Elvis Presley Interviews
Read all the latest interviews with friends and family about The King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley.
Interviews By Scott Jenkins : Index of Elvis Interviews A-Z
Thom Zimny: I think for me, the desire to do a film about Elvis came about when I realized there was a generation that was missing out on the beauty of the man and his music. The message got lost in portraying Elvis as a cartoon figure. I wanted to get to a closer place and examine the artist. We looked at what he accomplished and kept away from the backstory that has been the focus of other films which looked at the character defects and the losses in his life. I felt the music needed to be revisited and our generation would not see him as a caricature, but as a person who was deeply connected to the music and whose life has not been clearly explained in books and films.
Memphis soul-music legend David Porter, the co-author of such classic hits as 'Hold On! I'm Coming' and 'Soul Man', recently took time to offer his thoughts on Elvis.
Chip Young: RCA Studio B. I was blown away getting to work with Elvis. Then the next thing we did was a movie soundtrack out in L.A. We went to MGM or Universal, I've forgotten which one it was now. I remember I was driving the car with all the musicians with me. It's a movie lot, so all the buildings are really close together. I swerved around the corner and Rock Hudson stepped out of one of the doorways and jumped back in. I almost hit him. Scared me to death!
Martha Carr wanted to meet Elvis Presley.
So she and a few friends from Jackson traveled to Memphis on Jan. 18, 1971, to the Jaycees' 10 Outstanding Young Men of America
ceremony - now known as the 10 Outstanding Young Americans. Elvis was the final recipient that evening at the old Ellis Auditorium. 'Of course, every woman was trying to get to Elvis', Carr says. 'But security would stop them and send them back. It looked like I wasn't going to meet Elvis, after all. 'But my friends kept urging me, 'Go on, Martha. Go see Elvis'. We were only about 40 feet from him. So I finally walked over toward him'. She was stopped by security, only to have Elvis step in: 'Let her come on', he said.
Lonnie Wolfe was just a 17-year-old running away from home when he joined the U.S. Army in the late 1950s.
Little did he know he would be sharing close quarters with every teen girl's heartthrob - Elvis Presley. Wolfe was assigned to one of 13 jeeps in his armory as a driver. Each jeep carried three soldiers, including the driver, who would go on reconnaissance missions. In Wolfe's jeep was Sgt. Elvis Presley and another soldier.
Pat Boone: I first met Elvis in Cleveland, Ohio. He was not very, he was not known really nationally at all. It was before Heartbreak Hotel, before Hound Dog
, he had two or three country records, sort of 'rockabilly' we called them. And I'd seen his name on some jukeboxes in Texas, and made note of the name. But he couldn't be a pop artist, not in those days.
Many Elvis fans will know the story of Denise Sanchez, the 8-year-old fan from Santa Fe who we saw in an outtake from 'Elvis On Tour'. Denise had been battling cancer (Leukaemia) since the age of 6 and, like her mom was a huge Elvis fan.
With the help of the local paper, her mom Trudi was able to get tickets for a concert in Albuquerque on April 19, 1972, and an opportunity to meet Elvis backstage before the show.
Dixie Locke was 15 years old when she spotted Elvis Presley at the First Assembly of God in Memphis. At 19, the future King of Rock
had a start in his career thanks to a recent recording with Sun Records
, but that didn't stop him from pursuing love. I had some very good, close friends at the high school. Friday or Saturday night, we'd go to the skating rink. We did that pretty regularly. I had seen Elvis at church. He had started coming to the church where I had been all my life, but we had not actually spoken to each other.
When HBO premieres Elvis Presley: The Searcher this spring, fans of the King will get an unprecedentedly deep look at his life and music, from his first forays into Memphis blues clubs to his early stardom, up through his late '60s comeback and exhausting '70s touring. The nearly three-and-a-half-hour-long, two-part documentary (which will also get a soundtrack released through Sony/Legacy) features new interviews with scholars, stars like Bruce Springsteen
and the late Tom Petty
, and -- most notably -- Priscilla Presley
, who famously met the superstar when she was 14 and was married to him from 1967 to 1973.
After I graduated from high school, I had a couple of songs by that time. I was ready to go on tour. I'm an only child, so daddy decided he should go with me. So for the first couple of nights, we toured with a guy named Elvis Presley. I've never heard of him. That was in 1955.
