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BEING ELVIS: A Lonely Life
Bibliophile price: £6.50
This insight into the life of the most iconic rock figure of them all shows that sadly Elvis's use of amphetamines can be traced right back to the mid-fifties. Well-known journalist and screenwriter Ray worked at one time for the Evening Standard and Elvis was just one of the many major stars that he interviewed. They included Bob Dylan, B.B. King, John Lennon and Roy Orbinson. Juxtaposing songs and the music, incendiary concerts with a life wildly out of control, the book looks at white poverty and class aspiration, prison and fame. In this intriguing book Connolly whisks us back to that humble beginning in 1935 when Elvis was born in a two-room shack in Tupelo, Mississippi, followed half an hour later by his stillborn brother Jesse. His parents, Vernon and Gladys, were extremely poor. Gladys had a good singing voice which Elvis inherited, and he was brought up on gospel music. The family moved to Memphis when he was nearly 14; they were 'flat broke' and desperate for work. It was in Memphis that Elvis plucked up the courage to go into the Sun recording studio and cut a record. Before long Elvis had become a world phenomenon, but had no professional financial advice as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was only in it for himself - he never even bothered to check out the film scripts offered to Elvis, which is why he made such weak movies. Poignantly not long before he died, Elvis asked, 'How are people going to remember me when I'm gone?...never done anything lasting, never made a classic film.' All he saw was his failure to become 'a real movie star'. Tragically he was found dead aged just 42. Fourteen drugs were later discovered in his body, which almost certainly were the cause of the heart attack that killed him. 362pp. B/w illus.

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