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Thread: Touchy Subject!

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    Too Much Monkey Business Jumpsuit Junkie's Avatar
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    Touchy Subject!

    I wanted to open a discussion regarding the prescribed medication that Elvis took, I know a lot of people prefer to avoid this topic and can get a little tense. I wanted a heavyweight discussion in to the following:-

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?

    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?

    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?

    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?

    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    I wanted to open a discussion regarding the prescribed medication that Elvis took, I know a lot of people prefer to avoid this topic and can get a little tense. I wanted a heavyweight discussion in to the following:-

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?

    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?

    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?

    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?

    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?
    Point 3. Yes I believe he did, the poor guy didn't even really notice because he thought it was safe, and that it was on Dr prescription.

    Point 4. No I don't think he would still be around, if you watch the video with Charlie hodge talkin about Elvis you will hear he had many sicknesses, according to Charlie Elvis even had bonecancer, so I think it only would have been a matter of years if that is true.

    I have no comment on the other points at this moment, maybe I will react on other messages in this topic.

    Hans

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    I wanted to open a discussion regarding the prescribed medication that Elvis took, I know a lot of people prefer to avoid this topic and can get a little tense. I wanted a heavyweight discussion in to the following:-

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?
    My guess is he started the prescription drug use somewhere in the mid to late sixties.
    Of course he started amphetamines in the army (benzedrine), so he may have had some other (non prescription) drug experimenting experiences before he actually started the prescription drug route

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?
    I've heard and read a variety of reasons which mostly applied to the seventies (glaucoma, twisted colon amongst others), but why he initially was prescribed (heavier) medication in, as I said in 1, the sixties, I have no idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?
    Yes, sadly I believe he did He wasn't by far the only one who got hooked on prescription drugs. I think the most famous other medication addict was/is Elizabeth Taylor.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?
    Probably not. By the time he died he had entered a catch 22 situation: his overuse of (prescribed) medication had turned his system totally upside down and had disturbed its functioning. In the end, the overuse of medication may have given him more ailments than he originally had when he first started taking prescribed drugs His physical age was much higher than his factual age.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?
    I have very ambivalent feelings regarding Dr. Nick, going on the info that I have been able to take in. Speaking solely from my gut feeling, despite his statements that he did the best he could with placebos and all kinds of obscure alternative cures and treatments and diets, I sometimes get the feeling Dr. Nick got his degree in some banana republic But that's just me talking from the outside and without any real details, based purely on how he comes across to me in interviews.....

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    On the last point, I have absolutely no respect for Dr. Nick. WHile I know if Elvis hadn't gotten the prescriptions from him, he would have gotten them elsewhere, Dr. Nick broke every oath taken by a medical doctor. He overprescribed meds; He put himself in a situation which was clearly a conflict of interest, by borrowing a huge sum of money from Elvis); He prescribed meds for Elvis, and others in his entourage, when there was no sound medical reason, etc., etc. IMO, he lost sight of his responsibilty to the medical profession and his patient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    I wanted to open a discussion regarding the prescribed medication that Elvis took, I know a lot of people prefer to avoid this topic and can get a little tense.

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?
    Interesting thread. Some of my brief thoughts:

    EP started using uppers in The Army, continued lightly thru the 60's, and very heavily in the 70's (due to his lifestyle) adding many others to the brew as the years progressed in the 70's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?
    Ultimately, to cope.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?
    Most definitely .............. physiologically and psychologically. He also died because he was in denial about it to the very end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?
    I doubt that he would have made it to his 70's given the genetics of the heart disease that ran his family. Vernon died in his 60's from severe heart disease. IMO, the addiction tendencies also ran on his mother's side. The latter took him first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?
    Basically, overall a scounderel. He did try, just not hard enough, to exert control of EP's habits, ............ but was literally in-debt to Elvis, on many levels.

    All would be served better to remember: it was a two-way street, ................... ultimately EP & Dr. Nick used each other for their own respective gains. It's not all Nick's fault either, because EP would have (and did) go to others to get whatever it was that he desired. I agree with Nick that one Doc. controlling what EP got, was better than several all operating independently without full knowledge of what the others were doing. It's ironic that on August 16th, 1977, ............... EP was doing just that ---------> procuring additional meds from other sources (his dentist, Dr. Hoffman) and doing so purposely & secretively. Like I said, a two-way street.


