One thing that continues to amaze us, is that although it's 40 years after Elvis sadly left us his legacy still contines to inspire people all around the world.
From authors to artists, the amazing life that Elvis lived still serves as a massive inspiration to carry on entertaining people, and making the world a better place.
So we were delighted to hear about Strictly Elvis' good friend Mauro Dirago who is just about to release a brand new album this year - which all came about because of Elvis!
Mauro, who you may know from attending many of our events, had that similar moment that many of us did as children when we got our first Elvis record and placed the needle on that shiny piece of vinyl - and the world changed forever!
But unlike many of us, Mauro had a talent for singing himself and through discovering the music of Elvis it pushed him to pursue a career in the music industry.
He may have been working on his orginal compositions, but his love for Elvis never faded and when producer Don Reedman came up with the idea of Elvis and the Royal Philhamonic Orchestra album, Mauro jumped on board and both of them approached the one person that they knew could make it happen; Priscilla Presley.
The rest is, as they say, history - and we're forever indebted to them for making those awesome albums that got Elvis back to the top of the charts, created a series of smash-hit concerts and has shown the world once again why Elvis is the greatest of all time.
With those albums now finished, Mauro has been hard at work on his new album 'Rewind' which showcases all of the musical genres which have influenced him over the years (and we know someone else who soaked up all types of musical influences too!) and the premiere of the new video, and first single, 'Heartbreaker' can be watched by clicking here
And to read all about the album then click here for a great article
The single 'Heartbreaker' is out Friday 3rd March and the album 'Rewind' is out on Friday 5th May for more info go to: http://maurodirago.com/
Wow! That’s all we can say about the awesome ‘If I Can Dream’ concerts currently touring the UK featuring Elvis and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Strictly Elvis have been fortunate to attend each of the concerts so far in Glasgow, Leeds and Cardiff with Birmingham, London and Manchester still to come.
The response to these concerts have just been phenomenal and to see Elvis sell-out major Arenas around the UK in 2016 is just awesome, As we all know the albums with the Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra are stunning – combining Elvis’ rich, luscious vocals with that powerful Orchestral backing. Well wait until you hear it ‘in the flesh’!
When those strings hit for the start of Burning Love – the energy from the audience could’ve powered the UK! Hit followed hit from the two albums and each was more special than the last.
Although it was fascinating to see a full orchestra on stage, working their magic to some of Elvis’ finest compositions – it wasn’t enough to keep us from being glued to the huge screen projecting ‘our man’.
Just like previous versions of ‘Elvis: In Concert’ there was some great video footage to go along with each track and after a while it was easy to once again believe that Elvis was actually there on that very stage.
We were thrilled to see Priscilla on the stage, a real highlight of the night, and she gave such a heart-warming and passionate speech and received a huge, well deserved, round of applause.
When the rousing finale hit with 'If I Can Dream' - we're sure there wasn't a dry eye in the place.
If we can dream? WE sure did and it came true - Elvis back on tour!
We won’t spoil too much of what you’ll see in the show but we will say that you’re going to love it! And if you haven’t got tickets for the remaining shows as yet, there are still some available – so don’t delay. Get on-line and order some today.
And for those collectors out there – do pick up a programme too. A lovely glossy publication that you’ll want to keep as a souvenir.
We hope to see you at one of the concerts! And don’t forget that we have a free event after the O2 concert at the Slug and Lettuce pub with Elvis’ former friend Dick Grob. Feel free to pop along!
Leading US TV company HBO (producers of such hit shows as The Sopranos, The Wire, Game of Thrones) has announced that they are putting together a fantastic new Elvis documentary.
Made with the full co-operation of EPE, the makers have promised this will be a unique event with unparelled access to Graceland and many rare and un-seen photos during the course of the show too. We can’t wait!
It’ll be great to see Elvis back on TV as of course it was TV that was a major turning point in launching his amazing legacy and really pushed him out to a wider audience back in the 1950’s.
Over the last few years there have been some great Elvis TV documentaries including ‘The Nation’s Favourite Elvis Song’ and the Joanna Lumley show from last year so it’ll be great to see another bit of Presley Primetime perfection!
For a little more info about the show, just click through here to a report from highly acclaimed music magazine ‘Rolling Stone’: Elvis Back on TV!
We’ll keep you up to date with dates of transmission. Watch this space.
Elvis has once again made music history with his latest album, 'The Wonder of You', reaching No.1 in the official UK album charts.
This gives Elvis a record-breaking 13 No. 1 UK albums, the most by a solo artist (previously tied with Madonna at 12 each) and just two behind the 15 No.1 albums held by The Beatles (the most by a group).
