Elvis and the Colonel

It may surprise many people but Elvis never performed outside of the Americas. The only country outside the US he ever toured was Canada, and even with that it was a short tour of about 5 concerts.In 1957 Elvis performed two shows at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on April 2, two shows at the Auditorium in Ottawa on April 3, and one show at Empire Stadium in Vancouver on August 31.

Elvis did spend some time in Germany serving the US army, and whilst there he did visit Paris and he did have a stop over in Scotland.Between 1958 and 1960

The reason for not going abroad is not because he didn’t like travelling or was afraid to fly, which some have suggested, no the reason is more simple than that albeit also a bit sinister.

The reason was Colonel Tom Parker, he is often seen as the man behind Elvis’s success but in fact he wasn’t a nice man at all.

Colonel Thomas Andrew “Tom” Parker (born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk; June 26, 1909 – January 21, 1997)

“The Colonel” displayed a ruthless devotion to his own financial gain, rather than his client’s interests, and took more than the traditional 10–15 percent of his earnings (reaching up to 50 percent by the end of Presley’s life). Presley said of Parker, “I don’t think I’d have ever been very big if it wasn’t for him. He’s a very smart man. For many years, Parker falsely claimed to have been born in the United States, but it eventually emerged that he had been born in the Netherlands.

http://www.geni.com/people/Dries-van-Kuijk-alias-The-Colonel-Tom-Parker/6000000034574144222

These are some of the theories believed Col.Parker used as excuses .

  • Parker’s claims that foreign security was poor, relative to the USA.
  • Parker’s belief that outside influences (managers, agents etc.) would inform Presley of how unusual his contract with Parker was.
  • Parker’s claim that there was a lack of venues large enough to accommodate a star of Presley’s stature. All of these excuses were given to Presley when he would show an interest in touring abroad and, known to avoid confrontation, Presley would never argue against them.
  • Some promoters wanted to charge fans the equivalent of $100 per ticket. Parker did not wish the fans to be ripped off, and this was another reason he turned down overseas offers.

In fact Col.Parker had entered the USA illegally

At age 15, Parker moved to Rotterdam, gaining employment on the boats in the port town.At age 17, he first displayed signs of wanting to run away to America to “make his fortune”.A year later, with enough money to sustain him for a short period, he entered America illegally by jumping ship from his employer’s vessel. During his first visit there, he traveled with a Chautauqua educative tent show, before returning briefly to the Netherlands. there were questions about a murder in Breda in which Parker might have been a suspect or at least a person of interest.This might have motivated Parker to avoid seeking a passport, as the Netherlands has an active extradition treaty with the United States, and Parker might have wanted to avoid criminal arrest by Dutch authorities in that case.

Parker returned to America at age 20, finding work with carnivals due to his previous experience in the Netherlands.He enlisted in the United States Army, taking the name “Tom Parker” from the officer who interviewed him, to disguise the fact he was an illegal immigrant.

He never became Colonel either, in fact he had deserted the Army He was punished with solitary confinement, from which he emerged with a psychosis that led to two months in a mental hospital,and he was discharged from the Army due to his mental condition.

After the Army Tom Parker had several jobs in fact he was barely surviving the great depression.

His first steps into the entertainment industry were taken in 1938 , when he met one of America’s first crooners Gene Austin.

180px-Gene_Austin_01i                 i

Austin offered Parker the opportunity to move to Nashville, Tennessee, where music was becoming big business, but for reasons unknown Parker turned him down. Instead, Parker decided to stay in Temple Terrace, Florida, with his family, perhaps to avoid having to fill in paperwork that could expose his illegal status.Within a year, however, he had the opportunity to become a legal citizen within the United States by way of the 1940 Alien Registration Act; a bill passed by the United States Government to allow illegal aliens the chance to become US citizens in return for their promise to fight for the country during World War II, if required. Parker decided against registering, possibly to prevent his previous Army record from becoming public.

This is indicates the paranoia ‘Colonel Tom Parker’ was suffering from.

He did manage a few more artists, Minnie Pearl,Tommy Sands and Hank Snow

However in 1955 Parker became aware of this young singer called Elvis. In February 1955 Elvis signed a contract with Tom Parker, which basically sealed his fate in relation to touring outside of America.

There is no doubt that Tom Parker did turn Elvis into the icon he has become, but I believe Elvis would have become the star he was anyway even without Tom Parker.

