Colonel Tom Parker (Parker's Death Dark Shadow)

By: Dave Marsh
Source: For Elvis Fans Only
May 18, 2002 - 11:56:00 AM
Elvis Articles


Elvis Presley never did, which is reason enough to despise 'Colonel' Tom Parker, whose rank was as phony and deceitful as everything else about him. I could give a fuck whether Parker was an 'illegal immigrant' or not; America shouldn't have immigration laws in the first place. (It didn't for the first 130 years.) Parker's corruption didn't come from that. It came from his life-long practice of selling short the talent he represented, from his constant habit of doing what was good for Tom Parker at the expense of the artists -- Elvis, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow -- to whom he owed a legal and ethical duty.

Peter Guralnick called Parker 'a genius' which is genuinely nauseating. If Parker was a genius, what would that make Elvis, exactly? I remember once, many years ago, someone saying that Mike Appel (Bruce Springsteen's first manager) deserved credit for at least hearing Bruce Springsteen and knowing how talented he was. Miami Steve Van Zandt, who was also present, jumped all over that one: 'You don't get points for recognizing talent like that. If you can't recognize talent at that level, you shouldn't even be in the business. The question is what you do with the talent'.

Compared to Parker, Mike Appel, who merely took advantage of an untutored young man with unfair contracts, was the truly honest man Diogenes sought. The story might have looked different before Elvis died. Parker might have seemed a cunning genius who had kept Elvis in the public spotlight far longer than was 'normal'. But the minute that the probate courts got hold of the Presley estate, that illusion vanished. Parker, it turned out, had not even made great deals for Tom Parker. He not only took an outrageous 50 percent commission on all of Elvis's earnings but when it came to, for example, tour merchandising, he arranged the corporate structure so that Elvis came away with about 20 percent to Parker's 80 percent.

Far from 'genius', he was stupid about everything involving Elvis's future, from the shortsighted decision to tie him to a contract hacking out movies for Hal Wallis at the very moment every other star with Elvis's stature was being unshackled from the studio system, to the pittance -- $5 million -- he received toward the end when he sold all of Elvis' future royalties. Nothing could more perfectly express the degree to which Tom Parker never, for one minute, grasped what Elvis and his music meant to people. To stand that close to the center of such a phenomenon and miss altogether its most important, long lasting qualities requires a genius that is truly rare: I'd have to go out and turn over every rock in my driveway to find its like.

Even then, who knows if I'd succeed? Snakes hibernate.

Elvis Presley Video Colonel Tom Parker talks about Elvis
Elvis Presley Article Interview with Loanne Parker
Elvis Presley Article I Met The Colonel
Elvis Presley Article Parker's shadowy past news to Memphis Mafia
Elvis Presley Review Review : The Colonel Book
Elvis Presley Article Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's Manager, Dead at 87

Buy Colonel Parker DVD
Buy The Colonel Book


-
Elvis Presley Video Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.

Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.

This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.

The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.