Elvis Presley Article Presented By The Country Music Planet!
Country Music Planet presents an article about the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Elvis’s death during the summer of 2002, includes news on Jerry Mac


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An Article From The Atlanta-Constitution


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 7/14/02 ]

Long live the King
70,000 fans expected to pay tribute on 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau

Make reservations as soon as possible if you expect to tour Elvis' mansion -- with its pink Cadillac -- in August.
Memphis -- Business is slow this sultry summer evening at Jerry Mac's tent next to Boulevard Souvenirs, just down the sidewalk from the gates of Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion.

The roadside entrepreneur may be lonesome tonight, but come August, he'll be singing a different tune.

As many as 70,000 Elvis fans are expected to descend on the city Aug. 10-18 for Elvis Week 2002. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the singer's death on Aug. 16. He was 42.

"This is going to be the biggest Elvis Week we've ever had," says Todd Morgan, a spokesman for Elvis Presley Enterprises. "We know that for sure."

Already, Elvis Presley's Memphis, a restaurant featuring former Elvis backup groups, has sold out two events: a gospel brunch with the Jordanaires and a jam session with the TCB Band.

More than 9,000 fans have paid up to $75 for tickets to Elvis: the 25th Anniversary Concert at the Pyramid arena Aug. 16, leaving fewer than 3,000 seats to be sold. Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' ex-wife and daughter, are expected to attend the concert, which will feature the King on video and 30 of his original bandmates onstage.

Elvis is the cover boy for the city's official 2002 Visitors Guide and Inside Memphis, a special supplement to Memphis magazine. The cover lines on the latter proclaim: "A King's Summer."

"I think it's really going to be big," says Jerry Mac, shouting over the traffic speeding along Elvis Presley Boulevard. ("How you people doing?" he yells to passers-by. "You want to come over and sing a song with me? You're welcome to.")

In 1957, Jerry Mac Sutton -- a country singer-songwriter and music promoter who knocked around the Nashville club scene as a performer and master of ceremonies for more than three decades -- was a teenager working at the Memphian Theatre when Elvis, then in his early 20s, would rent out the entire theater after hours for his entourage.

"The first song I ever wrote, 'The Drugstore Rock,' I sang to him," the 61-year-old entertainer recalls. "I was just a popcorn boy. He treated me just as well as he would have probably treated the governor or the president. He was a nice man, a very nice man. He was a big influence on me getting into the music business."

As Elvis Week draws near, Jerry Mac -- who's putting together a special show for fan club presidents at Libertyland amusement park during the big week -- is hoping lots of fans will be lining up to record cassette tapes of Elvis songs at $15 a pop. As his fliers put it: "Just imagine you being able to tell everyone that you sang right next door to the home of the King!"

Across the boulevard, the 128-room Heartbreak Hotel, with its heart-shaped swimming pool, is fluffing up the pillows and brushing off the red, purple and royal blue velvet furnishings in the lobby decorated in a style that screams Elvis.

But unless you've already made a reservation, don't expect to check in during Elvis Week. The place is booked, although Morgan predicts it won't be impossible to find vacancies elsewhere.

Even in June, one couldn't book the Elvis Experience package, which includes deluxe accommodations for two people for one night, including deluxe continental breakfast; two reservations for the Graceland Platinum Tour, which includes all Graceland tours and attractions (Graceland Mansion tour, Elvis Automobile Museum, tour of Elvis' airplanes and the Sincerely Elvis exhibit); and dinner for two at Elvis Presley's Memphis on historic Beale Street. The package starts at $199 per room per night, and after Elvis Week, you should be able to book it with a week of advance notice.

If there's no room at the inn, you can organize your own Elvis experience. But if you want to tour Graceland during Elvis Week, make reservations.

Before heading to Graceland, start the day at Sun Studio, where a 19-year-old Elvis made his first recording. Spend the afternoon touring Graceland, peeking inside Elvis' airplanes and stocking up on souvenirs.

End the day at Elvis Presley's Memphis with live music and some of the King's favorite chow: fried dill pickles, Southern-style meatloaf, fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and Gladys' apple pie.

