WHBQ ELVIS Reel to Reel Tapes recorded by Elvis friend George Klein

with 3 pages of transcripts


Elvis and George Klein




This is a tale that links five legends. A performer, his DJ friend, a ground breaking producer, a future game-show host and a legendary Top 40 radio station. Put it all together and you have Wink Martindale and others interviewing Elvis Presley in the early days on WHBQ radio in Memphis recorded by Elvis’s friend George Klein and sent to producer Ron Jacobs.



WHBQ, AM 560, Memphis, played Elvis Presley’s first record " That's All Right " . In  July 1954 Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips played the latter on the WHBQ radio station where it became Elvis’ first local hit. The rest, as they say, is history.



George Klein (aka "GK") Befriended Elvis Presley in 1948 at Humes High School and became one of the original members of Elvis' traveling companions ("Memphis Mafia"). Klein started his broadcasting career in 1957 with WHBQ-AM (56) and during the 1960's and 1970's was host of "Talent Party" show at WHBQ-TV (Channel 13). Klein is currently host of the syndicated "George Klein's Original Elvis Hour”, broadcasted live from Elvis' Graceland for Sirius radio's all-Elvis channel. Presley was the best man at his wedding, and Klein served as a pallbearer at his friend's funeral.



Ron Jacobs, a disc jockey at Hawaii's KKAU who knew Elvis since his 1960s Hawaii visits. Program Director at KHJ Radio in Los Angeles, co-creator of American Top 40 Hosted By Casey Kasem, and launched Watermark Inc. to produce a twelve-hour radio documentary (on vinyl) entitled THE ELVIS PRESLEY STORY. Former Memphis morning man Wink Martindale signed on to narrate, and 150 Elvis songs were featured in this ambitious radio presentation. It was, in Jacob's own words, "the first Rockumentary.” It also required a professional research pilgrimage to nearly all Elvis landmarks of his past: Tupelo, Memphis, his schools, etc and many voices from his youth - people who knew Elvis as he grew up - were personally incorporated into the audio story. Ron Jacobs and the Colonel have known each other back to 1957.




Wink Martindale is a disc jockey and television game show  host. Wink was the morning DJ at WHBQ in Memphis. The evening DJ was known for playing what was then called "race music," and it was one evening that a record brought in by Sam Phillips featuring an artist by the name of Elvis Presley was played. "You could tell that something exciting was going on when the record was played," says Wink. Eventually Elvis appeared on Wink's "Teenage Dance Party" show to be interviewed and to promote an upcoming concert -- it was one of Elvis' first two television interviews.



Elvis Presley was Elvis Presley.