Jorgensen Looking For Fans Who Saw Elvis In 1955 Asheville

Does anyone still remember when Elvis played Asheville back in 1955? Over in Denmark, the King's premier producer and archivist wants to know. Ernst Jorgensen is chasing the ultimate rock `n' roll cold case file. He's gathering details of Presley's life in 1955, just before he became a star. That includes two shows Elvis did here in May and September of '55 at the old City Auditorium (now Thomas Wolfe Auditorium). Both were country concerts, headlined by the late great Grand Ole Opry star Hank Snow. For Jorgensen, time is not on his side. A half-century after a lean young Elvis barnstormed the country, seeking fame and fortune, memories are fast fading away. Jorgensen - who produces all of today's Elvis albums for RCA - is compiling this material for yet another project, a book and CD set to be published later this year. "We are trying to document his rise to fame," Jorgensen said, in a phone call from his home in rural Denmark, an hour outside Copenhagen. The King's life after 1956 is well recorded in history. But it's that one year, 1955, that remains something of a mystery. The timing is perfect. This weekend, Elvis would have turned 70. Of course, he departed this world in 1977, or so they say. On the road Fresh out of Memphis and looking to strike it big, Elvis was the original road warrior in late 1954 and throughout 1955, Jorgensen said. He did about 250 shows that year, "in beer joints, football stadiums, schools," wherever he could pull a crowd. "We've found some shots where he was playing on a flatbed truck," Jorgsensen said. In a few markets, Elvis was already a solo star. But most towns, he couldn't draw a crowd alone. So in May and September of `55, he toured with Snow and other country acts. "He wasn't big enough to go in alone in Asheville," Jorgensen said. Just the facts Elvis slipped into town for two gigs at old City Auditorium. On May 17, 1955, he was part of Hank Snow's Jamboree, which also featured the Rainbow Ranch Boys, Martha Carson and the Country Gentlemen. Slim Whitman, Elvis with Bill and Scotty, The Davis Sisters, Skeeter & Georgie, Jimmy Rogers Snow and Onie Wheeler. A few months later, and building up steam, the future King returned on Sept. 16, 1955, for a "Grand Ole Opry" concert, again starring Snow with the Louvin Brothers, Cowboy Copas, The Rainbow Ranch Boys, Scotty and Bill, the Alabama Sundusters, Ken Marvin ("your favorite DJ"), emcee Red Kirk and Elvis ("back by popular demand!"). Searching for evidence Other than two small ads in the old Asheville Citizen and Asheville Times newspapers, little is recorded about those two dates. Jorgensen hopes that someone may have a few memories. Or perhaps, have made a snapshot or two. "We don't want people to invent anything, but they might remember what car he arrived in, or a song he did," Jorgensen said. These little clues - especially the photos - paint a unique portrait of the soon-to-be star. "His wardrobe changed from 1954 to 1955," the producer said. Through pictures, Jorgensen can tell "when he bought a new coat or a new pair of pants," he said. Closing the book Jorgensen, who co-authored the book "Elvis Day by Day," will use these 1955 memories in a new book and CD project, to be published later this year. "Hopefully, this will be the true tribute, full of these little anecdotes," he said. "It will be the reference point for everything early Elvis." Meanwhile, Jorgensen is working on yet another Elvis CD "Love," a collection of his romantic material for Valentine's Day, and a video and CD project, "Elvis by the Presleys," with the King's life told by his former wife Priscilla and his daughter Lisa Marie Sharing the memories Fans who saw Elvis in `55, either here or somewhere else, can e-mail Jorgensen's U.S. researcher Danny Kane at DannyKane@cox.net or call (718) 247-4448 and leave a message on the voice mail. CD prizes will be awarded for the best information and photos.
Source: Elvis World Japan / Updated: Jan 7, 2005 
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Reactions

