Take care and may God bless you.
No matter which name you use 99.9% of the public will know of who you speak.
When it comes to Elvis collecting I have written about the “in’s and out’s” for decades. I encourage you to seek out my blogs and to visit www.ElvisCollector.info. However, when it comes to Elvis and Christmas (his favorite holiday) the two go together like…Elvis and Christmas.
There are a few collectibles, pertaining to Elvis and Christmas, that every collector should have as these were issued during his lifetime (i.e. January 8, 1935 through August 16, 1977).
The first is to own each of his Christmas Albums and by the magic of this blog…here they are.
1957 Elvis ´Christmas album LOC-1035 / usa
us 200 #1 uk #2 germany #-—
This is the original u.s. Christmas album released in November 1957. it is surely the ultimate Elvis package which rca-victor ever produced in the united states. it was only available until October 1959, when the record was released in a single pocket sleeve with a different cover.(see also lpm-1951 pictured below). it´s also the last album released before elvis left for the u.s. army. this album re-entered different charts around the world many times.
1959 Elvis ´Christmas album LPM-1958 / usa
reissue of his 1957 Christmas album with different cover.
1970 Elvis ´Christmas album
us #2*** uk #7 germany #—–
***billboard Christmas album charts.
In the 1970´s billboard would not note Christmas albums on their hot 200 charts. This album includes 8 songs from his 1957 Christmas album (loc-1035) plus 2 newer recordings. (“if everyday was like Christmas” and ” mama liked the roses” recorded in 1967 and 1969 respectively). it re-entered the holiday or album charts many times again, in several different countries. IT IS BELIEVED THAT THIS IS ELVIS ´MOST SUCCESSFUL ALBUM (Christmas or otherwise).
1970 Elvis ´ Christmas album cas-2426 / usa (reissue 1975)
reissue on the Pickwick record label by arrangement with rca
1971 Elvis sings the wonderful world of Christmas anl1-1936 / usa (reissue mid 1970´s)
***holiday album charts
In the 1970´s billboard didn´t include Christmas albums in their regular hot 200 album charts. this album entered the holiday album charts many times in the following years and reached twice #1 in 1972 and 1973 respectively. by 2009 it had sold 3 million copies worldwide.
Elvis recorded this album earlier in 1971 at rca´s studios in Nashville.
We, individually and collectively, can never do enough for those who served in the military and do so now.
They, and their family and loved ones, make sacrifices (in public and in private) that we can never fully grasp.
Thus on this day, and each day thereafter, we want to say to the Veterans and their family THANK YOU and may God bless you.
Here’s the breakdown according to the magazine Forbes:
1) Michael Jackson, $160 million
2) Elvis, $55 million
3) Charles Schulz, $37 million
4) Liz Taylor, $25 million
5) Bob Marley, $18 million
MJ was #2 last year, but two successful Jacko-inspired Cirque du Soleil shows have shot the King of Pop back to the top.
Besides Liz Taylor’s drop, the rest of the list contains the usual suspects … Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee … but there is one notable new name — Mexican singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash back in 2012.
The King of Rock (Elvis Presley) and the King of Soul (James Brown) knew each other, respected each other, and were friendly with one another.
James Brown wrote several books one of which includes this quote about Elvis: “I wasn’t just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him … I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There’ll never be another like that soul brother”.
Back in 1966 Elvis went to a performance of Jackie Wilson and George Klein, Elvis’ friend dating back to his Humes High School days, introduced Elvis to James Brown. George Klein has invited James Brown to attend the show of Jackie Wilson and even set up private tables for James Brown, and his guest(s), and Elvis and Priscilla (who would be married the following year).
Interestingly in the same audience were members of; The Rolling Stones, Buffalo Springfield, and Van Morrison.
James, upon arriving first, said “Where is Elvis?” George Klein responded and began a brief conversation when Elvis and Priscilla arrived.
George offered James Brown the opportunity to meet Elvis and Priscilla after first asking Elvis if he wanted to meet James Brown (and Elvis said “yes”). Out of respect Elvis said “take me to James at his table to meet him”. The beginning of their friendship, as James Brown was deeply appreciative of the respect Elvis showed him by coming to his table and extending his hand to him publicly”.