So many of us have spent Christmas with Elvis' music, but Priscilla Presley
actually spent Christmas with Elvis. Priscilla shares heartwarming memories of holidays with the King, from the first time they ever exchanged gifts to their tree-trimming traditions as a married couple living at Graceland, to how that changed when Priscilla gave birth to their daughter, Lisa Marie
, and how Priscilla feels when she hears Elvis' music now.
Jocelyn 'Jackie' Lane was born Jocelyn Olga Bolton in Vienna, Austria in 1937. Today she was married to Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. In 1965, she co-starred with Elvis Presley
in Tickle Me
and later appeared in several roles in Hollywood films, including as 'biker chick' Cathy in Hell's Belles in 1969. She also made guest appearances on American television series. She retired in 1971 after marrying Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg in Marbella, Spain on 3 May 1973
As the bassist of the most iconic rock and roll band, The Beatles, Paul McCartney played bass gutair. In this clip he shows his talents on the upright bass. But not just any upright bass. The 'upright' as many call it officially known as the 'double bass', is the acoustic early version of the electric modern day bass guitar that would become Paul's role in The Beatles.
Paul reveals the original Elvis Presley
bass, played by Bill Black
, and sings 'Heartbreak Hotel
The Beatles talking about meeting Elvis Presley.
This is a video interview with Shelley Fabares
on American Bandstand in 1965. Shelley starred with Elvis Presley in the 1965 movie Girl Happy
, was one of three leading ladies in 'Spinout
'. Adding to her lineup of movies with Elvis, the following year she starred in 'Clambake
', her third starring role alongside the King. 'I loved doing those pictures', said Fabares. 'It's a happy memory for me, they were great fun'.
'Nothing stood out about Elvis', Harris said. 'There wasn't no-one more surprised than me when he did what he did. Elvis was no different from any of the rest of us, back then. We'd go swimming together in the creek, just hang out, like kids do. There wasn't a lot to do, growing up in Tupelo. The young Elvis was not the extrovert and flamboyant Vegas showman he would later become. On a previous trip to Memphis I'd learned that as a teenager he was so shy that he had to be coaxed to sing on stage at an end-of-term high school concert. Within two to three years he was the most famous person in the world, and wealthy in a way that would be unimaginable to the country boy from Mississippi.
Bruce Jackson was an Australian audio legend and his star-studded live mixing credits have include such names as Elvis Presley (1971-1977), Bruce Springsteen (1978-1988), Barbra Streisand, Dianna Ross, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and the Faces, Barry White, Jefferson Airplane, Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath), Jackson 5, Cat Stevens, Art Garfunkel and Lou Reid ... just to name a few.
Following is an excerpt from an interview
with Bruce Jackson by Shawn Poole. (Tragically, just a day after this interview was concluded, Bruce Jackson was killed when the single-engine plane that he loved to pilot crashed during a solo evening flight near Death Valley National Park). From Backstreets Magazine
. Backstreets magazine has been covering the music of Bruce Springsteen and for more than 30 years.
Mark James: The next day I heard the track at the studio. At first, I thought it sounded too slow. But when I heard how it was embellished later, I was blown away. This is important to note as Chips has always stated he was disgusted (As you will read in the next paragraph) with what Felton Jarvis did, and we are referring to the fade out and back in at the end of the song, yet here is the songwriter giving his overwhelming blessing to the extra production. Elvis fans also approve it should be noted, when in 1987 RCA removed the ending for the release, 'The Memphis Record', fans cried out demanding it be restored.
Priscilla Presley: 'I start my show off saying, 'You're probably wondering why I'm doing this'. I think it's time. I feel much more comfortable with crowds, with people and with talking', says Priscilla Presley. 'I just want to clear up so many things that have been altered or perceived differently. I want to put the record straight from my side'. Priscilla is the only one to have the story of being his wife, confidant, friend, accomplice and the mother of his child. To prepare, I read her memoir, Elvis and Me. Among other things, Priscilla shares intimate details about their 18 years together, the complications of it all and the life of the king.
