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January 04, 2016  The Telegraph   /   Elvis Express Radio
Elvis Express Radio News
AMERICAN TV producer Steve Binder says Elvis Presley died a “saloon singer in Las Vegas”, and it was all the fault of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Binder became friends
with the legendary rocker when he helmed the Elvis ’68 Comeback Special.

“Elvis’ career was dead in 1968,” Binder told Confidential. “The first thing out of Elvis’ mouth when I met him was, what do you think of my career? And laughingly but honestly I said,
I think it is in the toilet.
" He laughed and said, "you’re the first person that is actually telling me the truth, and that is why we hit it off as artists and friends.”

Binder, 83, is in Australia for a series of events at the Parkes Elvis Festival at the Parkes Services Club from Tuesday through to Sunday this week.

The show will see Binder talk about the behind the scenes goings on when they shot the special.

“There were no titles, I didn’t put him on a pedestal,” explained Binder, who was also behind the Petula Clark scandal in 1968 when she touched African American performer Harry
Belafonte on the arm during the broadcast.

“For me the real excitement of doing the special was watching a man who had literally lost confidence in himself and seeing him rediscover himself.”

Elvis’ ’68 Comeback Special was credited with resurrecting the singer’s career and musical reputation.

Binder is particularly critical of Elvis’ long time manager Colonel Tom Parker, who he claims
“had tremendous power over Elvis”.

Presley died on August 16 1977 of a heart attack when he was just 42.

“He told me one on one at the end of shooting, I’m never going to sing a song or make a movie I don’t believe in again,” recalled Binder, who has also worked with the likes of Barry
Manilow, Chevy Chase, Liza Minnelli and Patti LaBelle.

“It turned out he wasn’t strong enough. He really ended up a saloon singer in Las Vegas and I knew that wasn’t what he wanted with his life when we finished our work together.”

Of the Comeback Special, Elvis’ ex Priscilla Presley has said: “It was time for Elvis to do something in a big way. Steve Binder came along at the right time and magic happened.
Their journey made history. And still, today, we enjoy and are mesmerised by that magic.”