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Why was Elvis unhappy?

Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:02 am

I read in a book some letters that Elvis had written in December 1976. He seemed very sad. This seems true of him for much of the 1970's. Of course there are some obvious things that did go wrong in his life. Why do you think he was so unhappy?

Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:18 am

Exactly. It's not usually just one thing, but a bunch of things that stack up on a person that causes depression.

I think also he was trapped by that image. The image of a nice guy.
One of the Jordanaires said that if Elvis wasn't so nice, he may have lived a little longer. By that he meant that if Elvis spoke his mind more and stood up for himself, instead of being the nice guy, he would have been happier.

He probably had some regrets on the way things turned out.
He seemed to have lost control over it all.
Endless contracts for movies that prevented him from touring.
Then endless contracts for Las vegas that began to bore him.
Then his contract to come up with 3 albums a year for RCA.
That's alot of contractual pressure.

I have just touched the tip of the iceberg.

Elvis and depression

Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:11 am

I dearly love Elvis and I do realize he had some problems. He lost his mother at an early age, he suffered through a divorce. I think he was frustrated that he never realized his full potential as an actor. He didn't like the way the Colonel handled his later career. We all have problems. However.....

He was a good looking guy
He was in good health most of his life
He had plenty of money
He had LOTS of women
He had a ton of friends
Millions of fans
A very cool house
The ability to whatever he wanted to do almost anytime he wanted to do it
He could sing great and could play at least 2 instruments
He only had to "work" about 120-150 days a year. Keep in mind that a lot of this was fun. Does anybody on this forum take off 6-8 weeks at a time?
He had a great band behind him and they could play anything
He had his own airplane
A bunch of cool cars and motorcycles and related toys

In summary, while Elvis had normal problems like the rest of us, he also didn't have it so bad either. Most of us have to wake up at 5 or 6 a.m. and fight through rush hour traffic to get to work. After working all day, we rush home and try to get our kids to baseball or football practice on time. Then we make get home around 9 or so. Then it's time to cook and clean the house. Elvis didn't have things so bad....Elvis's shows weren't even that long, about an hour or so.

Elvis unhappy

Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:37 am

I might be wrong, but I think Elvis got a lot of enjoyment from being a superstar. Being a superstar has it's "up side" no doubt about it. Bottom line, it's cool to make 10 million a year for singing 100 or nights a year and have millions of fans that love you. There are little bands all over the world that play 200-250 shows a year (in addition to their day jobs) and barely make beer money for their show.

Elvis was a pretty intelligent person and I think he got bored easily. He needed to be challenged constantly. Going to Las Vegas after the Aloha show must have been tough for Elvis. He went from singing for over a billion people to 2,000 in a hotel in Vegas. That would have been a good time for anything different--a world tour, a fresh new movie, or even some time off. But the good ole Colonel booked Elvis into Vegas for a month. I think February, 1973 was when the boredom started to sink in.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:10 am

Those 1976 letters... Are you referring to that note he supposedly wrote in his suite? I don't think Elvis wrote that. Doesn't matter what the experts say.

Keith Richards, Jr.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:42 pm

Money doesn't buy happiness. Most personal unhappiness stems from familial conditioning...the guilt/unhappiness of our parents handed down (reinforced) over many years in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:48 pm

I think Elvis suffered a severe depression.
Many people are diagnosed with these kind of problems, but somehow Elvis was not entitled to have these problems.
Money has nothing to do with this.

"I'd rather be unconsious than feeling miserable" Elvis-1976.
Says enough don't you think?

E deserved better medical treatment in many ways.
Medication abuse may have been the cause, but it may have slipped in the Presley family earlier..
How about Gladys?

Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:56 pm

Depression is a terrible disease that can effect anybody. Given what we've read about Elvis, there is no doubt he suffered some form of this illness, especially in his later years. That's why I prefer to cut him some slack for his poorer concerts later on, he wasn't himself. I also think creatively he wasn't challenged anymore.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:05 pm

We can sit here and tick off any number of reasons as to why Elvis wasn't happy in his later years. But for me it all comes down to one thing: he simply was badly burnt out on being E-L-V-I-S, and all that went with that.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:33 pm

Pete Dube wrote:We can sit here and tick off any number of reasons as to why Elvis wasn't happy in his later years. But for me it all comes down to one thing: he simply was badly burnt out on being E-L-V-I-S, and all that went with that.

You could well be right.

And Priscilla going was a major disaster for him.

That accellerated things no end.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:07 pm

It's obvious that Elvis got bored easily. Whenever he got interested in doing something he would do it until he was totally fed up with it. In the end it looked like he had done everything one could imagine and was just plain bored with life. The fact that he couldn't be bothered to get out of bed anymore tells something.

Of course there wasn't just one reason.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:30 pm

I've often thought about what made him what he was. And I tend to think that the insane level of fame he got came to him too early. Many people are simply not grown-ups at the age when he had to totally change his way of life. So in a sence I think that he never got the chance to really grow up. There are far worse cases; just look at the fuitcake Michael Jackson. There's no doubt in my mind that what we see now in him is the result of someone being unable to lead a normal life since childhood at best.
Elvis got used to already at age 18 that someone made decisions for him, and that never changed. If any depression was present I believe it was because he was subconciously a prisoner from just that; he needed challenges in his life, but followed instead the decisions made by an egoistic manager who held his own interests higher than his employers.

Other than that I strongly believe that his mental state was deteriorating due to his abuse, and that behaviours triggered by that was misconstrued as depressions.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:33 pm

I don't think Elvis was unhappy, but I think he might have been lonesome. Is there a difference? That's debatable. Bored, maybe. Sick, mabye.

