following are a collection of statements and quotations regarding Elvis
Jerry Schilling, long-time friend
When I really think of advice Elvis gave me, I learned
more from how he lived. He was a very powerful man who did not hurt people
Why is it
that we want our idols to die on a cross of their own making, and if they
don’t, we want our money back? But you know, Elvis ate America before
America ate him.
Marcus Eliason, an Associated Press newsman in Tel Aviv recalled
shortly after Elvis' death in 1977:
"When I left Rhodesia and moved to Israel at the age of sixteen, my
greatest fear was that I would lose contact with Elvis. If Rhodesia was
remote, I reasoned what was the embattled Middle East? My fears were
unfounded. The first thing I saw from the Tel Aviv bus station was a slogan
in tall Hebrew letters daubed on a tenement wall. Fifteen years later it is
still there. It says: ‘Long live Elvis'."
Patsy Hammontree from ‘Elvis: Images & Fancies':
"The Elvis following is often inappropriately referred to as a cult.
Concisely speaking, a cult is a group comprised of disaffected persons
unified in their values who look to a leader for guidance or remain
nostalgically attached to a lost leader....But Elvis Presley neither
proselytized nor persuaded, and there is a considerable variety in the
social and moral values of his followers. In fact, it is not easy to find an
appropriate label for these millions who express degrees of interest in
Elvis...He gave meaning to their lives in numerous ways, no matter what ages
they were. They form a group so vast, diverse and dedicated that no concept
has the magnitude to encompass them."
The following is excerpted from a 1979 press article by Bill Farmer:
"Oversights so overwhelmingly obvious sometimes embarrass us....brace
yourself. We've forgotten to name the moon. I don't know how we could have
overlooked it. We've named everything else in the universe from Kahoutek's
comet to Hot Springs, Arkansas (neither of which we've ever seen!) But not
the moon....the difficulty in anointing something as impressive as the moon
with a name is finding one that measures up to the occasion. Most all of the
mythological gods and heros have been used up in naming everything else in
the universe. Names of individuals on Earth who might be candidates for this
highest of honors are politically difficult, what with our own planet so
checkered with nationalism. No, the moon must be titled after a personage or
phenomenon of eternal appeal and recognizability - a name that will shine
down upon all peoples forever, a name that transcends all boundaries of
human experience. I like ‘Elvis' myself."
Alan Wiess, who wrote the screenplays for several of Elvis' motion
pictures remembers his first meeting with Elvis in 1956. It was during the
21 year old star's screen test for producer, Hal Wallis:
"The transformation was incredible. We knew instantly that we were in the
presence of a phenomenon, electricity bounced off the walls of the sound
stage. One felt it as an awesome thing - like an earthquake in progress,
only without the implicit threat. Watching this insecure country boy, who
apologized when he asked for a rehearsal as though he had done something
wrong, turn into absolute dynamite when he stepped in the bright lights...he
believed in it, and he made you believe it, no matter how ‘sophisticated'
your musical tastes were. I had not been a fan until that point, but to deny
his talent would have been as foolish as it was impossible. He was a force,
and to fail to recognize it would be the same as sticking a finger into a
live socket and denying the existence of electricity."
From the book ‘Meet Elvis Presley (1971), by Favius Freedman:
"‘Elvis never was a Casanova type, or libertine,' said actress Natalie
Wood. Miss Wood was a popular starlet when she and Elvis first met and began
dating. She was invited to meet his folks in Memphis. ‘He was more like a
pleasant high school date who had strong religious, almost mystical
beliefs,' she added. Elvis always talked about a supernatural power that
plucked him out of nowhere and made him what he was.'"
In 1973, Mamie Engle, then 84, was given a special encounter with Elvis
when he was hospitalized in a room close to hers. Said Ms. Engle:
"I'm sitting on top of the world. I was in my room and I saw this young
man being rolled past the door. I waved and he waved back. He had that
(oxygen) mask over his face but he seemed to smile. I'm convinced Elvis
Presley was sent to me from heaven." That afternoon she received a note that
read: "To Miss Engle - I saw you too. Love, Elvis Presley."
