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New Sonny West Book Ready

December 20, 2005 | Book
After three years of writing and research, Sonny West and Marshall Terrill have completed their tentatively titled book, “Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business.”

The collaboration, which started in 2002, is the long awaited follow-up to the 1977 book, “Elvis: What Happened?” in which Sonny West co-authored with Red West and Dave Hebler. Terrill said the book is approximately 480 pages in length and includes two appendices – “All The King’s Men” and “Myths, Facts and Frequently Asked Questions.” The former is a section on former Memphis Mafia members while the latter is a list of questions West answers directly from Presley followers.

"The book was fun to write, but it was also a very exhaustive effort because of the painstaking research that Sonny and I did to ensure the facts were correct,” said Terrill, who is the author of nine books, including a March 2006 biography on basketball legend “Pistol” Pete Maravich.

“When this book is published, no one will ever doubt or question Sonny West’s love for Elvis Presley. I’m also very proud of the fact that Sonny doesn’t sugarcoat the truth nor is he disrespectful to Elvis Presley’s memory. What you’ll read is a very balanced, sensitive and moving memoir about the greatest entertainer who ever lived,” Terrill said.

Terrill said the manuscript is fully edited and is in the hands of veteran literary agent, Tony Seidl, who specializes in celebrity biographies and autobiographies. Seidl has sold more than 200 books to date.

West said the experience of writing, “Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business” has been cathartic for him. “Over the years there was a lot of joy and a lot of sadness in writing this book but the facts are that I loved Elvis, miss him and I wish he was still here,” said Sonny West.

The book will cover West’s 16 years with Elvis Presley from 1960 to 1976, the aftermath of “Elvis: What Happened?” to his thoughts today on Elvis, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley.

The book will also feature several stories and anecdotes that have never been told before and will include many never seen before photos from West’s personal collection as well as photos donated from the Russ Howe collection.
circleG wrote on December 20, 2005
i've recently read 'E;WH?' and found what was in the early pages a bitter response from the bodyguards soon turn into fond, honest, fun and sometimes sad account of life with elvis. At the end i couldn't help but feel the guys saddness and love for elvis. The only one who really comes through as nasty is Hebler as he really has very little nice to say and often ridicules elvis. i'm looking forward to sonnys memoirs, i think he'll have some interesting things to say. i hope the story of how he first met elvis at the ice rink is told the way it is in 'E;WH?' - its hilarious! well done sonny
nrbl wrote on December 20, 2005
I'll also be waiting in line to buy it.
byebye wrote on December 20, 2005
You just dont write books about "close friends" as Sonny&Co did in" 77. They used, and still uses their relationship with Elvis to cash in money. I can sertainly understand their frustration on a lot of issues back then. But the stress Elvis´heart was put in by the news of that book was I believe the main factor on why he died. And writing new books in 2005 wont change that. If they would have donated the money they earned from the book to drug victims organisations. then I would have felt some sincearity about it. However, thats not the case here. They were angry becouse loosing income from Elvis, being given a short notice on termination of the checks as "employees". What Sonny&Co did was shameless!
carolynlm wrote on December 20, 2005
This is a long awaited book, and I'm absolutely positive it will be a mixture of everything we know Elvis to be....funny, temperamental, generous, loving and very naive to the ways of the world.....way to go Sonny.....and I am looking forward to seeing both you and Judy in Aug. 2007.....
efan4ever wrote on December 21, 2005
I meet Sonny at the Texas State Fair. He was very nice. Easy to talk to. I cannot wait for his book to come out. I'll be first in line.
tracytcb wrote on December 21, 2005
I will not be buying this book. These people are just making more money out of Elvis. They really hurt Elvis with the first book,which I believe was written as a reaction to them being fired. Real friends would not do this. If people as close to Elvis as Jerry Schilling and his daughter, Lisa Marie, who saw the pain Sonny, Red and Hebler caused Elvis, can't forgive them for what they did, why should we? Do not buy this book!
