Saturday, June 5, 2021


Our 2017 review of Priscilla Presley's Q&A appearance at Ron Onesti's Arcada Theatre never made the website because we were smack dab in the middle of our year-long salute to 1967.

As such, it only went out via email at the time ... 

But when Priscilla's name came up again in Forgotten Hits recently, I just knew we had to "officially" post this so that others could enjoy it, too.

So here you go ...

An Open Conversation With Priscilla Presley, from 2017 ...

I spent an interesting and entertaining couple of hours listening to Ron Onesti of The Arcada Theatre interview Priscilla Presley on Sunday Afternoon to a pretty full house.

One of Elvis' vintage Cadillacs was parked out front (a 1974 model, I'm told) with a TCB Lightning Bolt logo on the door, on loan from the Volo Auto Museum to welcome you in.

Ron and Priscilla had promised a "no holds barred" session ... no topic was off limits ... and she did not want to screen any of the questions ahead of time.  Ron had asked our readers to supply some of the questions (and quite a few of them actually got used.)  Priscilla's book "Elvis and Me" has been out for years so topics like their love life (and sex life) have been circulating for ages ... and they never really got into any of the nitty gritty details in this respect ... still, so much has happened over the past 40 years that plenty of new topics were explored.  (As Frannie pointed out to me before I left for the show, it's difficult to ask Priscilla any "What would Elvis think?" type of questions because you're asking her to speculate and speak for him ... it really isn't fair to do so since they've been divorced since 1973 ... but she certainly can answer as to his feelings for events that were happening at the time they were together.)  That being said, Priscilla cautioned us early on that she could never really communicate with Elvis on a level playing field ... NOBODY could ... because he was "the one and only" ... he didn't have any other entertainers of his stature to compare notes with ... and his guys, the so-called Memphis Mafia, were there just to joke and laugh and kid around ... keep him company for whatever whim possessed him at the time.  As such, even if Priscilla asked him what was wrong or what he was thinking or feeling, he barely ever answered her. 

Security was pretty adamant that no recording was allowed during this two hour session so I'll do my best to answer some of these questions the way Priscilla did to the best of my recollection.  Truthfully, the dialog never stopped ... they talked for two hours straight covering a wide variety of topics (and I never even saw either of them stop to take a drink of water!)

I've tried to group these in the way we sent them in so this doesn't necessarily follow the flow of the show as it unfolded Sunday Afternoon.

Priscilla's main purpose in doing this, she said, was to set the record straight.  Far too many mistruths have been published and circulated and she doesn't like the idea of history being rewritten and repeated about things so many know so little about.  The fact that last week marked the 40th anniversary of Elvis' death made the whole experience that much more poignant.

That first meeting ... the early years in Germany ... and the end:

What was the very first thing Elvis said to you? 

John Records Landecker

What was your first impression, Priscilla, the moment you met Elvis?

Geoff Dorsett (The Soft Rock Show in the UK)

Hindsight being 20/20, if the young Priscilla knew what you now know, would you accept Elvis’ proposal again?  (This came to me because, in her book, Cynthia Lennon states she would not have accepted John’s affections had she known the outcome)

Shelley Sweet-Tufano

I'd like to know when Priscilla knew for sure she was in love with Elvis and that it wasn't just a teenage crush.

Frank B.


Were you aware, early on, that Elvis had a roving eye?

Ron Onesti

Priscilla (14) met Elvis (24) in 1959 while he was stationed in Germany during his time in the Army.  She knew of Elvis (it's often been reported that she had absolutely no idea who he was at the time) because he was, simply put, the most popular entertainer on the planet ... so yes, when the opportunity presented itself for her to meet him, she was excited to do so ... never in her wildest dreams imagining that he might actually be attracted to her.

A friend of her father, Currie Grant, invited Priscilla to meet Elvis at the house where he was staying.  Priscilla's mother's initial reaction was "I wouldn't walk across the street to meet Elvis Presley" ... but when Currie and his wife agreed to take her there and bring her home as well as chaperone her visit, they finally agreed.

Elvis, immediately smitten, spent most of the night talking to her and then serenaded her on the piano.  (Ironically, the first song he played was the Jerry Lee Lewis hit "Great Balls Of Fire," complete with a lot of clowning away and lifting his leg on top of the keyboard.)  Although she never actually mentioned his very first words ... or her first impression (other than being a little bit star-struck), they visited for as long as she was allowed to stay (and a little bit after that!), getting home past her designated curfew. 

When Elvis invited her back, she was allowed to visit again under the supervision of the Grants ... but when he called to invite her a third time, her parents put their collective foot down and said that if Elvis wanted to see her again, he'd have to come there and call on her as a proper gentleman.

Surprisingly, Elvis and Priscilla's father got along quite well, maybe because of their respective military backgrounds.  (Priscilla also told us that she learned early on that Paul Beaulieu was not her real father when snooping through some of her mother's things one day.)  Her real father, a US Navy Pilot named James Wagner, had died in a plane crash.  Priscilla's mother had never told her that she had been adopted by Paul Beaulieu (and taken his name) when the two got married.  Incredibly, Priscilla remembered going to their wedding when she was about three years old ... yet never made the connection, only ever knowing Paul Beaulieu as her father.

As to Elvis' roving eye, she said that there were two English girls there at Elvis' house nearly every time she visited ... and they seemed to be quite chummy with Elvis.  One night, when Elvis couldn't find his white guitar pick, one of the girls told him that she last saw it on the nightstand next to his bed.  Priscilla quickly put two and two together and figured they must be more than "friends".  (She also said that Elvis respected her and refused to have sex with her until she reached the age of 21.  This frustrated Priscilla MUCH more than it seemed to bother Elvis, who was still having sex with a wide variety of girls he wasn't keeping "pure".)

Ron Onesti brought down the house when he asked, "So you're 14 years old ... you've just met Elvis ... didn't you want to run home and text and tweet all your friends to tell them?!?!"

Of course, this wasn't an option in 1959.  In fact, Priscilla said she only ever told one friend ... and this woman is still her closest friend to this day.  The newspapers soon figured it out when she and Elvis would be seen together ... and there's a very famous photograph of her at the airport waving goodbye when it was time for Elvis to return to The States.  (Elvis was asked later, upon his return home, if there wasn't perhaps one special girl he met while he was stationed in Germany ... the girl he left behind.  He tried to play it down as best he could ... but soon was pushing to have Priscilla move into Graceland with him ... which she finally did in 1963 when she turned 18.)

She was heartbroken to see him leave, not really knowing for sure when or if she'd ever see him again.  I'd say at this point she was already hopelessly head-over-heels in love ... and he seemed to be pretty smitten as well.

She said their greatest concern (especially for Elvis' manager Colonel Tom Parker) was that the press would play up the age difference and the fact that she was just 14 years old when they met.  The whole Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his cousin scandal had just hit (and virtually destroyed his career) and Chuck Berry was doing some jail time for violation of The Mann Act (transporting a minor across state lines).  They could not afford to risk ruining Elvis' career by heading down this same path.  Quite honestly, the press seemed much more forgiving when it came to Elvis ... and he pretty much went through this entire relationship unscathed.

Ron Onesti asked if Elvis was already doing drugs by the time she met him while he was in the Army. 

She said he was ... and that it probably started a little bit earlier than that.  He would reach the ultimate high while performing on stage and then need a sleeping pill in order to calm down and get any rest at all.  Then he'd need an upper to get charged up again the next day.  "Elvis didn't like to take pills alone," she said, "and you just didn't say 'no' to Elvis Presley."  She told us that she still has ... to this day ... the very first sleeping pill ever gave her.  (She took the pill from him ... but then never "took the pill" ... her mother had warned her early on about boys trying to seduce girls through medication and whether she was fearful and heeding this warning or was simply to scared to take it, she has saved the pill for the past sixty years!

Years later, at the point that she left him, ending their marriage, she just couldn't take the drug use anymore ... she couldn't continue to live this lifestyle.