This feat is also noteworthy as the album hit the top spot just a week after going on sale - a fantastic acheivement for Elvis!
The success of the album follows on from the previous pairing of Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the album 'The Wonder of You' which also hit No.1 when it was released in 2015.
The huge media interest in 'The Wonder of You' followed on from the grand opening of the new Guest House at Graceland Hotel in Memphis.
It's been another amaxzing week in the legacy of Elvis Presley and fingers crossed that the new album goes on to break the 1 million sales mark that 'If I Can Dream' did.
Today saw a new part of Elvis history taking place in Memphis today with the opening of the new Guesthouse at Graceland hotel.
The former hotel at Graceland, The Heartbreak Hotel, finally shut it's doors yesterday after 17 years of serving Elvis fans.
We've had many groups stay at the Heartbreak over the years and we have enjoyed some wonderful memories in that hotel, but we're now looking forward to making new memories inthe fabulous Guesthouse.
Priscilla (pictured alongside EPE's Jack Soden and Joel Weinshanker) was on hand to cut the ribbon on the new hotel today. This $92 million property boasts 430 guestrooms, 20 suites a 464 seater theatre, 5 dining options, an outdoor pool and confrence facilities.
It's a major boost to tourism and corporate business at Graceland and in Memphis.
We have always offered room at the Heartbreak Hotel and we're now proud to offer rooms to our groups at the Guesthouse. We'll be staying there for our annual Birthday tour in January 2017 and also as part of our 40th Anniversary tour in August too.
To book one of these tours take a look at the our holidays and events page or contact us for a free brochure
So today's the day! Wow! Just wow! That's the only words we have for the
amazing new album from Elvis and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; The Wonder of You.
The album has been on non-stop repeat all morning here at Strictly Elvis HQ and we love every single track! Each play of the album the volume has been turned up too!
As well as being featured on TV, the album was also featured in newspaper adverts and even outside the main door at HMV Oxford Street in London and it's currently at No.1 in the Amazon sales charts. When we called into our local Tesco superstore at lunchtime the shelves were seriously depleted already!
We have no doubt that this album will replicate the success of last year's 'If I Can Dream' and will once again get 'our man' a number one album. If you haven't got a copy - get yours now (and pick up a copy for friends and family too!) You can order here
We're off to give the album another listen to - what an awesome day it is!
Vintage Rock have just published their second Elvis Special Collectors Edition - looking at the life and legacy of 'The King' from 1969 through to 1977.
This publication is the follow-up to their previous Elvis Special which was out earlier this year and which told the story of Elvis' early life.
The latest edition has some fascinating articles looking at, amongst other topics, the 68 Comeback Special, The Fashion of Elvis, The Best Elvis Books and Elvis in Las Vegas.
Priced at just £6.99 this publication is a must for any fans library and you can pick upi a copy from all good newsagents, and many supermarkets, across the UK.
You can also order the magazine on-line, plus issues of Vintage Rock - the UK's leading Rock and Roll magazine, from their website: http://www.vintagerockmag.com/
Get your copy today!
We've said it before and we'll say it again - Elvis is everywhere (and so he should be!) Just this past weekend British supermodel Kate Moss was spotted at the prestigious Paris Fashion Week wearing this fabulous Elvis shirt.
Stepping out that the highly influential
Dior event, showcasing the fashion house's 2017 Spring collection, Kate dazzled the photographers by teaming Dior black wool pants, Dior shoes, a Dior bag, with the over-sized
denim shirt covered in Elvis Presley motifs, silhouettes and song titles.
This isn't the first time that Kate has expressed her love for 'our man'. Many of you will remember this advert she did way back in 1997 for a phone company:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3SJO884SS0
Her shirt was picked up by many of the leading fashion magazines, newspapers and new sources. It's always great to see Elvis get mainstream recognition.
No word on where IKate's shirt came from - but we'll keep you posted. In the meantime if you'd like to add some Elvis glamour to your wardrobe then check out our friends at www.flaminstarclothing.co.uk who stock some great Elvis inspired pieces in their store.
And to learn more about Elvis' unique style, plus how he's still influencing fashion today then check-out the great book 'Elvis Style' available as part of a special offer from us here at Strictly Elvis. Go to our 'Shop' page to get your copy at a great price.
Wow - 2016 and still turning heads! It could only be Elvis!
Join Strictly Elvis at the Cinema Museum in
London with actress, and Elvis co-star, Suzanna Leigh for an evening of conversation about her career and clips from a selection of her films.
