On Elvis and "TCB"
On the release of the new film about Elvis, I wanted to share some of my recollections and favorite facts about "The King." Elvis was such an inspirational and motivational showman, innovator, and leader. He helped create Rock and Roll music, and he brought great cultural change to America.
My mother was a huge fan of Elvis. He was her hero, and he became one of mine. She saw him perform and became an instant fan.
One Spring Break, my mother took me to Graceland, because I had always wanted to go. I was awestruck by the humble extravagance of the small home-turned-palace and monument to the greatness of Elvis.
Elvis was a change agent, representing the best of American ideals. Elvis came from humble beginnings, in the Heartland of America. His talent and determination helped him rise up from obscurity to become one of the greatest performers in the world.
Anywhere you go, people know the name "Elvis Presley," and the talent that he represents. The musical and cultural changes that he brought to the world have resonated across the years. Musicians today are still inspired by Elvis, and his imitators and impersonators are many. Graceland still attracts visitors not just because of the spectacle of Elvis's mansion, but because of Elvis himself, and the greatness that he represents.
One of the most interesting facts about Elvis, though, is how he managed his business.
Elvis often wore a gold necklace in the shape of the letters "TCB" with a lightning bolt. The necklace gained prominence because of its visibility and the fact that many members of his inner circle also wore them. The necklace was designed by Elvis and his ex-wife, Priscilla, after seeing a bolt of lightning through the window of their private plane.
Elvis had many of these necklaces made and he distributed them to members of his inner circle, his bodyguards, and the people who worked for him. The "TCB" stood for "taking care of business," meaning Elvis expected his people to always be ready to "take care" of Elvis's business.
Elvis had used "taking care of business" as a catchphrase since the 1960s, and to his inner circle, the phrase was often meant as a reminder to keep Elvis's business private. The lightning bolt represented Elvis's repeated instructions that business should be taken care of in a flash, meaning as soon as possible, without delay.
Elvis knew that, even though he was “The King” he still had to control and manage his business well. Expectations were higher for him because of his fame, and he insisted that his inner circle keep to a high standard of professionalism and keep his private business private.
The TCB necklaces were a symbol of being on Elvis’s team, but they were also a reminder of what that meant, and what was expected of people in his inner circle. Elvis also had “TCB” on a ring and emblazoned on the tail of his private plane, the Lisa Marie.
Today, “TCB" is on all manner of merchandise you can buy at Graceland and online. Wearing “TCB” marks you as a fan of Elvis, and is a reminder of everything that Elvis stood for.