    - Capt. "EL."

  6. #6
    My thoughts

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?

    1959

    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?

    to stay awake during all night maneuvers...later..after army..it was to have a speed energy buzz...stay awake and have fun...downers soon came into play...(1962-1963)..to help counteract effects of speed....and really he was trying to cope with fame...and the loss of his mother

    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?

    Yes..I would say by 1966-67..he was an addict.....He had an addictive personality.

    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?...

    Possibly..if would have gotten totally clean...However..years of heavy drug use was taking it's toll on his heart,liver,digestive system..etc.....he still would have had problems..if he lived.

    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?

    Dr. Nick was an accessory to murder in my eyes....True..Elvis was guilty of drug abuse...but...after years of being in a fog...he should have been helped..
    it's one thing to be like John Belushi,Jimi Hendrix,Chris Farley....who had no supervision.....but when you have a FULL TIME doctor,on your staff...24/7...
    it's ridiculous to die from an overdose...with medication that your doctor willingly overprescribed...



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    From Elvis Presley Blvd Lonniebealestreet's Avatar
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    Touchy, but not a subject that should be avoided. Lots of great points here.

    Captain, regarding his being in denial to the very end, what do you make of Billy Smith's claim that Elvis was ready to admit to his audiences that he had a problem and was going to seek help if they booed and heckled him on the tour that never was?

    If it is true, and those indeed were his intentions, on one hand it does make his death seem more tragic. On the other, it is also comforting on some level to know that Elvis was not so blinded by the haze of his medications that he really didn't fully acknowledge the magnitude of the problem, and in fact, was going to try and get straightened out.

    If I recall correctly, if he had to address this to his audience, at first he was going to simply deny everything. Next, he decided to introduce Dr. Nick and show that he was under a doctor's care and everything was fine. Then, he finally decided honesty was the best policy.

    I'd like to believe that is true, and I do think that such an admission would have been very well received at his concerts. Most attendees would have been dedicated Elvis fans; surely they would have been mostly sympathetic. The drugs themselves were legal, after all, even if dispensed irresponsibly.

    I can see thinking Elvis had too much pride to ever actually admit such problems to the world. But if his pride was that dominating, I don't think he would have allowed himself to give sub-par concerts, especially to be filmed giving one in Omaha. And it seems like even if his pride was reasonably intact up to that point, the potential impact of the publication of the book would have most strongly dictated his course of action.

    Yet, I can't say for sure...I ain't Billy. That's one guy I'd like to talk to. Not that he would necessarily be inclined to share a lot of untold insights with me , but he probably knew Elvis better than anyone--and he seems to be very well-intentioned and a straight-shooter at the same time.
    ...you won't forget me when I go.

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    TCB Mafia buttonhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    I wanted to open a discussion regarding the prescribed medication that Elvis took, I know a lot of people prefer to avoid this topic and can get a little tense. I wanted a heavyweight discussion in to the following:-

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?

    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?

    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?

    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?

    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?
    I think that Elvis started it in the army, it helped him to keep him awake at night watch ...but after that he took pills to 'rejuvenate ' himself from one tour to another..also for diet, to put him sleep,and to wake him up..

    i believe Elvis become 'walking drugstore',..but he refuse to be called addict he kept saying that he needed those pills because those pills is good for him..
    I believe that Elvis would still be here ...if he wasnt overdose..but God had his own plan..

    My feeling to Dr.Nick.. i think that as a doctor he should used his 'ethic' by not prescribing drugs for so long to one person... as we knew those drugs will give us side effect if we took it for some period of times...

    folks that all i can say..as i read this thread , y'all had better words to say than me...my english is bad i had alot to say but i dont know how to put it in one sentence...
    Last edited by buttonhead; 10-05-2004 at 11:17 AM.

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    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?

    as far as I'm aware he started taking speed in the army.

    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?

    initially to stay awake, then he took other meds to combat the effect of that so he could sleep. After that he took various things for certain ailments that he had, and over time built up a huge tolerance, and so in the end it was a viscious circle of taking one drug to come down off another.

