IN REMEMBRANCE OF GEORGE KLEIN; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 24
(Extensions of Remarks - February 07, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E144]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                            HON. STEVE COHEN

                              of tennessee

                    in the house of representatives

                       Thursday, February 7, 2019

  Mr. COHEN. Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to George 
Klein, a Memphis original and one of the late Elvis Presley's longest 
and closest friends after they met at Humes High School in 1948, both 
aged 13. Mr. Klein died Tuesday evening in Memphis at the age of 83. 
George Klein, known as ``GK,'' was Memphis disc jockey and protege of 
pioneering disc jockey Dewey Phillips, hosting WHBQ-TV's ``Talent 
Party'' (1964 to 1973) and WMC radio's ``George Klein's Rock & Roll 
Ballroom. `` He later hosted SiriusXM satellite radio's Elvis Radio 
channel until last year. Mr. Klein was inducted into the Memphis Music 
Hall of Fame in 2018. A member of King of Rock & Roll's ``Memphis 
Mafia'' traveling entourage, Mr. Klein was a groomsman in Presley's 
wedding to Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967 in Las Vegas (Elvis served as his 
best man when Mr. Klein married in 1970) and served as an Elvis 
pallbearer after the singer's death in 1977. Mr. Klein also had bit 
parts in some of Elvis' movies, including ``Jailhouse Rock'' in 1957. 
When Elvis was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 
in 1986, it was his loyal friend Mr. Klein who gave the acceptance 
speech. For Memphis, Mr. Klein was our Bob Hope, hosting many civic 
affairs programs and producing the annual George Klein Christmas 
Charity Show that people looked forward to seeing for years and which 
raised a lot of money for various charities. As a radio personality, he 
had a variety of career highlights, hosting Johnny Cash's radio debut; 
bringing the first African American recording artists--Fats Domino, Sam 
Cooke, James Brown, and Jackie Wilson--to play on live Memphis 
television; and introducing The Beatles when they played the Mid-South 
Coliseum in August 1966. Everybody loved George Klein. He was always 
cheerful and upbeat and made life better for all he met; you could say 
he helped make your day. Mr. Klein very closely followed Memphis State 
and later University of Memphis sports, particularly basketball. 
University of Memphis basketball coach John Calipari said he used to 
talk to Mr. Klein before basketball games and called him ``an 
unbelievable ambassador'' for Memphis. George and I had a mutual friend 
in Irvin Salky, who was his contemporary and occasionally his 
counselor. Priscilla, who visited my office last month, recognized Mr. 
Klein's influence. She released a statement Tuesday evening calling Mr. 
Klein ``a legendary broadcaster,'' adding ``but he was so much more to 
our family. George has been there from the beginning . . . He was a 
true Memphian and always made it feel like home on trips back to 
Graceland. I will forever cherish our memories together, they will stay 
with me always.'' George was my friend and his was a life well-lived. 
He will be missed.