Born Suzanna Smyth, the daughter of an auto engine manufacturer, Leigh knew she wanted to be a film star when she was five years old. She began working in movies while still a pre-teen, appearing as an extra in tom thumb (1958), Oscar Wilde (1960) and many other British productions. At eleven, a conversation with family acquaintance Vivien Leigh sealed her ambition – and stage name.
An elaborate PR stunt caught the attention of movie producer Hal B. Wallis, who snapped up the 20-year-old actress for his Hollywood production Boeing, Boeing (1965), starring Tony Curtis. Soon afterwards, Suzanna took a leading role as Elvis Presley’s love interest in Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966).
Doors open at 19.00 for a 20.00 start.
Refreshments will be available in our licenced cafe/bar.
Tickets: In advance: £8.50/£6.50 concessions (retired, students and the unemployed, with proof to be presented upon entry)
Either online (plus 50p booking fee), by going to: https://billetto.co.uk/en/
Or from the venue – please phone on 020 7840 2200. Card payments can now be accepted – we welcome MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron, Discover, Diners Club International and JCB.
On the door: £10/£7 concessions
Included: a chance to explore the Museum from an hour before the start of the event!
Elvis Style is a celebration of the aesthetic world of Elvis Presley. As one of the most significant pop icons of the 20th century, Elvis’s impact on the music world has been widely discussed and analysed. Surprisingly, however, his influence on design and fashion remains largely overlooked. Elvis Style investigates why Elvis was, and continues to be, an icon of style, focusing on his wonderfully expressive hairstyles, clothes, cars, and interiors. Elvis Style offers the reader an intriguing and insightful journey though the crazy, cool and at times kitsch world of a true megastar. Contemporary design experts have been interviewed to offer fresh insights into Elvis’s style choices. These includeSex and the City stylist Patricia Fields, costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis (Michael Jackson’s Thriller) Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges (The Artist), the British celebrity hairdresser Trevor Sorbie, Andy Lecompte (Madonna’s hairstylist), Savile Row tailor Edward Sexton, Andy Spade (Jack Spade and Kate Spade brands) academics from the University of Mississippi, the Victoria & Albert Museum, George Barris (creator of the Batmobile and Elvis’s personal car-customiser) and Hal Lansky of Lansky Brothers (Elvis’s favourite tailoring house) who has also provided the foreword for Elvis Style. Elvis Style includes around 150 photos, many of which are full colour and show rarely seen before Elvis-worn garments, interiors and cars from Elvis’s extensive private collection.
We were privileged to be able to have a very special showing of the fabulous film 'The Gift' at this year's Elvis Festival, including an exclusive interview with the film's producer Ken Petrie.
'The Gift' tells the inspiring story of how a positive influence can unlock potential and create greatness. How a boy from the wrong side of the tracks could become the greatest entertainer of all time...Elvis Presley.
Whether you're a fan of The King, have a child needing a positive message about making smart choices in life, or you are local to the South, 'The Gift' is for you!
Beautifully filmed showcasing Mississippi's vibrant scenery, and shot on location at the famous Tupelo Hardware Store, this is a film with a heart that showcases one of music's most important moments in history.
You can watch the trailer here
Or pick up a copy to buy here
Awesome – totally awesome! That’s the only words we can use to sum up the 2016 Elvis Festival. What a week we had. This was the biggest and best Elvis Festival we’ve had to date and everywhere we looked during the week we saw just miles and miles of smiles! No politics, no bad-mouthing – just a celebration of Elvis!
There’s some very special thank you’s we’d like to make for making our week such a massive success. To our live-acts during the week who all kept us thoroughly entertained with fabulous sets: Mondo Carne, Dylan Kirk, Greggi G and his Crazy Gang, Rockin’ Dave Riley (who treated us to a number of great performances), The Jets, Mark Keeley, Phil Haley and His Comments, Kevin Deane, Good Rockin’ Tonight, Glenn Darren and the Krew Kats, Little Miss 60’s and Darrel Higham and the Enforcers.
To our team of fab DJ’s who kept us dancing into the wee small hours: Mark Monaghan, Paul Downie, Phil Shakespeare, Steve Bloomfield, Martyn Collins, Shayne Driscoll, Jim Mann, Tony Dobb, Vic Wade and John Talbot.
To our guest speakers who kept us thoroughly entertained with some great talks: Chris Hutchins, Charles ‘Dr Rock’ Wright, Trevor Simpson, Patrick Humphries and Reverend Derek Aldridge for his lovely Gospel Service.
