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Elvis In London In 1958?

April 22, 2008 | Other

Did Elvis set foot on English soil after all? Theatre producer Bill Kenwright yesterday claimed the rocker went sightseeing with Cockney singer Tommy Steele during a trip that took in the Houses of Parliament. It has always been thought the nearest Elvis came to visiting England was a brief 1960 stopover at Prestwick airport in Scotland on his way home from his army base in Germany.
But 62-year-old Kenwright insisted the US legend arrived here in the mid-50s for his trip around the capital and even sparked up a long-standing friendship with Tommy. He told Radio 2's Ken Bruce: "Shall I tell you a little story I know and you don't know and nobody knows? "Elvis came to England. Nobody thinks he did and I hope Tommy doesn't go mad when I tell you.

"Tommy got a phone call one night. It said: 'They tell me you're good' and Tommy replied: 'Who's this?' "The caller said: 'It's Elvis,' and Tommy said: 'Get outta here.' And Elvis said: 'Are you as good as me?' "And they talked and they got a friendship. Elvis flew in for a day. And Tommy showed him round London. "He showed him the Houses of Parliament and spent the day with him." After the show Kenwright, who works closely with Tommy, 71, confirmed the story. He added: "I've known Tommy for years, he's done several shows for me. I often see him and we meet up for dinner. "Whenever I see him I beg him to tell me stories about Buddy Holly and Elvis. "He told me one about Elvis. One night when Tommy was about 17 or 18, he got a phone call and it was Elvis on the phone from Germany where he was stationed. "He couldn't believe it but in the end the two struck up a friendship. "They spent the day in London together. I think it's fantastic."

A spokesman for Elvis's Graceland estate said: "To the best of our knowledge there was only the one stopover at Scotland. "We are researching our archives. There are some un-documented areas of Elvis's life." Tommy had been billed as Britain's answer to Elvis.

Ayr Advertiser journalist and reporter Charlie Bingham, who cwho reported on Elvis Presley’s Prestwick touchdown, died April 4, 2008. He joined the Advertiser in 1955 and reported on a host of exciting stories, including Elvis’ only visit to Britain in 1960, after working briefly at the Prestwick News.

Update April 24:

On the EIN website Marty Lacker commented: Tommy Steele's claim that Elvis contacted him and spent a day in London with him is total bullshit.

It seems Steele is just another person who has come out of the woodwork since Elvis died that has made false claims about themselves and Elvis. They think because he's gone they can get away with it but they forget the that we, the original guys who were close to him for 20 years and more, are still here. At least one of us and most times more, were with him just about everyday for all that time. Many days 24/7. We know what he did and who he did it with. Tommy Steele was never with Elvis in London because Elvis was never in London. The only time Elvis was in any part of Great Britain is when his army plane made a brief landing to refuel in Prestwick, Scotland on his way home from the army in Germany.

Who Steele did meet is Lamar Fike, who says that he went to London back then while he was in Germany with Elvis. He went with a couple of guys and met Steele as part of a group. He spent a few hours with him and the others but he never went to Parliment as Steele claims or any other sightseeing tour with him.