He loved being "Elvis", though he was probably tired of the Col's BS and probably would have liked more challenges and newer venues.

There was a thread the other day about Elvis and drugs.

There was one drug that Elvis loved more than any other, and he was the only person in the world who could ingest this drug. The drug was the first few minutes of walking out on that stage and seeing and hearing the adulation of tens of thousands of fans, night after night, city after city, year after year.

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:11 pm

I guess, Elvis had the problem, that he didn't really know what to do with himself. He had no "normal" persona, he was just ELVIS. And you can't be the great superhero 24 hours a day. I guess he would have been much happier if he had had some kind of hobby (buying a farm and really being a farmer, study something or working for unicef or collecting Elvis stuff :wink: ). When I read about him, I get the impression that Elvis was someone who quickly got bored. And when you try do do new things all the time you come to a point where you have done it all. I guess you have to find something, that keeps you interested for a long time, maybe for your whole life. Elvis didn't find such a thing, exept performing and singing and being Elvis. But you can't do that all day long...

Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:17 pm

One thing about it, he crammed a lot into his life his last twenty four years, (counting his brutal pre-fame touring schedule). He set a wicked pace no doubt.

Elvis depressed?

Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:16 am

As a person who suffers from depression myself, I can tell you a depressed person doesn't need any one thing to be depressed about. If your mind is working that way - toward depression - then whatever is going on in your life, good or bad, can trigger depression. You don't see things the same way you do when you're "normal" (whatever "normal" is). I've been down to rock bottom and back, the same things that looked so bleak and hopeless to me looked very different once I came out of the downward spiral. In my case, I'm on medication (uh-oh, there's that word again) that evens things out for me. It doesn't take away the depression, but it keeps me from staying in that condition for a long time. The same problems are still there when I come back, but maybe I find a way of dealing with them.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:00 am

I have read quite abit about depression.
Some of it can be the loss of control of ones life which brings frustration.
How equiped is the brain to handle the various obsticles we have in life can depend on several things.
Diet can play a big part.
As we know Elvis never learned to eat right.
A heavy diet of sweets can change the chemicals in the brain and cause an imbalance. This can lead to depression.
Another one is surprisingly simple.
Vitamin deficiency. This can change the brains activity as well.
Did Elvis take vitamins? I don't know.
Again this is related to diet.
With his diet, he probably never got the proper vitamins and minerals,
so if he took daily supplements, this could have helped.

As stated by someone earlier, Elvis had a lot to thankful for.
There are many people that don't have half the wonderful things happen in their lives that Elvis did, and yet they arn't depressed.
There is no easy answer here.
There are alot of variables involved.
If Elvis had taken the steps needed to solve this problem, he could have lived many more years, even with the problems he had.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:15 am

Yes I think it was many things at once that affected Elvis and his unhappiness,After making movies for most of the 60's and making a big comeback and being on top of the world again between 68-72 Elvis began slowing getting back in a rut that he just came out of a few years back before the comeback.Cilla left him for another man after being with her for many years since she was a teen had to hurt him badly as well as his ego.His record sales began to slip after '73.The touring of the same towns over and over again,Vegas two months out of the year,two shows a day!Elvis was over worked simply put.His heath was becoming worse,his abuse of drugs which messed with his mind.loss of friends,being taking advantage of by many people,money problems,the colonel selling him out.and dont forget he's turning middle aged,and im sure that had to depress him.All these things would have surely have depress anyone.Think of all the pressure Elvis had on him for just being Elvis, and going thru all this.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:15 pm

Why was Elvis unhappy?

well, in the first place, he lost his moral compass when his mother died.

Second, he married the wrong person/woman/girl/leech.

third, he was married to Col. Parker til death do they part.

Elvis knew he had to die (or Parker die first) to dissolve that masochistic mgmt deal they had.

Fourth, Elvis might've foreseen his daughter's ridiculous slew of marriages
and stomach-turning devotion to Scientology.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:17 pm

I've read about depression. It's depressing. Kinda like listening to the blues.

Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:11 am

carolynlm wrote:This is one question that I don't think anyone has the answer to....
why is anyone it that they only have 1 million dollars and not 2 million dollars?
or is it that they only have 1 meal per day and not 3.....
being happy is relative to all situations....
Elvis had a lot of things happen in his life that would make him unhappy, just like the rest of us.....but his were made so much more public than ours. Loss of a parent, divorce, friendships gone sour...the list goes on.

Well said....

Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:29 am

Perhaps he was a bit sad that he never became the "big actor" or got the chance. Singing was probably second choice for him. But that´s only a small piece of explination when we talk about the reasons he was unhappy.....sometimes.


Thu Apr 26, 2007 4:43 am

Why was Gladys so unhappy in her 40's, just when The Presley Family's fortunes were better than they had ever been their entire lives ........ and when EP's career was launching towards the stratosphere ....... and they had all the material wealth that they could ever hope for?

The answer is, ...... because both suffered from the same genetic disposition towards chronic depression (Smith's side).

(JMO, .... but has anybody ever noticed how sad Billy Smith often looks in photos, in person?)


EP was under treatment for chronic depression from the early 70's, right up thru his passing.

In fact, his anti-depressants often factored into some of his drug crashes during the same period.


The '76 Hilton "letters" are FORGERIES.

Hope this helps.


Thu Apr 26, 2007 4:56 am

This thread is over a year old N880EP...

Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:01 am

Matthew wrote:This thread is over a year old N880EP...

I found it by accident while doing a search for something else, opened it because it looked intriguing, ....... & decided to respond.

Did I break the law or something?