Elvis' record producer, Felton Jarvis gave this insight into Elvis'
mesmeric quality in 1973:
"Elvis is kinda shy, reserved, but confident...most people's reactions to
him are incredible. You can have twenty people in a room, all of them
looking one way and Elvis can walk in behind you and you'll feel him. You'll
feel his presence. You'll turn around cause you know something's behind you.
Nobody can explain it; there is no explanation. But I've seen it with my own
eyes....I've heard musicians (who have never before worked with Elvis) say,
‘Man, I don't care about Elvis Presley - it don't shake me up to play on his
sessions'. And then they get on the session and they just go to pieces; just
completely go to pieces when he walks in the room. And then after he leaves,
they'll say, ‘Now I see why he's Elvis Presley, man I ain't never been
around a guy like that'."
Ray Walker of the Jordanaires about
his first meeting with Elvis:
"When he walked up they introduced me to him and I shook
his hand. We looked at each other and all of a sudden the fame disappeared.
I saw a person there that I really liked. The expression on his face showed
that he was totally interested in me. I say that because when he spoke to
somebody he was totally engulfed in the person in front of him. He made you
feel so good about yourself and I could tell right off that he wasn’t
looking through me and all of a sudden he didn’t have to be famous. I saw a
man there and thought 'This man is in for a lot of heartache because he was
While Elvis' voice and music is masterful and magnetizing on record, his
live performances were spiritually inspired. As one reporter wrote in a
review of an Elvis concert:
"Reviews of his concerts, by usually credible writers, sometimes resemble
Biblical accounts of Heavenly miracles."
From a magazine on Elvis released in November of 1975, the male author,
discussing Elvis' appearance in January of that same year:
"When he came on stage and began to burn, there was still no one who
could match him in energy, or in sheer magnetic power....All that counted
was the moment when he caught fire, when something suddenly stirred him and
he really started working. Then he was superhuman. Twenty years on, he was
still, quite simply, the King. His popularity had never stood higher; his
followers had never been more devoted. When he went on tour, many hundreds
of disciples would journey with him, as if on a pilgrimage, tracking him
through city after city, never missing a single show. And when he appeared
it was no longer just a performance. To those who loved him, it had long
since become a litany, a near-religious observance. Nothing less than an act
Sean Shaver, a man who felt it was his historical duty to follow Elvis'
concert trail, city by city, photographing the master in performance of his
magical, musical art, reaches for an accurate description of an Elvis'
performance in his book ‘Elvis, Photographing The King':
"...no one who was in those audiences could ever forget the feeling, the
electric energy which flowed back and forth. There's no way you can explain
this, there's no way you can say it. If you were there, you know what I am
talking about, if you were not there, you probably think I'm
Another reviewer does not attempt description, he merely accepts:
"All that is really important is that he came on the stage and something
wonderful happened. There was no controlling it, no defining it, but you
felt it and the magic was uniquely and unmistakably his alone."
In a 1975 review of an Elvis concert, a mystical accounting was the only
language possible in giving an accurate revelation of the event:
"Something entirely his, driven by two decades of history and myth, all
live-in-person, is transformed into an energy that is ecstatic - that is, to
use the world in its old sense, illuminating. The over-stated grandeur is
suddenly authentic, and Elvis brings a thrill different and far beyond
anything else in our culture...It might be the time when he sings ‘How Great
Thou Art'...it might be at the very end of the night, when he closes his
show with ‘Can't Help Falling In Love With You' and his song takes on a glow
that might make you feel his capacity for affection is all but superhuman.
Whatever it is, it will be music that excludes no one, and still passes on
something valuable to everyone who is there...One might think that the great
moments Elvis still finds are his refusal of all he can have without
struggling. Elvis proves then that the myth of supremacy for which his
audience will settle cannot contain him; he is, these moments show, far
greater than that."
From Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys: "His
voice was a total miracle."
