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Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:18 pm

Two questions:

1) Out of all of Elvis' circle, especially in the later years, who would you say was Elvis' truest friend? Like, someone who was a REAL friend, not just a hanger on whom Elvis happened to like?

2) Out of all the countless books on Elvis written by friends, insiders, etc, which ones would you say are the most 'authoritative', credible and close to the mark? I got Jerry Schillings' book and it was a good read but am not sure how it's viewed here.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:37 pm

Later years?

My vote goes to Billy Smith.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:55 pm

Did Elvis even have any real friends at all? Sometimes it's difficult to determine. I would agree with Rob that Billy, mostly because he was family, was closest to Elvis in the last few years. It seemed that anyone close to him had their own personal agenda but I always liked Jerry Schilling... he has always had good things to say about Elvis, has continued to support the estate and back when Elvis was alive, he was willing to walk away from Elvis to pursue his own career. I don't know the man, but I've always liked him for one reason or another.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:17 pm

elvis-fan wrote:Did Elvis even have any real friends at all? Sometimes it's difficult to determine. I would agree with Rob that Billy, mostly because he was family, was closest to Elvis in the last few years. It seemed that anyone close to him had their own personal agenda but I always liked Jerry Schilling... he has always had good things to say about Elvis, has continued to support the estate and back when Elvis was alive, he was willing to walk away from Elvis to pursue his own career. I don't know the man, but I've always liked him for one reason or another.[/color]


Agree with you.

Also they were employees, and don't think that should be forgotten as well imo.

Image

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:19 pm

I'd say Red West and Billy Smith.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:24 pm

Errol Flynn wrote:Two questions:

1) Out of all of Elvis' circle, especially in the later years, who would you say was Elvis' truest friend? Like, someone who was a REAL friend, not just a hanger on whom Elvis happened to like?

2) Out of all the countless books on Elvis written by friends, insiders, etc, which ones would you say are the most 'authoritative', credible and close to the mark? I got Jerry Schillings' book and it was a good read but am not sure how it's viewed here.


Good to learn you've looked at a book on Elvis.

What was your favorite part of Jerry's work? It was an honest document, and well-received by the fans.

Also, what are the names of the other Elvis books you told us you bought for your fiancee three months ago? Do you plan to crack one open one of those any time soon?

I ask because you seem to have so many questions about Elvis' life, and the answers may be at your fingertips!

Anxiously awaiting your reply...

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:27 pm

I'd have to agree that there were four people that cared alot about Elvis:

His mother, Red West, Sonny West, & Billy Smith.

*waits for the flaming to start because I mentioned the West cousins*

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:37 pm

lamar fike
Last edited by JEFF d on Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:40 pm

Some of you.....SMH

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:40 pm

Charlie Hodge
Charlie Hodge

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:48 pm

Joe Esposito?

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:51 pm

Wiebe wrote:Joe Esposito?

:lol:

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:03 pm

I'd suggest, Junior & Red in the early years and Billy & Charlie at the end.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:41 pm

I don't think Elvis had a best friend.

I think he was friends with all the members of his entourage but really didn't consider any one of them to be a greater friend than the other.

You could say that Billy Smith was the closest in the last years since all the other members were leaving the group to pursue other things.

I would have to say Revelations of the Memphis mafia is the most accurate and in depth book ever written about Elvis.

Joe Esposito's memory evidently wasn't as good as the others as his book had some big time frame errors in it.

Jerry Schilling sugar coats some things and his book wasn't as in depth as Revelations of the MM.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:28 pm

Getlo.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:46 pm

What about Lamar Fike? He was with him a very long time.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:56 pm

In the early years I agree it was Junior and Red West, and the later years last 2 years or so I say Billy Smith hands down, and then I'd say Larry Gellar.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:58 pm

elvis-fan wrote:Did Elvis even have any real friends at all? Sometimes it's difficult to determine. I would agree with Rob that Billy, mostly because he was family, was closest to Elvis in the last few years. It seemed that anyone close to him had their own personal agenda but I always liked Jerry Schilling... he has always had good things to say about Elvis, has continued to support the estate and back when Elvis was alive, he was willing to walk away from Elvis to pursue his own career. I don't know the man, but I've always liked him for one reason or another.


I think so, and the answer for me is the best friend that protected Elvis and tried to be there for him was Red West, just listen to the October 1976 phone conversation when Red says "maybe I did try to protect you too much"...just sad..

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:48 pm

If Elvis had a true best friend who never betrayed him or wrote a book about him, then it would be Scatter.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:12 am

SuspiciousMind wrote:If Elvis had a true best friend who never betrayed him or wrote a book about him, then it would be Scatter.

Scatter... THE ULTIMATE PARTY ANIMAL!!!
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Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:22 am

I'm thinking "Little Elvis".

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:34 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Errol Flynn wrote:Two questions:

1) Out of all of Elvis' circle, especially in the later years, who would you say was Elvis' truest friend? Like, someone who was a REAL friend, not just a hanger on whom Elvis happened to like?

2) Out of all the countless books on Elvis written by friends, insiders, etc, which ones would you say are the most 'authoritative', credible and close to the mark? I got Jerry Schillings' book and it was a good read but am not sure how it's viewed here.


Good to learn you've looked at a book on Elvis.

What was your favorite part of Jerry's work? It was an honest document, and well-received by the fans.

Also, what are the names of the other Elvis books you told us you bought for your fiancee three months ago? Do you plan to crack one open one of those any time soon?

I ask because you seem to have so many questions about Elvis' life, and the answers may be at your fingertips!

Anxiously awaiting your reply...


