ELVIS HELD A RARE PRESS CONFERENCE on August 1, 1969, to celebrate his return to live performing. The get-together was held at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, where Elvis had played the night before to an invitation-only audience that included Ed Ames, Paul Anka, Burt Bacharach, Shirley Bassey, Pat Boone, Dick Clark, Petula Clark, Angie Dickinson, George Hamilton, Wayne Newton, and former flame Ann-Margret.
Presley’s last big press conference had been on March 3, 1960, when he had returned to civilian life and his career after two years in the US Army. The question-and-answer session at the International was a brief, low-key affair and wasn’t officially taped by RCA Victor. But apparently it was taped by someone in attendance.
Most of the questions were the kind we associate with celebrity-type publications today; they were not the kind of questions that a representative of the then-nascent rock press would have asked. That is, the questions were mundane, as were the singer’s answers. A few elicited a smart response.
When queried about his decision to return to live performing, he said that had been made in 1965 but movie commitments had to be fulfilled first. “I missed the live contact with an audience,” joked Elvis. “It was getting harder and harder to sing to a camera all day.”
But one question elicited an answer that should sum up everything we need to know about what Elvis Presley thought about being Elvis Presley:
Question: “Is there any other individual you would rather be?”
Elvis: “Are you kidding?”
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of the page was taken at the August 1, 1969, press conference. Elvis was fit, healthy, and happy and looked like he was establishing a new standard for male beauty—at least for males who weren’t long-haired hippie-wannabes like me . . .
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)