After The King and his entourage watched the show, they all went backstage but it was so busy Tom took his VIP guests to his changing room for some privacy. That’s when the famous photographs of the Welsh star with Elvis and Priscilla were taken.
The two stars soon got chatting and Elvis made some surprising confessions.
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“Man, that record meant so much to us boys from Memphis we just sat there and cried.
“Then we called the radio station and asked them to play it again – and they did, four times!
“We just sat there and sobbed our hearts out.”
The powerful song was a cover of the 1965 Nashville country ballad written by Curly Putnam about a condemned prisoner on death row who is dreaming of the life he will never see again.
Tom heard Jerry Lee Lewis’ own interpretation and was inspired to try recording a country song for the first time. He even played his new version to Lewis when the US star was on a UK tour in 1966.
In fact, it became Tom’s biggest hit in the UK, selling 1,205,000 copies.
Back at that famous meeting in Las Vegas, Elvis also praised Tom’s current single, Delilah. When Tom admitted he was worried it had stalled in the thirties in the US charts, Elvis replied: ‘Man I want to make a prediction, it’ll be a smash here, too.'”
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Apart from the mutual admiration, Elvis had travelled to Las Vegas to watch Tom perform because he was unhappy with his career at the time. His manager Colonel Parker had been booking him repetitive and uninspiring films, his chart successes were declining and he was missing doing live performances.
He said: “I was at the Frontier Hotel about ten years ago and I died a terrible death. When I came out with those hip movements, man, they just weren’t ready for me.”
This time, though, after watching Tom’s show, The King called Parker and demanded he start booking him concerts. On July 31, 1969, Elvis opened the brand new International Hotel in Vegas with a four-week residency.
It was the beginning of a new phase in Elvis’ career that would see him perform 636 shows in the desert gambling mecca.
This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed