Former Elvis guitarist finally surcumbs to cancer
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/23/2013 -- John Wilkinson, a Springfield guitarist and singer, who as a young boy scolded Elvis Presley over his guitar skill, only to later become his loyal band-mate, died after a battle with cancer.
Wilkinson was 67 years old. His wife, Terry stayed by his side as he spent his final hours listening to Presley music, according to close friend Brett Miller.
Wilkinson was born in 1945 in Washington, D.C. A year later his parents moved to Springfield where he attended all grads at the Greenwood Laboratory School.
He had briefly attended University at in Arkansas, but left to pursue his love of music. He cultivated recognition in both the folk and country circles, playing with the likes of The Kingston Trio and the New Christy Minstrels.
At his peak, Wilkinson played rhythm guitar for Presley's TCB Band. He held that work for 1,200 shows, spanning 1968 up until Presley's death in 1977.
It was said that has a boy, Wilkinson had watched several television clips of Presley beating on his guitar with his hand. In what would become a truly celebrated meeting, Wilkinson decided to sneak into the Shrine Mosque before a concert Presley was set to perform at. The young Wilkinson reportedly berated the young Presley for mistreating his guitar. Presley reportedly recalled the moment when as hired Wilkinson after they met again 12 years following the incident.
Wilkinson suffered a stroke, which prevented him from play the guitar, in 1989. He did, however, continue to sing. He toured through Europe, performing songs associated with Presley and the original works.
Wilkinson lived in California for a short spell, but returned to live in the house he grew up in within Springfield before finally passing.
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