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Takin' Care of Business...

Local lands a pair of Elvis' signature sunglasses

February 16, 2011 - By Don Rush

Sometimes life is funny. Just aLake Orion resident Dave Hicks. Whilst in Oxford Elementary School, he became a fan of singer Elvis Presely. Soon he was impersonating "the king of rock and roll" at school functions.

Then he grew up. He worked as a short-order cook at local diners, was a disc jockey, recording industry representative and concert-sneaker-inner, and then somewhere along the way became road manager for, as he describes him "the most talented man in Nashville," Todd Snider.

Singer-songwriter Snider, who Rolling Stone calls "America's wittiest songwriter," has a new CD out, The Storyteller. Sometimes he introduces Hicks to the audience.

"He'll say, 'ladies he not only looks like Elvis, but sounds like him, too.' I'll come out in a jump-suit and sing a song. It's a blast," Hicks said recently.

Dave Hicks with authentic French aviator sunglasses worn by the late Elvis Presley. The signauter glasses were ordered by the “King” by the caseload and come with white gold initials on the nose bridge and the letters, TCB with a lightning bolt on the arms (TCB was Elvis’ motto, Takin’ Care of Business, and the lighting stood for, “in a flash.” (click for larger version)
Snider has a growing list of followers including the legendaries Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynne and John Prine, to name a few.

"And, I've met them all," Hicks said. According to Hicks you never know who is gonna' come see Snider in concert.

"This past November we were in Fayetteville, Arkansas and this man comes in to visit with Todd. Soon we're talking about Elvis and he says, 'Wait, I gotta show you something.' He jumps in his car goes home and comes back and hands me something wrapped in a handkerchief. When I reach for it, it shatters into six pieces. They were a pair of Elvis' sunglasses that this man had bought at an auction for $15,000! Well, he ended up giving them to me. His name is Johnnie Mike Walker, part of the Walmart fortune."

According to Hicks, from 1972 to 1974, Presley wore these customized French aviator sunglasses. "He would buy them by the case load," Hicks said.

This particular pair were worn by Presley and given to his friend and karate instructor Ed Parker. Along the way they landed on an auction block. Eventually ending up with Hicks.

"Since I have been with Todd, I have met and befriended a caretaker of Graceland (Elvis' Memphis, TN home) and this weekend I'm going to California and meeting up with Elvis' hair dresser and spiritual adviser, Larry Geller. I've met him numerous times. He's a friend -- it blows my mind how life turns," Hicks said, then noting his appreciation to his boss. "It is through Todd's graciousness that I have been able to have the experiences I've had, support my family and meet some incredible people. I never would have thought all this possible 20 years ago. Knowing Todd has changed my life."

Hicks lives in Lake Orion with his family, wife Adriene and their sons, Shawn, 8 and Aaron, 6.

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at:
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