For this week’s segment running on the 8th of January (Elvis’ birthday), I have unarchived a few cuts about Elvis from those that knew him or worked with him.
We would often play Elvis albums in my home growing up. I learned how to imitate him and won a grade school talent show.
One of my many regrets is that I did not try harder to get a ticket to see his last show in Madison, Wisconsin in June of 1977.
Over the years, several people who had a real-life Elvis connection have joined me on the program to share some of their first hand memories of Elvis.
Today we feature a few.
This first is part of my interview with Ray Walker of the Jordanaires. He quit his teaching job to join the group in 1958 and started recording with Elvis.
Joe Esposito was a member of the Memphis Mafia, the inner circle of Elvis' friends. He died in 2016. The interview with me on WRCO dates back to 2011.
Cut Number 3 comes from country music legend Ronnie Milsap who joined me in 2007 to talk about his influences and working with Elvis.
Jerry Reed was my on-air guest in 1995 and talked about how Elvis came to record U.S. Male and Guitar Man.
Elvis stories have always fascinated me. He lived a unique, one-of-a-kind existence that really nobody else could possibly relate to … nothing like this had ever happened this big before. (I remember reading interviews with The Beatles who were thankful that at least they had each other to bond with “inside the bubble” … because they were all going thru the same thing at the same time.) To try and take that on alone had to be overwhelming. Seriously, what sense of reality could Elvis possibly have had???
I was fortunate enough to see Elvis perform here in Chicago a couple of times.
The first time was back in 1972 … and just a few short weeks after his appearance here, the “Elvis Live At Madison Square Garden” album came out, which virtually replicated the show that I had seen here in Chi-Town. The electricity that filled the stadium that night is indescribable … it was the first time I had ever experienced anything like it. It was just the utter awe of who he was … and then all of a sudden, there he was, right up in front of you, singing up a storm. I’ve had similar moments at concerts over the years … but NOTHING can compare to what it felt this very first time. (I saw him again right near the end … it was kind of an odd show, and Elvis DID seem a little out of it that night. For some reason, he sang his recent hit “Hurt” twice with no explanation as to why … which was ok with me because I always liked his version! Lol)