May 19, 2014
American martial arts man Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace — who was Presley’s bodyguard and personal trainer.
Mr Wallace, 68, was visiting the Scottish Taekwondo Academy in George Square on Thursday to lead some coaching sessions. The veteran karate and kickboxing champion lifted the lid on how he worked with the superstar singer from 1974 until his death in 1977 — and gave a rare glimpse of the man behind the legend.
When the Tele asked him about the Elvis connection, he said: “He was a wonderful person, a nice guy. It was fun working out with him too but you couldn’t hit him too hard."
“You couldn’t punch Elvis in the face but it was fun beating up his Memphis Mafia.
“He was very good at martial arts, he worked out very hard. I can’t think of a better person to publicise martial arts!
Bill says Elvis had a circle of close friends he used to hang out with.
He recalled: “We used to go to the movies on a Saturday night, down town Memphis, around 15/20 of us. The last one we saw was Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia.”
Bill says the star had a good sense of humour but also had short fuse.
He said: “He could crack the jokes like the rest of us but he had a temper.
“I remember he bought a 1974 Pantera, an Italian sports car, and he asked us to go along to see it.
“It wouldn’t start and he jumped out and came back and emptied a 45 automatic pistol into it — it still didn’t start.
“It was hilarious.”
Bill revealed that Elvis’ favourite song was Unchained Melody and after he and wife Priscilla parted, he used to listen to Climb Every Mountain.
Elvis also splashed the cash with gifts for his friend through the years, including a station wagon and motorcycle.
Bill said: “He gave me a station wagon in 1975. I kept it for a year, then I traded it in. I didn’t know he was going to die the next year and when I became world champion in 1974 he gave me a motorcycle.”
Bill, who still has some cherished photographs given to him by the singer, spoke of his shock when he learned that Elvis had died.
He said: “My wife and me were taking a vacation and an Elvis song was playing on the car radio.
“I turned the channel and another Elvis song was playing. I knew something was wrong. I called Graceland and his cousin, who was his gatekeeper, told me he had died that morning.”
Bill said: “He was a boy from Tupelo Mississippi, he was doing something that nobody else did, you didn’t have an Elvis Presley before that. It was like the Beatles in England.”