Elvis had a mutual respect for James Brown and James Brown went to Graceland, which was quite an honor as Elvis did not like “Hollywood types” and wanted to keep Graceland a place of rest with close friends and family, numerous times.
On certain occasions, when he was close to Memphis, James Brown would call Graceland (one of the few who Elvis gave out his private telephone numbers at Graceland) trying to catch Elvis at home and come to see him. Often times Elvis and James Brown would spend the night and sing gospel songs for hours. .
When Elvis died James Brown was one of the celebrities who attended Elvis’ funeral. He was the only celebrity to be allowed to view Elvis, as the open casket was guarded by 3 men, by himself (for several minutes and was visibly saddened, and he paid his respects to Vernon and others.
George Klein recalled that when Elvis died “one of the first phone calls I remember receiving came from James Brown, who wanted to tell me how broken up he was over the news. He asked if he could come to the house during the private viewing. I checked with Priscilla to make sure it was all right, and late in the afternoon James came up to join us – the first of many major artists to pay their respects. ‘I remember being taken aback by how truly distraught James was. He sat motionless in the corner of the living room for a long while before joining the rest of the mourners in the den”. James Brown confirmed these events in his autobiography where he wrote, about Elvis’ death, “his death hit me very hard. When he died, I said, ‘That’s my friend, I have to go”.
Shortly after Elvis died, James Brown recorded Love Me Tender as the B-side of his hit record The Spank. Brown did this touching spoken intro “’I want to talk about a good friend I had for a long time and a man I still love, Brother Elvis Presley. You know, if he were here right now, I’m sure he would say the same thing for me. I loved the man and he was truly the king of rock and roll. We’ve always had kind of a toss-up. Elvis and I. The King of Rock And Roll and I are the King of Soul. So I wanted to say this for the people, Elvis, and myself”.
In 1956 Trude Forsher was a stay-at-home housewife and mother. After an appearance on Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life TV program, Trude’s article about that experience appeared in TV Radio Life magazine. That started a chain of events that led to her becoming Colonel Parker’s secretary in Hollywood. A friend introduced her to Parker, who granted her an interview. The Colonel then allowed her to interview Elvis immediately following his appearance on The Milton Berle Show in June 1956. The following month, Parker hired Trude to be his and Elvis’s secretary at 20th Century-Fox during filming of Presley’s first movie, Love Me Tender. She served in the same capacity when the Presley entourage returned to Hollywood for the production of Loving You and Jailhouse Rock in 1957 and King Creole in 1958.
After Trude Forsher died in 2000, her son James edited her diaries and memoirs from the Hollywood years and published the portions relating to Colonel Parker and Elvis in 2006 under the title The “Love Me Tender” Years Diary. In that volume, she repeatedly voices her unabashed admiration for both of her employers. There is nothing unusual about her high regard for Elvis. Many people who knew and worked with Presley in those early Hollywood years similarly praised him. However, the esteem she expressed for Colonel Parker is unparalleled for a man who has been roundly savaged through the years for his handling of Elvis’s career.
“I want to speak of what it was like working for the Colonel and the lessons I learned from him, and in understanding people, about the power and promotion,” she stated in her memoirs written in 1977. “These lessons influence my life to this day.”
Her wholehearted respect for the Colonel’s character and professionalism is somewhat startling for those of us who are used to Parker being vilified on both fronts. “I always respected the Colonel’s personal values: loyal to his friends and associates, kindhearted, and helpful to newcomers,” Forsher declared. “His word in business, as well as to a friend, is as good as a bond.”
To Trude her employer was bigger than life, an inspiring American success story. “Colonel is a self-made man. His is one of the greatest Horatio Alger stories of all time,” she asserted in her memoirs. “His brilliant mind and sense of humor and a show business touch were generally recognized as surpassing even P.T. Barnum. He was the force that created Eddy Arnold and other stars before I met him. And then he discovered Elvis.”
Here Forsher begins to wade into the controversy over the amount of credit Parker deserves for Presley’s sudden rise to stardom in the late 1950s. In her memoirs, Trude repeatedly expressed high praise for Elvis’s talent, but, as the following exchange with Parker reveals, she was convinced he never could have risen so high without the Colonel’s help.
