Book review of “Elvis Aaron Presley”

Elvis Aaron Presley by Alanna Nash, Billy Smith, Lamar Fike, and Marty Lacker (1996 reprint) is an excellent book.

This book can be found online as well as on www.Amazon.com.

 

WHY you ask?

 

Well, I will tell you.

 

First and foremost these individuals were with Elvis, including Billy Smith who was Elvis’ cousin, for either (a) all of his life and/or (b) the vast majority of his life.

 

Secondly, Marty Lacker is an honorable honest and faithful friend of Elvis’ and been an Elvis Presley (facts both good and not so good) confidant since the early 1960s.

 

Lamar Fike was a funny, caring, and sincere man who never left a room before leaving his laughter/sense of humor on everyone. Sadly Lamar Fike passed away recently and our prayers remain with his family, friends and loved ones.

 

Billy Smith was with Elvis the day of his death and played racquetball with Elvis (as Elvis could not sleep). Sadly, Billy Smith was the last person on earth to hear/see Elvis sing a song (as Elvis played the piano which was outside his racquetball court in the same building and the song he played/sang was “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”).

 

Alanna Nash is the foremost author concerning Elvis Presley. Her writings are “sourced” and her writing style leads the reader effortlessly throughout this book and each of her books.

 

One of the great things about Alanna Nash’s writings are that she puts things into context that may be controversial but are necessary to fully examine various aspects of Elvis’ life onstage and off.

 

The stories contained in this book are memorable and the individuals who wrote this book are exceptional men (individually and collectively). They were proud of being Elvis friends and they loved him…and he loved them as well.

 

That alone, ladies and gentlemen, is reason enough to get this book and learn more about the world’s greatest entertainer and the man himself.

 

Take care and God bless.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

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Elvis week memories @ Graceland (Part 1 of 3) by Jeff Schrembs

1982 Graceland009

Graceland was officially open to the public the first week in June of 1982 (being the 7th).

It had been five years since I was last in Memphis, having drove from Kentucky after hearing the news of his passing on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42. Even five years later there were so many unanswered questions and we still were dealing with the reality that shuch a man, such an entertainer, had been so unhealthy and wasn’t able to work though the depression, the dependency, and the tolls that each one put on Elvis the man – the father – the son – the employer – and even the entertainer. As fans we loved him nonetheless.

The crowds were from all over the world. With folded signs, overflowing flowers, and even giant cards where everywhere the crowd turned.

We all waited to start the tour that we had been reading about, hearing about, and planned. We didn’t have the internet or iphones but we had the post office and we had access to CB radios and boy did it help. Short wave radios were another tool to be used in our communication arsenal.

With the announcement of the EPE employee of ” welcome to Graceland Elvis Memphis home the tour will start in a few minutes”.

What was inside those walls? We knew abut the false walls. We knew about the secret driveway through the Church and we even knew about the “top secret” storage area on the Graceland grounds which was (a) not part of the tour and (b) never discussed by any staff.

TO BE CONTINUED

Jeff Schrembs
http://www.ElvisCollector.info
http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

Humes High School dedication to Elvis Presley

On Tuesday August 13, Elvis Presley, along with high school classmates George Klein and Red West, will have a plaque dedicated in their honor at Humes High School in Memphis. Elvis Presley’s friend, George Klein, announced this on Sirius XM’s Elvis Radio station on Friday.

Radio DJ George Klein, nicknamed “GK” by Elvis, met Presley in the 8th grade at Humes High School and remained good friends with The King until his death. Elvis was the best man at Klein’s wedding. Red West, an actor and songwriter, worked as a bodyguard for Elvis and was part of Elvis’ entourage, known as the ‘Memphis Mafia’.

Because Elvis Presley graduated from Humes, the high school is on the National Register of Historic Places. The school now houses the Humes Middle School. Due to the low student population in that area, the city has plans to turn it into a performing arts school.

The dedication ceremony will take place during the annual Elvis Presley week celebration in Memphis, Tennessee. The ceremony starts at 10 AM with George Klein in attendance. Singer Ronnie McDowell known for his song “The King is Gone” is scheduled to perform.

How Elvis came to own Graceland in Memphis TN

Graceland Farms began construction in 1939 and completed construction in 1940. The magnificent Estate was built as an exemplary Georgian Colonial style. Graceland Farms originally encompassed 500 acres, with a 25 acre man made fully stocked with regional fish. The Mansion was designed to have wonderful views of the tree lined driveway and all of the beautiful landscaping that covered Graceland with beautiful flowers, trees, shrubs, etc. and encompassed 13.8 acres. Graceland Farms was located in the Whitehaven District of Memphis on Highway 51 (note: this was later named as Elvis Presley Boulevard in appreciation of Elvis) and was purchased by Dr. Thomas D. Moore. Graceland Farms, in contrast to the beautiful “Mansion”, was used for the raising and selling of Hereford Cows.

In 1957 Gladys and Vernon had seen Graceland and then Elvis went to see Graceland. Elvis and his Mother fell in love with the home and Vernon, who had watched Elvis be delivered in a “1 one shotgun house in Tupelo” 22 years ago was now contemplating buying this magnificent home.

