JERRY SCHILLING - Memphis Mafia - Jerry Schilling talks about his book on Elvis
Myrna Smith Interview about Elvis and Jerry Schilling
Sonny West, Red Rest, Elvis, Jerry Schilling, Lamar Fike, Joe Esposito
Myrna Smith Sweet Inspirations
Passed Away on Christmas Eve
Whitney Houston with mother Cissy Houston
Cissy Houston Elvis Vegas 1969
Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney Houston(September 30, 1933)
Grammy Award gospel singer led a very successful career as
a backup singer for Elvis Presley
In 1963, before the birth of daughter Whitney Houston, she formed
the Sweet Inspirations with Sylvia Shemwell, Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith. Throughout
the 1960s, the Sweet Inspirations group provided backup vocals for Aretha Franklin, Wilson
Pickett, Lou Rawls, Otis Redding, The Drifters, Dusty Springfield, Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison
Elvis Presley invited the quartet to sing backup during his series of Las
Vegas concerts. After those shows, Houston says, 'we would jam with him for an
hour, singing gospel. He really loved it, had a feel for it and was
tickled to have four 'church sisters' backing him up'.
As a token
Myrna Smith sadly passed away from kidney failure aged 69. Myrna was a member of the Sweet Inspirations, best known for their work with Aretha Franklin & Elvis Presley. Myrna is the second of the Sweet Inspirations to pass away this year. Sylvia Shemwell died February 13, 2010
Myrna Smith Interview: You were closer to Elvis than most since you were married to Elvis' friend Jerry Schilling Myrna Smith: I was married to Jerry from 1982 to 1987 and we're still good friends. Jerry and I started dating in 1973 and so I got a chance to spend more time with Elvis than others. I flew on Elvis' plane, spent time at Graceland and usually stayed on the same floor as Elvis in the hotels when were on tour. In California I would stay at Elvis' house on Monovale.
When did you get the call to work with Elvis Myrna Smith: We got a call from our booking agency who said that Elvis had phoned wanting us to sing with him. At the time we weren't that impressed as they sent us what seemed like 200 albums of songs to learn since we weren't that familiar with Elvis' material! This was 1969 when Elvis had been recording those movie soundtracks and the older songs like 'Teddy Bear' & 'Love Me Tender' just wasn't the type of music that we listened to.
ELVIS refused to play his
own music at home, according to his new book on Elvis called
"Me And A Guy Named Elvis" by Jerry Schilling. Once Elvis
yelled: "Who put that c**p on?" when a partygoer at Graceland
put All Shook Up on the record player, recalls Schilling.
"Elvis was proud of his work but it was just that - his work.
"He lived with his music outside the house he didn't need to
hear at home" Jerry Schilling talks about Elvis' darkest
days The court ruled Priscilla gets custody of Lisa Marie,
Elvis believed his daughter would be far better off raised
with small town of values in Memphis , just like he was, than
in a big city like Los Angeles
After days of arguing, Priscilla convinced Elvis that Lisa would be
happier with a constant parent, rather than one that was on the road.
Touring most of the year, much to his despair, Elvis had to concede to
the truth of his usual life-style was not conducive to raising a child
on his own.
Although, "Elvis just stood watching as we load up Priscilla's blue Mercedes.
By than Priscilla was in tears and shaking," says Schilling.
"Elvis took Priscilla into his arms, kissed her gently on the
mouth, and said. 'If you need anything, Cilla. Anything at all? You know
to let me know'."
Until that finally moment, Elvis was still composed, but when it was
time to bid farewell to his daughter, Elvis broke down and cried as he
swooped his beloved Lisa into his arms. Elvis held Lisa tight for a very
long time. "Be a good girl, Button-head," whispered Elvis.
(Button-head was Elvis' pet name for Lisa) "You come and visit
often, you hear," said Elvis trying to hold back the tears. Then
out of sheer desperation Elvis insisted, "Get mummy to teach you
how to use the phone, so you can call me everyday, okay."
As Schilling recalls, "Lisa Marie, was always a very perceptive
child. She realised this was not the usual way her daddy said goodbye.
Normally, Elvis would says, 'Button-head I'm off to work. What do you
want daddy to bring you back, this time?'"
"This day was strange, and Lisa knew it. She looked into her
daddy's eyes and asked him, 'Are you crying, daddy?"
At the point, Elvis flashed Priscilla a look that could kill, then
delivered Lisa into her mother's awaiting arms, turned on his heels,
walked back into the house, without looking back.
"I'd seen that look before in Elvis eyes," says Schilling.
"It a look that still sends a chill went down my spine, when I
think of it... It's was a look of pain, anger, desperation and
"For the rest of that day, till about
that night, Elvis closed himself up
in his bedroom. He wouldn't eat or
take our calls. We got very worried. We thought maybe he had knocked myself out
with a whole lot of sleeping pills."
"From time to time, Joe and I would sneak up to his bedroom and
listen at the door. Once I heard him cursing. Another times I heard him
screaming. But mostly we heard Elvis just sobbing."
Finally, Schilling admitted, "I now know, that day was the
beginning of the end for the Elvis I had once know and loved."
Footnote: In regard to my personal experience I find Elvis always
willing to talk to me if I had a problem. He always treated me as if we
were the same. Elvis was a deep person. He would admit to the same
insecurities that I had. I remember he told me that things weren't so
different for him... sure success, fame, and money gave him the
opportunity to have nice things, and buy the things he wanted, but it
didn't stop him from having doubts or fears.
Elvis was a very caring person. I remember when I once had I car
accident. I was pretty shook up, but nothing real serious. That night I
found it difficult to fall asleep. Elvis somehow knew that, and came
into my room (we were all in staying with Elvis during the shooting of
Frankie and Johnny and talked to me until I fell asleep.