Interview with Elvis Presley by radio broadcaster Harold Johnson 1975
September 28, 2019
Interview with Harold Johnson
Harold Johnson was interviewed (2003) about his interview with Elvis.
Harold Johnson. Hi, Harold Johnson
ME4EP. Hello Mr Johnson I hope you don't mind but I'm calling from England regarding a story I heard from a friend of mine in Charlotte regarding an interview you did with Elvis Presley.
Harold Johnson. Yeah, hi, I just got your e-mail
ME4EP. Oh great, I hope you don't mind me calling you about this?
Harold Johnson. Not at all, I don't get many calls from England.
ME4EP. I've just got to ask you about interviewing Elvis live on air, what happened and how did this come about?
Harold Johnson. Well, I arrived to broadcast from The Memphis Liberty Bowl Stadium on a game between The Memphis Southmen and the Charlotte Hornets, this was about...... 1975
ME4EP. I guessed it was maybe mid 70's as this would be a WFL game and the league was only running between 74 -76?
Harold Johnson. That's right the world football league, I had to go up to the press box in the elevator and on leaving the elevator there was an unusually large police presence around the place so I asked what was going on, I was told that Elvis was at the game in the Mayors box and that it was for security purposes.
At this time Elvis was already in the Mayors box adjacent to the press box and after a while he popped his head in and introduced himself to the media crew and shook a few hands, he had his girlfriend with him, Linda Thompson I think she was called.
ME4EP. Yeah, that would be correct.
Harold Johnson. He later went back to the Mayors box because that's where he stayed when he was watching the games.
ME4EP. That's great, how did the interview come about.
Harold Johnson. Well before he left to return to the box I told him we just gotta get you on the radio and he said you ain't getting me on the radio and we all just laughed about it.
While I was broadcasting a while later I turned around, and I don't know what told me to do it, but there he was taking a drink from the water fountain behind me.
I said to the listeners that Elvis was just taking a drink and that we gotta try and get him on the air and as I was leaning over towards him I heard him say "I ain't going on the air", I told him he practically was already.
He came back into the room again later during the game and we talked a little live on air about the game.
ME4EP. This story is amazing, I can't believe I've never heard about it before.
Harold Johnson. Well all this was around the time he was in the news after buying a car as a gift for a lady at the showroom, you know how he bought cars for his friends and the like.
I asked him, "if I said I liked your car would you buy me one", he just sort laughed and shrugged he shoulders saying that it wasn't him it was some other guy.
One of the funniest things was we received calls from some listeners during the game saying they didn't appreciate my making fun of Elvis on air in Memphis with an impersonator.
Harold Johnson. Yes, they just couldn't believe he was at the game but he was.
Just like you to this day I am still a big Elvis fan, and I hear he has a new single out now too.
ME4EP. It was just released here in the UK and it's called Rubberneckin, it's a remix of the song from his movie CHANGE OF HABIT. It's been mixed by a DJ called Paul Okenfold and he's done a pretty good job on it in my opinion.
I doubt it will be a number one like the last one but it should be a least top ten.
Harold Johnson. That's great isn't it?
ME4EP. Yeah it is.
Harold Johnson. I was asked only the other week of any outstanding memories I have as a sporstcaster and my Elvis story just has to be THE ONE, although I do have regrets.
ME4EP. Why is that?
Harold Johnson. After the game Elvis came back and was chatting again, I asked him what it was like to be so famous and he replied I just enjoy my music.
You know this was 75 and they go on about how big he was but he looked great to me.
He said "hey, after you are all finished up you and the guys call around at Graceland" and I said "gee Elvis we're chartered to fly back to Charlotte", he said "I'll fly ya'll back in the morning" and I said I think we better not, you know how it is.
ME4EP. Well you were working after all but........
Harold Johnson. That's my one regret, and he would have flown us back later, have you been to Graceland?
ME4EP. Yes I have and I'm returning again in February with my wife.
Harold Johnson. I have visited Graceland myself since but it is still my one regret knowing I missed that opportunity and to think I could have stayed and hung out with Elvis and his guys.
ME4EP. You still have a great memory that I'm thrilled to hear about so don't be too hard on yourself Mr Johnson.
Another question is I'm pretty sure your interview has never been released because I'm sure I would have a copy, what happened to it, my friend remembers it being on TV sometime in the 90's.
Harold Johnson. That's right, we did a feature for his birthday celebrations one year and we played a clip edited to about 20 seconds, you know the most interesting sections of it.
I still have it on reel tape somewhere but it's that old type of tape that stretches and breaks real easy you know?
I'm sure I still have it in a drawer at home some place.
ME4EP. I'm so thrilled to hear this story, it's like discovering hidden treasure, I hope you don't mind me contacting you like this via telephone?
Harold Johnson. Not at all, like I said I'm a fan too, I understand.
ME4EP. Mr Johnson I would...............
Harold Johnson. Harold, it's Harold
ME4EP. OK, Harold I would like to say a big thank you for your time and I'm sure everyone will enjoy hearing about your story.
I'll get an extra copy from Andrew I'm sure and I'll mail it out to you.
Harold Johnson. Thank you.
ME4EP. Thanks again Harold I really appreciate your time and I'll be in touch, bye.
Harold Johnson. Bye bye.
WFL Week Three 1975
Saturday, August 9
Charlotte 11 at Memphis 23
Elvis Presley 1975
Elvis Presley Oklahoma City, July 8, 1975
Elvis Presley Terre Haute, Indiana | July 9, 1975
Elvis Presley Cleveland Coliseum, Richfield, Oh | July 10, 1975
Elvis Presley Charleston West Virginia | July 11, 1975
Elvis Presley Following his Concert in Springfield | July 14, 1975
Elvis Presley Following his Concert in Springfield | July 15, 1975
Elvis Presley and Linda Thompson | Charleston West Virginia | July 16, 1975
Elvis Presley Nassau Colliseum | July 19, 1975
Elvis Presley Norfolk Scope | July 20, 1975
Elvis Presley with local police before boading his plane to leave Greensboro | July 22, 1975
Elvis Presley Ashville | July 23, 1975
Elvis Presley Ashville | July 24, 1975
(Impulsive) Elvis Presley Gives $11,500 Gift
AugustInterview with Elvis Presley by radio broadcaster Harold Johnson August 9, 1975
Elvis Presley Las Vegas | Opening Night | August 18, 1975
Elvis Presley Las Vegas | August 19, 1975
No part of any article on this site may be re-printed for public display without permission.
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. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.
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.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.