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When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968 (updated)

Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:22 pm

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Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas, April 1968.

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6/7 April, 1968, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA --- 4/7/1968-Las Vegas, NV- Britain's hottest current singing star, Tom Jones (L), often compared to the early Elvis Presley in style and appeal to femininity, poses with Presley and his wife Priscilla, backstage at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, where Presley witnessed and cheered to a Tom Jones performance.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjxY7xmhJ6o

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Tom Jones : His manager ‘Colonel’ Tom Parker was opposed to ‘his boy’ going anywhere that might promote a rival artiste, ‘but Elvis wants to see Tom perform so we’re coming anyway,’ said his road manager ‘Diamond’ Joe Esposito when he called me to ensure that Presley and his entourage would have a ringside table. After the show he came backstage and hugged his new friend while lavishing him with praise. My wife and Priscilla sat in the corner showing each other photographs of their respective new daughters, Joanne and Lisa Marie.

Elvis reportedly said ‘You lit a fire in me tonight, ‘I’m going to tell that old man I need to get back on the road’.
And, sure enough, he phoned the Colonel the following day to demand that instead of signing him up to make more indifferent movies he had to set up a stage comeback.

Tom Jones Guitarist Bill Parkinson : Elvis Presley came to the show with his new wife Priscilla. He was also accompanied by his buddies ‘the Memphis Mafia’. He sat in the front row, probably only 10 feet away from me. As we played through the show, I could see that he was turned on by the music which we played with great passion. Elvis was on the edge of his seat throughout the show until we reached the climax of the show with a number called (Land of a Thousand Dances, a Wilson Picket number). The whole thing starts with a groovy drum and guitar riff. As I looked out to the audience, Elvis was out of his seat and the whole thing went along like a train. We were high on adrenaline and gave it our all. When it came to my guitar solo, Tom would dance towards me and me towards him, playing my heart out. I then did something that I had never done before. I turned towards Elvis and turned my guitar towards him. He responded my jumping up and clapping, he was well into it. Afterwards, The Three Squires, Vernon Mills, Chris Slade, and myself went into Tom’s Dressing room to meet Elvis. Earlier Chris Ellis the roady, got us some special photo’s of Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding. Elvis asked me where we had we got them from and I told him that the roady had got them for us. Elvis then congratulated me on my performance and signed the photograph. A couple of his ‘Memphis Mafia’ friends asked me what I was doing after the tour as Elvis was interested in me and would be starting a live show in the near future. At that point in time Tom was a bigger draw, so I decided to stay put. What a fool! Even if I had played rhythm guitar for Elvis it would have been a great privilege. This has since been a great regret in my life.
Link Here : http://www.bill-parkinson.co.uk/tom%20jones.html

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A review from the LA Times of the Tom Jones concert that Elvis and Priscilla attended.
Singer Tom Jones In Las Vegas Debut

By John L. Scott/Times Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS — Tom Jones, singing son of a Welsh coal miner, struck gold at the Flamingo Hotel when he made a most impressive Las Vegas debut before a crowd of critical locals who attend premieres with a “show-me” attitude. The tall, ruggedly handsome young man from Britain held first-nighters in the palm of his hand with a dynamic, temperature-raising performance. As he bounced and wriggled his way around the Flamingo’s theater-restaurant stage (he’s almost as much dancer as singer) Jones had mink-clad matrons and mini-skirted maids screaming with excitement, something that hasn’t happened here since Robert Goulet made his initial Vegas bow. Tom Jones told me several weeks ago: “I feel songs and the body just moves.” The curly-haired performer wasn’t speaking idly.

Man’s Voice

Because of his frenetic movements, Jones’ pleasant, well-placed singing voice may have been overlooked by some first-nighters, but males leaving the showroom after the premiere were heard to observe that “there’s a man with that man’s voice.” With Russ Black’s orchestra, augmented by Jones’ group called The Squires, providing a wild, swinging musical backdrop, the welcome new addition to Las Vegas’ coterie of stars sang a varied program of ballads and jump tunes.

