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The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:29 pm

I have never read this, though have flicked through it at book stores and the comments that matched the pics were enough to convince me of the intent. I understand this remains the best selling Presley biography. Considered opinions appreciated.

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:41 pm

Delboy,I can honestly state that I have read many different books on our man but his is filled with hate in my opinion.Venom spews from every page about Elvis,I really think he had a strong dislike of him.Its the most horrible read for any Elvis fan.The best book I have read and would recommend if you havent already read it is 'Elvis and the memphis mafia' written by Alanna Nash.

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:20 pm

Goldman is a Douchebag !!!!! Period !!!!!

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:25 pm

I remember being in my early teens when this came out. It sickened me and saddened me then...as someone said on another thread, the early 1980s was not a good time to be an Elvis fan.

Goldman was actually a call in guest on a local station here in Buffalo, NY. I called the radio station and got to chat with him, presumably because the screener of the radio program was intrigued with my story: I read the book and returned it to my bookstore and was refunded. They asked me the reason I wanted a refund and I told them "I think this is garbage". The manager came over, must have taken pity on me and refunded my money. Now listen to me straight up...I was a doe eyed optimist (age 19) and couldn't conceive of such sh*t about Elvis (sorry for the language). I've since learned to accept some grudging truths about Elvis and made peace with the fact that Elvis was human.

So anyway in my chat with Goldman both he and the radio host were amazed I got my money back. When I asked him why tear down an icon that enriched so many lives, he said he wasn't tearing him down....he was merely telling the truth and if I choose to still admire him, well that was fine with him.

Later after I hung up and a few other callers chimed in...the host made a comment that "the emotion still is so high among Elvis fans" to which Goldman chirped "that just show their mentality".

(I taped this interview on my cassette recorder and still have it -LOL- so I am no recalling this from memory)

I came away from this book learning such factoids as Elvis was addicted to masturbation (really? and who could vouch for this, other than the fact that 90% of the population does and the other 10% lies about it!), he liked to mash his peas into his mashed potatoes, if you were a member of the Memphis Mafia you were never supposed to touch him, he was so stoned he was in diapers.....you get the picture. It was a revolting experience for me.

If this book is accepted as the definitive bio on Elvis, well that is sad. I think Time or some magazine said that the book might be accurate but was "tripped by it's own prejudices" which I guess undercuts any argument or point the author was trying to make. Anyway, thats my two cents, sorry for the ramble!

JosephC

PS
Albert-What Happened?

LOL

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:40 pm

As a Fan and collector I Keep everything but......this went in the Bin!!!

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:22 pm

I consider Goldman's book to be trash.

Of the Elvis biographies I have read, I thought Nash's "Memphis Mafia" Book, Guralnick's 2- Volume Biography, Jerry Hopkins' biography from the early seventies, and Jerry Schilling's book were pretty balanced accounts.

However, my favorite is "A Life In Music" by Ernst Jorgensen, because it is literally about Elvis' music.

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:31 pm

Delboy wrote:I have never read this, though have flicked through it at book stores and the comments that matched the pics were enough to convince me of the intent. I understand this remains the best selling Presley biography.

Where did you read this?

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:35 pm

Albert Goldman's Elvis was a difficult read, because it was so relentlessly mean-spirited.

Below is an excerpt from critic and historian Greil Marcus' brilliant response to this hateful biography.

It meant a lot that this got published in such a distinguished periodical.


Lies About Elvis, Lies About Us
Greil Marcus
Village Voice Literary Supplement, November 18-24, 1981


MONEY

When Lamar Fike, for many years a member of the Memphis Mafia, Elvis Presley's stable of paid friends and gofers, decided to sell his story, he spawned a small industry. Agent Kevin Eggers brought Fike together with Albert Goldman, a fifty-four-year-old pop critic and former college professor. The word went out that Fike had the goods, and Goldman was to give the goods some substance--to turn what might have been just another scandal book into "the definitive biography." Serious money was put behind the project, and it paid off. Before publication, Goldman's Elvis generated well over $2 million in subsidiary rights: a $1 million U.S. paperback sale, a $400,000 U.K. paperback sale, a movie option, high-priced excerpts in Rolling Stone and Ladies Home Journal, newspaper syndication through the New York Times service. Because of the money involved, and because of Goldman's reputation as a New York intellectual, the book has been reviewed widely and prominently; as no book on Elvis Presley before it, it has been taken seriously. Despite some partially negative or carping notices, the reviewing media have accepted the book as it presents itself--as the last book we will need about Elvis Presley.