One day … I said: “Colonel, I understand all this excitement; Elvis has magnetism …” The Colonel looked at me seriously, giving each word of mine its full due, and replied: “Magnetism—if I hadn’t taken him off the truck, with all his magnetism, he would still be driving truck …” That sums it up, naturally, Elvis’ great, unique talent was a prerequisite, but in Hollywood talent is not enough—the secret is presentation, promotion, publicity, business know how—all that adds up to showmanship. And Colonel Parker is by general consensus the greatest showman of them all.
Keeping in mind that there are a number of passages of questionable accuracy in Trude Forsher’s memoirs, if Parker really claimed that he had taken Elvis “off the truck,” then he was clearly overstating his importance in starting Presley on the road to success. According to Ernst Jorgensen and Peter Guralnick’s chronology, Elvis: Day by Day, Colonel Parker first saw Elvis perform on January 15, 1955, when Presley appeared on The Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Clearly Presley’s professional career was already on the rise before Parker first came on the scene. Elvis had already made 46 public appearances in four states, as well as eight previous appearances on the Hayride and one at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. He had a recording contract with Sun Records, and his first two single record releases had been reviewed in Billboard magazine. Furthermore, Elvis had quit his truck driving job at the Crown Electric Company sometime in October 1954, three months before the Colonel first saw him. In claiming that he took an unknown truck driver and created a national entertainment phenomenon, Parker was clearly feeding his secretary one of his famous “snow jobs.”
Trude Forsher saw the Parker-Presley connection as a partnership in which both were equally responsible for the success that came their way. “Much has been written about the relationship of Elvis and the Colonel,” she noted. “During my years with them it was a most congenial one. The Colonel ran the office with a literally around-the-clock promotional effort, and Elvis devoted his efforts to personal appearances, recording sessions, [and] films … Many of the young stars of the 1950’s lost their box-office value almost as quickly as they attained fame. Elvis never had such a worry. The Colonel worked around the clock to promote him, to keep Elvis on top, to increase his fame and box office appeal … It was fortunate for Elvis that he completely trusted the Colonel’s judgment in guiding his career, and thus he was protected from all kinds of pressures other young personalities and stars must deal with.”
According to Forsher, the Colonel was besieged in the late fifties by many artists who wanted Parker to manage them. He remained dedicated to Elvis, though. “His answer,” Forsher says, “always was, ‘Thank you, I can’t accept. I manage only one artist, Elvis.’”
Colonel Parker has often been accused of arrogant behavior with those he judged to be subordinates. His secretary observed none of that. Just the opposite, in fact, as she revealed in the following passage from her 1977 memoirs.
To the Colonel, one person is as important as another. When we worked in the movie studios, I was at first greatly impressed when the top executives came to my office for pictures and souvenirs, and I told the Colonel about my feelings. To my surprise, he was not pleased about my enthusiasm and told me that every person was equally important, and I was to pay just as much attention to a carpenter, the guard at the gate, a movie extra, as to a vice president. And this was the Colonel’s approach … for all the years I worked with him and Elvis.
Most of Trude Forsher’s secretarial duties ended when Elvis finished his work on a film, and he and Colonel Parker cleared out their studio offices and headed back to their Tennessee homes. Forsher recalled with melancholy those days of parting with her two employers.
Sometimes the Colonel, no doubt remembering his circus days when a picture was finished, said, “Let’s fold up the tents.” Yes, being with Elvis and the Colonel was for me truly the greatest show on earth. There was the ever-present challenge of the new, but to me, there was a little sadness every time we folded up the tents and left our temporary “homes.”
Between films Trude served as Colonel Parker’s west coast helper. She took care of correspondence and any other Hollywood business that came up. In preparation for Elvis and the Colonel’s return to Hollywood, she would arrange for and prepare offices and dressing rooms at the studios.
Despite her requests, Parker did not allow her to write freelance articles about Elvis. In late 1957, she wrote to the Colonel offering to go on tour with Elvis without pay. He curtly replied that women were not appropriate companions on tour. When Elvis entered the army soon after the filming of King Creole in 1958, her contact with Colonel Parker slowly faded away. However, to the end of her life 42 years later, Tom Parker never had a more loyal supporter than his first Hollywood secretary, Trude Forsher. |