Lisa Marie Presley will be laid to rest next to son, Benjamin Keough, in the Meditation Garden at Graceland. In addition to Lisa Marie and Ben, Lisa Marie’s father, Elvis Presley, and his parents, Vernon and Gladys, are also buried in the garden.
Ben’s grave was slightly moved to make room for Lisa Marie.
Following her death, the family confirmed that a public memorial service will be held in the late singer’s honor at Graceland. The service will be livestreamed via Graceland’s livestream page.
A public memorial service has been arranged on the front lawn of Graceland at 9 a.m. Sunday, at the Presley family estate in Memphis, Tennessee. Following the service, there will be a procession to view Lisa Marie’s final resting place in the Meditation Garden. All guests on the north lawn will be able to join the procession following friends and family.
In lieu of flowers, her family is asking all who wish to send something to do so in the form of a donation to The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, which offers support to various charitable organizations, especially focusing on arts, education, and children’s programs in the Memphis and Whitehaven area.
Presley died at the age of 54 on Jan. 12, after going into cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed that her cause of death has been delayed pending further tests.
Chuck Berry wrote and recorded “Memphis, Tennessee” in 1959.
Johnny Rivers got a regular gig in 1963 at the Whisky a Go Go, a popular club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. In 1964 Rivers released a live album recorded at the club called Johnny Rivers At The Whisky a Go Go, with “Memphis” (shortened title) issued as a single. Big record. Went all the way to #2 and essentially launched Rivers’ successful career.
Also in 1964 Elvis released his version of “Memphis, Tennessee.”
Anita Pointer, a founding member of the pop group the Pointer Sisters, died of cancer Dec. 31 at her home in Beverly Hills. She was 74.
The Pointer Sisters helped define the sound of the early 1980s by combining a sultry electronic motif with brassy R&B. The group modeled themselves in part on the Andrews Sisters singing act of the 1940s in their retro dress style.
The New York Times wrote:
The Pointer Sisters occupied a middle point in pop history between the doo-wop innocence of the Ronettes and the stilettoed girl power of Destiny’s Child.
Anita’s voice had a lot to do with that. She sang with the speed and flavor of molasses. Though she commanded the virtuosity to trill prettily, she tended to sing too softly to sound overpowering. When she sang lead vocals, her sisters provided a melodic line on backup, and the women frequently harmonized, structuring their groovy ’70s sound along similar lines to a barbershop quartet.
They won their first Grammy Award in the category of best country vocal performance by a duo or group for “Fairytale” (1974), written by Anita and Bonnie Pointer. The country tune earned them enough credibility for the Pointer Sisters to become the first Black female group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.
With Anita Pointer’s death, Ruth Pointer is the last living member of the four siblings who made up the original Pointer Sisters.
Anita sings lead here, when singers could really sing. She wrote the song after her romantic relationship with a San Francisco deejay who just happened to neglect telling her he was married.
But first, Ruth Pointer from May of last year…
Elvis, who would have been 88 years old on Sunday, cut a version of “Fairytale” on one of his final albums, “Today.”
From pop culture writer Jeremy Roberts:
What cannot be denied is that Presley covered it before anybody else.
While sometimes struggling to hit the high notes suggested that the song should have been tackled in a lower key, Presley nevertheless delivered the prophetic hook line, oozing unbridled intensity that wasn’t wholly evident in Anita’s vocal: “You used me, you deceived me, and you never seemed to need me, but I’ll bet you won’t forget me when I go!”
Taken at a slighter faster tempo than the Pointers’ rendition and sporting crisp lead guitar licks courtesy of (Hall of Famer James) Burton, the master was achieved after undergoing just one extended false start and two complete takes.
Anita reflected that “it was so unbelievable that someone like Elvis could relate to the story in that song and want to record it…I think Elvis did ‘Fairytale’ beautifully. I was very pleased. He really captured the emotion in his version.”
She was 96 and starred with Elvis in “Blue Hawaii.”
Lansbury played Sarah Lee Gates, Elvis’ mother, despite being just nine years older than him.
“Well obviously I was awed by being in the presence, but he was an awfully nice young man in those days,” said Lansbury.
“He always was a wonderfully nice young man, a very caring person. He had terrible problems of a very personal nature, but in those days he’d just come out of the army.”
“He was fit, he was slender and he was top of his form. And he couldn’t have been nicer to me. We had a lovely time, it was a wonderful location. We were on Kauai in the Hawaiian islands. I’ll never forget it, it was really wonderful.
“We sat around and I had some wonderful scenes with the man who played my husband [Roland Winters] and the three of us together. And she was such a funny character! Her whole reaction to her son who she didn’t understand at all. [Elvis] loved it, he thought it was terribly funny. He was very sweet.”
Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Knowing that I’m a huge Elvis fan a friend of mine several weeks ago asked if I was going to see the Elvis biopic starring Austin Butler that premiered today. I honestly couldn’t give a definitive answer.
