Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey on August 15, 1987 · Page 70
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Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey · Page 70

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Asbury Park, New Jersey
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Saturday, August 15, 1987
Page:
Page 70
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D24 Asbury Park PressSaturday, August 15,. 1987 r. 1 THE ELVIS LEGACY C Former city man new manager of , Elvis' first studio By MATTHEW KARAS Press Staff Writer MEMPHIS, Tenn. Growing up in Asbury Park, Dave Aron didn't know much about Elvis Presley. When he wanted to get real, real gone, his preference was for Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. Even today, having moved to Presley's hometown of Memphis, Tenn., he reels off the bands he gets all shook up about and U2, REM and INXS come up before Presley is mentioned. Then again, no one at Sun studios these days is a big Presley fan. So maybe this 22-year-old from New Jersey wasn't such a curious choice to manage the renaissance of the historic recording studio where Presley got his start. Elvis is, after all, the guy who made U2, REM and INXS possible, right? "I'm not an avid freak or anything, but I do appreciate what he did," Aron said in an interview in the tiny studio. "I love his career from 1954 to 1958." "The direction of music (today) is definitely going toward a more roots-oriented sound," Aron said. "The new INXS single if that doesn't sound like Memphis music, what does?" Sun is where Presley recorded his legendary sides for producer Sam Phillips, including "That's All Right" and "Mystery Train," before his contract was sold to RCA in 1956. Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash also made classic records there. Phillips moved his Memphis Recording Service to another building in 1960, leaving the original studio abandoned until earlier this year, when SongMasters, a local company, decided to reopen it as Wall outside Graceland a billboard for Elvis fans The Associated Press MEMPHIS, Tenn. Twice a year for the past 13 years, Beth Chandler has made the pilgrimage popular among Elvis Presley fans to Graceland, the late singer's estate. Ms. Chandler, who lives in Santa Bruno, Calif., says she was often among the fans who waited for hours by the stone wall surrounding Graceland in the hopes of spotting Presley. "He came out," she said with a sigh and a smile. Ms. Chandler is in Memphis again, along with many of the 50,000 other tourists and fans expected to tour Graceland this month during a nine-day celebration commemorating Presley's death 10 years ago on Sunday. The wall by which Ms. Chandler patiently waited now serves as a billboard of devotion to Presley. both an active studio and museum furnished with early photographs and replicas of the instruments Presley and his peers used. The original acoustic tiles line the walls. The new Sun scored its first coup earlier this summer, getting ex-Beatle Ringo Starr to record an album track there. Mostly, though, it's been local bands, and for the past month the Sun crew has devoted itself to serving fans in town for the 10th anniversary of Presley's death, who for the first time have a chance to see where it all started. Aron, after graduation from Asbury Park High School and a year at Rutgers University, transferee! to Memphis State University to study sound recording. "I always wanted to see Sun studios, but it wasn't open," the 1987 graduate said as a group of Japanese Presley fans toured behind him. "When I walked in here, there was nothing in it, none of the stuff that is here now, and it had the same effect on me as it does on these people. It sent chills through me. And I'm not even an Elvis fan." Some musicians have fled Memphis in the past two decades because of a dearth of studios, but record companies have begun to focus their attention on the city once again, said, who is studio manager and engineer. "I project in the 1990s this place will be booming," he said. "Everyone's going to want to record here (at Sun). We don't have to market that. What we have to market is the music that's coming out of here." Sam Phillips recently visited, Aron said, and, "You could see it in his eyes. He was walking and telling his friends, 'Here's where I set up' and 'Here's my platform it still looks the same as when I was here.'" Presley had the five-foot wall built in 1957, leaving it low enough for the white-columned house to be seen from the road, say Graceland officials. The wall's smooth stones bear the messages of hundreds of fans who have visited Graceland, many apparently confident of meeting the king of rock 'n' roll someday in heaven. "Elvis if you knew Christ then I hope to see you in Heaven," wrote G.J.D. of New Jersey. On the adjacent boulder, Linda, who left no address, wrote simply "Love ya." "Although we lost a special friend, we must remember we were the generation blessed by the KING, ELVIS," another fan penned. "Elvis, we miss you always," two fans named Lisa and Dorrie wrote on May 4, 1987. ... Nearby, . an anonymous fan . FN- 1 ' The mystique of Elvis Presley seems to grow every year. Notes from Graceland Press staff and wire reports MEMPHIS, Tenn. Does Elvis' spirit still hover over Grace-land? CBS television editor Tito Rodriguez and photographer Michael Horine were standing outside Presley's mansion during a late-night shoot and speaking, well, not so fondly of the king and his fans. The talk ran from Presley's questionable taste in interior deco-" rating to his followers' fanaticism. Just then, in the calm, clear night, a large tree limb crashed to the ground about 10 feet away. "We had an eerie feeling," Rodriguez said. "We said maybe we better be quiet about him." Until Wednesday, the Grace-land mansion and shopping complex straddling' Elvis Presley Boulevard had been largely the domain of tourists who, though growing in number each day, are unconnected itt: .iL. scratched out "Elvis: I AM your love child." Adoration for The King, as he's acknowledged on the wall, spans generations other than that said to be blessed by him. "Elvis, I was only turning seven when you left us, not old enough to understand the loss but-you're S " I iii'i i in' "'""trltrfl 1 The fTL Legacy LxjJ with each other but for their fascination with Elvis and the house where he died 10 years ago. ' The hardcore fans those who carry club membership cards proudly and make the Graceland pilgrimage each year for the Aug. 16 death anniversary were keeping busy traveling the hour to Tupelo where the King was born, culling through collections of Presley memorabilia and erecting window-display shrines to the entertainer in their motel rooms. But by mid-week, the true zealots, often identifiable by their club uniforms of T-shirts and shorts, be The stone wall outside Graceland has been written on by many Elvis fans. always on my mind. I love you always, Love, Krista." Mike McGregor, a former Presley employee who often worked in the guard booth at Graceland's entrance, recalls that fans would crowd the fence and the front gate at all hours of the day or night, whenever they thought Presley was at home. 1 i. gan flowing onto the Graceland grounds. Wednesday afternoon several hundred of the fans were allowed off the paved driveway leading to Presley's mansion to observe presentation ceremonies by BMB Music president Elliot Goldman of a large plexiglass plaque embedded with 48 more gold and platinum Elvis recordings. Presley's RCA Records label is a division of BMB and at last count, Elvis' world-wide record sales had exceeded one billion. While record company officials and spectators showered each other in the name of Elvis, of course with polite applause, a number of the fans were most thrilled with being able to wander for a few minutes in a grassy area normally kept off limits to the public. Some fans were seen furtively picking blades of grass and picking up fallen tree leaves to add to their cache of mementos. "He'd come down, sign autographs," McGregor said. Often, Presley would sign belongings that were tossed over the wall by fans and then toss them back, he said. But not all messages on the Graceland wall are as reverential as the "Dear, dear Elvis, I miss you so much" note left in pencil. "Elvis who?" wrote one visitor. Another message said, "Elvis: Just Say No," referring to his drug abuse. When not referred to as "The King," Graceland's former owner is always addressed on the wall as Elvis never Presley. Or in the case of the message from Diane, "To my hunk-a-hunk of burning love," from the words of a Presley song. But the anonymous message left sometime in 1986 may best express the sentiment of Presley's determined and devoted admirers who can't seem to get enough of him: , , "Elvis in Excess!"'

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