The Elvis Legends

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Elvis and the "Catfish" incident (July 20, 1975)

I was in attendance at one of Elvis'the two performances that night of July 20, 1975 and well remember the so-called "Catfish Incident." I do not remember, however, anyone walking off the stage except one of the members of the vocal backup group, The Sweet Inspirations. Almost immediately after she walked off, Elvis coaxed her back onstage, and when she returned, he removed one of the diamond-studded rings on his hand and gave it to her. I don't remember Elvis being at all hostile to anyone. He simply cracked what he thought was a funny remark about the vocal group eating catfish because he smelled green peppers and onions. No one who knew Elvis ever thought he was racist. In fact, he had many black singers/musicians whom he admired, and he was admired by them. He grew up beside blacks when he was a kid and went to many of their gospel performances. He always attributed his success, in part, to the influence of black gospel and blues music.

Robert Gibson Corder, Ph.D., Richmond, VA more than 4 years ago

Robert Gibson Corder, Ph.D., Richmond, VA

"No one who knew Elvis ever thought he was racist"
This isn't true. Read some of the biographies by members of the entourage and you will uncover that Elvis had some deeply-ingrained southern attitudes to black men sleeping with white women. Elvis never behaved racist in the typical sense where he believed one race was better than another, but he had a backward attitude to interracial relationships because of ethnicity. It's true to say that Elvis revered black artists, was happy to foster their careers where possible and enjoyed working and playing with people irrespective of race. But he wasn’t averse to racial stereotyping and was against interracial relationships.
Like an unfortunate number of people in America today, Elvis's problem also seemed to stem from feeling threatened at times by black men.

Kel Varnsen more than 4 years ago

Elvis and Black Men

It must be remembered that those in Elvis' entourage who wrote that biography of him did so because they felt that he had wronged them in some way and who were, most likely, also jealous of him; as a result, they tried to demean him (sometimes truthfully and sometimes not). I have followed Elvis' career since 1954 and none of the other biographies I have read, written by either other members of his entourage who were closer to Elvis than his "lackies" or those outside his entourage, mention anything about him feeling threatened by black men. I don't doubt that he didn't approve of white women going with or marrying black men because almost all white people in the South were raised to think and feel that way back in those days. Even today, there are millions all over of this country who don't believe that those of different religions and/or cultures belong together. Finally, Elvis, in particular, had absolutely no reason to feel threatened by anyone in terms of his sexuality, charm, popularity, and financial success!

Robert Corder more than 3 years ago

Allegations and Speculation

When stating "this isn't true" based on "some of the biographies by members of his entourage", please quote the bio source and the page #. To do otherwise is to present allegations that are not verified or to be believed unless verified. And who is to judge any "backward attitude to interracial relationships because of ethnicity" ? Worse yet, the conjecture that Elvis had a problem stemming from "feeling threatened at times by black men" is even less substantial than a unproven theory. Without reliable sourcing you have what is known as allegation & speculation. Much like politics.

On a side note, I was in Biloxi MS yesterday playing at the Hard Rock. I took note of an apparent "interracial relationships" X2. As the Bob Dylan song goes... The Times They Are A-Changin. Even in Mississippi, some 45 years after Elvis' death. At this Hard Rock the Casino had on display a Gibson guitar with the notation... "When Elvis played at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY on July 20, 1975, he dropped off this guitar for repair at Phil Petillo's shop. It was never retrieved before his death." The only problem was that Elvis was in Norfolk, Va. on July 20, 1975, for two shows. source: Elvis, His Life from A-Z, by Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius, page 338.

Jon Bryan 65 days ago

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