I’m no fan of Elvis impersonators. With the exception of Kurt Russell who I believe gave a credible performance in a late 1970’s TV movie and the late Tom Green of Milwaukee I harbor a great distaste for impostors of the King. To me they only give, even unintentionally, a tremendous disservice to Elvis’ image and legacy. Not to mention they just simply aren’t all that good.
If I would see the biopic (I passed it on it today) I’d undoubtedly sit there and criticize over and over.
‘That’s not right.’
‘That didn’t happen.’
‘Elvis wouldn’t say or do that.’
‘The vocals are awful.’
And I could be wrong. The movie might be terrific.
Even so, there will be never be anything like the real deal, and that’s my focus this week.
A rap on Elvis is that he couldn’t act. Those critics probably never saw 1958’s “King Creole,” considered by fans and critics as his very best film.
Having flunked graduation for a second time and needing cash to support his unemployed father, Danny Fisher (played by Elvis) takes a job as a busboy in New Orleans nightclub, run by mobster Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau). There he encounters Fields’ kept mistress – fading singer Ronnie (Carolyn Jones).
“He [Elvis] was an instinctive actor,” said Matthau. “He was quite bright…he was very intelligent…He was not a punk. He was very elegant, sedate, and refined, and sophisticated.”
“As the lad himself might say, cut my legs off and call me Shorty! Elvis Presley can act…Acting is his assignment in this shrewdly upholstered showcase, and he does it.” Howard Thompson, Review of “King Creole,” New York Times, 1958 “A Presley picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood.” Hal Wallis, Producer of nine of Elvis’ films
When Elvis came out of the Army one of his subsequent films was the immensely popular “Blue Hawaii.” The soundtrack album was on the Billboard Pop Albums chart for 79 weeks, where it spent 20 weeks at #1. It has been certified by the RIAA for sales of three million copies in the U.S.
“Blue Hawaii” and the previously released “G.I. Blues” were so big that they set the stage for a formula for future Elvis films with familiar elements:
A fight scene, usually ending with Elvis winning and fleeing the scene
Elvis singing in a car or while riding a motorcycle
“Silly” plots or insignificant plots that usually involve Elvis in romancing a female with songs
Beautiful young women
Elvis as a man trying to succeed on his own talents and merits
A soundtrack that sold a ton of records
The Viva Las Vegas choreographer, David Winters, followed the co-stars into Ann-Margret’s dressing room one day to discuss the song (“Cheek to Cheek” sung by The Jubilee Four). But when he put on the music, all they could see was each other.
“He put on the tape,” Ann-Margret remembered. “We listened to it once, watching each other from across the room, staring into each other’s eyes and thinking. We didn’t say a word. We didn’t have to.”
After their silent bond was forged, Elvis asked the choreographer to play “Cheek to Cheek” again. Their connection came alive and developed into a full-on dance, right there in Ann-Margret’s dressing room.
“The moment the music started, Elvis and I just started to move,” Ann-Margret wrote in Ann-Margret: My Story. “Nothing had been rehearsed, but to watch you wouldn’t have known that. We covered the entire room, bumping into the furniture, shoving it aside, circling each other like a couple of caged animals.”
It was in that “spontaneous burst of creativity,” Ann-Margret revealed, that most of the choreography for “Cheek to Cheek” was set. A stunned Winters simply told them, “Great. Just do that.”
Elvis’ movie contracts ended, removing the chains that prevented him from doing live concerts. He hit Las Vegas, and eventually all of America. No, the movies of the 50’s and 60’s never won any awards, but his documentary chronicling his shows on the road captured a Golden Globe.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
This week the LA Times ran a column wondering if Elvis mattered anymore. Here’s a portion.
Chris Isaak, a singer who has kept the fire of early rock ’n’ roll alive throughout his career and who appears on the “Elvis” soundtrack as well as providing the vocals for country star Hank Snow in the movie, has seen how Presley’s peers are being forgotten.
“I was talking to a young girl, and she’s a successful singer, so she knows music,” Isaak recounted. “I said, ‘Are you putting harmonies like the Everly Brothers on this?’ And there was a blank look in her eye. I said, ‘Are you acquainted with the Everly Brothers?’ She had no clue. That was kind of shocking to me. I think a new generation will see this movie and go, ‘Wow. I love this music. Who is this guy?’”
Elvis’ amazing special, “Aloha from Hawaii,” aired on January 14, 1973, and it was the first entertainment special by a solo artist to be broadcast live around the world.
There was no set ticket price for the concert; instead, donations were given. The more the donation, the better the seat. Elvis actually purchased a ticket for himself and his entourage at $100 each (which, with inflation, would be over $575 in today’s money).
He asked that donations and merchandise sales go to the Kui Lee Cancer Fund, which had been established following the songwriter’s death in 1966. Lee wrote “I’ll Remember You,” which Elvis covered in many of his concerts, including in the “Aloha” special. The goal was to raise $25,000. A total of $75,000 was raised for the fund.