SCANDAL

The promised scandal is there in plenty, and because of the saintliness in which Elvis was wrapped throughout his lifetime, it still has punch. There is first of all dope, Herculean quantities of it; then sex, orgies, and homemade pornographic videos piled upon fetishes, phobias, and neurotic dysfunction; then violence, a much thinner theme, but including accounts of cruelty, gunfever, and gunplay; then fat, then waste--all of it testimony to a schizophrenia as out of control as it was cossetted. But the significance of Goldman's book is not to be found in its collection of scandals--Lamar Fike's memories, rumors, composite scenes, old stories fleshed out or simply repeated. An exile from the real world, Elvis Presley built his own world, and within it--where the promise was that every fear, pain, doubt, and wish could be washed away with money, sex, drugs, and the bought approval of yes-men--Elvis Presley rotted. It was a fantasy of freedom with the reality of slavery, the ultimate validation of D. H. Lawrence's dictum on what he took to be the American idea of freedom: "Men are not free when they are doing just what they like. The moment you can do just what you like, there is nothing you care about doing." The real significance of Goldman's Elvis is in its attempt at cultural genocide.


HOW TO DO IT

It is Goldman's purpose to entirely discredit Elvis Presley, the culture that produced him, and the culture he helped create--to altogether dismiss and condemn, in other words, not just Elvis Presley, but the white working-class South from which he came, and the pop world which emerged in his wake. For such a task, revelations about the moral weakness and ill-spent life of a single individual are useful, but no matter how numerous or squalid such revelations might be, they are not sufficient. It is necessary to utterly destroy the individual's claim on our attention by leading the reader to feel in every way superior to him; to sever the individual from the social context that might make sense of his work or allow the reader to feel kinship with him; to bury what might remain of that social context in bigotry and stereotyping; to selectively omit important parts of the story being told, and to falsify others; and to surround the enterprise as a whole with calumnies and lies.


SO WHAT

Were it not for the money behind the book and the consciousness of the book that money has produced, Goldman's Elvis would be little more than a 598-page attempt to prove that Albert Goldman is better than Elvis Presley, just as Goldman's earlier Ladies and Gentlemen, LENNY BRUCE!! was a 555-page attempt to prove that Albert Goldman was hipper than Lenny Bruce. How else to explain Goldman's bizarre aside that because Elvis was uncircumcised, "he saw his beauty disfigured by an ugly hillbilly pecker," unless one assumes Goldman is inordinately proud of his own lack of a foreskin, and wants everyone to know about it? But because the book is having its intended impact, and because Elvis Presley is so large a figure, intertwined with the lives of millions of people in ways that have hardly begun to be examined, a good deal is at stake. What is at stake is this: any book that means to separate a people from the sources of its history and its identity, that means to make the past meaningless and the present incomprehensible, is destructive of that people's ability to know itself as a people, to determine the things it might do as a people, and to discover how and why those things might be done. This is precisely the weight of Goldman's book, and it is precisely the weight of the cultural genocide he wishes to enact.


The entire essay may be found in his anthology of Elvis pieces, Dead Elvis (New York: Doubleday, 1991).

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:20 pm

So let me get this straight: Goldman's book is trash, but Elvis What Happened and other similar tomes are good, truthful, well researched books?

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:35 pm

JosephC wrote:
Later after I hung up and a few other callers chimed in...the host made a comment that "the emotion still is so high among Elvis fans" to which Goldman chirped "that just show their mentality".

