Prince meets Elvis

Tony Prince on meeting The King

Paul Nichols
  • By Paul Nichols
  • 30 Jun 2011
  • min read
As Honourary President of the Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain, Tony Prince was invited to join 200 Presley fans on a pilgrimage to see the King. He recounted the trip to M.

After visiting Memphis, Nashville and East Tupelo, where Elvis was born, we headed to Las Vegas. There to welcome us at his Vegas Hilton office was Colonel Tom Parker, who instructed me to select a handful of fans who would join us to meet Elvis that evening in his dressing room. At the end of the meeting, I plucked up the courage to ask him for permission to interview Elvis.

‘Elvis doesn’t do one to one interviews, you should know that Mister Prince.’

Then the Colonel threw his arm round my shoulder and added: ‘Well I suppose if you sneak a tape recorder down there tonight and I don’t happen to see it…’

That night we converged in Elvis’ dressing room below the Hilton showroom, with the small group of privileged Brits selected to attend. There was no Elvis in sight, but the Colonel was there and he introduced us to Elvis’ musicians. We were all chatting away and then, there he was. Elvis was in the room. We hadn’t seen him come in and there was no fanfare, but somehow he had materialised and was leaning against the wall in a black suit, talking to one of the musicians.

‘This is Mister Prince I wuz telling you about,’ the Colonel said to him.

I grasped the King’s hand and squeezed it saying something soppy like how honoured I was to meet him. Then I pulled out the microphone. I saw Elvis glance towards the Colonel who made a play act of looking away.

From the Colonel’s response, Elvis got the message. I couldn’t recall the sequence of questions I’d mapped out in my mind, but I remembered one: ‘Any chance of us hearing some more blues from you in the future Elvis?’

‘Workin’ on it,’ he smiled. ‘S’funny you should say that but, yeah, we’re workin’ on it.’

I checked the record level and pushed the microphone closer to those famous lips. Then I went for the million dollar question.

‘Elvis, this will be going out on Radio Luxembourg to some 50 million listeners, have you got any message for those listening to this show tonight?’

Elvis bent his head down towards me. ‘Yeah ah do’, he began. ‘I wanna thank them for their loyalty and their devotion and I’m gonna come and see ‘em.’

Wow. I hadn’t even asked him that, the trillion-dollar question, but there it was and he had given it up voluntarily.

He smiled that lip snarling grin of his and laughed before continuing, the first message to his British and European fans that he had given or would ever give.

‘Mmm, ah know ah keep sayin’ ah’m comin’ but we will….ah mean it, we’re sure gonna go come see ‘em.’

And that was it. The Colonel moved in there quickly knowing I’d just been given the greatest one-line interview in the history of music. There was no need for anything else.

Tony Prince was a radio DJ on Radio Caroline and Luxembourg in the 60s and 70s. In 1981, he began playing DJ mixes of dance records and started the Disco Mix Club Show, later launching DMC as a record subscription club and the spin-off magazine Mixmag. Prince continues to run the company, now known as DMC International and is Programme Director for Wedding TV, the television channel he co-founded.