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What Now, What Next, Where To?

By Todd Slaughter, May 11, 2005 | Other
No one can doubt that for Elvis’ legacy, and for the members of the official Elvis Presley Fan Club who made it happen it has been an amazing start to 2005 with Elvis dominating the singles chart for almost half a year. The re-release of Elvis’ 18 #1 UK singles when announced late last year was viewed with scepticism by the retail trade, who set the trend by ordering minimum quantities from SONY-BMG, giving rise to a “buy and scramble” culture. Fans and eBay traders alike were plundering stores of every piece of stock, with a sustained buying campaign, which lasted for a staggering four months and beyond! Well, the party’s over with the chart crown fitting securely on Elvis’ head, with more UK number 1s more top ten hits and more top 40 singles positions and any other artiste, performer, or group in the history of recorded music. Without your support this would not have happened, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. We British Fan Club Members should all feel very proud!

“Elvis The Concert” – the virtual presentation tour featuring Elvis on the large screen backed by his band mates was a sell-out across the UK! And don’t forget Elvis’ TCB band will be performing one more time for the official Elvis Presley Fan Club at our Elvis Hayride Festival being held at Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire on Saturday 8th October. Tickets are selling fast, as too are places on our Elvis Holiday Week at Mablethorpe during the first week of October with Jerry Schilling, George Klein and Joe Esposito flying over from the US to meet and greet our guests.

At this time all eyes are on the album, the DVD, and the book “Elvis by the Presleys” now on sale not only in the UK, but also around the world. The one hour prequal to this trilogy of releases screened by ITV has had a very positive response and fans are eagerly waiting the almost 5 hour long DVD which will be popping up in a couple of weeks from now.

Collecting CDs in the Elvis community is the raison d’être for many fan club members and as a club we try to make you aware of future product not only from the UK but from around the world. The “Follow That Dream” CD collection pioneered by ourselves has been hugely successful across Europe. One RCA release which has generally “escaped” most fans’ attention was the recent “Valentine’s Day” compilation “Love Elvis”. Now virtually sold out this title is likely to be sort after in the months and years to come. And 2006 sees the 50th anniversary of “Heartbreak Hotel”, and we are working closely with Sony-BMG to hit-the-spot with massive celebratory activities.

But what for the future? Bob Sillerman’s business CKX - which is now the parent Company for Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. is looking at all the options. Many years ago I remember meeting up with a guy called Joe Rascoff, who at that time, was the business affairs manager for Enterprises. He now manages the Stones and U2 in the States. To use his own words he had just been “blown-away” by a behind-closed-doors demonstration of an on stage duet with Elvis (as a three dimensional laser image) with Tina Turner performing “Proud Mary”. No doubt you have seen the amazing Gene Kelly commercial for VW cars will Kelly body-popping his way through his legendary “Singing in the Rain” routine. With today’s technology you can do almost anything so don’t be surprised at what might happen with Elvis’ altered image in the years to come.

For the first time the Graceland division of EPE is buying ad time on American satellite TV channels which target the 25-45 female profile, in an attempt to boost a younger visitor-ship to the Memphis attraction. Because of what it is, “Graceland - The Mansion” has fallen into the category of being almost a museum, and I feel that there has to be a lot more on offer to stimulate visitors who are not like us – that is to say not dedicated Elvis fans. The mansion should stay as it is, but it would be nice to include film footage of the inaccessible up-stairs apartments inside one of the across-the-street exhibits. The shops need a makeover. The retail space is “too much”, and needs to be enhanced by live entertainment with a host who can question-and-answer perform with guests. I would erect a 50s style radio tower with illuminated E L V I S lettering, and have an all day Elvis radio station, staffed by volunteers, and servicing the tourist community. Most US attractions now have one, and licenses are easy to get from the FCC. It would be self-funded by advertising gleaned from hotels, car-hire companies, airlines other retailers, and city-wide attractions. And let’s not forget the casinos – “leave your wife and kids at Graceland for the day and come and play with us”.

And for overseas fans unable to travel to the US, the time has come to seriously think about a touring attraction giving a flavour of the Graceland Experience. I’m thinking more of an entertainment experience of both audio and visual excitement, not just a few show cases stuffed with Elvis’ old clothes and possessions.

