'The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley'
In about 300 pages we can read the fascinating and amazing story of one of the greatest entertainers of the last and this century.
The story begins with Elvis' arrival in Bremerhaven, October 1958, and follows him during his stay in Germany for 18 months. Just as in 'Last Train To Memphis' Guralnick knows how to tell the story in
big parts by following a lead of details. The story which exists that way, is one of complete intimacy that takes the reader along for a journey into the hectic life of the king. followed by a down spiral for an amazing ending.
Of course every little thing is mentioned, but after turning another page it becomes clear how Guralnick sees Presley's life. He sees him as an almost prophetic loser, a man who was mentally dead already
long before his body followed. The binding factors that developed Elvis' perdition were, besides the medicine abuse, the fact that he lost interest in his job more and more. Then of course his growing admiration for the spiritual
and a manager who's becoming too much involved in his personal life.
The fact that Elvis hated the movies he played in, and the soundtracks that were part of that, should be known to everyone. But his way of escaping form that is discussed more detailed than the movies
themselves. The image that is created that way is one of great frustration. The NBC-TV Special in that way is a big salvation for Elvis. The conspiracy that Steve Binder and Elvis seemed to be contriving against Colonel Parker
creates a connection between people that never met before.
The highlights that followed in great velocity, the legendary American Sound Sessions, the comeback on stage and first tours since 13 years appear to be the last in his career. Guralnick lets us believe
that Presley's interest in live concerts and the music itself in the 1970-1971 era already gets worse. To receive the death blow finally in 1977.
Peter Guralnick interviewed hundreds of people for his book and they all form a clear unity. From all his ex-loves, and there are quite a few, nobody expresses it better than Sheila Ryan. The young
goddess who was allowed to sniff a bit of Elvis in the fall of 1974. She said: "Sex was never important to him, you should think it was, but it really wasn't. Of course we did have sex, but the cuddling and kissing was far more
important to Elvis. Everything seemed a bit childish, and then suddenly he expected you to play a mother-figure. You were expected to take care of him, bring him pills in the middle of the night, glasses of water and read books to
him. Real romance as I was hoping for, never really took place."
Of course the relationship with Priscilla is broadly discussed in the book as well as his longtime on and off relationship with Linda Thompson, the woman who came most far in seeing through Elvis' soul.
Both women had something different to save in their lives with Elvis, the first one her marriage and the other Elvis himself. For both of them it was clearly a lost case, or as Linda herself said it: " There's no way I can save him
if he doesn't want to be saved himself." His short time relationships can best be compared to other fads in his life: the Circle G. Ranch, his badge-and weapon collection, his karate movie and maybe even......his music?
After reading this book some of you may get serious doubts being an Elvis fan. Does he deserve my true respect? But every single one who had some part what so ever in 'Careless Love', and who's adoration
for Elvis was doubted by his behavior, even the most distant reader cannot deny the fact that it was all about his music.
And truly nothing else.