Peter@EM wrote on December 21, 2005
I met Sonny West in Memphis last August, and just as I expected, he is a bag of sh*t. Still defending his poor self, still describing Elvis as a junkie, and - O YES! - he would still write the very same book if he could turn back time. Regrets? Not one. I challanged S. West after I had listened to his story (about 15 people where there, no more) and I asked him how he found it in his heart to betray a "friend" (at least a 'friend' is what S. West thought he was to Elvis - some friend!) and destroy his reputation. Fact is: Elvis Presley died the same month the book was released and, no sir, Mr. West does NOT think he is to blame. His pathetic excuse: "I tried to save him" - SAVE HIM? My a**. Sonny West was there for the money and the pleasure of bitter revenge - and he STILL doesn't care less. At least his cousin has some sense, and he apologized. So, "you" tried to save him, sunshine. Allrighty. Where's your degree in psychology, West? How can YOU decide what's best for someone who you're not even worthy to kiss his shoes? How did you ever think in your corrupted mind that you would know what to do for the World's Number One entertainer? And then, loosing the verbal battle we had, you did the two things I expected: you shouted (well you had the mike anyway) and you asked me: what would I do if my son or brother would be an addict. Would I look the other way - or take him in? Well, West, what I would never do is throw their private life on the street or publish gossip books with the sleasiest details like you did - with the biggest grin you can imagine. Don't gimme the sh*it stories of "I was there to help". Just tell us the plain truth: you were there for the money, and you betrayed Elvis because in your 50 IQ mind you figured it was payback time. You're not the first, Sonny, Judas paved the way, you're in good company. By the way, to which good cause did you give your share of the coins? Well, West Boy, and I know that you read this - as long as I have something to say about it, you will never (as in: Not Ever) be a guest at any Elvis convention in Belgium. And I hope that none of my colleagues-fanclub presidents will invite you. If neccessary, I'll start a campaign to keep you FAR away from here. I had hoped that time would heal the wounds, and that at least you would have smoothened up, but the reality is: you're still as agressive and dangerous as ever. Re-read "Elvis - What Happened", and try to look in the mirror. If you're a man, you'll apologise. If you're what I think you are, you'll put a big fat grin on your **** face and - once again - cash in. By the way, do you remember Beecher Smith, Elvis's lawyer? I met him a few months ago. He compared you with a cockroach. Thought that was very mildy put. - Peter
elvis14 wrote on December 21, 2005
what crap!!! sonny wants the money, nothing else, he will tell you what you want to hear. oh, poor me, an old elvis employee, nobody invites me to speak, poor me. never liked the guy the first time i met him. and yes there are fools out there that will buy this so called book and give him money, this is sad. real elvis fans would not buy this book and talk with other elvis employees. i have met many that are not in it for the money, and happy to talk with. kiss off sonny!!!!!
Ton Bruins wrote on December 21, 2005
Well, well Peter what language...lol.
carolynlm wrote on December 21, 2005
Well, there certainly is some harsh talking about a man that has gone through what most of us hope to God will never happen to us. I found Sonny to be a perfect gentleman, and very sincere in the way he spoke of his time with Elvis. Yes, there were some bad times, and he has really no qualms about taking about those bad times....he will tell you straight out though that if he doesn't want to answer a question, then he won't...that's his perogative.....I am not going to get into any sort of discussion about the merits of Sonny West.....I like him and no-one will ever change that fact.....but people have to make up their own minds. If you don't want to buy his book, then don't......pure and simple.
kevepfan1970 wrote on December 22, 2005
Sonny West and the rest of the "Clan" need to keep their mouths shut,we have heard enough.The thing they dont want to talk about is the fact that all of them guys were doing drugs,Elvis was constantly bailing them out of one situation or another and when he was fed up and fired them they got ticked off that their lifestyle was gone.That book was revenge to pay the rent because outside Of Elvis they were nobodies and that is still the case today.....GET A JOB
ttwiise wrote on December 22, 2005
Lighten up Peter! It is views like yours that give Elvis fans a bad name. I for one will buy the book, I would rather hear what the west boys have to say than Charlie or Joe! You were not in that mans shoes! the 70`s were different times than 2005. I do believe they used the book as a last resort to smash EP back into reality, but we all know it was too late, and yes I agree the book killed him, but only because things had gone too far and deep down Elvis was embarrased by his own predicamen. TCE
efan4ever wrote on December 22, 2005
All these negative responses. You all need to lighten up. What happened to Elvis was nobody's fault except for his own. Sonny or Red did not make Elvis take all those pills. Elvis was a grown man. He should have seen what he was doing himself stepped up and took responsibility for his actions. If you do not like Sonny don't waste your time talking to him. And most important have enough respect for yourself to go meet the man and make a fool of yourself for being rude. Who are any of you to judge the man. That is God's job!