To Blair, Neale and Guy from Tupelo who joined us from a live video link-up. Very cool!
A big, big thank you to some guys who gave us some exclusives during the week: Ken Petrie, and his great film ‘The Gift’ and to Mauro Dirago for a fabulous live chat and performance plus allowing us to hear two new tracks from the new ‘Wonder of You’ album.
To our star guests – Ed Bonja and The Imperials who talked, performed and signed for us. True gentleman and true friends of Elvis.
A massive thank you to the team at Vauxhall, the Ents staff, Roger and Paul on sound, the reception staff, the bar staff and security.
To Chris and Chris from the Elvis Shop who looked after all of our merchandise and memorabilia needs for the week.
To Flamin' Star clothing for their wonderful stall and fashion show.
To the MWTCB Elvis museum for bringing along and showing off some rare and unusual original Elvis items.
To our dance instructor Teresa Whitewood for teaching us how to make the most of the evening disco's.
To Paul our security guard for looking after us.
To our Strictly Elvis Crew who put their all into making it such a great week.
To the Elvis Family – you guys are the best! There’s never any trouble, just everyone getting along, having fun and celebrating Elvis’ amazing legacy.
And finally our last and biggest thank you – to the man who makes it all possible. Elvis Presley: The best there is, the best there was and the best there everwill be.
So roll on The Elvis Festival 2017 when we get to do it all again!!
Well they're back! After our hugely
successful Elvis Travel Service Tour returned safely from their travels to explore Elvis' Germany, our second Elvis Travel Service group have safely arrived back into the UK after an exhilarating
tour across the USA.
They've travelled from Nashville to Memphis to Tupelo and to Las Vegas and then from Palm Springs to Los Angeles with other stops in-between. They've had the Elvis tour of a lifetime and it's been a pleasure to have given them the very best Elvis experiences you can get - and something you only get on an Elvis Travel Service tour!
With it being Friday today we thought we’d bring you a great little story, with a very happy ending, about a piece of Elvis history. As you’ll know, over the years so many pieces of Elvis’ history have been lost – American Sound Studio and the Baptist Memorial hospital in Memphis for example. So it was lovely to see this story about Elvis’ Mercedes that he purchased during his time serving in Germany, being saved, restored and put on display. It was lovely also to see the story being picked up by the UKs No.1 motoring show, BBC’s ‘Top Gear: http://www.topgear.com/car-news/classic/elvis-presleys-bmw-507-has-been-restored-and-it-looks-amazing#1
It’s a great end to the story and lovely to know that the legacy of ‘our man’ is still being preserved.
Legendary guitarist James Burton was honoured this past weekend with a brick on the Wall of Fame outside of the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, the venue which gave the world Beatlemania!
James Burton is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum and has been described as “One of the finest guitar pickers in either country or rock ... Burton is one of the best guitar players to ever touch a fretboard”.
In his career James has recorded and performed with an array of notable singers, including Dale Hawkins, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, John Denver, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Joni Mitchell and most famously Elvis Presley.
In 1969, Elvis asked James to join his show in Las Vegas, and it was James who organized theTCB Band, serving as its leader, and backed Presley from 1969 until 1977. A hallmark of Elvis' live shows during this period was his famous line, "Play it, James," as a cue for the guitarist's solos.
James’ guitar skills are still much sought after and he continues to perform worldwide. When not performing he is heavily involved in his charitable trust ‘The James Burton Foundation’ in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana that gives music instruction to schools, hospitals and community groups.
We'll be welcoming James to our Elvis Festival in just a few weeks time.
Strictly Elvis has been approached by a TV company regarding a brand new series hosted by the one and only Noel Edmonds.
The show 'Noel Edmonds Sell or Swap' will feature items that the general public will be able to purchase or trade with the owner.
This coming Tuesday the pilot episode will film in Bristol at Bottle Yard Studios and featured in the items will be two original Memphis newspapers from August 1977 - which are highly sought after by Elvis collectors. The TV production company is asking for audiences to come to the studio at 2pm on the day of filming. However if you cannot make it to the studio but would still like to be part of the show, and make a bid for the papers, then you can always call in or Skype with them. Just contact them at ThomasGiron-Towers@CrookProductions.com or the casting email address that is on the flyer.
A new craze that is sweeping the UK of late is that of ‘Art and Animals’. Inspired by the historic New York Cow Parade, these events take sculptures of particular animals and allow artists to decorate them in different styles. They are then placed around towns and cities for people to view which also raises money for good causes.