(I taped this interview on my cassette recorder and still have it -LOL- so I am no recalling this from memory)

I came away from this book learning such factoids as Elvis was addicted to masturbation (really? and who could vouch for this, other than the fact that 90% of the population does and the other 10% lies about it!), he liked to mash his peas into his mashed potatoes, if you were a member of the Memphis Mafia you were never supposed to touch him, he was so stoned he was in diapers.....you get the picture. It was a revolting experience for me.

If this book is accepted as the definitive bio on Elvis, well that is sad. I think Time or some magazine said that the book might be accurate but was "tripped by it's own prejudices" which I guess undercuts any argument or point the author was trying to make. Anyway, thats my two cents, sorry for the ramble!

JosephC

PS
Albert-What Happened?

LOL


It would be very interesting to hear that interview.

Goldman's biography is very mean indeed, but it is certainly worth a read: not many books have influenced Elvis' public image or his myth in such a profound way as Goldman's infamous Elvis. Of course, I would not recommend it any new fans or non-fans - or to those who still haven't got over Elvis, What Happend.

Some of you may find this interesting - many have surely seen it already:

phpBB [video]



And as Doc already noted, check out excellent Dead Elvis.

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:52 pm

Lonely Summer wrote:So let me get this straight: Goldman's book is trash, but Elvis What Happened and other similar tomes are good, truthful, well researched books?

No. Goldman's Elvis is a mean-spirited, often false attempt to totally discredit Elvis Presley the man, and the artist.

It's unclear why you bring up Dunleavy, West, West and Hebler's Elvis: What Happened? For the record, it is a poor attempt by Elvis' fired friends to tell the story, warts and all, but the chosen editor (Dunleavy) ruined it by choosing to be sensationalistic. There's a lot of truth and compassion tucked in those pages. It's also unclear what is meant by "other similar tomes."

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:54 pm

Not to kill the thread but old Albert did as much to Lennon as he did to Elvis later in the same decade.

Here's a pretty good defense of Lennon, it's long but a good read:

http://members.fortunecity.com/lisabaue ... ennon.html

among the best from that essay:

Goldman made no secret of his general contempt for pop in Freakshow, a 1971 compendium of his music criticism. “The truth is that pop music today is decisively inferior as music [his italics] to the jazz bands and show tunes of the Thrties,” he wrote in the preface. Apparently, he felt betrayed by Lennon himself as early as 1969, bemoaning his ability to build on the radical advances of a song like “I Am the Walrus,” “a pop song as ominous and absurd, as random and mystical as any product of the labs of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen....Overnight, the visionary powers of John Lennon failed, and a wave from the time machine swept this generation’s greatest genius back to the safety of that childhood shore where Elvis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard forever dig the dirty sand and shovel it into smutty buckets.”

Nearly twenty years later, Albert Goldman is the one with the shovel and the smutty buckets. John Lennon probably knew what he was in for once he shuffled off this mortal coil. He once told friend and interviewer Elliot Mintz (currently Ono’s media consultant) that “if you ever get famous, try to outlive your biographers.” His widow hasn’t been so lucky. Nor have his two sons, Julian and Sean. But while Goldman may have a best seller on his hands with The Lives of John Lennon, he definitely underestimated the pride and willpower Lennon passed on to twelve-year-old Sean.

“When I heard the book was coming out and I heard about the People excerpts,” says Yoko Ono, “I immediately called Sean at summer camp and told him there would be an article coming out in People which was quite detrimental to his mother and his father. And it might be hurting to him. I just wanted to warn him.

“And he said, ‘Mommy, let’s fight this one. I’ll do anything. Let’s fight this one.’”

Man...I can't stand Goldman

JosephC

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:01 pm

JosephC wrote:Not to kill the thread but old Albert did as much to Lennon as he did to Elvis later in the same decade.

In both cases, my feeling is he tried to discredit them both, and failed.

In Lennon's example, so much of his life was already an open book that the "revelations" were hardly earth-shaking. With Presley, it took years of rehabilitation, on record and in print, to recover his good name and intrinsic worth. The 1992 release of the 50s box, along with the publication of the first volume of Peter Guralnick's superb biography two years later, were major turning points.