Tommy Steel Confirms the visit: Former rocker Tommy Steele has confirmed that he took Elvis Presley on a secret tour of London in 1958. In a note given to the Daily Mail, Steele said that he sworn “never to divulge publicly" any information about Presley’s visit. "I can only hope he [Presley] can forgive me,” Steele added. "It was an event shared by two young men sharing the same love of their music and the same thrill of achieving something unimaginable." Previously it was believed that Elvis had only visited the United Kingdom once in his lifetime during a stop-over at Prestwick Airport en route to America in 1960. Steele’s secret was revealed earlier this week by theatre producer Bill Kenwright who made the revelation during an interview with BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce. According to Kenwright, Steele told him that Elvis had taken in the Houses of Parliament on his tour.
Sean Ryan wrote on April 22, 2008
The problem with this story is that Bill Kenwright does not realise how well informed Elvis fans are today and thinks just cause Elvis is not with us that he can come out and get away with a ridiculous story like this. Elvis never came to London,England.He said in the March '60 interview at Graceland he only went to Paris while in Germany.Elvis also never went anywhere without at least one of his friends. Bill Kenwright expects us to believe that Elvis flew in from Germany for a day, went through customs and walked round top London sites without anyone realising its Elvis?? The fact that not one of Elvis' friends or army buddies have ever told this story? Great story and its got Elvis in the papers in a positive way but totally not true.
Steve V wrote on April 22, 2008
I find it horrible that Elvis never went to England or to Europe , Japan, or Austraila. His fan base was so huge there. All the major (and not so major) stars did world tours. He said on many occassions how much he wanted to. Was it all BS or did the Colonel really prevent this from happening? Will we ever know the truth?
Brian Quinn wrote on April 22, 2008
This story is untrue. As has already been mentioned, Elvis' bodyguards would have commented on such a visit by now.
Viva wrote on April 22, 2008
Anyone with half a brain can tear holes in this "Story". Either Tommy is deluded, or Bill is or perhaps both of them are. Steve V: As far as I can tell, the blame for why Elvis never appeared overseas lies firmly at the feet of the Col. His greed, lack of respect for other people in power, unwillingness to relinquish control of Elvis and his questionable past are all reasons it didn't happen. To be fair, Elvis has to take some of the responsibility as he should have been stronger and stood up to the Col, but as was true on so many occasions this never happened.
My boy, my boy wrote on April 23, 2008
I've always wondered, how come Elvis never took any vacations out of USA on his own. I mean after all he had his own airplane and could go anywhere he wanted. He didn't have to necessarily go on tour to visit a foreign country...just as a simple tourist would have been fine !
Christer wrote on April 23, 2008
Just a side remark: In Sweden there was this voting competition that a magazine arranged in 1958(?): Who was the best, Tommy or Elvis?.... and Tommy won. Today, 50 years later I guess the result would be different....
CEP wrote on April 23, 2008
There have been whispers of this in and around London for a few years now.Another well known promoter told me that when he tried to negotiate with Elvis in 1970 to perform at Wembley there was a conversation about a secret visit in 1958.The conversation stopped when the Colonel entered the dressing room.Elvis was flown in from Germany by the army picked up in a Limo and driven around London with Tommy as his guide.No 'buddies' involved - as far as they were concerned he was out on manouvres in Germany for a day.There are still many parts of Elvis's life shrouded in secrecy - secret liasons,secret visits - and also many of the people involved have kept the secrets to themselves.It is just untrue that the 'guys' were with him all the time - he was known to sneak out of Graceland by himself frequently -
OtisBlue22 wrote on April 23, 2008
I'd like to believe this. It's not impossible that he chose to keep such information from his 'bodyguards'; I'm sure more professional and reliable people would have been on hand and willing to serve in England. Personally, I don't mind that Elvis (probably) never came to England or toured abroad. Peter Guralnick maintains that Elvis himself, at the end of the day, just couldn't be bothered. There would have been the problem, in the 70's, of getting all those pills through customs. I'm content knowing that he lived in Germany for nearly two years and still wouldn't see Cliff Richard!! Also, I can't imagine a more exotic location than Hawaii in the 50's and 60's. (Much preferable to a rainy day in London...besides, he went there in 1966, during the making of Double Trouble, didn't he?)
Duncs wrote on April 23, 2008
Who was best, Tommy or Elvis - there's only one way to find out - FIGHT !
My boy, my boy wrote on April 23, 2008
OtisBlue22, the action of the movie Double Trouble took place in England...but "everything" was shot in Hollywood !
DeLorean wrote on April 23, 2008
Strange one this. Why would Tommy Steele subject himself to total ridicule by lying over something like this but when every aspect of Elvis' life has been analysed, its hard to imagine how such a big secret could be kept so long.
