Elvis Presley was the best man at pretty much every wedding of his memphis mafia pals and cousins. Red West and then Sonny West. George Klien certainly had a unique shotgun wedding moment of sorts….
When Elvis got married, Col Parker decided everything, including the co-best men being Joe Esposito and Marty Lacker. Probably Elvis asked him to do that to avoid having to make a decision.
Red West went to high school with Elvis and saved him from the school jocks cutting his locks. Red’s father died the same week as Elvis’ mother. In their final phone call in 1976, despite having fired him and Red losing his home, Elvis is still looking to Red for protection and support and the friendship bond between them as boys, despite what had transpired as adults in careers.
Charlie Hodge spent an unusual time with Elvis on board the Military ship to Germany – bunking with him and spending the months at sea. Hodge gave up his quartet singing career to… actually it’s unclear what Hodge did for Elvis in the 1960s, but in the 1970s, he was “the water and scarf guy”. he also lived under the same roof as elvis, including inside Graceland, while Elvis’ cousin Billy Smith was given use of a trailer on the property.
Joe Esposito befriended Elvis in the army and was the main photographer of the Memphis Mafia group and he and Marty Lacker were the point guys between Elvis and Col Parker.
There were a number of men who were part of Elvis’ inner circle who actually haven’t written books or been huge on the convention circuits, so the group varied in size and depended on Elvis’ career phase.
In the 1950s, it was mostly his cousin Gene Smith and Red West, with Lamar Fike joining. In the army, Elvis learned more about group and troop management, and he applied what he learned.
In the 1960s. Red’s cousin Sonny joined and Jerry Schilling.
Jerry Schilling and Marty Lacker both left Elvis’ employ during his life to pursuit their own industry careers, and eventually came back into the Elvis fold when he needed them.
The books the Memphis Mafia guys tell is generally a story of a guy who was happy to be a success, but became depressed over the quantity than quality and the Col blaming for controlling Elvis’ life and then, Elvis gets bored and druggie, parties they witness rather than as active participants, the overwhelmed sense of Elvis seeming more than merely mortal until he proved how mortal he was. And a sense of how they tried to save him, but .. how do you save someone from themself?
Marty Lacker is the only one who said he was doing almost the same drugs as Elvis was to keep up with him and the hours he kept.
The most interesting part of the Elvis books written by his friends is that the books are about their friendship and it shows in many ways, how his companions limited Elvis.
and their own marriages suffered from the party in Vegas as if what happens there actually stays there and the party in LA and then the home at Graceland pretending to be on good behavior – with the tours replacing the movies.
When Larry Geller joined the group, he was not tolerated by the other members. He spent many hours alone with Elvis willing and able to discuss the “deep questions” that the other guys around him were not interested in and really didn’t understand why the cars and planes and guns and vacations and sparkly jewelry wasn’t working for Elvis anymore.
Elvis was really more a woman’s man, but he wanted to be a man’s man, and while his posse procured – Elvis was the pretty bait that got them all the girls, and Elvis was a charlie male acting in an alpha male role.
Elvis wore make up before he was famous to highlight his looks on stage, to look older and he sang older than he was – he was often mistaken for a homosexual and the rumours focussed on Nick Adams – but I think there is a lot of homoeroticism in male bonding, that dominance thing – Elvis would rather have a group of guys at his beck and call than a wife and a family – that much was very clear.
But I think the accounts of the MM guys accusing Larry Geller of being gay and servicing Elvis during the haircuts is odd when they deny Elvis was gay or bi or that clearly, they were jealous of that time. curious thing to be threatened by or bully him over if there wasn’t a possibility.
certainly, one of the reasons people drink and do drugs is to provide an excuse to do what they want to. it doesn’t make you different, just less inhibited.
Anyway, I am inclined to think that the ones who were really his friends, are the ones who didn’t write books or do the convention circuit or expect Elvis fans to support them.
Elvis on the fringe and background of the crowd in Memphis, Tennessee. His hair and clothes made him a fringe weirdo who dressed like the black people in a world of crew cuts. May 30, 1956 Elvis attended the Humes … Continue reading
Elvis Presley – ‘Unchained Melody’ – With Never Seen Before Intro Elvis plays ‘Unchained Melody’ for the first time live before the albums release. flixxy.com This breaks my heart ! Thank you for sharing. Beautiful. 33 mins · Unlike … Continue reading