Elvis Presley continues to be “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” However, does that title of royalty extend beyond the borders of the United States?
Presley is the best-selling solo music artist of all time and was successful in a number of genres. He won three Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award when he was 36. He even had the most No. 1 albums as a solo artist on the UK Albums Chart.
He sold millions of records worldwide and continues to do so. Graceland, the mansion Elvis called home, is the second most famous house in American besides the White House.
With a worldwide status, why did Elvis Presley never go beyond the North American borders to perform for his fans in other countries?
Elvis Presley Never Performed Outside North America
According to History.com, an estimated 40% of his music sales actually came from outside the United States. Loving Elvis Presley is not just a U.S. trait.
He only performed a few times in neighboring Canada in 1957. Other than that, he never left the U.S. to give a performance. While it isn’t certain exactly why many people theorize it may have to do with his very controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker managed Elvis.
Sources say that Parker turned down offers for the singer to perform abroad often. It is theorized that it’s because Parker is an illegal immigrant and was afraid if he traveled overseas he wouldn’t be allowed back in the U.S.
In the process, Presley missed out on the chance to interact with an entirely different group of his fans. That isn’t the only thing his overcontrolling manager took from him. According to The New York Times, Parker was sued by Elvis’ heirs after his death. He was accused of fraud and mismanagement and that he had no legal rights to the Presley estate.
He sold his Presley master recordings to RCA for $2 million. During Presley’s career, Parker would cut himself commissions as high as 50%.
Colonel Tom Parker’s Life
There’s a lot of theories related to the mysterious and cunning manager that ripped off Elvis throughout his career. He would often credit himself for being the reason Presley was famous at all and that he deserved more of the money.
His real name was supposedly Thomas Andrew Parker and he worked with carnivals before eventually becoming a music promoter. However, there are allegedly no birth certificates or passports with that name.
He made a lot of questionable choices like keeping his past hidden, settling lawsuits before having to talk under oath, and allegedly doing a series of tax-avoidance schemes. However, he got a lot of skeptical attention from turning down offers for worldwide concerts which would have given Presley millions.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, his real name was actually Andreas van Kuijk from the Netherlands. Despite a lot of connections and the Alien Registration Act of 1940, Parker was always resistant to do anything relating to his immigration status.
Others also connect him to a death that happened near where he was from that was never solved. It will likely never be officially solved, however, but there are several eerie connections to Parker.
The potential of possibly being a murderer combined with not being an official U.S. citizen was certainly enough for Parker to want to keep his business in one nation.