To be honest I generally liked the whole thing, and I thought it was cool to see Elvis as just a regular guy who happened to be famous. The only parts I didn't like where were it strayed from Elvis to Jerry's own personal life and doings, I understand it's an autobiography but I want to read about Elvis, not Jerry lol. I also think that despite everything he himself mentions about the Colonel--all the little events and career hampering move Jerry himself mentions seeing the Colonel do to Elvis--in the end, Jerry went a little too soft on him. I don't view the Colonel as the devil or anything along those lines but I do think he should be damned for the things he did or didn't do. Shutting down so many of Elvis' ambitions (like going on an international tour, playing in A Star is Born, playing in more serious roles in the 50s) was a sin.

I get the gist that Elvis was the kind of guy who needed challenges in his life to keep his issue with drugs in line. Something to keep him focused and occupied. And once those challenges or the hope for new challenges disappeared, that's when the drugs took over.

I was very surprised reading about Elvis '73 Hospitalization...It actually changed my opinion of Dr. Nick a bit. I always had viewed Dr. Nick as being one of those doctors who acts as a little more than a licensed drug dealer, but from Jerry's telling, if Dr. Nick said no to Elvis, Elvis would just go and find another doctor who'd give him what he wanted. It was shocking, actually, and very sad. Jerry remembers Elvis sitting in bed, rocking back and forth, waiting for his body to get naturally tired without using downers and couldn't...And while he was in the hospital being treated for an O'D from one medication, some doctor sends a pack of pain killers...Sad...It seems Elvis did want to stop, but didn't have the strength to and had no real support to quit. Too many people afraid to tell Elvis he had a problem. The Colonel didn't seem to really care TOO much, unless Elvis' health started affecting the bottom line.

I liked it--It portrayed Elvis not as some mythical figure or as some guy clouded in mystique and mystery....It just showed us a very talented, charming, good man at heart, who had a mountain of flaws, but despite those flaws, gave the world his all. It was very neutral. It didn't put Elvis on a pedestal but also didn't try to embarass him or devolve into Tabloid-esque sensationalism, as so many celebrity biographies tend to do (Have never been able to find a good biography of Clark Gable--they all seem to be of that latter, tabloid style variety).

In the end, it's sad. IMO we only got just a few years of pure, undiluted Elvis being himself--from '55 to '58 and from '68 to '73. After '58, you have the Army period and the first series of lost years with all the movies. And then after '73 we get the era of endless touring leading up to his death. In both cases, Elvis had two comebacks--in 1960 and '68--And they got bungled. Don't get me wrong--I love Elvis' movies and quite a many of his 60s songs, and I love a lot of the post '73 material, but it just doesn't seem to be what Elvis wanted it to be. My conclusions are that the Army kind of screwed Elvis short and long term, took away his raw sort of spirit, the movie years killed any chance he had of growing as an artist and being a truly relevant force in the '60s and started him down the path of drugs, and the endless touring after Aloha sort of kille his comeback in it's tracks...And the Colonel didn't help any of this.

And I do think the death of his mother changed him greatly, but I need to read more books about him and his mother. The impact she had on his life and their relationship, from the small bit I've read, fascinates me. I wonder how his life and career might have gone had she lived...Maybe he'd have lived a bit longer himself and maybe he would've been stronger in dealing with the Colonel and getting what he wanted out of his career. She seemed to be perhaps the ONLY person who had nothing to gain by being associated with Elvis. She was his mom and she loved her boy dearly and instead of thinking his fame was the best thing ever, she seems to have resented it, from the little I've read. Everyone else, even Jerry, was an employee as someone else noted, all benefited financially and in terms of gifts etc from being 'friends' with Elvis. And his relationship with Vernon is interesting...I can't tell if Vernon ever really cared, or if Vernon only cared because his son was a moneymaker...I need to read more about that too.

It's basically a shame. We have several years of greatness full of potential only to be followed by lost decades.

As to the books I got her, I got her just two, if my memory is correct. I got Elvis Day by Day, the big book---Had to buy it used. I technically bought Jerry's book for her but it's sort of become our book. My buying has more consisted of getting her things like Elvis' films on DVD (Just got Loving You), his records on Vinyl (she is a big Vinyl lover and I'm trying to increase her Elvis collection)...The Day by Day book I've read a bit of but it is so massive I've never had the time to really sit down and go through it.

Thing is, she and I live together 4 1/2 days a week. She spends the other 2 1/2 days at her parents house, which is a bit far from my house, so it's hard to just go and pick a book off her shelf and read it.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:19 am

His truest friend had to have been Tex.

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:20 am

Still anxiously awaiting your reply...


drjohncarpenter wrote:
Errol Flynn wrote:Two questions:

1) Out of all of Elvis' circle, especially in the later years, who would you say was Elvis' truest friend? Like, someone who was a REAL friend, not just a hanger on whom Elvis happened to like?

2) Out of all the countless books on Elvis written by friends, insiders, etc, which ones would you say are the most 'authoritative', credible and close to the mark? I got Jerry Schillings' book and it was a good read but am not sure how it's viewed here.


Good to learn you've looked at a book on Elvis.

What was your favorite part of Jerry's work? It was an honest document, and well-received by the fans.

Also, what are the names of the other Elvis books you told us you bought for your fiancee three months ago? Do you plan to crack one open one of those any time soon?

I ask because you seem to have so many questions about Elvis' life, and the answers may be at your fingertips!

Anxiously awaiting your reply...

Re: Who was Elvis' truest friend? Whose account is the best?

Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:42 am

Billy in the later years, Red in the 50's.