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Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:25 am

Today I uncovered an previously-undocumented Elvis interview.

It appeared immediately after his peculiar on-stage rants in Las Vegas, outbursts made during the final week of his August-September 1974 season. Elvis sat down with familiar Memphis reporter James Kingsley to discuss why he cancelled his two shows on August 26.


740827_MS_Las Vegas Hilton.JPG
Back to work in Las Vegas on August 27, 1974 MS
Photo: super-fan Sandi Pinchon


As he had repeatedly claimed from the Las Vegas stage, Elvis related that he caught a nasty flu bug. The story went out over the national news wires the second week of September.

Presley Suffering From The Flu Bug
Gadsden Times - Sunday, September 8, 1974‎‎‎

Elvis Cancels Two Dates
Sarasota Herald-Tribune - ‎Sunday, September 8, 1974‎

Singer Explains Reason For Cancelling Appearance
Rome News-Tribune - ‎Sunday, September 8, 1974‎‎

Pneumonia Downs Elvis
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - ‎Monday, September 9, 1974‎

Illness Forced Elvis To Cancel Appearances
Rock Hill Herald - ‎Wednesday, September 11, 1974‎




Here's a complete copy of the Gadsden Times text:


740908_Gadsen Times p3.jpg
Gadsen Times, Sunday September 8, 1974


The interview was probably published in the Memphis Press-Scimitar as well, but I've never seen it. It's interesting how much was done to excuse this single-day absence -- could the "movie magazines" spreading rumours about "heroin" abuse have been hitting too close to home? Well, the darn flu bug evidently hit Presley again, on his September tour in College Park, Maryland.


740927_College Park.JPG
On stage, College Park, MD - Friday, September 27, 1974


On a slightly happier note, despite even more odd stage behavior on this tour, the University of Maryland's 1975 yearbook, The Terrapin, devoted an entire page to his visit.


750600_Terrapin p107.jpg
The Terrapin, 1975
"Elvis Presley - Fieldhouse Rock" p. 107
These photos from Saturday, September 28, 1974 are otherwise unpublished, as far as I know.
http://archive.org/download/terrapin1975univ/terrapin1975univ.pdf



The next three years would be quite a ride.
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Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:31 am

Thanks for posting. Reading the article Elvis comes across as pretty sober in it.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:46 am

Not really an interview but more like passing comments.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:00 am

But interesting just the same. Thanks for the research.

Nice shots from the U of Maryland yearbook!

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:25 am

Thanks for posting Doc. As my grandmother often quoted to me as a small boy-beware he doth protest too much. While many frequently criticize the drug discussions, having lived through the lies and cover ups, i myself can't get enough. Having watched first hand his fall from grace, wondering what was happening and believing against all reason next time would be better, i am utterly fascinated that this monumental cover up of drug addiction was never widely reported in the press save a few stories on Elvis being 'drunk' in Las Vegas. There is no doubt in my mind that his drug addiction was widely known in Vegas as well as the entertainment business yet to Tom Parker's 'credit', it went undetected by his fan base. In today's world, he would have been TMZ'd and off to rehab-likely saving his life and giving us a chance for a greater musical legacy. Every time i read about the flu, desert storm etc, it conjures up the image of someone dunking his head in a bucket of ice cold water while Parker bellows the only thing that matters is that he is on stage at showtime. Truly tragic. elvis was often referred to as looking like a Greek god; he surely lived a Greek tragedy. Yep, the flu- wanna buy a bridge.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:31 am

And after all the misleading stories about Elvis' drug abuse in the 70's... a simple flu shot could have taken care of all those years of poor performances??? WOW! That IS news!!! :smt023

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:46 am

fn2drive wrote:Thanks for posting Doc. As my grandmother often quoted to me as a small boy-beware he doth protest too much. While many frequently criticize the drug discussions, having lived through the lies and cover ups, i myself can't get enough. Having watched first hand his fall from grace, wondering what was happening and believing against all reason next time would be better, i am utterly fascinated that this monumental cover up of drug addiction was never widely reported in the press save a few stories on Elvis being 'drunk' in Las Vegas. There is no doubt in my mind that his drug addiction was widely known in Vegas as well as the entertainment business yet to Tom Parker's 'credit', it went undetected by his fan base. In today's world, he would have been TMZ'd and off to rehab-likely saving his life and giving us a chance for a greater musical legacy. Every time i read about the flu, desert storm etc, it conjures up the image of someone dunking his head in a bucket of ice cold water while Parker bellows the only thing that matters is that he is on stage at showtime. Truly tragic. elvis was often referred to as looking like a Greek god; he surely lived a Greek tragedy. Yep, the flu- wanna buy a bridge.


As we have seen with recent celebrity scandals in the UK, it's surprising how money, fame and power can make the press and media turn a blind eye for many years.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:08 am

Thanks always cool to read Elvis' comments on things.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:03 am

Thanks John,interesting reading

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:35 am

Thanks Doc, that was really interesting!

Lennart

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:05 pm

fn2drive wrote:... In today's world, he would have been TMZ'd and off to rehab-likely saving his life...


Maybe, but Amy Winehouse had a ton of good friends, family & help attempts, yet she's dead.

Interesting post fn2drive, & thanks drjohncarpenter; brilliant stuff.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:25 pm

It is so nice to come home from work and relax, and read a nice topic.

Withdraws from various substances can give flu-like symptoms. It's very possible Elvis did believe he was coming down with the Influenza virus, when he may have just switching up on different combinations or alternate meds.
This is another one of those cases where you just will never know.