Myrna Smith of the Sweet
Inspirations - Elvis's 1970's backup singers:
"His voice was a lot more remarkable than it ever came
off on record ... He was just a much better singer than could ever be
captured...Some great singers' voices are just too big. Elvis' was like
John Wilkerson - guitarist for
Elvis from 1969 through 1977:
He was a pioneer in happiness. His
music could make you laugh or cry, scream and yell, or dance. He gave us the
right to shoot for the top. Elvis was a man for all seasons, a man for all
people. In all of my years in show business I have never met a more
compassionate, caring man in my life. He showed me the value of humility,
and he learned me that we have to learn from our mistakes, as well as from
our triumphs. His music was for everybody: for little kids and their
grandparents. Elvis showed us the true meaning of love. If one of his
friends was in need, he'd be there. People know that Elvis was not just the
greatest star that ever stepped on a stage, but he as also a generous,
compassionate, caring human being. He was happy when other people were
happy. You could see the look on his face when he gave somebody totally
unexpected as a present.
One woman's experience was typical of his metaphysical impact on ordinary
"How lucky I have been. To come face to face with Elvis is an experience
my words could never describe. The warmth and love I felt from Elvis as he
took my hand (from the stage) is something I wish I could share with all of
you. Of course I have always known Elvis is beautiful, but the beauty I saw
inside the man, behind those eyes, was incredible."
He inspired people through some form of internal revelation, deep within
their own spaces. Another woman writes:
"The love within that beautiful and wonderful human being has reached
through my heart and into my inner soul and touched a chord that makes me
know beyond a doubt that I can truly be and do the great things that I have
dreamed of being and doing."
Elvis' illumination of others did not begin and end with his audiences,
as is profoundly emphasized in this 1973 concert review:
"And not only did the fans hold their hero in awe, so did his musicians
and his crew, who gave off vibrations that reflected they were in the
presence of greatness. At one point, as Elvis went to the right of the
stage, a sound man, who was squatting down below, looked up at him as if he
were catching the first glimpse at Shangri-La."
Gordon Stoker, backup singer for Elvis in the 1950's & 1960's:
"There's no way to describe the excitement of being on stage with Elvis
Presley. The joy of seeing him, working with him...I've always thought that
was one of his secrets of success, that he looked different to anyone I've
ever seen in my life. He had a period in his life from the mid-sixties to
the mid-seventies when his was the best looking face I've ever looked into.
He was - beautiful!"
Shaun Neilsen, backup singer for
Elvis in the 1970's:
"I thought that he had an amazing
voice. He got even more maturity in his voice as he got older. His voice got
better, I thought. I was often amazed at his range, just as one singer
listening to another singer. The man had one of the most versatile voices of
any singer I've ever known. He could sing anything. I've never seen such a
versatility, and in fact I don't see it today. Usually a voice can sing one
way, but he had that ability about him. And he helped me to learn the
importance of communication with an audience. That was his forte. He had
such great soul. He had the ability to make everyone in the audience think
that he was singing directly to them. He just had a way with communication
that was totally unique."
Kathy Westmoreland, backup singer for Elvis in the 1970's:
"He taught me the joy of singing. He saw the unity of feeling and
singing, like it was all one thing. I remember his smile and the good
feelings that everyone had just being around him because he was just so full
of life. He was more alive than anybody I've ever known...he was more of
everything than anyone I've ever known. He lived his faith."
Author Dave Marsh is not hesitant in his assessment of Elvis and his
music's transformative wave, and the longevity of that transformation on the
"Unless you understand that Elvis was more than anything a spiritual
leader of our generation - there is really no way to assess his importance,
much less the meaning of the music he created...Uniting opposites, of
course, is the essence of religion...he obliterated distinctions between
musical forms, between races (for a moment at least)."
Elvis' Aunt Lorene Pritchett: "He was a bundle of energy, and had a ball
of light that rolled inside of him and came out in a thundering laugh, and
made everyone laugh around him; a man who could look past your eyes and into
the depths of your soul, and feel your hurt...to our family he was a gift.
He was a giver to the point of exhausting himself....the thing that hurt him
the most in his giving was that he pushed himself to the breaking point. He
felt so responsible for so many people around the world."
