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I was 14 years old when Led Zeppelin came to Memphis in 1969. As the youngest step-brother to Elvis Presley I was living at the Graceland Mansion. My divorced mother Dee Stanley married Elvis' widowed father Vernon Presley on July 3, 1960. Anyway I went to the concert with a friend and was blown away. John Bonham playing his solo on Moby Dick, Jimmy Page stroking his Les Paul with a fiddle bow, John Paul Jones laying down heavy bass and of course the driving voice of Robert Plant. While growing up as Presley's step-brother I was no stranger to great music. But it was Led Zeppelin that became MY MUSIC while growing up the King.
I started touring with Presley in 1972 when I was 16. I always had Zeppelin's music with me. In 1974 while at the LA Forum Led Zeppelin came to see Elvis. Later that night after the show Robert, Jimmy and John Paul came to Elvis' suite at the hotel across the street from the Forum. I met them as they came off the elevator and walked with them to Elvis' s room. I introduced myself, shook their hands and got their autograph. Of all the people I met during my life with Elvis, it was only Led Zeppelin's autograph that I asked for.
As I continued to tour with Elvis till his death in 1977 I would often ask my friend Tom Hewlett of Concerts West (the tour company that handled Elvis and Zeppelin) how the Boys were doing. He always gave me updates.
There was one other time the Presley tour ran across the band while out on the road. It was at the Washington/Baltimore airport. We (the Presley tour) were playing in Washington and Led Zeppelin was playing at the Capital Centre. We arrived on the Lisa Marie, Elvis' Private Jet, and Led Zeppelin arrived on the Caesar's Chariot. It was a hell of a sight to see these two private jets sitting side by side on the private tarmac.
I asked Elvis if I could go with the band that night for their concert. He just looked at me and said "no". When I asked him why he said "look at the bottom of your paycheck'". As I entered the limo with Elvis I said they sure have a nice jet. Elvis leaned over and reminded me that they lease their jet from Caesar's Palace, I own mine.
To me Led Zeppelin was and still is the greatest band in the world.
Thanks Guys For So Many Great Memories.
David E. Stanley