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George Klein, friend of Elvis Presley and longtime radio host, dead at 83

George Klein, the deep-voiced radio personality who became friends with Elvis Presley in high school and stayed close to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll throughout his career, has died. He was 83.

Presley’s former wife, Priscilla Presley, told The Associated Press that Klein died Tuesday at hospice in Memphis, Tennessee. Priscilla Presley said Klein had been suffering from illness, including pneumonia, for about two weeks. She said she had been in constant contact with Klein and Presley’s other close friends, including Jerry Schilling and Marian Justice Cocke, while Klein was ill.

Klein met Elvis Presley in 1948 at Humes High School in Memphis and they were close friends until the rock ‘n’ roll icon died in 1977. Klein was part of Presley’s entourage, known as the “Memphis Mafia,” and enjoyed telling stories about the times he and Presley spent together.

THE TRUE STORY BEHIND ELVIS PRESLEY’S 1968 COMEBACK SPECIAL

Priscilla Presley said her former husband liked Klein’s outgoing personality, his loyalty, and his sense of humor. She called their friendship a “guy’s thing,” with their own inside jokes and “their own language.”

Elvis Presley used to affectionately call Klein “GK.”

“Their friendship was golden, truly golden,” she said in a phone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard George say anything bad about anybody.”

Presley served as Klein’s best man, and Klein was a pallbearer at Presley’s funeral. Klein appeared in his friend’s film, “Jailhouse Rock.” When Presley was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Klein made the acceptance speech.

“Personally, Elvis was a great friend to me,” Klein said in the speech. “You know, I never saw Elvis refuse an autograph. I never saw Elvis refuse a handshake. I never saw Elvis refuse to take a picture with anyone.”

REMEMBERING ‘THE KING’: A LOOK BACK AT ELVIS PRESLEY’S LIFE

Klein hosted a radio show featuring Presley’s music on Sirius XM. He had also hosted radio and television shows in Memphis dating to the 1960s. Klein was known throughout the city, speaking at charity events for no pay, Priscilla Presley said.

University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, a former head coach at the University of Memphis, said on Twitter that he would talk basketball with Klein before and after games.

“He has been an unbelievable ambassador for the city, for Graceland, for Elvis Presley and his family,” Calipari wrote.

In recent years, several friends of Elvis Presley — Scotty Moore, Red West, D.J. Fontana — have died. Priscilla Presley said she has thought about that, and calls it “a reality check.”

“It hits home,” she said. “He’s the last of our history, in many ways.”

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Funeral arrangements have not been released.

Reggie Young, Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson guitarist , dead at 82

Guitarist Reggie Young, a Memphis- and Nashville-based session player whose signature licks defined hit records from Elvis, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and many more, has died. He was 82.

Friend and fellow Nashville Cats session musician David Briggs said Young died Thursday at his home in Nashville, Tennessee.

REMEMBERING THE KING: A LOOK BACK AT ELVIS PRESLEY’S LIFE

Young started his illustrious career in Memphis, where he was an in-demand session player working with acclaimed producer Chips Moman, and opened for the Beatles with the Bill Black Combo in 1964. At Moman’s American Studio in Memphis, he played the signature sitar intro on “Hooked on a Feeling,” by B.J. Thomas, and played guitar on “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield, “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, and “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley.

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After moving to Nashville in the 1970s, he became part of the Nashville Cats session players recording hundreds of songs for top country stars. Young added guitar to No. 1 records including “Luckenbach, Texas,” by Jennings, “Pancho and Lefty” by Nelson and Merle Haggard and “Always On My Mind,” by Nelson.

When the Highwaymen super group formed between Nelson, Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, Young played on their No. 1 records and even toured with them.

His first-ever album, containing a collection of hits he played on from Memphis to Nashville, was due out later this month through London-based record label Ace.

Elvis Presley traffic lights appear in town where he was stationed with US Army

The Elvis-themed lights in Friedberg cost around €900, a local politician said.

The Elvis-themed lights in Friedberg cost around €900, a local politician said.

(CNN)Elvis has left the building — and headed onto the streets of Germany.

Traffic lights featuring the King’s likeness have been installed in the German town of Friedberg, just north of Frankfurt, Deutsche Welle reported.
A red image of Presley standing at a microphone tells residents and tourists to keep their blue suede shoes parked firmly on the sidewalk, while a green silhouette of the singer showing off his signature gyrating moves lets people know that it’s time to rock ‘n’ roll.
The idea was to create an eye-catching feature for visitors to the town, local politician Marion Götz told regional newspaper Wetterauer Zeitung. Götz said the initiative cost around €900 ($ 1,020).
    Presley was stationed in Friedberg while serving in the US Army, between 1958 and 1960.
      And the town can’t help falling in love with the music legend — it already has a square named after him.
      The nearby town of Bad Nauheim has also held an annual Elvis Presley Film Festival since 2002.

      Elvis Presley helped raise cash for USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in the 1960s: report

      What’s the connection between a rock ‘n’ roll legend and a historical Pearl Harbor memorial?

      Legendary rock star Elvis Presley helped make the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor a reality in the 1960s.

      Presley performed at a benefit concert that raised more than $ 54,000 for the memorial fund on March 25, 1961, Biography.com reported. He also made a separate donation, the report said.

      Plans to create the USS Arizona Memorial took shape in the 1950s, but by 1960, less than half of the $ 500,000 needed was raised, the publication reported.

      Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker, thought a benefit concert would provide positive publicity for the singer, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1960, according to Biography. Presley entered the Army at Memphis, Tenn., on March 24, 1958, US. Army History said.

      Shortly after the concert, Hawaii’s House of Representatives passed Resolution 105 to thank Presley and Parker for their services, the report said.

      Presley’s actions drew attention to the memorial fund, when more money from the public and private sector arrived, allowing the USS Arizona Memorial to be dedicated on May 30, 1962.

      The famed rock ‘n’ roll musician visited the memorial for the first time in 1965 and placed a wreath at the monument, the report said.

      FILE: A view of the USS Arizona Memorial that also shows the ship's wreckage.

      FILE: A view of the USS Arizona Memorial that also shows the ship’s wreckage. (National Park Service)

      Presley’s other connections to Hawaii included the movie and song “Blue Hawaii,” in 1961, and his “Aloha from Hawaii” concert on Jan. 14, 1973.

      This year, the USS Arizona Memorial has been closed since May due to damage to a loading ramp, but is expected to reopen in March, the Los Angeles Times reported.

      More than 900 bodies could not be recovered from the sunken ship and still remain onboard, the National Park Service said. The USS Arizona also remains submerged below the memorial.