The King of Rock and Rollers: Elvis's Rolls-Royce Phantom' which he had to paint silver so his mother's chickens would stop pecking at it, to sell for $300,000
A prized possession of one music's biggest petrolheads, Elvis Presley, is set to fetch up to $300,000 at auction next month.
Elvis bought the Rolls-Royce Phantom V brand new in 1963 and had it custom-fitted with the latest gadgets including a telephone, electric windows and a microphone.
The car was initially midnight blue, but he was forced to have it re-painted a lighter silver because his mother's chickens would repeatedly peck at their reflections when he visited her.
Rock and rolls: Elvis's 1963 Royals Royce Phantom will go under the hammer next month and is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000
Luxurious: He bought the car in 1963 and sent it to a coach builder to have it equipped with the latest gadgets. The car was initially midnight blue, but he was forced to repaint it light silver because his mother's chickens kept pecking at it
Elvis was renowned for his love of cars, especially Rolls Royces. He is pictured here with another Phantom he bought in 1961 outside his Graceland mansion
When his new purchase arrived, he sent it to Britain where coachbuilder James Young installed the newest gadgets including a Blaupunkt Koln radio, parking and flashing lights and air conditioning.
The car will go under the hammer next month at a Bonhams sale in The Quail, California and is expected to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000.
The centre rear armrest featured a writing pad, mirror and clothes brush while a fitted cabinet contained cut glass decanters and crystal glasses.
Under the bonnet was a 6.2-litre, V8 engine which gave the 2.6-ton car 200bhp and a top speed
of around 100mph.
Elvis, then a 28-year-old global sensation, had the 20-foot long car shipped out to his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, where he entertained the likes of The Beatles. Memphis's most famous son held on to the Rolls-Royce for five years before donating it to charity, where it sold for $35,000 (£20,500).
It then disappeared for the next 20 years until it was bought by its current owner at a memorabilia auction in London.
They have kept it in a private museum and used it sparingly, with the car regularly maintained by English Rolls-Royce restorers Frank Dale and Stepsons.
Bonhams yesterday described the Rolls-Royce as 'one of the more significant Phantom V's to have come up for sale in recent years'.
The auction house added: 'It is a most interesting model of this highly desirable motorcar complete with undisputed Elvis provenance
'It is offered with copy of its original chassis card confirming the original owner as well as his exacting specifications.
'This important and significant Rolls-Royce Phantom V, with its undisputed place in pop culture history, will surely be jewel in the crown for any Elvis collector.'
Steering wheel: After the car was given a makeover, with new seating and radio put in place, it was shipped to his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles
Grey interior: Memphis's most famous son held on to the Rolls-Royce for five years before donating it to charity, where it sold for $35,000.
Innovative: Elvis had the car fitted with all the latest gadgets of the time including a telephone, electric windows and air conditioning
Proof: The car comes with its original documents. The form states that the owner is 'Elvis Presley' and the coach builder who designed the interior is Briton, James Young
Sgt. Elvis Presley leaves the house he and his family occupied in Bad Nauheim, Germany, March 1960.
Movie that made the world fall in love with ELVIS: 40 years after he died, a very revealing insight into the star's screen debut Love Me Tender
Had Elvis Presley never existed, the film Love Me Tender would still have been made. But it wouldn’t have been called Love Me Tender, and it wouldn’t have had that song in it — or, for that matter, any other songs
Had Elvis Presley never existed, the film Love Me Tender would still have been made. But it wouldn’t have been called Love Me Tender, and it wouldn’t have had that song in it — or, for that matter, any other songs. That being so, in all probability, neither you nor I would ever have heard of it.
That it marked Elvis’s film debut made all the difference. But then Elvis made so many differences in 1956.
From the day he recorded his first hit in January of that year to the release of his first film in November, he went from being virtually unknown to the most famous young man in the world. He was 21.
In those 11 months he sold tens of millions of records of Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes, Don’t Be Cruel, Hound Dog, Love Me and, yes, Love Me Tender, too — the recording of which had gone on sale before the film was released. At the same time his TV appearances were thrilling, seducing and horrifying America.
There had never been a star with a trajectory like his before and Hollywood took note, eager to cash in on the boy wonder before his popularity waned.
