Bromance: Joe Esposito

Meeting in the Military, Joe Esposito was one of the few northerners in Elvis’ inner circle.

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Diamond Joe, as he became known, was  the main go-between Elvis and Col Parker, the longest term “foreman” of the Memphis Mafia and co-best man at Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding with Marty Lacker – the other notherner – but who had gone to high school with Elvis.

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Joe with the Elvis group on leave in Paris and then in Hollywood.

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Joe, Marty Lacker, Elvis & Pris, George Klien and Billy Smith and a rare Pris and a Joe photo.

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Esposito is the photographer and home movie source for most of the Elvis at home images, and he’s published more books than the other Memphis Mafia members.

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There was an Elvis conference in Cloverdale, partly organized by Red Robinson, famed DJ.
Joe Esposito and Jerry Schilling were guests and they did a panel.
They were the only 2 guys around Elvis that I ever wanted to meet and I was struck uncharacteristically quiet during the hour long Q&A.
There was not anything that I wanted to know that I hadn’t already read about.
But after the event and the audience trickled away, I did think of something.
Had recently read the Armageddon the Musical book by Robert Rankin and in that novel, Elvis was a religion in the future of post-apocolypic earth.
With people attending mass conferences, traveling to Graceland, statues of him all over the world – certainly ,Aliens coming here would think he’d been king of the world.
But when you get asked questions a lot and they sound the same, you tend to give the same answer.
So while I asked from an anthropological framework – Joe Espostio freaked out and began yelling at me that Elvis was not a deity, he was a man and he would be horrified at me.
I tried to explain about the book, but Joe was not listening and he screamed until his face was red and then purple and when his voice gave out, he waved over Jerry Schilling – who had been standing there, mouth opened in horror that Joe was screaming at a fan.
He came over and Joe sputtered
“She’s trying to make Elvis a religion.”
Jerry’s confusion cleared and he started yelling at me.
I remember thinking when Joe was yelling at me that the last time he was that freaked was probably when he tried to give the dead Elvis CPR.
Lips that had been on Elvis’ had been 6 inches away from mine.
Joe Esposito died November 23, 2016.
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