I started to call Tom Parker who was Elvis' manager every morning at 8:30 in the morning. 'Good morning, Colonel, this is Jerry Weintraub. I want to take Elvis on tour'. Finally, one morning he said to me, 'You still want to take my boy on tour'. I said, 'Yes'. He said, 'Okay, you be in Vegas tomorrow at 11:00 o'clock with a million dollars and we'll talk a deal' .... I said, 'Okay I'll get it and I'll be there'.
Bill Medley Remembers Elvis Presley (09:44). I was working the Hilton Hotel, Elvis was in the main room, I was in this lounge and Elvis was doing You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' in his show. And so I'm doin' it 'You never close your eyes--' And I'm right at the place where it's 'Baby, baby, I get down on my knees for--' and I sense some rustling going on backstage, you know, when you're onstage it's like your living room and somebody walks onstage it's like somebody walking into your home at midnight. So I hear this rustling going on and I'm 'Baby, baby I get down on my knees for you'. And here comes Elvis and he walks right by me, in front of me, hits me on the arm and says, 'Hi, Bill' and keeps right on walking. And there was about four other guys with him and they just walked right off. And I didn't say anything. Well, the place went crazy.
Young Elvis Presley had become a phenomenon, and in the fall of 1956, the New York Daily Mirror decided it was time to give him a serious look. And so in early September, columnist Sidney Fields headed down to Memphis to gather material for a series of articles in the Mirror. He didn't get a chance to talk with Elvis, who was in Hollywood shooting Love Me Tender at the time, but Fields was able to get an extensive interview with Elvis' parents, who invited him into the Presley home. That interview with Gladys and Vernon Presley was the basis for a five-part expose entitled 'The Real Story of Elvis Presley', which ran in the Daily Mirror from September 23-27, 1956.
Priscilla Presley has continued to work on Elvis-related projects in recent years. If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
was released in 2015, and 2016 delivered The Wonder of You
, while HBO currently has an Elvis documentary in the works. Priscilla is currently touring the world with her Elvis & Me: An Evening with Priscilla Presley - An Open Conversation
show. The tour - which includes an October 29 stop at New York's NYCB Theatre at Westbury, beyond upcoming stops in Canada and Australia
- promises to be full of stories never before heard publicly. To learn more about An Evening with Priscilla Presley, I had the opportunity to have some questions answered by Ms. Presley via e-mail.
Did you know Elvis did not want to record 'Blue Christmas'?
Elvis told the band to play and sing as badly as possible. Millie Kirkham tells the story as she remembers her first Recording Session with Elvis Presley.
Interview with Elvis Presley just after the general press conference, but prior to his debut at the Pan-Pacific in Los Angeles. How do you write music if you don't read it?
It's all a big hoax, honey. I never wrote a song in my life. I get one-third of the credit for recording it. It makes me look smarter than I am. I've never even had an idea for a song. Just once, maybe. When?
I went to bed one night, had quite a dream, and woke up all shook up. I phoned a pal and told him about it. By morning, he had a new song, 'All Shook Up'.
On November 23, 1976 at Graceland
, Memphis Tennessee, Elvis' cousin Harold Loyd
, the night guard at Graceland, called the police complaining of a drunk, pistol wielding man blocking the gates at Elvis Presley's home in a brand new white lincoln continental. Police approached the car cautiously when they got to the open driver's side window, they found that the man was Jerry Lee Lewis ...
This is an interesting interview with Annett Wolf, one of the co-producers of Elvis In Concert in 1977. She supervised all of the backstage filming plus fan interviews, Vernon's interview.
Elton John : I remember so well the day my mother came home with a 78 of 'Heartbreak Hotel'. She said she'd just heard it in the record shop and she knew she had to buy it straight away. So she put it on for us both to listen to and I'd never heard anything like that before in my whole life.
So different are Elvis' voices, that if one could find a person who has never heard his recordings and you put him or her on an island and then had them listen to these fifty songs, mixed with say, those of 12 other distinctive singers, and then you then ask him or her, to classify them, to separate the singers, I could bet a million dollars that the person will never say that there are 13 singers, as would be the case, but at least 25.
Elvis' musical style, as a musician and impact as a vocalist and stage performer.
Included below are over 100 comments currently available either on the internet, in reference guides, encyclopedias, or books ...
