Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Long Live the King; Elvis May Have Died in 1977, but His Legacy Lives on Thanks to the Work of Ex-Wife Priscilla and the Guardians of His estate.AsThe King's Latest Album Rides High in the Charts, Andy Welch Talks to Priscilla about Her Former Husband

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Long Live the King; Elvis May Have Died in 1977, but His Legacy Lives on Thanks to the Work of Ex-Wife Priscilla and the Guardians of His estate.AsThe King's Latest Album Rides High in the Charts, Andy Welch Talks to Priscilla about Her Former Husband

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Welch

NOTHING could stop Elvis. Not joining the army, not a raft of terrible films, not even death.

Now, in the year that would have seen him turn 80, he's back at the top of the charts with a new album, If I Can Dream, which features a host of old recordings embellished by an orchestra, and duets with current stars including Italian pop opera trio Il Volo and Michael Buble.

Elvis' ex-wife Priscilla - the couple divorced in 1973 though remained close afterwards - has had a large part in keeping his music alive since he passed away. This most-recent endeavour has sold more than 500,000 copies in the UK since its release in October, and has remained in the top three after its initial two weeks at the very top of the chart.

"The album is to show how versatile Elvis was as a singer and the sorts of music he liked," says Priscilla.

"We all know he was in rock 'n' roll, but he was so much more than that, not that there's anything wrong with rock 'n' roll.

"He just didn't feel he was taken seriously for his craft."

She goes on to explain that her former husband's record collection went from Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven right through to gospel, blues, soul via the likes of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, and he often talked of his desire to have full orchestras on stage with him.

This, she reasons, would have been a possibility during his lifetime had he not been so busy with his Vegas shows, and had his manager Colonel Tom Parker not ruled the roost with such an iron fist.

The first Priscilla knew of his passion for orchestras was while channel surfing one night in a faraway hotel room.

"There was an orchestra on the TV and suddenly Elvis dived up and started copying the conductor and was lost in it, completely lost in the drama and the fullness of it."

She talks about what Elvis was like, his frustrations with his record label, RCA, and his belief other artists were getting better songs from established writers than he was.

"He was very frustrated as an artist," says Priscilla. "Song choices, particularly, upset him. He wanted to experiment, to be daring and be an artist, but he was a commodity to the record label. It was the same with his films.

"After the fourth film, he was done, but Colonel had signed a long deal and he had to carry on making them.

"They saw the money coming in and that was all they cared about.

"If he stood up to the Colonel, he'd just mention the money Elvis was making as proof of their success and say that nothing could change. But the thing is, Elvis didn't care about money."

She does sound sad when talking about him - and this is by no means her only interview in something of a heavy promotional schedule - but she counters any melancholy by imagining Elvis with a big smile on his face at the sound of hearing his voice backed by a full orchestra. …

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