best answer ever given by elvis to a journalist’s question

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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?”


Elvis Memphis press conference 1969 1 1001

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 . . .



8 thoughts on “best answer ever given by elvis to a journalist’s question”

  1. Oh, Mr. Long-haired hippy-dippy (at least ya got the balls to admit it;),

    Quite a list of in­vites, but thou has for­gotten the other manly-man, mega-talented, Rockin’ Adonis of that era, ya know, Elvis’ Best ‘En­ter­tain­ment’ Friend...the one re­spon­sible for Elvis even being in Vegas... The Kat who had a #1 LP that same year for weeks called “TOM JONES, Live In Las Vegas!”

    He was First on the list...don’t know if prior com­mit­ments kept him from at­tending. After all, it was during TJ­Mania. Of note, NONE of the Bea­tles were in­vited ;) ’69 reigned in the manly-men of music & out with the long-haried, dope-smokin, hippy-dippies.

    All was Right with the world again, at least for a lil’ while. That coming from a kat who at 10y/o, 1st mu­sical en­light­en­ment came cour­tesy of The Bea­tles ’64. Bea­tles were. are & will al­ways be the World’s Greatest Band, even if there was only a handful of songs worth a fart in a wind­storm during the second half of their career.

    Long Live John, Paul, George & Ringo, even if they were a peg Under, The King, TJ, Killer & The GodFather. ;);)

    • DAVE

      Thanks for the com­ment. It’s about time you got off your be­hind and left a comment!

      For us long-haired, smoke-dopin’, hippie-dippies, Las Vegas was where old, fat, de­gen­erate al­co­holics went to stu­pidly lose their money at games rigged for the house to win at least 60% of the time.

      As for en­ter­tain­ment, Vegas was usu­ally the end of the line for has-been pop stars who couldn’t get it up on the Top 40 radio anymore.

      Those of us who were into both Elvis and the con­tem­po­rary rock scene thought that Elvis going there was a tac­tical error, one that could ad­versely af­fect the di­rec­tion his ca­reer had taken in 1969. Fifty years later and many of us still think it was a mis­take. But that’s an­other story and one worthy of its own ar­ticle here on A Touch Of Gold.

      As for Tom Jones, he was one of the manly-men types that we hippy-dippies did NOT want to em­u­late. We saw him as a mis­an­thropic Neanderthal-type. It wasn’t until years later that I came to un­der­stand that ol’ Tom Jones had a pretty dry sense of humor and irony about his sex ap­peal. Never un­der­stood why he didn’t be­come a movie star along the lines of Burt Reynolds (an­other macho-macho man who I didn’t dig at the time and now de­light in watching).

      Oh, well, some of us live and learn. Others just live.

      Keep on keepin’ on!


      PS: Here’s the Tom Jones track that made me re­think my po­si­tion on the man:

      PS3: And for readers who haven’t heard Jones’s ren­di­tion of “Delilah” that he did at the Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Con­cert in Eng­land a few years ago, give this a listen:

  2. Elvis cer­tainly looked in the best shape he had ever been and sadly would never re­ally be again but that was one dumb ques­tion to ask the worlds most fa­mous and iconic entertainer.As for Tom Jones I think he had a great voice and made a few de­cent records but I al­ways did and still do con­sider him to be a pale im­i­ta­tion of the King but the guy has lasted well and must be given his due.

  3. Neal,

    1. I don’t agree with 1/2 of what you think & write, but YOU are the f’in M‑A-N!

    2. That per­spec­tive of Vegas was ac­cu­rate, ’til TOM F’in JONES ROCKED The Balls outta the Strip! Like a savage an­imal.... oh dear. Should I say it... like a Tiger Man Un­leashed! When TJ left the stage, they had to bring out mops to wipe up his sweat & the au­di­ences cum! EP lovers, that was TJ’s nick...

    “Tiger Tom” during his prime mid-60’s days. “Ted­dyBoy Tom” during his be­gin­nings & “The Voice” at his late 60’s-70’s Peak. (“I Who Have Nothing,” “Till,” “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” “Delilah,” etc, etc. etc) The only person on the face of the Earth that could follow TJ was, of course, The King! Their en­gage­ments were made of Legend. Elvis stepped on NO ones stage more than TJ’s.

