THE STORY ABOUT ROGER FAKES - With just a little lack of luck, Roger Fakes (pronounced FAYkiss) would not even have been at Elvis Presley's concert
of July 4, 1956, in Russwood Park in Memphis. Living at 219 Rose Road, Memphis, Tennessee, with just a little luck, he was there and today he still has the diamond-laden ring he won from Elvis as an attendance prize!
"I was dating a girl named Eleanor McGinnis at the time", Fakes recalls. "We were dating fairly steady and we were going somewhere that night. It was the 4th of July. I don't recall we had any place specific
But a friend of Eleanor's Lynn Williams, had a bunch of tickets to Elvis' concert. It was a charity event and Lynn's uncle, Jim Robinson, was a charitable
type person and had bought a block of tickets".
"A big group of us all went together. The seats we had were not exceptionally good. Elvis sang on a stage out at about
the picher's mound at Russwood. The place was packed. I had no idea Elvis would be giving away a ring as an attendance prize during the concert".
When they announced
it was time to draw for the main prize - Elvis' own diamond-studded ring with the initials EP - one of the crowd poked the 17-year-old Fakes in the ribs and said, "Better get out your ticket stub. You might win something". Roger Fakes retrieved the stub from
his shirt pocket and was amazed as Dewey Phillips began reading the lucky number 9-7- 3-6. Fakes held his breath. The rest of the numbers matched. He had won Elvis' ring.
went down on the stage and Elvis took the ring off his finger and gave it to me". "We chatted for awhile and I told him I was a musician, too. And then I went back to my seat". Fakes was attending East High School, the same school as actress Cybill Shepherd,
who later dated Elvis Presley.
"When I got to Memphis State, I wore the ring a lot", said Fakes. "I was a member of the Epsilon Phichapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Wink Martindale was a fraternity brother of mine, though he had graduated earlier. I would wear the ring and when people asked me about it, I would either tell them the EP stood for Elvis Presley, or Epsilon Phi, depending on the situation. It was kind of
After a few years, the novelty of heaving Elvis' ring wore off and the ring went into safekeeping. Now and then people still ask Fakes if he has the ring. He does.
Some, including his brother-in-law, Scott Fisher, who sometimes does Elvis impersonations for the fun of it at private parties, have asked to borrow the ring. No doing! It it for sale?
"At the right price, yes", said Fakes. "The problem is, I don't have a fair way of evaluating what it's worth. It's a nice ring. Heavy. Gold. It's got 17 nice little diamonds in it that form the letters EP. In and of itself, it's not that
valuable. The fact it was once Elvis' $600 ring (1956 price) makes it valuable".
Roger Fakes had actually met Elvis before the concert. "We used to hang out at the old
Toddle House drive-in on Poplar Avenue", he recalls. "One night Elvis came in there on his motorcycle. He was just becoming famous then. He didn't seem to be really taken with himself. He got off his bike and visited with people. He seemed to be the most unassuming
guy in all the world".
Fact is, Elvis played a dance at the old Chisca Hotel one night and Fakes, a guitarist, sat in with him on stage. "We used to sit in a lot in those
days. Not anymore", said Fakes. Roger Fakes just about appeared on Sun Records. He was part of a group called the Spinners that sung on some Bill Justis cuts, included a vocal on "Midnight Man", on the flip-side of the Bill Justis Sun hit, "Raunchy". In June
1957, Fakes, became a session guitarist at Sun Studio, and Elvis by now at RCA, would come in to visit and chat. Fakes most memorable achievement at Sun Records was a recording session at Sun with Sid Manker on guitar, Jimmy Wilson on piano, Billy Riley on
bass, and J.M. Van Eaton on drums. Fakes' "Somehow We'll Find A Way" (Sun Unissued SUN BOX 106) are released in 1997 by Bear Family Records. Its not hard to tell that rock and roll wasn't Fakes' first love. Harry Belafonte was his idol. Born in Little Rock,
Arkansas in 1938, Fakes moved to Memphis with his family at age 11.
Roger Fakes' singing career got off the ground when he appeared on Top Ten dance Party, a television
show hosted by the Memphis State University fraternity brother, Wink Martindale. He soon gave up on music, though, "I didn't want to stay in it if I couldn't be as successful as possible", he said in 1986. "I looked at where I wanted to be in the long term,
and music didn't fit in with my goals".
Roger Fake became vice-president of a company that sells and services washing machines. "I've no regrets", he said. "I play the
Hammond organ at home and sing at church. That's as close as I want to be to the music business".
Looking back, on July 4, 1956, on Independence Day, he says, "At that
time, the ring fit my ring finger. Now, it's too small for my ring finger; too loose for my little finger".
Elvis Presley spent the remainder of July enjoying a well-deserved
vacation. Much of the time, he relaxed in and around Biloxi, Mississippi. He renewed his romance with June Juanico, whom he had met when he performed in Biloxi in June 1955.
28, 1958 THURSDAY
Olympic skater Scott Hamilton is born in Bowling Green, Ohio. He appears in 2005 in the background chorus on Brad Paisley's hit ''Alcohol''.
AUGUST 29, 1958 FRIDAY
Michael Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana. He recorded the pop hit ''She's
Out Of My Life'', which becomes a country duet for Johnny Duncan and Janie Fricke. Jackson also co-writes and helps organise the sessions for USA For Africa's ''We Are The World''.
31, 1958 SATURDAY
Jim Reeves and Bill Haley are featured on ''The Dick Clark Show'' on ABC-TV.