Darrin Lee wrote a book about some of Elvis’ outrageous shows. Is Desert Storm the myth that is shattered? Is it Elvis? Or?
Well, I can be short on that, there is hardly a design. There has been an attempt on the cover, but with the tiger skin and golden font it is so tacky that probably Elvis would have loved it, but I don’t. To each his or her own, but at least there was an attempt.
That doesn’t go for the inside of the book. It is just one big brew of words: no paragraph spacing, just one big patch of justified text.
You can only recognize the paragraph headers because suddenly there is a line centered. This makes the book very hard to read layout wise. Tip: there are free courses in composing readable text on the web.
The pictures used are overall of poor quality because of the print, and sometimes they look out of proportion.
Not only had the layout of the text made it a struggle to finish this book. The continuous transcriptions are very boring and make no point at all. Worse are the comparisons, like putting the light hearted sexual jokes in the ’69 shows on the same level as the rambling in 1974. The most interesting parts of the book are the covers of the boulevard magazines displayed, at least they are readable.
I understand the point mr. Lee tries to make, but let me tell you that the novels by Daniel Klein, starring Elvis as detective, are more realistic and sensible than mr. Lee’s point of view. The parts on the Vegas shows are partly supported by me, since there are some good performances in those shows, but when he starts on the infamous College Park show… he completely lost me.
Napoleon’s trip to and from Moscow, including the battle of Berezina, must have been peanuts compared to battling through this book. I can’t imagine anyone enjoys it, except maybe Darrin Lee when collecting his money. There is no myth shattered. The artist Elvis can't be shattered in my book, there is no myth on Desert Storm, it is just what it is, whatever Darrin Lee is trying to make of it, but it is certainly no myth.
I've read this book. Stories change over time and I would be inclined to believe the intial opinions and reviews at the time rather than later hyped up for shock value versions. So I think Darrin Lee makes a good case
All in all, I think the book was an interesting read, I and think Darrin Lee has some points which are worth thinking about. To me, there´s no doubt that "Desert Storm" has been hyped up in a negative way. I think Lee´s contribution may be that he makes the picture somewhat more realistic. One of his main points is that all of Elvis´ verbal attacks are justified, and that a man HAS to defend himself against vicked rumours. This is the macho - or straightforward if you´d like - way of seeing it.
What IS obvious, is that Elvis´ shows in August '74 WERE entertaining. From what I can hear on tape, they were also quite good musically. Elvis never talked so much, but still, this is a markedly better engagement than the January/February '73 one. Elvis introduces new songs, and he sings with passion - although his voice seems a bit ragged at times, and will be much more solid in March '75.
However, Lee´s problem is when he presents the view that Elvis was in total control and that he never had a drug problem. Well, then why on earth did he die?? This is both ridiculous and embarrassing. He goes on to the infamous College Park shows, explaining that Elvis was sick - not on drugs. I don´t know the truth here, but hearing these shows, it´s pretty obvious that this is not an Elvis in top form. It just sounds too weird, and describing these shows as very good is unrealistic. Again, they were probably not so bad as their reputation, but just because some of the people present think they were great, this doesn´t have to be the objective truth (if there is one). Lee also dismisses both John Wilkinson´s and Tony Brown´s first hand accounts.
So to sum it up, I think Lee paints a not totally unrealistic picture of the August '74 engagement (although the question is whether Elvis was justified in his actions, or if he was just making a fool of himself). August '74 wasn´t that bad, it was just weird. I think the first part of the book was quite interesting, but then I found that it all became less trustworthy (even if Elvis no doubt held much better shows only days after College Park).
Some of the 74 shows are ones i avoid,its one of the few times were Elvis actually annoys me with his comments,and no matter how much you love the guy,he made himself look silly,cilla must have gotten a kick out of hearing how jealous he was,he was so talented yet so lost in other things!
The main question is really whether Elvis had a serious drug problem or not. Almost all insiders has admitted that Elvis was heavily into misuse of prescribed drugs, especially from 1972 and onwards. During his autopsy they found an unbelievable amount of various drugs in his body, and Dr. Nic was even convicted of serious misconduct in the court of law.
However, Darrin Lee is desperate in his claim that Elvis wasn't into drugs. This makes his books unusable as serious sources of information. Quite sad, because he obliviously invests a substantial amount of work into each of his projects.
