ELVIS PRESLEY has one main ambition – to meet each and every one of his fans all over the world, and to thank them personally for their support. This was told to me by a girl who has known him for four years, and has seen all sides of the singer who is so much a legend on this side of the Atlantic.

The girl, songwriter Sharon Sheeley, was lying back on her pillow in a bed at St. Martin’s Hospital, Bath, where earlier she had told me the story of her love for Eddie Cochran, about which I related in last week’s NME, when I promised to bring you some of her accounts of other U.S. singing stars this week. Here they are:

“Elvis is a humble, grateful and sincere person,” Sharon told me. “When Elvis signs an autograph, he refuses to accept any thanks and always makes a point of saying ‘No, thank YOU.’“

Sharon added: “He’s been at the top for some years now and I firmly believe this is the reason. He is so grateful to all his fans for everything and his philosophy has always been: If you don’t have time for the fans, they don’t have time for you.”

Sharon went on to tell me about some of her dates with Presley. “On one occasion he had bought a gleaming new car and we drove up to a theatre, parking it nearby while we went to take in the show.

“When we came out it had been scratched, gouged, daubed with ’Elvis I Love You’ and was a horrifying untidy mess.

“I was amazed,” she went on, “I was just about able to gasp ‘Oh, Elvis I’m so sorry – your nice new car ...’ when he quietened me and assured me it did not matter. He really meant it, too. He was grateful his fan thought so much of him.”

Sharon continued with her personal word-portrait: “Often I have told him how lucky he is to be so talented and how fine everything has turned out for him. But – and this is typical of Elvis – he does not agree he is talented.

“I well remember his words the first time I said it. ‘Am I talented Sharon? ‘he asked, ‘or just lucky through the fans? ’ “

NME, 1960

The above photo is of Sharon Sheeley with Eddie Cochran