Eternal prayers to the family of Marty Lacker from Jeff Schrembs

Image result for marty lacker 1971

  • Photo of Marty Lacker circa 1971 (the date may be off)

It is so…sad.

Marty Lacker passed away on February 13, 2017 at the age of 80 leaving behind a great family, loved ones, friends, etc. I am so very sorry for loss not just as I type these words but until my time comes to leave this earth.

His obituary, from Calane Funeral Directors, is as follows: Martin J. “Marty” Lacker peacefully passed Monday, February 13, 2017 of natural causes. He is preceded in death by his parents Henry and Rose Grodstein Lacker and his sister Anne Louise Lacker Grenadier. He is survived by two daughters Angie and Sheri Lacker of Memphis and one son Marc Lacker (daughter in law, Brenda Stoyka Lacker), Best friend, Patsy Daniels, Grandchildren are Brandon Lacker (Whitney), Cody Lacker and Katelynn Lacker and three Great Grandchildren Kydon, Kinzyn and Keston Lacker, and Special friends Billy and Jo Smith and Julie Bramlett. Born in the Bronx and raised in Brooklyn, NY on January 3, 1937 moved to Memphis in 1952, and attended Humes High School. After a semester at the UT Knoxville he was the successful radio Program Director at WKGN Knoxville. Later his radio career took him to WNOE New Orleans and subsequently back to Memphis’ WHBQ.

Discharged from the Army in late ’56 in Germany, he was invited to visit with fellow Humes alumnus Elvis Presley and became a close friend. In 1961, Elvis asked Marty to work for him and he eventually became Elvis’ right hand man and co-Best Man at Presley’s wedding. Marty appeared in 13 of Elvis’ movies, joined music tours, and co-ordinated recording sessions that produced iconic Presley hits. In 1969, he was responsible for Elvis returning to Memphis to record for the first time in 14 years. He convinced Elvis to record with producer Chips Moman at American Studios in what many have declared his greatest hit records since the Sun years like “Suspicious Minds” and “In the Ghetto”. Lacker remained a close and trusted friend until Elvis passed away. He was also responsible for the City Council and Memphis Mayor changing the name of Highway 51 S. to Elvis Presley Blvd in late 1971.

Outside the Elvis connection, Marty became a pillar in the Memphis Music industry in the late 60’s and 70’s, first with accepting an offer to start Pepper Tanner Records discovering Rita Coolidge and producing projects for her and then Eddie Harrison & The Shortkuts along with the help of his friends Isaac Hayes and David Porter. After becoming the General Manager of American Studios, he was responsible for other artists such as Petula Clark, Dionne Warwick, Jackie DeShanon and Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers fame to record at the studio. He was later affiliated with Stax Recording Studios.

Marty Lacker was responsible for creating the Memphis Music Awards Show in the early 70’s and subsequently created an environment that drew many major record company leaders to Memphis. Marty, being one of the leaders of the Memphis Music industry of that era was the person who conceived the original Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission and was voted in and served as its chairman and was one of the co-founders of the Memphis Chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which is the Grammys.

Marty co-authored two popular books on Elvis and has appeared on numerous documentaries about Elvis and aspects of Memphis Music. In 2010, he was honored with a Beale Street Blues Note for his music industry accomplishments.

Services will be 12:30 p.m. Thursday, February 16, 2017 at Baron Hirsch Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers please donate to your favorite children’s charity or animal rescue program

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Martin “Marty” J. Lacker please visit our Sympathy Store.

I was very fortunate to have had a relationship, of mutual respect,  with Marty over a great period of time. He was one of a kind and brutally honest. His passing has hit me like a Louisville Slugger to the back of the head. However, whatever grief I have is nothing compared to what his family/loved ones must be going through. My thoughts and prayers remain with them.

I also want to say THANK YOU to so many exceptional Elvis Presley related websites who conducted intimate, and fact filled, interviews with Marty over the years. I know firsthand the sacrifices and now your endeavor(s) carry greater weight that Elvis Presley fans will seek out – appreciate – support – etc. as long as there remains an interest in Elvis.

* Note some of these websites are (including but not limited to); http://www.ElvisPresleyNews.com, http://www.ElvisInfoNet.com, http://www.ElvisBlog.net, http://www.Elvis-Express.com, http://www.Elvis.com, etc.

To each of these websites, and the dedicated people associated, please keep up the good work(s) and I wish you (personally and professionally) continued success in every endeavor you undertake. Take care and may God bless you and yours…always.

I’ll miss him.

