Fantastic news that Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be touring the fabulous ‘If I Can Dream’ album later this year in the UK. We can’t wait for this amazing series of concerts!

Be part of the world exclusive live concert experience featuring the most recognisable voice of all time, Elvis Presley, backed by thecon1
legendary Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra

The critically acclaimed album, If I Can Dream, uses archive recordings of “The King’s” voice featuring new orchestral arrangements of some of his biggest hits, to create an overwhelmingly encapsulating and enthralling album. The album is Elvis’ twelfth UK number one album and his fiftieth to hit the UK top-ten.
Now fans will have a chance that many have never had before – to experience the man who changed the course of popular music – the bicon2ggest selling solo artist in history (having sold an astonishing one billion records worldwide), live on screen, with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra live on stage performing the King of Rock and Roll’s most well-known rocking songs and his tender, heart-wrenching ballads.
If I Can Dream was produced by Executive Producer, Don Reedman, Priscilla Presley and Elvis Presley Enterprises. Priscilla Presley will be also be making a very special appearance at the concert.

Buy Tickets from: www.ticketline.co.ukwww.bookingsdirect.comwww.songkick.comwww.ticketmaster.co.uk

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The Elvis Travel Service – 40th Anniversary tours, August 2017

The Elvis Travel Service, part of Strictly Elvis UK, is delighted to announce details of the tours that we will be operating for fellow Elvis fans over the 40th Anniversary in August 2017.

We have set up three superb, top notch,  itineraries for you to choose from – the first is our ‘Loving You’ tour – the ever-popular Tupelo and Memphis Holiday – with two nights in Tupelo followed by a full week in Memphis – perhaps the two places that Elvis loved the most and which had the greatest significance for him and his fans. Our knowledge of these cities, our contacts and vast experience of bringing fans here (every year since 1972!) has made us the experts and the only people to travel with if you want the full ‘Elvis Experience’.

Our second option, ‘Paradise, Hawaiian Style’ combines Tupelo and Memphis with Hawaii and San Francisco. With a full 7 night stay in Hawaii you’ll be able to see why Elvis loved to vacation and make movies here. He adored the place…and you will too. Our original intention was to split the stay between the islands of Oahu and Kauai and to stay at the legendary Coco Palms Hotel, much featured in Blue Hawaii. Unfortunately, as we print these details, the developers still haven’t started the rebuilding of the property after the devastation reeked by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Instead we will offer a Day Trip to Kauai as an optional tour and, if the hotel is open in time (still planned for Spring/Summer 2017) then we will offer this also as a 2-day excursion enabling you to overnight there. We return from Hawaii via the beautiful city of San Francisco.

Thirdly we have a brand new ‘Follow That Dream’ extension which, after the Tupelo and Memphis holiday, will fly you to Crystal River in Florida where Elvis shot that movie. There are lots of location sites to see and to relive this amusing film. The ‘bonus’ is the fabulous region of Florida where it took place – on the Gulf coast just an hour north of Tampa and with crystal clear (hence its name) rivers and springs, lots of sunshine and simply loads to see and do….or not, if you just want to laze by a pool. Onward then to the grandest of all seaside resorts – glamorous Miami Beach where the final few days of the holiday is spent in the ultra-luxurious Fontainebleau Hotel – where Elvis performed on the Frank Sinatra Show.

Because airlines cannot guarantee their prices (or even their schedules) more than 11 months out that is when we will be able to re-confirm the price of the holidays. The prices quoted in this brochure are based on 2016 fares plus a realistic percentage increase for 2017. All other costs (hotels etc) are accurate for 2017 and so we don’t think we’re far out. They could even be slightly cheaper than we’ve stated in this Advance Brochure.

So there you have it – three awesome itineraries from the people who know Elvis (and Elvis fans) best and for us to hold you a place on any of them simply send us a £50 holding deposit which, if you change your mind after receiving the detailed brochure (due out in late September 2016 and containing the final 2017 prices) then even that will be refunded. What have you got to lose? Other, of course,  than the chance of a really fabulous holiday.

A choice of 3 fabulous itineraries

TOUR A: Tupelo and Memphis  ‘Loving You’

 Day 1 Tuesday 8th August

Flight from Heathrow (plus Regional Airport options) to Memphis. Coach transfer to Tupelo.

Day 2 Wednesday 9th August

Morning guided tour of Elvis’ Tupelo visiting all the sights important to his life there and which helped mould this boy into the man he became. The tour ends at the Birthplace complex with a visit to the humble home in which he was born, the Elvis Presley Museum, the Memorial Chapel, the original church that he attended and the new Visitor Center. Afternoon free. Evening Banquet and all-Elvis Disco.

Day 3. Thursday 10th August

Morning at leisure in Tupelo before the afternoon drive to Memphis.  Evening free. The Elvis Travel Service Shuttle Bus service connecting your hotel with Graceland and Downtown will commence this evening and operate through until Thursday 17th August.