Priscilla says that she flew out to Las Vegas to see Elvis perform at the International Hotel with the intent of telling him that she was leaving him ... but by the time she got there, it was time to go see his show ... and then there was all that "unwind" time after ... by the time they finally got to bed around 5 or 6 am, she was too tired to tell him and decided she would tell him in the morning.

When they woke up, she asked if they could talk.  Elvis said, "Sure," and Priscilla said, "I'm leaving." 

Elvis figured as much ... "Sure, I understand ... what time is your flight?"

"No, I mean I'm leaving ... I'm leaving you ... I can't do this anymore."

Elvis was heartbroken but she believed he understood.  Their divorce was completely amicable ... they held hands walking into and out of the courtroom ... and even held hands during the ceremony.

Priscilla said she last talked to Elvis two days before he died.  She had heard that he wasn't feeling well and knew that Lisa Marie was supposed to be flying home in a couple of days as Elvis was starting a new tour.  He told her he was having some problems with his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, but that he was all-right and was sure everything would be fine.

Two days later she got the call that Elvis had died and time just stopped.  She didn't believe it - refused to believe it.  Elvis would often check himself into a hospital for some down time ... a chance to decompress and recharge his batteries.  She didn't believe he could really be dead.  And then she asked about Lisa Marie and got back to taking care of the business now at hand.

As for the pills, she says she talked to "Dr. Nick" numerous times about it ... and that Dr. Nick was substituting some of Elvis' pills with placebos ... but that Elvis always knew ... and would threaten his doctor to either give him the right stuff, or he was going to find somebody else.  Dr. Nick felt that at least if HE was the one administering the dosage, he could maintain some element of control ... whereas turning it over to somebody new who would be blinded by the idea of taking care of Elvis Presley, things could spin out of control rather quickly.

The Beatles / The British Invasion / And The Movie Years:

What did Elvis REALLY think when he saw The Beatles performing on The Ed Sullivan Show for the very first time?  Did he think they'd last?  Were you a fan ... or was it pretty much an Elvis-centric world at that time?  The British Invasion knocked some of the biggest American artists off the charts ... suddenly EVERYTHING had to have a British accent in order to get played.  Did he feel threatened by this?  Were there any serious thoughts that his career might be over?  And, as for The Beatles, was it exciting for you to meet them?  What was it like the night The Beatles came to meet Elvis?  (kk)

Naturally, Elvis watched The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show ... this is where he had made his biggest mark just a few years before.  The Beatles to a man would agree that without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.

He was concerned when The British Acts seemed to be dominating the charts.  Keep in mind that Elvis was still cranking out movies at this time and while his popularity may have waned a little bit in the way of new fans, the die-hard Elvis fans were still out in full force.  His movies regularly did big box office and between the years of 1963 and 1967 (the start of Beatlemania and The British Invasion up to just before his 1968 Television Comeback Special), Elvis had 28 Top 40 Hits, and this tally included 8 Top Ten Hits.

I've heard the story of The Night Elvis Met The Beatles so many times in my life ... and Priscilla recounted it pretty much exactly the way I've always heard it ... with a little bit of interesting insight.

When The Beatles arrived, Elvis and Priscilla greeted them at the door and brought them into the den where Elvis had the tv on with the sound turned off, a large jukebox and a bass guitar.  Virtually nobody said a word.  Elvis kept playing the same record, Charlie Rich's "Mohair Sam" again and again and again on the jukebox and dabbled with the bass guitar a little bit ... but none of The Beatles spoke.  Whether they were just so in awe of being face to face with their ultimate hero (or perhaps flying a little bit thanks to whatever they might have smoked on the way over) isn't clear ... but Elvis finally got up and said, "If you're just all going to sit there and look at me, I may as well go on off to bed."  This broke the mood and everybody quickly lightened up and began to have a good time.  Some reports say they jammed ... The Beatles themselves can't seem to agree on what happened musically that night. (If you watch their Anthology Film, you'll see them kid about this ... John and Ringo reportedly say they jammed with Elvis ... and then Ringo says later that JOHN jammed with Elvis ... but that he never had.)  Paul reportedly showed Elvis a few runs on the bass and soon it was over.  Incredibly NOTHING from this night was ever recorded or photographed.  (This was actually a condition of their meeting set up front - kk)  In hindsight I'm sure every person involved wishes they had these memories documented today.

It gets even crazier.  Priscilla insists that when The Beatles first pulled up, they all came in one limousine ... but Jerry Schilling, one of Elvis' closed confidants, says they each came in their own limo and that a total of four cars pulled into the driveway that night.  Jerry and Priscilla have debated this for years!  A short while back, Priscilla had dinner with Paul McCartney and she asked him point blank, "When you came up to the house to meet Elvis, were you in one car or four cars."  Paul admitted, "I don't remember" ... and then went on to tell her how each and every Beatle had a completely different recollection what went on that night.  Whenever they would discuss meeting Elvis amongst themselves, they all had different memories as to just what happened that night.  They both laughed ... but also agreed that they wished they had some souvenir memento to honor such a momentous night in musical history.

The affairs:

Ron asked about Elvis' alleged flings with Nancy Sinatra and Ann-Margret.

Priscilla said that while she and Elvis were apart, all the movie magazine were playing up this big romance between Elvis and Nancy Sinatra ... but she insists that Elvis and Nancy were never anything more than just friends ... and that Nancy and Priscilla were friends as well.  (Nancy Sinatra threw Priscilla's baby shower when she found out she was pregnant with Lisa Marie.)  However, being an ocean apart and reading every day about Elvis' hot new romance definitely weighed on her ... and she began to wonder if she would ever see him again.

When Elvis came home from the Army, the first show he was scheduled to appear on was The Frank Sinatra Show, where Nancy was also present.  (This was believed to be more of your typical Hollywood Photo Op than anything else ... a few years later, they also made a movie together.)  Priscilla said Elvis was a little bit nervous about doing the show because he and Frank were each going to sing each others' songs ... and he was afraid that Frank would show him up on stage.  Instead, quite the contrary happened ... and Elvis was in fine form that night, singing the Sinatra hit "Witchcraft".  The show was a hit and Elvis definitely held his own against the crooner who captured the world's heart the decade before he did.

As for Ann-Margret, that's a different story ... and Ann posed a real threat to her relationship with Elvis.  They definitely had an affair ... and Priscilla said she learned to live with the idea that this is simply what singers and entertainers did ... they had their life on the road with any number of meaningless flings and, as long as they didn't bring it home and could be the perfect husband once they got there, you just learned to live with it.

But Ann-Margret was more than just a meaningless fling ... and Priscilla had serious concerns.  Elvis finally admitted to it ... and then assured her that it was over.  He said they were just too alike ... they both sang and danced and acted ... and in a career like that, there's really only room for one ... you just can't have two ... so he broke it off.  According to Priscilla, Ann-Margret took the news pretty hard ... and would still try to contact Elvis to find out why ... what had gone wrong ... even leaving him a message one time that read "I Just Don't Understand," the name of her big 1961 hit.  Ironically, she married actor Roger Smith just one week after Elvis' wedding to Priscilla in 1967.  She and Elvis remained close friends for the rest of his life ... and Ann and Roger are still married today.


Ann-Margret's big screen break came playing the lead in the hit musical "Bye Bye Birdie," whose lead character, Conrad Birdie was based on Elvis being drafted into the army ... which is where Elvis first met Priscilla, his only wife.  Ann's follow-up film was starring opposite Elvis in "Viva Las Vegas," the movie that kick-started their affair ... only to end a few months later when Elvis decided he didn't want to be "competing against himself" in a show business career.  I swear, you couldn't script something this inspired!!! (lol)  kk

The 1968 NBC Television Special:

Several of us had questions relating to this program ... and Priscilla and Ron talked about it quite a bit as well.  Parts of many of our questions were answered (although some not specifically) and I would LOVE the opportunity to talk to her more about this at some point in time, especially with the 50th Anniversary coming up next year.

Therefore, in random order, here is what we were wondering, recapped by some of what she told us onstage at The Arcada Theatre Sunday afternoon ...