    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?

    initially he was probably only psychologically addicted, but as he started using heavier substances, his entire metabolism would have changed, and he would have been chemically dependant upon drugs to function- to stop taking all those drugs at once would have probably killed him.

    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?

    undecided- his body was so damaged by the drugs that even if he managed to stop, he would definately have had problems- not only with his heart, but with his liver and kidneys too (chronic amphetamine abuse results in thickening of the walls of the arteries, and renal failure alone- couple that with an unhelthy diet and you have a time bomb!)

    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?[/QUOTE]

    have mixed feelings about this: I think the man was put in an unenviable position....

  10. #10
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    I wanted to open a discussion regarding the prescribed medication that Elvis took, I know a lot of people prefer to avoid this topic and can get a little tense.
    Great topic! I have always hated the fact that drugs (LSD, marihuana, cocaine, heroine, etc.) uses the same name as medication drugs (the prescripted ones). There's a big difference between them, but both use the same word. The press rarely mention the term 'prescripted drugs', so many non-Elvis fans think that Elvis was in the same league as Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?
    I believe this 'officially' started during the armyperiod. During the nights that he had to walk the guard, the temperature was extremely low. So in order not to freeze, soldiers were given pills to keep the heart pumping (faster) and the blood flowing. This boost came in handy when he left the army and started his night/day routine.

    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?
    At first the energyboost. This is very common and is used this way by topmanagers and even presidents (Kennedy). After a while he also needed the sleepingpills to get into the routine. Pretty soon the dieetpills came. Sometime later his body started to get messed up by his horrible lifestyle and the pills, so he needed painkillers.... A vicious circle...

    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?
    Oh yeah.... Elvis had an addictive persona. When he liked something, he liked it A LOT. When he liked a song, he listened to it hundreds of times. When he liked some food, he ate it untill he couldn't eat no more. Put drugs in this mix and you have one hell of a problem.

    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?
    I don't think he overdosed himself. I believe his body and mind were on the edge of duying for some time. During the early 70's he could win the battle against his addictives, but after the Aloha, combined with the divorce, the drugs started to get to overhand in the battle. The gaining of weight, the declining love of life and the troubles in his personal life started to take their toll.

    I believe that Elvis already could have died in '74-'76 if Linda Thompson wouldn't have been around. She'd grabbed him away from death several times.

    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?
    First of all, Elvis was the most guilty person of all. Elvis thought he was stronger than drugs and didn't allow any negative talking about his drugproblem. Unfortunately Elvis surrounded himself with strange people: the Colonel (who only thought about money, not Elvis' personal, mental and physical hapiness), the Memphis Maffia (friends who didn't had the guts to stand up to the colonel in Elvis' interest and wanted to keep their circle as close as possible), Dr. Nick (doctor who medicated someone to death), Ginger (a schoolkid, living with her parents and suddenly had to be Elvis' girlfriend, nurse and mother), Esposito (roadmanager who didn't dare to go against the Colonel's way), Felton Jarvis (a producer who's only purpose was to keep Elvis upbeat and to tape as much as songs as possible), lousy Hollywood producers (who also only thought about money), etc. etc.

    People like Chip Morgan and Steve Binder seem to be very rare in Elvis' life. And all of the earlier mentioned people are chosen directly by Elvis. It was he who had the final decision about what to do with his life and career. After all, Chip and Steve were also once chosen by Elvis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonniebealestreet
    Captain, regarding his being in denial to the very end, what do you make of Billy Smith's claim that Elvis was ready to admit to his audiences that he had a problem and was going to seek help if they booed and heckled him on the tour that never was?
    EP was just starting to face his problems, which would have been step one out of the "denial phase."

    In this regard, the "What Happened?" book, served its purpose (which itself was multi-faceted); it forced EP to confront his own demons in a public way, because it was never going to happen in a private way.

    Unfortanately, it was just too late.

    I agree, that the fans would have been more than respectful & supportive of EP .......... if it had ever come to that. Just look at the denial that persists today in the fandom about the truth; I think all would have been eager to support ......... and forgive. Anything that makes the man more human, ............. also elevates him - in my eyes - and I suspect in the eyes most others.


