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Elvis Australia : Official Elvis Presley Fan Club

Interview with Ernst Jorgensen

By Elvis Australia
Source: www.elvis.com.au
June 19, 2001 - 6:18:00 PM

What did Elvis consider to be his crowning achievement?

His ability to combine so many elements of original American music into his own art form, and make it successful.

If we could ask him what he thought his biggest failure was, what do you think he'd say?

Dying at the age of 42

Did he ever become disenchanted with the entertainment industry? Did he ever consider leaving it?

He definitely felt trapped by his film commitments during the mid-to-late Sixties, however he always stressed his total commitment to making music and performing for people.

Can you discuss the evolution of Elvis' relationship with Col. Tom Parker?

Colonel Parker was the key marketing/publicity man in building Elvis in the early part of his career, and Elvis would forever be grateful for that. The fact that the relationship lasted until Elvis' death speaks louder than any analysis. In the later part of his career, there were frictions from time to time, but they always made up almost instantly.

Did the loosened sexual mores of the Sixties have an impact on Elvis?

I think it was the other way around. The sexuality of a rock-n-roll artist was spearheaded by Elvis' enormous success and was part of a sexual revolution that became very visible in the Sixties.

What did he do in his spare time?

Other than listening to music, the most constant hobby was to watch movies. He would rent local theaters in Memphis after hours, sometimes every day of a week. Other significant activities included karate (he was a black belt), reading, horseback riding and playing football.

What was Elvis' favorite song to perform?

As with any performer this would change a lot during his career. The first known statement on this issue put the Sun recording "Trying to Get to You" as his favorite. After his first session for RCA, Elvis would often mention the ballad "I Was the One" as something he was very proud off. Towards the end, his version of Roy Hamilton's "Hurt", was a constant feature in his live performance.

What music did he listen to?

Elvis is quoted as saying "I like all kinds of music." He grew up with everything from Mario Lanza and Bing Crosby to country music, the blues and a deep love for gospel music (black and white). Throughout his career he stayed loyal to his musical roots.

What is something no one knows about Elvis?

No one knows.

What did Elvis think of the direction rock music took in the Sixties and Seventies? Did he ever express opinions regarding the Beatles, Motown acts, Jimi Hendrix, punk rock, etc.?

As with almost any person, eventually you will feel removed from the music of today, but Elvis was always interested in new songs and new artists, and as an example often featured songs from The Beatles' repertoire.

What is your most prized Elvis momento?

Doing the job I do. It's an enormous privilege to be able to study an artist of such unique talent, and I think I have been able to get closer than any other outsider.

How did you become such an expert on Elvis?

I think it's a combination of growing up at a time when Elvis was the hottest thing on radio here in Denmark and combining that with an enormous appetite for music, love of detective novels, and studying History at the University of Copenhagen. All this led me to the recording business, and from there it took on a course of natural progression (in 20/20 hindsight, of course).

What were Elvis' most prized possessions?

Throughout his life he took great pride in his cars and always had a whole fleet of them. The first pink Cadillac, the Rolls Royce and the gold Cadillac are probably the most famous of his many, many cars.

Did he have post-music career aspirations?

I don't think he ever thought that he would stop making music, but his other main ambition was to be a great movie actor.

What did he put in his hair?

I don't know, but since 1957 he dyed it black. His natural hair color is brown.

Did he ever try his hand at song writing?

Only on a few occasions: 'That's Someone You Never Forget' and 'You'll Be Gone'. In creating music, his major forte was the talent to re-create a song in a new and meaningful way.

What is the one aspect of Elvis' personality that made the biggest impression on those who knew him?

His generosity.

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