What thoughts were going through Elvis' head as he prepared for his 1968 Comeback Special?  Was he concerned that his time may have passed musically and that this might not go over well?  Or was he so motivated and confident with what he knew he was about to unleash that he couldn't wait to show the world that he still had a fire burning, wanting to perform again?  While we've all come to know it that way, did he ever refer to this moment as his "comeback" ... or did he believe that this was the next logical step in his career at the time ... getting out of the movies and going back on the road?  Did he look at this moment as standing up to The Colonel?  And describe Elvis' feeling of respect for The Colonel over the years ... and their arrangement that often benefited The Colonel with as much as 50% of Elvis' take.  (kk)

What kind of 50 year anniversary specials and releases might we expect from Priscilla and the Sony / Legacy record label revolving around this epic television moment and subsequent soundtrack album as well as elite cable TV examinations and documentaries or DVD products underscoring the celluloid and sonic melodic world of Elvis during 1968?  What sort of ideas and campaigns might be in the works in order to draw attention and remind the world about this Elvis endeavor that she watched develop and viewd in 1967? 

Harvey Kubernik (I have met and encountered Priscilla many times over many decades.)

My question might be a rather simple one ...

I heard or read that during the taping of the '68 Comeback Special, while Elvis was singing his signature song (Love Me Tender) he had made an apparent blunder, trying to be funny, and that Priscilla stormed out of the theatre (or was threatening to leave.)  I guess this was her favorite song and she was upset that he didn't sing it seriously enough for her (?)

***If you listen to the song, you can hear that he starts a bit giddy, but then brings it back home and really finishes the song strong.

The apparent goof or attempt to be funny was, I believe,

"You have made my life a wreck ... uh, complete, and I love you so"

"Love Me Tender, Love Me Sweet, Never let me go ...

You have made my life complete, and I love you so."

Thanks -

Bob Morrow


Bob was one of our guests at the concert.  (kk)


Dear Kent,

A lot has been written over the years about whether Colonel Tom Parker was mostly good or bad for Elvis. For better or for worse, throughout his incredible career, Elvis depended on the Colonel, who reportedly took an almost unheard- of 25 percent commission. I have also heard, though I cannot confirm it, that somewhere around three-quarters of Elvis's income went into the Colonel's pocket, possibly without Elvis knowing about it. Reportedly for a very long time the Colonel forced Elvis to do many so-so movies and sing many so-so songs which he Elvis reluctantly did but was unhappy about. I do know that one person stood up to the Colonel and "won," namely Steve Binder who was the director of Elvis's 1968 "Comeback Special" and insisted that it NOT be a "Christmas" show which is what the Colonel had insisted on. 

So my question for Priscilla is whether, both when she was with Elvis and now in retrospect, she felt that Colonel Parker was mostly helpful or mostly harmful to Elvis. And also, I would like to know if her opinion has changed over the 40 years since his passing. 

Ronnie Allen

Tying into this, it seems that Elvis at times would become resentful of Colonel Parker ... but was reluctant to break away because of all he had done for him in the way of furthering his career.  Did you and Elvis have discussions of this nature?  (kk)

Choosing to make a comeback in 1968 was a bit risky ... music was changing so rapidly at the time, getting MUCH heavier with groups like Cream, Steppenwolf, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and, shortly thereafter, Led Zeppelin.  Meanwhile, after the television special aired, and while all of this was going on, Elvis was on stage wearing a white jumpsuit in Las Vegas.  Did he have concerns that he no longer fit in musically?  Or was his confidence boosted by the loyalty of so many long-term fans?  (kk)

I imagine that you and Elvis watched the NBC Television special together ... what was the mood like when it ended?  What feelings were going thru yours and Elvis' minds at the time?  Did you feel to a certain extent that you were about to lose him to his fans once he started touring again?  (kk)


Priscilla said that she never really had any issues with The Colonel - that he was always representing Elvis' best interests - and that even after Elvis' passing, she and The Colonel got along just fine.

As for the comeback special, yes, Elvis was somewhat nervous ... but the fact that Producer / Director Steve Binder was NOT nervous ... and instead pushed Elvis out on that stage and made him do perhaps the most electrifying performance of his career, turned everything around for The King Of Rock And Roll.  Elvis KILLED it that night ... I don't care how many times you watch this special ... it NEVER diminishes the impact he made on a world where many had probably already written him off as passe.

Keep this fact in mind ... Priscilla had never seen Elvis perform before ... during the time she was with him, Elvis was making movies ... he wasn't out on the road doing concerts and touring ... or doing television appearances ... he'd fly out to location and make his latest film and then fly home again ... so she had never had the experience of what it was like to see Elvis live on stage ... and she was blown away.  ("Now I get it," she laughed ... and how could she not?)

They watched the special together at home ... just the two of them with Sonny West ... and nobody spoke a word during the entire hour it was on ... but the moment it was over they whooped it up big time.  Soon the phone was ringing and it just didn't stop ... Elvis was getting calls from all over the world telling him how incredible he was that night.  (Again, I'd love to know if in Priscilla's mind at that exact moment she felt the greatest joy ... along with the greatest fear ... that she was now losing him to the fans ... and life as they knew it would never be the same. - kk)


Topics that were never covered:

If he were still alive, Elvis would be 82 today.  What do you think he would think about the changes made in music over the past 40 years?  Can you envision him as being the perennial favorite like Tony Bennett, still recording and making odd appearances here and there?  Recording duet albums and LPs of standards?  (Let's face it ... RCA has remixed Elvis' music in so many different ways over the years, trying to keep him a "vital artist" with a new audience, he's practically done all of these things anyway!)  RCA has never missed an opportunity to keep his career in the spotlight ... and he is consistently one of the "top earning dead celebrities" year after year.  Would he be amazed that his music is still considered relevant today after so many years?  (kk)

Would Elvis be amazed that he is more popular now it seems that he was 40 years ago? 

Phil Nee

Was Elvis as romantic in private as his public persona seemed to be to his fans?

Mitch Michaels

Incredibly, not a single Michael Jackson question was asked.  (I found that quite surprising.)

What would Elvis have thought of Michael Jackson, the self-proclaimed "King Of Pop"?  And what would he have thought of Michael marrying his daughter, Lisa Marie?  What do YOU think about their marriage ... both in hindsight and at the time?  When all the allegations came out against him about inappropriate behavior with young boys ... and the drugs he took at the end ... were there hints of this all along?  Was the drug thing kind of a deja vu for you, having gone thru some of this with Elvis?  (kk)

One fact that is not often mentioned is that Elvis was very smart and well read.  What type of books did Elvis read?  (Phil Nee)

Priscilla said that Elvis had a huge library of books ... and they were all over the place topic-wise ... he was always trying to learn more, learn as much as he could.  He always believed he had a greater purpose ... that God must have had bigger plans for him.  Yes, he could sing and he could entertain, but if he could get that kind of following just by moving his hips, then he must be destined to be more of a leader - he was always searching for that greater purpose.

Can you talk a little bit about the whole Elvis / Nixon thing?  Was Elvis pretty much out of control at that time?  Timing-wise as I recall, you were leaving (or just about to leave) ... did you ever see this coming?    And how did he rationalize this need for a meeting in his own head?  Was he really sincere in wanting to "clean up America"?  (kk) 

Inquiring Minds Want To Know ... A Couple of "Mood-Breaking" Questions That Never Came Up (and Perhaps It's Just As Well):

I recently visited Graceland and the Elvis Presley Experience.  I enjoyed my visit there and learned a lot about Elvis. 

My question is:  Why do they show videos of all of the huge collection they have of Elvis memorabilia and yet have hardly any of it on display? 

They have a clear display rack that has four levels of display cases and yet only one level of items actually displays the items.  The other three levels show various size boxes that supposedly these other items are contained in.  What good does it do us to see closed boxes in these displays?  They should display items in all the display cases, not just one level. 

Also, the "fairgrounds" area could be used to show many more items instead of trying to create something that I can see at any local county fair. 

When I was there in July, nobody was in that area. 

Thank you for listening to my question.

