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 lead, 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.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So in conclusion I would just like to say to any Elvis fans read this book to find out what the "King" was really like.