Who was/is Colonel Tom Parker ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Colonel Tom Parker,
Colonel Tom Parker, born on June 29, 1910, in West Virginia, went to work for his uncle's 'The Great Parker Pony Circus' as a child, before setting up on his own on the car nival circuit. In the mid-Thirties he did press publicity for carnivals and circuses and by the Forties was promoting country acts on a tie-in basis with various Southern com modifies, before signing Eddy Arnold to a management contract.
By 1950, Parker had helped to make Arnold the country star. In 1953 — despite Arnold's having left him — he secured his famous honorary title in the Tennessee Militia and in 1954 he took control of Hank Snow's career, for one of whose tours he booked Elvis Presley, still managed then by Bob Neal. Parker, who knew Steve Sholes through his dealings with him on behalf of Arnold and Snow, organized the RCA contract for Presley, helped set up Elvis Presley Music with Hill and Range and became Presley's manager — all at once.
He had taken complete control of the careers of Arnold and Snow — except for their music — and did the same with Presley, this time with an artist whose appeal was universal. Once Presley's success was assured, Parker set about making him a superstar, refusing to display Presley to the world, creating a mystique about the singer, and — coincidentally —making himself a legendary character.
Though he has never interfered with the musical decisions made for and on behalf of Presley, Parker's essentially hucksterish attitude to his charge must take some of the blame for the series of career decisions that led to Presley's awful film career of the Sixties and then to the way Presley's revival turned sour in the Seventies.