The Blue Suede Shoes and Hound Dog hitmaker was a paragon of music in his heyday, but Elvis Presley also faced insurmountable tragedy and went to an early grave on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42.
The singer, who would have reached the milestone of 85 this year, left behind daughter Lisa Marie Presley and wife Priscilla, and will forever be remembered for his deep country voice and smouldering gaze.
Now Presley’s old friend Jerry Schilling has shared some details of the rocker’s life and friendships, claiming he only had one “true” friend in the form of Welsh icon Sir Tom Jones.
The interview came about because the music mogul, who managed the Beach Boys and Jerry Lee Lewis, has organised a concert series to mark the 50th anniversary of Presley’s comeback tour, and Schilling revealed that his friend would sing with Jones until the early hours.
“Elvis didn’t really hang out with other entertainers that much,” Schilling told the BBC. “But if there was one artist that Elvis truly called a friend and hung out with the most, it was Sir Tom Jones.”
“Elvis was always cautious about letting people get close and what their intentions were,” the producer went on.
“The people he had working for him were not there for the job, it was because he knew they could travel with him and he trusted them.
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“Tom liked to sing Elvis’ ‘One Night With You’.
“They even went on vacation together to Hawaii and spent lots of time together in Las Vegas.”
Sir Tom shared his own memories of his late friend back in 2012, when he joked about his longtime regrets.
Asked if he had any first of all, Jones told the Independent: “No, no. No, I don’t think so.
“Actually, wait. One night in 1965, I was in this club in Los Angeles watching Little Richard perform.
“My visa had run out a few days previously, and my manager had advised me not to do anything that might constitute work.
“Halfway through the show, Richard invited me up on stage. He was on fire that night, and I wanted to help him rip all hell out of that tune, but I didn’t.
“I just stood there, shaking my head, like I was convinced the moment I opened my mouth, Immigration would appear. I tell you, I still think about that sometimes. That’s a regret.”
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Going on to talk about Presley, Jones continued: “It was one night, can’t remember the year, but I’d just finished a show in America. Elvis.
“Elvis Presley was in my dressing-room. Now, Elvis was well aware that people were forever taking pictures of him, so he always made sure he looked his best.
“Sure enough, somebody soon came up and asked to take a picture, and so there we were, arm-in-arm, Elvis looking all perfect, like, and me…
“He waves his hand up around his face as if to suggest the presence of a double chin…I hadn’t straightened myself up properly, see? I looked awful. And in that picture, I always will. I bloody regret that and all. But other than that, no, no regrets,” the star added.