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Elvis fan Ian Milne all shook up as former pupils feature on chart-topping album
December 30, 2015  -  South Wales Evening Post / Elvis Express Radio
LIKE all retired teachers, Ian Milne is used to hearing updates about his former pupils.

And there was no hiding his pleasure at reading the names Laurence Cottle and Richard Cottle on the sleeve of his prized new album, If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Cottle brothers, with Laurence on bass and Richard on piano, have played their part in a record that spent two weeks at the top of the Official Albums Chart before being
knocked off by Adele. It is currently number two.

"I was playing it for the first time a couple of days ago and saw the name Laurence Cottle and thought, 'That's unbelievable'," said rock'n'roll fan Mr Milne.

He remembered the brothers from his days at Newton Primary School, near Mumbles, where he taught for some 28 years.

"They were nice kids — very pleasant people," he said. "I would have taken them for games."

He recalled Laurence revealing a hitherto hidden musical talent when he played the trombone at a final day leaving ceremony.

"He was fantastic," said Mr Milne, of Gower Road, Sketty.

The Cottle brothers' eldest sibling, Dave, is a professional musician and the man behind Swansea Jazzland in Uplands.

Elvis first rocked Mr Milne's world in 1957, with Heartbreak Hotel. The latter never saw the King in action, but has toured the late singer's haunts in Nashville and Memphis, including
Graceland, with his wife Jenn.

He has also seen the likes of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent live.

He described If I Can Dream, with its lush backing, as brilliant. "It really enhances the numbers he has done," he said.

The album was a golden wedding and Christmas gift from Jenn, who was also a teacher. The couple got married on December 4, 1965.

If I Can Dream has not received top marks from all reviewers, but has been described by the former singer's wife, Priscilla Presley, as the album "he always would have wanted to

Mrs Presley, who is an executive producer on the record, told Rolling Stone: "The label would have never allowed him to have an orchestra. And if it was up to (manager) Colonel
Parker, he would have had Elvis just singing — no background, no nothing.

"I think we have given him the freedom here to experiment with all the orchestras he would have loved in the pieces."

Meanwhile, Newton primary was home temporarily to another future entertainer — pop singer Kim Wilde.

"Her dad, Marty, was in the panto," said Mr Milne. "She was placed at the school for three months, but as Kimberley Smith.