efan4ever wrote on December 22, 2005
What I meant to say was why would you go meet Sonny and be rude to him. You just make yourself look dumb. People who do things like that are reason the Lisa Marie wrote the song Idiot! Now What!
efan4ever wrote on December 22, 2005
Are the reason Lisa Marie wrote the song Idiot! No more mistakes honest
PaulFromFrance wrote on December 22, 2005
Peter... are you a Sonny's friend, or what? Why do you give him a 50 IQ level? He, and all those so-called Memphis Mafia idiots own the only negative IQs I know. I wish Hell to all those people! Unfortunately, I don't believe in Hell. Oh well... useless to say I'm 100% with you.
benny scott wrote on December 22, 2005
I totally agree with Peter. I'm 65 years old and an Elvis-fan for almost 50 years. I wonder if all those guys who defend Sonny are really Elvis-fans. I read the book, first edition,it was sent to me by family living in Florida,way back in 1977!! One good advice for the " Sonny-defenders" : read or re-read " Elvis What Happened ?". They were fired and we all know ( or should know ) why : fighting, drinking etc.. etc.. His bodyguards tried to save him? My God, what a joke! They supplied Elvis with pills, uppers en downers and all the rest. That's not the way to try to save someone with a medication problem.And by the way, don't forget they took those pills themselves! Nobody has to agree with me, everybody has the right to have his own opinion, but as for me: Sonny-boy, no, thanks, you' re not my cup of tea ! Always El
byebye wrote on December 22, 2005
It´s not a matter of opinion, it´s about being able to tell right from wrong. Obviously there are some people here that cant seperate those two. And to those of you who wants positive feedback regarding bad persons behaviour , I suggest you take your requests elsewhere.. -This is an ELVIS PRESLEY fan site!!!
Sean Ryan wrote on December 22, 2005
All the people who knock Sonny are a bunch of idiots.How can you protect a man from himself.
ijustcanhelpbelievin wrote on December 22, 2005
in the 16 years of knowing elvis personally,sonny knew what he was doing when he wrote this book in 1977..he knew it would deeply hurt elvis..to me this sonny west is a bum!! there were other avenues they could have taken,but they were pissed because elvis cut off their pay roll..yes,it was elvis's fault he took the path of drugs,but all the king's men could have done other things to help him out...
tigerpawl wrote on December 22, 2005
I wonder if Sonny can even remember that far back. Everyone has thier side of the story. If Elvis was only here to tell the story. We will only get the story on how Sonny saw it from his perspective. Does anyone remember Sonny on TV after Elvis death and claiming that they tried to stop Elvis from taking drugs. And Sonny just does not say prescription drugs but Cocaine. I have read many books on and about Elvis but not one claiming Elvis did Cocaine. I did however read that Elvis liked to experiment and did smoke marijuana but did not like it. I wonder after all these years now if the cocaine habit will be a myth or truth. Did Sonny reread WhAT Happened to not contradict himself? Sonny West is in it for himself. Think about what will sell him more books. I will tell you pages filled with lies so the media can publiciize it and then the non Elvis fans will buy it. That is who writers are going after the non Elvis fans who want dirt.
carolynlm wrote on December 23, 2005
If you remember this interview so well, you will also remember Sonny was wearing a pair of sun glasses throughout the whole thing......The man had been in tears for days after Elvis' death......The only mistake the West boys made in writing their book was using that rotten Dunleavy person...he in my estimation is no better than Goldman......and I'm ashamed to say, an Australian.Sonny has all his memories, some of them not so good, some are great....as I have already stated if you don't want to buy the book, then don't.....the knockers will find something wrong with it anyway.......
