August 16, 2017

Happy Birthday Elvis

August 16, 1977 is a date that millions around the world still remember. Every year at Graceland, thousands of Elvis fans gather at his graveside, placing flowers and mementos by his grave as a thank you to their hero.  Many remember what they were doing when they heard the news of his death. It sent shock waves through the Elvis world and still brings sadness to those who remember him. I’ve been asked many times, “Do you really think Elvis is dead”? They want to believe it so strongly, they hold on to a lost sense of reality that Elvis just might have escaped death and is now living an obscure life in retirement somewhere. They can’t imagine an 82 year old Elvis, and that’s just as well. I can’t either. Elvis rocketed to Fame and Fortune at a young age and impacted so many lives that it’s inconceivable to think of him at any other age than at the height of his iconic success. Fortunately for me, as lead singer for the Imperials, we worked with him in some of his very best years.
Elvis was in great physical condition and many nights in the penthouse in Vegas, we witnessed karate demonstrations featuring him and his sparring side man, Charlie Hodge, who took the brunt of his pulled punches. Charlie was never hurt that I could tell but Elvis was proud of his accomplishments in karate and he wanted to show us some of the results of his training. For Charlie, it was just part of the job. Combining the workouts Elvis got in the penthouse with the workout he got onstage, after wearing a ten pound jump suit for two one hour shows nightly for a month, served to keep him in excellent physical condition. After two grueling shows a night, he should have been tired, but his adrenaline was pumping so high it took him several hours to unwind. The penthouse also served as a refuge for him to invite the Imperials, the TCB band, the Sweet Inspirations, and all the Memphis mafia, along with their wives or girlfriends for food, singing, and just good fellowship and laughs about what had happened that night. There might be a song that didn’t turn out the way he had intended on stage and we would have a good laugh about it. He was never so uptight and perfectionist that he couldn’t laugh about a mistake. That made easier for us all to laugh with him. And Charlie Hodge was the jokester. Every night he had a new joke to tell. He would get in your face and tell his joke to you. Before the punch line, he was ready to laugh out loud and he wanted YOU to laugh with him.  Charlie had been a frustrated gospel singer when he was a little younger, but then Elvis called and his life changed forever.
August 9, 2017

The Story Begins

Welcome to my world! We will explore a past filled with unexpected twists and turns in my life I could never have planned.  I will start more at the end and we will resume the early days of my experiences in later chapters. I will go back to the beginning and tell you how I started out and how I know God had led me all the way to where I am today. As we approach Elvis week in Memphis, it’s noteworthy that I am still very active singing and sharing my life now more often with Elvis fans who loved him and because I sang behind him, that love has been transferred to those of us who sang with him.  I am humbled by it but I love the opportunity to meet and greet Elvis fans from all over the world. As a shy kid who never would have even considered singing in public before a crowd, I can truly say that God has brought me a mighty long way!

This week will be a seminal week for Elvis fans for we are celebrating the life of the man most would say affected the music world like no other. Knowing him and working with him, I can truly say I saw the real man with his amazing talent but the tentative little boy who always sought the approval of others to validate that talent. I saw many of the same traits in me though I never achieved his level of success. I saw a man who overcame many obstacles and in spite of them all, he did it HIS way. He changed the course of rock and roll music by his bold courage to be different. I always admired that. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was a man of stunningly good looks. That charisma with the voice and the looks, the humble attitude that accompanied his talent, was wrapped in a package too big to contain. He exploded onto the music scene long before my involvement with him but his talents left an indelible mark on the world.

This week we will celebrate his life, his music and the man himself. The Imperials were very fortunate to have been there that opening night, July 31, 1969 at the Las Vegas Hilton International Hotel. It was a night I will never forget.e end and we will resume the early days of my experiences in later chapters. I will go back to the beginning and tell you how I started out and how I know God had led me all the way to where I am today. As we approach Elvis week in Memphis, it’s noteworthy that I am still very active singing and sharing my life now more often with Elvis fans who loved him and because I sang behind him, that love has been transferred to so many of us who worked with Elvis.. I am humbled by our fans, but I love the opportunity to meet and greet Elvis fans from all over the world. As a shy kid who never would have even considered singing in public before a crowd, I can truly say that God has brought me a mighty long way! This week will be a seminal week for Elvis fans for we are celebrating the life of the man most would say affected the music world like no other.

Knowing him and working with him, I can truly say I saw the real man with his amazing talent but the tentative little boy who always sought the approval of others to validate that talent. I saw many of the same traits in me though I never achieved his level of success. I saw a man who overcame many obstacles and in spite of them all, he did it His Way. He changed the course of rock and roll music by his bold courage to be different. I always admired that. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was a man of stunningly good looks. That charisma with the voice and the looks, the humble attitude that accompanied his talent, was wrapped in a package too big to contain. He exploded onto the music scene long before my involvement with him but his talents left an indelible mark on the world. This week we will celebrate his life, his music and the man himself.

The Imperials were very fortunate to have been there that opening night, July 31, 1969 at the Las Vegas Hilton International Hotel. It was a night I will never forget.

Until next time,

Terry Blackwood

 

August 6, 2017

August 12th, 2017 Concert in Memphis

The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley Celebration Concert

8:00 PM. Graceland Soundstage A, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. $40
Enjoy a very special evening at the Graceland Soundstage to celebrate the gospel music of Elvis Presley. Hear the music that not only influenced Elvis, but that also earned him his only three Grammy Awards. Special guest performers for the evening include some who shared the stage with Elvis, plus those who have been inspired by his music: Bill Baize, Donnie Sumner, Larry Strickland and Jeff Sumner, former members of JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet; Terry Blackwood, Darrell Toney and Lynn Royce Taylor of Terry Blackwood and The Imperials; plus musician Terry Mike Jeffrey. The show will feature Elvis imagery and videos on the big screen throughout the performance. Tickets for this event are on sale now individually through Graceland Reservations by calling 800-238-2000 or 901-332-3322 or online at Graceland.com.

