TCB Band : Charlie Hodge : (Acoustic Guitar)
Charlie Hodge was born in Decauter, Alabama in 1934. He learned to play ukulele at a young age and was also a dab hand as a 'bit of a comedian'. He graduated from 'The Stamp School Of Music' and along with a fellow student Bill Gaither, they formed a quartet calling themselves The Path Finders and stayed together for a year. Charlie was a great lover of gospel music and by the age of twenty, was lead singer with The Foggy River Boys, taking along with him a coke crate to stand on as a result of being only 5' 3' in height. The rest of the guys towered over him so the crate gave him that few extra inches.
Charlie's first meeting with Elvis took place in Memphis. The very popular Foggy River Boys were appearing at the time on The ABC Network Show. Elvis went back stage to meet him and the band. He never saw Elvis again until 1958 when they were both drafted into the army. They met up in Fort Hood and although never stationed together, Elvis remembered Charlie from their meeting back in Memphis. After Fort Hood, they travelled together on the same ship to Germany. Elvis had requested for Charlie to share the same accommodation with him. They talked often about home, gospel music and the people they both knew in the business. During their time in Germany Elvis was granted leave to return to Graceland when his mother became ill. Sadly Gladys Presley died during that time and after returning to the army, it was Charlie who Elvis sought solace in. This was the time that the true friendship started between both of them and he spent every weekend with Elvis and the rest of the entourage hanging out at Elvis' home at the time.
In 1960 both Elvis' and Charlie's duty ended and Elvis wanted Charlie to go back to Memphis with him to be involved with his recordings. Elvis was doing an album called Elvis Is Back and together they recorded a duet I Will Be Home Again. He also co-wrote along with Red West and Elvis Presley You'll Be Gone . Elvis and Charlie where extremely close and he actually lived at Graceland for a time before moving into a house on the grounds. Elvis wanted Charlie's room to extend his own personal wardrobe! As well as being involved with recording he was given small roles in some of Elvis' movies; Clambake (1967), Speedway (1968), and Charro (1969).
During 1961-1966 Charlie got restless sitting around whilst Elvis was making his movies. They would all arrive about 8am just to sit around till 5pm before they did anything. Charlie spoke to Elvis about going out and playing the night clubs again with Jimmy Wakely. He had known Jimmy since Red Foleys TV series The Ozark Jubilee. He got the ok from Elvis, just as long as he returned to him when he wasn't working. He toured Vegas, did shows in Lake Tahoe and Reno and returning to do soundtrack work for Elvis' movies. Charlie stayed with Jimmy until 1966 working alongside of Loui Kramer and Harry James and The Orchestra. Finding it exhausting doing this and working for Elvis too, he decided to leave Jimmy to work for Elvis full time.
Charlie was part of the fantastic 1968 TV Special and appeared with Elvis along with Scotty Moore, Bill Black, DJ Fontana and bassist Alan Fortas. He witnessed and experienced the excitement of Elvis' comeback firsthand. In 1969 he was included in the line up along with The TCB Band, for Elvis' return to live performances. He appeared with Elvis until his last concert on June 26th 1977.
After Elvis' death, Charlie acted as an advisor for several films made about Elvis. He toured the world talking about Elvis and performing shows in Elvis' memory and spent fifteen years performing at The Memories Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Sadly Charlie developed lung cancer and passed away in March 2006.
Charlie ('Cholly') spent seventeen years as guitarist, back up singer and friend to Elvis. He was the guy who handed him his scarves, gave him his water (wearing it sometimes too!) and catching that flying guitar when it came in his direction, never missing once.