Memory Of The King Lives On

For Elvis fans, this Thursday, August 16th is a memorable day.

It is the 30th anniversary of Elvis's death.

But his memory lives on through one singing group, who were also close friends.

In this week's edition of the Tennessee Traveler, Alan Williams catches up with the famous Blackwood brothers gospel quartet and their close association to the king.

Mention the Blackwood Brothers quartet, and southern gospel lovers sit up and take notice.

Formed in 1934 they are one of the most memorable groups in the business.

The name lives on in Pigeon Forge, in a show called the Blackwood Breakfast Variety Show, paying tribute in song to their dad, and uncles from the original group, and hymns dedicated to their former friend, Elvis Presley.

You see, Elvis was a big fan of southern gospel, and became friends all the way down to R.W. Blackwood's Son's, Ron and R.W. Junior.

R.W. Junior says, "at the end of the service, the pastor called everyone forward we came forward for prayer and I remember standing beside this guy, that was tall long sideburns, and all my first thought was doesn't he know the civil war is over.?"

As the story goes, Elvis always wanted to sing southern gospel, so much so, he was close to being a member of the group.

R.W. Junior continues, "so I got through singing my father's songs we had sun with the Blackwood Brothers and Elvis became quite emotional, it broke him up so he loved our dad so much, he pulled me over and said I cannot sing tonight, rock and roll, he said tonight, I'm going out there and sing gospel music in honor of your father R.W. Blackwood.

Another story comes straight from Las Vegas.

Ron says, "the people standing there in the suite wanting to see Elvis, was Tom Jones, Ann-Margaret, who's who and he sat and made them listen to gospel music, I'm sure they liked it, but they didn't like it for 2 or three hours."

Ron Blackwood continues, "I told elvis, one time you better be glad you didn't go with the Blackwoods, nobody would ever heard of ya."

Now, with Ron and brother R.W. leading the way, the southern gospel sounds continues to resonant, with memories of Elvis.

And their dad and uncles to guide their way.

The Blackwood Breakfast Variety Show can been seen at the Blackbear Jamboree in Pigeon Forge, every Tuesday through Saturday mornings.

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