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
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.
Bruce Springsteen was seven when he first saw Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show
. Elvis Presley's third and final appearance took place on January 6, 1957. Watching the show, Springsteen felt mesmerised: 'I couldn't imagine anyone not wanting to be Elvis Presley
', he recalled ... 'I jumped up over the wall and I started runnin' up the driveway, which when I look back on it now was kind of a stupid thing to do because I hate it when people do it at my house'.
Elvis was singing in the men's room. But I'd gotten used to that. This time, though, there was something new. And it led me, after all these years, to the legendary Barbara Hearn. A little explanation -- all right, a lot of explanation -- is in order:
Interview with Steve Wynn, bother of Kenny
who we recently featured an interview with.
Interview with Kenny Wynn, Colonel Tom Parker's assistant. Kenny had an insider's view of the Presley empire back in the 1970s when 'The King' was selling out hundreds of performances at the Las Vegas Hilton. Wynn was in charge of the sale of Elvis Presley memorabilia and even traveled with Elvis Presley on tour.
Interview with with Anita Wood, Elvis' girlfriend during the whirlwind late 50's. Anita talks about meeting Elvis for the first time WHPQ radio television in Memphis 1957, dating, Elvis being drafted and his mothers reaction, Hollywood, Elvis Presley Jr, Natalie Wood and more.
Interview with Elvis Presley - The 1969 Press Conference - August 1, 1969.
Interview with Vernon Presley by Nancy Anderson : Good Housekeeping, January 1978.
Larry Auerbach booked Elvis Presley's first network television performance in 1956. The agency had just signed on to represent Presley when a producer for Jackie Gleason's 'Stage Show' called Auerbach and said he needed an act, 'a country singer', for an upcoming broadcast. So Auerbach said, 'I've got one,' while knowing almost nothing about Presley's act.
Elvis was gonna perform at the Armory and my friend and I, we were so excited to go and we went and everybody was screaming and all the girls and everything and then my friend wanted me to go back stage to get his autograph and I wouldn't go and she goes, 'Are you crazy?' and I go, 'I don't want to'. She goes, 'Why not?' I said, 'Because I'm gonna go to Hollywood and he is gonna be my friend' ... And she goes, 'You're crazy ...', because my name Aidieme, 'You're crazy Aidieme, you're never gonna be a movie star and you should go back. At least you get to see him in person'. And I wouldn't do it.
Interview with Milton Berle who talks about Elvis and his appearance on 'The Milton Berle Show', about his first meeting with Elvis that occurred when his manager wanted Berle to audition him. It was his second appearance on The Milton Berle show that Elvis' performance of 'Hound Dog' drove the audience wild and had the press and some of the viewers appalled. It is one of his most controversial performances.
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.
Somehow, I scraped together enough money to buy every new Presley release so that I could play them in the privacy of my bedroom - all the better to study his unique singing style.
First time I had any contact with Elvis I was in the hospital and Elvis sent me a telegram ... I had written and recorded this song called Old Friend
and in the song it says, 'Would you be here if I could have been there?' in the song and that really means that at one point I think it was the second time maybe he went into the hospital or something I wanted to come to Memphis and talk to Elvis as a friend, you know, didn't want a Cadillac, didn't need anything, didn't want anything, just loved him.
'If I Can Dream' was the dynamic production duo of Don Reedman (Barbra Streisand
, Michael Crawford) and Nick Patrick (Plácido Domingo, Il Divo). Reedman first approached executive producer Priscilla Presley
with the idea to marry vintage Elvis vocal tracks with the RPO at famed Abbey Road Studios in London, and it was an idea she wholly embraced. Buoyed by the reception of If I Can Dream, the production Dream Team reunited to emerge with another stellar Elvis/RPO offering, 'The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
' (RCA/Legacy), a worthy sequel if ever there was.
Interview with Joe Esposito by Larry King 2007. Joe Esposito: Elvis loved to be on stage. That where -- he felt the happiest on stage because he got the love from the audience
. And he loved to sing. I mean, that's what he loved to do. He'd sit in his house on hours on end by himself at the piano and just play songs and sing.
There's a photograph of you and Elvis here that looked like a plaque. Can you tell us a little background about what happened there? Well, Elvis and I took a picture together, because we wrote a song called 'I'll Be Back', which was voted in the top ten in the motion picture category.
Interview with Ray Walker of the Jordanaires
. We were looking the other way when Elvis came in. When I turned around, he stuck his hand out and said, 'I'm Elvis Presley'. I said, 'I know who you are. I'm Ray Walker'. Elvis replied to me, 'And I know who you are'. We stood there and talked, and the minute I looked in to his face all his fame left. I saw one of the nicest guys. I'm not really one to keep my mouth shut most of the time, as long as I know there's no harm, so during that all-night session I said to him, 'You know, your heart's going to take a beating in this business. And I've only been in it three weeks'. (Laughs) I really liked him right off. There was just an aura about him, he was one of the most impressive people I have ever met in my life.
Video, B.B. King talks about Elvis Presley, and the first time he saw him at Sun Records. Later, Elvis Presley and B.B. King backstage at the WDIA Goodwill Revue at Ellis Auditorium on December 7, 1956.
The man who brought it all into focus and made the world catch on fire with rock and roll was Elvis Presley. He also generated those fires in me and my friends. We all thought we could be like him.
'I approached writing for Elvis differently than I did for any other artist. The songs had to have acombination of blues, country, rock and pop [what came to becalled 'rockabilly']. It was like walking in his musical shoes. With each new Elvis movie, more of my songs were being recorded. It became more and more exciting, for I was becoming the only songwriter to have so many songs recorded by him.
Interview with Richard Davis a longtime member of Elvis' Memphis Mafia. Richard started working for Elvis after Elvis returned from the Army and continued to work for him until 1971 as a body guard, a stand-in in 23 movies and eventually a wardrobe manager. He remained friends with Elvis until the end. Known among the other Memphis Mafia members for his quick wit and for being a bit of a prankster he once dropped a water balloon on Elvis' head as he walked out of his trailer in fresh makeup for a movie shoot.
Richard Davis : There's so many things it's hard to pinpoint. Well I got one thing. I don't remember what year it was. And one thing that happened is back in the dressing room before he went on one night, somebody came back and told Elvis, 'Muhammad Ali
is in the audience and he would like to meet you'. And Elvis said, 'Oh, yeah, yeah, bring him on back', 'cause Elvis loved Muhammad Ali. So Muhammad Ali comes back there and he's got his entourage with him and -- big old guys, man. You know, and big bodyguard guys.
The Houston Astrodome was chosen by Colonel Parker to be the first venue for Elvis to perform outside Las Vegas. After the concluding show Elvis held a press conference for about 100 journalists at Astroworld.
View three video interviews with Scotty Moore. Scotty talks about meeting Elvis
, about The Sun Sessions
, where Scotty says that it was Bill Black that came up with the flip side for what would be their first record. It was their rendition of the bluegrass standard 'Blue Moon of Kentucky', made famous by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. And in a third interview Scotty talks about The 68 Comeback Special