The road to success.
The path of success started by Bob Neal and the collaboration of Tom Parker. Since mid-January 1955, another factor enters Elvis Presley's path that will definitively change his course. Bob Neal had already promoted Elvis, on the radio, in concert performances and his image was on the rise, he was already popular and his concerts began to take on another dimension, his image, his voice attracted a lot of attention and the public responded enthusiastically in their performances. Since the beginning of the year 1955, Parker already hears about Elvis, his performances and is going to be interested in seeing him personally. On Saturday, January 15, 1955, about two weeks after Bob Neal took over as Elvis's manager, Parker and his assistant, Tom Diskin, headed to Shreveport to see Elvis perform at the Louisiana Hayride. Colonel Parker would begin to notice the young Elvis Presley and the reaction he was already beginning to cause in his audience. During this time, Parker approached Bob Neal with an offer to cast the young Elvis Presley on some country music package shows. When the Colonel reached an agreement with Bob Neal to collaborate in the artistic direction of Elvis, many things had already been achieved, it was already easier for him, because Bob had already knocked on the doors of several record companies, he had tried to get Elvis out on TV, etc... it was just a matter of time and cleverness. Then, the collaboration with the Colonel came from the month of May.
The influence of Colonel Tom Parker, who had already realized the value he was beginning to have as an artist, the possibility of being able to make this boy bear fruit over time, made him approach him at all times to talk to him, to try to gain his trust with promises, so that he can finally become his manager. Over time it would turn his future as an artist through RCA, a prestigious record label, and its broadcast on both Radio and Television.
During his time as Eddy Arnold's manager, Parker landed a weekly radio show for Arnold on the Mutual Network. He then got a daily network show, "Checkerboard Jamboree," and Arnold's popularity led him to leave the Grand Ole Opry in 1948. Eddy Arnold was under contract to RCA Victor, and Parker had a special relationship with producer Steve Sholes. , director of the country division at Rca. However, in September 1953, Eddy Arnold fired Tom Parker as his manager. The firing was due, in part, to Parker's involvement in Hank Snow's run. Snow, who was also at RCA Victor, needed a booking agent in the fall of 1954 and, seeing the success of Eddy Arnold, met with Parker. Parker formed a booking agency, called "Jamboree" Attractions, with various artists. Parker organized several tours with Hank Snow as the headliner. In 1955, Bill Haley and the Comets hit the top of the charts with "Rock Around the Clock." Parker booked Bill Haley and the Comets on a tour with Snow through the Jamboree attractions in 1955 and the shows sold out. Also in 1955, Parker told Snow about Elvis Presley and agreed to have Elvis in some programs led by Snow. This would be a great success since despite being an unknown artist Elvis caught the attention of the public who went crazy with his acting. From then on, the Colonel began to talk with Elvis, because he was very interested in capturing him to sign with the Jamboree Agency. He realized that he was stealing the show from Hank Snow. It was proposed to Bob Neal, Elvis's manager, that Jamboree Productions book 26 guest appearances on Snow's television show, 26 television and radio appearances on 26 Saturday nights, one hundred personal appearances by Elvis Presley at venues designated by Colonel Parker, $10,000 cash to be paid by Hank Snow and Colonel Parker. The condition was that he release himself from the contract with Sun Records and sign with another larger record company of Tom Parker's choosing. The terms of the contract would be: three percent royalties to Elvis Presley, two percent royalties to Hank Snow and Parker. Total package price for the above: $40,000. By accepting this proposal, Elvis was supposed to break definitively with Sun Records, being free of any recording commitment and allowing Colonel Parker to negotiate a contract with another company. On July 24, 1955, Elvis signed a contract in which it was indicated that Colonel Tom Parker and Hank Snow Attractions would provide exclusive representation.
Bob Neal continued as Elvis Presley's manager, but the Colonel made his presence more and more important, not only with Elvis, but also with his parents, with whom he already had some influence.
The Colonel's influence was so great in the field ino of Elvis, that on August 15, 1955, Elvis represented by his parents, Vernon and Gladys would sign his contract in Memphis. He would appoint Colonel Parker as his "artistic advisor". From then on he would control all aspects of Elvis's career. With this deal, Colonel Parker would retain the exclusive rights to one hundred performances over the course of the next year, 1956, for each of which the singer would receive $200, including pay. of the accompanying musicians. The Colonel was reimbursed for his expenses and charged $175 a day for the first performance, $250 for the second and $350 for the third. he also retained exclusive land rights in more than 40 cities... and with the right to negotiate contract renewals. From this moment Elvis was part of "Hank Snow's Jamboree Attractions". From then on, a permanent drummer was added to accompany him to complete his show. It was evident that this character, Parker, knew how to do his job well and to his own benefit, without being Elvis Presley's manager. He was a cunning and unscrupulous man, but what is clear is that Bob Neal left it all to him halfway through when it passed into his hands. Surely Elvis' path would have been successful without the Colonel, because the record companies were already interested in him and it would simply have been a matter of time...Parker was still Snow's manager and he negotiated a new five-year contract with Steve Sholes for that Snow continue at RCA Victor. After these contracts were signed, Parker contacted Julian Aberbach with Hill and Range and informed him that a major label deal was being closed. Although it was not yet true, Parker asked Hill and Range to help him arrange a contract with RCA Victor. Everything was underway, Elvis tours continued for the next few months. Bob Neal had secured a one-year contract with the Louisiana Hayride, although the Colonel did not agree. Elvis played the Louisiana Hayride every Saturday night, as well as various dates in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri. Colonel Tom Parker was obsessed with gaining control of Elvis's future, so he went to New York, checked into the Warwick Hotel, and told RCA executives that he represented the singer, when in fact, he wasn't. ... he was only his adviser, but having convinced Elvis's parents, he backed this up with a telegram from Vernon and Gladys Presley, as well as an agreement with Bob Neal, which he had no choice but to confirm by submitting his label. This would be one of his tricks since there was still no exclusive management contract between him and Elvis, not even a verbal agreement. Bob Neal was his manager and he wanted to score the point that would give him the key to that signature. The Colonel didn't care and wanted to begin negotiations with RCA AND with Hill and Range, since he already knew the latter as Eddy Arnold. On October 28, 1955, Parker received a telegram from RCA. It was from W.W. Bullock, who stated that RCA was only willing to offer $25,000 for Elvis' contract with SUN RECORDS. The next day he and his assistant Tom Diskin went to Memphis and met with Sam Phillips and Bob Neal. Ben Starr, the attorney for Hill and Range, arrived the same day to work out a publishing deal. Sam Phillips didn't believe the Colonel at all, never trusted him, and told him the deal was for $35,000 to give up the Presley's contract. He never wanted to deal with him, but Tom Parker gave Phillips a check for $5,000 as a non-refundable deposit. He was taking a risk and Sam Phillips agreed to give Parker two weeks to collect the full payment. Finally Colonel Parker got hold of the money and the signing of the contract was set for November 21, 1955.
"Following the Path of the King..."