Thank you for sharing this wonderfull memories!
Conklin: It's 'The King & I,' with a Madison twist
Keith Lowry Jr. was in Madison last week and he drove past the corner of Highway 51 and East Washington Avenue, where the Skyland Service Station used to stand.
"I was in Madison in April and the station was still there, and back three months later and it was gone, " says Lowry. "My dream was always to go back to Madison and reopen that station that my dad had. It was heartbreaking for me to see that. "
Lowry now owns a service station in Amarillo, Texas, having "followed in my dad 's footsteps. " But the Madison location not only has family significance, it 's the place Lowry was saved from a fight by Elvis Presley on June 24, 1977, when the King came to town for a concert.
Lowry, who now has a game room filled with Elvis memorabilia in his Texas home, recalls it clearly.
"One of the guys was a former employee of my dad 's who had been fired, " he says. "I was out there checking the pumps about midnight. Those two started pounding on me -- they were older guys and I 'm not much of a fighter. Then this limo pulls up and out jumps Elvis.
"He did a karate kick right out of the limo and said, I 'll take you guys on. ' They ran right away and he came over and said, Are you OK? ' And he shook my hand. He was wearing a blue jumpsuit. I was 17. "
Kim Gass, the owner of Suburban Wheels of Madison, the new shop on the site, says in the few months they 've been open, he 's had "lots of people coming in and telling us about Elvis breaking up the fight on this spot. "
So Gass has decided to re-enact the scene, complete with a limo, an Elvis impersonator and actors playing the three youths.
Spectators are welcome at noon Thursday, on the 30th anniversary of Elvis ' death. Carolynn Menendez, Lowry 's sister who lives in Madison, has seen the plaque and marker that commemorate the event, and says she plans to attend the re-enactment.
Doug Moe: UW prof knows just why Elvis matters
NOT LONG after Frank Sinatra died, his journalist friend Pete Hamill, spurred by obituaries that were full of Sinatra's feuds and foibles, wrote a wonderful little book called "Why Sinatra Matters."
What really counted, Hamill wrote, was not how many times Sinatra had been married or how many photographers he had punched. The singer's enduring relevance was in the artistry of his songs and the impact they had on millions of listeners.
At noon Wednesday at the Rotary Club of Madison's meeting at the Inn on the Park, UW-Madison Professor Craig Werner -- an admirer of Hamill's Sinatra book -- will make a similar case for another music legend, Elvis Presley.
The 30th anniversary of Presley's death is Thursday, and since Elvis was one of only a handful of Americans in the last century whose celebrity rivaled Sinatra's, the media is full of all manner of Presley prattle.
Here in Madison, we've had the retelling of the classic tale of Elvis, only a few months before his death, breaking up a fight at a gas station on the corner of U.S. 51 and East Washington Avenue. In town for a concert at the Dane County Coliseum, Presley hopped from his limousine after spotting a post-midnight altercation among several young men at the gas pump.
That's a great story, but we wouldn't be telling it without the magic of the music that came before -- the art that was majestic enough to make the minutiae newsworthy.
Call it "Why Elvis Matters."
There may be no one in academia more qualified to address the question than Werner, who next year will mark his 25th year in Madison.
Now 55, Werner grew up in Colorado, attended grad school at the University of Illinois and taught briefly in Mississippi before landing at UW-Madison in 1983, where today he is chairman of the Department of Afro-American Studies.
It was one of Werner's UW-Madison classes, "Black Music in American Cultural History," that led to a book that really put him on the radar of both musicians and scholars around the country.
"A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race and the Soul of America" came out in 1999, and among its many admirers was Bruce Springsteen, whom Werner met backstage at a concert in Detroit. Introduced by Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh, the professor and the rock star talked gospel music for the better part of half an hour.
It was while researching that book, Werner was saying Monday, that he had occasion to reconsider Elvis, whom Werner had first heard on the radio during what the professor called "the movie phase" of Presley's career. "It seemed like he was doing about four movies a year," Werner said, "and he didn't have time to pay attention to his music."
For much of the 1960s, Presley's music consisted of undistinguished songs recorded primarily for movie soundtracks. Listening belatedly to Presley's early Sun Records recordings, Werner discovered a singer who was admired by early black musicians and who took the different pieces of American music -- country, gospel and blues -- and helped invent a modern American voice that was, in Werner's estimation, "unapologetically interracial."
In the late 1960s, after years of movie mediocrity, Elvis recharged his music by returning to his roots. Presley spent a couple of months in early 1969 recording in Memphis, and the result was a number of classic performances, including "Suspicious Minds" and "Kentucky Rain."
Asked what triggered Presley's artistic rebirth, Werner said, "I'm not really sure. Maybe it was simply that he got out from under the movie contract."
Werner said that at Rotary he'll play an example from both the early Sun sessions as well as the later Memphis recordings ? songs that prove once and for all why Elvis matters.
Here is a pic(coloured)from the Madison concert and the newspaper(May)pic that was with the story-
Last edited by nolvis; 09-22-2007 at 05:07 PM.
Thank you for sharing this wonderfull memories!
Taking Care of BusinessTil we meet you again, may God bless you, Adios.
I suppose that pictures were not taken?And it was nice to hear the truth finally regarding this event,what with Elvis chasing those turkeys away!!!It doesn't sound like they hung around to have their pic taken with Elvis,thats for sure!!!
The cool thing about this story is that the gas station where this incident took place was located on US Highway 51 - now known in the Memphis area as Elvis Presley Boulevard. Interesting that Elvis could have taken this road back right to the front door at Graceland!
Blue jumpsuit on June 24, 1977,
But a great story
[Royalties come and go....... But there is only one man we always call THE KING
Thanks for sharing the story. It only proves no matter how big or small Elvis participation in any incident it never fail to catch public interest. Elvis as far as I can recall is the only singer easily identified with the first name before the advent of Elvis Costelo. Elvis will always be acknowledged no matter when, where and how.
track suits he liked to wear around (see the post divorce courthouse steps photos ) were jumpsuits. Its as associated with him as Hound Dog .
as I see Nolvis just mentioned the possibility as well.
I can't see him wearing a jumpsuit at that time at all.
It was probably a track suit (perhaps this fetching number , or one very similar).
After all, if you saw Elvis jumping out of a limo late at night with your adrenalin pumping, you might remember the image as Elvis in a jumpsuit.
Getlo - cute'n'cuddly
It had same Track suit I was 15 years old, my FDather buy it for xmas in 1976
Take a look at you and me,,Are we too blind to see, Do we Simply turn our heads and look the other way.....(Line From "in The Ghetto")
Thats what I'm saying, "People tend to think Everything", even the track suits, were jump suits. Its in the public perception as being one with Elvis. In fact even EPE thinks that to a degree since if you go to Graceland now, or buy the all access book, you'll see two piece stage suits in the jumpsuit exhibit.
When I went there recently, I heard many people commenting that they had no idea he wore something other than a jumpsuit on stage, so it was probably a good idea to include the '72 and '75 two-piece outfits.
Getlo - cute'n'cuddly