Elvis’ “Aloha from Hawaii” aired in more than 40 countries across Asia and Europe. The special didn’t air in the United States on January 14, though. There was another major TV moment happening on U.S. televisions on January 14 – Super Bowl VII – so “Aloha from Hawaii” aired on April 4. It is estimated, though, that between 1 and 1.5 billion viewers watched the king’s special.
Saturday is Elvis’ birthday. The King would have been 87.
Let’s jump right into this weeks’ feature with a twin spin and more to come!
In August of 2019, a full 42 years after Elvis was found dead at his Graceland mansion, Sony released an amazing 11-CD boxed set from his run at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in 1969 including the two tracks you just heard. The 1969 Vegas engagements, 57 sold-out shows, marked Elvis’ first return to the live stage in eight years.
“Thanks to an insatiable demand for proven hitmakers, there is a bonanza in the boneyard.” Forbes.com
The 2021 Forbes list of Highest-Paid Dead Celebrities ranks Elvis at #7. The legend amassed $30 million in total earnings last year.
Elvis is the Energizer Bunny of popular music, still generating recordings year after year. That’s our theme this week.
Several recent recordings have featured Elvis’ original vocals with backing from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
“The label would have never allowed him to have an orchestra,” said Priscilla Presley “And if it was up to [manager] Colonel Parker, he would have had Elvis just singing — no background, no nothing. I think we have given him the freedom here to experiment with all the orchestras he would have loved in the pieces.
Priscilla said these new remixed albums are Elvis a deliberate effort to keep Elvis relevant.
“I’m confused about where the music industry is,” she said. “We are losing our labels. Social media has come in, YouTube, iTunes; it’s all very confusing. Years ago, you didn’t mess with an artist’s music. You didn’t touch it. You left it alone. But now DJs are blending music, blending artists, blending songs. We have to keep Elvis current.”
The Christmas season might have just ended but the frosty season remains, and will be for much too long in my view.
From 2017, the 3rd collaboration between Elvis and the Orchestra…
This album reached #1 in the US…on Billboard’s Top Classical Albums.
In 2003, RCA released ELVIIS: 2nd to None, a collection of Elvis songs as the sequel to the previous year’s highly successful ELVIS: 30#1 Hits.
The album included Elvis’s #1 singles that did not appear on the previous release, including this Paul Oakenfold remix of a single from Elvis’ 1969 film “A Change of Habit.”
Elvis was still cool. Still hip, 26 years after dying.
The album went to #3 on the Billboard chart. That’s the whole shootin’ match. Not the Classical chart.
Big boxed CD sets chronicling Elvis’ work in an entire decade were produced, the first about the 50’s in 1992. Then the 60’s in 1993. And “Walk A Mile In My Shoes – The Essential 70’s Masters” in 1995.
In concert Elvis put his stamp on Hank Williams and then Joe South.
These are just some examples of Elvis’ continuing recording success. There have been compilations, collections, remixes, soundtracks, live shows. Interest in Elvis keeps growing with no end in sight.
Cinedigm’s The Elvis Presley Channel debuts on Saturday, his birthday, with archival content, concerts and more. In the fall, Netflix will premiere an animated adult series called ‘Agent King,’ in which Elvis will explore an alternate history where he faked his own death to fight crime with a secret government spy program.
7:00 pm. Back Lawn, Guest House at Graceland. Tickets: $100 – SOLD OUT Celebrate the 60th anniversary of one of Elvis’ biggest films, “Blue Hawaii,” with a luau to close out Elvis Week 2021. Featuring live Polynesian entertainment, a delicious Hawaiian-inspired dinner on the Guest House back lawn, and Elvis’ Blue Hawaii on the big screen under the stars, this will be an unforgettable end to an amazing week! Tickets for this event are limited so we encourage fans who would like to attend to order early! In the event of rain, this event will move to the Guest House Ballroom/Theater.
Celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll at Graceland during this live concert experience featuring amazing on-screen performances by Elvis himself, backed on stage by a live band with special guest appearances by Priscilla Presley, TCB Band members guitarist James Burton and piano player Glen Hardin, plus Terry Blackwood and The Imperials and former member of JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet Larry Strickland. A not-to-be-missed concert event! $85 seats are sold out.
With solos by Hardin and Burton…
A TRIBUTE TO SUN STUDIO FEATURING JOHN PAUL KEITH
2:00 pm. Guest House Theater, The Guest House at Graceland. Tickets: $29 BUY NOW Also included in the Elvis Week Platinum Package
Join us for a special afternoon performance at the Guest House Theater with singer, songwriter and guitarist John Paul Keith in a tribute to Sun Studio. Featuring music from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash to Jerry Lee Lewis and others, this show will pay tribute to legendary Sun artists and the music born out of 706 Union that changed the world.