And when you pay your bill and leave, don't be surprised to hear a ghostly drawl: "Thank you, thank you very much."


Here are some of the highlights, but for a complete schedule, consult www.elvis.com.

AUG. 10

-- An Elvis Happening on Beale Street: Memphis welcomes fans with an Elvis-themed parade, entertainment in Beale Street clubs and a big outdoor screen on Beale running Elvis performance footage. Free, but wristband ticket will be required for admission to clubs.

AUG. 11

-- Elvis Week Dance Party: A more elaborate version of this ever-popular annual event. Terry Mike Jeffrey and his band will play Elvis music, and a disc jockey will spin Elvis records between the band's sets. 8 p.m.-midnight. $25. Memphis Ballroom of the Peabody hotel, 149 Union Ave. 1-800238-2000.

AUG. 12

-- 14th annual Elvis Presley Memorial Dinner Charity Event: Notables expected to attend include the Jordanaires, Sam Phillips, Knox Phillips, Jerry Schilling, George Klein, Richard Davis, D.J. Fontana, Janelle McComb, Dick Grob and Gordon Stoker. Casual attire, cash bar. Auction 3:30-5:30 p.m.; dinner 7 p.m. $50. Memphis Ballroom, Peabody hotel, 149 Union Ave. 901-324-9612.

AUG. 13

-- Elvis Fan Night at Libertyland: Many times, Elvis rented the park late at night for his friends. Fans are invited to ride the rides, including Elvis' favorite, the Zippin Pippin; play games; dance to a DJ playing Elvis music; sing Elvis karaoke and more. Special guests and live entertainment. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $20 (does not permit admittance to the special meeting for presidents/officers). Children 6 and under are free. Libertyland Amusement Park, 940 Early Maxwell Blvd. 1-800-238-2000.

-- Tupelo Tour with Mike Freeman: See Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo with the man who knows the town almost as well as he knows Memphis. Freeman -- author with Cindy Hazen of "Memphis Elvis-Style" -- will show the little birthplace house, the Times and Things Remembered Museum next door, the school Elvis attended, the church he attended and where his twin brother is buried. Meet at the Graceland parking lot. Travel in a luxury coach with videos and music. Lunch provided. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Send $75 (check or money order, no credit cards) to Mike Freeman, 1034 Audubon Drive, Memphis, TN 38117.

-- The Legends: Darwin Lamm and Elvis International . . . The Magazine present a group of legendary performers and musicians who worked with Elvis onstage and on his recordings. Performers include Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, the Jordanaires, Boots Randolph, Millie Kirkham, David Briggs, Buddy Harmon and Bob Moore. Guest vocalists are Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, Billy Swan and Stan Perkins. 7 p.m. $45. The Peabody, 149 Union Ave. 818-991-3892, www.elvisthemagazine.com.

AUG. 14

-- Salute to Elvis: Darwin Lamm and Elvis International . . . The Magazine present a show that recalls Elvis' Las Vegas concerts, featuring Eddie Miles with Ed Enoch and the Golden Covenant. Special guests: Charlie Hodge and Myrna Smith. 7 p.m. $45. The Peabody, 149 Union Ave. 818-991-3892, www.elvisthemagazine.com.

AUG. 15

-- "Is Elvis History? 2002 and Beyond" seminar: A panel including music critic Greil Marcus, Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick and Sam Phillips, Elvis' first producer, will explore whether Elvis will be seen as a positive force contributing to the diversity and freedom of American culture or, at best, a transitional figure. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $100 per person or $90 per person if registered in groups of two or more. Includes lunch and break snacks. Fogelman Executive Center, University of Memphis (at Central Avenue and Deloach). 901-678-2350.

-- Audubon Drive Pool Party: Enjoy Tyke Harrison's Tomcat DJ Show and swim in Elvis' first pool. Tour the home and view Elvis artist Betty Harper's work. Noon-3 p.m. $35, advance purchase only. Elvis' former home: 1034 Audubon Drive. Checks to Nancie Craft, 2350 Bering Drive, Suite 116, Houston, TX 77057. 713-782-1122, e-mail: elvisjunky@aol.com.