    - Capt. "EL."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    I wanted to open a discussion regarding the prescribed medication that Elvis took, I know a lot of people prefer to avoid this topic and can get a little tense. I wanted a heavyweight discussion in to the following:-

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?
    During his stay for the army in Germany. It began with uppers, much later the downers came into the picture.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?
    In the beginning to stay awake. Later on to avoid the boredom during taping the movies. To get to sleep after concerts, to get up to do concerts. Somewhere along the line I think he kept using to cope with life.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?
    Unfortunatly yes. It was in his genes
    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie

    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?

    I dont know, why not there are lot of artist still living 'on borrowed' time, looking at their lifestyle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie

    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?
    I think it should be just Nick, I think that should say enough. I think he (and not only him) didnot handle according to his professional ethics.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    I wanted to open a discussion regarding the prescribed medication that Elvis took, I know a lot of people prefer to avoid this topic and can get a little tense. I wanted a heavyweight discussion in to the following:-

    1. When did Elvis start taking medication?
    I have to agree with most everyone else that it appears Elvis began taking medication during his Army years

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    2. for what purpose did Elvis take medication?
    Again, the consensus on this appears to be that Elvis took the medication to help keep himself awake during Army maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    3. Do you believe that Elvis became an addict?
    Sadly, yes, I do believe that because of Elvis' addictive personality, and because of all the demands placed on him, MOSTLY BY THE COLONEL, IN MY OPINION, Elvis became an addict

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    4. Do you believe Elvis would still be here if cause of death wasn't a medication overdose?
    Hard question to answer....it really depends on how much longer Elvis had remained addicted to the medications...and how much damage the medications had already done to his body! I would like to believe that, if Elvis had survived on that fateful day, it would have served as a wake-up call for him and that he would have immediately done the things he needed to do to get himself back in top physical, mental and emotional form again!! (diet, detoxification, get rid of the people around him who were just as guilty of his addiction as he was (most notably The Colonel and Dr. Nick))

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpsuit Junkie
    5. What are your feeling regarding Dr. Nick?
    Well, as you probably can tell from my above statement, I feel Dr. Nick was just as responsible for Elvis' addiction as Elvis was. Yes, I know that if Dr. Nick hadn't prescribed the medications that Elvis wanted, that Elvis would have just gone to another doctor to get what he wanted! But considering Elvis was PAYING Dr. Nick to be his own personal physician, Dr. Nick certainly should have put a stop to the whole drug cycle.

    But, outside of Elvis himself, perhaps someone who I feel is EVEN MORE responsible for Elvis' addiction than Dr. Nick is THE COLONEL!!! The demands that The Colonel placed on Elvis (2 shows a night in Las Vegas, 6 nights a week, for a month at a time???? ESPECIALLY considering the high energy shows Elvis always gave, and Elvis' own desire to always give his fans 110% at every show...no NORMAL human being could keep up that kind of a pace and not burn out...it's amazing to me that Elvis kept it up as long as he did!), along with some of the poor business decisions that The Colonel made, especially in the later years of Elvis' life (such as selling the ENTIRE Elvis song catalog in '73) all make me wonder...what if Elvis had fired The Colonel in the late 60's, after deciding that The Colonel was guilty of some bad business decisions like locking Elvis into making all of those movies? What if Elvis had found a new manager around the time of the '68 Special...would Elvis have gotten himself into shape and, with a new manager who was more interested in looking out for Elvis than for himself (like I feel The Colonel was), stayed off the medications and perhaps still be with us today??

    Sorry for rambling a bit here....
    GREAT QUESTION J.J....and although touchy as you said, certainly one that needs to be discussed when talking about Elvis' life and career!

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  14. #14
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    Two of the reasons why I think that Elvis would have died anyway are these: someone who is heavily addicted need to be confronted by his friends with the truth. I've always thought bad about the "Elvis What Happened Book", but also saw it as a wakeupcall for Elvis. Elvis didn't accept the truth in the book and prefer to stay in denial and call them lies.

