As the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll walked down Sunset Boulevard, no one even turned his head.
It was the late 1960s and Elvis had become so famous that he was unrecognizable to the masses of LA, as everyone else “looked like him.”
In an exclusive interview, his friend Steve Binder, who was with him that day, told The Sun on Sunday: “He was busy on the Strip and we saw all these kids coming out of Tower Records.
“They were ignoring us and almost bumping into us. Then Elvis started trying to get attention and turned to the road and the cars, but no one reacted, even then.
“Then another day in the studio, a woman approached him and said, ‘Excuse me, young man, do you know if there’s a celebrity out there today?’
Elvis took off his sunglasses, smiled at him, and said, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I have no idea,” and put on his sunglasses again.
“I had no idea I was talking to one of the biggest celebrities in the world.
“The thing is, all the kids who admired Elvis wanted to look like him.
“Most people on the street just thought it was a resemblance or an imitator.
“He was almost so famous that he didn’t become famous, because everyone else looked like him.”
The wide-ranging interview comes before the 45th anniversary of the rocker’s death this summer and the release of the new film Elvis, starring Austin Butler at the helm and Tom Hanks, as its manager, Colonel Tom Parker last month. next.
Starting at The Sun on Elvis Month Sunday, Steve reveals how The King once slept in the locker room of crooner Dean Martin for three weeks before a big concert and had a special team to dry his clothes because he sweated a lot in the ‘stage.
Steve, 89, who directed and produced Elvis’ return television program in 1968, has written a book to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the singer’s death.
He said: “Before I met Elvis I always thought he was a little red, so I didn’t take him very seriously. But after meeting him everything changed. He was charismatic, funny and smart.
“But he was vulnerable, often had a crisis of confidence, and was completely at the mercy of Colonel Tom Parker.
“He was a prisoner of his fame. I think he died of boredom, nothing more. He was surrounded by the Memphis mob, people whose job it was to look at everything he did and said.
“I used to think, ‘Who cares about Elvis?’ There was no one.”
Elvis, the best-selling music artist in history with nearly a billion records sold and number 21 in the UK, was found dead in the bathroom of his Memphis mansion, Graceland, in August 1977. He was 42 years old. .
Doctors said he died of a heart attack, with rumors that he was addicted to prescription drugs.
But Steve said: “In my world with him there were no excessive drinks, no drugs, nothing, just an amazing human being.
“Many things have been distorted over the years. I want to get my truth across. “
When they met in 1968, Elvis had not acted live for seven years after a series of films.
Steve was hired by NBC to direct an Elvis special and, recalling his first meeting, said: “We got it right immediately. The first question he asked me was, ‘What do you think of my career? ‘
And I said, “I think he’s in the bathroom.” I thought he might kill me, but he laughed. He later told me that this closed the deal. I think he liked telling the truth. “
The couple worked to try to come up with a format for the show, which was being filmed in Hollywood.
Elvis’ wife, Priscilla, had just given birth to a daughter, Lisa Marie, so she rented a house in Beverly Hills to be near the studio.
Steve said: “He decided he didn’t want to drive every day from Beverly Hills and asked if he could live in the studio for three weeks while doing the show. We put a bed in the dressing room and two pianos. It was Dean Martin.
“Every night people would gather around a baby grand piano, improvise and sing old songs. That’s where we got the idea for the show: everything would be improvised. He told me he didn’t even want to. that Priscilla should come to the studio, apart from the shows. Jokingly, she said, “And besides, with all these handsome guys around……”
During these sessions, Steve watched as Elvis was treated by Parker.
He said: “Colonel Parker was obsessed with a Christmas song on the show and called us to his office. He said,” Why isn’t there a Christmas song? Elvis, you want one, don’t you?
Elvis stood there with his head bowed and his hands covering his crotch like a child. It was as if they were incriminating a child. It was very sad. “
Elvis was full of nerves. The night before filming, he almost withdrew, saying his mind had gone blank.
Steve spoke to him. Ninety minutes were filmed while 46 minutes were broadcast in December 1968: Elvis’s career resumed.
He had put everything he had on the lift, some of whom were wearing a leather jumpsuit.
Steve recalled: “When he finished the first performance after an hour, he was sweating like you wouldn’t believe it because of the lights.
“So between the two shows we had an army of people with air blowers on stage. He proved he left nothing on stage.”
When Steve showed Elvis the final cut of the show, the singer was delighted.
Steve said, “He told me that because of the new freedom he was experiencing, he would never make a movie or sing a song he never believed in.
“I told him the first thing I had to do was take control of his life, even if it meant breaking up with the colonel. He looked at me, burst into one of his contagious laughs, and said, ‘Okay, I’m leaving “.
But Elvis never did, and he died nine years later.
The last time Steve saw Elvis, in late 1968, he smuggled him a note with his number, which Steve believes was to avoid the gaze of his manager.
“I was told it was his phone number, but it never worked. I never saw him again.”
- Elvis ’68 Comeback: The Story Behind The Special by Steve Binder (Thunder Bay) is now available for £ 24.
HERE is a prize suitable for a king.
The Sun on Sunday launches our contest today to find the best Elvis Presley fan or tribute artist.
And it’s worth getting started, as the lucky winner will enjoy a week-long trip to Memphis, Tennessee, with Netflights.com.
The prize includes round-trip flights from London and seven nights accommodation at a Memphis hotel for the winner and a companion.
Once there, they will enjoy a VIP tour of Graceland Ultimate that includes a visit to the Elvis Mansion with full access to the Memphis Entertainment Complex at Elvis Presley.
The duo will also get free tickets for the Hound Dog Tour, a high-energy concert and a one-on-one tour.
During the unique life experience, fans will be able to enjoy exciting places in Elvis, such as Sun Studio, The Presley’s Lauderdale Courts apartment and its former high school.
They will also receive a VIP Tupelo experience that will include a visit to Elvis ’birthplace and a night in Tupelo.
MONTH they will win a one-day recording session with sound engineer Glenn Keiles, who will produce a song for the lucky winner at his music studio in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire.
Glenn said: “I’m really excited to be a part of this wonderful competition and I can’t wait to work with the winner producing his track.”
Book with Netflights.com for the cheapest vacations, hotels and car rentals in destinations around the world. And every day, they search for thousands of routes and compare hundreds of airlines to find the cheapest flights.
Elvis Contest: How to Participate
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with ELVIS COMPETITION on the subject, attaching relevant images or videos of your best impression, and explain in less than 200 words why you are a top Elvis fan a tribute artist.
T&C: The promotion closes at 12.59 pm on June 12. Open only to residents of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, except for minors under the age of 18, employees and agents of the Promoter and its group companies, or third parties directly involved in the operation. or compliance with the Promotion and its affiliates, and their relatives and household members.