If not for Marty Lacker, Elvis might never have gone to American Studios in 1969 to record the landmark "From Elvis in Memphis" record.
If not for Mr. Lacker, then, the world might never have had such Presley hits as "Suspicious Minds" — The King's last chart-topper — and "In the Ghetto," among many others.
"Marty was working for me and he was still in close with Elvis," the late Chips Moman, who founded American, told The Commercial Appeal in 2009. "So Marty was talking to me about Elvis and talking to Elvis about me and slowly bringing us together. He's really the one that got that album to take place."
Mr. Lacker, a member of The King's famed Memphis Mafia and one of the best men at Elvis's 1967 wedding, died Monday after suffering from kidney failure. He was 80. He's the second member of the Memphis Mafia to die in recent months, following the November 2016 death of Joe Esposito, the other best man at Elvis' wedding.
"He went to school with (Elvis), that’s how they met. My dad was from New York, the Bronx, and he dressed just like Elvis did. They just formed a bond of friendship through that. They always took up for each other. Both of them went into the army and afterwards, a good friend of his re-introduced them and he went to work for him," said Mr. Lacker's son, Mark. "They were like brothers. They respected each other."
Mr. Lacker also worked in the music business both during his time with Elvis and after The King's 1977 death. In 1967, Lacker helped launch Pepper Records and went on to become American Studios' vice president and business manager. In the early '70s, Lacker also helped co-found the local Grammy chapter and also served as the chairman of the original Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission.
"A big thing that I wanted to accomplish was to organize the music industry in town. Memphis was not a very organized city; everybody did their own thing," Lacker told the newspaper in 2010. "At the end of the day, you can't underestimate what the music that came out of Memphis has brought to this city."