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:01 pm

Here's an easy summation of the book:

You can't even use it as toilet paper - there's too much crap on the pages already.

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:03 pm

JamieAKelley wrote:Here's an easy summation of the book:

You can't even use it as toilet paper - there's too much crap on the pages already.

It must be said it was the first major publication to blow the lid off of Tom Parker's true origins.

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Normally I'd agree.. but this time, imo, it doesn't have to be said. I'm sure that's accurate, but I refuse to give that book any credit whatsoever - people might actually be tempted to read the thing, and that's not good for anybody's health. I like the irony that, in his quest to use the book to discredit Elvis, both he and his book lose all credit. Other books on Elvis derail from time to time, but this is a whole different thing.

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:23 pm

JamieAKelley wrote:Normally I'd agree.. but this time, imo, it doesn't have to be said. I'm sure that's accurate, but I refuse to give that book any credit whatsoever - people might actually be tempted to read the thing, and that's not good for anybody's health.

So you are condemning a book that you've never read?

Re: The Goldman book

Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:27 pm

Oh, I've read it - it's just been a long, long time. I remember my reactions the first time enough to know not to pick it up again. When I say that I'm sure that's accurate, I was referring to what you said about it being the first book to expose Col. Parker. Being born in '80, I wouldn't have known the "what was heard where first" history as well by the time I'd read it.

I'd never condemn something I haven't read/seen/etc, and usually not even once I have.

Re: The Goldman book

Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:01 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Delboy wrote:I have never read this, though have flicked through it at book stores and the comments that matched the pics were enough to convince me of the intent. I understand this remains the best selling Presley biography.

Where did you read this?

It was either 'Q' or 'Mojo' magazine. Book sale figures are hard to find. It would be interesting to know the accurate sales figures of rock bios.

Re: The Goldman book

Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:03 am

Delboy wrote:It was either 'Q' or 'Mojo' magazine. Book sale figures are hard to find. It would be interesting to know the accurate sales figures of rock bios.

My hope is that such sales figures have been overshadowed by later books, like Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick.

Re: The Goldman book

Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:42 am

My big problem with the book is its complete lack of references to credible sources. Without those, you're left with a very long opinion piece, allowing Goldman to get away with deliberate mis-quotes which cast aspersions on the character of people like Sam Phillips ("If I could find a white man who had the negro sound and the negro feel, I could make a billion dollars" becomes "If I could find a white boy who sounds like a deleted - see guidelines #2....") and by default renders the rest of the book's 'research' very suspect...

Bar one or two interesting revelations like the one about Col. Parker's origins, it doesn't hold up as a serious biography.

Re: The Goldman book

Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:36 am

The book clearly had an agenda - to discredit Elvis by highlighting and distorting all his negatives and ignoring his positives. It was indeed a nasty book which said more about its `intellectual' and condescending author than it did its subject.
I read it once and disposed of it.

Re: The Goldman book

Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:01 am

There was a very funny Saturday Night Live skit, right after his John Lennon book came out. In it, the four young Beatles have a fifth member, Albert Goldman, playing a sax terribly. After the set, Elvis comes backstage and tells John Lennon that the group might have a future but you'ld better drop that horrible sax player. Lennon cans Goldman, who shouts that no matter how long it takes, he'll get John Lennon back and Elvis, too.

I've tried to find it again on Youtube because it was very funny but I've never seen it again. Any one else remember this sketch?

Steve L.

Re: The Goldman book

Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:03 am

I remember that sketch Steve, and I think it was Phil Hartman who played Goldman.

JosephC

Re: The Goldman book

Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:33 am

stevelecher wrote:I've tried to find it again on Youtube because it was very funny but I've never seen it again. Any one else remember this sketch?

Yes!