This coming Wednesday, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’s death at the age of 42 in 1977, fans will reflect that his star never did come crashing down. But back in 1956 neither Elvis, nor anyone else, knew that.
Only three years earlier he had been a cinema attendant while at high school in Memphis, Tennessee, and being a movie star had been the stuff of dreams.
The call for a Hollywood screen test came from top producer Hal Wallis at Paramount Pictures after he saw Elvis on TV and, given a screenplay to study on the plane, the singer had been flown out to Los Angeles.
The scenes he’d been told to learn were from a film soon to be made called The Rainmaker, starring Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster. Just the thought of those two scared Elvis stiff.
That it marked Elvis’s film debut made all the difference. But then Elvis made so many differences in 1956
Before the test he was worried about the slight stammer he would have all his life, but Wallis told him it wouldn’t be a problem; he would just seem natural.
Elvis thought he did reasonably well, but was surprised when, despite having told his manager he didn’t want to sing in movies, Wallis asked to see how he looked on celluloid when he was singing.
So they played a recording of Blue Suede Shoes, gave him a guitar and asked him to mime.
He’d been conned, of course. It was his singing that Hollywood really wanted. He didn’t get the part in The Rainmaker, but Paramount signed him to a contract anyway, before immediately loaning him out to Twentieth Century Fox. That puzzled him. While it was flattering that two producers wanted him, he also felt a little like a rental car being casually passed from one studio to another.
The film he would now be appearing in had originally been titled The Reno Brothers. It was planned as a cheap, black-and-white Western and the story concerned a bo who has fallen in love with, and married, the fiancee of an idolised eldest brother whom everyone thought had been killed in the Civil War. Then the brother turns up alive.
After a quick rewrite of the screenplay, the new title of Love Me Tender and the addition of four songs, it was ready to shoot.
The melodies of the songs were all in the public domain, with that of Love Me Tender going right back to the Civil War, when it was called Aura Lee. It had also been used twice before as the background theme for other Westerns.
From the day he recorded his first hit in January of that year to the release of his first film in November, he went from being virtually unknown to the most famous young man in the world
So, when Ken Darby, the film’s musical director, put lyrics to it and made it a hit, he was using a proven melody. The other name on the song credits was that of Elvis himself, his music publishers insisting he should be listed as a co-writer, though he hadn’t written a word or note of it.
The attribution of songwriting credits to Elvis occurred several times early in his career until, embarrassed by it, he asked that it be stopped.
It seemed deceitful to take credit for anything he hadn’t done — though that didn’t stop his manager Colonel Tom Parker demanding half the songwriting royalties on his behalf. The songs were recorded before shooting began. The lyrics and tune of Love Me Tender were so pure, Elvis knew when he was recording it that it couldn’t fail.
‘Until then a lot of people thought all I could do was belt,’ he would say, when it became a huge hit. Actor Dennis Hopper, then a Hollywood hopeful, had wheedled his way into the recording session.
When he heard the song’s playback coming over the speakers, he was astonished. Elvis had sung the song very quietly into the microphone, at just about the level he would have used if he’d been saying those words to a girl. That was why it worked so well.
Shooting his part in the movie took less than three weeks, with Elvis so keen to impress that he memorised all the other actors’ lines, too.
Debra Paget was playing the female lead and was very pretty. But although Elvis hung around her throughout the shoot, she obviously wasn’t interested in him. Later he read that, before they’d met, she’d thought he was ‘a moron’, and had been ‘pleasantly surprised’ to find he wasn’t. Obviously not pleasantly surprised enough.
Off the set, Elvis was more successful. The producer of Love Me Tender, David Weisbart, had made the James Dean film Rebel Without A Cause the previous year and introduced Elvis to Nick Adams, who had played one of the high school gang in Rebel.
Befriending Elvis, Adams soon took Natalie Wood, the female lead in Rebel, to Elvis’s suite in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
In those 11 months he sold tens of millions of records of Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes, Don’t Be Cruel, Hound Dog, Love Me and, yes, Love Me Tender, too
Looking back, Elvis didn’t suppose ‘Mad Nat’, as he would privately come to call her, was that impressed when he quoted James Dean’s dialogue to her, but it was his turn to be a fan.