Bill Mulvihill 

The Graceland Tours is another topic that never came up ... but Bill was able to join us as Ron Onesti's guest for "A Conversation With Priscilla Presley"  (kk)

You lived every teenage girl's fantasy dream by being married to Elvis Presley - and then you broke his heart -

You left him and then, after he died, have spent the last 40 years capitalizing on his name, a name you chose to give up while he was still alive.

You've gone from being the envy of every girl to being despised for a completely different reason.

How do you answer to that?  And the millions of dollars you've made thru Elvis Presley Enterprise in the years since Elvis' death?


Yep ... probably wise to steer clear of this one!!! (kk)


Priscilla's Acting Career:

Priscilla, of course, had her own career after the death of Elvis, starring on the hit television series "Dallas" for five years as Jenna Wade ... and then costarring in the Naked Gun Movies. 

Our readers wanted to know about this, too ... and Ron worked some of these questions and topics into his "Lightning Round" of questions ...


If given the chance, would you have shot J.R. Ewing?


Absolutely!  I would have LOVED to shoot JR ... with a big ol' 45.


What did you REALLY think at the time about an entire YEAR of "Dallas" simply being written off as Bobby Ewing's dream?"  (kk)

This one never came up so she never got the chance to answer it ... but did say that the cast had a lot of fun together on the set.  Larry Hagman (JR) and Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing) started to embody their television characters off the screen as well, acting very much like the rich, spoiled Ewing brothers both on and off the set.  "And Larry," she said, was always ready with a glass of champagne ... of course this was a 7:00 in the morning!"  Priscilla says she was originally only supposed to appear on one season ... but the character became so popular that they ended up extending her role for five years!


I would ask her, "Tell us about working on the 'Naked Gun' movies."

Gary Theroux / "The History of Rock 'n' Roll"


(Actually, I thought it would be pretty damn funny to play the "Nice Beaver" clip!  lol  kk)


And, much to my pleasure, Ron went there!!!  He asked her "something about her beaver ... didn't she have a pet beaver on the set of The Naked Gun"... Priscilla at first seemed a little bewildered by the question ... and then sort of brushed it off ... but WE all knew what he was talking about!!!


And apparently we were not alone ...


My first thought was to ask her about her beaver ... the stuffed one that Leslie Nielson saw in a scene from Naked Gun.    (Phil Nee - WRCO)

Did she do much work with OJ on Naked Gun? If so, how did he seem?

(Mitch Michaels / The River)

Priscilla worked with OJ Simpson on the Naked Gun movies ... what was her reaction when she first heard about the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson?  Do you believe that OJ got away with murder?  (kk)

You worked with OJ Simpson on the Naked Gun movies.  Did you ever see that side of him?  Where you believe he could have been that violent of a man to kill his ex-wife?  (Ron Onesti)

Yes, actually I did. OJ and Nicole were getting divorced while we were making the third Naked Gun movie and it was clear how upset he was. We were friends with both of them ... in fact, I dated Robert Kardashian for a time ... so I got to know both of them pretty well ... but when the news of the divorce came down, OJ just got this look in his eye ... and several times he said, "If I can't have her, nobody will."

I had heard from Nicole's sister, who was dating one of my friends, that he had hit her in the past ... and the first time I ever went there, up to their house, I was dating Mike Edwards at the time, and he told me that OJ took him aside, slammed him up against a wall, lifted him up by his neck and warned him "Stay away from my wife.  If I ever see you near my wife, I'll kill you."  (Talk about your memorable first impressions! - kk)  Mike said it scared the hell out of him ... and he could see the demon in OJ's eyes ... he was dead serious ... so yes, I have no doubt that he killed Nicole.

More From The Lightning Round

Here are a few off the top of my head ... 

When was Elvis the happiest?  (Phil Nee)

What's her favorite Elvis memory?  (Mitch Michaels)

We were both happiest in Hawaii ... we could just be ourselves there ... and be alone without any other demands being imposed on us.  And we were happy at Graceland, when it was just the two of us horseback riding.

What is your favorite Elvis movie?  (Phil Nee)

I love the first four ... but King Creole would be my favorite

What was Elvis' favorite of his movies?  (Ron Onesti)

Definitely King Creole

What is YOUR favorite Elvis song?  And which of his recordings were among his favorites?  (kk)

Favorite Elvis song?  (Ron Onesti)

My favorite would have to be either "An American Trilogy" or "If I Can Dream"

His favorite was "It's Now Or Never"

(Wow ... I wouldn't have guessed that one!  kk)

Who were some of his influences and inspiration starting out in the music business?  (Ron Onesti)

Oh, there were just so many - but mostly Elvis just wanted to sound unique - and he was - he didn't really sound like anybody else

Boxers or Briefs?  (Ron Onesti)

(complete laughter by everybody on hand)

Priscilla:  (still laughing) Well, definitely NOT boxers ... and sometimes briefs

Ron Onesti:  No, I meant you!!!  (more laughter from everyone)

Great interview - great afternoon.  (kk)


Kent / FH -  
Thanks for the invite to go see the wonderful and ageless Priscilla Presley!!!
It looked like it would be a great event to attend and to actually hear from the person who knew him the best !
First, we were greeted by the GREAT showman himself ... Ron Onesti!  He did a remarkable job of emcee-ing the event and was complimented by Priscilla herself on the fine job he did.
We were told that "everything is on the table ... she wasn't afraid to answer anything about Elvis"
We were treated to some home movies and stories about all facets of their time together (and not together)
1. She started by saying the real reason she enjoys doing this sort of event is to set the record straight on stories about Elvis. She felt it was her duty to let the adoring public know exactly how he was and interacted with his fans.
2. Here are some basic items she answered regarding Elvis, the King ...
- His favorite song - It's Now or Never
- Her favorite song - If I Can Dream
- His favorite Movie - King Creole
- Her favorite movie - King Creole
- She says "they" felt most comfortable when they were in Hawaii or at the stables in Graceland
- Vegas shows were tough on Elvis. He would get thru at or around midnight, and then continue to stay and entertain (sing gospel with the Imperials, etc.) and stay up till 6:00 am while all of his friends and partiers were still there. He would then sleep till about 5:00 that day, then they would have to "get him up and ready" for that night's next performance..
- She never saw Elvis perform until she was at the '68 Comeback Special.  She says she that then, she finally saw the show person himself. She was obviously amazed.
- He was rarely photographed with his shirt off. He didn't like the fact that he had very little chest hair.
- He wore briefs ... Not boxers.
- Her last conversation with him was two days before his death. She had "heard" that he had put on a bit of weight, and looked pale and not well. She called to make sure he was ok
- Yes, she witnessed him taking many drugs. Iin fact, he actually gave her a sleeping pill one night (that she never took and still keeps to this day in a safe place), all because her dad told her to NEVER take something she if didn't know what it was.
There really wasn't much chat about things like ...
* The Memphis Mafia
* His generosity (all the cars, etc. that he gave away)
* His toys (cars, planes, horses, homes, etc.)
* His gal pals  (one can only imagine just how many!  -;)
She did share many stories about her time on Naked Gun, her not so comfortable run-ins with THE OJ Simpson, and even shared a story her family member told about his physical and verbal abuse towards Nicole.
She also shared things about her time on Dallas and thought she fit in well with that cast. She commented that Larry Hagman (JR) was larger than life itself, and lived that character he played.
She did comment on Ann-Margret and was told by Elvis himself that HE could never be with someone in show business, for he knew that would be miserable.
He loved comedians (but didn't really name any of his fav's)
(We heard the news of Jerry Lewis' passing on the way to the theater that afternoon - kk)
She LOVED taking care of Elvis and misses him deeply. She finally knew she couldn't have him for herself, so that is why she decided to leave him. Apparently it was pretty amicable.
Elvis really struggled with being able to talk about his films, performances, concerts, etc. He truly had no real peers to talk to them about the rigors of what he did.
All in all, it was a remarkable afternoon. I'm sure that I, (along with those who attended) had hoped that they would take some real questions from the audience, but that was about the only downside of this event. She truly was remarkable in so many ways.
Thanks to Ron Onesti and Forgotten Hits for the opportunity to experience this show!
Bob Morrow - Bolingbrook


kk ...