Richard Stables wrote on December 23, 2005
Gee, well I'm a huge Elvis fan and I don't think I'll be visiting Belgium anytime soon. Let's be frank. Elvis had a drug problem. Elvis was also a man, with faults like everyone else, including Sonny West. But to blame Sonny is just pure and simply wrong. Sure, Sonny and Elvis fell out before Elvis died but unlike most of us who fall out with our friends and make up Sonny unfortunately did not have that luxury. Elvis died and I am sure Sonny wonders what if things had been done differently... I have met Sonny and found him to be sincere and gracious. I have also read Elvis-What Happened and to be honest, apart from the obvious use of language by Dunleavy, the quotes from Sonny and Red are not that bad. Read some other books on Elvis' personal life and you'll realise that. Elvis had a drug problem. Whose fault is that? Elvis himself of course. No one is sadder than I that Elvis died so young when he had still so much to give, and I know his life was difficult in the circumstances, it could not have been easy linving your life under that enormous pressure and spotlight. But lighten up Peter and take a broad view of all opinions, fine if you don't agree with them but being rude just means that your argument is lost and people will not take you seriously.
Peter@EM wrote on December 25, 2005
Hi guys, I haven't yet seen one argument that undermines my first input. If you don't like to come to Belgium - hey man, that's cool. No offence, but I can't really understand what that has to do with West's first book. Also: the dark glasses that Sonny wore during the press conference... Let's not forget that the book was released on August 1st, 16 days PRIOR to Elvis's death. I just saw that interview again. S. West can't wait to badmouth Elvis. He doesn't even wait until the reporter finishes the question. Just look at it, and tell me I'm wrong. O, one thing that I always notice: when a journalist asks the authors why they wrote the book, S. West replies "out of bitterness". And only AFTER another reporter pops the question about perhaps trying to save Elvis: ("Isn't it also true that..."), well, yes, then they agree. Over the years, they discovered that the second answer would be better acceptable. Don't shoot the piano player, I'm only telling you like it is. However... I think it's useful if we put the focus back on what really happened. I only need the back cover of the book to indicate how damaging and insulting this was to Elvis in the most difficult time of his life. This is taken directly from the first print: "This book reveals the bizarre private and professional world of Elvis Presley. Brooding. Violent. Obsessed with death. Strung out. Sexually driven. This is the other site of Elvis, according by the three men who lived with him through it all. A man who charms a beautiful young fan into joining him on a drug binge that nearly kills her..." On August 20th, K-Mart ordered 2 million copies, and all three heroes agreed IN SIGNING that the title of book would be changed to "The Bodyguard Book". So, PLEASE, don't give me the crap that Sonny was hiding his tears, or that Steve Dunleavy fooled them in. I rest my case.
elvislady wrote on December 26, 2005
ive read lots of books on elvis over the years, including (elvis what happend) what ever people say in there books and on tv about EP elvis like all of us was human and should have been allowed to do what he liked in his life with out people slating him and making money from him. i know people will say well he was famous and thats what you should expect but at the end of the day he was just the same as all of us. and no matter what opinon we all have people will still go on making money from elvis for years to come wether its good stuff or bad.
moodyriver wrote on December 29, 2005
When I first read, "Elvis What Happened" I was expecting the worst because I had heard so much about it--how horrible it was of Red, Sonny, and Dave to write the book and how much it upset Elvis that they would do this to him. Personally, I wasn't shocked or taken back by any of it and I actually thought that the way they tried to make some of the stories sound aweful (the pool stick story) made them sound hilarious. If I was there when Elvis wailed the pool stick at that girl, I would have died laughing and had to leave the room. I don't know what that says about me... Sonny can make as much money as he wants to off of Elvis. Elvis was apart of his life whether some of us like it or not. And we can either choose to buy it or let it be. To each his own. But I know I will buy it because I want to know more about Elvis as a person--and from every point of view I can get.
mfbinc wrote on December 30, 2005
I gotta agree with Peter. I would never betray a friend in need by writing a tell all book and then say it was "to save him!" Just for one minute, sit back and contemplate writing a tell all book on anyone you are tight with. Imagine divulging personal secrets or behaviour of someone who trusts you. Not a pretty thought huh? Now imagine someone you trust doing it to you! You can't justify these tell all books on Elvis just because he's a celebrity you care about. His personal secrets are nobody's business. Nobody's secrets are! There is absolutely no way the West's or Hebler can be forgiven. I'm a die-hard Elvis fan based on his talent only. His personal life is of no concern. Sonny West is a scumbag and not deserving of a true Elvis fan's dime!!
newyorknewyork wrote on December 31, 2005
I won't buy the book. I know Elvis was only human and he did stupid things. But in his position virtually everyone on this website would have done the same. But Elvis has been dead along time now and I just want to get on and celebrate the great man. He has given us all so much pleasure over the years. That is what we should all be concentrating on. At the end of the day Sonny made a choice to work for Elvis. I wonder if Sonny would write this book if he didn't get any money for it? I don't think so!