Harvey Alexander wrote on April 23, 2008
Tommy's memory is puddled. He's also claimed in the past that he saw Buddy Holly at a show in Norfolk, Virginia when he was a merchant seaman. Thing is, Holly never ever played in Norfolk, Virginia. Also, can you imagine how many people would've had to have known about such a visit in order to keep it a secret? And in all the years since then nobody has ever mentioned it? Come on, it's more far fetched than a remix of 'Do The Clam' being at No.1 next week. Tommy's mind is puddled - simple as that.
OtisBlue22 wrote on April 23, 2008
He's also been to Acapulco and the Far East in '63 and '65 respectively.
Aaron Spicer wrote on April 23, 2008
I am excited by this story and believe it. Remember that Tommy Steele didn't spill the beans himself and hasn't, so far, tried to capitalize on the story. Marty Lacker typically uses crude language and suggests that he would have known of Elvis's every move. If it was just a fleeting visit, probably arranged through the military, it would have been unnecessary to have involved many people at all. Just because it sounds far-fetched does not mean that it didn't happen-would the doubters put their homes/life savings on it not having occurred? I don't think so.
My boy, my boy wrote on April 23, 2008
OtisBlue22, sorry to burst your bubble again but Elvis "never" went to Acapulco nor the far east. Both Fun in Acapulco and Harum Scarum were filmed in Hollywwod. What you see in the background of Harum Scarum is fake, just like the kind of set up we see in the series Star Trek when Spock and Jim step up on a foreign planet. All this is well-known and is what made Elvis's movies a joke back then in the 60ties....The only locations he really went to for shooting are Hawaii, New Orleans, Florida, things like that !...He never left the USA soil !
Keriaboo wrote on April 23, 2008
Well it is good to have a 'nice' Elvis story for a change but this one is total nonsense! There is no way that Elvis was in London just to meet Tommy Steele - would he even know who he was? And why would Elvis keep it a secret? Why would Tommy? Do we really believe that Elvis went flying by himself (despite his total fear of flying), going AWOL from Germany, for a day trip to London to meet a poor English copy of him? Who met him at the airport? Did he jump in a taxi (now surely that would be a great 'guess who I once had in my cab' story!), no-ne at Germany or London airport recognises him at all. He meets Tommy and then they just go on a sight seeing trip round London? What on Cliff's red bus? Then he goes back to Germany (still unseen) and never mentions it again for reasons unknown - despite saying later in his comeback that he would love to go to Engalnd as he has never been. Oh and I know while in Germany he went to the Star Club in Hamburg and did a gig with the young Beatles!! Sorry but this is straight from Elvis - The Novel. A good laugh but total fabrication. Elvis - UK - Scotland - Prestwick Airport - and that was it.
CEP wrote on April 24, 2008
Keriaboo this is entirely possible - don't forget Elvis would have been flying from and into American military bases in Germany and London.He would n't have had to fly into a major airport or pass through customs.He would have been picked up in a limo at the airbase and driven around.Only one or two people would have known.It would have been easy to do it all in a day and return to Germany as if nothing had happened.This has been a rumour for a few years as i said in an earlier post and Elvis often went awol for a few days in the 60s and don't forget that he made it to the White House without any of the 'boys' knowing until he gave Jerry and Sonny a call - MyBoyMyBoy - i think Otisblue22 was joking!
benny scott wrote on April 24, 2008
In my opionion the explanation of Keriaboo is cristalclear and I have to agree with him 300%! Been flown to London in a military airplane?? Does anybody realise what that means ? The American army spending a lot of money to fly one of their soldiers to England, just because that soldier is Elvis ? And been driven around in a car A WHOLE DAY without stepping out to eat or drink, so no one could recognize him ? Or did he eat and drink and go to the WC while sitting in that car ? Are some people forgetting that Elvis himself insisted doing his military service just like any other American boy, and surely did not want being treated in a special way or benefit from advantages his fellow-soldiers couldn't benefit from ? Come on guys !!! This make me think of a lot of fans still being convinved Elvis is still alive. These rumours also circle around for many years, and we all know this is not true. As Keriaboo already mentioned : probably Elvis didn't even know who Tommy Steele was. Always El.
My boy, my boy wrote on April 24, 2008
CEP...Thank you for the insight about OtisBlue22 , I should have known better !
Sean Ryan wrote on April 24, 2008
Joe Esposito has been asked about this and he also said that this story is totally untrue. Think it only takes abit of common sense to realise this didnt happen.
cathyreno wrote on April 28, 2008
why do they make up these stories?? why would it be such a big deal to keep this visit such a big secret in the 1st place... he was allowed to go to paris on leave he could of went to england on leave if he wanted too And why the story only coming out now!! fair play Marty x tcb
ext_mnx wrote on May 08, 2008
Yes, he was in London, he is in our hearts. on 1975 "macca" ask Elvis Presley to go to London. Do not you write that is untrue? 5;P