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Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley Paperback – July 19, 2007


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Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley + Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock 'n' Roll Nights, and My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley + Elvis and Me
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (July 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592403050
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592403059
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1954, at age 12, Schilling first met fellow Memphis homeboy Presley, a 19-year-old truck driver "a year out of high school and less than a week into a recording career that carried no guarantee of turning into steady work." He provides a fascinating view of Memphis in the late '50s, but most of his memoir is from after 1964, when he officially joined the retinue of friends—the "Memphis Mafia"—that served as Elvis's surrogate family. While this thoroughly enjoyable book deftly describes his many adventures with Elvis and other notables, including the Beatles, Ann-Margret, the Beach Boys and Billy Joel, the heart of it is his many observations of Elvis's inner exploration. Unlike the rest of Elvis's posse, Schilling was liberal in his musical and racial views, and he shared Elvis's spiritual hunger "for a sense of meaning and purpose." Schilling provides the most detailed account yet of the sometimes comical LSD trip he took with Presley, and he poignantly observes the "disappointment and frustration" Elvis felt about his Hollywood movies. Overall, Schilling's heartfelt narrative makes this more than just another piece of Elvis product. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

When 12-year-old Schilling was invited to join the older kids in their football game, he was surprised to learn that the guy calling the plays was the singer of "That's All Right (Mama)," a song currently tearing up the airwaves. Schilling eventually joined Presley's entourage, the Memphis Mafia, a close-knit group of bodyguards, road managers, and confidants. He had the difficult task of trying to be a true friend without becoming a yes-man or a pain in the ass. In 1977 he was one of Presley's pallbearers and later joined Elvis Presley Enterprises as creative affairs director, whose job was to protect Presley's image and legacy. Schilling's account of his years with Presley joins the ever-growing body of work written by associates (Elvis: What Happened, 1977; Good Rockin' Tonight, 1994; Elvis' Man Friday, 1994), sharing anecdotes, gossip, and insights into what made Elvis Elvis. Schilling portrays an incredibly successful, talented, charismatic, spiritual, and moody force prone to acts of extreme generosity (he paid for Schilling's West Hollywood Hills home) who was ultimately a tragic figure whose short life was beset by constant creative disappointment. Benjamin Segedin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book is a must read for Elvis fans.
Adam Gibson
Both books are very good reading and I couldn't put Jerry's book/story down.
bandit06
A nicely written book by Jerry Schilling about Elvis.
Donna R. Walters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jerry Schilling, original member of Elvis's entourage The Memphis Mafia, tells the events surrounding the King of Rock 'n Roll in this unique perspective, and from the opening chapter, you'll find yourself hooked. Schilling tells it all, from the beginning when he found friendship with Elvis by playing football in the park with him just as the rocker had released his first single, to the end, when Elvis passes away and Jerry's life continues. Jerry lived at Graceland and he was beside Elvis throughout the good and the bad, meeting legendary entertainers, taking care of the King, and generally having the time of his life. Jerry comes across as genuine and a true friend as he tells his story, and gives new insight into someone who lived his life inside a fishbowl.

The book isn't without its flaws, however. Do I think Schilling glossed over a few of the major issues at times, including Elvis's drug abuse and the disintegration of his marriage? Certainly. Was Schilling overly careful in his descriptions of his fellow Mafia Members? Absolutely. I personally was very let down at Schilling's lack of information about the actual death of Elvis, though to be fair, he was no longer a regular employee at the time, having chosen to go into management (including managing both Billy Joel and The Beach Boys). I feel strongly that Schilling knows more about the death than he shared, but that's his perogative, and apparently he's not comfortable letting the rest of us know. I also would've liked him to address, at least briefly, the whole "Elvis is alive" myth and lay it to rest permanently. But overall this is a very well-written, well-remembered book, and I enjoyed Schilling's recounting of the life and times the rest of us could only observe from afar.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Anton Karidian VINE VOICE on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is not only one of the best biographies about Elvis Presley, it's darn fun to read too. Just as Elvis's life really was, in this book you never know what will happen next. A meeting with President Nixon? A sudden skiing trip to Vail, Colorado? Helping out Elvis's handicapped friend Gary Pepper? Ann-Margret suddenly appearing in the parlor? There are lots of great stories here, several of which I had never heard, or contain details I had not heard, though I know quite a lot about the King. Not only that, Schilling provides a good look at Elvis's personality, and it's all told in the level-headed and fair manner that Schilling is known for. I had always admired Jerry Schilling from seeing him interviewed for documentaries about the King, and I admire him even more after reading this. Over and over he writes about the deep friendship between himself and Elvis, and there certainly are few people who were present in the King's life more than Schilling was. The main qualities about Elvis that Schilling emphasizes are his talent, his generosity, and his endless quest for meaning in life.

Some of Elvis's "friends" have written and spoken about him critically to an extent that makes me wonder if they were mainly trying to sell their books. In contrast, although Schilling also recounts Elvis's moodiness and bad temper, he puts that in perspective by adding that "what's remarkable to me is not the handful of times that he did let a crazy temper get the better of him - what's remarkable is that, with all that went on in his life, most of the time he chose to be a nice guy." This book is full of apt observations like that, and gives great character portraits of many people.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By L. Kaye on August 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before ordering this book I read the reviews and after reading the negative ones I was pretty sure I would like the book. Schilling waited almost 30 years to write this book and I for one am glad he wrote about what Elvis meant to him. The way I gauge friendship is someone's willingness to support me when I need it, to defend me if necessary, and hopefully remember me with love and respect when I'm gone. Using this definition, I'm sure that Elvis was happy to have Jerry as a trusted friend who even now respects his memory enough that he does not try to boost sales by trumpeting (and possibly embellishing) some of the unhappier moments of Elvis' life.

The book itself is well written and almost feels like you're sitting there with Jerry listening to his stories.

My only regret about the book is that Jerry did not go more deeply into the conversations he had with Elvis. At times I felt there was a lot more to an episode in their lives than Jerry was telling. On the whole, an excellent book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Doug Lundquist on December 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed most books written by Elvis insiders and this one is no exception. You get the feeling that if you were in the right place at the right time you too could have befriended Elvis Presley, especially in the early days prior to him becoming a worldwide celebrity. The big fun of reading a book like this is to put yourself into the author's shoes as though you were meeting and getting to know Elvis as a person and not as legend, or icon. There's a part in the book where the author is helping Elvis by providing security for him at a huge arena show in Dallas. Being an everyday friend of Elvis he forgets the heights of his popularity but is quickly reminded of who his friend really is as thousands of fans go absolutely beserk around them. At that moment Elvis the icon and Elvis the real person collide together, and the book is written well enough that you can feel it happen.

There are parts of Elvis's life that are missing due to the author leaving to do other things with his life. As in some insider books we don't see the decline of Elvis other than two hospital visits a few years before his death. I personally don't think it important that a book about Elvis should include details about those last depressing years of his life, although I suspect some readers will.

The author seems extremely proud of his association with Elvis and the book is written in a respectful, heartfelt way. For the most part his writing is in a friendly, well, Memphian style. At times though he succumbs to incessant celebrity name-dropping, especially near the end of the book. This leads one to believe he puts a lot of his personal sense of self worth in letting people know what celebrities he has met.
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