The Elvis Presley’s manager, “Colonel”…

The Elvis Presley’s manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker prevented Elvis from touring outside of the US (except for 3 shows in Canada in 1957) because Parker was, among other things, an illegal alien from the Netherlands that was suspected of murder.

Here are a few other things that Parker did. Some were poor judgement and many were highly unethical. He definitely took advantage of Elvis’s trust and naivete.

  • WentAWOL from the US military and spent 2 months in a mental hospital.

  • Was happy when Elvis received his draft notice because Presley had been showing signs of rebellion against him. Parker believed that a stint in the Army would cure him of this.

  • Persuaded Presley to sign up as a regular soldier instead of joining the Special Services, which would have allowed him the opportunity to continue to perform.

  • Didn’t attempt to prevent Elvis from being drafted because he was afraid it would result in a more detailed look into his own service record.

  • Was concerned about outside influence that Presley might come across in Germany so he sent his business associates and Presley’s friends to watch over him. He was also afraid that Presley would find out that other managers didn’t take a 25% cut.

  • Kept Elvis locked into movie contracts that put little to no importance on quality or his client’s wishes. As Presley’s popularity waned, Parker ensured the movies were made cheaply and quickly in order to maximize profits.

  • Renegotiated his contract with Elvis in 1967 that increased his take from 25% to 50%.

  • Pushed Elvis to get married in order to “tame” him because Elvis was showing signs of rebellion again. Parker also used the wedding as publicity to boost Elvis’s career.

  • Signed a 50/50 “partnership agreement with Elvis for his month-long stint in Las Vegas in 1969. Parker controlled merchandising and other non-music related items, which resulted in him earning more than his client.

  • Sold Elvis’s entire back catalog to RCA for $5.4 million in 1973. This meant that after his death, Presley’s estate would not receive any royalties for his songs prior to 1973.

  • Turned down an offer of $5 million for Elvis to perform in Saudi Arabia in 1975. When they offered $10 million, he turned that down too.

  • Persuaded Presley’s father, at Elvis’s funeral, to sign over control of Presley’s career in death to him.

  • Advised Elvis not to sign up for songwriting credits, which cost Elvis (and Parker) millions in royalties.

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