Greetings ...

Kudos to Ron Onesti for landing the former Mrs. Presley. I have always loved Elvis Presley's vocal range and appreciation of R&B.  Tell me it wouldn't have been fun to hear The King cover Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long," penned by Otis and Jerry Butler or "The Thrill Is Gone," a masterpiece by B.B King ... how about Lou Rawls' touching "Dead End Street?" 

I still recall being at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis watching E struggle through thes last concert of his career. The audience cheered as much out of pity as it did for love.   

Chet Coppock:

Author: Otis Wilson - If These Walls Could Talk

Vintage autographed photo from Davie Allan ...

I know I told you this but the other two autographs are Roy Orbison and Colonel Parker (I have no idea what he wrote but I stood there and watched him write it).

From Gary Pig Gold ...

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Friday Flash

Still catching up from our Week of Bob Dylan ...

So LOTS more loose ends to enjoy on the site today!

A great piece on The Monkees ran in Best Classic Bands earlier this week …

And Ultimate Classic Rock ran a review of the brand new, 8-part Apple+ TV mini series “1971:  The Year That Changed Music” here:

Hi Kent,

Just curious to know if you have seen a link for a list of all the music played in the Apple 1971 Docuseries?  I figured if anyone knew it would be you or one of the FH readers. 


I do not … but maybe somebody else does (or has compiled a list of their own.)

We don’t currently have Apple+ TV … but look forward to catching up on this new music mini-series once “The Morning Show” returns hopefully later this year.  (kk)

I guess they’re still trying to work out all the details and conform to Covid-19 live performance protocol, but it sounds like The Happy Together Tour WILL continue in August this year, albeit with a slightly revamped line-up due to artist availability …

Ron Dante told us that …

The Happy Together Tour may go out this August with a new line up ... The Cowsills, The Vogues, The Classics IV, The Association, Gary Puckett and, of course, The Turtles.

Missing in action are Mark Lindsay (we told you several weeks ago that he was coming off the tour for health reasons) and Chuck Negron (who, as far as I knew, was expected to stay onboard … however, I see that his name is now missing from the line-up when Happy Together hits The Genesee Theatre here in Chicago … well, actually, Waukegan … on August 7th) and The Buckinghams (who, I believe, are doing assorted shows along the way, including The Genesee Theatre here in Chicago, where we get SEVEN acts instead of the customary six.)  kk

Speaking of getting back out on the road, America resumes its 50th Anniversary Tour on August 13th with a show in Bethesda, MD.  (They hit the Chicagoland area on October 30th with a stop at The Rialto Square Theatre.  The last show we saw before the pandemic hit was America with The Buckinghams at The Genesee Theatre in March of 2020.)

Upcoming show dates include:

8/13/2021 Music Center at Strathmore North Bethesda, MD
8/14/2021 Northlands Swanzey, NH
8/21/2021 E Center at Edgewater Hotel Laughlin, NV
8/27/2021 Cape Cod Melody Tent Hyannis, MA
8/28/2021 South Shore Music Circus Cohasset, MA
9/11/2021 Kansas Star Arena Mulvane, KS
9/17/2021 Johnny Mercer Theatre Savannah, GA
9/25/2021 Lied Center of Kansas Lawrence, KS
10/2/2021 Silver Legacy Casino – Grande Expo Hall Reno, NV
10/20/2021 Washington Pavillion Sioux Falls, SD
10/22/2021 Grand Hall Mankato, MN
10/28/2021 Tupelo Music Hall Derry, NH
10/30/2021 Rialto Square Theatre Joliet, IL
11/6/2021 Good Life Festival at Schnepf Farms Queen Creek, AZ
11/14/2021 Tobin Center H-E-B Performance Hall San Antonio, TX
11/18/2021 Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, FL
11/20/2021 Sunrise Theatre Fort Pierce, FL
11/21/2021 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Sarasota, FL

Rock Cellar Magazine has an interview with Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell, friends and partners for over fifty years now, here:

Foreigner has added guitarist Luis Maldonado to the line-up for their new tour.

They performed their first post-Covid concert in Orlando, Florida, last week and are now playing two dates at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL, on May 22nd and May 23rd.  (That’s where FH Reader Rich Turner just saw Kansas!)

Other upcoming dates include:

June 24th – Bridge View Center – Ottumwa, IA

June 25th – Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science – Sioux Falls, SD

June 26th – Bismarck Civic Center – Bismarck, ND

June 29th – Ford Wyoming Center – Casper, WY

June 30th – First Interstate Arena – Billings, MT

July 2nd – Treasure Island Amphitheater – Welch, MN

July 27th – William Saroyan Theatre – Fresno, CA

July 28th – Findlay Toyota Center – Prescott Valley, AZ

July 30th – Maverik Center – Salt Lake City, UT

July 31st – Las Colonias Park Amphitheater – Grand Junction, CO

August 1st – Helen DeVitt Jones Theater at The Buddy Holly Hall – Lubbock, TX

August 5th – Stride Bank Center – Enid, OK

August 7th – Hartman Arena – Park City, KS

August 8th – Simmons Bank Arena – North Little Rock, AR

August 10th – Wisconsin State Fair – Milwaukee, WI

August 11th – McGrath Amphitheatre – Cedar Rapids, IA

August 13th – Ashley For The Arts - Soldiers Walk Veterans Memorial Park – Arcadia, WI*  (*Two Day Pass, also featuring Toby Keith and Little Big Town)

August 15th – Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, IL

August 18th – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN

August 20th – The Meadow Event Park – Doswell, VA (moved from Innsbrook After Hours)

August 21st – The Freeman Stage at Bayside – Selbyville, DE

August 25th – Hartford HealthCare Ampitheater – Bridgeport, CT

August 26th – Indian Ranch, Webster, MA

August 27th – South Shore Music Circus - Cohasset, MA

August 28th – Cape Cod Melody Tent – Hyannis, MA

September 9th – Alerus Center – Grand Forks, ND

September 10th – Don Barnett Arena at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center – Rapid City, SD

September 11th – Butte Civic Center Arena – Butte, MT

September 14th – Angle of the Winds Arena – Everett, WA

September 15th – Idaho Center – Nampa, ID

September 16th – Northern Quest Casino – Spokane, WA

September 18th – Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center – Fort Hall, ID

September 22nd – Toyota Center, WA – Kennewick, WA

September 26th – Grand Sierra Theatre – Reno, NV

October 1st – Greek Theatre – Los Angels, CA

October 28th – Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom – Hampton, NH

November 6th – Landers Center – Southaven, MS

November 9th – Bell Auditorium – Augusta, GA

November 13th – BancorpSouth Arena – Tupelo, MS

November 14th – Brandon Amphitheater – Brandon, MS

November 17th – BJCC Concert Hall – Birmingham, AL

Live Music Returns: East Coast Fab 4 Music Festival Announces Line-Up of Bands

The "Fab 4 Music Festival" will "get back" to Connecticut on Saturday, July 10th, marking not only the return of live music to the area, but also a return for the perennial Beatles fan music fest which has been a mainstay in the New York / New England area for many years. The musical extravaganza will "come together" in its new home at Nolan Field in Ansonia, CT. It is the only Beatles-themed music festival on the East Coast.

The popular regional Beatles-themed, family-friendly Music, Foods & Arts Festival features ten bands playing the music of The Beatles, their solo material and songs from the sixties, including one Monkees tribute show. The acts performing are from several states … The Hofners, Number 9,  Double The Dial, MerseyBeatCT, The Navels and School of Rock all hail from Connecticut. The Black Ties are a New York band, Britains Best are from NJ, One Sweet Dream call MA their home, and the Monkees tribute band, Zilch, will be coming from RI.

Along with the great entertainment of 10 bands, there will be Beatles memorabilia and music  dealers, special guests and authors, area vendors and artisans, exhibitors, attractions, and food trucks with a wide variety of food options available.