Thanks for putting the time into this Doc, that article was an interesting read. :smt023

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:43 pm

I can't recall off-hand which member of Elvis's circle it was who told me at the time that on the 26th when he cancelled he spent the day lying on a couch throwing up, "with some girl". When he returned to the stage on the 27th he was pouring sweat and had lost some of the swelling in his abdomen. Sylvia was unwell during that show too - she had none of her usual zap and stood hanging her head. Elvis said to her quietly and sympathetically "Do you have the flu, honey?"

People might like to consider this info which I gleaned for myself on the days in question, alongside the statements made above.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:50 pm

chris j wrote:I can't recall off-hand which member of Elvis's circle it was who told me at the time that on the 26th when he cancelled he spent the day lying on a couch throwing up, "with some girl". When he returned to the stage on the 27th he was pouring sweat and had lost some of the swelling in his abdomen. Sylvia was unwell during that show too - she had none of her usual zap and stood hanging her head. Elvis said to her quietly and sympathetically "Do you have the flu, honey?"

People might like to consider this info which I gleaned for myself on the days in question, alongside the statements made above.

Thanks for sharing that chris! New to me.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:14 pm

And when he came on stage on the 27th he said with a rueful and childlike smile, "I been sick."

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:39 pm

Well, see, it was the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu. ;)

Thanks, Doc!

rjm

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:58 pm

He must have got a lot of bugs from all those women he kissed, that's for sure. Especially at the dinner shows when their faces/mouths were messed up from eating, urgh. Poor Elvis. Did Colonel Creature make him do all that kissing? Surely EP would rather have just kissed a few.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:04 pm

Good find Doc - and as you suggest a rather sympathetic telling of the story.

Interesting to see the reference to having performed 'worldwide' in the piece. Those concerts in Canada from '57 must count for a lot.

There is an interesting project to be compiled: Elvis through his home town papers - pulling together features/stories/anecdotes/clips from the Memphis newspapers over the years.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:18 pm

chris j wrote:I can't recall off-hand which member of Elvis's circle it was who told me at the time that on the 26th when he cancelled he spent the day lying on a couch throwing up, "with some girl". When he returned to the stage on the 27th he was pouring sweat and had lost some of the swelling in his abdomen. Sylvia was unwell during that show too - she had none of her usual zap and stood hanging her head. Elvis said to her quietly and sympathetically "Do you have the flu, honey?"

People might like to consider this info which I gleaned for myself on the days in question, alongside the statements made above.


Of course, Presley may very well have been caught by the flu. We will never know exactly what really happened but by 1974 Elvis' drug abuse became evident, his health deteriorated visibly and health issues became more and more a mountain for him to climb. Now, 35 years later and with today's knowledge it is not that strange to relate the mans health issues to his drug abuse. Nice article and info, Doc!

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:43 pm

He probably had a very low immune system due to his diet & lifestyle. Not a well man by any means.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:44 pm

All that said (and nice reference, RJM!), some of the sad reality is that not even his show was as bad sounding
as we'd previously believed.

It would have been better if it was more of a bomb - instead, as the tape testifies
for one of the shows, it was a troubled but not horrific show as many had come to believe. One doesn't
root for Elvis to bomb, but had it done it more often or more publically, it would have finally
become fodder for the Enquirer, the Star and mainstream press. Yes, that started to happen,
but mostly before it was too late and nearly loud enough.

Image
"Chaos In College Park" - Elvis Presley (Straight Arrow, 2006)

As Piers wrote in his review in the revealing if controversial (here at least) release:

Verdict - If you like Elvis at his best then there is no point in getting this CD. Buy ‘Elvis Live’, ‘That’s The Way It Is’, ‘At The International’
or, if you want something from 1974, ‘Live In Memphis’ instead. If you are interested in examining Elvis’ legacy even further then performances like ‘New Year’s Eve 1976/77’, ‘Closing Night’ or ‘Spring Tours 1977’ illustrate even more.
However there is no doubt that this is a worthy release as it sounds so different from the previously dreadful ‘All Gut’ CDR, revealing Elvis’ performance for what it really was.

Yes, it was a poor concert but it certainly destroys the myth that it was Elvis’ worst ever performance. Hard-core Elvis collectors will find this fascinating..."

from:
'Chaos In College Park' : Was this Elvis' worst concert? - CD Review
http://www.elvisinfonet.com/cdreview_ch ... epark.html


I had a chance to drive by that arena a few years ago and imagine him in there. Then I came across someone who saw the show
(and also saw Zeppelin, Bob Marley and others back then) who went with her mother as a teen and told me: "I thought it
was a great show!" Another one who barely noticed anything wrong. We know it but it's apparent the man could
waffle through many a show in cruise control, throw some sparks and many could not tell the difference.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:04 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:On a slightly happier note, despite even more odd stage behavior on this tour, the University of Maryland's 1975 yearbook, The Terrapin, devoted an entire page to his visit.

These photos from Saturday, September 28, 1974 are otherwise unpublished, as far as I know.
The very same photos were first used in the Oct 4 1974 issue of Diamondback, the university's student paper, in conjunction of the concert review. They are credited to a Michael Fritz.
collegepark.png
collegeparkdb.png
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Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:15 am

Ty Doc - This is great - Lov It - This really is grt info you have added here on this thread - Ty 4 sharing buddy - ::rocks

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:06 am

King Volcano wrote:Maybe, but Amy Winehouse had a ton of good friends, family & help attempts, yet she's dead.


The wages of sin lead to death.

Re: Elvis Interview Reveals --> Felled By The Flu In 1974!

Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:52 am

fg76 wrote:
King Volcano wrote:Maybe, but Amy Winehouse had a ton of good friends, family & help attempts, yet she's dead.


The wages of sin lead to death.


Life leads to death.Sin has nothing to do with it.

Great post Doc.
Is his statement about only missing five shows through illness up to that point true?

norrie