Lisa Marie Presley (a composite taken from two separate newspaper
interviews, speaking about her father):
"I remember him very well. It was a very intense feeling to have him
around. You would know he was there in the house, you'd know he was there
when you drove up the driveway. He was a very powerful person
spiritually....he was an incredible and enlightened man. A one-of-a-kind
more Lisa quotes
Priscilla Presley, Elvis' ex-wife:
Elvis was a man who brought happiness through himself and
his music to millions of people around the world. He felt the most important
thing he could do was to inspire people. He didn't mean it in a conceited
way....in fact, he felt it was more of an obligation than anything. He had
such a way of handling people and being with people and able to talk to
people, that it was unique. If I could teach this to my daughter, to always
be this way, I don't think I would have any problems.
The rapport between Lisa Marie and her dad was very
special. His love for her was tremendous. I know they connected on a very
profound level. It was made deeper by the sad fact that, early in Lisa
Marie's life, our marriage began to dissolve. Elvis was determined not to
let the dissolution keep him from relating to his daughter. I respect him
for that determination. And much to his credit, he did maintain an ongoing
relationship with Lisa Marie. He never ever excluded her from his life.
Presley (Elvis's 1st cousin):
When I was eighteen Elvis set down
in front of me in my Grandmothers room in Graceland and he was asking me
what I wanted to do with my life after I finished school. I told him that I
wanted to become a model, And I will always remember what Elvis said to me.
He reached over and took my hands and looked into my eyes and said "Donnie
your a beautiful young girl and never let anyone tell you that you can not
make your dreams come true, Because I'm a living example that YOU CAN".
Elvis said they had told him to go back to driving a truck and that he could
not sing, But he never gave up on his dream and that I should never give up
on mine. Elvis ended by saying that if he could ever help me along the way
that he was there for me.
I can't tell you how much
they meant to me at that time in my life hearing those words from Elvis.
That was just the way Elvis was a, Very Loving and Very Caring warm man.
Linda Thompson, Elvis' female companion of five years:
"He had the most riveting presence of any human being I've very
encountered....His quest in life was to become a better human being; a more
aware human being about spiritual matters....For years and years he read
books about God....Once Elvis Presley touched your life, you were never the
same again. It is that way with me. It was that way with everyone who knew
him. All of us who loved him are so deeply hurt (by his death), but we think
of how fortunate we were to have known him, to have shared so much of his
life with him....He cared for people, he loved them. No one will ever
replace him, not for me, not for anybody who knew him, not for the entire
Jeannie Lamay Dumas (friend of
I couldn't look at him with out looking away because of his aura around him.
He would sit and talk to us about God , he would read to us. He was very
friendly with Larry Geller and he was always searching for new books. Larry
was very kind and I understand why Elvis liked him, but I think it scared
everybody and the colonel and Vernon. I know Linda had mentioned it that the
Colonel didn't want him to get into this religious kick.
Shiela Ryan, Elvis' lady friend for
awhile in the late 1970's:
Elvis had qualities that no other
human being has, had, will have. Some of them are so hard to describe
because the charisma, the qualities that he had were almost not of this
world, you know. They were, a lot of times, angelic. He knew things before I
knew things. He knew things that I was feeling before I was feeling them. He
was very much a little boy, had that little boy quality and I've often said,
you know, before I met him, he had that smile and everyone interpreted that
smile to be his sexy look. And it wasn't that at all. It wasn't a sexy look.
It was his innocence, his vulnerability. It wasn't at all something that he
turned on and off. It was just, you know, just vulnerable.
The man was just not normal, you know. The biggest joy that he had was in
giving and I didn't really understand it that much at the time. But it was
what brought most joy to him was to give.
Ginger Alden was Elvis' female companion in 1977, for the last several
months of his life. She remembers him:
"He had a smile that gave you the feeling everything was all right....I
was very lucky and honored that I shared his life, and I'll never forget
him. It's impossible....He had a certain kind of love, a deep love, that I
have never noticed in anyone else on earth....Elvis' beliefs have left a
strong impression on me. He was into meditation and I meditate every day
now. Through it I can really feel his presence. We used to meditate
together, holding hands, clearing our minds and giving them to God
first....He was a leader among men. He knew where he was going in life and
he had a positive purpose: to make others happy. He wanted to entertain, yet
he was always ready to meet his God. He gave of himself to the world...."