In past years there’s been Gorillas in Norwich, Sheep in London and Sheffield is just about to get a stampede of Elephants. But at the moment in Strictly Elvis’ hometown of Ipswich we currently have Pigs. 39 in fact and each one decorated in a different fashion and all to raise money for the very worthwhile cause; The St. Elizabeth’s Hospice.
Featured in the event are pigs decorated in the style of David Bowie (Piggy Stardust) and also local star Ed Shearing (Ed Shear-Ham) and joining them is this rather fetching example with Elvis inspired artwork.
Now before anyone takes offence – we think this a lovely idea and just a bit of fun, with no malice towards Elvis intended. It shows that above so many other famous names, Elvis was the one that inspired the artist the most and most importantly it’s raising much needed money for a fabulous charity that helps those with serious illnesses. It’s great to see Elvis’ name still doing so much great charity work and helping so many people.
If you’re near to Ipswich then do check out the ‘Pigs Gone Wild’ (www.pigsgonewild.co.uk) event, find all of the sculptures and grab a picture with this one. And afterwards feel free to pop into Strictly Elvis HQ . The kettle is normally on!
One of the UK's leading newspapers, 'The Guardian', is currently focusing on Elvis as part of a neat little feature that they do where they ask readers to submit tracks so they can compile an ‘Ultimate Playlist’.
The playlist this time is songs about Elvis. Tributes or just those that acknowledge Elvis in their lyrics. It's a great little idea as there has been so many great songs dedicated to Elvis over the years by so mnay big name acts who have all realised the profound effect that Elvis had not only on their careers, but on popular music as a whole. As John Lennon said "Before Elvis there was nothing"
Closing for the playlist is the 11th of July so you've got all weekend to get your thinking caps on and come with up with your favourite Elvis inspired tracks.
For more information, and to submit your songs, just click through on this link
As for us - well our favourite Elvis inspired track is the very moving and beautiful 'Porch Swing in Tupelo' by Elton John - it just captures the magic you feel when seeting foot in that small Southern town where Elvis was born.
Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the recording of a song that quite literally changed the world together. It was back on July 5th 1954 that Elvis entered Sun Studio on Union Avenue in Memphis and, along with Scotty Moore and Bill Black, cut the track 'That's All Right Mama'.
It was to be Elvis' very first release and would soon kickstart a musical revolution which grew slowly from the Southern states of America before gaining pace right across the country and then exploding around the world. Rock and Roll was here to stay - and it would change all our lives for the better forever, and it was spearheaded by Elvis!
We're off to listen to that amazing track and remember the 62nd anniversary of this amazing track.
It is with great sadness that we awoke this morning to the tragic news that another of Elvis’ close friends, and a friend to Elvis fans the world over, had sadly passed away.
Scotty Moore, the guitar legend who created that distinctive Rock and Roll sound and influenced so many other musicians has died aged 84 in Nashville.
Scotty was their at the very start of Elvis’ amazing career, shaping the sound on early Sun tracks such as Elvis’ breakout record ‘That’s All Right Mama’.
He also played on many of tracks that cemented Elvis’, and Rock and Roll music’s, dominance around the globe in the 1950’s; ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’ amongst others.
Scotty and Elvis always remained close friends and the two worked together again in 1968 when Scotty was part of the legendary ’68 Comeback Show’.
After Elvis passed away Scotty attended fan get-togethers, including our Elvis Festival, and would speak with love and warmth for his dear departed friend. Scotty was a true gentleman in every sense of the word and always had time for the fans – endlessly having photos and giving autographs, and always with a smile on his face.
Although quite shy and retiring when performing, letting his guitar playing take centre stage, Scotty was a giant in the music business. A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, listed in the Top 30 of Rolling Stone magazine’s best guitarist list and having played with other such iconic names as Carl Perkins, Ringo Starr, Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards who had this to say about Scott:
"When I heard Heartbreak Hotel, I knew what I wanted to do in life. It was as plain as day. All I wanted to do in the world was to be able to play and sound like that. Everyone else wanted to be Elvis, I wanted to be Scotty."
An amazing accolade for a truly amazing man.
God Bless you Scotty – we, and the world, will miss you. Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys are now re-united. Heaven must sound wonderful today.
