I never saw Elvis perform but his music has thrilled me since I first heard it. Beginning with ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, it’s to blame for my life-long love of rock’n’roll music. Elvis’ life, the triumphs and the disasters, the magic and the missteps, has always fascinated me. As a boy of 12 I cut out photographs of Elvis from magazines and stuck them on my bedroom wall. I bought or was given 10 of the first twelve LP records he released (stopping after Blue Hawaii), four EPs, and about a dozen singles. I joined his UK Fan Club and at Christmas received a card from ‘Elvis and The Colonel’. In 1973, as Melody Maker’s US editor temporarily stationed in Los Angeles, I read Elvis: A Biography by Jerry Hopkins, the first serious account of his life, which prompted me to write to Colonel Tom Parker requesting an interview with Elvis. I never received a reply.
In 1977, a month before Elvis died there, I had my photo taken outside the gates of Graceland in Memphis. I actually had a ticket to see him at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island on the tour that was due to take place that Fall. In 1980, as the employee of RCA Records charged with handling PR for his estate, I stood on stage at an Elvis Fan Club convention in Leicester, made a speech and accepted an award on the company’s behalf. Reginald Bosanquet, unsober, was the guest speaker. Oddly, Colonel Parker died a few days before my own father, in January of 1997, and I remember reading obits at the nursing home where dad breathed his last. I’ve since read about 20 further books on Elvis, written a brief one myself (to accompany a cassette of his hits), and edited and/or been responsible for the publication of six more.
It’s my intention to publish Elvis Kidnapped privately, as an e-book, towards the end of this month, all assuming I can get clearances for a few lyrics that appear in the text, and between now and then I’ll post three extracts on Just Backdated. For starters, here’s the back cover blurb, as we call it in the trade.
ELVIS KIDNAPPED draws back the veil of secrecy on the most dramatic event in the life of Elvis Presley. In October of 1975 Elvis was abducted and spirited away to a cabin in the Kentucky mountains where he was made to sing for his supper. After a week in captivity a ransom was paid to ensure his release, a bizarre episode that was hushed up on orders from the White House.
An intriguing blend of fact and fiction, ELVIS KIDNAPPED is a psychological thriller that not only tells the dramatic tale of how Elvis was snatched but delves into the innermost thoughts of the King of Rock’n’Roll. How does Elvis react when he is treated like an ordinary person, told to sweep floors and chop wood? How does he interact with his kidnappers? Will his songs grant him his freedom? And how do those close to him, among them ex-wife Priscilla and manager Colonel Tom Parker, respond to the crisis?
“With all of his needs catered for by others, Elvis Presley was the very opposite of self-sufficient; simultaneously the neediest man that Priscilla would ever encounter yet at the same time in need of nothing. Elvis was a paradox, reared on a diet that had left him as helpless as a child when he wasn’t surrounded by his courtiers… whoever had kidnapped him, thought Priscilla, would soon realise what a handful he could be.”
ELVIS KIDNAPPED – Did it really happen? The only way to find out is to read the book.