Ann Margaret: "He had a
tremendous impact on my life. I not only admired and respected Elvis, I
loved him...I will never recover from Elvis' death.
He is a part of me, of my happiness and my sorrow, and that will never go
away. Elvis and I crossed paths at a time when we were both young,
passionate , vulnerable, and idealistic. I treasure the time we were
together, and I feel lucky and fulfilled that we were able to sustain such a
long, loving and caring friendship. It's rare to have such a friend as
Elvis. rare to have such a soul mate."
“I knew Elvis,” she says, “but not in the biblical
sense, no. When I was first starting out in Vegas and he ruled the town, he
and I were both backstage after a Tom Jones concert.
It was getting late and things were winding
down and he sat down on a little stool and read to me from Kahlil Gibran’s
‘The Prophet.’ He told me it was important because it dealt with people’s
spiritual life. What amazed me was that as he read, he followed the lines of
the sentences with his finger like a child. And I thought, ‘He’s just a
sweet boy, a prisoner of his fame.’ ”
knew Elvis in the 1970's: "We all love him because he was love it’s
self-he didn’t know anything else to do but love everyone he could, in all
the ways that he could. That was Elvis way, just love everybody and to hell
with the rest of it."
Joan Buchanan West wrote of her first meeting with a nineteen-year-old
Elvis in 1953, at the home of a mutual friend:
"The last one through the door caught my eye and took my breath. He was
different in every way. He was quiet, but not sullen; outgoing, but shy;
friendly, but bashful....It was truly impossible to take your eyes off him.
There was a mystical magnetism about him. Now this same magnetism surrounds
Graceland, constantly pulling you to it. It was not anything that he did or
said, but simply his presence. He was truly beautiful. At the time, he was
blonde....and very slender. He had navy blue transparent eyes....and a smile
that could melt the most hardened heart. I found myself watching his every
movement and not really paying much attention to what he had to say. I found
it impossible to listen and look at the same time. (And through all the
following years I still had this problem.) He was extremely courteous and
"He had all the attributes as a teenager that he had when he became a
world-famous personality. Elvis never really changed....He never forgot you,
no matter how many years might come and go until you would see him again.
(that day in 1953) I can remember very distinctly how empty and void the
house and even the air felt after he left . It was as though everything
beautiful had been put away never to be brought out again. I remember
thinking that I may never see him again and even then it brought a heavy
cloak of loneliness over my heart that would only be lifted through the
years whenever I saw him. My two oldest sons, who were three and two at the
time, stood in absolute awe of the ‘Beautiful Stranger'. He picked them up
and played with them and to this day, they still remember their first
encounter with ‘God's Brightest Star.'"
Sandi Miller, gate fan & friend of
I was trying to remember some of
the incidents that would show how connected Elvis was with many of his fans
and I think this is just one of many examples.
At the Hillcrest home there was an older couple that used to come up one or
twice a month (We thought of them as older at the time, but now, looking
back, they probably were mid 50's at the time) Extremely nice couple and
Elvis always seemed to enjoy chatting with them, especially the husband.
Months went by without them showing up and one day Elvis asked about them -
had we seen them, or heard from them? We didn't know much about them, other
than their first names and that they lived in Van Nuys. Months later we ran
into the woman at the Hilton- she was there for the Elvis show and she
relayed the following: Her husband had died from a heart attack and it turns
out, that after not showing up at the gates for so long, somewhere along the
line, Elvis had remembered their Lisc. plate number (he did that every so
often we found out as time went by) and thru that plate, had tracked down
her address and actually drove out to Van Nuys because he suspected
something might be wrong. It wasn't a secret to even us, that her husband
was not a well person in the first place and apparently that occured to
Elvis as well.
She said he showed up alone...at her home....then both her and her neighbor
proceeded to pull photos out of their purses that each had taken of the
other with Elvis. Tell me how many other ordinary citizens would go thru
that much trouble, much less a celebrity! And Elvis never said a word about
Totally unrelated but going back to the 60's - during the summer, when it
could get quite hot, especially up in Bel Air, and fans of course are
standing there at that gate literally all day long - one could get very
thirsty. Nearest place to go to get anything to drink would have been the
Bel Air Hotel and that's only if you wanted to pay a small fortune for a sip
of anything. Next choice would be Westwood Village --- waay too long to be
gone in case he should leave or come home.