He was star-struck. To him, and a whole generation of young people then, Natalie was famous as the girl who had stood between the revving cars and brought her arms down to start the chicken run in Rebel Without A Cause.
At the time, fan magazines were suggesting Elvis and Natalie were having a romance, a rumour that gathered credence when the actress flew to Memphis to stay with the Presley family in the new suburban house the singer had just bought (this was the year before he bought Graceland).
Elvis was now used to girls following him around, but was flattered that Natalie had come all the way from California. So he showed her off, riding her around town on his Harley-Davidson.
What Natalie thought about Elvis and his parents when she saw them at home, she never publicly said. But the Presleys were a God-fearing, unsophisticated family and Elvis’s mother, Gladys, wasn’t exactly impressed with Natalie going around the house in front of Elvis and his father Vernon wearing just a skimpy nightdress.
Natalie left after three days on a made-up excuse. It was a relief to everyone, especially the perpetual fans waiting on the road outside, who resented her. She was only just 18, but had been a child actress in Hollywood. While Elvis was catching dogfish in Mississippi as a little boy, she had been appearing in Miracle On 34th Street with Maureen O’Hara.
Elvis was later told that, after their first meeting in Los Angeles, Natalie had said she thought he was ‘slow’. He probably was with her. He was out of his depth really. The previous year, while making Rebel Without A Cause, she had been having an affair with the film’s director, Nicholas Ray. She was then 16. He was 44.
When Love Me Tender was released in late November 1956, Elvis had already seen a preview, but he would call in at a cinema in Memphis twice more to sit with the audience and watch himself, slipping out before the end so no one would see him.
At first he didn’t think he’d done too badly. Because of who he was, he was expecting a scorching from the film critics. But some were deliberately cruel. And although the movie made its money back in two weeks and was a huge hit, some of their barbs really hurt.
There had never been a star with a trajectory like his before and Hollywood took note, eager to cash in on the boy wonder before his popularity waned
He was used to reading that he couldn’t sing and that he was like the Pied Piper leading young people into drugs and sex. He could handle that because he knew it wasn’t true. But was he really ‘a 172lb, 6ft tall sausage’ (he was actually about 160lb), ‘a goldfish’, and did his voice really sound like ‘a rusty foghorn’?
Elvis wouldn’t have minded seeing comments like that in smalltown newspapers. But they were in papers in New York and Los Angeles, and he knew people in the film industry would laugh at him. That hurt, and he began to believe he shouldn’t have been in the film at all.
He was wrong. He had certainly been rushed to Hollywood before he was ready, but by the standards of most western movies of the time he wasn’t outshone by the other actors. The critics had let their middle-aged prejudice against rock and roll colour their judgment.
Elvis didn’t know it then but, compared with some movies he would make later, when Hollywood really used and abused him, Love Me Tender was an honest, sometimes moving little film, containing one of the most popular love songs of all time.
And for fans such as this one, who, because U.S. shows were not seen on British TV then and who had therefore never seen Elvis sing, it brought him to life as something more than a voice, a photograph and a lot of controversy.
Before he was the King: Intimate pictures of Elvis aged just 21 and on the verge of changing rock 'n' roll forever .
New book of photographs show behind-the-scenes moments of a young Elvis Presley at the start of his career in 1956 . Collection includes iconic photograph of Elvis and a young female fan's tender backstage moment, known as 'The Kiss'. Rarely-seen pictures of a 21-year-old Elvis Presley in the beginning of his career show all stars start somewhere, even the King of rock 'n' roll. Taken by photographer Alfred Wertheimer during Elvis' time on the road in 1956, the snaps show that despite his tender years, he already had his legendary movements and Brylcreem hairdo figured out. Mr Wertheimer, now 83, caught the would-be King's more intimate moments as he records his music, perform on tour and sneak a kiss with a young fan backstage.
