Jerry Schilling Shares Memories from Madison Square Garden
The king did not always receive a warm welcome from the Big Apple during his rise to stardom in the '50s. Schilling talked about Elvis' reaction after returning to New York for his one and only live performance at the Madison Square Garden in 1972. 'He was always nervous before going on stage but he was especially nervous this particular night', said Schilling. 'To come back and play the Garden and have the press and the fans love him and go wild. It really meant a lot to him'. Schilling also shares memories of traveling and touring with the King of Rock 'n' Roll. After years of working on documentaries, he is impressed with the high quality of the fan video included in the 'Prince From Another Planet' CD/DVD combo.
The new album takes its title from a New York Times headline that accompanied its rave review of Elvis' four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, the weekend of June 9 - 11, 1972.
Accompanying the two CDs is a bonus DVD that presents this rare, unseen footage of the Saturday afternoon show which was captured on a hand-held camera by a fan. See the entire interview with Jerry Schilling and see clips of Elvis performing 'Suspicious Minds' in the video below. To order your own copy of 'Prince From Another Planet', visit Elvis Australia's online shop, For Elvis Fans Only.
Video : Jerry Schilling Shares Memories from Madison Square Garden (04:08)
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When Elvis Played New York : Nervously
Uneasy in his chair behind a long table at the New York Hilton, Elvis Presley listened as a reporter asked why he had decided to resume touring. 'Just as soon as I got out of the movie contracts, I started to do live performances again'. 'There are so many places that I haven't been yet. I've never played New York'.
Elvis' news conference on June 9, 1972, occurred just hours before the start of his sold-out, four-concert run at Madison Square Garden - the only New York City arena shows of his career (he was on stage for several TV broadcasts in 1956-7, including 'The Ed Sullivan Show'). Color video of his 20-minute media Q&A is part of 'Elvis Presley: Prince From Another Planet' a three-disc set due Tuesday that includes the original album's tracks remastered and a DVD with interviews and previously unreleased concert footage filmed by a fan.
Elvis skirted New York for all those years largely because he feared it. 'Elvis wasn't afraid of the critics, but he knew that rock had changed and that New York was the center of everything', said pianist-arranger Glen D. Hardin, a member of Presley's TCB Band. 'Elvis knew the rest of the world loved him, but he was a little concerned that New York audiences might think his music was square and that they'd treat him like a hillbilly'. Elvis certainly felt pressure. Many rockers showed up for the concerts, including George Harrison, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel and members of Led Zeppelin. It also didn't help that Jackie Kahane, Presley's warm-up comedian, ran into trouble on opening night. 'Poor Jackie was booed off the stage - the audience wanted Elvis and that was it', recalled Joe Guercio, Presley's musical director. 'When Elvis began to walk out on stage, he was nervous. As he passed me, he gave me one of those million-dollar glances that said, 'Let's do it.'
Then a shower of camera flashbulbs went off, the crowd loved him, and he was at ease'. Instead of flying in Presley's horn and string players who were based in Las Vegas, Mr. Guercio turned to Joe Malin, a local New York violinist and music contractor, who hired the necessary musicians. 'He brought in top studio jazz guys to play behind Elvis', Mr. Guercio said. 'So as I'm conducting, I'm looking at greats like Al Cohn, Sonny Russo, Wayne Andre and Al DeRisi'. RCA recorded the afternoon and evening shows on June 10 and released a double LP nearly two weeks later to beat bootleggers to the punch. Mary Malin - daughter of Joe and Carmel Malin, both of whom played violin at the Garden behind Presley - attended one of the concerts. 'I was 17 years old and wasn't really into Elvis - most kids my age weren't listening to him then', she said. 'But my mother had tickets for great seats and insisted I go, calling it 'a happening'. So I took my girlfriend. By the end, we were both standing on our seats and screaming like everyone else'.
Don Lance, a fan, surreptitiously filmed the afternoon performance on the new 'Prince From Another Planet: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition' set's DVD. 'A well-connected friend got a bunch of us tickets in the fourth row, center', said Mr. Lance, who was 24 at the time. 'My girlfriend snuck my camera into the Garden in her shoulder bag along with six rolls of film. To steady the camera during the show, I put it on a tripod I had brought in strapped to my leg. Each time I went to film, friends on either side blocked security's view'. 'I only had six rolls of film and each roll (cartridge) lasted a bit over 3 minutes, so that's why there's about 20 minutes in total of film. It was not that it took a long time to change film [as claimed], I just spaced out what I shot'.
Elvis Australia suspected and indeed sugested the reason must have been at least partly to do with the need to preserve tape in our review of the 'Prince From Another Planet: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition'.
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.