As one of the most celebrated and prolific musical icons of the 20th century, it’s hard to believe that Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, rarely traveled outside of the United States. Celebrities are known to jet set, greeting their adoring fans as they bounce from country to country, but Presley curiously remained stateside for much of his career. International fans were undeniably disappointed, but their devotion to the King never faltered, and now the wait is over. Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer will visit Australia in December 2013, offering an intimate glimpse into the life of a young Elvis Presley during the year 1956.
Comprised of dozens of photographs that capture beautifully the innocence and influence of the iconic superstar, the exhibition presents a visual timeline of the musician at the onset of his wildly successful career.
Now for a bit of background—
It wasn’t as though Presley had a penchant for remaining in his home country. He performed five concerts in Canada and delivered a surprise performance in Paris—albeit during his stint in the Army. He received lucrative offers to appear in England, Germany, Japan, and Australia, teasing fans with the prospect of a world tour, but declined at the behest of his manager, Colonel Parker.
Parker, both intrepid and persistent, largely influenced the musician’s personal and professional affairs. Refusing to apply for a passport, Parker rejected international touring propositions, as he was unable to accompany his client out of the country. His bizarre insistence to keep Presley tethered to the U.S. sparked theories of a sordid past, and in 1981, four years after Presley’s death, Parker’s identity was revealed. An immigrant from Breda, Holland, Andreas Cornelis Van Kujik journeyed to the States at the age of 20 and never applied for citizenship, confining him within the U.S. borders. Muddled and mysterious, Parker’s life prior to arriving in the states remains unclear and includes rumors of an accidental murder in Breda forcing him to flee. Driven by self-preservation, Parker stifled Presley’s international opportunities and restricted him to US-based appearances despite the musician’s roaring, global popularity.
Those close to Presley recall the performer always regretting his lack of international travel. Now 36 years after his death, SITES is excited to announce the King’s appearance Down Under later this year.
Guaranteed to excite fans of all ages, we are pleased to share Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer with you Australian fans who have so patiently waited for the King arrive. The exhibition will be on view at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT, Australia, beginning in early December 2013.