The Five Beatles

Albert Goldman.....Phil Hartman
John Lennon.....Matthew Broderick
Paul McCartney.....Dana Carvey
George Harrison.....Dennis Miller
Ringo Starr.....Jon Lovitz
Elvis.....Kevin Nealon
Roadie......Tom Davis


[ open on a series of press publications regarding Albert Goldman's biography of John Lennon - cut to Goldman speaking to the press ]

Albert Goldman: And I'm telling you, it's all true.

Reporters: Mr. Goldman! Mr. Goldman!

First Reporter: What about the allegations that you lied?

Second Reporter: Many sources say you misquoted them.

Third Reporter: It almost seems like you had a personal grudge against John Lennon.

Albert Goldman: [ sarcastically ] Oh, alright.. I lied, print it. Albert Goldman is a liar! [ seriously ] I had to do it! Don't you understand! After what they did to me?

Reporters: What? Did what to you?

Albert Goldman: [ reminiscing ] It all started 25 years ago, back in Liverpool. [ screen ripples, prompting a flashback, but returns to normal ] It was a long time ago.. [ screen ripples again, but still goes nowhere ] Oh, concentrate harder, for goodness sake!

[ screen finally goes into a flashback, fading to black-and-white, outside a nightclub, with superimposed title: "The Cavern, Liverpool, 1963." Cut to inside the Cavern, where a young audience waits for the Beatles to arrive on stage. ]

Announcer: And now, ladies and gentleman, it's time for our next act. Please give them a big Cavern welcome: John, Paul, George, Albert Goldman and Ringo, the five Beatles!

[ The Beatles enter onto the stage amidst enthusiastic screams from onlookers ]

Paul McCartney: [ giving the cue ] One two three four! [ band breaks into a rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There," and the crowd goes wild ]

[ singing ]

"She was just seventeen, and you know what I mean,
And the way she looked was way beyond compare,
I'd never danced with another, ooh!
When I saw her standing there."


[ after the verse, Goldman breaks into a trombone solo, which brings a silence to the room. The music dallies off and Goldman is left hanging on an out-of-tune note. Screams suddenly return with the next verse ]

Paul McCartney: "Well we danced through the night,
and we held each other tight,
And before too long, I fell in love with her,
I'll never dance with another, ooh!
When I saw her standing there,
When I saw her standing there."


[ band ends on another note by Goldman, and again the audience turns silent, after which the Beatles leave the stage unenthusiastically ]

Announcer: The five Beatles! John, Paul, George, Albert Goldman and Ringo!

[ cut to backstage - Albert Goldman still looks the same as in the present, and speaks in a distinct American accent ]

Albert Goldman: [ irritated ] Where were you guys on that cue? I mean, come on, please, meet me halfway!

John Lennon: Sorry, Albert.

Albert Goldman: Actions, not words, fellas, comprende? Eh, Ringo? Alright, I gotta go grab some stuff. Nobody touch my horn! [ puts the horn aside and exits ]

Paul McCartney: I think we've got to talk about Albert.

George Harrison: Yeah, he's a real problem.

Paul McCartney: Yeah, John.

John Lennon: Now fellas, fellas.. come on, fellas, he's a nice guy.

Paul McCartney: Come on, John, don't be daft. He's a real drag!

George Harrison: Yeah, he just doesn't fit in somehow.

John Lennon: Look fellas, we're the only friends he's got; we should show him some compassion. Besides his parents were nice enough to buy these amplifiers for us. Least we could do is be supportive.

Paul McCartney: Ringo, what's your opinion?

Ringo Starr: [ uptight ] Oh listen, I don't know.. whatever you fellas think. I mean, I'm just happy to be here.

John Lennon: No really, Ringo, tell us what you think.

Ringo Starr: [ hesitating ] Well.. alright then. Well, I think there are several points to consider. For one thing, we must remember this is a business first, and two, if people in the band are unhappy, it will affect the performance, and three, this is a crucial stage in our development, and I think..

Paul McCartney: Alright, alright, Ringo! I think that's enough!

Ringo Starr: Well, whatever you guys think. I'm just happy to be here.

John Lennon: I just don't see why you fellas don't like him. I mean, he's never had a nasty word for anyone.