A Word from Strictly Elvis' David Wade
Thoroughly enjoyable visit to the Elvis Collectors Fair in London yesterday; pleased to see it so busy and delighted too to meet up with quite a few fans who had travelled on our early tours. Indeed as yesterday was the Anniversary of Elvis’ last ever Concert it was particularly poignant given that I and a group of 250 (mostly from the UK but with smaller groups from Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and France) had attended that very concert. Needless it was an occasion I will never forget. Elvis’ voice was magnificent and he was so obviously giving it his all but he looked ill – very jaundiced and sweating profusely...more so than I’d ever seen before. As we returned to the hotel the coach was hushed – everyone deep in their own thoughts. Whilst we didn’t (and couldn’t) know how ill he was we all knew that ‘our man’ was in trouble, and it affected us all. You could have heard a pin drop on the coach that evening.
Unlucky to have been witness to Elvis’ illness or lucky (honoured even) to have been present at that last ever concert? I think the latter. In fact I cannot believe how lucky I am to have seen Elvis perform so many times when that would have been the ultimate dream for so many people...and it’s when I talk to fans that I took out to the States in those lovely, lucky, early days that I really appreciate just how fortunate we all were.
Perhaps it was that, more than anything, that cemented the foundation for where we are today – one big ‘Strictly Elvis’ family, where we can enjoy get-togethers such as the Collectors Fair yesterday, the activities of the many independent fan clubs throughout the country (or indeed the world as we are even more ‘International’ now than we’ve ever been) as well as the tours, celebrations and events organised by Strictly Elvis UK and the Elvis Travel Service. People regularly ask me when I’m going to retire (am I looking old or something?) and I have one stock answer....”If you had the best job in the world – would you give it up?”
I was lucky enough to be invited to a press screening last week of the new movie ‘Elvis & Nixon’. As a lifelong fan and someone who feels very strongly about the name and reputation of Elvis (I will hold my hand up to say I can’t stand ETAs) I approached it with apprehension. As someone who spent two years studying film, I was also keen to see it from an artistic point of view too. So how did this film make Elvis look?
As some famous song lyrics state “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear”
Or to misquote some other famous lyrics “If you’re looking for the truth – you’ve come to the wrong place”
Elvis and Nixon has been a real topic of heated debate in the Elvis world ever since the trailers were released on-line. They've been a real 'marmite' topic- you either love it, or hate it. A major part of the debate has been the content of those trailers – hence “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear”. I have to admit that I approached this movie with caution after seeing the previews for it, assuming that, because the way the trailers came across, it was going to be one big joke aimed largely at Elvis. The truth is, this is a heartfelt and deeply sympathetic look at ‘our man’ and, if anyone, it’s Nixon who’s the brunt of the jokes.
And of course the biggest problem that many people have is that Michael Shannon looks nothing like Elvis. Well there’s no denying that, but of course a hurdle that any filmmaker who sets out to make a film depicting Elvis has is finding someone who looks even remotely like him. When you're at the top - the only way is down! Other subjects of biopics have it far easier. Johnny Cash would have been flattered at having someone like Joaquin Phoenix portray him in ‘Walk the Line’ and dear old Henry Hill must have been over the moon at having the smouldering good looks of Ray Liotta telling his life story in the 1990 classic ‘GoodFellas’ (just google Henry Hill to see the difference!)
No – the thing with Elvis is, his handsomeness and his natural charisma were just unique and no-one will ever look at good as he did. Even speaking as a male I have to say that Elvis was the definition of a sex symbol, so trying to find a leading man even a fraction as good looking as Elvis is just a completely fruitless task. What Shannon can do though is act. He really brings out the emotions that Elvis goes through during the course of the film and really gets under the skin, and into the psyche, of Elvis to bring out the human side of the man. Which I think you’ll agree is far preferable to some plastic looking ETA being used just because their (surgically enhanced) looks resemble a tiny little more of Elvis’. Shannon has also admitted that he immersed completely in Elvis before portraying him. Listening to his music, watching his films, talking to Elvis friends and researching as much as could about the man. This isn't someone who was just to play Elvis as a caricature.
The other gripe to get over is that the film itself is not historically accurate, some of the scenes did happen, except not at the time-frame depicted in the film, and others are complete fiction. But let’s be honest this isn’t unusual. Having seen dozens of biopics over the years, this is just how the genre works. Filmmakers have to embellish and take a little artistic license in order to keep the story moving (such as a sub-plot involving Jerry Schilling) – it’s just (to use an Elvis pun) the way it is and, particularly in this instance when most of the events took place behind closed doors with only Elvis and Nixon present, so the film has to have a stab in the dark at what was said. But again, this doesn’t have a detrimental effect on the film, it is after all entertainment, not a documentary, and therefore has set out to appeal to a wider audience who are looking for a bit of fun whilst munching their popcorn. For those looking to get how it really went down there are many books which re-call the exact minutes of the day itself, most notably Peter Guralnick’s excellent ‘Careless Love’, this movie is pure entertainment and works perfectly because of it.