    Many times people say that Elvis had reached his peak after The ALoha and had nothing to proof anymore. I beg the difference. The general idea of the public towards Elvis had changed badly the years after the Aloha. The reviews and stories in the press about the lousy shows, his bad mental and physical condition and his drugabuse weren't positive. The fans kept coming (unfortunately).

    Anyhow, the CBS In Concert tv special could have been the same opportunity for Elvis as the '68 Comeback Special once was: a chance to show the world he was alive and kicking! He could have chosen to loose weight, workout to look his best for the special. He could have worked on his repetoire. He could have reviewed the way he dressed for the shows (perhaps a 2-piece suit again)..... All those opportunities, and he chose to look and be at his very worse.

    By the way, Elvis' jumpsuit designer said that during the last two years Elvis didn't even fit new creations. He didn't want to accept that he was gaining weight. So the tailor received old suits and was asked (not by Elvis, but by people like Joe Esposito) to make it larger. So instead of having new suits (that are more flattering) he kept using the old suits, but only let them made bigger and bigger.
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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I vaguely recall reading or hearing in an interview that Elvis sometimes already lifted some of his mom's diet pills or at least pills she used to lose weight BEFORE he went into the army......

    Cap, do you know more about that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherokee
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I vaguely recall reading or hearing in an interview that Elvis sometimes already lifted some of his mom's diet pills or at least pills she used to lose weight BEFORE he went into the army......

    Cap, do you know more about that?
    Have heard the same, but it has never been backed up by multiple sources; hence, I tend to dismiss it as speculation, probably secondary to EP's well-known overblown drug addiction image. All evidence points to The Army Years as being the start.

    Anything is possible, but spectacular claims require equally spectacular evidence ......... otherwise it is destined to forever remain in the realm of conjecture.

    Besides, think about it for a minute, ............ EP taking things behind is Mother's back ......... ? I find it very hard to accept without evidence / multiple sources confirming.


    - Capt. "EL."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Elwood David
    Have heard the same, but it has never been backed up by multiple sources; hence, I tend to dismiss it as speculation, probably secondary to EP's well-known overblown drug addiction image. All evidence points to The Army Years as being the start.

    Anything is possible, but spectacular claims require equally spectacular evidence ......... otherwise it is destined to forever remain in the realm of conjecture.

    Besides, think about it for a minute, ............ EP taking things behind is Mother's back ......... ? I find it very hard to accept without evidence / multiple sources confirming.


    - Capt. "EL."
    Thanks, Cap. Yeah, I'd only come across it once or twice, so, I figured as much. Still, no harm in checking if anyone else had heard it too.

    Have you looked at the "confusing facts" thread yet, Cap? About the solo trips of Elvis?

  18. #18
    Backstage Pass michu's Avatar
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    Sure he was addict.Everybody should know that.And no doubt he had addictive personality just like his mother(alcohol).Sad but true.
    Destination deals the cards we're just playing.

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    i have looked at these posts,all very interesting.but one word has been missing

    DEPRESSION

    no one had heard of this word in the 70's

    maybe, just maybe , el could of been sufering from this
    LETS BE FRIENDS!

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    Food for thought.

    I suppose now that Geordie has mentioned it, this could be a great big piece of the equation.

    Afterall, what do you give a guy or how do you help a guy who has got everything?...What do you give a guy or how do you help a guy who has got everything, and he's depressed with it?

    Food for thought.

    I must admit that if I'd have been in Elvis' shoes the last year of his life I would have been somewhat depressed as well - deteriorating health, gruelling concert tours, a frustrating romance (?), a dodgy business deal (the Racquetball courts project). Plus, the sacking of 3 employees (2 of whom had been classed as true friends since the 1950's). This had finally led to Elvis constantly worrying about 'that' book ('What Happened?') - Phew! how did he get through every show?!

    Elvis must have panicked in July, 1976 when it appears that business wasn't too hot and he asked Vernon to do the 'dirty deed' of sacking the Wests and Hebler. And, surely the Colonel's 'business' decision of keeping him in Las Vegas re: Colonel's own debt (gambling) fixation only added to that depression? - Once again, how did he get through every show? Once again - Food for thought.

    NEA.
    Last edited by NEA; 07-16-2005 at 04:46 PM.

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