The Auction at Graceland•January 8, 2019
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/8/2019

From The Marty Lacker Collection
Martin Lacker, more often referred to as Marty, is best known for his role in Elvis’ entourage as foreman and Memphis Mafia member, however Marty created a solid reputation for himself in the Memphis music scene separate from Elvis. Marty and Elvis’ early lives paralleled each other as they both attended Humes High School, joined the Army and were stationed in Germany. After their service, Elvis’ and Marty were re-introduced and Marty went to work for Elvis in 1961. The two became very close and Marty was co-best man, with George Klein, in Elvis’ wedding to Priscilla in 1967. Marty was responsible for organizing the crew and travelled with Elvis on tour and to Hollywood, where he appeared in 13 of Elvis’ films. It was late in 1967, after Elvis’ marriage, that Marty left Elvis’ payroll to explore an opportunity from Pepper Tanner Company to start a record company. He discovered several artists, including Rita Coolidge, and produced her first few hit records. He also signed several other musicians with the help of Isaac Hayes and David Porter. After two years on his own, Marty convinced his friend Elvis to record in Memphis for the first time in 14 years at Chips Moman’s American Studios. These sessions are arguably the best recordings of Elvis since his days at Sun Records. Shortly after this success, Marty accepted the role of General Manager at American Studios and enticed the talents of Petula Clark, Dionne Warwick, Bill Medley and others to record at American. Marty’s accomplishments did not stop there, and in 1971 he launched the Memphis Music Awards Show which became a highly anticipated affair for the next three years and brought many of the heads of the major record companies to Memphis. He also served as Chairman of the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission and co-founded the Memphis Chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). In 1974, once again, Marty ventured out on his own and formed his own company, Mempro, Inc that specialized in production, management and promotion for both the music and entertainment industries. Throughout his career and achievements, Marty maintained his friendship with Elvis and finally retired in the 1990s.

In January of 1969, Elvis was cajoled by Marty Lacker, George Klein and Felton Jarvis to agree to a recording session at Chips Moman’s American Sound Studio in Memphis. Lincoln “Chips” Moman, one of the founders of Stax Records who produced over 150 hit records from his small, fairly new studio, postponed a pre-arranged session with Neil Diamond to record with Elvis in his studio upon the last-minute request. These American Sound Studio sessions would be some of the most pivotal in Elvis’ career and would mark the turning point in Elvis’ re-creation of himself. He not only agreed to the sessions without the Colonel’s initial approval, but he rejected most of the Hill & Range songs the Colonel provided for the sessions, choosing instead to record tunes from a wider range of sources. Elvis also recorded with the studio band, the 827 Thomas Street band, named for the studio’s address, that included guitarist Reggie Young, bassists Tommy Cogbill and Mike Leech, Gene Christman on drums and Bobby Wood and Bobby Emmons on keyboard. Chips kept only the key people in the studio, asking all others to leave, helping the focus to remain on creating strong and solid music. These 12 days spent in the studio produced 36 songs, with 4 becoming singles and material for several important albums including the tunes “In the Ghetto, “Suspicious Minds,” “Don’t Cry Daddy,” and “Kentucky Rain.” The music recorded in these sessions was some of the strongest material Elvis had recorded in years and even Elvis himself believed to be some of his best ever. The American Sound Studio sessions came at a turning point for Elvis’ career and provided the triumph he needed to reestablish his musical dominance. 

Offered are a collection of twenty-five (25) original black-and-white photographs from the American Sound Studio of the incredible artists that recorded at the station including BJ Thomas, Gene Christman, Bobby Wood, Reggie Young, Bobby Emmons, Mike Leech, Tommy Cogbill, Petula Clark, Chips Moman, Dionne Warwick, Mac Davis, Marilee Rush, Jimmy Hart and the Gentrys, and more. Some of these photos appear on the wall of American Studios in other images included in this lot, putting them right on the walls of American Studios. These professional photos could be from The Commercial Appeal and/or direct from American Studios as some have grease pencil markings that would be typically used in a news capacity. It was not unusual for news outlets to give some prints to a studio. Several of the photos have markings on the reverse that include: Thomas Busler Staff Photographer at the Commercial Appeal (Also dated Deb 23, 1970), George Burns Studio, Capitol Records, Inc. Each of these fantastic images measures 10 by 8 inches (25.4 x 20.32 cm).

This historic collection also includes a number of other fascinating relics from American Studios and Marty Lacker’s involvement. These include:

  • 1970 wage and tax statement W2 (two duplicate carbon copies of copy C) for Martin Lacker from American Recording Studios Inc. in the amount of $13,750.00 for wages with $1,868.20 withheld for federal income tax, $374.40 withheld for FICA and $7,800.00 total FICA wages paid in 1970, each pay statement measuring 3 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches (8.89 x 19.05 cm); 
  • Acoustic ceiling tile from American Studios with handwritten notation in blue ink on the reverse “Ceiling Tile From American Sound Studio - Memphis Give [sic] to me by Bill Glore,” measuring 12 1/2 by 9 inches (31.75 x 22.86 cm); 
  • Letter dated November 10, 1970 to Marty Lacker at American Recording Studio from Walter Hofer of Hofer and Rich Attorneys at Law that states, “Enclosed please find the contract signed by Norman. Please substitute for the one I signed,” measuring 11 by 8 1/2 inches (27.94 x 21.59 cm); 
  • 35mm color slide of Elvis and Chips Moran.

This amazing collection, recalling a special moment in the history of American Studios, emanates from the Marty Lacker collection, and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.



The entire collection is in excellent condition overall with typical signs of wear from age and use. Some photos have pin holes or wear from being hung and handled. The ceiling tile is in the condition one might expect from an older discarded acoustic tile.
Group of 25 Original 8 x 10 Photos from American Sound Studio and One 35mm Color Slide of Elvis Presley – From the Marty Lacker Collection
Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $1,750.00
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Number Bids: 6
Auction closed on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
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