Man, I’ll…

 

Jeff Schrembs

 

Elvis Presley & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. January 2017

68 special in white odd angle.jpg

The upcoming weeks mark the well deserved federal holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr. “day”. In my opinion Dr. King, Jr. was an incredible leader who put his own well being in jeopardy standing up for not only what was right but to obtain justice for the masses.

I have, on several occasions, read the writings of Dr. King, Jr. and those he wrote while he was in jail (like so many of his writings) were powerful and stirred my emotions. What an incredible leader.

Decades ago I was honored, by marriage, to have stayed in the suite in Washington DC at the Willard Hotel. This was the same suite that Dr. King, Jr. wrote his “I have a dream speech”. Though the wedding took every moment the significance of Dr. King, Jr. being in the same suite was very…humbling. I have great memories of that time, and that love, I (in far too many ways) I took for granted. But, this post is about the connection(s) between Elvis and Dr. King, Jr.

Elvis grew up poor. Elvis never saw one’s color nor did he tolerate those who treated others with anything but respect.

Elvis grew up in the church moved by preachings, the choir, and the church filled. Elvis grew up a southerner and endured everything that being a southern man, at the period in history, entails. Elvis loved the church and was a deeply spiritual man. The same can be said of Dr. King, Jr.

Several firsthand accounts confirm that Elvis had respect, and admiration, for Dr. King, Jr. and his non-violent approach.

On April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered by a coward. And he was murdered in Elvis’ beloved city of Memphis in Tennessee which upset Elvis greatly. One would think that living in the 1960’s, which I did and all the turmoil and the decade had earlier brought the murder of America’s President John F. Kennedy and months after Dr. Kings’ death came the murder of Robert Kennedy, that “nothing would be shocking” as the country was “numb” by back to back killings bringing anger and uncertainty. But, when it came to the death of Dr. King, Jr. millions of people then and now mourn and that includes this writer.

During the 1960’s Elvis was locked into movie contracts which played out to be approximately three per year. Not many people know that Elvis had to star in movies regardless of the quality, or lack of, the scripts. Elvis had no say over the movies he starred in and the 1960’s were, in many instances, frustrating for Elvis.

Elvis was presented with an opportunity to have a TV special that would air around the Christmas season in 1968. I have written about aspects concerning this special in great detail so what I will say now is that Elvis, with the guidance of the talented producer/director, realized that this was the chance for him to return to a live audience (which he was kept from for approximately 8 years) as well as showcase his first love in entertainment and that was singing/performing.

When the time came, after great momentum, for Elvis to decide how to end the TV Special, which would be sponsored by the Singer sewing company and titled “Elvis”, Elvis wanted to express his feelings. His pulse. His sensitivity. His release from years of pent up anger/frustration. Elvis shared this with Walter Earl Brown, a great song writer, and together they used direct quotes of Dr. Kings, they came up with one of the greatest songs in the world…”if I can dream”.

Not only was the song beautiful but Elvis poured his heart and soul into the song. There are two versions of this song from the 68 special and one was Elvis in front of the audience in black leather and he never looked, or sounded, better. The other was Elvis, dressed in a white 1960’s fashionable suit, singing in front of large red lit letters that spelled out “E L V I S”. The version of Elvis in white is my personal favorite version of this song. I encourage everyone to watch Elvis performing this song and affirm that, with every pore and vocal inflection, Elvis shared a soulful message with the viewing audience all the while paying respect and love to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The TV ratings were a success and catapulted Elvis back into superstardom as a singer/performer. Out of the thousands of songs Elvis knew, and he had a photographic memory, he could not of picked a better song than “if I can dream”. I believe it is one of Elvis’ greatest performances and certainly was a meaningful song for him as a man and as an entertainer.

It is hard, at times, for me to believe that it has been 49 years since Dr. King, Jr. took breath upon this earth. And it has been, as of August 16th of this year (i.e. 2017), 40 years since Elvis took his last breath. Both of these men had failures, shortcomings, and regrets but they were both wholly unique and they rose to infamy for what they stood for – what they believed – and how they chose to live their lives. I miss them both and my prayers are always with the family, and loved ones, of these great men.

Take care and God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

 

 

 

Elvis Presley – a generational…thing

Being in the hospital is something that I have had to deal with. But, being in the hospital for extended periods of time is upsetting to say the least. Being in an “isolation room”, due to fear of further infection, is something else all together.

My heart and prayers go out to medical care providers and their family/loved ones. And I mean everyone from the trash collector, to the volunteers, to the doctors and everything else. I feel the same way about the patients themselves and their family/loved ones.

