Elvis Presley Welcome Home Party

COMMERCE, CA.  On March 24, 1958 a 23 year old Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army for a two year stint.  History records the federal government drafted Elvis the Pelvis in order to make the youth of America forget about him and put a halt to his devious influence on their raging sex hormones.  I don’t know if that’s true, but his influence was already far beyond the youth of America.  Sergeant Elvis Presley was discharged on March 05, 1960, but by then a new music invasion had begun with the Beatles and other classis music giants of the 1960s like Led Zepplin, The Who, and Black Sabbath.  Many who attribute their interest in rock and roll to Elvis Presley.

“Before Elvis, there was nothing.”
-John Lennon

The government failed miserably to make the world forget about the King of Rock and Roll, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.  Elvis already opened the door for an entire new generation of music and musicians.

Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution – the 60’s comes from it.”  Leonard Bernstein, 1960s

Frank Sinatra welcomed Elvis home from the Army on his TV show on May 2, 1960.  Musician/Producer, Eddie Stephens and his band, The Treat Me Nice Band, paid tribute to the historical TV show at Steven’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant with his Happy Birthday Elvis Show commemorating what would have been Elvis’ 79th birthday celebration.

Opening the show, crooning the classic songs of Frank Sinatra was Douglas Roegiers.  He swooned the captive audience with a smooth, velvet voice that could melt you like butter.  Roegiers flew us to the moon, took us on a romantic stroll in a gentle, summer wind, and easily got under our skins and pulled us into the moment of every lyric.  The Crooner did it all his way and that’s what makes Roegiers unique.  He was not trying to be Sinatra, but simply entertaining the audience by singing Sinatra’s songs with a soothing, suave style rarely heard among today’s popular entertainers.

I must say, Roegiers put us all in a romantic mood.  It’s hard not to feel a bit enchanted when a masterful crooner like Roegiers can make you feel all fuzzy inside and ready to pitch woo with your sweetheart.   He was the perfect warm up to Rob Ely’s tribute to an early Elvis.

Ely was the right ETA for this special birthday show.  He had the right hair — a beautiful, thick pompadour of hair all his own that makes the girls want to run their fingers through it.  Elvis was 25 years old when he appeared on Sinatra’s show and that boyish look he had transformed into a charming, young man sans the sideburns temporarily.  Ely shares that same charm and maturity needed to pull off the Sinatra-Presley duet at the end of the show.  However, before the duet he rocked us through the early songs that made Elvis famous.

Wearing the gold lame jacket, Ely took the stage to the sound of wild screams from the girls enraptured by the image of Elvis on stage.  Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, and Don’t be Cruel were some of the iconic songs energizing the banquet room of fans.  We would be exhausted if Ely didn’t take a break to slow things down to follow in Roegiers footsteps and croon, Young & Beautiful, and an exemplary rendition of, It’s Now or Never.

The icing on the cake on this spectacular evening of music, magic, and memories was the final number when Roegiers and Ely sang the Love Me Tender-Witchcraft duet from the Sinatra TV special.  The TV show had Sinatra sing Elvis’ Love Me Tender and Elvis sang Sinatra’s Witchcraft.  What a moment to relive TV history with two of most iconic entertainers in the world.

It’s ironic Sinatra had Elvis on his show because he shared the same sentiment as his generational peers about Elvis in the 1950’s.

His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac…It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.  -Frank Sinatra, 1950s

Sinatra obviously changed his tune when 1960 rolled around.  He probably looked in the mirror and realized he was doing the same thing only in a subtle crooner’s sort of aphrodisiac way.

“There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”   -Frank Sinatra, 1977

Eddie Stephens has again produced another superb tribute show.  Stephens has an old soul and heartfelt appreciation for the music of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.  He has graciously shared it with us all with the outstanding performances of Douglas Roegiers and Rob Ely.

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