Tidbits, Outtakes, and Lessons in Big Name Entertainment Part II
Elvis Aaron Presley and the Concert That Did Not Happen
The unfortunate loss of Elvis Presley affected many fans, especially those at Tennessee Tech awaiting his performance in 1977. The King was booked to play Tech before his death in a decision by students based on a poll. After much negotiation between Elvis’s agents and Ron Rami, then Tennessee Tech Public Programming Director, Elvis was booked to play the end of September. Fans as far as Japan wrote to Tennessee Tech for tickets to the performance. The negotiations for the performance were solidified on August 16th by mailgram and phone and while Tennessee Tech was preparing its press release they received the news that the King of Rock was found dead at 3:20 pm that day.
Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down
In 1981, the University Programming Council scheduled the Oak Ridge Boys to play Tennessee Tech….on a Sunday. This created a wave of complaints from a community in an area where Sunday nights are typically reserved for church services. Ron Rami, then University Programming Council Director, realized he needed to find support for the concert to be a success. In a clever move, he contacted the record labels to send up to a hundred albums from the Oak Ridge Boys, but from their earlier gospel music days. He sent these records and tickets to the show to as many preachers and preacher’s wives as he could in the area. His promotion of the Oak Ridge Boys concert earned him a second place award from Billboard for promotion (Phone call with Ron Rami, August 5, 2020).
Dottie and Bill West attended Tennessee Tech in the 1950s and later returned to perform for the University in a 1966 event honoring her, “Dottie and Bill West Day.” The show was a benefit to raise funds for music scholarships at the University. The benefit performers included Dottie and Bill, Faron Young, Minnie Pearl, Waylon Jennings, and the Harden Trio.
The Hooper Eblen Center opened in 1977. The first performance was Phoebe Snow and Starbuck. The artist had a minor tiff over stage space so Starbuck did not perform. Snow gave a well received performance.
A well known way to attend concerts at Memorial Gym for free was to sneak in through the pool.