MEMPHIS, TENN. (WCBI) – Elvis fans from across the country celebrated the singer’s 86th birthday in Memphis. And those celebrations had a strong connection to Elvis’ hometown, though one of the hosts of the festivities.
Tupelo Tom Brown is known to many in the Elvis world as a host of festivals honoring the King of Rock and Roll , a walking encyclopedia of Elvis facts and trivia, but most of all, Tom Brown is a fan.
“I remember as a kid finding a 45 record, of “Puppet on a String’ and I said, ‘who is this’ and my mom said that’s the guy that was born down the street,” Brown said.
For Tom Brown, hosting special tours of Graceland and introducing Elvis Tribute Artist, Dean Z during birthday celebrations, are special perks for a huge fan of the original American idol.
Known as “Tupelo Tom Brown” to those in the Elvis world, Brown became an Elvis fan as a kid and in 1974 he not only saw the singer at a Memphis concert, but also saw the singer leave Graceland and return after one of the shows.
“When he came back I was on the side he was on and I’m just right there looking at him, he’s looking at me and I waved and he did that and looked at me, somebody said, do you have a picture and I said, yes, all I got to do is close my eyes,” Brown recalled.
Brown is well known for hosting the Tupelo and Nashville Elvis festivals and he is co host of the YouTube series, “The Gates of Graceland” where he and Angie Marchese, Vice President of Archives and Exhibits, take viewers behind the scenes in Elvis’ home.
Marchese says Tupelo Tom is an important part of the Elvis world.
“He says that I surprise him all the time, and it has become the game, I never tell him what we’re going to do, where we’re going or what we are going to see so we can have his true reaction, which is so authentic and so real, his Elvis knowledge , we make a great team, we’re best buds and I love working with him,” Marchese said.
As for Brown, he enjoys hosting the festivals and other events, while meeting Elvis fans from around the world.
“The great thing has been during all of this pandemic, we’ve had Elvis’ music to bring us together and Elvis always makes everybody feel good , and I know during this time his music has helped people over and over feel good,” Brown said.
Brown is encouraged at the turnout for Elvis’ birthday celebrations. He says Elvis fans are ready and eager to gather once again nationwide, to honor the King of Rock and Roll.
Planning is underway for the 2021 Tupelo Elvis Festival.