Day 4 Friday 11th August

Graceland Day. Morning tour of the Mansion and afternoon free to visit the many attractions (inc. the aircraft and car museum) included in your Platinum Plus Pass. Evening at leisure. During this weekend and part of the following week there will be evening events arranged by EPE, by the Elvis Travel Service and by local organisations for you to choose from.

Day 5 Saturday 12th August

Full day’s tour of Elvis’ Memphis. It’s what we’re famous for…a whole day visiting the places so significant to Elvis. We’ll show you the places he lived, recorded, performed, shopped, ate, worshipped, and a whole lot more. Evening free.

Day 6 to Day 9 Sunday 13th to Wednesday 16th August

Four glorious days at leisure in Memphis, Tennessee. See the sights, take a Mississippi Riverboat cruise or an excursion to Nashville, shop until you drop at one of the State’s best Malls, visit some truly great museums, taste mouth-watering meals, bop your way down Beale Street and enjoy all that this city and Elvis Presley Enterprises has to offer.  On the evening of the 15th you can join in the Candlelight Vigil on the 40th Anniversary of Elvis’ passing…a poignant occasion and a moment in time that you will never forget – or regret experiencing.

Day 10 Thursday 17th August

Late morning transfer to Memphis Airport for the overnight flight back to the UK

Day 11 Friday 18th August

Morning arrival into Heathrow or your originating airport.

TOUR B: Tupelo, Memphis, Hawaii and San Francisco ‘Paradise, Hawaiian Style’

Days 1 to 9 Tuesday 8th to Wednesday 16th August

As per TOUR A

Day 10 Thursday 17th August

Transfer to Memphis Airport to connect with your flight/s to Hawaii arriving into Honolulu, the State Capitol, on the Island of Oahu in the mid-evening. Drive to your Waikiki Beach hotel.

Day 11 Friday 18th August

Mid-morning start for a wonderful tour of the Elvis sights of Honolulu and the surrounding area. You’ll see where Elvis stayed, filmed and performed all combined with some of the other major sights and the chance to ‘get your bearings’ in readiness for any independent exploration.

Day 12 to Day 16 Saturday 19th to Wednesday 23rd August

Five more glorious days in Honolulu – to soak up the sun, try your hand (or feet!) at surfing, shop for souvenirs and to enjoy the food, drink and friendliness for which the islands are renowned. There is also a choice of optional excursions to help you get the best from your visit here. These include visits to the Polynesian Cultural Center,  the USS Arizona Memorial for which Elvis was a major benefactor and a Sunset Cruise.  There will also be an optional day trip by air to the ‘Garden Isle’ of Kauai, probably the prettiest of all the Hawaiian Islands, where Blue Hawaii was filmed and our visit will include many of the film locations including the lagoon where the famous wedding scene was shot. Should the Coco Palms Hotel be re-opened in time then we will make this a 2 day tour enabling you to stay at this famous hotel.

Day 17 Thursday 24th August

Midday flight to San Francisco, arriving (because of the time change) in the late evening.

Day 18 Friday 25th August

Morning’s guided sightseeing tour of San Francisco during which you’ll see such major sights as the Golden Gate Bridge,  Chinatown, the ever-bendy Lombard Street, Ghirardelli Square, Yerba Buena Gardens and Fisherman’s Wharf plus lots more besides. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 19 Saturday 26th August

Full day free in the beautiful ‘City by the Bay’ – time for exploring, to ride the bell-clanging cable cars, take a boat trip out to the infamous prison island of Alcatraz or a scenic drive to see the giant redwood trees.

Day 20 Sunday 27th August

Much of the day is free before transferring to San Francisco Airport for the overnight flight back to the UK

Day 21 Monday 28th August (Bank Holiday)

Arrive into Heathrow or your originating airport.

TOUR C: Tupelo, Memphis, Crystal River and Miami Beach ‘Follow That Dream’

Days 1 to 9 Tuesday 8th to Wednesday 16th August

As per TOUR A

Day 10 Thursday 17th August

Transfer to Memphis Airport to connect with your flight to Tampa, Florida followed by the drive north to the delightful community of Crystal River and your hotel

Day 11 Friday 18th August

Full days leisurely tour featuring the location sites for the filming of ‘Follow That Dream’ including, amongst others, the bridge and beach area where the homestead and fishing business was set up, the school in which the ‘casino’ footage was filmed, and the Courthouse where they had to fight to retain the twins. A fascinating day.

Days 12 and 13 Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August

Two days for you to explore in quite stunning surroundings. Enjoy a game of golf or tennis on the hotel course or courts, take a boat trip to see the manatees, an optional excursion to Busch Gardens in Tampa (one of the world’s best theme parks) or just relax in the comfort of our lovely hotel.

