Kerr's Corner

Kerr's Corner is a regular feature in East Antrim and Newtownabbey editions of The Wizard. David Kerr would like to hear your memories of life in your own area. Maybe you'll trigger some thoughts for a future column. kerrscorner@ulsteronline.org.uk

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Charlie Hodge, longtime friend of Elvis, dies aged 71.

CHARLIE HODGE, longtime friend of Elvis Presley died on Friday March 3rd, 2006, after a bout with cancer. He was 71.

Charlie first met Elvis briefly when a member of The Foggy River Boys band in the 50s and became a firm friend of Elvis when they met again in 1958 after both being drafted into the U.S. Army.

Charlie joined Elvis’ personal staff along with fellow serviceman Joe Esposito upon their returm from Germany in 1960. Charlie appeared in several of Elvis’ movies in the 60s and was part of the set-up for Elvis’ triumphant return to live performance in the 1968 TV Special.

Charlie will probably be remembered apperaing on stage with Elvis throughout the 70s concert era. Charlie sang back up, played guitar and handed Elvis his water and scarfs. After Elvis’ death Charlie continued to perform in shows dedicated to Elvis’ memory. For the past 15 years Charlie performed at Memories Theatre, Tennessee.

Elvis’ bodyguard Sonny West who had a bitter split from the Presley entourage, said in a recent interview that after Elvis’ death he and Mr Hodge went 27 years without seeing each other. Then they met in December at West’s one-man show, ‘Memories of Elvis’. “He walked up, shook my hand, and said ‘It’s been too long, Sonny. I’ll tell you right now, if he (Elvis) was watching us, he’d want us to get together, because where he’s at now, he’s nothing but love” West recalled.

News of Charlie’s death filtered through after the Elvis tribute night on March 3 rd at the Clarion Hotel, leaving local dedicated Elvis fans shocked and stunned. Charlie was buried in the New Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery, Decatur, Alabama.

Perhaps he’s once again passing Elvis his water and scarfs.

Mr. Hodge is survived by his wife Jennifer.

- Alan Thompson

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