Interview with Elvis Presley : The 1972 Madison Square Garden Press Conference : June 9, 1972
Elvis: Would you like me to sit down? ... First of all, I plead innocent of all charges! Okay ...
Q: I love you Elvis!
Elvis: Thank you dear, I love you too. Thank you. Okay.
Q: Elvis, what took you so long to play New York City?
Elvis: I think… I think it was a matter of not getting the building, the proper building. We had to wait our turn in order to get the building.
Q: You couldn't get a building in all these years?
Elvis: Couldn't get a good building in fifteen years! No, all kidding aside, we had to wait our turn to get into the Garden, you know?
Q: What do you think of performing here live?
Elvis: Oh I like it you know, I enjoy it ... I just hope we put on a good show for everybody.
Elvis Presley : The 1972 Madison Square Garden Press Conference (08:56)
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Elvis Presley – The 1972 Madison Square Garden Press Conference
Q: Mr Presley, why do you think you've outlasted every other entertainer to still gain enormous popularity?
Elvis: I take vitamin E! No, I was only kidding. I just… embarrassed myself, man. I don't know dear. I just enjoy the business. I like what I'm doing.
Q: I hear from a lot of press reports that you really are a shy, humble, wonderful human being. Would you agree with that?
Elvis: Oh I don't know what makes them think that, I got, you know, this gold belt and ...
(Elvis stands, unbuttons his jacket and shows off his Las Vegas gold belt. A female press photographer jumped up and took several pictures)
Elvis: What are you doing woman?
Q: I'm reminded of the Ed Sullivan show today…
Elvis: So am I, that's why I'm sitting down, man!
Q: Elvis, you seem to have less grease in your hair these days.
Elvis: No, I stooped using that greasy kids' stuff just like everybody else did, man.
Elvis: Man, I was tame compared to what they do now! Are you kidding? I didn't do anything but just jiggle, you know?
Q: Give us a jiggle! No, how do you feel about entertainer today? How do you feel about the way they perform?
Elvis: Oh, I don't know. I really can't criticise anybody n the entertainment field. I think there's room for everybody and I hate to criticise another performer, you know?
Q: Are you satisfied with the image you've satisfied?
Elvis: Well, the image is one thing and the human being is another, you know, so ...
Q: How close does it come? How close does the image come to the man?
Elvis: It's very hard to live up to an image, I'll put it that way.
Q: Do you think that your audience, or fans vary to any great extent?
Elvis: It's according to what you're talking about, I don't know. No, I don't know, I'd like to think so.
Q: What I mean is, what kind of audiences do you attract now?
Elvis: Well, I've found that in the audiences we have, it's mixed. It's older people, younger people and the very young and all types of people you know, which is good.
Q: Do you have any new projects? What are you up to now Elvis?
Elvis: I just had a movie of the last tour that I did. It's the first live concert that we ever filmed, so that's my next project that's coming out.
Q: Elvis, what finally made you come out of seclusion and decide to make personal appearances again?
Elvis: I just missed it. I missed the closeness of an audience, of a live audience. So just as soon as I got out of the movie contracts, I started to do live concerts again.
Q: Will you be continuing to do more live work in the future?
Elvis: I think so. There's so many places I haven't been yet. Like I've never played New York. I've never been to Britain either.
Q: Would you like to go there then?
Elvis: I'd like to, yes sir. I'd like to very much. I'd like to go to Europe, I'd like to go to Japan and all those places. I've never been out of the country except in the service.
Q: Mr Presley, as you've mentioned your time in the service, what is your opinion of war protesters and would you today refuse to be drafted?
Elvis: Honey, I'd just sooner keep my own personal views about that to myself cause I'm just an entertainer and I'd rather not say.
Q: Do you think other entertainers should refuse to be drafted?
Elvis: No, I can't even say that!
Q: Elvis, they filmed your Boston concert last year so why aren't they allowed to film here?
Elvis: Are you allowed to what dear?
Q: Why did they film your Boston concert but they aren't allowed to film here?
Elvis: I don't know, that's a good question! Why is that Colonel?
Colonel Parker: I didn't hear. What's the question?
Elvis: She said why did they film the show in Boston but they couldn't film it here?
Colonel Parker: If they filmed it here, I don't want them spreading it around!
Elvis: There you go!
Q: Elvis, do you think you'll ever totally change your style?
Elvis: I just don't feel that it's time yet, you know? Maybe I will someday but not right now.