Day 14 Monday 21st August

During a break in filming Elvis visited what was then one of Florida’s most famous attractions – the ‘Mermaid Show’ at Weeki Wachee Springs and so we will too,  en route south to Miami Beach arriving at our beachside hotel there in the late afternoon.

Day 15 Tuesday 22nd August

Morning guided sightseeing tour of Miami Beach and Miami including the major sights of these two cities with those of significance to Elvis’ visits there. Afternoon and evening at leisure

Day 16 Wednesday 23rd August

Full day at leisure – time to relax by the pool, take a dip in the warm ocean, hit the shops of Lincoln Road or enjoy an al fresco meal in the Art Deco area of South Beach. Optional Biscayne Bay cruise on which you’ll see some stunningly beautiful celebrity homes.

Day 17 Thursday 24th August

Morning at leisure before transferring to Miami Airport for our overnight flight to the UK.

Day 18 Friday 25th August

Arrive into Heathrow or your originating airport.

 

Tour A:
Price per Person:
Single: £2798
Twin / Double: £2298
Triple: £2148
Quad: £1998

Tour B
Price per Person:
Single: £5098
Twin / Double: £3998
Triple: £3798
Quad: £3598

Tour C
Price per Person:
Single: £4298
Twin / Double: £3298
Triple: £2998
Quad: £2878

 

 

Included in the Tour Price:

Tour A. The tour price is inclusive of your return flights from London (supplement for travel from Regional airports, if available),  airport and security taxes/charges, accommodation inclusive of taxes and breakfasts for 2 nights in Tupelo at the Clarion Hotel and 7 nights in Memphis at the Hampton Inn-Southaven and Fairfield Inn-Southaven, transfers and coach travel as per the itinerary, guided sightseeing tours of Tupelo and Memphis, a Platinum Plus tour and Admission to Graceland and admission to Elvis’ Birthplace, Sun Studio and the Presley’s Lauderdale Courts apartment,  A buffet dinner and Disco in Tupelo, lunch at the Arcade Restaurant in Memphis, Unlimited use of the Elvis Travel Service shuttle bus in Tupelo and Memphis, Driver gratuities and the services of experienced Tour Managers.

 

Tour B. As per Tour A but with the additional flights to Hawaii and back via San Francisco, additional coaching as per the itinerary, accommodation with taxes and breakfasts at the Waikiki Resort Hotel in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu and 3 nights at the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco. A tour of the Elvis sights of Honolulu and the Island of Oahu and a guided sightseeing tour of San Francisco. Please note that if the Coco Palms Hotel re-opens on the Island of Kauai then an optional 2 day excursion will be offered to you.

 

Tour C. As per Tour A but with the additional flight to Tampa, additional coaching as per itinerary, accommodation with taxes and breakfasts at the Plantation  on Crystal River Hotel and 3 nights room only at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, a ‘Follow That Dream’ Location tour of the Crystal River area and a guided sightseeing tour of Miami and Miami Beach.

 

 

HOTELS

 

Tupelo

Clarion Hotel: A long-time favourite with great management and staff. Comfortable, clean, modern and high quality. And great waffles for breakfast!

 

Memphis

Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn in Southaven: Two superb hotels situated in the outer suburb of Southaven slightly closer to Graceland than Downtown Memphis. Virtually identical hotels and situated alongside each other, close to restaurants and shops. The Elvis Travel Service free Shuttle Bus connects the hotels with Graceland and Downtown Memphis.

Hampton Inn Downtown/Beale Street: Modern high grade hotel in the heart of the city and just a hundred yards from Beale Street. One of our favourites but being downtown it’s  more expensive so the following supplements apply. Single £498 , Double/twin £248. Triple £178. Quad £128.

 

The Guest House at Graceland: Don’t be fooled by the ‘Guest House’ tag. This is a top quality hotel situated virtually next door to Graceland. Owned by EPE and Elvis themed throughout this is not cheap but the best never is. The following supplements apply. Single £998 , Double/twin £498. Triple £348. Quad £248.

 

Honolulu

Waikiki Resort Hotel: Situated just a block (less than a 5 minute stroll) from the soft sands of Waikiki Beach this towering 275 room hotel offers a choice of restaurants and bars, a pool and full service spa.

 

San Francisco

Hotel Carlton: Nestled in the very heart of this exciting city – modern rooms, great staff and a complimentary wine hour (with live music) each evening. Need we say more?

 

Crystal River

Plantation on Crystal River: You’ll think you’re staying in a historic plantation home except that the rooms are swish and modern and the view over the lawns and ‘waterscape’ of Crystal River is stunning. With golf and tennis on site, a fabulous pool, boat trips and a comfy bar you’ll love this place.

 

Miami Beach

The Fontainebleau: One of the world’s most famous hotels evoking a period of luxury and glamour. The rooms are superb, many with glorious views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean, a large choice of restaurants and bars and one of the biggest pools you’ll ever see. You will not want to leave.

