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Elvis Presley's London shows scuppered by Colonel Parker

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Elvis Presley's London shows scuppered by Colonel Parker

Elvis Presley's plans to perform in London were derailed by his manager's immigration status.

Legendary live promoter Harvey Goldsmith tried for years to bring 'The King of Rock 'n' Roll' across the pond from America to perform in Britain for his millions of fans but during a private conversation with Elvis' manager 'Colonel' Tom Parker he was told it could never happen because Parker - who was actually Dutch - didn't know if he'd be allowed back into the US if he left.

Speaking at the Hay literary festival in Powys, Wales, Goldsmith - who has worked with The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna and Oasis over the years - revealed: "He (Parker) explained that it was because he was an illegal. He didn't want to risk leaving the US - it was him, not Elvis."

Throughout his incredible career Elvis only performed in three cities outside of the US - Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver - during brief tours to Canada in 1957. At the time US citizens did not need a passport to cross the border from the US into the neighbouring North American country.

Parker was born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk in Breda in Breda in the Netherlands, and as a boy he worked as a barker at carnivals in his hometown, a job that first opened his eyes to the entertainment business.

At 15, he moved to Rotterdam to work on the boats in the port town which was part of his plan to get to America, and at 18 he entered the US illegally by jumping ship from his employer's vessel. He first worked with a Chautauqua educative tent show, before returning briefly to the Netherlands.

Parker returned to America at age 20 and worked for a number of carnivals before joining the US Army. He got the name 'Tom Parker' from the officer who interviewed him to disguise the fact he was an illegal alien.

He first began working in the music business in 1938, working with singer Gene Austin. Parker discovered Elvis in 1955 and later that same year he became his co-manager with Memphis radio personality Bob Neal.

It was on March 26, 1956, after Elvis's management contract with Neal had expired, that the musician signed a contract with Parker to make him his exclusive representative and the pair worked together for the rest of Elvis' career and up until his death in August 1977 at the age of just 42.