The outdoor event runs from Noon until 8 pm on July 10th, and advance "Ticket to Ride" general admissions are only  $19.99. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets. There are also a number of seated V.I.P. tickets available. Note that admission will be higher at the door. Advance tickets available at

The "Fab 4 Music Festival," on Saturday, July 10, 2021, is presented by Liverpool Productions, the same Beatles fan club that presented "NYC FAB 50: The Beatles' 50th Anniversary Celebration" in New York City, and have produced Beatles Conventions worldwide since 1978. They also organize the annual fan vacations to Liverpool and London known as the "Magical History Tour." The show is produced in conjunction with the City of Ansonia, and is hosted by Beatles aficionado and author Charles F. Rosenay!!!. 

With a full day of fab 4 fun, 10 bands and non-stop music, as The Beatles sang, "It's Guaranteed to Raise a Smile."

For further info, visit website or call (203) 795-4737.



DATES: Saturday, July 10, 2021

HOURS: 12 Noon until 8 pm

LOCATION: Nolan Field, 350 Wakelee Avenue, Ansonia, CT

TICKETS $19.99

PHONE: (203) 795-4737

Promo Video Clip: 

Media Contact: International Tours & Events, 315 Derby Avenue, Orange, CT 06477 

(203) 795-4737 

Check out this cool story and interview with Al Jardine in the April issue of The Beat magazine (below)
There’s no online link but you can get the issue here: 

Speaking of The Beach Boys, this one totally cracked me up!

Frannie was reading the I Hate Mike Love website the other night (no, I’m not making that up … it really exists!), when she came across this posting by Manson Girl Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme …

In your review of Beach Boys biographies, I was surprised to learn of my attempt to shower with Mike Love.  Ironically, he’s the second writer in as many months to allege a soap-and-water sexual advance by one of the “dirty Manson girls.”  Mike Love’s memoir may be, as you say, a better read than Brian’s, but I could believe anything he says.  I’ve never been within ten feet of Mike Love.

Lynette Fromme  

Central New York State

So Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme will admit to murder … and to shooting the President of the United States … but she will NOT cop to taking a shower with Beach Boy Mike Love.  NO way … uh-uh … THAT is beneath her!!!  She’ll own up to being a part of the murderous Manson Family and an attempted assassination of President Ford … but she will NOT stand for being accused of showering with Mike Love.  A girl’s got her standards when it comes to her reputation … and she is just NOT going to have people saying THIS about her!!!  (By the way, OUR review of the two Beach Boys biographies, released within just a few weeks of each other back in back in 2016, ALSO cites Mike’s book as being infinitely superior to Brian’s rehashing of his previous book, changing a few “facts” along the way.  For the benefit of any other members of the “I Hate Mike Love” club, I strongly suggest reading it.  You just may come away with a totally new state of mind once you discover just how many times this guy was shafted along the way by his good ol’ Uncle Murry Wilson.)   kk

Harvey Kubernik’s got a brand new piece on Motown Records and their recording artists and the new Motown Grammy Museum Exhibit …

You can also read Harvey’s excellent piece on new Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee Billy Preston (LONG overdue) here:

Hi Kent,

It looks like we’ll have another chance to listen to Dusty Rhodes’ replay of the Summer of 1962 as heard on Chicago’s WLS.

His shows are rebroadcast in two parts on His summer series starts over this Sunday night so based on that, 1962 part one should air Sunday June 27 beginning at 8:00PM Central.

I wish I had something more concrete but if I hear any different I’ll let you know.

Happy Memorial Day!

Colin Donahue

Here's one I can’t wait to see …

According to Robert Feder, PBS has announced a September 19th premiere date for “Muhammad Ali,” an eight-hour documentary on the legendary boxer, directed by Ken Burns. Jonathan Eig, the acclaimed Chicago writer and author of the best-selling biography “Ali: A Life,” serves as a consulting producing on the film and appears as an interview subject. “I’ve been working on this for six years — one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been part of,” Eig told friends. “Can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Me, too!  (kk)

Tommy James made The Wall Street Journal this week!

And, speaking of Tommy James ... 

kk ...

Cousin Brucie’s Guest this week will be Tommy James.

Wasn't his book supposed to be turned into a movie?  I'll let you know if he tells us about it.

I know you have a lot of Tommy James material you might want to share with us.


We have been waiting very impatiently for Tommy’s movie to be made.  (Of course, the pandemic didn’t help at all in that regard, pushing everything back another year after already experiencing a couple of years of delays working out all the logistics.)

I certainly hope it finally gets made … and soon, too, as I think it’ll be a great film.

With Tommy doing his own show on Sirius/XM, he’s making fewer guest appearances these days … so this should be a good show.  (Tommy pretty much plays whatever he wants on his own show … and is a GREAT storyteller … all the more interesting because he was there, right in the thick of it at the time.)

I have been a HUGE fan since Day One … and look forward to his return to the stage real soon.  (And make the damn movie, too!!!) 

Just kidding … I tease Tommy’s manager all the time about getting this film out there while some of us are still around to see it!!!  Kinda like that Dick Biondi Documentary.  The audience that will most appreciate these films is here NOW … I can’t promise how much longer this will be the case!!!  (kk)


And then this from Frank B:

kk …

Cousin Brucie just finished his Tommy James Interview.

His last show was February 2020 in Tampa , Florida.  His next show will be in seven weeks. He didn't say where.

Tommy said that Hollywood is opening up again … but it’ll be at least 8 to 12 months before they'll be able to start shooting the movie.

After that, hopefully a Broadway play. (He said you always do the movie first and then the play because if you do the Broadway play first and it bombs, there’ll be no movie.

Tommy was asked about "CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION."

He said a kid in the audience handed him a poem from the bible "CRYSTAL PERSUASION."  He had to re-write it as a song.


P.S.  Today was the 10th anniversary Glen Fisher’s "DOO - WOP REVIVAL" show.

It was a good one. I really enjoyed it. Like Glen always likes to say, "TOGETHER WE'RE KEEPING THIS MUSIC ALIVE."

Well, by all means, congratulations to Glen Fisher, too!!!  We are ALL doing our best to keep this great music alive.

I figure the movie is still two years away, best case scenario.  I’m just hoping that once they’re able to start up, they can just stay on it and get it made.  An awful lot of Tommy James fans have been chomping at the bit to see this film, ever since his book “Me, The Mob and the Music” was a national best seller. 

Tommy’s website isn’t listing ANY upcoming shows right now … just a message that ALL appearances are “subject to change” due to the pandemic.

They are promoting TWO shows here in the Chicagoland area … and my guess is that they’ll both sell out.  (Tommy is still EXTREMELY popular here in Chicago where he had SEVEN #1 Hits!)

Sunday, October 17th at The Arcada Theatre and

Saturday, December 4th at The Genesee Theatre

I was not able to get confirmation that these shows are still “on” … so please check back with the venues if you are interested in attending.  (kk)


Cousin Bruce spoke to Peter Noone via a phone interview Saturday Night, Bruce in his New York home and Peter driving in California.

Peter said that starting in October he'll be doing 118 concerts pushed back from 2020. He was asked who he'd like to share the stage with. He answered, “I’ve got two ... Frankie Valli and Neil Sedaka.

"I'M HENRY THE 8th, I AM" --- 100th verse / same as the first.

Tony Orlado spoke to Priscilla Presley.  I didn't listen to that one.


Knowing how much Peter loves to perform … one could say he LIVES to perform … I just know it had to be killing him to be off the road for the past eighteen months.  (I can almost hear him saying, “If this is what retirement is like, I don’t want ANY part of it!”)  A double bill of Peter Noone with either Frankie Valli or Neil Sedaka would make for an INCREDIBLE show.  (Hard to believe that in all these years, these artists have never paired up at some point in time.)

As for Priscilla Presely, I immediately flash back to the EXCELLENT job our very own Ron Onesti did interviewing her a few years back.  (He even invited our readers to submit some questions for him to ask … and he used quite a few!)

Because our year-long Salute to 1967 was running at the time, our review of this incredible evening never made the website.  I’m going to have to get that up there … because it was really something to see!  (kk)


I thought you and your readers might find this update on Bill Medley of interest, if you didn’t see it eight months ago. I just happened to stumble upon it this weekend.