 

 

FLIGHTS

Your flights will depart from London’s Heathrow Airport on the scheduled service of a major airline. We will also be able to offer you the opportunity of travelling from Manchester and Glasgow or other regional airports at a supplementary charge. Further details of these will be provided in the final tour brochure.

 

 

HOW TO BOOK

To guarantee your place is held on any of these superb holidays simply complete the Advance Reservation Form below and send it to us with a ‘Advance Deposit’ of just £50 per person. This would be fully refundable if, when the final brochure with confirmed prices is issued, you decide not to travel. You have nothing to lose. And should you be considering travelling with any other organisation then please do a careful comparison of what is on offer by way of both quality and content. We think you’ll find that when all the so-called ‘extras’ such as breakfasts, taxi fares, admission charges, airport taxes etc are all added in, our tours will represent much better value, as well as having the advantage of being organised by the leaders in Elvis holidays.

 

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Elvis ‘If I Can Dream Tour’ 2016

Don’t miss the chance to see the amazing ‘If I Can Dream’ album performed live this November with Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra around the UK. Each concert will also feature an appearance by Priscilla Presley.

Order your tickets now!

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Fantastic News: Elvis in Concert!

Fantastic news that Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be touring the fabulous ‘If I Can Dream’ album later this year in the UK. We can’t wait for this amazing series of concerts!

Elvis Forever!

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The If I Can Dream Million Sales Party

Join Strictly Elvis as we celebrate the Million Sales of Elvis’ awesome ‘If I Can Dream’ album.
Strictly Elvis are proud to host this afternoon event where you’ll getiicd2 to hear the full album (including bonus tracks not included on the standard release in a way you’ve never heard) with state of the art surround sound audio technology with accompanying visuals in the comfy Cineworld cinema in the O2 – this will be the album heard in a way you’ve never heard it before.
There’ll also be guests, a free goodie bag, a chance to win some great Elvis prizes, a champagne toast and an award ceremony from the Elvis Family to Sony for the album’s success.
It’s going to be a great afternoon – tickets are just £15 per person and if anyone wishes to visit the Muhammad Ali exhibit to see the Elvis items on display then we have a special group rate of just £15 per person.
Don’t miss out on this amazing afternoon as we celebrate Elvis’ amazing success! Call us on 01473 621564  to book your tickets!

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Elvis Party River Cruise

Rollin’ On A River

‘Everybody Come Aboard’ and join us for an Elvis Cruise on the River Thames

Sunday 14th August 2016

 

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Arranged in association with Elvis in Essex, Strictly Elvis UK is pleased to announce the first of what we believe will become an annual event – a fabulous afternoon Sightseeing and Elvis Disco Cruise on the Thames.

Leaving at 2:00pm from a central pier our ‘double-decker’ modern vessel, the Pride of London, (probably from then on also known as Proud Mary!) will take us on a glorious “rollin’ on a river” cruise all along the Thames – as far as Greenwich and the Thames Barrier to the East, and Putney Bridge in the West. You’ll get a wonderful ‘ducks-eye view’ of all the major sights – from the towering buildings of Canary Wharf to the rotund O2, we’ll pass under Tower Bridge, alongside the Tower of London and HMS Belfast, have great views of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Festival Hall. The London Eye, Houses of Parliament, the Tate Gallery, Battersea Power Station and hundreds more iconic sights as our 4 hour cruise swishes along this mighty waterway.

Fancy a dance – then go ahead as our top deck features an all-Elvis Disco with dance-floor . Like to be outside, then head for the open-air stern (back end to you non-sailors!) or just want to sit, relax  and listen to the Elvis music, then the comfortable lower deck has comfy chairs and tables plus large panoramic windows allowing you to see all the sights. You’ll love it.

The price of just £20 is inclusive of the Elvis Disco Cruise only. There is a licensed cash bar on board.

To book your tickets simply phone Strictly Elvis UK on 01473 621 564 or send a cheque payable to Strictly Elvis UK to Strictly Elvis UK, Unit D Bristol Court, Martlesham Heath Business Park, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP5 3RY. Credit/Debit cards incur a 50p per ticket transaction fee.

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JOE MOSCHEO PASSES AWAY

It’s with great regret that we have to pass on the very sad news thatjoe1 friend of Elvis’ and a good friend to all of the Elvis Family, Joe Moscheo has sadly passed away. This report comes from Joe’s former group ‘Elvis’ Imperials’:

“We are so sorry to inform you that Joe Moscheo lost his battle for life last night. At around 10 pm, Monday night, Joe entered eternity and the joys that heaven affords to all who call on the name of the Lord.
Please pray for comfort for the family as they deal with this heart-breaking loss.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family and all of the Elvis Family at this sad time.

