Elvis fans are eagerly (and nervously) awaiting the release of the new movie on June 24. Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla has seen a preview screening and given her verdict and that of their only child Lisa Marie Presley. She tweeted: ” “I’ve seen Elvis the film, I watched the trailer over a dozen times. But the words I heard from my daughter on how much she loved the film and that (Lisa Marie’s daughter) Riley will love it too when she sees it brought tears. I relived every moment in this film. It took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa. Beautifully done Baz, Tom, Austin and Olivia.”
As well as director Baz Luhrman and Elvis actor Austin Butler, The King’s ex-wife also name-checked Tom Hanks, who plays Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker, and actress Olivia DeJonge who portrays Priscilla herself.
Priscilla has just posted an exclusive clip on her social media that shows Elvis at the very start of his career, performing on the Hayride stage. The Louisiana Hayride was a local radio and then TV show that broadcast young country music stars performing live on stage. It helped launch Hanks Williams in 1948 and Elvis made his debut in 1952, four years before Heartbreak Hotel took him to the top of the national music charts.
Elvis was a total unknown then, but he already had something that set him apart – and it wasn’t just his voice…
The new clip also imagines a naive Elvis not initially understanding why all the girls were going so crazy in the audience. The King originally performed as part of a trio, The Blue Moon Boys, with guitarist Scotty Moore and Bill Black on bass.
They made their Hayride debut on October 16, 1954, and it wasn’t long before it was clear that Elvis was the main attraction.
The clip shows Elvis running back to the boys on stage and asking “What are they hollering at?” When he’s told it’s his “wiggle” he returns to the front and gives his fans exactly what they want.
A watching Colonel Parker is astounded by the reactions of all the young women and comments: “Now I don’t know nothing about music but I could see in that girl’s eyes he was a taste of forbidden fruit. She could have eaten her alive. He was my destiny.”
By February 1955, Parker has started to help promote Elvis and he quickly realised that the local radio and concert circuit would never be big enough. Elvis was signed to local record label Sun Records, and owner Sam Phillips told Parker he wanted $40,000 to release the young star. It was an unheard-of sum in those days and most major national labels refused to consider it. Parker kept hustling while Elvis kept touring and his reputation kept spreading – and eventually that November RCA paid up.
By March 1956, Parker was also Elvis’ sole manager, a position he would hold until the stars’s death in 1977.