For Elvis legacy to continue every project from now on has to be a “happening”. Times have changed, and the general public expects more for their buck. Technologies have changed making almost anything possible, so let’s have all suggestions on the table and if Mr Sillerman has the bucks to invest, then lets see that cheque book open. If you have an idea, then share it with us, and we will be happy to publish your suggestions. The fans will support you!
Nilson Rego wrote on May 11, 2005
Visibility, comprehension of Elvis as an instrument of contemporarity (as shown actually on Broadway!) and inclusion of all kinds of loving and appreciating Elvis. Those will be unavoidable exercises of surviving and success to celebrate Elvis eternally. Great Todd! Nilson Calasans, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Renan Augusto wrote on May 11, 2005
Great words Todd. And I think now it´s time to bring "Elvis The Concert" to Brazil man! Lenny Kravitz came to Brazil and took 500.000 people in Rio de Janeiro. Now Rolling Stone are coming January. My friends keep always asking me: And Elvis The Concert?? I showed them a small clip and I could see their faces, all of them were shocked! They simply didn´t understand until now why it hasn´t come yet. Most of them say: "The MAN is there and we can´t attend that! This is sad to me. It´s Now Or Never and we are here! Sillerman read this!
Mauricio wrote on May 11, 2005
Be sure that there are Brazilian people from all ages spread in this wide country waiting for you TCB. Come here and show for Brazil the real concert! Show us the atmosphere of being into an Elvis concert. Come on, remember us!
Elizabeth wrote on May 11, 2005
These boys said everything before me: TCB, EPE, Sillerman: do you remember this Elvis song? "It´s Now Or Never"? Well that´s it. Bring the concert to Brazil!
Marco Aurelio wrote on May 12, 2005
Great speech and really sad Brazilian´s appeal. I´m also from Brazil and I´m in the same boat just like millions of fans here. They simply ignore us and it seems they don´t care about fans outside USA and UK. Nothing against these places but it´s time to open your eyes and see that Elvis is in everyplace. Also in South America, Brazil. The concert is awesome and we do want it.....
Renan Augusto wrote on May 12, 2005
Right Marco, unfortunately I feel the same. To speak frankly it´s not only you who feels rejected by EPE. I know many (really many) fans that are disgusted about EPE when talking about "Elvis The Concert". It´s just once and it´s always in the same places the tour. I really want to see this concert playing in United States and Europe again many and many times, but give us at least one chance to show the Elvis power with Brazilian fans. TCB be sure you will find a great audience here. This is a wish that I "wish" to come true.
cathyreno wrote on May 12, 2005
Todd your views here are right on the ball and it is exactly the way I feel. The coverage given to Elvis is brilliantat the moment. Long live the king
Son Of Mark 64 wrote on May 12, 2005
Well said Todd. but all I can say is remember Blackpool 1989, It cost a lot as you know yours was a great exhibition I stil have 4 mugs to prove it ,it would have to be done right not like the one down the road in L*******L
ElFan wrote on May 13, 2005
I think the 'Duets' idea warrants some serious consideration. It would be mind blowing to see the Elvis/Tina Turner 'Proud Mary' duet - a sure fire winner!
old shep wrote on May 13, 2005
Er, excuse me Todd Slaughter. But there were thousounds of non members of the Elvis Fan Club (i among them)who went out every Monday searching the record shops for the elusive singles too. As much as i admire the EPFC and it's support over the years for the king. Please don't forget the thousands of other Elvis fans who may not be club members but have certainly helped to get Elvis back where he belongs.
Sean Ryan wrote on May 13, 2005
To all the fans from Brazil and South America. I really wish they would take the Concert to that part of the world.It is awesome!! I come from the UK and have seen all the shows they have had in London and would keep going but its about time it went over there. I really feel for you guys. Elvis has got fans all over the world and they deserve to see this great show.
Teacher wrote on May 13, 2005
Sirius Radio has an all Elvis radio station at Graceland since July of 2004.
Renan Augusto wrote on May 13, 2005
Thanks Sean Ryan. Your words are really appreciated by Elvis fans in Brazil, In fact we still have a "little" hope on that. But again thanks a lot..
