Colonel Tom Parker

I’m from Rebel Yell Records, a division of Tokasagi Corporation. I’m interested in buying Lurleen’s contract. — Manager guy

Forget it, pal. They don’t call me ‘Colonel Homer’ because I’m some dumbass army guy. — Homer, “Colonel Homer”

“Colonel” Tom Parker — former carnival barker, Dutch immigrant, and all-around shyster — managed Elvis Presley from the singer’s early career up to his death in 1977.

By all accounts, the Colonel was a ruthless, soulless manager, who took big cuts out of Elvis’s paychecks in return for vaunting him to superstardom. As biographer Alanna Nash describes the man:

…he seems to have had woefully little empathy with anyone in his life. Certainly he had none with Elvis as his client entered his fatal physical and emotional decline in the ’70s. And really, only he could have forced Elvis off the road and into some kind of treatment. Now, I think it’s very interesting that the Colonel had been the guy in the carnivals who rounded up the alcoholic geek, waving a bottle in front of him to get him back in the pit to bite the head off the live chicken. It’s not a big stretch from that to what he did with Elvis.

Unlike Colonel Homer, Colonel Parker refused to relinquish Elvis’s contract, even after his client died. Says Wikipedia:

Mourners recall being surprised at him wearing a Hawaiian shirt and baseball cap and smoking his trademark cigar, and purposely avoiding the casket. At the funeral, he persuaded Presley’s father to sign over control of Presley’s career in death to him.

Show business: bitch goddess. Aloha, friends.

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  1. Pingback: When Nixon Met Elvis | Springfield Historical Society @

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