Today, Elvis Presley Enterprises launched a website set to feature videotaped interviews with people who worked with Elvis or who somehow interacted with him on a career or personal level, as employees, fans or otherwise. The link to that site is:
Featured prominently on the Elvis Presley Legacy Project site is our very own Memphis Boy Bobby Wood, who has shared many touching stories about his time with Elvis... and will share even more with fans later this year in his published memoirs.
From EPE's Legacy Project website:
"Elvis Presley’s life and career made an impact on entertainment and culture that is still being felt today. While millions of individuals have encountered Elvis through his music, movies and photographs, a lucky few were able to meet, work with or have a personal relationship with Elvis himself.
The Archives Department of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. has now started a project that will allow them to gather as many video interviews as possible with those who personally encountered Elvis. These videos will be cataloged and housed in the Graceland archives.
Videos for the Elvis Presley Legacy Project are being collected now through Elvis’ 75th birthday in January 2010."
Speaking on behalf of all fans, we truly hope to see more of the Memphis Boys, the American Studios songwriters - and even producer Chips Moman - sharing their unique insights and perspective so fans can get a glimpse of their interaction with Elvis at American Studios and beyond. Their work with him is most definitely a prominent part of music history, and was unquestionably pivotal to his career.
If you worked with Elvis, met or somehow interacted with him, EPE invites you to submit your story for inclusion in this project by visiting this link: http://www.elvis.com/legacy/submit.asp
An aside: It is quite refreshing to see renewed efforts to place Elvis' musical contributions and accomplishments at the forefront by EPE, who has for quite some time now placed a hyper-drive focus on merchandising, embracing a rather myopic approach solely on crass commercialism and revenue-generating pursuits... while neglecting or outright discontinuing projects and initiatives that once kept fans educated and informed about Elvis' career.
Any artist - living or deceased - deserves the respect due any human being. It is time EPE recognized that, although they have long been the arbiters of Elvis' legacy, they have managed within what can be measured in mere months to turn his memory and people's perception of him into a dehumanized caricature devoid of a soul. It is wise for this company to align itself with the many talented people whose vast knowledge and unique insight has remained untapped for much too long... and to make it worth their while to record their stories of the many historical moments they played a tremendous part in.
There is no better way to promote a legacy than to ensure the preservation of stories from the people who were actually there. Tribute artists and plastic ducks are certainly not a successful strategy, and add nothing of value to the perception of "outsiders" to the world of Elvis fans and music lovers. In fact, such bizarre curios and extraneous bric-a-brac serve only to diminish, detract and distract from the legacy.
With each passing day, we grow closer to losing more of the key players not just in Elvis history, but in music history as a whole. And sadly, when these beloved and revered figures pass from this walk of life, so goes their treasured, invaluable stories... if we do not make a move to appreciate and document them now while there is still the time to do so.