LONDON - Elvis Presley was only in England once, says a spokesman for the King's estate, who has denied claims by a theatre producer that the singer made an earlier secret visit to London in 1958 to see the sights.
"Sgt. Elvis Presley made his only appearance in the U.K. when he stepped off a U.S. Air Force plane at the Prestwick Airport in March of 1960," Kevin Kern of Elvis Presley Enterprises in Memphis, Tenn., said in a statement. "The aircraft made a brief stop to refuel."
For decades Elvis Presley's English fans have accepted that the King of Rock and Roll's only known visit to Britain was that quick stop at Glasgow's Prestwick Airport in Scotland. An Elvis lounge and a plaque commemorates his 1960 stopover there.
But theatre producer Bill Kenwright has challenged that.
He says Presley made another trip with the help of popular British rocker Tommy Steele, and he promised never to reveal that they had gone to famous landmarks together.
Kenwright told a BBC radio show that Steele had told him that Presley flew in for a day after calling out of the blue to say he liked the British rocker's music.
Steele, now 71, has basically confirmed the claim in a written note to London's Daily Mail that he wished the secret had never come out.
"I can only hope he can forgive me," he said of Presley, who died in 1977 at the age of 42. "It was an event shared by two young men sharing the same love of their music and the same thrill of achieving something unimaginable."
The alleged visit was apparently kept secret at the time so that Presley wouldn't be mobbed by fans, but it was not clear why Steele would want to keep it secret now.
The call to Steele came while Presley was stationed at a U.S. Army base in Germany, Kenwright said.
Presley had been known to visit Paris while stationed in Germany, attracting hundreds of fans, and went to some well known Parisian nightspots. But there have been no prior reports of him touring England, where he never performed.
The news was not welcomed at Scotland's Glasgow Prestwick Airport, where officials are proud of their Elvis connection.
The bartender at the Elvis-themed lounge hung up the phone Tuesday when asked about the King's visit to London, and airport Chief Executive Mark Rodwell told the British Broadcasting Corp. that he wants photographic proof that Presley was actually in London.
"As far as we are concerned, until it is proved otherwise Prestwick Airport remains the only place in the United Kingdom that Elvis Presley ever set foot," he said.
Posted: 27th. April 2008