At the time Elvis, Vernon, and Gladys had seen the hom the Mansion had 10,266 square feet. Numerous times over the years Elvis added to the home and as of 2010 the home is 17,552 square feet (excluding the Racquetball Building) or 19,552 including the Racquetball Building.

Elvis had previously purchased a home in Memphis at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis but between the Fans standing outside the home 24/7, the neighbors being inconvenienced and complaining, the Press reporting about the “all night fans” and the neighbors “peace and quiet” being disturbed Elvis and his Family had decided that they needed a larger home that was close enough to get to “town” but further out of Town with a lot of land and security. Graceland Farms fit the criteria.

The Presleys, unbeknown to them, were not the only interested purchasers for Graceland Farms. The “staple of American life” aka” SEARS wanted to buy all the land and build a large store displaying all of their goods to Memphis residents and visitors.

Also, the Church wanted to buy a part of the land so Sears was notified to find out if they would be willing to do so (as they were buying more than enough land for their purposes but their “data” confirmed that Memphis was an “up and coming City” and Highway 51 was planned to become “THE” Highway in Memphis with thousands of consumers going up and down Highway 51 daily.

Vernon was called and told about Sears as well as the Church. Vernon knew that if he did not get this home for Elvis that Elvis would be “shattered” because Elvis wanted his home for his Mother who he (literally) adored. Vernon called Elvis and gave him the news and Elvis knew that Dr. Moore was an honorable and religious man who helped out the community routinely. Elvis was also a very spiritual/religious man and decided that it would be “good” to have others singing and praying to God on the property right next door. So Elvis called Vernon and said “do it” and added one stipulation and that was for Elvis to have a “right of easement” to be able to enter in from the Churches parking lot and go directly into Graceland through this “secret entrance”.

Vernon called the Real Estate Agent back and was told they were waiting on Sears to respond. The Real Estate Agent called Dr. Moore to let him know that Elvis was interested, at full price less what the Church wanted in property and Elvis would pay the Church directly for the easement. Dr. Moore was pleased that Elvis allowed the Church options and “impressed” when he learned that Elvis grew up singing Religious Hymns – never drank – did not smoke – always said “yes sir” or “yes mam” to his elders and was a respectful man who wanted to provide an “easier living” for his family and have a safe “HOME” to return to where he could raise a family and enjoy the beauty of the property and the blessings that God bestowed to all of us.

Sears called back hesitant about letting the Church have some of the property so the Realtor called Vernon to tell him the good news. On March 26, 1957 Vernon, Gladys, and Elvis signed the paperwork (jointly) and purchased Graceland for (approximately $ 103,000.00. Gladys Presley cried as she was handed the keys to her home as Elvis and Vernon hugged her and Elvis kissed her forehead telling her “I love you” and “I am doing all of this for you momma”.

1957 Elvis career was going great, his movies were all hits, his songs sold millions, his relationship with his parents was good and he now owned a Mansion that could allow him options to rest or to play and to add to as Elvis’ interests changed.

Interestingly, 9 months later on Christmas Eve Elvis would receive his “hand delivered” Draft Notice. Elvis’ 1st Christmas at Graceland went from tears of joy, love, presents, laughing, etc. to Elvis reading and re-reading the draft notice (in semi-shock). In 1958 Elvis, now in the Army, said “things could not get any worse” and yet on August 14, 1958 his beloved Mother Gladys Love Presley passed away. Some of the most “traumatic/emotional” photographs ever taken of Elvis were taken while Elvis and Vernon sat on the front steps of Graceland with their arms around each others’ shoulders crying. Repeating “shes gone” “everything I loved is gone” “Why, why?” and Vernon “saying how sorry he was while consoling Elvis.

Elvis first 2 years at Graceland were filled with “ups and downs”. From 1958 – 1960 Elvis served his term in the US Army and was honorably discharged. When Elvis returned some things at Graceland “changed” (i.e. paint, trim, way room was used, etc.) but out of respect for his Mother Elvis left as much of her things as they were during her lifetime.

Elvis LOVED Graceland and it truly was his “home”. It was fitting, though no less painful to accept, that Elvis died at Graceland and is buried at Graceland with his Mother, Father, and Grandmother. Their head stones rest in the meditation gardens which Elvis had built in the 1960′s and thousands of fans come to Graceland each week to see Graceland and to pay their respects.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not say that Elvis Fans Worldwide should say a heartfelt “thanks” to Priscilla, Lisa Marie, and Jack Soden for allowing Graceland to be seen and for the professional endeavors they are involved in. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND visiting Graceland, EPE, and/or http://www.Elvis.com. I also HIGHLY RECOMMEND Elvis Fans Worldwide seeking out, and monetarily supporting, and paying their respects to Marty Lacker, Marty Fike, Billy Smith, Red West, Sonny West, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, etc. Elvis loved these men and they spend the better part of the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s working with Elvis 24/7. I say aloud THANK YOU and God bless you all in each of your personal and professional endeavors!

We hope that you enjoyed this article.

Take care and God bless.