Elvis' 'father' Tom Parker should be celebrated as much as the King himself



'Colonel' Tom Parker may not be a name recognised by everyone, but it certainly should be. He was the man who helped American rock 'n' roll superstar Elvis Presley become as famous as he did - as the star himself claimed.

Born on this day, June 26, 1909, in Breda, the Netherlands, Parker began working in the music industry in the United States from 1938, and immediately started collaborating with big names like Gene Austin.

However, it was not until 1955 that he first came into contact with a young Elvis Presley. In November of that year, a hugely significant event took place, thanks to Parker, which would change both of their fortunes.

Aged 20, Elvis signed a new contract with the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) music label. This represented a major move, from the relatively small Sun Records label to the more powerful and influential RCA.

The switch had been masterminded by Parker, and as a result history was made.

As often is the case, obviously it was Elvis who went on to become the megastar, while Parker kept an eye on the background details.

However, since he played such a pivotal role in 'creating' one of the biggest music stars ever, it is surprising that he is not more well-known.

For this reason, memorabilia connected to him is relatively cheap to buy, like this autographed photo, but any music collector or investor worth their salt should own some.

With the provenance attached to it, it will always have a guaranteed value.

Colonel Tom Parker was without doubt a hard taskmaster, and charged far more than the usual manager's fee. In fact, later in Presley's career he took up to 50% of the star's earnings.

However, Elvis was forever grateful to his manager, realising how big a role he had played in developing him. Once he even declared that he loved him 'like a father' in a letter which was sold last year by Heritage Auctions.

Elvis, in contrast to Parker, is still very much in the public imagination, with last year being the 75th anniversary of his birth.

He was also named as the second top-earning dead celebrity by Forbes in 2010, second only to Michael Jackson. Therefore, it is not surprising that memorabilia linked to him is still hugely sought after.


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