Rest in Peace our friend – your passing makes the world seem a far lesser place Joe. You’ll be missed by us all.

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Elvis on Ed Sullivan – A look back!

Exactly 59 years ago today, January 6th 1957, Elvis appeared on theed1 ‘Ed Sullivan TV Show’ he had previously been on the show on a number of occasions and had used it as a springboard to further his already groundbreaking career, these performances have gone down as benchmarks in TV history. In true Elvis fashion – before anyone did anything, Elvis did everything!

The Ed Sullivan show was a weekly variety show on CBS television which ran from 1948 through to 1971. It was an eclectic mix of all sorts of entertainment, a kind of vaudeville show for the 20th century, with opera singers, comedians and ballet dancers sharing the stage with popular music artists of the day, dramatic actors, puppeteers and even circus acts. Sullivan, a rather conservative and dour faced individual, was heavily criticised by the press as being a rather strange choice to host such a show “He got where he is not by having a personality, but by having no personality” was how one critic put it (Sullivan’s response was a letter to his protagonist simply saying “You Bitch. Sincerely Ed Sullivan”) but what Ed did have was an instinct for what the public wanted and he made sure there was something for everyone on each episode. He also had a knack for identifying and promoting talent and many saw the show as a major stepping stone to superstardom.

One man though was already on his way to superstardom long before appearing on the show. In 1956 Elvis was the hottest star in America, since the release of ‘That’s All Right Mama’ two years earlier he had trail blazed his way across the popular music and entertainment landscapes with a whole number of hit records creating a cultural revolution.

Elvis had already been on a number of national TV shows in 1956 before Ed Sullivan came knocking. In fact it’s safe to say that had Elvis had not played The Steve Allen show in July of that year (featuring the infamous ‘Hound Dog’ performance sung to a basset hound) then Sullivan would’ve stayed with his initial thoughts that he didn’t want to give Presley any airtime, stating the reason that he didn’t think “Elvis the Pelvis” was suitable for his family audience. However after the Allen show received almost twice as many viewers as Sullivan’s on the night that Elvis played, he was quick to change his mind, especially as the two shows were in the middle of a heated ratings battle. After negotiations with the Colonel, Sullivan paid an unprecedented $50,0000 for 3 appearances on his show (this despite the fact that some time previously Sullivan had the chance to book him for just $5,000). Starting with the September 9th broadcast it was to be a show business marriage made in ratings heaven!

Due to the filming of ‘Love Me Tender’ Elvis didn’t actually appear at the usual recording venue of the CBS studio on Broadway in New York, instead appearing live via a network linkup from CBS ined3 Hollywood (and in fact due to being hospitalised in a car accident, Sullivan also didn’t appear with presenting duties handed over to Actor Charles Laughton for the night). Despite paying such a hefty fee for Elvis and the fact that he would definitely win the TV ratings that night as NBC, realising that all eyes would be glued to CBS, pulled The Steve Allen Show and showed a movie instead, it would appear that Sullivan still couldn’t get over his first thoughts on Elvis. Ed Sullivan headliners always opened the show, but despite Elvis being the headliner he didn’t appear until later on, instead Sullivan subjected the teenyboppers in the audience to Laughton reading poetry before they got to see their snake-hipped hero. Laughton also gave a very straight introduction as if not wanting to build any anticipation to what the viewers were about to see. Standing in front of some gold records Laughton announced “These gold records, four of them are a tribute to the fact that four of his recordings have sold, each sold, more than a million copies. And this, by the way, is the first time in record making history that a singer has hit such a mark in such a short time. And now, away to Hollywood to meet Elvin Presley” Yes – despite being the hottest commodity in entertainment, Laughton still managed to mispronunciate his name!

As Elvis appeared on screen from the other side of the country, he cleared his throat and said “Thank you, Mr Laughton, ladies and gentlemen, This is probably the greatest honor I’ve ever had in my life. Ah. There’s not much I can say except, it really makes you feel good. We want to thank you from the bottom of our heart. And now Don’t Be Cruel”. After another short introduction it was followed by Love Me Tender before handing back to the New York studio. During these two performances Elvis appeared nervous, fidgety and, unlike previous TV performances, quite subdued. Compared to the tuxedo worn during his Steve Allen performance he was dressed down in a plaid jacket and an open-necked shirt. However he soon found his stride, and after enduring various other acts including acrobats and tap dancers, the audience get a second look at Elvis as he goes into an incendiary performance of ‘Ready Teddy’, backed by the Jordanaires. This is followed by a message to “Mr Sullivan” thanking him for the opportunity and wishing him a speedy recovery before continuing his serious tone by saying “As a great philosopher once said….You ain’t nothin’ but a Hound Dog!” and then launching into his hit record. Elvis really finds his place during this performance, holding nothing back and snarling and gyrating. Due to the controversies from his earlier appearances on The Milton Berle Show during this number the camera shows Elvis more from the waist-up but not, as popular urban myth would suggest, completely as he is shown in full gyrating and thrusting detail during the earlier numbers. After just two verses the performance was over and the numbers soon confirmed that it was money well spent by Sullivan as the show managed to reach a record 82.6 percent of the TV audience, which equated to approximately 60 million viewers. As well as boosting Elvis’ stock with a more adult audience it pushed pre-release orders up to close to a million for the yet unreleased ‘Love Me Tender’ which a number of DJ’s around the country had taped from the performance to play on air. The performance however was not without controversy with a number of reviewers picking up on Elvis’ frenzied performance, including one who stated that Elvis “Indulged in wordless singing that was distasteful” and that “Overstimulating the physical impulses of the teenagers was a gross national disservice” But despite this and his initial hesitations it would appear that Ed and Elvis make a winning combination and it’s not long before his second appearance.

