Elvis Presley’s Jaycees Award & Speech 1971 (rare footage = WOW)

Elvis Presley was nominated, and won, the coveted award from the Jaycees and here are the details courtesy of usjayceefoundation.org;

The inaugural class of TOYM recipients in 1938, announced in January 1939 by Future Magazine, still ranks as one of the most famous. Included were: George Gallop, pollster; Elmer Layden, football coach; Howard Hughes, business and aviation; Douglas Corrigan, aviation; and Rudy Valee and Orson Wells, entertainers. A 1939 TOYM group was never selected but in 1940 and every year until 1973 a TOYM group was selected for a year and recognized the next year. There were no winners for 1972. In 1973, the TOYM event was revised to honor the designates for the current, rather than the previous year. Because of this change, there were no winners for 1972. Since 1973, the tradition of recognizing outstanding young people for the year in which awarded has continued.

Currently, candidates must be United States citizens, age 18 through 40, who exemplify the best attributes of the nation’s young people, the Jaycee Creed and dedication to a better nation. Thousands of nomination forms have been distributed each year before judging panels reduce the field to 20 candidates and then select the final 10. Currently the awards program is conducted each year in March at the United States Jaycees National Meeting.

To understand the magnitude of the award in the eyes of those who have received it consider this story: Elvis Presley TOYM 1970

Accepting the Jaycee Honor “Terrified Presley” read the headline in the Memphis Press-Scimitar. The “King” was shakin’ backstage, but no tin the manner that most people would have thought, as excerpts from the newspaper story show:

“Elvis Presley stood in the wings at the Auditorium in memphis on January 18, 1971, and admitted he was ‘terrified.'”

“He was perspiring profusely and his head was hanging low as he awaited his turn on stage as one of the United States jaycees 10 Outstanding Young Men of America for 1970.”

“‘I’m scared to death.’ he told Frank C. Taylor, chairman of the Outstanding Young Men (sic), who reminded the superstar that he had appeared hundreds of times before much larger crowds. ‘Yeah but not like this,’ Elvis replied.

“‘It was a different plateau for him,’ Taylor said. ‘For the first time, he was being paced on the level with achievers in realms other than entertainment, and for the first time Elvis felt he was being accepted like a true professional. He like the association of being given such an honor along with those nine other guys, and he was impressed by their tremendous abilities. And none of the others singled Elvis out for adulation more than any other, and he liked that too.”

When Elvis’ turn came, he took his place at the podium and looked back at the other winners seated on stage. With a sweeping gesture, he said: ‘These men may be the Kingdom of God.'”

“The famous voice cracked, he could not go on.”Elvis at podium

“‘He was the only one to have genuine tears in his eyes and to break up,’ Taylor said.

“Elvis stopped, stepped back for a second, regrouped himself and spoke again.”

“‘Without a song, the day would never end, without a song, a man ain’t got a friend,’ the famous singer said, quoting a classic song.”

“Then he ended with difficulty, saying humbly: ‘So I’ll just keep on singing my song.'”

Elvis always consider the Jaycee Awards as his most valued achievement. The honor was so important to Elvis, he was there to receive it in person labored weeks over his now famous speech. The Jaycee Award was one of the few trophies that Elvis received during his lifetime that held a special place. It represented Elvis initiation into the mainstream, acceptance by his peers for his contributions as a humanitarian and entertainer. His Ten Outstanding Young Men trophy, as well as the tuxedo he wore to the ceremony that night, have been kept on display at his Memphis home, Graceland and is seen by thousands of visitors every day.

Courtesy of YouTube comes part of the video pertaining to Elvis receiving this award that Elvis not only was humbled by but actually opted to appear in person, with Priscilla and members of his family and Memphis Mafia, to accept the award and give one of his most iconic and heartfelt speeches.

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