Tommy Roe, Brenda Lee, TG Sheppard and Oak Ridge Boys member Richard Sterban will all appear as part of an Elvis Presley tribute this Thanksgiving weekend on “Geraldo Rivera Reports: Elvis at 80,” it was announced Nov. 27. The network special will include tributes from celebrities who knew Presley, along with insight from those whose lives were touched by him. It’s in honor of what would be Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday on January 8. The program will air 10 p.m. ET Nov. 28, 1 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET Nov. 29, 1 a.m. Nov. 30 and 3 a.m. Dec. 1 on Fox News Channel.
Roe told Beatles Examiner in an interview that a Presley show he saw was the craziest he ever attended. “I went to a concert in Atlanta at the old Rialto theater to see Elvis. I was in high school, and next to Buddy Holly, Elvis was my favorite. I had a seat on the left aisle, about third row, so I just knew I would be able to see the show very well. Elvis’s band did a few numbers, and that was great, and then the MC announced Elvis, and when he walked on stage, pandemonium broke out.
“From that point on, I could hardly see him, and never did hear him sing because of the screaming girls in the audience. It was my experience at this Elvis concert (we called them shows back then) that I decided where I really wanted to be at a show was on the stage, not in the audience. So, because of this experience, I began to dream of becoming an entertainer.”
But both Roe and Lee were also big Beatles fans. Roe, who had several big solo hits including “Dizzy” and “Sheila,” headlined a show that featured the Beatles in 1963, then opened for them when they played their famous Washington Coliseum concert in 1964. Roe said in an interview the Washington Coliseum show was memorable for screaming – and jelly beans. “I went on. I did two songs. I did my big hit ‘Sheila’ and I did “Everybody,” which was No. 3 on the charts at the time. When the Beatles came on, I started getting pelted with jelly beans,” he said.
Brenda Lee, who also had a long list of Billboard hits, including the holiday chestnut “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” also had said in more than one interview she headlined a show with the Beatles. She also claims she was instrumental in getting them to record a demo. Her American record company in those days was Decca, though it’s not certain if there was any connection to the Beatles’ Decca auditions.
“They were just a little band that started opening shows for me, and I thought they were fabulous,” she told Great American Country. “And every night they would do these different songs and at that point, the British Invasion had not come to America. So I thought, ‘Where did these songs come from?’ So I talked to John and Paul, and they said, ‘Well, we wrote all these songs.’ I’m thinkin’, ‘My Lord.'” She said she asked the Beatles to make a demo, but it was rejected. A year later, they released “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”