ed7In the 7 weeks between the first and second appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, Elvis’ career went into overdrive with him completing the filming of ‘Love Me Tender’, signing a new 5 year contract with RCA, performing a short tour in Texas and Variety magazine declaring him ‘A Millionaire in one year’. He evens finds himself caught up in an altercation at a gas station in Memphis which lands him an assault charge before his trip to New York for his  second Sullivan appearance.

October 28th 1956 – Elvis is in New York in a BIG way, quite literally as earlier in the day a 40 foot cut-out was unveiled on top of the Times Square Paramount cinema marquee announcing theed4 upcoming premiere of ‘Love Me Tender’, and later that night he stands beside Ed Sullivan (back hosting the show after recovering from his injuries) to give renditions of four of his biggest hits backed once again by the Jordanaires. Dressed in grey jacket, white shirt and tie and black trousers, Elvis gives a much more naturally confident performance from the get-go compared to his previous appearance. Despite being disciplined by Sullivan two days earlier during rehearsals for the ‘suggestive movements’, and the subsequent brouhaha in the media afterwards, he performed back in September, Elvis still gives a powerhouse performance full of his usual gyrating stage moves.

After the first and second numbers of ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ and ‘Love Me Tender’ Sullivan appeared next to Elvis to address the audience. Elvis began shaking his legs eliciting screams from the audience. After leaving the stage, Sullivan commented “I can’t figure this darn thing out. He just does this (shakes his leg) and everyone yells”. After a short commercial break Elvis sang ‘Love Me’ during which the camera moved in for a close-up of Elvis’ face, and then, as if on cue, he smiled and snarled his upper lip. The studio audience was driven wild.

After a performances by Broadway stars and Joyce Grenfell Elvis returned to the stage to perform his last number, another electrifying performance of Hound Dog. Full of energy and at nearly four minutes long this is perhaps one of his finest renditions of the track. Again though, despite the myth, Elvis was shown in full during the song.

Despite not hitting the peaks of the first outing on the show, round 2 was still a huge success with huge ratings to boot, and just like the first time, a fair bit of controversy too as Elvis was burned in effigy in Nashville and St. Louis. By now though Sullivan was starting to realise that ‘controversy creates cash’ as whether good or bad, the name of his show was constantly in the national press.

1957 wasn’t even a week old before Elvis was back in New York for ed9his final outing on Ed Sullivan. On January 6th Elvis appeared for the final time on the show, performing a staggering 7 numbers. This time round he dressed in a slightly more elaborate fashion wearing a velvet shirt he had worn whilst performing in Tupelo and a gold lame vest top that was a Christmas gift from Barbra Hearn as one reviewer put it “He was playing Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik, with all the stops out” he did however don a more appropriate jacket for the closing gospel number of ‘Peace in the Valley’. Starting with a medley of ‘Hound Dog’. ‘Love Me Tender’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ before taking a break and coming back for ‘Too Much’ and ‘When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again’ and then closing with the aforementioned gospel number, one thing is noticeable and that is on this occasion Elvis was only filmed from the waist up. The exact reason is unknown, some say that after the previous two performances  the censors decided not to take any risks, but fear of him performing overtly sexual moves wouldn’t be the case on this occasion as other than the small snippet of ‘Hound Dog’ all the other numbers wereed5 ballads. There is rumour however that, following a disagreement between Col. Parker and Sullivan in which the former threatened to remove Elvis from the show if Sullivan didn’t apologise for telling the press that Presley’s gyrations were immoral, Sullivan decided to film Elvis from the waist up as a way of getting his own back.

Whatever the case, the earlier misapprehensions that Sullivan had over Elvis seemed to have vanished by the time he performed in 1957 as at the end of the show Sullivan came on, put his hand on Elvis’ shoulder and said “I wanted to say to Elvis Presley and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy. We have never had a pleasanter experience on our show with a big name than we had with you; you’re thoroughly alright. Let’s have a tremendous hand for a very nice person”. It was a ringing endorsement that, to many, legitmised Elvis with the adult mainstream audience.

