Fans of Elvis Presley are the most devoted and loyal in the world. Almost 40-years after his death, Presley continues to break entertainment records. Last week, his latest album, “If I Can Dream,” hit the $1 million mark.
“With Elvis, fans don’t just listen with their ears,” said fan Bertha Jorrie at the Texas Tribute to Elvis Festival near Plano on Sunday. “We hear his voice with our hearts and souls in such a way that we connect emotionally with each other. Elvis brings people closer together.”
“We treat Elvis’ legacy with respect and care concerning the truth,” added Ruth Garcia of Harlingen, Texas. “History knows that Elvis was a uniting force between races. He wasn’t a hater. He helped the world culturally as a giver through his voice, music, and just the way he acted towards his fans—his fans of many races.”
“Kudos to all involved with your inaugural Texas event. Southfork was the perfect venue,” commented Sharron Solberg Higgins of Grapevine, Texas. “Great lineup of competitors. Headliner shows were amazing. EAS band…can’t say enough about the wonderful musicianship. Conversations segments were the perfect complement to the music.”
The Examiner asked fans at the festival what their favorite Elvis trivia or moment (that most people probably don’t know about) was. Here are some of the best of their replies:
Out of Stock “Elvis holds a peculiar record in the UK for the largest drop from the top of the music charts in one week,” Cynthia O’Conner revealed. “However, this bit of trivia is not as gutting as it appears. In 2005, a re-release of “One Night-I Got Stung” fell from number one down to number 20 in just one week after it debuted. It was alarming initially until we learned it was because the record shops ran out of stock during the second week because of the irresistible demand.”
Generous Tooth Fairy “When Lisa Marie was a baby and lost her first tooth, Elvis replaced her tooth hidden under the pillow with a $5 bill,” offered Bill Redding from Little Rock, Arkansas. “On the drive to the festival, we calculated the worth of what the $5 would be worth in 2016 and it is about $33.40. Can you imagine a child getting over $33 today from the tooth fairy?”
Happy New Year’s “We learned during New Year’s Eve that out of all the most requested songs requested on the radio for that season, “If I Can Dream” is number five,” smiled Earl Sebastion. “It follows “Auld Lang Syne,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” “Same Old Lang Syne,” and “It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve.”
The Swami “Before there was Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager was Bob Neal for a short while,” recalled Tampa Bay’s Ronnie Fillmore. “We learned recently that Bob’s son Sean Neal, is now known as Govinda Swami. Somewhere along the way his love for music intersected with his religion and now he is a senior member of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness.”
Ann Margaret “After filming “Viva Las Vegas” in 1964, Ann Margret and Elvis stayed close friends throughout his life,” explained Betsie Grossbeck of Austin. “He always sent her a floral arrangement shaped like a guitar at all of her Las Vegas openings, except for August 15, 1977. The next day she received a call from Graceland telling her Elvis was dead. She put her Vegas shows on hold and flew to Graceland. Elvis’ father, Vernon and Ann Margret cried together. A couple of years later she would visit Vernon at the hospital before he died.”
Handshake Instead of a Kiss A young girl of the 50’s, Carol Nowell would scream into her pillow listening to Elvis records. She married Burl Nowell and the two began a life-long hobby of “everything Elvis.” Now veterans in the Elvis world, they have met thousands of like-minded fans at concerts, festivals, Graceland and various events for decades. The Nowells saw Presley perform 25 times in Las Vegas and other concerts. Carol received four kisses from Elvis from the stage.
“Well, one night we were right up front at the International Hotel and I was writing down his schedule of the songs he was singing as he went along,” Burl laughed. “Little did I know he saw what I was doing and totally bypassed Carol this time and reached around her to shake my hand. Some of the band members saw this and chuckled too.”
“All I saw was a hand full of diamonds pass my head,” Carol grins. “It was one of our best Elvis memories.”
The Scrapbook “I would collect and keep Elvis keepsakes like magazines and other printed articles and decided to send them to him,” remembers Lucinda Peeples of Waco. “We put them in a very nice box and sent them to Elvis with a note. I received it back later with a kind note of thanks and Elvis’ signature. I treasure it.”
Presley Rose Wes and Tammy Bingham traveled to the Festival from San Marcos, Texas with their daughter Presley Rose to see Elvis Tribute Artists perform.
“I’m four and one-half years old and I am so excited to see Elvis Presley because I have Pip my Hound Dog with me and I have a Teddy Bear named Cutsy and a toy named Lisa Marie.”
Her parents, both musicians, have started a new generation of Elvis fans in their family through Presley Rose.