Radford Ellis is a singer and performer who was born and raised in Memphis, TN. He has won many local and regional talent contests; his first at age 5.
Radford first met Elvis around 1966 at Graceland while helping his older brother repair a pinball machine. Before this meeting, he was just an average Elvis fan, but afterwards, Elvis musically influenced Radford.
During the early 70's Radford fronted a band called Radford Ellis and the McCarver Sisters. It was during this time that he began his tribute to Elvis. The band regularly played at Liberty Land Amusement Park in Memphis, TN, a launching ground for other Elvis Tribute Artists.
In 1972 during a 2am conversation with Harold Lloyd, Elvis' first cousin, at the Graceland guard house, the phone rang. It was Elvis. Radford was then invited to come to the house and show off his customized motorcycle. After looking at the bike, Elvis asked if he could take it for a ride. A few minutes later Elvis returned and a friendship began that lasted until Elvis' untimely death in 1977.
Radford saw Elvis perform live 3 times and was personally invited to many parties and get togethers at Graceland and the Memphian Theatre, many of which included Christmas and New Year's Eve parties. Elvis gave Radford a rawhide fringe jacket and a TCB necklace that he removed from around his own neck. These things are still in his posession to this day.
It was at one of the many parties at Graceland that Radford performed Elvis for Elvis. It was at this time that Vernon Presley offered him a job as Elvis' double. Radford was to be a decoy for Elvis after concerts. The job would have included leaving the arena dressed as Elvis, getting into a limo and driving to the airport and/or the hotel to divert an onslaught of fans while Elvis safely left the building. Due to a conflict with his 1st wife, Radford turned down the job.
In 1973 or 1974 while Elvis returned from riding a big black horse named "Sombitch" (a name received after throwing Elvis), he gave Radford the nickname "Chief," a nickname he still uses to this day.
After Elvis' death in '77, Radford stopped doing his tribute to Elvis out of respect for his friend and to pursue his own musical career. Radford fronted many bands in the late 70's and 80's including The Diamond Steel Band which achieved much success in the southeast region of the US.
He also worked with producer, Fred Morris in Nashville, on a solo career. While performing for audiences throughout the country Radford has often been asked to perform Elvis songs. He reminded so many people of Elvis that requests started pouring in for him to perform an Elvis tribute. So after much thought and consideration, Radford Ellis put together "Thanks For The Memories" as a tribute to Elvis' fans and a personal message to an old friend.
Even though Elvis has long since "left the building," Radford will hold these memories and the private conversations with Elvis very deep in his heart and soul. So when you see a Radford Ellis show, you are not watching the usual impersonator or tribute artist, you are watching a friend say "Thanks For The Memories."
Posted: 27th. April 2008