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Elvis: What Happened? Mass Market Paperback – February 12, 1982


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Mass Market Paperback, February 12, 1982
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 12, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034530635X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345306357
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

I'll never forget the incredible coincidence that this book was originally published the month THE KING passed (allegedly). I was working in a bookstore, before I worked at Ballantine, but this tale spun by Red West was the first insider glimpses we had that something was really amiss at Graceland. A classic!
Mark Bloomfield, Ballantine Sales

From the Inside Flap

A devoted son. A generous friend. A model Army recruit. A gifted entertainer. A beloved hero to millions. This is the Elvis Presly the world knew -- and cherished.
Brooding. Violent. Obsessed with death. Strung out. Sexually driven. This is the other side of Elvis -- according to the three men who lived with him through it all -- a man who:
* Chamed a beautiful young fan into joining him on a drug binge for two that nearly killed her
* Took a group of friends on a 3 A.M. visit to a mortuary to look at corpses and talk about embalming
* Hurled a pool cue at a party guest who interrupts his game, injuring her breast
* Talked with his bodyguard about a "hit" on the man he felt stole his wife
Steve Dunleavy has woven together the experiences of three Presley bodyguards who were there partying with him, womanizing with him, worrying with him -- tasting the pleasure and the pains of life with the most fabulous star in showbiz history!

Customer Reviews

I'm glad I finally bought/read it.
ams
The book tells about Elvis's strange behaviors but also the good ones, and I got a lots of laugh, the guy was amazing.
Alexandre O. Almeida
And I also have to wonder why those around Elvis didn't get him help?
Charliedee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Avocadess on February 6, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Normally I would never give a book I find to be so sloppily organized and redundant 4 stars. However, I am making an exception with this book because the actual SUBSTANCE in the book is undeniable -- replete with firsthand accounts of many, many different (and often disturbing) scenarios. Full of the demons the kind of life these authors lived has. A fascinating read.

It is a portrait not only of Elvis but of the "yes men" who chose to let Elvis be the center of their universes -- even when they weren't being paid or paid very little. It also describes many, many incidents that show the irresponsibility of Elvis and of themselves in the name of "fun." When Elvis caused damage he just threw money at it, and there was always plenty of money to throw at it; when the "boys" felt any tinges of responsibility for making poor choices they chalked it up to loyalty to Elvis.

He didn't often pay them much, but they lived in the craziness and glamour of a lifestyle only sometime very rich and very famous could have, and -- as it is repeated so often in the book -- their loyalty to him was out of love (at least what they thought was love).

It is amazing that this book came out just before Elvis died of a drug overdose. Most people didn't realize about Elvis's drug habits -- and by the time they did, it was too late.

I can't help but feel that the title: ELVIS: WHAT HAPPENED? was as a direct question to Elvis. As if the guys who wrote it felt that maybe Elvis would read the book and be reminded of how much they loved him -- but also have to face his self-destructive lifestyle.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Aura Guedes on July 31, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been an ELVIS fan for more than 40 years and have read several books about him. Some present him as a god, with no faults and failures, but even we - that will love him forever - must realize he was human. Back in 1977, this must have been a sensation book, but nowadays, like ELVIS himself once said, he "was tame compared to present performers". I loved to read some episodes I've never heard about and I only regret that they are not mentioned chronologically. But of course this is a tell-all gossip and, for a serious biography, we must read Peter

Guralnick's two volumes "Last Train to Memphis" and "Careless Love".
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By desmond on January 4, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I for one *do* believe the authors loved Elvis and wanted him to get help. On the other hand, as an expose of a friend, it's pretty coldblooded.

It's sad that Elvis died just prior to the release of this book. It might have been the "hit-bottom-moment" he needed to realize, once and for all, how the pills (and not just the Colonel's singleminded focus on the bottom line, not just "too much fame too soon") had changed him. (The Colonel and fame being aggravating factors, yes.)

Why didn't anyone force Elvis to get help? Because you can't force anyone to help themselves, and Elvis' being "The King" didn't help matters much.

The book really demonstrates anecdotally how incredibly indulged Elvis was by everyone around him, and how extreme fame and drugs combined to shelter Elvis and keep him in a fantasy world.

It's a sad end to a man of faith and generosity.

Why is this book out of print? Two reasons:

1) It's painful to read.

2) While author and bodyguard Red doubtless did have roles directing the musical side of Elvis' career, calling Red "the genius behind Elvis' music" is so patently absurd as to further distance the reader, casting doubt not only on the credibility -- but the sanity -- of the authorial voice.

Still, a fascinating portrait, best in combination with a book like Peter Guralnick's more erudite Elvis biography, "Careless Love".
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By sp on September 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps time heals all but this is not as bad as I thought. Throughout his career, there was no real negative publicity about Elvis so at the time this was published it would have been a real shock but looking at it now it's a case of so what!
These guys actually come across as loving Elvis and really at the end of their rope with his behaviour. Perhaps they thought it was the only way they could get him to listen. Red and Sonny really did respect the guy and were pilloried for writing this, but did they feel this was the final straw?
Worth a look if only to look back and see how tame it all was.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LSJ on July 30, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the biggest piece of garbage written about Elvis by three parasites whom he considered friends and confidants. Elvis paid for their homes, their cars and in some cases their families so that they could sit around like sloths, eat, drink, and cheat on their wives, while pretending to care about him. When Elvis finally realized how badly he was being taken advantage of by these leeches, he tried to cut ties with them and that is when, in a vengeful fury, they proceeded to "write" this book. The only mistake Elvis made was to be innocent and gullible enough to consider these losers friends. In fact, some of them are still making money off of his name by going through the fan club circuits and sharing their "memories". I mean, how low can you get!! If you want to read this book to get a cheap trashy novel thrill, that's up to you, but giving the contents of this book any credence would be a mistake. If I could give it ZERO stars, I would.
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