Tina S wrote on May 14, 2005
Iam not a fan club Member and I bye all Elvis s cds even the 70's and they are not very good
bossanovababy wrote on May 14, 2005
Tina S, your constant disregard of the 70s really baffles me, but hey, at least your buying them. Perhaps you`ll get won over in the end! As regards to `What Now,What Next,Where To`, in my opinion singles releases will always be the #1 way to reach a wider audience. I can`t imagine anyone, for example, listening to `68 Trying To Get To You, and not being blown away by the sheer passion and power, and pure Rock`n`Roll! I don`t mean us either,i mean the `uneducated`! If people are calling `Lyla`by Oasis, Rock`n`Roll, which it is. How could they possibly not love TTGTY? Remixes? Hey, if it works, which it evidentally does then i`m up for more of them. I`ve recently heard a remix of Too Much Monkey Business, which had a Mexican type feel-it was kinda intersting! TCB
old shep wrote on May 14, 2005
I agree that Elvis duetting would be a great idea. But El Fan, i don't think Proud Mary would be the right song.I think Elvis' version of the song was pretty bad, especially when you here the John Fogerty original.As for Tina Turner, she's well past her sell by date.There has been some great cover versions of Elvis' OWN songs over the years, both in the country and rock field i think that should be the direction.
Abidaslam1 wrote on May 14, 2005
I love Elvis' version of Proud Mary from the "On Stage " album. it is more rocking and full of energy than Jihn Fogarty's plodding hippy dippy version.
Eduardo wrote on May 20, 2005
asesorev May 20. No Todd Slaughter, do NOT agree with you a quite a number of issues my friend. We elvis fans notice that Sillerman, nor BMG nor EPE has gotten their house in order and they make big marketing mistakes all over and all the time now. Yhe only ones that make money are Lisa & her Mom getting 53 million dollars CASH out of the deal. But what about those 50,000,000 elvis fans who buy all those CDs, DVDs and books etc etc? Again Todd: what can we expect from the elvis empire in the years to come? More and better movie outtakes? Elvis on Tour 12 DVD miniconcerts? More studio session complete (incl outtakes) like Today, Guitar man & complete Country session ??? Be careful, they might run out of time with key persons like JDSumner and others passing away. or Wilkinson no longer being able to play. now that becomes a big problem. not so many fans want to go and see other personalities filling in for the real crowd we loved for so many years. Also, we feel that the English, danish fans clubs have been far too "political" over the years. too commercial like EPUnltd and others and they have really not given us good service, nor good product. They were not critical enough to what was going on at NY HQs with BMG, Ernst, Roger a.o. nor were they demanding enough Jack Soden at EPE to give us what we wanted for years. instead they brought out the same material over and over again. Sorry, Todd, and we know, you mean well, but you should give more, much more constructive criticism to the record co, to Jack and Sillerman. Elvis fans' reactions wanted here. and remember ElvisNEVERleftthebuilding!!!
Crawfish wrote on May 25, 2005
Re. Sirius radio; I subscribed to the 3 day free trial and thought it was just fantastic, but after that was advised that to subscribe fully was not available to UK listeners. Anyone else had that trouble? Or anyone know if Sirius plans to change this to benefit UK/Worldwide listeners. The trial was really enjoyable and I recommend it to all - but unfortunately I can't subscribe to the free trial again either! Am willing to pay! Thanks, any help greatly appreciated. And PS: Watched the whole EBTP DVD Monday/Tuesday and loved every minute it went so fast; and I thank everyone for sharing a little bit more of Elvis with us. Thanks.
MauriceColgan wrote on June 02, 2005
Tomorrow the Elvis Festival in Tupelo begins, yet I do not see much news of it here? Thanks to press releases from Irelandtoo news of the Festival is being circulated anyway:-)
smarsden7 wrote on October 08, 2005
A little late maybe, but I would like to ask some-one about the policy for the Elvis week in Golden sands mablethorpe, held every October. Because I own a caravan on this holiday site it is obiviously not reasonable to expect me to rent one so that I can attend the brilliant Elvis week that is held there. WHY can't I and other owners like me not just buy a pass for the week's entertainment and activities.