-Tom Cuddy

WOW, what a great bandstand show here!  Arnold Layne gets rate-a-record play, The Grass Roots get the spotlight dance and the Bucks LIVE faking -- altho they cut the great harmony ending!!!  Not sure why their OLD song is #6 on the show.  A Turtles interview, too, dancing to Whistling Jack, Rascals ranking #1 on the Top 10 board, too!  The Parade with their GREAT summer of love classic.  KXOK guesting as well from St Louis with their pick sound.

A GREAT show to relive!

Clark Besch

Mega congratulations to our FH Buddy Bob Merlis on the 20th Anniversary of his PR Firm MFH. (Merlis For Hire)

I first met Bob ions ago when I was trying to set up an interview with Allen Klein, who he represented at the time.  (Bob still reps ABKCO Records and Allen’s son Jody, who has been responsible for getting SO much material released over the past two decades that had previously been kept away from the fans, being locked in the vaults instead where NOBODY could enjoy it!)  Unfortunately, the Allen Klein interview never materialized, and he passed away shortly thereafter. 

Bob has been instrumental in so many Forgotten Hits promotions and projects in the past, providing invaluable material and advance copies of new releases to allow us to stay one step ahead of the rest of the world when letting the truest oldies fans out there know about all of the latest oldies events. 



Founded in the Spring of 2001, MFH was established by industry veteran Bob Merlis upon his departure from Warner Bros. Records after a tenure of almost 30 years at the storied label where he ultimately served as Senior Vice President / Worldwide Corporate Communications.  The boutique agency soon added a small staff including Melenie Caldwell, Merlis’ longtime aide de camp during his Warner Bros. years, soon to be joined by Amy Treco-Block, who had been involved with branding and marketing efforts for Honda, Heineken and, among others. Ben Merlis who has fronted punk rock bands Bad Reaction and Surprise Vacation and is the author of Goin’ Off: The Story of The Juice Crew & Cold Chillin’ Records (BMG Books) joined thereafter.

“We realized a few months ago that we were going to enter our 20th year in business and we think that’s a significant milestone,” said (Bob) Merlis.  “My first impulse was to throw a big party but, then again, that is always my first impulse. To state the obvious, such a gathering is an impossibility this year.”  He and the MFH staff caucused and collectively decided a website that includes highlights of the company’s history and commentary from key clients, media figures and staff would serve to commemorate the occasion on an ongoing basis.

The new site,, has just launched and provides insight into the firm’s history, offering a comprehensive listing of artists, releases and projects in which it has been involved over the course of the past two decades.  “I was loath to write the overview myself since I’m far from objective about this subject and I felt it would be unfair to burden Amy, Ben or Melenie with such a personal task so we turned to a seasoned professional journalist to take on that aspect of the project.”  Jim Bessman, late of Billboard, Cash Box and currently running was commissioned to take on the assignment.  Merlis noted, “We’ve been friends and his fan for more than twice the time we’ve been in business so that only made sense.”

Among the comments gleaned for the new site posted specifically at are quotes from ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Carlene Carter, Tammy Faye Starlite as well as Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix, ABKCO President Jody Klein, Alex Orbison of Roy’s Boys plus Dion, Jim Pitt of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Billboard’s Gail Mitchell and Houston Chronicle Entertainment Editor Andrew Dansby.  The latter saluted MFH “for enriching my soul as a music fan” while Janie Hendrix noted that “Bob Merlis has supported our mission impeccably as a publicist, and fondly as a friend..” 

Dion confided, “People are still listening to my new music 64 years after I got into this business. That doesn’t just happen. It happens because Bob Merlis gets me to my listeners and gets my listeners to me.”  Gail Mitchell remarked “I've worked with Bob Merlis and the MFH team for the last 21 years! As they celebrate their momentous anniversary, they continue to be an insightful resource in helping journalists report on the various facets of the music industry.”

Bob Merlis, typically, had the last word … “Now that things are getting back to ‘normal’ – whatever that means – we’re looking ahead to the coming years and keeping up with our clients and contacts. Who knows, maybe we’ll actually throw a party when the coast is clear.”

Clients/projects handled by MFH 2001 – 2021:

101 Essential Rock Records by Jeff Gold; ABKCO Records; Alice Cooper; Alice in Chains; Arhoolie Foundation; Asleep At The Wheel; Axis of Awesome; Steve Azar; Bang! The Bert Berns Story (documentary film); Bearsville Studios; Behind the Curtain – Broadway Composers & Lyricists Sing Their Songs; Peter Bernstein; Blue Bob; Born In Chicago (documentary film); Doyle Bramhall II; Blues Broads; Marc Broussard; Bridge School Benefit; British Invasion DVD series; Canadian Blast at SXSW; Kristin Candy; Carmine Street Guitars (documentary film)’ Cars and Guitars of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Petersen Auto Museum); Cars and Guitars of Rock ‘n’ Roll II; Carter Family Across Generations; Carlene Carter; John Carter Cash; Ray Charles Live in France 1961 (DVD); Chicago Blues Reunion; Cincinnati Symphony / Cincinnati Pops;
Dane Clark; Jon Cleary; Patsy Cline; Nat King Cole; John Coltrane / Resonance Records; Shemekia Copeland; Dan Band; Bobby Darin; Julia Darling; Sussan Deyhim; Deep Dish; Def Leppard; Del Castillo; James Luther Dickinson; Luther Dickinson & The Sons of Mudboy; Dion; The Explorers Club; John Finley; Forty Shades of Blue (feature film); Mick Fleetwood; Harmonica Frank Floyd; John Fogerty; Steve Forbert; Bob Frank; Ron Franklin; Free To Rock (documentary film); Roger Street Friedman; Billy F Gibbons; Debbie Gibson; Barry Goldberg; Greenleaf (TV series soundtrack); Merv Griffin Show (DVD series); Robert David Hall; Lili Hayden; Gypsy Hombres; Jimi Hendrix; Alvin Youngblood Hart; Louise Hoffsten; Holland / Dozier / Holland; Hollywood Eden by Joel Selvin; Etta James; Jose James; Justus Brothers; Tom Kenny & The Hi-Seas; John Kilzer; Gladys Knight; Last Amanda; Love Psychedelico; Sharon Little; Los Super Seven; Magnatone; Magnolia Memoir; Jimbo Mathus; Delbert McClinton; John Mellencamp; Memphis International Records; Mighty Echoes*; Julie Mintz; Mississippi (state of); Moving Sidewalks; My Name Is Lopez (documentary film); Tracy Nelson; The ‘Night' Holocaust Concert - A Stand Against Hate!; Kálmán Oláh Trio; The O’Jays; Old Man Dinner Band; Roy Orbison; Mo Ostin; Steven Page; Paley Brothers; Gene Pistilli; The Polar Prize; Pondarosa Stomp; Robert Randolph; Ray Johnston Band; Oliver Ray – Saint Maybe; Red Stick Ramblers; Reelin’ in the Years Productions; The Revelations; Rhino Records; Charlie Rich Tribute; Rich Robinson; Rock's Back Pages 20th anniversary; Rock Legends Cruise; Rock + Roll Gearhead by Billy Gibbons; Rubinoos; Matthew Santos; Ann Savoy; Eban Schletter; Tammy Faye Starlite; Smokey Robinson; School of Rock (feature film); Kenny Wayne Shepherd; Shout Factory; Silverlake Conservatory of Music; Percy Sledge; Slide Brothers; Slow Train Soul; Joe Smith / Library of Congress; Songwriters’ Hall of Fame; SoloDallas; J.D. Southern; South Memphis String Band; SpongeBob SquarePants Best Day Ever album; L Subramaniam; Ed Sullivan DVD series; Quinn Sullivan; Take Me To The River (documentary film); Lewis Taylor; Carla Thomas; Earl Thomas; Treme (TV series soundtrack); Universal Music Enterprises; Stoll Vaughan; Vintage Vibe Festival; Sarah Wasserman; Neil Young; Warner Bros. Records Revolutions in Sound (50th Anniversary); Bobby Womack; Sutter Zachman; Dweezil Zappa; ZZ Top

Our Royal Guardsmen friend may be sad that his band's ORIGINAL 45 and later a HIT 45 writer, Lori Burton passed away this week.  She wrote, among others, "Baby Let's Wait."

