SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The highly anticipated Elvis Presley biopic hit theaters on Friday.
Iconic guitarist and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer James Burton, who was by The King’s side for nearly a decade, shared the emotions he felt seeing his memories depicted on the big screen.
“It was fantastic!” said Burton.
He loved it, maybe because he lived it.
Burton played 837 consecutive sold-out shows in Las Vegas with Presley in the 1970s. He says the film stirred plenty of emotions.
“It brought back a lot of memories. And the excitement on stage. What a great voice Elvis had,” said Burton. “The energy. The energy on stage was fantastic.”
Burton says Austin Butler’s portrayal of Elvis is Academy Award-worthy.
“The acting was unbelievable. It just blew me away,” said Burton. “His movements. His singing. Everything. He really, really captured Elvis’ charisma on stage.”
James and his wife, Louise, watched the movie in Memphis, Tennessee at Graceland, invited by Pricilla Presley.
“I think it was quite a great honor for them to invite us,” he said. “When I joined Elvis, he brought me into the family.”
It all started with a call Elvis made to Burton back in 1969. Presley asked the iconic guitarist to put a band together for him for his upcoming Las Vegas stage show. Burton agreed and the TCB, or Taking Care of Business, band was formed.
“Elvis was an incredible musical genius. And he wanted a band that could cover everything that he wanted to do,” said Burton. “Everybody was hand picked. And it was perfect for Elvis.”
Burton looks back on the time spent with Elvis as a blessing. He feels their partnership wasn’t by chance.
“God was my teacher. He put me in the right place at the right time,” he said.
And Burton feels now is the right time for this movie to be released. Introducing a new generation to the fandom that Elvis brought while giving him a reason to take a trip down memory lane.
“It was great to see everybody and I have to see the movie again,” he said. “It’s going to be even more exciting the second time.”
James Burton and the Burton Foundation continue to do amazing work in helping kids and veterans across the country learn how to play guitar.