Jerry Leiber: I called and asked to speak to (Colonel) Tom. He got on the phone and said (Leiber imitates Parker) 'How you doin' boy?' I said, 'I'm OK. I had a real close call there. I had walking pneumonia and I just got out of the hospital.' He said he wanted me to pack right away and catch a plane. I told him I wasn't in any shape to catch a plane because I'd just gotten out of the hospital. He said, 'If they let you out, that means you're all right'. I told him I needed a day or two to get myself together, but he said the schedule was very tight and he needed me to come out right away.
Harry Morgan is probably best known to Elvis fans as Elvis Presley's co-star in the 1966 riverboat film, Frankie and Johnny
. He played 'Cully', Elvis' piano player, as seen in the clip above. The next clip includes a short interview with Harry talking about filming with Elvis and how pleasant he was to work with. In fact, he says, Elvis couldn't have been nicer.
Elvis Presley had the ability to touch others' lives as few human beings ever could. Just as people were magnetically drawn to him, so too, he had an almost fan-like devotion to those he admired. Among that group was Hawaii 5-0's Jack Lord and his wife, Marie.
'We were in a car talking and (Ali) asked ... 'If I walked down one side of the street and Elvis Presley walked down the other, who'd get more attention?' ...
Well, he couldn't get out, he tried to get out one time, and walk down Hollywood Blvd. and he got all the people recognized him and pretty soon he had a mob down there and they had to call the cops to get him back to the Knickerbocker. And, one night, it must have been about 10 or 11 o'clock, where the Pantages Theatre, it's around the corner from the Knickerbocker. And, across the street from the Knickerbocker was a car, I mean a parking lot. So, people would park their car there and go to the movies at the Pantages Theatre. So, all the people were walking down Hollywood Blvd. and they'd walk across the street to go to their cars, so they wouldn't actually walk right past the Knickerbocker.
That's Someone You Never Forget
was a title that came from Elvis. He said, 'How about coming up with a song with the title of That's Someone You Never Forget?
' I sat down and wrote it. I played him a demo with me singing that I cut at Gold Star Recording in Hollywood. Elvis liked it and I was in the studio when he recorded it, which was great but also nerve wrecking. Every time he'd start over and say, 'Hold it! hold it!' I'd think, 'Uh oh, he's gonna lose interest'. I like how the song turned out. That song had a strange, weird melody. I like the way Elvis recorded all the songs that I wrote. Elvis wouldn't have recorded my songs if he didn't like them. As a matter of fact there's a couple that he turned down, I wish I had written more for him.
The King of Rock 'n' Roll shattered many records during his incredible career. Forty-five years ago this weekend, he became the first entertainer in history to sell out four consecutive shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Elvis' Madison Square Garden shows were the first time Elvis performed in front of a live audience in New York since his TV appearances on the Dorsey Brothers, Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan shows in 1956 and 1957. Elvis performed before an audience of 20,000 fans at each of the four shows that took place June 9-11, 1972 (that's a total of 80,000 fans for the entire weekend). Initially, only three shows were booked, but those sold out instantly, so the fourth show on June 11 was added.
Jerry Schilling talks about the 'Elvis, The Wonder Of You' Tour of Australia 2017.
SHE was the wife of rock 'n' roll's reigning king - a union that put Priscilla Presley on an irreversible path to stardom. And though 2017 marks 40 years since the passing of Elvis, the association between her and the legendary performer is still as strong as ever.
'I miss his laughter', she says, eyes brightening at the memory. 'His laughter was so contagious. He'd start and everyone would start - they didn't know what they were laughing about, they just got so much enjoyment from being with him.
From the Loving You DVD
, Martin Sheen talks about how much Elvis meant to him
, why Elvis was king. Sheen shows he is a well informed Elvis fan, and music/film lover. Martin is a big fan and tells of his love for Elvis and seeing 'Love Me Tender' about 20 times in the 50's. A great inclusion to an otherwise delightful DVD.
Eleven years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Elvis' first drummer D.J Fontana
. I was working as a reporter at a radio station, when, one day in April, 2006, a press release caught my eye. It announced that Fontana was touring Sweden as part of a Swedish group called The Cadillac Band that would be playing my home town that very night. As my news editor didn't seem to understand the significance of this, I practically had to beg him to let me interview the drummer instead of doing the news piece he had in mind for me to do.