-- Candlelight vigil: At 9 p.m. there is a brief opening ceremony at the gates of Graceland. Then fans are invited to walk up the driveway to Elvis' grave site and back down carrying a candle in quiet remembrance. Free parking at the Graceland visitor center complex after 6 p.m. No admission charge. Gates remain open until all who wish to participate in the procession have done so, which usually takes until the early morning hours of Aug. 16.

-- An Inspirational Time With Elvis Music: Darwin Lamm and Elvis International . . . The Magazine present gospel-centered music by various tribute artists and the Expense Account Band. $10. Tickets can be purchased from noon until midnight beginning Aug. 11 at the door of the New Daisy Theater, 330 Beale St. Midnight-1:30 a.m. 818-991-3892, www.elvisthemagazine.com.

AUG. 16

-- Elvis: the 25th Anniversary Concert: Reunion show featuring Elvis on video and a large cast of singers and musicians who worked with Elvis onstage through the years. Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley will attend the concert, and each will be making a special greeting to the fans. 8 p.m. $20-$75. The Pyramid arena; www.ticketmaster.com.

-- George Klein's Elvis Memorial Service: Annual event hosted by Memphis entertainment personality and longtime friend of Elvis. Speakers traditionally include friends and relatives of Elvis and a celebrity guest. Noon-3 p.m. Free. Main theater of the University of Memphis Theater Building. 901-678-2565.

AUG. 17

-- A Sweet & Classic Evening at Elvis Presley's Memphis: The Sweet Inspirations (Estelle Brown, Sylvia Shemwell, Myrna Smith and new member Kelly Johnson) and the Classic Voices (new group name for Sherman Andrus, Terry Blackwood, Joe Moscheo and Jim Murray) perform together for two dinner shows. All-inclusive price per person for one show, three-course dinner, tax and gratuity is $50. Two seatings: 6 and 8:30 p.m. 126 Beale St. 901-527-6900, Ext. 107.

-- 25th Anniversary Elvis Fest: Full day of special guests, entertainment and activities including stories and questions and answers with associates of Elvis, and more than 60 Elvis memorabilia dealers. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $20. The Peabody, 149 Union Ave. 818-991-3892, www.elvisthemagazine.com.

-- The 25th Anniversary Elvis Farewell Tribute Concert: Elvis performers, Elvis musicians and Elvis friends onstage paying their final respects for the week. Featured performers and guests: the TCB Band (James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, Jerry Scheff & Ronnie Tutt). Special appearance by TCB Band member John Wilkinson. Featured guest vocalists: Kathy Westmoreland, Charlie Hodge and Terry Mike Jeffrey. Special guest appearances: D.J. Fontana, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling. Master of ceremonies: Red Robinson. 9 p.m. Reserved seating $45. The Peabody, 149 Union Ave. 818-991-3892, www.elvisthemagazine.com.

AUG. 18

-- Gospel Brunch at Elvis Presley's Memphis: Gospel music performed live by Ed Enoch & the Golden Covenant. All-inclusive price per person for one show, meal (brunch menu), tax and gratuity is $21.95; $10 for children under 5. Seatings at 10 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Elvis Presley's Memphis, 126 Beale St. 901-527-6900, Ext. 107.


-- Audubon House Tours: Exclusive tours of the first home that Elvis bought. This private home is owned by Mike Freeman and Cindy Hazen, who are restoring it to the way it was when Elvis lived there in 1956. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 10-18. $10; call or e-mail in advance. 1034 Audubon Drive. 901-761-1838; e-mail: mikeandcindy@memphisexplorations.com.

-- Elvis Con 2002: This ninth annual convention features more than 60 tables of Elvis memorabilia dealers from around the world selling, trading and buying all kinds of vintage and new Elvis collectibles. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Aug. 11, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 12-16. $3 daily or $6 for six-day pass. Ramada Inn S.W., 1471 E. Brooks Road (I-55 & Brooks Road Exit), about one mile north of Graceland. 815-464-7681, e-mail: Sndzgood @aol.com.

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