Monday, June 30, 2008

He has seen the world - and Elvis

My morning newspaper continues to surprise me! For a couple of days it's been running stories told by ordinary people to two reporters who's been spending a couple of days in a shopping mall in Gothenburg.

One story titled "When I met Elvis" immediately caught my eye. It's told by a guy called Lindgren who was a sailor for some 40 years. Here goes:

In 1957 I was on a Norwegian boat in Portland, Oregon. At the time, Elvis was out on a big tour and he happened to be in town. I went to the concert with a friend. It was held at a stadium with 20 000 people in the audience. He sang Hound Dog and his very earliest songs. His band, the Teddy Bears had big teddy bears on the stage.

The next day I had the day off and stood waiting for a cab. The train station was located at the harbour and suddenly three cabs arrive. It's Elvis and his gang. I was really close but he was well guarded. Unfortunately I had no paper with me so I could get an autograph.

I could tell a lot more but I don't want to tire you out...

Tire me out, you gotta be kidding! That sailor must have a lot more to tell about the concert and meeting Elvis the next day. (Although I think he probably means the Jordanaires when he talks about the Teddy Bears.)

According to Lee Cotten's book Did Elvis Sing In Your Hometown? this concert - Elvis did only one in Portland that year, on Monday 2 September - was a pretty wild one. After 15 minutes there was a riot and Elvis had to stop the show. It then took up to 100 policemen to restore order. I'd sure would like to ask the Swedish sailor about that!

Another piece of information from Lee Cotten that verifies Mr. Lindgren's story is that Elvis was scheduled to leave Portland at midnight after the show. However, he chose to remain over night at the hotel and at 4:45 p.m. the next day at Union Station, boarded a train bound for San Francisco.

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