Clark Besch

Always loved “Baby, Let’s Wait,” first recorded by The Young Rascals.  Burton cowrote their first chart hit, “Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore,” too.  After their #1 Hit “Good Lovin’,” The Rascals wrote all their own hits from that point forward.

I asked Barry Winslow, lead singer of The Royal Guardsmen (who had the chart hit with “Baby, Let’s Wait,” #33 in 1968, if he knew that Lori had passed.

No, I did not know that Lori passed. I pray peace and comfort for her family.


I am happy to report that Barry, who has had some health issues of his own recently, was just given a clean bill of health by his doctor.  Keep ‘er goin’, Barry!!!  We love ya!  (kk)

Recent Rock Hall Of Fame Inductee TODD RUNDGREN Announces First Release Of His 2005 Live Recording With JOE JACKSON & String Quartet ETHEL!

Two of the most masterful crafters of sophisticated art rock united on stage for a series of special live engagements in 2005, Joe Jackson and Todd Rundgren. Those who were able to attend in person quickly began to spread the word about the uniquely exquisite performances from these two musical geniuses, along with the incredible NY-based string quartet Ethel, and the shows promptly became one of the hottest tickets of the year. Well, if you missed your chance to see the concert in person, here's your opportunity to experience the magic on this extravagant multimedia concert album, recorded at New Jersey's State Theater!

The show features solo performances from both Jackson and Rundgren who turn in some of the most intimate and lush versions of their biggest hits including “Steppin' Out,” “Hello, It's Me,” “Is She Really Goin' Out With Him,” “Bang The Drum All Day,” “It's Different For Girls,” “I Don't Want To Tie You Down” and more! Then, for the ultimate finale, the two legends step on the stage together, backed by Ethel, for epic versions of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Black Maria.”

Joe Jackson & Todd Rundgren's State Theater New Jersey 2005 will be released everywhere June 18 on both digital and in a gorgeous 8-panel digipak that includes 2 audio discs and a DVD!

Pre-order/pre-save the digital:

Pre-order the CD/DVD:

Hey Kent: 

Here is a brand new tune I just finished writing during the pandemic (music and lyrics). It’s not my normal R&B or fusion writing for sure, but it has gotten some interest for a possible movie soundtrack. We’ll see how that goes.

I used Julie Caselli, a Chicago gal, for the lead vocals.  I have worked with her hundreds of times throughout the years. She delivered the “passionate emotion” I was looking for when I wrote the tune.

The DINOSAUR EXHIBIT band will be starting back up at the end of summer ( July 31 @ Hey Nonny’s in Arlington Heights.)  Jamo Van de Bogert, former drummer with the Allman Brothers, has now moved back to town and has joined our band. Should add a new dimension to what we are doing. Mike Flynn and I worked with Jamo this past fall for a Ravinia promotion and he’s the “real deal.” 

Hope to see you soon !

Quent Lang

I like it … a lot … definitely has that “anthem” feel to it … and beautifully done.

Can’t wait for the live shows to star up again … we’ve started venturing out some already (with caution, of course) … but it sure will be nice to be able to go out and enjoy a night of music without constantly looking over your shoulder and wondering “Is tonight the night I’m going to get it???”  Thanks, Quent.  (kk)

Another local talent, Dave Zane (lead guitarist and backing vocalist for The Buckinghams and Jay and the Americans, as well as his OWN two bands, Zanesway and The Bigger Picture, has ALSO recorded a brand new tune as the result of our recent “lockdown” …

Hi Kent!!!

Dave Zane here.

I thought I’d let you know that I’ve released one of my first songs that I’ve written. The name of the song is LOVE WONT FADE AWAY and it was released on Spotify this past March 15th and is available on all music platforms such as ITunes, Pandora, Amazon, etc.

I’m pretty excited about the whole original thing.  I’ve got quite a few songs that I will be recording and putting them out one at a time.

I’ve been busy doing many radio and internet interviews in the last few months with great reviews.  (I need to stay busy after the not wanted vacation last year!)

I’ve sent you an MP3 of the song. I sure hope you like it.

Thanks so much Kent, I really appreciate it.

Stay Safe and I hope to see you at one of the shows  I am on soon


Dave Zane 


Got a question for you.

There has been a commercial on for about 2-3 months advertising those Kit-Kat candy bars. Now I am not quite sure, but I believe the music being played in the background is Leroy Holmes' 1953 tune THE TYPEWRITER on Decca. I am not quite sure, but I've seen it some 3-4 times this weekend and think that's it. Not sure, though. Have you seen it by any chance and if so, what say you?

Larry Neal

I have not seen this spot so I really can’t comment … but, as so often happens here, you mentioning one thing immediately brings something else to mind for me. (Or, usually, vice versa!)

As soon as you said “The Typewriter” song, I immediately thought of the old Jerry Lewis bit that he probably performed thousands of times over the years … but captured on film here:

Is this the same song?

I checked my Joel Whitburn / Billboard Hits book and find no listing for a song called “The Typewriter” as being a chart hit in 1953 … or any other year prior to The Rock Era, for that matter … but am guessing that it was more likely Leroy ANDERSON who recorded it (the “Sleigh Ride” guy) than Leroy Holmes (the heavyweight boxer!  Lol)

I found a YouTube clip for this, too …

And it has a very definite “Sleigh Ride” feel to it.  (kk)

Larry also sent us this cartoon strip …


kk …

Read how Larry Chance and the Earls Beat Elvis … On Murray The K's "SWINGIN' SOIREE."

Frank B.

Give them their week of glory!  When all the dust finally settled, the support of their fans was not enough to make “Life Is But A Dream” anything more than a #65 hit in Music Vendor Magazine.  (It never even made The Hot 100 in Billboard … and fizzled out at #81 in Cash Box.)  Elvis’ competing tune at the time, “Feel So Bad,” went all the way to #5.

It would be their NEXT record that finally put The Earls on the map … “Remember Then,” released about a year and a half later, climbed to #24, becoming their only Top 40 Hit.  (kk) 

And now, just a thought from the Deep, Dusty Crevices from the not-so-dirty Mind of Chuck Buell! 

Besides, "Clean Up Woman" by Betty Bright, there's ~~~

"You're So Clean" by Carly Simonize!

"It’s Real Fine, My Formula 409" by The Bleach Boys!

"All You Need is Dove" by The Beetles!

"A Little Bit of Soap" by The Spark-els!

"Baby, I Need Your Scrubbin’" by Johnny Shimmers!

Just sharing a few Clean Thoughts with you here!

CB  ( which stands for "Cleanup Boy!" )

Wow!  The guys who wrote that Dylan piece must have read my mind.   ;-)
One last comment - they talk about all of the various places where Dylan shows up, using pseudonyms ... I'd like to add one that they failed to mention … Mr. Dylan played harmonica on an RCA LP by Harry Belafonte, titled "The Midnight Special," from 1962; however, they used the name Bob Dylan in the credits (and noted that his appearance was "Courtesy Columbia Records.")  In one record collector's guide, I read that "This was his first appearance on a record". 

As Bob Dylan?  Possibly.

>>>The return of an old favorite … in an all new format, now airing in two hour, themed segments.  THE HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL is being presented as an on-going, weekly series rather than the 52-hour marathon event we all experienced in its former life.  (kk)

Very cool idea ... thanks for the heads up, Kent!

Phil Miglioratti

I remember listening to the HISTORY OF ROCK AND ROLL when it initially aired here in OKC back in 1979, I believe, although I'm not sure about the year."Humble" Harve Miller was the announcer. I remember calling up the station that was airing it and was surprised to learn that it was syndicated program ... 52 hours as I remember. They aired it week nights at 4:05 airs each night. I am not sure, but I believe Humble Harv died a few years ago. I won't go into what he did that made national news.