Not to worry- Elvis often would send out cases of cold soft drinks or
lemonade for everyone standing out there. He'd have one of the boys get on
the speaker to ask how many were out there and then one of the boys would
come down the drive with all the beverages in the back seat of their car.
When everyone was done, they'd pick up the empties.
It's a small thing - but still makes me smile to this day. Once he got on
the speaker and tried to disguise his voice - didn't work but it was a nice
Sam Phillips, former owner of Sun Records:
"Elvis wasn't always serious, you know that, but when you took that
little quite fasod off, it was unbelievable when that spiritual quality of
Elvis came out."
Jerry Schilling, who was eleven years old when he first met Elvis, and
was his friend for 26 years:
"Elvis was a rebel, but he was a rebel that had love in his face."
Ed Enoch, one of Elvis' back-up
singers in the 1970's:
(working with Elvis) was a wonderful opportunity.
Everybody new that he was the kingpin of the music industry. There was
nothing like Elvis in the music industry , what ever type of field you went
to, Elvis covered it. he was also wonderful to work with because he was so
kind and generous... I can say nothing bad about him. I would tell you if I
did but I don't know nothing bad. He was just a great individual, a very
common man. very down to earth. he had a voice and talent as you know .
untouched by anyone today or ever.
Bill DeNight / President of the ‘Elvis Presley Burning Love Fan Club':
"He cared about us very dearly. He gave us everything he had, and we'll
never stop caring about him."
Gordon Stoker, member of the Jordanaires, who sang backup for Elvis in
the 1950's & ‘60's:
"In all the years I traveled and worked with Elvis I never heard him
raise his voice to anyone except one time...He had the best attitude, a
super attitude about everything. He always made the best of any situation,
whether he wanted to do it or didn't want to do it, he never grumbled or
complained.... He was an inspiration. I now try to make the best of
everything because Elvis did! That's what I remember most. That, and he
always had a beautiful smile. Oh, and he had one of the most hearty, healthy
laughs of any human being I've ever known."
"Nothing really affected me until Elvis....the man was unique....everyone
else pales into insignificance."
"He helped to kill off the influence of me and my contemporaries, but I
respect him for that. Because music always has to progress, and no-one could
have opened the door to the future like he did."
"I'm just a singer, but Elvis was the embodiment of the
whole American culture. Life just wouldn't have been the same without
him....There have been many accolades uttered about
Elvis' talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with
wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm,
considerate and generous man."
Richard Eagan, who co-starred with Elvis' in the latter's first motion
"Elvis had the ability to stir people's souls."
Stephen King / author:
"Elvis Presley's talent brightened millions of lives. He widened the
horizons of my world certainly.... Elvis Presley more than made me feel
good, he enriched my life and made it better."
"I broke down....One of the very few times. I went over my whole life. I
went over my whole childhood. I didn't talk to anyone for a week after Elvis
"The news of his death absolutely stunned me. I stopped drinking."
"Elvis was my close
personal friend. He came to my Deer Lake training camp about two years
before he died. He told us he didn't want nobody to bother us. He wanted
peace and quiet and I gave him a cabin in my camp and nobody even knew it.
When the cameras started watching me train, he was up on the hill sleeping
in the cabin. Elvis had a robe made for me. I don't admire nobody, but Elvis
Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you'd want to know."
"He was ahead of his time because he had such deep feelings. He had the
privilege of deep feelings because he was deeply loved by his mother,
Gladys. He was able to appreciate profound beauty in sounds. And he started
a musical revolution. They say all revolutions start from love."
"He was quite bright....he was very intelligent....He was not a punk. He
was very elegant, sedate and refined, and sophisticated."
"After Elvis Presley died, I was sitting in a coffee shop and just
spurted out this delicate little thing about a sparrow, about how we should
take care of the people we love."
About Elvis Presley he said: "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. Last time
I saw him was at Graceland. We sang Old Blind Barnabus together, a gospel
song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There'll never be another
like that soul brother."