Q: Elvis, have you ever considered pursuing a political career?
Elvis: No sir. I don't have any other aspirations in politics or anything of that nature.
Q: Would you ever consider doing a more demanding movie role then?
Elvis: Yeah. I'd like to do something in the way of a movie script if I can find the right kind of property. In fact, we're looking for it now. You're talking about a non-singing type thing? Yeah, I'd like to do that.
Q: Elvis, you seem to have shied away from rock'n'roll music in recent times. Do you have a reason for this?
Elvis: It's very difficult to find that type of song. It's hard to find good material nowadays for anybody, for all of us, you know.
Q: But you don't seem to record any rock'n'roll songs at all now.
Elvis: It's very hard to find any good hard rock songs. If I could find them I would do them.
Q: Elvis, who do you find sexy in the world of show business?
Elvis: I don't know. There's a lot of people that I like…I got out of that one didn't I?
Q: There are a lot of stars today joining politics. Are you campaigning or…?
Elvis: No sir I'm not. I'm not involved in that at all, I'm just an entertainer.
Q: Elvis, what do you miss most about your past fifteen years making movies and so forth?
Elvis: I don't really miss that much about it. I enjoy it just as much now, if not more than I did then. I would like to think that we've improved ourselves over the past fifteen years.
Q: How about musicals?
Elvis: That's what I mean. I mean musically and vocally and everything. I'd like to think that I've improved over the past fifteen years.
Q: Elvis, you mentioned earlier that you'd like to go to Japan. Would you ever consider embarking on a concert tour over there?
Elvis: Yeah, I'd love to go there.
Q: Do you ever feel like taking time off to relax and probably try your luck at escaping the autograph hunters for a while?
Elvis: No, I've got used to it. I would kind of miss it if it didn't happen. If nobody saw me or nobody recognised me or whatever and ask for an autograph… it's part of the business and I accept it. I think I would miss it.
Q: Elvis, do you know if they'll be recording concerts here?
Elvis: It's possible you know, it's possible. I don't know! They have RCA Victor officials here, so I don't know.
Elvis: Yes sir?
Q: What is your favourite recording that you've ever done?
Elvis: It's Now Or Never. You know O Sole Mio?
Q: Which one was the biggest selling?
Elvis: That one. O Sole Mio was the largest selling and the next one to it was Don't Be Cruel. I think, then Hound Dog and Heartbreak Motel or whatever!
Q: Elvis, what time did you arrive in New York?
Elvis: I came in last night very late and had to go to bed, cause we're having a rehearsal now and I have to go back to the rehearsal after this press conference… unless you've got something better in mind?
Q: Is your wife with you?
Elvis: No she's not.
Q: You mentioned earlier, Elvis, the shortage of recording material. There's just been a suit filed in Nashville, Tennessee by Nashville songwriters for major recording companies saying that they're not given a fair chance. In your estimation and in your knowledge, are the songwriters, the independent songwriters given a fair chance with major recording companies?
Elvis: I don't think so. I think there's so many companies that everybody becomes independent. Once they have one hit record and they form their own companies and there's so many. And also the people who write them are starting to record their own songs and that's why I said it's more difficult to get good material.
Q: From independent songwriters?
Q: You don't have any publishing houses yourself, do you?
Elvis: Yes, I'm a publishing firm but I'll take songs from anywhere or from any writer if they're good. It doesn't have to be in my company, it could be just completely an unknown person or anybody who writes a song. If they can get it to me and if its good, I'll do it.
Q: To your knowledge though, have recording companies favoured the songwriters that work for the subsidiary publishing houses they may own? Do they favour these songwriters?
Elvis: Probably so. Probably so, and being honest I would have to say, yeah.
Q: Mr Presley, what is your opinion on the suit filed by the Nashville songwriters committee and do you have any say on the matter?
Elvis: Honey, I'm really not aware of this particular suit that you're talking about so I can't answer you accurately, you know? I don't even know the details about it. I went to Hawaii to get a tan for… New York, yeah! So I'm not aware of it, really.
Q: If a songwriter isn't in publishing then, do you agree that their material should not be used by major record companies?
Elvis: I don't think so. If they're not heard and if they've got good material and they're good songwriters, I think they should be heard.
Q: Elvis, can you give us a few lines of your latest record so that we know what to expect when your next single comes out?