Elvisguitarman wrote on January 02, 2006
I've met Sonny and listened to his stories about Elvis and the gang. I found him to be honest, blunt, sincere, and willing to answer ANY question asked of him. I enjoyed listening to him, and will definitely buy his book. It's sad of all the negative comments about him, but if anyone watches the series "All The King's Men" - it will be obvious that Sonny, Red, Lamar Fike, Marty Lacker, & Billy Smith really did care about Elvis. You can see by their emotions that they are torn apart that Elvis died due to his own destructiveness. They knew what made Elvis tick, and I believe them when they say that the 'bodyguard book' was put out as a challenge to Elvis to straighten out and try to disprove the stories they wrote. The worst that could have happened is that they would have been labeled as liars and Elvis would have lived. I wouldn't criticize any of those guys until you 'Walked A Mile In Their Shoes." Lighten up Peter, don't get your knickers in a bunch.
Sanditcb wrote on January 02, 2006
Having been around Elvis and the guys, I know first hand how much Sonny (since that is who is being targeted here) loved Elvis. I have never heard him say he wrote the book out of "bitterness". So many people don't want to know the truth and so they become angry at anyone who alludes to the fact that Elvis was less than some kind of god. If you don't want to buy the book, then don't buy it, but don't continually put down a man you don't know. Have you heard "walk a mile in my shoes"? Try walking in Sonny's shoes. He took excellent care of Elvis as long as he could - putting his own family after Elvis. I re-read the first book, Benny, and I don't agree with your take on it. I have no doubt that had Elvis lived that he, Sonny and Red would have been buddies again. Elvis was quick to anger, but he soon forgave. Peter, you just have so much venom that you feel the need to spew everywhere. You sure backed down from Sonny in Memphis when you had to opportunity to talk to him one on one; you slunk away and didn't even glance in his direction. Shame on you. Sonny has never refused to answer any question, no matter how sensitive. You stay in Belgium and keep your attitude with youl
MauriceColgan wrote on January 06, 2006
More for the Schmelvisers (See google) to feed on and disseminate internationally. I always feel a little disheartened after reading the kind of book put out by Elvis's friends. At the end of his life Elvis seemed to not have a true friend in the world. Oh well. But nevertheless the whole world will be celebrating Elvis's birthday on Sunday 8th January 2006 :-) It looks like nothing can harm him again. Even here in Irelandtoo.
byebye wrote on January 06, 2006
It seems that the "Sonny hangarounds" dont judge people by their actions but on their intentions. Well..the road to hell is paved with good intentions! And people allways show their ugly faces when it begins to storm up. So when Elvis fans on this site recognises these faces again, I again ask you "Sonny hangarounds" to take your requests elswhere on the matter of "lighten up"!? It´s not a matter to be taken lightly!!! Do you think Pricilla and Lisa Marie has lightend up??
Sean Ryan wrote on January 06, 2006
how many fans given the chance to spend 20 years with elvis as his friend whould turn it down. sonny regarded elvis as his close friend and was fired like he meant nothing to elvis which must have hurt.you cant play games with peoples feelings which is what elvis did to sonny and the others.firing them all the time then snapping his fingers expecting them to jump for him like charlie hodge or joe esposito.sonny is a great guy and its a shame that there are fans who are narrow minded.
Elvisguitarman wrote on January 08, 2006
Jesper asked if Lisa marie "has lightened up?" She sure has --- like when she sold 85 % interest of her dad's legacy last year. PS - Happy Birthday Elvis
GED127 wrote on February 14, 2006
I would just like to say to all of the people who call sonny west, and try to portray him as some evil man, that you dont even know the him, I have been fortunate,over the past 4 years to have met Sonny, and stayed in contact with him, Sonny West is a caring, honest, and genuine man, It makes me mad, when I read articles by people, who talk about Elvis, as if they knew him, when all he was to most, was an image on the screen, or a voice on record, Sonny was there with Elvis for 17 years, so please, to the people who never knew Elvis, and dont know Sonny, try and think before bad mouthing Sonny.