The King at Scope
" It looks like a big spaceship, baby."


From the young stallion Norfolk saw in '55 and '56 to the paunchy rocker he had by now become, Elvis made his last Norfolk appearance in 1975, the same year he was hospitalized four times for various ailments.

The two shows on July 20 boasted a sell-out audience which totaled 22,889 for both shows. Elvis would return to the nearby Hampton Coliseum in '76, and negotiations were underway at the time of his death for a Scope show.

During the first show, Elvis flubbed 'Promised Land,' a recent hit. Several concertgoers (mainly the area-based "Return to Sender' fanclub) kept shouting out their request, eager to hear the Chuck Berry-penned song that mentions Norfolk and Tidewater. After messing up the words on the first try, Elvis came back for the second show (after re-learning the words) and rocked it hard.

Ticket for the matinee show, for a seat about halfway back in the auditorium.

Receiving a key from a "Return to Sender" fanclub member.


Here's a link telling you the full touching story behind this photo.

There was also a little spat between Elvis and his backup singers. Some words were exchanged onstage and Elvis was so angry afterwards that he was threatening to replace his singers with Ray Charles' Raylettes.
Elvis finally relented, and the women were back on stage the next night.

See below for more details on the quarrel.

Elvis and the Memphis Mafia stayed on the entire second floor of the Sheraton at Military Circle.

Elvis arriving at the underground garage at the Norfolk Scope.

There's a New Sheriff in Town

During the show

Norfolk Police Sgt. Sidney Cherry was in charge of Elvis' local security. Bored between shows, Elvis gave the officers detailed to him at the Sheraton Military Circle an impromptu karate demonstration and showed off his badge collection. An unknown Norfolk Police officer gave Elvis a sergeant's badge to add to his immense collection, and he wore it during the entire evening show.

The above shots are from the evening show, of which there seem to be far fewer pictures. You can see the Norfolk Police sergeant's badge in each shot.



Scope Concert Set Lists July 20, 1975
2:30 Show 8:30 Show
See See Rider See See Rider
I Got A Woman / Amen I Got A Woman / Amen
Big Boss Man Love Me
Love Me If You Love Me Let Me Know
If You Love Me Let Me Know Love Me Tender
Love Me Tender All Shook Up
All Shook Up Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel
Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel Hound Dog
Hound Dog The Wonder of You
The Wonder of You Polk Salad Annie
Polk Salad Annie Band Intro
Band Intro T-R-O-U-B-L-E
T-R-O-U-B-L-E Why Me Lord
Why Me Lord How Great Thou Art
How Great Thou Art Let Me Be There
Let Me Be There Funny How Time Slips Away
Funny How Time Slips Away Little Darlin'
Mystery Train / Tiger Man Mystery Train / Tiger Man
Promised Land Promised Land
Can't Help Falling In Love Can't Help Falling In Love

Back to


'Clearly more peculiar than he had been'

This is a short excerpt from "Elvis and the Memphis Mafia" a book featuring three members of the ‘Memphis Mafia’
by writer Alanna Nash.

MARTY LACKER: When Elvis went out on his third tour of '75, it was pretty obvious he was getting even more erratic. On July 20, in Norfolk, Virginia, he started one of those long, rambling monologues. He introduced the Sweet Inspirations, who are black. He started out by saying he could feel all 11.000 members of the audience breathing on him. Then he said he smelled green peppers and onions, and he said. "The Sweet Inspirations breath smells like they've been eating catfish."

Shot from the Scope evening show. Probably Charlie Hodges guitar far right, then
Jerry Scheff on bass, Ronnie Tutt on drums, and the great James Burton on guitar.
Looks like the band's outfits were designed by the Department of Corrections...

Get your own copy!
Well, they took it as a racist put-down. And they were hurt by it. And he made a disparaging remark about high soprano singer Kathy Westmoreland. On a couple of shows, he’d said "'She doesn't care where she gets her fun." Or. "She'll take affection from anybody, anytime, anyplace. In fact, she gets it from the whole band." Which was a rough thing to say. Because Elvis had dated Kathy a little. Well. she'd told Joe (Esposito) to ask Elvis to stop saying that because she said she was getting ugly phone calls. So this night, Elvis said, "This is Kathy Westmoreland. She’s our soprano singer who doesn't like the way I introduce her. If she doesn't like it, she can get the hell off the stage." And the audience went silent.

Well, two of the Sweet Inspirations started to cry. And they left the stage. Kathy did, too. So Elvis walked over and gave a ring to (the Sweet lnspirations') Myrna Smith. She happened to be going with Jerry Schilling, who'd gotten divorced from his Hawaiian wife, Sandy. I guess Elvis gave Myrna the ring for staying onstage.
This was the same date he started giving away rings to the audience. He had two shows in Norfolk. The first show, it was a pretty sedate crowd. So he told Lowell Hays, the Memphis jeweler, to bring in about $30,000 worth of rings. And this wasn’t costume jewelry ~ it was real diamonds and precious stones. Well, the audience went nuts, grabbing for this stuff. And Elvis got what he wanted ~ a screaming crowd. He later apologized to everybody onstage and gave them all rings. But he was clearly more peculiar than he had been.
In addition to primary research at the Norfolk Public Library's microform collection, interviews with concert attendees, and internet resources, The Donning Company Publishers' "Elvis In Tidewater" by Ricky Cross and Charles Wittkopp (1982) was also of invaluable assistance in the information presented on these pages.

Back to