November 8, 2016

Terry’s appearance at the Guest House/Memphis

Terry was at the new hotel owned by the Elvis Presley organization and catering to Elvis fans. Sunday morning, Oct 30, 2016 at 10 am, Terry was interviewed by Andy Childs and shared some of his experiences as lead singer with the Imperials as they backed up Elvis. After the interview, Terry sang two gospel songs from the piano. All in all, it was a great morning at the new Guest House. Make your plans to visit this beautiful new hotel on your next trip to Memphis.

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August 27, 2016

Terry Blackwood and the Imperials/Randers, Denmark and Bad Nauheim Elvis Festival, Aug 19 and 21, 2016

The Imperials just returned from Randers, Denmark where we had gospel concert at the Memphis Mansion, a beautiful replica of Graceland in Denmark. We sang to a full house of happy Danish folk, some even from Sweden. We had our new cd, The Journey, available and it was well received. Thanks to Henrik Knudsen, our host, and owner of the facility.

From there, we flew to Frankfurt, Germany on Saturday morning and were driven to Bad Nauheim, Germany, which was Elvis’ home while in the army. This was the annual EPG event hosted by Maria Hesterberg, and co-sponsored by the city. Fans from all over Europe were there, from the UK to Switzerland. Our Sunday morning gospel concert was so well received. We had a long meet and greet after the show and left many of our new cd’s of The Journey with the fans. Thanks to Maria for such a great reception and we do hope to be back next year.

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February 23, 2016

New Album Released!

The Journey Album CD
The Journey Album CD
Songs included: God's Love, Sweet Jesus, The Secret, Talk About the Good Times, David's Psalm, He Touched Me, No Shortage, If My People, How Rich I Am, and Elvis Medley ( special guest James Burton)

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August 28, 2015

Tour Update

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 6.07.48 AMThe Imperials just returned from Bad Nauheim, Germany where the European Elvis Festival was celebrated. Our hosts were the EPG fan club headed by Maria Hesterberg. The crowds were fantastic and the enthusiasm was contagious. Saturday night, the Imperials were the opening act for the show featuring Dennis Jale from Vienna, Austria. He was backed by James Burton, Elvis’ guitarist and Glen D. Hardin on piano, Elvis’ keyboard player and arranger of many of his hits. Dennis has his own band as well, all excellent musicians. What a great Saturday night.
Sunday morning the Imperials did their gospel concert to a full house of devoted fans. The response was more that anything we could have imagined. We do hope that as a result of the tremendous response we received for Sunday morning, we will be invited back to other venues in Europe where we can share our music once again. Thanks to Dennis Jale, and thanks to Maria Hesterberg for having the Imperials as part of the Elvis European Festival for 2015.

 

 

 

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August 17, 2015

On Tour August 2015

What a wonderful time we’re having on the road! One of my favorite things to do is perform all over the world! What a privilege to be with the audiences and to share our music! We just finished our gospel program here in Bad Nauheim, Germany. We were here as guests of EPG and the 14th Annual Elvis Festival. I must say this was one of the most memorable concerts we have ever done and we won’t forget the warmth and the encouragement of the fans from all over Europe. You are so appreciated by the Imperials and we hope to do this again. We will be in Vienna Austria Dec 11 and 12, 2015, God willing, at the Metropole with Dennis Jale. Please come to Vienna. It’s a most beautiful city especially decorated at Christmas.

In 1956 1957 Elvis made his home in Bad Nauheim while Elvis was in the Army. The Festival is attended by scores of people celebrating Elvis.

From a local newspaper:

One tour guide described the city as “Elvis Reloaded” this year ahead of the 38th anniversary of the star’s death on Sunday.

Residents and visitors are all shook up with rock and roll contests, a Cadillac old-timer tour, a “Peggy Sue” fashion show and the much-anticipated concerts of American musicians who once performed alongside Elvis.

“It is always good to be here,” guitarist James Burton, who played in the TCB band with Elvis from 1969 until 1977, told reporters Thursday. Burton was joined by pianist Glen D. Hardin and The Imperials singer Terry Blackwood, who both worked with the star during his career.

When Elvis lived in Germany between 1958 and 1960, he brought “tolerance, fairness and happiness to Bad Nauheim,” said Beatrix van Ooyen. It’s a great experience to be in Bad Nauheim and one of the privileges of the tour! Here’s a local glimpse of the news story of the Festival.

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December 2, 2014

December 1, 2014

One week and one day from now, Dec 9, the Imperials get on a plane for Vienna, Austria for a show at the Vienna, Austria, Metropol, with our good friend, Dennis Jale. If you live in the area, please come see us. If you are in the US, it’s not too late to book a flight!  Here’s hoping you have a very Merry Christmas.

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July 15, 2014

Memphis Elvis Week!

The band and I will be in Memphis for this year’s Elvis week! Details to come! Each August, Elvis fans from around the world gather in Memphis for a celebration of the music, movies and legacy of Elvis Presley. Elvis Week always includes traditional events such as the Elvis Fan Club Presidents Event, Elvis Insiders Event and Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, plus special concerts, panel discussions, dances and much more. The band and I will sing on Saturday night at the Orpheum Theatre downtown on Beale St and then do a Sunday morning concert right across the street from Graceland. We hope you can come for that. For more information on who you’ll see in Memphis visit Graceland’s site information
2014ElvisWeek

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