I love Elvis! I've been a die-hard fan since I was a kid and proud of it! So every year about this time, I remember his very untimely passing....sigh.... it was one of the saddest days of my life. I know, that probably sounds dramatic given all the other important things going on in the world, but it was a personal tragedy for me.
My brother Pierre was very good friends with Elvis. They became close as my brother produced and directed "Elvis on Tour", Elvis' last full length feature film. This movie became an icon portraying the real life of Elvis on the road and personally. So many people of all ages have written to me about how this movie influenced their love of this unbelievably talented man.
When my brother passed away in 1974 (that's him above in the middle) from many long standing health issues, Elvis sent a huge bouquet to the funeral and most all his "Memphis Mafia" - Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, Red West, Sonny West attended his funeral to pay tribute to my brother on behalf of Elvis. They were all great guys. The pics above were the movie poster from Elvis on Tour and the black and white photo is from the November 1972 issue of RollingStone magazine with an article about the movie.
I remember Elvis calling our house at all hours to talk to Pierre. Joe Esposito would place the call and then Elvis would get on the line after Pierre answered. Wow! You have no idea how tempted I was to pick up the phone but I never did. At other times, Pierre would casually tell my dad, "I'm going to Elvis house'", and drive off. How cool is that!?
There's been so much garbage written about Elvis and his supposed drug use and his lifestyle, etc. The public too has passed judgement as if they knew him. I don't listen cause I do know the truth, and he was just a great man. Period.
What matters most is the gift that this man gave to the world. He was cool before it was hip to be cool! He was a trendsetter. He broke racial barriers. I know for me I would never have given gospel music a listen if it wasn't for Elvis. I wouldn't have known talents like J.D. Sumner or Donnie Sumner or The Sweet Inspirations or The Blackwoods, etc... He was also a philanthropist and his charities still continue to this day helping the poor, children, and so many more worthwhile organizations.
It's "Elvis Week" now in Memphis and at Graceland right now. If you're an Elvis fan, I urge you to pay a visit during this time of year. The outpouring of love from visitors to Graceland is amazing! They come from all over the world 33 years later to pay homage. I've been and seen it. Yes Elvis, you are Always on My Mind!