This is an interview with Scotty Moore by retired Boston Herald journalist Larry Katz that he has recently transcribed. This is a superb, honest chat he had with Scotty Moore back in May 2002, almost exactly 15 years ago. At one point, Scotty makes an interesting observation. 'The stuff from back in the '50s is what people want to hear', he says. 'They love watching the jumpsuits and everything, but the music in the '70s don’t seem to have the staying power that the other stuff did'.
Could Elvis actually play guitar?
He played pretty good, yeah. And he played piano and drums. The first sessions he'd come in and work. After that, when he got more confident, he'd come in and play drums a while, then guitar, then piano. Then he'd practice his karate and then send out for 85 White Cottage burgers and then he'd go to work around 11 o'clock at night. But he loved gospel music. Jake Hess had influenced him and Bill Monroe and Big Boy Crudup. The first time I ever heard him I thought, 'What in the hell is this?' I couldn't tell if he was black or bluegrass or gospel or what. Of course that was what made him what he was. He was so damn versatile he could sing anything.
This is an interview I conducted with the great recording engineer Bill Porter
back in 1987. We chatted and listened to some of his recordings. In one week of 1960, Bill Porter-engineered recordings accounted for 15 of Billboard's Top 100 Singles. You could chalk it up to his having folks like Elvis Presley
, Roy Orbison
, Chet Atkins
and the Everly Brothers
to record, but then you'd have to explain why, with Porter out of the picture, so many of their careers took a nose-dive. The fact is, the original pressings of many of those classic Porter recordings possess a natural, spacious, jump-out-at-you 'live' feel that today's engineers don't seem capable of achieving ... Steve Sholes, who produced the first Elvis session Bill was involved with, said, 'Roll the tape' And I said, 'But I haven't heard the song yet!' And he said, 'Roll the tape, Bill!' and I look and the studio is totally black out there. I can't see a thing. I said, 'You're kidding!' He said, 'No, roll the tape!'.
In this video interview with Billy Strange (From 2010, to celebrate his 80th birthday), Billy talks about his friendship with Elvis, writing songs for him with Mac Davis
. Writing Memories, discussing the lyrics with Elvis in the process of writing the song, A Little Less Conversation
and about that songs mega success in 2002. Working with Elvis on the song Viva Las Vegas
, 'I was playing guitar on Viva Las Vegas
... he liked what I did'. On their friendship he talks about Elvis calling him up 'to his house' and them 'playing with the baby, Lisa Marie
for hours. Billy also talks about working with Nancy Sinatra
and her hit, These Boots Were Made for Walking
and much more.
Shirley Dieu met Elvis Presley in 1975. After becoming friends, she would spend the next 3 years touring and vacationing with him. In this exclusive Interview with Sergio Luiz Shirley tells her amazing story and how she became the 'Memphis Mafia Princess'. 'I dont think that Elvis took the vacation as a much-needed break. He had just gotten his plane The Lisa Marie and felt a certain freedom that he hadnt really had before. So since he loved Hawaii, he said Hey, I'm taking everyone to Hawaii. It was a last minute kind of thing ...'
Once an in-demand Hollywood actress, Dolores Hart shocked the entertainment industry when she gave up everything to become a cloistered Benedictine Roman Catholic nun. She left her career, broke off her engagement to Los Angeles businessman Don Robinson, and pursued her vocation as a nun.
Julie Parrish starred in several films, including 'Paradise Hawaiian Style', with Elvis Presley. In one of the most delightful moments of the film, Elvis sings to her in a helicopter, while she holds a group of dogs at bay. Julie was born, October 21, 1940 and passed away on October 1st, 2003.
Though Leonard Cohen and Elvis Presley seem to occupy different time-zones in the history of rock, they were born within a year of each other. And Cohen, like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and so many others, vividly remembers the 'shock of recognition' he felt when he first heard Presley in the '50s.
One of Elvis' trusted friends, Marty Lacker was instrumental in arranging Elvis' seminal recording sessions at American Sound Studios with producer Chips Moman
in January and February of 1969. Marty shares the genesis behind those historic sessions, which yielded the hits, 'Suspicious Minds
', 'In The Ghetto
', 'Don't Cry Daddy
', and 'Kentucky Rain
' and marked an artistic rebirth for the singer.