Elvis: I really can't sitting down! No, I can't do that. I'd just sooner save it for the show.
(The photographers at the front had been taking pictures for around fifteen minutes when the Colonel spotted that those at the back of the ballroom had been unable to get any good shots)
Colonel Parker: Would it be a nice suggestion if some of these people who have pictures would step aside and let some of these other people get their photos? Please step aside. Come on up with the cameras. Come over here with ‘em.
Elvis: As soon as the Colonel gets through talking, I'll talk to you.
Q: Elvis, where did you get that gold belt from?
Elvis: The belt is an award from the International for the attendance record. It's like a trophy but I wear it just to show off.
Q: Elvis, do you talk to your father?
Elvis: Do I talk to my father? I have to, he handles all my personal affairs.
Q: Can we ask your father a question or two then?
Q: The other Mr Presley, at what point did you realise that your son was indeed becoming a very, very famous person?
Vernon Presley: Well, it's kind of hard to say. You know, it all happened so fast it's hard to keep up with it, you know? It just boomed over night, and there it was! So I'd say maybe 1956 after the first television show.
Elvis: I tried to tell him sooner but he wouldn't listen!
Q: Do you have any regrets?
Vernon Presley: No, I have no regrets of it. In fact, I have enjoyed it, really.
Elvis: All kidding aside, it happened very fast to all of us. My mother, and my father and all of us. You know, everything happened overnight and so we had to adjust to a lot of things really quickly. A lot of good things.
Q: Mr Presley, do you think that in that time, Elvis has changed in any way at all?
Vernon Presley: No, not really. I can't tell any changes.
Elvis: I sweat more!
Q: Elvis, what kind of songs do you enjoy doing most? Would you prefer top do say, rock or ballads? In other words would you favour a contemporary ballad such as Bridge Over Troubled Water or an oldie such as Hound Dog?
Elvis: It's a conscious thing, you know? I like to mix ‘em up. In other words, I like to do a song like Bridge Over Troubled Water or American Trilogy or something, then mix it up and do some rock'n'roll, do some of the hard rock stuff.
Q: Are you tied of the old stuff?
Elvis: No. I'm not in the least bit ashamed of Hound Dog or Heartbreak Hotel or whatever.
Q: Elvis, do you see yourself retiring at all?
Elvis: No, not really. I've got too much energy. I don't think so. Not as long as I can.
Q: How about doing a world tour then?
Elvis: I think they're planning one now, they're talking about this one now.
Q: Elvis, are there any new groups that you like particularly?
Elvis: I can't…there's a lot of ‘em. I can't think of any off hand
Colonel Parker: I'd like to live to my reputation of being a nice guy. This is it folks!
Elvis: I've got to go back to rehearsals folks. Thank you very much.
Elvis performed four shows at Madison Square Garden. Two of these have been released. The first, Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden in 1972 and in recent years a superior perfomance (The afternoon performance) has been released on CD as Elvis - An Afternoon At The Garden.
Both are currently available on CD.
Photos : Madison Square Garden
Elvis Presley : Madison Square Garden : Opening Night : Friday June 9th 1972
Elvis Presley : Madison Square Garden : June 10, 1972 : Afternoon Show : 2:30pm
Elvis Presley : Madison Square Garden : June 10, 1972 : Evening Show : 8:30pm
Elvis Presley : Madison Square Garden : June 11, 1972 : 2:30pm
More Interviews and Press Conferences with Elvis Presley
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Interview With Elvis Presley : August 28, 1956
Interview with Elvis Presley : October 28, 1957, Los Angeles
Interview with Elvis Presley : Press Conference Canada 1957
Interview with Elvis Presley : July 31, 1969 By Ray Connelly
Interview with Elvis Presley : The 1969 Press Conference : August 1, 1969
Interview with Elvis Presley : The February 1970 Houston Astrodome Press Conference
Interview with Elvis Presley : The 1972 Madison Square Press Conference : June 9, 1972
Rare Elvis Presley : 1973 Aloha Interview
Other aricles contributed to Elvis Australia by Nigel Goodall ...
Visit Nigel Goodall's Website and see his Elvis work for Sony
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James Burton : First Call For The Royalty Of Rockabilly
Interview with Ronnie Tutt
Interview with Ronnie Tutt #2
Interview with Jerry Scheff
Interview with Glen D. Hardin
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Interview with Terry Blackwood & Jim Murray
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Elvis Presley & the TCB Band
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.