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Oct 19, 2022

"CHARLIE AND THE LAUGHING BOX"

 


Charlie and the Laughing Box



FROM TUPELO TO MEMPHIS


Charlie Hodge and Elvis Presley, a lifelong friendship.

 There are particular moments that we remember with longing, with joy and above all as an anecdote. This would be the case the first time Elvis saw Charlie Hodge. Like Elvis, Charlie Hodge was also a singer, he began his musical career at the age of 17, when he met Bill Gather with whom he formed a gospel quartet. Later he with another group and from the age of twenty he would be part of the Foggy River Boys, being the lead singer for the ABC TV network, in the "Ozark Jubilee". 





He was a year older than Elvis and his voice was tenor, obviously he had many things that could unite him with Elvis, but the main reason would always be music.

 


 Charlie was very short and the rest of the quartet were much taller than him, so sometimes, when they came on stage to sing, the technicians put the microphones higher or less at the same height. When Charlie went out with the rest of the quartet, they put the microphone so high that he could not sing, so he took the habit of carrying a box of Coca Cola with him to get on it and be able to sing at the same height as the rest. of the group. It was a peculiarity in his show, since he was in public view and this was very funny, but Charlie did not care, since he sang as the main voice in his group and the important thing was the voice of the.
 
 Elvis and his cousin, Billy, first saw him in mid-1955, singing in a show at the Memphis Auditorium, accompanying singer Red Foley. After the performance Elvis wanted to meet the singer and the quartet so he went backstage to talk to them.





He wasn't known as an artist yet, he was just in his early days. Elvis noticed Charlie because he saw him on top of the box and he was very amused. He talked to him and told him that he used to see him on television with the group. Chance or destiny made it so that in the year 1958, both Charlie and Elvis were recruited to do their military service. Then they would meet again and from there a friendship relationship arose. Charlie helped Elvis a lot, they had music in common and Elvis who wanted to improve, learn, would be guided and trained by Charlie who had vocal knowledge.


 It must be remembered that Elvis never received a musical education and everything he learned he did naturally, without teachers. But it is true that Charlie at this time would be his teacher, also his friend, because he trusted her a lot.





 Their friendship was something natural, from that moment on, they sang Gospel, they had the same taste for music, even Elvis would consult Charlie vocally, not only at this time, but also as the years progressed, even when Elvis would return to the scene in 1969, they chose the repertoire together, their help was undoubted.


 And at many important moments in Elvis's life, Charlie would also be his loyal confidante. Elvis used to remind Charlie with laughter of the Coke Crate anecdote.
 This memory always made him laugh, as he liked to have people around him that he knew how to make others laugh, he liked to remember this. Elvis once told Charlie, "Every great person in history has had some sort of court jester, or comedian, around them." He always had someone around who could make him laugh. "The comedian can get away with saying almost anything to him, and he can say whatever he wants to his buffoon and the guy won't be mad at him."




 Charlie Hodge on stage: a talk about Elvis Presley - YouTube





 That was going to be part of his job for Elvis. But regardless of this anecdote that Charlie would tell, their friendship would be sincere and with very happy moments.
 Charlie was a very humble, smiling man and above all a person with a lot of stamina and he never considered this kind of thing with Elvis because he considered him his friend.

 
Charlie was the eternal smile .... As a singer he taught Elvis a lot, vocal technique and tricks to use his instrument. And it was the replica voice of him on stage... Elvis was supported by his harmonies in many songs. It was the shadow of Elvis on stage, with his guitar, his voice, serving the water, offering his handkerchiefs to the public... always laughing together.





A very talented man, we don't know if he would have continued as the main voice of his quartet or perhaps over time he would have chosen as a soloist. Although his voice was modest... but you don't need to have a great voice, nor be very tall to become great. And Charlie was "big" on the Elvis Trail.

 "Following the Path of the King..."
 #detupeloamemphis #elvispresley #siguiendoelcaminodeelrey

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