A star is born: A 21-year-old Elvis 'kiss' young fan Barbara Gray just before going on stage at the the Mosque Theatre Richmond, Virginia in June 1956
Taken shortly after the legend had been signed by record company RCA Victor, some of the black and white snaps for the new book include a 21-year-old Elvis and a young fan sharing a tender moment just before he goes on stage. The famous photograph - known as 'The Kiss' - was taken without Elvis' or the young woman's knowledge and had become one of the most iconic of the King in his early years.The fresh-faced singer actually touches the blonde girl's tongue with his in the spontaneous moment. 'I never bothered to ask her name,' German-born Wertheimer said in a Vanity Fair interview about 'The Kiss' in 2011. 'And she never bothered to tell me.' In fact the buxom blonde is Barbara Gray, or Bobbi Owens as she was known back them , a young woman to whom Elvis had spoken to over the phone and had arranged to meet in Richmond.
Young Elvis: The King performing for StageShow in March 1956 photographed by Alfred Wertheimer who was commissioned to take publicity shots of the, then unknown, new star
Making history: Elvis already had his signature moved down to a T when he performed at the age of 21 on stage at the the Mosque Theatre Richmond, Virginia in June 1956
Early days of stardom: Elvis Presley in an undated photograph, probably May 1956, slouched on a stairwell in Memphis, Tennnessee (not featured in the book)
This is Elvis Presley's debut album released in 1956 to unanimous acclaim one of the pionering albums in music, not only did it launch the career of The King of Rock, it rightfuly gave him that name by launching Rock and Roll to mainstream audiences and changing the course of music forever. Love me tender: Rare colour shot of Elvis recording 'Dont Be Cruel' at RCA 's Victor studio's on July 2nd 1956, from the new book revealing images from the very earliest days of the King of Rockn'Roll as his legend was born
When they met in person, they spent the day together, and Mr Wertheimer captured it all, photographing them flirting and being playful in the back seat of the taxi. Later that day, Mr Wertheimer grew concerned when he found he had lost Elvis subject just before the show was about to start. As he walked around the theatre looking for him, he saw two figures at the end of a dark, narrow hallway - the future rock star, and his date for the day. He thought about letting the two have their private moment, but then thought better of it, saying 'the worst that can happen is that he’ll ask me to leave.' Speaking in 2011, Mr Wertheimer said he was never asked about all the pictures he took that day until 19 years later, when Elvis was found dead in his Graceland mansion. He told the Today Show: 'The day he died, Time magazine called me and asked me to bring all my photos over immediately.'
Among those photos was 'The Kiss.' Despite the closeness evident in the photos, Mrs Gray, 75, said she didn't have as much attraction to the singer as he did for her, and she never saw him again. 'Maybe he had sparks, but I never even knew who he was.' Another image taken a few minutes later shows Elvis on stage, kneeling down on his left knee while singing into the microphone as he wows the audience who had never seen or heard anything like it before. Another photo taken on March 17, 1956 - about two months after he was signed - is of Elvis performing for American TV's Stage Show. In it, he is depicted holding an acoustic guitar while singing into the microphone and displaying his famous lip-curl. Over 400 photos, many of which have never been seen before, are being published in the new book entitled 'Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll' which has been produced by London-based Taschen. A spokesman for the publishers, said: ‘Alfred worked with Elvis on his very first tour before his fame took off and tighter controls were put on images of him. ‘Alfred had unprecedented and unlimited access to Elvis and was able to get so many candid shots. ‘Some of the photos are well known but others haven't been seen before. ‘We have wanted to work with Alfred for some time now. We have used his original negatives and made them as high resolution as possible for the book.’ Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, from a heart attack after battling prescription drug abuse. His abrupt death at the age of 42 shocked legions of fans still mesmerised today by his singing, sex appeal and on-stage charisma.
Suspicious mind: It was only early days for Elvis when he was photographed on a chair backstage in August 3 (not featured in the book)
A legend was born: Elvis sings onstage during his first tour, summer 1956, with his signature leather overlay on his acoustic guitar (not featured in the book)
All shook up: Pictured a month before recording his second album, Elvis Presley performed several shows in Miami in August, 1956, in front of ecstatic screaming female fans.
RETURN OF THE KING: WHEN ELVIS LEFT THE ARMY. Not originally published in LIFE. Sgt. Elvis Presley at a press conference before leaving Germany, March 1960.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Posted by ASC at 6:56 AM