The design of the local hospital is similar with Baptist Hospital where Elvis (sadly) was taken when he died on August 16, 1977 and where he was admitted numerous times for various medical issues. But, the technology and the medical advances between the 1970’s and now is almost incalculable. It amazes me.

I have had the occasion to listen to many of my eclectic playlist, record collection, digital music downloads, etc. and YES I have every Elvis Presley song ever recorded my taste in music, and my favorites depending on the mood, I listen to a vast array of artists many (sadly) have died but they left behind, as Elvis did, great quality of musical works. I will say that Elvis sounded as good if not better onstage, and he moved around quite a lot, as he did on his recordings which were NEVER digitally enhanced and/or auto tuned or anything else as Elvis had great instinctual vocal inflections and a beautiful four and a half octave vocal range. The man flat out could sing.

I find myself, more often that I would like, getting emails or phone calls about those who were close to Elvis undergoing medical hardships and/or passing away. My heart goes out to them as do my prayers. We are literally losing, each month and each year, people who were or quality and witnessed Elvis’ personal and professional triumphs, setbacks, frustrations, etc. And each generation that comes along rarely knows the names of these exceptional people.

I am very weak but I had this on my mind as my granddaughters, who are personally and musically wholly unique, have been listening to Elvis songs. They are still in elementary school and for them to like, appreciate, learn the words, and even sing the songs that Elvis recorded decades before they took their first breath is…remarkable. Does Elvis dominate their musical tastes? No, but I have always believed in quality over quantity.

Elvis’ music has been a part of the soundtrack of my life for better or worse. It is ingrained in my mind and associated with a lifetime of memories (which becomes harder and harder as getting older is not “fun” and it takes adverse tolls on your mind and your body jack). But, unlike so many I put Elvis’ life into context with equal footing for each of his great works and his failures/shortcomings personally and in his career. I don’t gloss over facts.

For those of my generation no one else knows of how life used to be and how it was cool when Elvis was around and killing it onstage/tv and producing songs that warranted being played over and over until the record itself could not be played again. Many of them were that good.

Throughout Elvis’ career he had fans across every generation and, though not as often, continues to do so to this day. I hope future generations will be exposed, and like, to Elvis’ life and his decades of great professional works in every media genre. Though so much as changed I have faith in the generations to acknowledge quality and if they do then Elvis Presley will always be relevant and that, my friends, is a good thing indeed.

Take care and may God bless you.

 

me-october-14-2016  Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

 

Extremely rare photo of Elvis Presley mother

WM Gladys on Audubon drive fixing hair in mirror

Elvis Presley beloved mother, Gladys Love (Smith) Presley, lived a life of loss – hard work – and unconditional love for her only child…Elvis.

This is one of the rarest photographs of Gladys in the world. On the eve of Christmas 2015 I wanted to share it.

Merry Christmas to all.

Take care and may God bless you.

 

PUBLISHED with the expressed permission of Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

 

Did you know? Elvis Presley June 2015 edition by Jeff Schrembs

Elvis fighting stanceDid you know that there are several exceptional books about Elvis, onstage and off, authored by Alanna Nash – Sandie Stevens – Members of Elvis’ infamous Memphis Mafia (i.e. Marty Lacker, Billy Smith, Red West, Sonny West, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, Charlie Hodge, Lamar Fike, etc.) & Sandi Pichon among others?

Did you know that Elvis wore lifts in his shoes so that he would be six foot or slightly over?

Did you know that Elvis was self taught to play the guitar and piano?

Did you know that Elvis had a dental cap on his front teeth?

Did you know that Elvis swallowed his tooth cap during filming of Jailhouse Rock and had to have a medical procedure to retrieve it?

Did you know that there were, excluding other movies which Elvis disliked due to the lack of quality of script and/or being repetitive, two movies Elvis made that he would never watch and never allowed to be played (even if it came on TV) anywhere near him? The movies were Jailhouse Rock due to the fact that his female co-star Judy Tyler died just after filming completed in an automobile accident. The other was Loving You as Elvis’ beloved mother, Gladys Love (Smith) Presley, was a part of the audience.

DId you know that Elvis was never nominated for a Grammy award other than the three he received in the Gospel category?

Did you know that the total number of records Elvis sold has never fully been audited/confirmed a fact that greatly annoys Elvis Presley fans, including this one, dating back to the 1970’s?

Did you know that, contingent on your comments and sharing on social media sites, that there will be more “Did you know Elvis Presley” posts in the future?

Take care and may God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org