In 1977 three of Elvis' former bodyguards released a book chronicling his demise. It's title was Elvis-What Happened? All these years later, innumerable books have been published from countless sources, each of them in their way tell us about the tragedy that happened. What makes Nash's book different for me is that it tells the story of why it happened. No other book has succeeded in breaking into the enigma which was Elvis, like this one. To understand Elvis, you need to know about the dark force that made all the decisions in his life and finally took it. This book is essential reading from a perspective that constructs three dimensions to the truth behind Elvis' destruction. This is one of the most disturbing books I have ever read, unpalatable and dark. Towards the end of Elvis' life as told in the book, I was overwrought with sadness and dreaded turning the pages that would lead to his death. When it did come, It was a relief to get past , because I no longer had to read the horror that had become his life. Even though the author doesn't write her own opinion on Colonel Parker the anecdotes and stories in the book condemn him for all eternity. From the offset he robbed Elvis Presley blind, forever setting up side deals which excluded Elvis and enriched him and his cohorts, cheating Elvis out of tens of millions of dollars over his career. The opinion I came away with after reading the book was that Parker made far more money out of Elvis than Elvis ever did. But the most tragic part is that Parker worked his star relentlessly to finance his own gambling addiction. It's obvious when he sold him cheap to Las Vegas on a 5 year contract (signing it without even consulting Elvis) that Parker had done a deal for a line of credit for the roulette and crap tables as part of the deal.As it's been often said, he used Elvis as a gambling chit. Parker was undoubtedly a criminal who got incredibly lucky finding himself a casino ticket that lasted for 26 years. Every so often he'd approach Elvis when the star was vulnerable, with a new improved contract for himself, which for some incredible reason Elvis would sign. Parker ate presley's soul. Elvis died of exploitation, nothing else, a terrible inhumane exploitation thick with theft, treachery and betrayal. By the time Parker had devoured him he was all used up And the entire responsibility lies with Parker. Parker, bizarrely, believed he was the client and the attraction, not Elvis. It's suggested he saw Elvis as his beautiful altar ego and channeled his ambition through him. Hopelessly clueless when it came to the artistry of film and music, Parker destroyed every artistic endeavour Elvis set out to make. Incredulous really that a 2 bit chiseler like Parker could end up with the greatest entertainer of the 20th century. Testament to Elvis' greatness that not even an obtuse smuuck like Parker could stop from surfacing. While reading the book I grimaced while reading the details of the bent deals he made complicity with merchandise companies, music publishing companies , RCA and the Vegas operators, to enrich himself while robbing his star. The sicker Elvis got, the more he took off him, the harder he drove him. Parker was discharged from the army when he had a mental breakdown followed by a lengthy stay in an asylum where he was classified as a psychopath. A psychopath he most certainly was too, as anyone who reads this book will see in his character. Conscienceless in his regards to his client's suffering, treacherous in his business dealings, ruthless in the way he put money before a dying man. Elvis died by inches in the end, shepherded to his grave by a murderous psychopath who was his manager. Tom Parker belongs in the pantheon of other unsavory historical characters such as Hitler, Stalin, Jimmy Saville and other dregs. Even if I wasn't a great lover of Elvis' music and legacy I will still loath Parker for his crimes against him because they went way past what would be considered acceptable. The author alludes numerous times throughout this excellent book that Parker was linked to a murder of a young girl in Holland right before he fled never to return. He certainly fits the bill as a killer, I'd be more surprised if this pathetic excuse for a human being hadn't been a murderer. Tom Parker. I hope you are burning in hell. Even after Elvis' death, his family and Priscilla continued to let the rat run the estate, and taking the lion's share while doing so. Priscilla was mostly to blame for allowing him to continue his pillaging from dead Elvis. It took intervention from the courts to overrule Priscilla and the executors of the estate, to finally grapple control off this delusional psychopath. After his parasitical presence ( against Priscilla's will) was removed the estate, teetering on bankruptcy, flourished. Parker had poured the last of the tens of millions of dollars, he stole from Elvis, into casino losses. There was an element of grotesqueness about Elvis' life in the way his so called friends acted as spies for Parker and helped seal his fate. It made me think of the film The Trueman Show, with Elvis as an isolated individual being metaphorically raped by the people in the world around him. This is not only a biography on a despicable human being it's also a tale of the darkness of human nature. Highly recommended but the dark subject matter is upsetting.
