Elvis Presley revolutionized popular music in the 1950s and became such a powerful figure that he is still revered across the planet today.
However, he only toured briefly outside of the United States – and that was in neighboring Canada in 1957. Why has he never traveled the world with his shows?
As we’ll see, this is a character who made all the decisions about his career – and how selfish reasons alienated the King of Rock from his subjects around the world.
Colonel Tom Parker
Elvis made his leap to stardom under the tutelage of a businessman known as Colonel Tom Parker. Despite his name, Andreas Cornelius van Kuijk (Parker’s real name) was born and raised in Holland, from where he fled under suspicious circumstances.
In her biography of the businessman called “The Colonel”, Alanna Nash tells the story of a murder that took place in Breda, Parker’s hometown. Anna van den Enden, a 23-year-old bride, was found beaten to death in her apartment behind a grocery store. The apartment had been ransacked, money stolen and pepper sprayed on and around the body to ward off police dogs.
The murder was never solved due to lack of evidence or witnesses, but the fact that Parker’s family lived near the grocery store, Tom had been hired to make deliveries to the store on several occasions, and his escape shortly thereafter to the United States raised suspicion.
shows in canada
The only Elvis shows outside of the United States have been in three Canadian cities – Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. At that time, the border between the two countries did not require a passport for the crossing, but despite everything, the businessman remained in the United States while the rest of the team accompanied the king.
The general suspicion over the years was that Colonel Tom Parker was terribly afraid of being deported. Although he married an American and served in the military, he did not register as a foreigner under Blacksmiths Act 1940 or sought the necessary amnesty programs to regularize their immigration before the law. He was basically an illegal immigrant.
Australia Tour and Last Drop
It was in Elvis Presley’s plans to act in serious films – as he was always subject to low-budget works and fast production, to make a profit – and to tour the world. However, Colonel Tom Parker’s intransigence still spoke louder.
The manager has always had a reason to justify himself: poor security conditions outside the United States, a lack of venues large enough to host concerts of such a caliber, excessive ticket prices that would harm fans, in addition to the a belief not shared with the singer that other managers were pointing out how unusual Elvis’ contract was, where the Colonel was entitled to 50% of all entertainer-related revenue.
This tension between the two reached a boiling point in 1974, when a multi-million dollar offer to visit Australia was turned down by the Colonel. It was the last straw.
“I was at this late night meeting at the Hilton in Las Vegas. Elvis wanted to do an overseas tour. He wanted to go to Australia. He wanted to go to Japan. The Colonel said, ‘If you’re going, I’m not going with you’. Elvis said, ‘Okay, you’re fired’.”
In the same interview, Schilling explained how even though he fired the Colonel, Elvis still couldn’t escape his influence:
“When Elvis tried to organize a tour, no one dared approach him for fear of the Colonel. They had this relationship with the Colonel. They respected the Colonel. They didn’t want to crush him. In the end , Elvis couldn’t get where he wanted to go because of business constraints.”
Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42, without having toured internationally. It was discovered during subsequent investigations that the colonel had subjected the artist to abusive business agreements – thanks to which Parker was even able to reverse his dismissal. A feather.
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