ElvisWorld: The Memphis Mafia origins

When Elvis started on the road, it was Elvis with Scotty Moore and Bill Black – by the time DJ Fontana joined the band onstage – Elvis was in a second car with his cousin Gene Smith and Red West.

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Others would follow – Billy Smith toured with Elvis when he aged up, as did Red’s cousin Sony. Lamar Fike and Alan Fortas joined up and Elvis went to Germany.

Returning home from the Army, Elvis brought Charlie Hodge and Joe Esposito into the group. Rex Mansfield opted to marry the secretary Elizabeth Staniuk rather than be an Elvis Guy.

It was in the mid-sixties when gossip columnist Rona Barrett dubbed Elvis’ entourage The Memphis Mafia – and Elvis liked it – it had Frank Sinatra connotations.

The groups ranks swelled and ebbed and while they all liked Elvis, they did not all like each other. Alliances formed and memberships rotated as various proved to find the pace too much or the greed.

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Their job descriptions and roles varied from the 50s which lurched from concerts to movies, the sixties were fairly stable and regular work in LA and play in Vegas.

Marty Lacker, Larry Geller and Billy Smith filled out the group and George Klein, a high school pal with his own career joined when he could.

Elvis passion for karate expanded his circle to include Ed Parker and others and the TBC necklace which was for those at Elvis’ beck and call began to shift farther from the inner group.

Sam Thompson joined and eventually so did Elvis “stepbrothers” The Stanley Brothers…. Dick Grob, Dave Hebler and other short timers…….

Then, came the 70s and Vegas became work.

The friends became lawsuits and failed business ventures and tangential careers

I haven’t done reviews of the Memphis Mafia Members Marty Lacker. I mean their books.

Jerry Schilling, Marty Lacker have both published, although I think of all the men who were in the Elvis circle, Joe Esposito has produced the most books but also a video release of the home movies. Joe was the main photographer in the group…

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Red West and Sony were the first to write a book, and they did it before Elvis died; their story was sensationalized for publication.

Dee Stanley and her sons where the next insiders, and they wrote a smear book.

Marty Lacker wrote Portrait of A Friend while Lamar Fike contributed to the Albert Goldman Book.

Lacker, Fike and Billy Smith were largely reviewed by Alanna Nash for her Elvis and the Memphis Mafia book about Elvis’ circles of friends.  Fike released his own book before he passed away. Lacker does a Q&A column for the Elvis Information Network site.

Larry Geller was quick to publish in the 1980s and has done 4 versions of what Elvis would have written. Geller also sells hair care products.

Charlie Hodge released “The Elvis I knew” and denied all drug use and really raised more questions about his relationship with Elvis than I had going into the book.

Jerry Schilling and Joe Esposito have remained closest to the Elvis Presley Estate and are often included on official products. Schilling released his book and Esposito has done more than any other MM, in addition to the number of  books, also his home movies. Something his books have as an advantage – candid home shots

Elvis Presley certainly take on Christ-y Proportions in Death with these MM disciples.

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Surreal Memories: Elvis’ Memphis Mafia

Elvis Presley – ‘Unchained Melody’ – With Never Seen Before Intro Elvis plays ‘Unchained Melody’ for the first time live before the albums release. flixxy.com   This breaks my heart ! Thank you for sharing. Beautiful. 33 mins · Unlike … Continue reading

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Elvisworld: The Memphis Mafia and Group Dynamics

that guy he throws the water on is Lamar Fike. Fike was a Big Boy DJ in texas who, upon hearing an Elvis disc, quit in the middle of spinning it and went to LA and weaseled his way in … Continue reading

Elvisverse: Elvis and Charlie Hodge

  Charlie Hodge was a singer in a quartet on the southern gospel circuit, when he got drafted and landed at Fort Hood at the same time as Elvis. Unlike the other guys around Elvis, who in the 50s, were … Continue reading

Elvisverse: Elvis and Larry Geller

Larry Geller joined the Memphis Mafia in the movie 60s, the 70s tour and Larry did Elvis’s final hairstyle session.   Curiously, both Charlie Hodge and Nancy Rook (Elvis’ fave nurse) both claimed in their book to have done the … Continue reading

Elvis and Sony West

In today’s daily Elvis, it’s the anniversary of Sonny’s wedding and one of the oddest Elvis images ever: Apparently Elvis never heard of not upstaging the bride on her wedding day. Sonny West was the younger cousin of Red West. … Continue reading

Who is King DJ?

George Klein of Memphis and Elvis Memphis Mafia fame OR Red Robinson of Vancouver BC – the site of Empire Stadium – the first stadium rock concert in which Elvis ruined Vancouver for all other lesser lights to follow. the … Continue reading

Elvisverse: Elvis and Lamar Fike

Lamar Fike was a Big Boy DJ in Texas, who by his own account, upon hearing Elvis – left the studio mid platter and drove to Hollywood. Where: he met the King and got to join as Court Jester.   … Continue reading

ElvisWorld: Presley Raquetball Courts

Elvis Presley was offered a lot of investment opportunities and his main business agent was his father, Vernon. Elvis was the first Presley or Smith ever to graduate high school. Vernon turned down getting in on the ground floor of … Continue reading

ElvisWorld – Bodyguard Book Day

  1977 Elvis What Happened? Was published.       This trio of books changed the public perception of Elvis.   The bodyguard book was written by an Australian tabloid writer who worked for Rupert Murdoch. Rupert is also responsible … Continue reading

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7 Responses to ElvisWorld: The Memphis Mafia origins

  1. Pingback: Elvisbooks: Alanna Nash | Nina's Soap Bubble Box

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