I decided to read this as it was relatively cheap, and I enjoy music biographies ( most of which are quite expensive for some reason on Kindle ) I'm no massive Elvis fan, but I could barely put this book down it had me so engrossed.
The Colonel had a very interesting, mysterious life it seems, but a very nasty, selfish personality and an ego as large as his body size. It could be argued that as a manager and promoter, he did his job well with great effect, but whilst he was pulling in the big money deals, someone else was paying the cost - Elvis.
I think Elvis was robbed, not only of a lot of money, but of personal fulfilment, potential and worse of all, happiness. I really did feel exasperated at the Colonel throughout this book, and was willing Elvis to just give the old bugger the boot.
This is, yet again, an amazingly researched book by Alanna Nash. She tells the story of man who made Elvis and who destroyed him. Alanna is an ultimate master of detail while at the same time lets readers to make their own conclusion. She forces readers to think, to argue, to agree or disagree.
I thought the book was very well researched and must have taken a huge amount of time to dig out so much information. The book gave a real insight into Parker's world. I didn't care for the kind of person he was before I read the book and cared even less after reading it. He was I think a very shrewd man who realised as soon as he met Elvis that he was an amazing talent and discovered very early on that the Presley's were no match for his schemes. I think after Gladys died Vernon was happy to leave business to Parker and Elvis was happy so long as he was singing and wasn't so interested in how much money Parker was making out of his amazing talent. I was disappointed that the trustees didn't want to challenge Parker's continuing exploitation of Elvis even after his death. I am sure Elvis spent a huge amount of money during his lifetime however I don't think he came anywhere near the amount Parker spent of Elvis earnings. A very interesting and absorbing book. It just made me very sad to think had Parker really cared for Elvis and his welfare he could have stepped in to stop things before they got so totally out of control as he was surrounded mostly by people who only wanted to live the life Elvis lived. Had Parker allowed Elvis to tour abroad it would have given him a new challenge which for someone with so much talent would have thrived on. As I have already said a very good book and I would highly recommend I any Elvis fan to read it.
Great read. What a hateful man & his dealings with The King. Robbed him all the time. Only interested in what he could get for himself. An illegal Dutchman in America, who was terified he would be discovered
At the end of this book, I felt that Elvis and The Colonel would have been better of going their 'Seperate Ways', both of them died almost broke. Elvis developed a massive drug problem which led to a slow and incredibally painful death (possibly suicide) and The Colonel with his gambling addiction - not only squandered his savings of $6 Million but ran up a gambling debt of $30 Million to casinos in Las Vegas.
So Elvis may not have become famous, it would have kept Gladys from alcoholism and diet pills, Elvis would never have met Dr Nick and if there are miracles - Vernon Presley might have had to get of his backside and find a JOB !!!!!
Fantistic and facinating read - Alanna Nash has again done a wonderful job. Wasn't sure if I really wanted to read about the 'Colonel' as I had viewed him in the past as not having Elvis's best interest at heart. I have changed my mind a little bit after reading this book as I do think he did a great job in promoting Elvis. Howeve it definitely exposes the moneygrabbing side of him that says he was out to line his own pockets at Elvis's expense. Nevertheless a book not to miss.
Well researched, if you want to know anything or everything about Colonel Tom Parker, this book will give you all the answers. I must admit I have a different viewpoint on Elvis's Manager. Elvis's gave all his money away with his generosity and the Colonel gambled it all away?