Curt Willis, Shelby County (Tennessee) deputy sheriff:
"My partner and I had been called to a real tough neighborhood because of
a domestic dispute. When we got there, this couple was just about to kill
each other. The woman had the man down and was choking him. We pulled them
apart....Just then, it came over our walkie-talkie unit that Elvis had died.
The woman started crying and the man went limp....This seemed to take their
attention from their fight and they went to watching TV and talking about
Elvis. It was real strange. We left and didn't hear anything more from them
Michael Hicks, in a letter to ‘Elvis International Forum' in 1992:
"....I could not help but remember how the death of the King played an
important part of my childhood. I was five-years-old and remember sitting in
the living room of my grandparent's home. I watched as thousands of fans
cried at the gates of Graceland. I didn't really know what it was all about
at first, but I did notice the tears in the eyes of my mother and father.
This was the first time I ever remember seeing both my parents cry. This is
when I first knew, what an important part Elvis played in the lives of
fan Virginia Kelly:
"I've never heard such a spiritual sound coming from anyone; it was the
sweetest most beautiful singing in the world."
Grandma Suzy, one of Elvis' "phone friends," from the book 'We Remember,
Elvis,' by Wanda June Hill:
"Sometimes Elvis would laugh and say his family was divided -- between
hog callers and chicken thieves. Of course, he was kidding....Elvis tried to
help some of his relatives once by buying them a combination grocery
store-gasoline station. I asked if they made money, and he cracked up
laughing. ‘No ma'am, they didn't make money, they ate the groceries and used
up the gas!
"Many times I told him we were praying for him, and praying for a
miracle. He said that he was a walking miracle, that sometimes just staying
alive was a miracle, and he believed all God's world was a miracle."
Elvis may have been the most
beautiful man in the world. His face was carved like a stone, chiseled out
of rock, he was just that good looking, and his voice was unbelievable.
He was a phenomenon, and he arrived fully formed. From the first notes of
That's All Right Mama, as otherworldly as they were, he never improved, or
even developed. He hardly changed from start to finish, and Colonel Parker
didn't help. I think a monkey could have managed Elvis, and maybe done a
Celeste Yarnall (co-star in "Live a
Little, Love a Little"):
He was such a warm, wonderful, charismatic man. He did not talk about
himself but was always interested in what you were doing.
He was a darling man, a real sweetheart, a southern gentleman. He really
cared about other people. I remember him crying on my shoulder in the
trailer during the funeral of Martin Luther King. He felt a real kinship
with the black community due to his musical roots coming from black music.
He was devastated and greatly saddened by Martin Luther King's death. He
also sang Amazing Grace to me in the trailer, acappella. It was also sheer
magic watching him jamming on the set.
Joe Esposito, from his book
performer, there simply has never been any equal. That may sound like an
extreme statement, but I am convinced it's true. Sure, there have been
dozens, perhaps hundreds, of legendary singers and entertainers throughout
history, all of them unique and important in their own way. But Elvis
Presley's talent came from another place. Nobody has what he had. It's that
simple. It was reserved only for him. He was the only entertainer in the
world, and I have had the privilege to know and observe many of the greats,
who could move and inspire people, all kinds of people, to the level he
Once he "touched" you, that was it. You were hooked for life.
And as a human being? As long as I live, I know I will never see anyone have
such a profound effect on people. He could make anyone, and I mean anyone,
feel like he was the most important person in the world just by talking with
him. He had charisma and charm that is just indescribable. And do you know
something? He didn't even have to sing!
When Elvis entered a
room, even if you didn't see him come in, you could feel the energy of his
presence tingle at your nerves because the power of his magnetism was that
Trust me. Elvis was just as perplexed by this phenomenon as you or I are
today. For the most part, he was a very humble man.
was keenly aware of his unique gifts and spent most of his life searching
the realms of spirituality for clues as to why he was chosen to be "Elvis
Presley". Over and over throughout his life he asked himself, Why me?
There was just an aura about him that for an instant he
just absolutely consumed the area that he was in and everybody that was in
it. It was a look, it was a demeanor about him, the way he held himself. The
way he would look at you eye to eye when he talked to you. He made you feel
like that you were the most important person in the world for that moment.