Most of these numbers were presented in the modern tempo, even “Danny Boy,” which might be considered heresy by diehard Irishmen, but which gave the tune a brand new, exciting dimension.
Don Gibson’s I Can’t Stop Loving You, Delilah and Don’t Fight It,” (from Jones’ newest album), him million-sellers Green Green Grass of Home and It’s Not Unusual were distinct highlights of the program. Of course What’s New Pussycat rocked the Flamingo’s theater-restaurant to its foundation, and Shake gave the star plenty of opportunity to interpret the title.

Strange Choice

That Old Black Magic seemed a rather strange choice for a pop star’s debut program in Las Vegas, although I have no quarrel with Jones’ presentation. Land of A Thousand Dances proved to be a fine get-off number.Jones’ musical director and arranger, Johnny Harris, gave almost as wild a performance as the singer and kept Black’s fine musicians on their musical toes. Preceding Jones to the platform was comedienne Kay Ballard, who came on with the flu but delivered an amusing, sometimes hilarious performance in spite of her temperature.Los Cabrera, an acrobatic act, opened the show with an amazing display of tumbling.
http://tomjonesintl.com/2008/03/29/1968 ... s-opening/

Please don't copy thanks
Davide
Last edited by davide on Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:24 pm

Great post, thank you

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:26 pm

Great work. Thanks!!

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:07 pm

I LOVE your posts, Davide, thank you.

Fantastic report of an amazing summit.

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:11 pm

Fantastic post - great photos, and info. Thanks, as always!

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:01 am

Outstanding ! Thanks for posting this davide :D
PEP 8)

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:55 am

Wow!

Nice to see that Elvis could go out and enjoy life to the fullest when the
spirit moved him.

Great post, the article really provided a unique "fly on the wall" scenario.

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:22 am

Seeing Tom Jones on Saturday, April 6, 1968 had a tremendous, positive effect on Elvis' art for at least the next two years.

For example, the Presley recordings made in West Hollywood and Burbank just weeks later, for the 1968 TV Special, saw Elvis taking the aggressive side of his voice and throwing it into every uptempo song, and the ballads displayed a heretofore-unknown muscularity. The Jones influence is unmistakable.

In essence, Elvis seized back from Tom the fervor that Jones loved and took from Presley's classic 50s recordings.

When Elvis saw Jones rock the Flamingo, it was after the U.K. singer signed a $980,000 contract with the hotel the previous October. His career was ascending, and the show was considered a big change in the entertainment scene.

Thanks for the great post, David.

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:29 am

Watch Tom's dancing in this 1968 performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... Au0A#t=77s

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Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:52 am

Check this out. Tom and Janis Joplin.

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Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:58 am

Awesome post, Davide! Thanks :D

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:18 am

The respect Elvis paid to the great performers, was incredible during his lifetime. Numerous mentions were made to Jackie Wilson about how great he was and when Tom Jones came on the scene, same thing. Thanks again Davide!

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:54 am

Terrific, thanks Davide

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:18 am

Wow,

Thanks davide!

You are the best my Friend.

I love your posts.

::rocks :smt006

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:13 am

Really cool pics and story! Props!

I wish Elvis had felt comfortable enough to go out and about with the public more often...perhaps he could have led a more normal life, particularly in the 70s.

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:26 am

Here's an interview with Tom talkin' about "gettin' some action" outside of his marriage of 50+ years. I hope his wife gets herself checked regularly! :D

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Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:37 am

Great post and great photos! Why is the tip of Elvis cigar airbrushed out of the clear version of the photo?

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:46 am

Tom Jones sings Guitar Man!

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Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:49 am

"That Delilah is a great record, Tom..." -- Elvis

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Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:21 am

Mister Mike wrote:Great post and great photos! Why is the tip of Elvis cigar airbrushed out of the clear version of the photo?

Good observation, man! :O

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:10 am

Brilliant. Thank you.

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:53 am

Oh so it is a cigar! I thought it was something else that wasn't supposed to be in the picture.

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:05 pm

Brilliant post David,Thank you

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:14 pm

A superb post - great photos, great reading and Tom is still a talent to be reckoned with today.

Re: When Elvis Met Tom Jones backstage - April 1968

Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:32 pm

Yes, a great post! Thank you.

(Damn, those recent Priscilla pics are terrible ...)