Elvis never featured on the show again despite Sullivan contacting Parker several years later to get Elvis back on. In true Colonel fashion he gave Sullivan all kinds of instructions and conditions and a rumoured price of $300,000, after hearing all these demands Sullivan simply said “Give Elvis my best – and my sympathy” and then hung up. Elvis and the Colonel did however send a telegram wishing the Beatles all the best on their debut on the show in 1964.

ed2Elvis’ performances are on The Ed Sullivan Show are now considered legendary. Not only because they’re a snapshot of a young man who was on the cusp of greatness, not knowing what an amazing career he had yet to come but also because of the electricity, charisma and raw talent which radiate from him during the performances. The shows are also part of Presley myth as well due to the stories of him only being filmed from the waist up (something Elvis even name checks himself in the ’68 Comeback Special). Many believe that the exposure that he received on these shows also validated Elvis in the minds of many older viewers.

In 2006, The History Channel selected the September 9th, 1956ed6 Elvis Presley appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show as one of the ‘10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America’ and the initial broadcast has also been featured in TV Guides list of ‘Moments that Changed Television’.

The Ed Sullivan show continued to run until 1971, in which time many other big name stars, such as The Doors, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan used it as a way of creating controversy to create a name for themselves just as Elvis has done years before. Sullivan sadly passed away in 1974 following a short battle with cancer. His name lives on though as the studio in New York where the show was filmed is now named ‘The Ed Sullivan Theatre’.

 

 

 

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2015 – the year that was!

Wow! That sums up 2015 for us here at Strictly Elvis. At the end of last year in our summing up of an amazing 2014 we said we were ready to do all again and then some in the coming 12 months – and we like to think we certainly did that!

January had not only the Elvis world, but the whole country, buzzing about the O2 exhibit which had opened just a few weeks before and was getting hundreds of visitors every day. Whilst so many were able to enjoy these personal Elvis artefacts here in the UK, there were over a 100 lucky fans looking forward to jetting off to celebrate Elvis’ 80th Birthday with the Elvis Travel Service in Memphis and Tupelo – and boy did we have a blast! It was wonderful to be in Elvis’ The January Tour Group at the Circle G Ranchbeloved home town on this very special day and standing on the front lawn of Graceland watching the whole Presley family at the Proclamation ceremony is something that will stay with us forever. Afterwards half of the group flew on to Florida for some winter sun and a chance to tour some Elvis sights as well. But as soon as we got back to the UK it was straight onto the promotion of the Elvis at the O2 exhibit, and in late January the Strictly crew were on hand at the huge UK travel trade show at Alexandra Palace selling the exhibit to coach and travel companies .

February saw us on a weekly basis travelling to the O2, meeting up with our Elvis family and also new fans too. Early in the month we were there to see the unveiling of the latest of the ‘rotating exhibits’; the 68 black leather suit. It was just amazing to see this piece of iconic Elvis history here in the UK and quickly became the most popular item on display (particularly with the ladies!)

March had us hitting the road for a trip up north to take in one of the Newcastle Elvis fan club events. A great night was had by all especially when David Wade did a Q&A and told his story about meeting Elvis – you could’ve heard a pin drop in the room! We were back in London just a couple of weeks later as we met up with our Elvis family for an afternoon at the theatre and the fabulous ‘Memphis: The Musical’ we had a great time seeing this awesome show and afterwards we went onto the O2 – a perfect way to spend a day. This was also the month in which Coca-Cola launched a new advertising campaign featuring Elvis. It was fab seeing Elvis up high on posters and billboards all over the UK.

 

In April Strictly Elvis went for a visit to Brighton to check out some venues for a future event and also visit the hugegetimage retro Jukebox fair that was in town we had a great time browsing all the jukeboxes, vintage clothing, classic cars and, of course, Elvis memorabilia that was on display. And at the O2 another rare piece of Elvis history made it’s first appearance in the UK as the Gold Lame suit from the 1950’s was put on display. Due to the value of this item it was a thrill to see it be delivered by armoured car along with an escort of British paratroopers!

In between lots of trips to the O2, May was another visit to the coast as we held our 10th Elvis Spring Break in sunny Torquay. A beautiful hotel, gorgeous weather and plenty of Elvis – what more could we want! We’re back again in 2016 – don’t miss this great laid-back Elvis long weekend. Meanwhile ‘Elvis Fever’ was fast spreading as the famous Barbican Centre in London also hosted their own Elvis exhibit with personal fan owned items dating back 60 years put on display. We were pleased to help promote this event and made quite a few visits whenever we were in town.