[ a roadie appears at the doorway ]

Roadie: Hello lads, you've got a visitor!

[ Elvis enters ]

Elvis: Hello everybody!

Beatles: Elvis!

Paul McCartney: Elvis, we're your biggest fans!

John Lennon: What are you doing here, Elvis?

Elvis: I was doin' two movies across the street and I heard your music, and it set my feet a-tappin'! Thought I'd come over to do some investigatin'!

Ringo Starr: Well, did you like it?

Elvis: You bet! Except for one thing - you gotta lose that fat, bald, unattractive guy who plays the horn.

John Lennon: But he's a good friend!

Elvis: Listen, Lennon, you gotta remember - it's a business first.

Ringo Starr: That's what I said.

Paul McCartney: Quiet, Ringo! Elvis is talking!

Elvis: You gotta lose him. So now which one of yous here's the leader?

Paul McCartney: I'm the leader.

Elvis: Well then, you're gonna have to tell him.

Paul McCartney: [ retracting ] Oh, the "leeeeader"! Oh, well.. John's the "leeeeader"!

George Harrison: It has to be done, John. It's up to you.

John Lennon: [ pauses, then sighs ] Alright, I'll do it. [ other Beatles get up to leave ]

Paul McCartney: Good for you, John!

George Harrison: Good luck, John!

Paul McCartney: Good luck, John.

Ringo Starr: [ presents a drum to John ] Here, John, take this. It's me lucky drum. [ John accepts and puts it aside ]

Elvis: Here he comes. I'll be right back here in case you need me. [ he goes into a hidden corner, off-camera, as Goldman returns ]

Albert Goldman: [ impatiently ] Well, now.. where is everybody? We have another set in five minutes! I told everyone to be here to rehearse "She Loves You, Wah Wah Wah."

John Lennon: Actually, Albert, there's no reason to rehearse.

Albert Goldman: [ surprised ] Oh really, Mr. Layabout? Did you hear the same set that I heard? Audience not liking, Beatles dying!

John Lennon: I hate to say this, Albert, but.. you're out of the group.

Albert Goldman: [ crestfallen ] What?

John Lennon: Please don't be upset, it's hard enough as it is.

Albert Goldman: I just don't get it. Is it because I'm bald and fat?

John Lennon: No.

Albert Goldman: Then why? Whose idea was this?

John Lennon: Everybody's. Paul, George, Ringo, me..

Elvis: [ coming out of hiding ] And me.

Albert Goldman: [ does a double take in disbelief ] Elvis?!

Elvis: That's right, son. You got no talent, you look bad. Get out of the business.

Albert Goldman: Well, you've got some nerve!

Elvis: And another thing - you ought-ta watch your weight. Clean up your act, stay away from that junk food. Remember - you are what you eat.

John Lennon: Sorry, Albert.

Albert Goldman: [ angry ] You think it's so easy, don't you? "Sorry, Albert, no hard feelings!" Well, I've got news for you, Mr. Presley, and you, too, Mr. Lennon! I'll get my revenge! Maybe not soon.. maybe not for some time, because I'm a little scared of you. But some day, I'll be back! [ shouts hysterically ] I'll be back! [ storms out of the room ] I'll be back! [ an echoing, sinister laugh is heard after he leaves. Elvis and John look on ]

Elvis: There goes the grace of God.

John Lennon: It's a real shame.

Elvis: Come on, let's go get some health food. [ he and John exit out the doorway ]

[ screen fades out of the flashback, back to Goldman and the press ]

Albert Goldman: Well, that's my story.

Reporter: So what ever happened to Elvis?

Albert Goldman: Oh, well, he became a big.. [a sullen look suddenly appears on his face as he realizes the reporter's intention ] Who asked that question?! [ Reporters laugh hysterically ] I'll get you!!!

[ fade to black ]

SNL Transcripts: Matthew Broderick / Sugarcubes , Saturday, October 15, 1988

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/88/88bgoldman.phtml



I found someone uploaded it here --> SNL - "The Five Beatles," October 15, 1988
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.