One last thing to lay on the table straight off is that due to rights issues no original Elvis tracks are used in the film, but y’know I don’t think this also takes anything away from it. The thing is with Elvis’ music is that I don’t think it lends itself well to films. The reason being that when Elvis sings you don’t want it drowned out by dialogue and also because the only thing you want to see is to see Elvis on the big screen singing. No – the mix of pop and soul classics of the period which accompany the film do just fine and just to balance it out, there is a stunning version of ‘Peace in the Valley’ performed by Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
So now onto the big question; how is Elvis portrayed in the film? Well actually very well. Firstly, and this was a huge relief, there was no mention of drugs. Whenever film makers or journalists get their hands on an Elvis story they often are quick to go down the sleazy, sensationalist path and exploit the very serious medical problems that Elvis sadly suffered from. It’s nice to see that this isn’t the case here.
Ultimately Elvis comes over as he should - articulate, witty and intelligent if not slightly bemused and frustrated by the quite crazy bubble that he finds himself living in due to being the most famous man on the planet (despite what Nixon believes!)
Elvis is actually seen as the hero of the piece, with Nixon portrayed as a jealous, jaded old man with outdated ideas who wants to believe that he could defeat Elvis in a karate match and browbeats his aides into agreeing with him.
Nixon thinks that he is far more important and famous than Elvis and doesn’t miss a trick in trying to put him down – but it soon backfires.
There’s a fabulous piece of banter between the two where Nixon talks to Elvis in a patronising manner regarding some ‘space rock’. Elvis’ dry and quick-witted response, completely putting the President in his place, got a huge laugh from the whole of the audience at the press screening.
Although the film is a bit of fun and is primarily a comedy there are some truly moving monologues throughout the course of its 90 minutes. Two feature Jerry Schilling and Elvis, where the darker and more problematic side of being Elvis, and being a friend of Elvis’, are explored and there’s one with Elvis on his own, rehearsing what he’s going to say to Nixon, where he talks about Gladys Presley’s “35 minutes that were the best and worst of her life” – it’s a truly moving speech and almost had this reviewer reaching for a tissue.
The film itself from a technical aspect is also spot on. From the funky 70's opening credits through to it's beautifully shot and edited scenes - this film looks amazing. The period setting is also well created with actual shots of Graceland being used (somewhat a rarity in most movies about Elvis).
I walked out of the screening with a feeling of relief, knowing that the film hadn’t tarnished Elvis’ name. It’s a bit of fun and will hopefully educate people on a lesser known incident in Elvis’ amazing life. And hey, any good publicity for Elvis to a wider audience is never a bad thing right?
I would highly recommend checking it out when it hits cinemas across the country on Friday – but just remember to take it for what it is; a little bit of fun and entertainment.
- Elvis & Nixon opens across the UK on Friday June 24th
For more about the film go to the official website
We here at Strictly Elvis were saddened to hear of the passing of
music legend Chips Moman last night at the age of 79.
Lincoln ‘Chips’ Moman was an integral part of Elvis’ amazing story. A songwriter and producer , Chips was also a studio owner and in 1962 founded American Sound Studio in Memphis. It was where he put together the legendary house band ‘The Memphis Boys’ who as well as recording hit records with notable names such as Neil Diamond and Dusty Springfield, most famously played with Elvis on the classic ‘From Elvis in Memphis’ and ‘Back in Memphis’ albums which Chips produced and which spawned some of Elvis’ biggest and most well known hits of the 60’s; ‘Suspicious Minds’, ‘In the Ghetto’ and ‘Kentucky Rain’.
After a long and distinguished career in music, including the classic ‘Class of 55’ album which featured Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis
and Carl Perkins paying homage to Elvis, Chips retired to Lagrange, GA, but would regularly come back to Memphis for Elvis Week and the concerts at Graceland.
Strictly Elvis were lucky enough to have met Chips, and enjoyed some conversations about his time with Elvis and his amazing life, on several occasions. He was a gentleman, an innovator and a true icon of modern music.
On behalf of all of the Elvis Family we send our deepest sympathies to Chips’ family and friends at this sad time.
We’ll miss you greatly Chips – the world is a far lesser place with your passing.
Strictly Elvis have teamed up with Entertainment One to offer two tickets to a very special preview screening of the new movie 'Elvis and Nixon'.
Inspired by true events the film tells of the morning of December 21st 1970 when the world's biggest star, Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) arrived on the White House lawn to request a meeting with the most powerful man in the world, President Nixon (Kevin Spacey). Elvis and Nixon tells of the astounding true story of this meeting between two men at the height of their powers.