In June Strictly Elvis played host to a group from the ‘Elvis: My Happiness’ Fan Club of Paris. We had a ball showing our Elvis Family from the continent around the ‘Elvis at the O2’ exhibit where they got to see the famous Pink Cadillac which had also arrived in June. Afterwards we showed them how the Brits party at the ‘Elvis in London’ Fan Club night. Later in the month we got together with our Elvis Family for another afternoon at the theatre. This time we went off to Wimbledon to see ‘Love Me Tender’ a musical comedy based around Elvis’ songs. It was an amazing show and afterwards we squeezed a trip to the O2 in as well.

July was spent finalising details for forthcoming Anniversary tours along with  regular visits at the O2 exhibit. Strictly Elvis had arranged a number of competitions, including some in the national press, and we were delighted to meet up with the lucky prize winners to not only give them a tour but to treat them to lunch as well.

August was a busy month as the Elvis Travel Service had two tours for the 38th Anniversary. One group flew out to the12036518_10153691077437022_7839279699699980641_n 11892250_10153631785892022_3753907189814383499_n US to visit Tupelo and Memphis where they had a blast visiting Elvis’ Birthplace, Graceland, Sun Studio and so many other places connected to Elvis’ life. They were on hand to see the unveiling of the new Elvis stamp by Priscilla as well as join in with the Candlelight Vigil. Afterwards half of the group carried on via Fort Chaffee to ‘King Creole Country’ – New Orleans. Another group made their way to Germany to join in the annual Elvis Festival in Bad Nauheim, the town Elvis lived in whilst serving in the US Army.  As well as seeing all the Elvis sights in the town they also visited nearby Friedberg where they had an exclusive tour inside the barracks Elvis served at.

Two fabulous trips and two great places to spend this special time of the year.

We didn’t have long back at Strictly Elvis HQ before we were packing out cases again for the huge Elvis Festival. This September event just keeps getting bigger and better and this years, our 35th Anniversary, was no different. It was 11987077_10153659246252022_7908437090050315198_nElvis from morning through to, well the early hours of the next morning – for a whole week! Absolute bliss! As well as a whole host of guest speakers including authors and record producers we were also joined by close friend and confidante of Elvis; Larry Geller. It was an awesome week and we’re looking forward to it being even bigger in 2016!

 

 

October was spent largely in the office or at the O2, where brand new items, including Elvis’ Gold Belt and the white51Qimu6Sp2L__SL500_AA280_ ‘If I Can Dream’ suit went on display. We did manage to squeeze in a visit to the Hotshots Fan Club in Birmingham’s event where we got to see our dear friend Jerry Scheff doing a performance. The big news this month however was the launch of the new album ‘If I Can Dream’. And what can we say? It just blew everyone away, getting Elvis back to number 1 in the charts and ensuring his name was all over the mainstream media.  This album is still selling thousands of copies and still sitting firm at number 2 in the album charts. Just awesome! It was a thrill to have had the producers of this album at our Elvis Festival in September where they gave us all an exclusive sneak preview.

At the start of November Strictly Elvis were invited to be part of a very special night at the O2 for the tourism industry where Priscilla spoke about Memphis and Elvis’ love of the city and then mingled with all those in attendance for photos. Just a few days later Elvis was back on prime-time TV with a great documentary presented by Joanna Lumley, in which the TV star travelled to the USA to discover Elvis’ roots. Our own David Wade was proud to have been part of the research for this TV show which was highly acclaimed by both critics and viewers. And before the month was out we once again welcomed a group from France back to the UK and another visit to the O2 exhibit.

The start of December saw a group visit Milton Keynes to see Priscilla in Panto. As a very special surprise arranged by Strictly Elvis, Priscilla came out to meet and have her photo taken with the group. It was a great way to finish off a fantastic year!12346601_10207569257211167_6298099325321505072_n

2015 really has been such an amazing year and it was a year that saw Elvis being back in the mainstream spotlight in a positive way! We’ve been so proud to have been a part of that and continue to give the very best Elvis experiences to all of our Elvis family. We’ve travelled a fair few miles but it’s been worth it to ensure that Strictly Elvis is the biggest Elvis organisation. Everything we do is for fans – by fans!

Before we close there’s just a few thank you’s  to make – firstly to all those hotels, venues, attractions, airlines, coach companies, bands, special guests, tourist offices and everyone else who give their 100% service to us. Secondly to our hard working crew who work so hard in making sure our holidays and events work so well. A massive thank you to our Elvis Family – it’s you who make the events and holidays what they are. A celebration of Elvis’ life and legacy with no trouble or fuss – just one big happy Elvis family!

And finally the biggest thank you – to the man who makes it all possible and who continues to give us friendships and amazing experiences through his legacy. The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be: Elvis Presley.

We’ll be back in 2016 TCB and TCE with another great line-up of Elvis holidays and events, with all of our regulars, plus a few new ones along with a couple of surprises too!

We can’t wait to see you!

 

 

 

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

From all of us at Strictly Elvis – Merry Christmas!

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