Following Presley’s death, Parker set up a licensing operation with Factors Etc. Inc, to control Presley merchandise and keep a steady income supporting his estate. It was later revealed that Presley owned 22% of the company, Parker owned 56%, and the final 22% was made up of various business associates.[Due to an ill-advised agreement between Parker and Presley that gave RCA sole ownership of all his recording royalties prior to 1973, the estate was relying heavily on the income from Factors Etc. Inc. However, because Parker was still entitled to 50% of all Presley’s income, and after taxes were taken off, the overall amount going towards the upkeep of the estate was less than $1 million a year.

In January 1979, it was discovered that Presley had lost out on royalties for songs on which he had been listed as an author and/or composer because Parker had unwisely advised him not to sign up to ASCAP or its younger competitor,BMI.Experts in the field at the time estimated that it had potentially cost Presley millions of dollars and worse for Parker, it had also potentially cost him those millions of dollars.

By 1980, the cost of running the estate was estimated to be as much as $500,000 a year.Priscilla and the Trust were prepared to let Parker continue to handle Presley’s business affairs, and petitioned the court to that end.However, Judge Joseph Evans, aware that Lisa Marie Presley was still a minor, appointed attorney Blanchard E. Tual to investigate Parker’s management.Tual, once appointed as Lisa Marie’s guardian ad litem, chose to investigate the entire period of Parker’s management of Presley; his preliminary finding was that Parker’s management deal of 50% was extortionate compared to the industry average of 15–20%.He also noted that Parker’s handling of Presley’s business affairs during his lifetime, including the decision to sell off past royalties to RCA for $5.4 million in 1973, was “unethical” and poorly handled. During a second, more detailed investigation, Tual discovered that all earnings were paid directly to the Trust instead of Parker. By this time, with the IRS demanding almost $15 million in taxes, the estate was facing bankruptcy.The truth about Parker was now known.

On August 14, 1981, Judge Evans ordered EPE to sue Parker for mismanagement. In response to this, Parker countersued.The case against Parker was settled out of court in 1983, with the estate paying him $2 million,and the termination of his involvement in any Presley related earnings for five years.He was also ordered to hand over any Presley audio recordings or visual images that he owned.

Parker had worked as a “consultant” for Hilton Hotels since Presley’s death,with some believing he was working to pay off debts owed to the casino from his gambling during Presley’s performances there.Part of this role resulted in Parker keeping the same fourth-floor suite he occupied when Presley was alive, but by 1984, with his gambling debts reportedly rising again, he was evicted.On the surface, however, relations between the two were as good as ever, with Parker helping the Hilton to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Presley’s death.

The disputes with the Presley estate did not terminate his association with his most high-profile client. Parker appeared at posthumous events honoring Presley, such as the 1993 issuing of the United States Postal Service stamp honoring the King of Rock and Roll. He also became friendly with the estate again, attending special ceremonies and events in Memphis, invited by Priscilla. However, he did occasionally step on their toes by commenting negatively on some of their decisions. In 1994, following the marriage of Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson, Parker stated that Presley would not have approved,and in 1993, interest in Presley’s enduring legend, interest that is sometimes notable for its obsessiveness, provoked Parker to remark, “I don’t think I exploited Elvis as much as he’s being exploited today.

In 1994, a Golden Palm Star on the Walk of Stars in Palm Springs, California was dedicated to him.

I don’t know what is more amazing, the fact that the Colonel was Elvis’s manager for so long or that it was. The mystery of Colonel Parker’s identity could have already been solved in 1960, when Drees van Kuijk’s(aka Col. Tom Parker) sister recognized her brother when she saw his picture with Elvis in a newspaper. Until now it is still unclear why the authorities didn’t act.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/colonel-parker-managed-elvis-career-but-was-he-a-killer-on-the-lam-108042206/?no-ist

Ironically because of all this Elvis became the front runner in technology in a way. Not many artists before him had done global concerts via satellite. His concert Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite was broadcast to more then 40 countries. Viewing figures have been estimated to be between 1 and 1.5 billion viewers worldwide. The show was the most expensive entertainment special at the time, costing $2.5 million.

220px-Aloha_from_Hawaii_Via_Satellite

I have been an Elvis fan all of my life and until this day I still vividly remember where I was when I heard the news when he passed away. I was about 9 at the time, when I came home from school that day,my mother told me the news.I pretended as if it meant nothing to me, but I ran up the stairs and cried like I never cried before, It felt like I just lost a close friend or family member.

This is one of my favorite songs by the King.

 

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