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He was one of Elvis Presley's' most trusted friends, he was one of the founding members of the 'Memphis Mafia' and now It's with a heavy heart that we have to report the death of
our friend, Marty Lacker aged 80.
Marty Lacker was born and raised in New York, first in Brooklyn, but he spent most of his early life on the tough streets of the South Bronx, that is until his family left New York and
moved down to Memphis, Tennessee in 1952.
Marty & Elvis first crossed paths in 1953 when Marty attended the final year at Humes High School. In Memphis, Elvis stood out at Humes because of the way he dressed and his
hairstyle, but Marty wore similar clothes to Elvis thanks to the New York fashion influences. But their friendship never grew until 1957, when Marty was discharged from the U.S.A
During Elvis' time in the U.S. Army, Marty began working as the production director for Memphis radio station, WHHM. Then finally in 1961, after years of trying, Elvis finally got
Marty to agree to start working for him on a full time basis.
Marty served as Elvis' Chief Personal Aide for a few years, but he was one of the tiny amount Memphis Mafia members who went out to build his own career and not rely on Elvis for
a living. Even though, in doing so, Marty and Elvis remained close friends till the end. In fact, Elvis respected Marty enough to use him as a brutally honest sounding board.
Along with Elvis' cousin, Billy Smith, he and Marty were considered to be probably the closest "true friends" of Elvis according to some in the group. In a past interview, Marty stated,
"Everyone had assigned responsibilities and they were far from leeches, hangers on or whatever else they were called. They all had jobs to do so that Elvis could do his and as far
as being there for the money, that's laughable because there really wasn't much in that area to be there for."
Marty went on to say, "Most of us were not there for the money, we were there because we all cared about Elvis and each other like brothers." In 1967, Marty was asked by Elvis to
be his best man at his upcoming wedding to Priscilla. This honour would later end up being shared with Joe Esposito.
Marty continued with his radio career throughout the 1960's and in 1969, he took the job of VP and General Manager at American Studios in 1969 but remained very close to Elvis.
As fans of Elvis Presley, we have to be eternally grateful to Marty Lacker for convincing Elvis to record at American Sound in his home town of Memphis where Elvis recorded some
of his most contemporary music and gave him his biggest hits in several years, hits like, 'Suspicious Minds', 'In The Ghetto', 'Kentucky Rain' and many more.
Below is what is featured from the Commercial Appeal paper in Memphis.
If not for Marty Lacker, Elvis might never have gone to American Studios in 1969 to record the landmark "From Elvis in Memphis" record.
If not for Mr. Lacker, then, the world might never have had such Presley hits as "Suspicious Minds" — The King's last chart-topper — and "In the Ghetto," among many others.
"Marty was working for me and he was still in close with Elvis," the late Chips Moman, who founded American, told The Commercial Appeal in 2009. "So Marty was talking to me
about Elvis and talking to Elvis about me and slowly bringing us together. He's really the one that got that album to take place."
Mr. Lacker, a member of The King's famed Memphis Mafia and one of the best men at Elvis's 1967 wedding, died Monday after suffering from kidney failure. He was 80. He's the
second member of the Memphis Mafia to die in recent months, following the November 2016 death of Joe Esposito, the other best man at Elvis' wedding.
Mr. Lacker also worked in the music business both during his time with Elvis and after The King's 1977 death. In 1967, Lacker helped launch Pepper Records and went on to
become American Studios' vice president and business manager. In the early '70s, Lacker also helped co-found the local Grammy chapter and also served as the chairman of the
original Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission.
"A big thing that I wanted to accomplish was to organize the music industry in town. Memphis was not a very organized city; everybody did their own thing," Lacker told the
newspaper in 2010. "At the end of the day, you can't underestimate what the music that came out of Memphis has brought to this city."
"He went to school with (Elvis), that’s how they met. My dad was from New York, the Bronx, and he dressed just like Elvis did. They just formed a bond of friendship through that.
They always took up for each other. Both of them went into the army and afterwards, a good friend of his re-introduced them and he went to work for him," said Mr. Lacker's son,
Mark. "They were like brothers. They respected each other."
Funeral arrangements were still being finalized late Monday.
Marty and Elvis Express Radio joined together back in 2008 for the original "Ask Marty", where fans could send in their questions asking Marty to share with them any memories he
could. Marty would also send in his thoughts to a story if he felt someone had said or done something that was incorrect about Elvis or the Memphis Mafia, he was never afraid to
say things exactly how he saw them.
Elvis Express Radio will re-post every "ASK MARTY" Q & A in the next day or so.
Rest in peace Marty, you'll be missed.
February 13, 2017 - Elvis Express Radio