"Shannon and Spacey are not to be missed" - Rolling Stone
To view the trailer click here: Elvis and Nixon Trailer
This highly anticipated film opens on June 24th (to find your nearest screenings, and more about the film, click through to the official website here) but courtesy of Entertainment One we have two tickets to give away for an exclusive screening in central London on Thursday June 16th at 6:15pm
All you have to do to win these tickets is send your name and address to email@example.com (with 'Elvis&Nixon' in the subject line)
The competition closes at midnight on Sunday June 12th. Standard competition rules apply.
Strictly Elvis were saddened to hear about the passing of Muhammad Ali today. As well as being on of the finest sportsman, a true icon and a real genetleman he was also a very good friend of Elvis' and the two met on many occasions.
We here at Strictly Elvis, on behalf of our Elvis Family, would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Muhammad Ali at this time.
Strictly Elvis had another fabulous Spring Break, it's 11th annual such event, in Torquay this past weekend. Over 100 of the Elvis Family joined us at the Victoria Hotel for a long weekend of dancing, dining, great weather and of course Elvis, Elvis and more Elvis!
As well as a huge Elvis market-place over the whole of the weekend featuring stalls from 'Flamin Star Clothing', 'Elvis Memories', 'Elvis Stuff' and 'Elvis Greetings' we had rare Elvis footage on the big screen and music sessions during our relaxed daytime programme that allowed everyone to get out and about and enjoy the sunshine and great surrounding area of one of the UK's finest seaside resorts.
After a great three-course dinner each evening we were treated to two live acts - a longtime friend of Strictly Elvis' Rockin' Dave Riley and probably the best new Rock and Roll group in the country Lee Memphis and The Creepers. Both of our superb acts went down a storm and after each our Strictly Elvis DJ's Steve Bloomfield and Mark Monaghan kept the dance floor rocking until the early hours with awesome All-Elvis Discos.
It was a truly great event and yes - we'll back to do it all again in 2017! Watch this space as we'll have details up very, very soon!
Some great news from Memphis, TN regarding big changes around the Graceland area. It's great to see EPE putting in such a large investment to help keep the legacy of Elvis alive for future generations. You can read the full report here: http://www.commercialappeal.com/business/Graceland-ready-for-another-21M-on-Westside-construction-379962851.html?d=mobile
Men's grooming company 'American Crew' who in recognition of Elvis being the biggest style icon of all time are using him in their promotions and featuring some fab shots of him on their website and are also offering some exclusive Elvis hair products. We promptly got in touch with American Crew who told us why they chose Elvis to represent them: "Men around the world owe a debt to Elvis Presley. He showed us that it's not just what you have to say, but how you say it. He made success and change seem effortless, and used his voice and looks to make a statement to the world. Elvis is 'The original cool' and American Crew wants every guy out there to know that each of us has the power to define ourselves and make a difference. Elvis' unmatched influence in pop culture spans not only in music. His commanding voice and charismatic stage presence unleashed a cultural revolution that changed the world forever. The 'King of Rock and Roll's' signature style redefined the image of the American man that continues to inspire today's artists, musicians, designers and social influencers. There's only one Elvis Presley, and we are so proud to help introduce him to a new generation of fans".
We really couldn't agree more!! Check out www.americancrew.com for some great Elvis pics and American Crew's new signature selection of Elvis Pomades.
Wow – there’s some great news from
Graceland, as Elvis’ beloved home welcomed 20 Million visitors yesterday and would you believe that they’re both from the UK!
Tiffany and Robert Greenoak paid Graceland a visit as part of their honeymoon and were greeted by Jack Soden, CEO of EPE, greeted the newlyweds on the front steps of Graceland to kick-off the celebrations which included a private tour of Presley’s home with staff from the Graceland Archives. As an added bonus, Priscilla Presley spoke to Tiffany and Robert by phone as they stood in front of Graceland and congratulated them on their 20 millionth milestone status. Now that’s how to honeymoon!
If you’d like to experience Elvis’ home then book a tour with the Elvis Travel Service, the world’s longest running and most respected Elvis travel company. We’ve been taking fellow fans to Graceland since 1972, when Elvis was still in residence, and we were there in 1982 when the mansion opened and every year since then – something no other company can claim.
We’re extremely proud that we’ve made so many fan’s dreams come true by taking them to Graceland over our 44 year history and we’d love for you to join us on one of our future tours.
For more information call us on 01473 621 564 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org