    EP warmed up his vo­cals to “Delilah”! (Why didn’t ANY body tape it!) I could write a book about the two Greatest Pop-Rock Singers / Dancers / En­ter­tainers of all-time. They had NO equals, ex­cept each other. And re­member, the Greatest mu­sical footage ever shot, was from Vegas, bay-bee:

    No, I’m not pro-Vegas, but I also don’t think any­thing neg­a­tive about it. The Rat Pack days were long over by the time TJ took over the strip & showed those silver hairs how to Rrrrrock! Just as he did at the Copa & a thou­sand other venues world­wide. Mil­lions of people, fans & in gen­eral, got a chance to see him in Vegas, where oth­er­wise they wouldn’t have. Col knew what he was doin’, the ol’ SOB! ;)

    3. Thanks Neal, for the Bad-Ass Burt com­ment... my all-time fave actor! Yes, TJ was Burt(manly-man), & EP was Clint(pretty-boy).

    4. Holy shitttttttt Neal, “Say You’ll Stay” made you a fan!? Are you shi­i­i­i­itin’ me!? Country corn­pone crap! It turned off Real TJ fans! Went #1 on BB & CB Country.... back-to-back weeks with EP’s “Moody Blue” (more shi­i­iiit) & #15 on Pop... same po­si­tion as “Delilah”!

    I was happy as hell seeing the Two Greatest back on the charts again, but pissed it was with two shiiit songs: a disco-flavored-pop for The King & country corn­pone for Tiger Tom. (Sorry, I cant refer to him as The Voice. That honor goes to the Chairman of the Board, even tho TJ can out sing him even with Laryngitis;).

    By the time he had that hit, his record label (Parrot) was outta biz. He signed with Epic & they jumped all over that hit & signed TJ to a five-yr, five-LP Country deal. TJ later said it was the worst ca­reer move he made. It was like EP’s deal to do sound­tracks. Of course, they’re both so tal­ented, gems sprang up here & there, even with the crap they were fed. Anywho, my God, are you ever way off base on the Great­ness of TJ! Here, try these. If ya still don’t get TJ, give up!

    5. As for your “Delilah” clip: TH & his son, Mr. Mark, did up that arrange­ment cus TJ knew he couldn’t do it the Right Way any­more at 75+. He did the same thing with Pa­vorotti (duet!) It’s far, FAR from Prime-TJ, but better than any­body could do then or now. Just imagine if EP was still around & singing at that age!

    Sorry, rushed to wrap this up ... 

    Keep ELVIS King!

    • DAVE (ERR)

      I wanted to get your com­ment ap­proved and posted be­cause I know you were having a few is­sues with finding it. Here’s what hap­pens when you submit a com­ment: It goes di­rectly to Trash and then I have to open up Trash, make sure it’s not spam, ap­prove it, and then get it posted out here where others can read it.

      I will be back to ad­dress your com­ments but it’s been an­other looong day and now I just wanna got to bed.



  4. I agree with you, Neal. It would have been better if Elvis had said, “Man, some­times I’d just like to be some normal joe flip­ping burgers.” Elvis should’ve never signed up for his come­back at In­ter­na­tional Hotel Show Room, but at major venues across the US and the fol­lowing year, out­side the US.

    • In 1969, Vegas was known as a place that “older” people thought was cool. I don’t know how many Amer­i­cans were aware of the place’s con­nec­tions with or­ga­nized crime at the time, but seeing Sinatra at the Sands while being able to gamble legally and maybe bump into Lee Trevino at one of the ta­bles was a right­eous pil­grimage for many of those folks. That is not a value judgment—I loved Sinatra even as a teenager!

      But it’s prob­ably safe to say that these were prob­ably not the people that had bought “If I Can Dream” and “In the Ghetto” or the Elvis and From Elvis In Mem­phis albums.

      In the hip, younger cir­cles of folks under 30 who read Craw­daddy and Rolling Stone—the ones who took our rock se­ri­ously and bought lots of albums—playing Vegas was like a joke. So, in terms of reaching record buyers via live per­for­mance, it seemed Elvis was going about things bass-backward!

      In hind­sight, it made sense: It was a hel­luva lot easier doing two shows a day, seven days a week in one place (where you con­ve­niently could also eat, sleep, and in­dulge in some R&R) than heading out on the road. It also al­lowed Presley to get over any jit­ters he might have had and work on a solid show with his band, singers, and or­chestra. (He could have called his on­stage crew “Mad Dogs and a Mem­phis Boy.”) Plus we got a pretty good album out of it.

      The BIGGEST mis­take I can see is what you men­tioned: Once he got his road show to­gether, he should have headed for the UK and Eu­rope and Aus­tralia and Japan! Had he done this in 1971, there could have been the second coming of Elvismania.

      Oh well, as someone once fa­mous once said, “So it goes ...”


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