And you walked away with that feeling.
A woman who met Elvis in the early
1950's writes to Wanda June Hill:
I saw him in concert in Las Vegas when I made my husband
take me for our 9th wedding anniversary and when Elvis walked out in front
of me sitting in the first row of booths, I felt as though I was seeing an
angelic being, he was dressed in black but he shone like an angel in my
eyes. My husband who was avidly not a fan, began to wipe tears from his eyes
and said to me, that is a very special man up there, he's one of God's
special ones. He still speaks of that first time seeing Elvis on stage. He
told his father it was like being in a cathedral with a man of God talking
just for him, yet he didn't even know this man. And he said, I want to know
him-have to know him somehow! He has from then on bought every album he
found and now he is buying CDs and DVD's and I let him. I owe it all to his
deep feelings for Elvis.
(They have) a big picture book from his official on tour
photographer. The pictures in it are just beautiful but they don't show the
great beauty Elvis had when seen in person. That beauty was Godly, there is
no other way to explain what it is except to say it comes from within and
was a gift from our Heavenly Father presented in the form of Elvis Presley.
I read that Elvis said his voice came from God and that he had to use it to
bring peace and joy to the public through singing. He certainly does
Elvis has "left the building of earth" but he is at the "right hand of God"
and still ministering to the masses through his music and will continue to
do so as long as the "building earth" is still functioning. He is indeed,
Daya Mata, the head of the
and a personal friend of Elvis's:
...Why couldn't we have changed
his fate so as to keep him alive? Well, the simple truth is that Elvis's
spirit was powerful. It remains powerful. He was able to express that spirit
throughout his life in ways that reached millions. That is a cause for joy.
The choices he made are the choices he made. But the choices we can now make
is to gently move through our pain and confusion and CELEBRATE HIS SPIRIT.
IN A VERY REAL SENSE, HE STILL LIVES. HE ALWAYS WILL.
This is from
a lecture by Brother Premamoy, minister of SRF, held in 1983.
Topic is "Bringing out the best in our human relationships":
A famous rock-and-roll star once came to the Ashram to pay his respects and
I received him here at Mt. Washington. He was a "star", who you all surely
know, a so-called "idol". But he was extremely respectful. He always
addressed me as "Sir" and was very polite and noble in his manners.
He told me he had been taught at home to address every man elder than
himself as "Sir".
He himself was a "King" in the field of music, but he believed in treating
others with respect......
* * * * * *
In conclusion, I wish to quote from the book ‘Thomas Jefferson - A
Reference Biography,' edited by Merrill D. Peterson, in which John C. Miller
writes of Thomas Jefferson having stated that, "'....if a historian or
biographer, dealing with a person whose character was ‘well known and
established on satisfactory testimony, imputes to it things incompatible
with that character, we reject without hesitation, and assent to that only
of what we have better evidence.' In other words, Jefferson warned
historians and biographers against embracing improbabilities that violated
the principle of consistency of character unless the weight of evidence left
no other recourse."
In reviewing these quotations from the many whose lives Elvis touched and
indeed, his own expressions of faith quoted throughout this website, it
would seem as a matter of course to seriously dispute the opinions and
testimony of those few who have painted a picture of Elvis Presley so
contradictory to the portrait created by his words and deeds, and through
the hearts of so many around the world.
Further...the following is excerpted from the book, “The Message in Our
Time”, by Sufi master, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan on his father, also a Sufi
master (and accomplished singer and musician),
Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan:
( recalling his father's spiritual presence and effect on people)
“When he ascended the steps to the platform, many felt this was someone they
had always known. He looked right into our souls with a luminous glance that
made many aware for the first time of the very existence of their souls,
which, so far, had seemed just a theory...his voice started suffusing the
atmosphere...filling the hall with vibrations that seemed to pour in from
Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan asked his "spiritual teacher", how one could
recognize a Godly man. His teacher replied: “It is not what he says, it is
not what he seems to be, but it is the atmosphere that his presence creates.
That is the proof, for no one can create an atmosphere which does not belong
to his spirit.”
quotes on Elvis's vocal ability
articles on the web