Elvis by Albert Goldman is a book about the life and
times of the king of rock and roll.It shows how a country
boy rose up and ruled the world of music, and also showed
his downfall.It starts by telling about Elvis’ childhood, and
moving to his teenage years.Elvis was always a
wholesome country boy no matter if people considered him
leud, or outrageous.In fact, Elvis was discovered when he
made a record for his mothers birthday, Elvis always
respected his parents.Next it moves on to the first few
records that Elvis cut at Sun Records with his first producer
Sam Phillips.What made Elvis different from other singers
was that he was “a white boy who could sing like a nigger.”
as Sam Phillips described his style.It then moves on to
detail his breakthrough year of 1956 in which he had such
hits as Heartbreak Hotel, and Hound Dog.1956 was the
year that Elvis took America by storm, and earned him the
title “The King of Rock and Roll”.After that, it states the
hardships that Elvis faced over the next few years in the
military.These few years were not very good for Elvis, for
the first time he had to leave the US, and his beloved
mother passed away before he left for his assignment in
Germany.Moving on it tells us about his glorious return to
the United States, reclaiming his title as “King”, and
moving on to something bigger and better the movies.
Over the course of the next few years Elvis made a lot of
movies, but none were liked by the critics, but they did
make money.After his less than stellar movie career Elvis
came back to music with a blast the 68′ Comeback Special.
Once again Elvis was on top of the music industry.After
the 68′ Comeback Special Elvis moved on to very
successful shows at Las Vegas.Elvis played in Las Vegas
until his death.He also started to tour again.It was during
this time that he and his wife of only a few years, Priscilla,
got a divorce.This is the main reason Elvis was soon very
heavily addicted to drugs.Elvis was always addicted to
drugs, but it was after his break up with Priscilla that led
him on a downward spiral leading to his death.
In my opinion this book is just great.I really enjoyed
reading this book very much.It was very informative, and
gave good insights into Elvis’ personal life.The aspect of
this book which I loved the most though, is the honesty.
The author, Albert Goldman, pulls no punches when he
talks about Elvis very eccentric personality outside of the
spotlight.One example of this strange behavior is that
when Elvis played in Las Vegas, he was so paranoid that
someone might kill him, he went through a long drawn out
ordeal just to walk to the ballroom that was only a few
floors down from his suite.And when he went he carried
about 3 to 4 loaded guns with him.This is one of the many
strange aspects of Elvis’ personal life in his later years.
One more thing I like is the honesty of Elvis’s drug
addiction.Like most Americans I didn’t think of Elvis as a
big time drug user, until I read this book.It tells about how
Elvis spoke out against drugs to kids, and even met with
then President Nixon about the drug problem in America.
The funny thing is that Elvis was probably one of the
biggest junkies in the entertainment industry.
As for the authors point of view, I think Albert
Goldman was very very honest in this book.And that is
one of the best features of the book.To take some one who
is a national hero, and tell the vivid details of his chronic
drug abuse, his abuse of his money, and the abuse of the
people around him must have been hard,but is was just the
facts.I think that most of the people who have read this
book had no clue what the real Elvis was like.Don’t get
me wrong, the author takes nothing away from Elvis the
singer, he was, and still is one of the greatest entertainers of
our day, but Elvis the person was a totally different person.
A classic case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde.So
inconclusion I would just like to say to any Elvis fans read
this book to find out what the “King” was really like.