producer, Sam Phillips, famously said "if I could find me a white guy that sounds like a black guy I'd make me a million dollars". And he did. And then he did.

    But Elvis wasn't a puppet. He brought a lot to the table. Right?

    I mean - I think so. But do you?

    The version of Elvis that we know today is either the comical, bloated, late-career Elvis that has been so often parodied the parodies are now caricatures of a satire. Or we know the early rock'n'roll songs and we think so what? Dime a dozen.

    But Elvis was an extraordinary performer - and before the jumpsuits were stretched to breaking point and could only ooze sweat, seeping through stitches, a virtually limitless charisma issued forth when he stood on stage, when he approached a microphone. Whether it be silly karate chops, a snarling pout, a brooding look - it was all part of the show.

    You don't believe me? Check out Elvis: That's the Way It Is. He puts a new spin, as it were, on being a whirling dervish; a physical embodiment of each and every song - playing a character to suit. And in the behind-the-scenes footage you can see that however technically limited he may have been as a musician, Elvis cared about every song and knew every part of every song. He not only surrounded himself with great musicians - he was a band leader, encouraging and driving the performance, aware of where everyone on his stage was and where they were with regard to each song. He was deeply aware of and involved with the arrangements, with the order, with the flow of the show. He lived the role.

    And you will get that in some of the earlier performance footage too. And of course in the '68 Comeback Special. But I've always preferred the material, two years on, from That's The Way It Is. The triple-CD soundtrack is a must-have, I reckon. Check out this version of Bridge over Troubled Water. A phenomenal reading.

    I guess I just want to ask your opinon of Elvis Presley, his standing - the value of his music and contribution. You see, growing up, I was aware of him, of course, but I didn't think much of him at all. It wasn't until I was in my 20s that I really started to hear the magic in his voice; in the selection of songs - the amount of ground he covered. And of course his impact as a performer, as a cultural icon.

    The best thing I've ever read about Elvis is Greil Marcus's essay at the end of Mystery Train (a great book). I think it provides the right context for an understanding of his worth.

    That and the concert/documentary Elvis: That's The Way It Is.

    But things like Elvis Week, like the various cartoonish Elvis impersonators and the rather fascinating but freaky documentary Altered by Elvis (worth a watch, but purely for amusement) do not convey the magic. They parade the weirdness; they make a mockery of the spectacle by trying to celebrate it. They insult the intelligence of music fans by reducing it to the basics: a handsome ham with big chops, a slick head of hair, some jumpsuits and action-figure swivel-hip action. That's fine - but that was only part of it.

    Elvis was the real deal. An incredible performer with superb instincts - making the best of his voice, channelling it through country, gospel, white-guy soul and of course its early rockabilly, rock'n'roll and near-blues croon.

    He traded on looks, sure, or was encouraged to. He netted movie roles and received a level of unprecedented fandom, both scary and influential.

    But at the end of the day - and before all of that - he was a great singer, a great performer, a great song-stylist and the early embodiment of rock'n'roll. Right? Or maybe you see it differently.

    So do tell.

    Do you rate Elvis: The King? Do you listen to his music these days? Did you grow up with it - or discover it later in life? Could you never see the fuss? Are you an Elvis-Psycho, all over Elvis Week? Or do you think Elvis was weak? What do you think of Elvis Presley? And is the legacy enhanced or tarnished by the ongoing jokes, sightings, impersonations, remixes and repackaging? Do you have favourite songs, albums or concerts? Do you have a particular era you like relating to Elvis? And if you really don't like him at all, don't see him as any kind of talent please say why.
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  • Elvis statue among Blagojevich items for auction
    (Rockford Register Star / AP, August 19 2010)
    An inflatable bounce house, a grill and an Elvis Presley impersonator - no, it's not a carnival, it's an auction of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's belongings.

    Boyer-Rosene Moving & Storage today planned to auction items from seven wooden storage units owned by Friends of Blagojevich. The company says the group owes thousands of dollars in fees that are past due.

    Items include a neon sign that says "Governor Blagojevich," a framed picture of Abraham Lincoln and a life-size statue of Elvis.

    The Elvis impersonator wore a white jumpsuit while singing "Jailhouse Rock."

    Helen Newsome from Algonquin came to the auction to see the Elvis statue. Newsome says the only good thing about Blagojevich "was that he was an Elvis fan."

  • Elvis Presley: Anniversary of Death Commemorated
    (, August 17 2010)
    Elvis Presley, rock 'n' roll legend, was remembered outside his Graceland home in Memphis as about 15,000 fans gathered to mark the 33rd anniversary of his death.

    Presley, who was said to have long abused prescription drugs, died of a heart attack at his estate on Aug. 16, 1977. He was 42 years old.

    The Memphis Commercial Appeal said his admirers carried candles to a flower-strewn grave Sunday night. They braved temperatures that reached 118 degrees on the "heat index," an Elvis fan said.

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