byebye (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 11, 2005report abuse
I guess some "naive die hard fans" cant handle the truth..
It´s 2005 and NOTHING has been done with Elvis´ original albums in terms of SACD,DSD with quality digipack covers.
(In the "50s and "60s they were glossy and beautiful.)
Ernst may be a Elvis fan (although the 2 other writers of his book wich was originally released in "77 was taken out in the later edition!) But his job is to do what makes the most money,nothing else..
Tony C (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 11, 2005report abuse
Regarding the comment about the track listing for the forthcoming compilation of love songs, I would would like to make the following observation. Yes, obviously Elvis did not choose the track listing, Ernst or whoever at RCA/BMG/Sony did. This does not mean it is any more or less a good idea. Do you think that Elvis chose the track listings for his 1956-1977 albums? I personally am sick of people attacking Ernst. He has done more for Elvis fans in the last fifteen years than we could ever have imagined. There is an old phrase "buyer beware", if you don't like it, don't buy it!
theenemyway (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 10, 2005report abuse
The point is to document these facts for historical purposes before they are lost forever. Knowledge for knowledge's own sake is important, and if someone makes a few bucks from it, hey, this is America, not the old USSR.
Elvos (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 8, 2005report abuse
Everybody has their own point of view. But in my opinion we should and can be happy with guys like Ernst!
Creating his own Elvis image is bogus... Everybody has their own Elvis image, not everybody is intrested in the same thing! one likes Elvis the actor, the blues singer, the rebel, the gospel singer, the rough leathered guy, etc etc.. He shares the storys and facts he knows about Elvis with the world. And I thank him for that. And also Peter Guralnick. We're gonna rock all our blues away!
byebye (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 8, 2005report abuse
"Cash in compilations", and putting his signature all across it.. Thats what Ernst Mikael Jorgensen is all about!
RobIreland (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 8, 2005report abuse
Hahahahahaha at Carl !! 10 out of 10 for a good moan butwhat a lack of appreciation you display!!!!! Ernst has done for Elvis what his managment couldent and thats make him cool again.
Carl your not an Elvis impersonator by any chance or your not related to Sid Shaw are you? cause you certainly sound like you are!
Kylan (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 8, 2005report abuse
Im sure this will prob be removed and not published but i cant take it anymore. Carl, not to be too harsh on ya ole fella, but quite frankly you're an idiot! and im so glad you're not in charge of anything Elvis related!
doctor (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 8, 2005report abuse
Carl, don't you think you're being a little harsh on Ernst? I respect your right to an opinion, but if Elvis' legacy is going to endure, then his artistic output will have to continue to be repackaged and made available to the new fans. We owe it to Elvis to make sure his music continues to live on. This can only happen if we make it appealing to the next generation of fans. By putting out a compilation of love songs and by marketing it to the new fans, this is exactly how Elvis will continue to matter. Buying "Love, Elvis" will be an entry point. If someone new likes it, they'll search for more of Elvis. Jailhouse Rock came out the year I was born. My first Elvis record was "Golden Records, Volume 2". I was 12 when I got it, and loved it so much that I began buying all the albums I could get my hands on. Ernst is a smart businessman, but more so, he understands what Elvis was about and knows how to promote his music like no one ever did before -- with enthusiasm and intelligence, and he understands what historical significance is. I dare say, Elvis is looking down on things and nodding in approval. The kids in my grade four classroom love Elvis -- Don't Be Cruel, Burning Love, A Little Less Conversation -- they're the next generation who'll carry the torch. Thanks Ernst for all that you've done, and best of luck with the '55 research!
lray (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 8, 2005report abuse
Rock and Roll and Elvis came from my culture, the USA. If he had been born in another country, he would not have happened. Where he was and what he did is his history and our history. Musical history of this unusual young country is important to us. I care about the history, sorry, it is important, even if some of you on the other side of the Atlantic don't understand.
Tupelo (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 8, 2005report abuse
I think it is his most important era, and I'm glad Ernst is working on that. Without the 50's Elvis there would not be the 60's and 70's. I cant understand people who's only focus is the 70's. The whole pictures makes Elvis what he was. And i.m.o the 50's were the most exciting, but that is each to his own.
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 7, 2005report abuse
I don't see the purpose of this myself, other than to make money for somebody. Why interview people about something that happened 50 years ago? How accurate will it be? People tend to be influenced by what happened after.

There is already too much pointless overhype to begin with. This is just spurious "history". What are these people supposed to say, even if they do remember?

I think photographs are a different matter. Those are important historical artifacts. I would prefer that they just check local newspapers and things like that. Tour posters are a good artifact.

But I suspect they just want "anecdotes", ie, some fairy tales that they can present as gospel truth to make more money.

What I don't like about Jorgensen is that he is creating his own image of Elvis. He is creating bogus anthologies and bogus projects that reveal NOT the real Elvis, but Jorgensen's Elvis. And I don't particularly like this image he is creating of Elvis.

I don't like someone's MANUFACTURED and PREFABRICATED image of Elvis. Jorgensen tends to paint a phony picture of Elvis. Plus, we don't need it.

Why do we keep keeping all these COMPILATIONS. Now we are getting an album called "Love" which is really Jorgensen's MANUFACTURED image of Elvis the ballad singer. I don't need that. We Elvis fans don't need that. If i Want to listen to an Elvis love song, I know where to find it. I don't need the millionth compilation album.

But more importantly, Elvis never chose these songs. Jorgensen did. So it has nothing to do with Elvis Presley but everything to do with Jorgensen and his attempt to make more money.

I don't need someone else to tell me what to think or like about Elvis. All you have to do is listen to the records.

And I don't like Jorgensen making all the choices. It is getting too crazy for me. Who is this guy? Did someone put him in charge? Who asked him for the billionth compilation album "Love"? Do we need yet another compilation album? And Elvis didn't even choose these songs. Jorgensen did.

I just think we are getting carried away with this "expert" nonsense. Who elected Jorgensen the "expert".

It is insulting to me. It is like we need someone from Denmark to teach us about Elvis, us ignorant ones.

I know people are going to disagree with me here. But this is my opinion. I think it is great what Jorgensen has done for the Elvis legacy, but let us not get carried away.

Jorgensen is pushing to make sure that Elvis' musical legacy is maintained. That is a great effort. We all applaud that. But I think Jorgensen is creating his own image of Elvis that he wants to impose on everyone. Let the music speak for itself. We don't need perpetual Elvis re-packagings and more compilations. Enough with the compilations already.

I think at some point you reach saturation point and a level of diminishing returns. I mean if Jorgensen was merely making Elvis studio albums available on CD, preserving them, etc., that is OK. But he is bent on creating new albums that reflect NOT Elvis, but his own predilections. And when we buy an Elvis record, we are buying it becuase of ELvis, not Jorgensen.

At some point it becomes condescending and insults our intelligence.
lray (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 7, 2005report abuse
We are talking Both Elvis and the beginnings of Rock and Roll history here. It does not matter how you feel about it. If we don't get it now, we may never have a complete history. Ernst is working his you know what off with the Sun recordings (Elvis at Sun is outstanding) and documenting the Sun years the best he can so that 100 years form now Elvis fans and history buffs will have the best possible and complete information.
Jim Semple (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 7, 2005report abuse
Each to his or her own, good luck to Ernst in his search for info. His project does absolutely nothing for me, I wish more could be done on Elvis's later career i.e. 1977.

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