You're most welcome! It popped up, I jumped on, listened to the whole thing first (and was rather longer than I expected at first), and then posted it.
I also couldn't believe he forgot something like "Unchained Melody." (It became quite "unchained"
) But more than that, he couldn't recall "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and that really surprised me. I know there are hundreds of songs, but that was one of the really big hits, so that was hard to figure. And especially since he described his rather pleasant relationship with "Colonel," who had suggested the song. (It would be like a Beatle biographer going "what is that song . . . "Let it . . . uh ???? Billy Preston was on it. Don't remember the name." Hard to imagine.)
It was that relationship that does get under the skin a bit. Did he let himself be manipulated by a master manipulator? He sounds a bit defensive about it, be he holds firm, too. Surely, he knows the financial details and conclusions that came out later in court. The judge in that case was enraged at what came out, yet Guralnick is not. The whole "partnership" notion is was a con, yet he goes for it. Judge Evans did not know Colonel Parker, and perhaps that was a good thing, but seriously, this can be a problem in the doing of biography. One can allow oneself to become much too personally entangled with certain persons involved in the research. In other words, Parker became less of an object of research for him, than a source with whom he allowed himself to become too friendly. Well, if not friendly, at least on very good terms.
And in the context of an Elvis Presley biography, Parker ought to be an "object" of study - not a friendly source of information. It's the kind of a problem that can only happen to a biographer who got VERY involved in the biography. In essence, he got pulled into Elvis's world a little too far, cared too much, you could say. And "Colonel," as Guralnick came to call him in the familiar, was a master at doing just this with people.
What is interesting is that he is aware of this on some level, and wanted to make sure people knew that there was more than one source for the paranoia regarding a European tour when Elvis was involved with various substances. Tom Hulett was a good, absolutely trustworthy source. Hulett knew the rock business very well, and was deeply involved in Jimi Hendrix's career, his life, and the aftermath of his death. And I feel certain that Elvis himself might have been a key source of this fear, and communicated it to Hulett, who communicated it to the Colonel. Elvis was just not going to go down like that: under no circumstances would there be a drug bust. I suppose it might have something to do with his father's history, and an almost primal fear of the idea of "prison." So, I believe it, in this sense, that it was not just the Colonel's immigration status. (Though it is quite wrong - silly, even - to say he would be a candidate for "the Dream Act." He had more than one opportunity over those many years to settle this out, including the 1986 amnesty. And he never did.)
I like his view of Vernon, and how he sees the tragic, helpless situation in which he found himself. No, I don't think Elvis ever would have said "there's the door" to his father, but I'm sure Vernon was at a loss as to what to do. He was out of his depth.
Again here, Guralnick is spot-on in de-mythologizing the "pre-Betty-Ford" era in terms of addiction. He feels that even today most of these "interventions" do not work as advertised. It's just not easy. When someone finally loses their fear of death, what then can motivate them? I think Guralnick sees that loss happening quite early on: he sees clinical depression during the mid-sixties when Elvis wouldn't enter a studio, excepting his film obligations. (And one film used older songs.) And he roots that depression in unresolved grief over his mother. I think he sees that a part of Elvis just didn't really want to live anymore when that happened. He managed to pull himself "back to life" for a while - first when he came back from the service and had to secure his future, and then once more when he saw that his career had fallen to the bottom of a deep well, while he had been sleeping. Elvis spoke of this in a rare, wonderful interview from 1965, with a Memphis paper: "I withdraw not from my fans, but from myself."
So it was fascinating on many levels, and offers insight into the writer that maybe we haven't seen before. And oh, about Conan, he is a serious fan. And yes indeed, he'd have a lotta fun here! (And so would we.