A Tennessee Star Journal exclusive
Who is Ed Hill? Ask a hundred people and expect eighty-five “I don’t knows,” twelve stupid replies with three people getting it right.
Ask the same people if they are familiar with the following quotation, “Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night!” Ninety-eight will recognize it as the ending of an Elvis Presley concert.
Ed Hill is the gentleman backstage who made the announcement. He was a member of the Stamps Quartet, the group that backed Elvis the last seven years that he toured and recorded. It has been well documented that Elvis loved gospel music and he allowed the Stamps Quartet to open each Elvis show with 30 minutes of their gospel music.
Hill recalls how he both became a member of the quartet and his first experience with Elvis. “I started to work for J. D. Sumner, who owned the Stamps Quartet, at his office. He came in one day and said he needed me to help fill in until he could find a new baritone singer. So I filled in, for almost 25 years.”
“The first show I did with Elvis was in California. He flew us out there. And I needed to learn all the songs. So, I was given a live performance tape to study. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know my part very well. We were singing the program and he kept looking at us. I was thinking maybe I was singing the wrong part. All of a sudden he walks over to us. He puts his hand out, shakes mine and said ‘Ed Hill, welcome to the family.’” That was the beginning of a long friendship, one that Hill reveals in his memoirs.
The Tennessee Star Journal has been given exclusive rights to publish the Ed Hill memoirs that detail his close relationship with Elvis Presley. We will do so beginning with our next issue. One can read them in both the print edition or on the website at tnsjournal.com. This chronicle of Elvis is found no where else. It is with excitement and pleasure that we present this historic view of one of the world’s greatest entertainers to our readers.