Lisa Marie Duets With Elvis
By Marco R. della Cava, USA TODAY
The commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death has been mapped out for years. But Lisa Marie Presley’s idea for how to best mark the date bloomed just three weeks before the event.
”People have been asking me to do another duet with him forever, but I had to do my own thing before I went back there,” says Presley, 39, whose 20th Anniversary duet with her father, Don’t Cry Daddy, was never available commercially.
”So I was ready. I just had to figure out what would be right. And suddenly it came to me, all at the eleventh hour.”
More than 75,000 fans have flowed into Memphis to celebrate their American idol during Elvis Week, exceeding earlier projections. On Thursday, some will be treated to the sight of Presley’s only child using the magic of digital technology to perform another duet with her dad, this time In the Ghetto, a tale of inner-city blues and redemption that was a staple of Elvis’ Vegas shows.
But the younger Presley has added her own touch to this father-daughter reunion: Proceeds from sales of the song, which will be available on iTunes, will benefit a soon-to-be-established New Orleans branch of Presley Place, a transitional housing facility for homeless families. It’s a gesture that her benefit Lisa Marie
”I do think this idea would mean a lot to him,” Presley says. ”Singing this particular duet with him was more emotional for me than anything I’d done before. I wanted to focus on something important, and not just do something silly.”
Turning that seed of an idea into reality so quickly took some good fortune. ”First, I had to round up David Foster (who produced the Don’t Cry Daddy duet), who was busy but was able to give me just four hours,” she says. ”Then I went to a director I like a lot, Tony Kaye (American History X), and he managed to fit me in. Only thing, I had to do it where he was, in New Orleans,” working on the movie Black Water Transit.
Her trip to the still-beleaguered city — the video shoot took place Saturday — rocked Presley back on her heels. ”It was hotter than hell, and the place was like a ghost town,” she says. Two years after Katrina, ”the place is still utterly devastated. I felt like, ‘Well, I guess I’m here for a reason.’ ”
The shoot was simple and quick. ”It’s just me against a black backdrop, shot in black and white,” she says, and uses an unaltered 1969 Elvis recording as its musical foundation.
Remarried since 2006 (her fourth husband is musician/producer Michael Lockwood), Presley says she’s ”looking forward to focusing on a third record. But what’s important to me is that I’m now moved to record for a reason, to make music that means something, not just to yank my own chain.”
Presley remains the central figure in her father’s still-lucrative estate. She defends the recent sale of Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) to CKX Inc., which bought an 85% stake in the estate in 2004.
”That had to happen. … We were stagnant, and the plans that CKX have are in keeping with what me and my mom (Priscilla Presley, Elvis’ ex-wife) always had in mind,” Lisa Marie says. ”We’re both very involved. My mom is on the board and goes to the meetings, and I talk to her all the time about the big decisions being made. We want to make sure (Elvis’) legacy is preserved in a special way, and that nothing cheesy or stupid is done.”
Presley says EPE has been ”slowly buying the land around Graceland,” notably real estate directly across the street from Graceland, which is chockablock with Elvis souvenir shops, ”many of which we have nothing to do with.”
CKX’s $250 million redevelopment plan for Graceland includes a new hotel and an interactive museum.
”But one thing is for sure,” Presley says. ”The house itself will never change. Never.”
Source: USA Today