Dear Lex, Darrin Lee is not collecting money, because writing and producing such a book does more cost than it brings some money to collect. So it's not the money to public his points of view, but his feeling, that it's quite necessary because people talking ardently a lot of negative things thinking that they possess the truth. People don't like the disagreement to their world and Elvis view. So Darrin Lee a priori knew that his book will not become a bestseller. He is an intelligent Elvis-fan, and became a good friend with J.D. Sumner. I agree to user KH that Elvis had the right to defend himself against bad rumours. In the same posting KH cannot believe that Elvis did not take drugs. So KH and many other so thinking fans say, that Elvis did lie with his own words. I agree to Darrin Lee, that this attitude is too easy and very unfair. Continuing user KH asked, if he would not had taken drugs, "why on earth did he die?? ". Do you really think that drug addiction is the only reason for death? I don't think so. But people think that the artist Elvis is nessisarily connected with "Sex, Drugs & R'n'R". What Elvis himself did think about this he told us on Desert Storm. And that what user KH calls "drugs" had been medicine. Medicine against certain sicknesses. But not all medicine always can cure all sicknesses. And often sicknesses produce death. But as long as fantastic fans like Darrin feel the must to fight for the truth, Elvis presumably is pretty pleased.
Well, Rev. Gerhard. The view that Elvis had a right to defend himself against vicked rumours was not really mine - I just mentioned some of Darren Lee´s opinions.
Elvis lied often. He lied when singing "You Gave Me a Mountain" and afterwards claming it had nothing with his personal life to do, for instance. I know Elvis didn´t think of his use of drugs as such, but he was fooling himself. These medicines, taken in enormous quantities over the years, ruined his body and self control. How can anyone deny this? There were other contributing factors, but medicines were a major cause. Elvis was the greatest entertainer the world has ever known, but he steered his life in the wrong direction. The fact that he still was so big, tells us something about his talent and his natural charisma.
This is such a horrible book mainly because Darrin Lee is such a horrible writer. His text is all over the place and he's so desperate to paint such a good picture of Elvis that he almost falls over himself with gushing praise - much of it totally irelevant - in the process. He rambles all over the place trying to paint Elvis whiter than white and some of his comparisons are a total joke. Saying that the August '74 shows were a return to the shows of August '69 is total bollocks. Why can't he just accept that Elvis had a drug problem? Live with it, Darrin, for it's the truth. It killed him. Stop burying your head in the sand. Elvis was off his head for some of those August '74 shows, and if you can't see that then you need to get yourself checked.
Thanks for the great review Harvey Alexander. In particular, the line - "Saying that the August '74 shows were a return to the shows of August '69 is total bollocks" - made me laugh out loud! I mean, can any reasonable fan on these forums imagine they'd ever have to point out how 1974 Elvis just doesn't compare to 1969 Elvis? I think that perfectly illustrates the level this book is on for anyone who's thinking of reading it. Oh, for the record, Elvis in 1974 is still fantastic - but differently fantastic to 1969.
Oh sorry KH. I wanted to say something natty about your posting. No, Elvis wasn't the fool you want to make him of. He knew exactly what he said, and of course exactly what he did. He didn't want to make Priscilla feel that he wanted to blame her with "You Gave Me A Mountain". How nice. And of course he had his reasons at the end to go on stage knowing exactly that he was not in best form. Surely not for that reason that people could have babbled, "look, that's how drugs have destroyed him". Sickness is no thing to be criticized for.
'I need em man, I need em'. Thats not the quote of a man taking drugs for illness, thats an addict.
Honey, a quote out of "What Happened" could never be a "quote".
my question is why do the drugs even matter anymore? hes been gone almost 32 years and yet people keep them in the topic of conversation as if that is the only damn thing he ever did! the man was human and he had faults like any of us! what mateers most or should to any elvis fan was that he gave himself freely to his loyal fans, until god called him home! screw the drug issue; it is not relevant compared to his body of work, his charitable efforts, any of that far outweighs the damn drugs! and name me any celeb in the 70s that wasnt taking a drug.... besides pat boone! elvis was not the only one dong it! but he was the best out of any of them! good or bad elvis will always be the king of rock and roll! i'll never figure out why people wont let the drug issue die! it just isnt relevant anymore! he lived then he died; but his legacy lives forever!
"what matters most or should to any elvis fan was that he gave himself freely to his loyal fans, until god called him home!" Amiable and persuading statement, dukebrando.
Elvis taking drugs, yes. So what ? Hope he enjoyed it ! And believe me he liked them..
Yes. It's wonderful hoping that he enjoyed his complete life. And I'm sure he had a lot of joy (besides the suffering that belongs to each human life). In the same time I am pretty sure too, that each one engaging in Elvis' biography (including listening to "Desert Storm") will find out that he really disclaimed alcohol and illicit drugs.
Dukebrando, you are right. What is the use of repeating again and agin this discussion. It seems to overtake Elvis' brilliant career. Yes he had his flaws and weak moments in his longstanding career. But who in this world can say that (s)he always performed at the top of one's capability cq capacity. Especially regarding the fact that he was always the focussing point it is unique. For the critics: yes I am also sure that he (mis)used the prescribed medicine (or whatever you want to call it), but frankly I don't give a hood for that. The major league of artists and sportsmen do it. For me: I enjoy his music for the last 40 plus years and that's fine with me.
Dear Natha, Yes, his career was breathtaking brillant. And still is. But don't you think that it's a little lordly judging about a person neither you knew personally nor did that person tell you the facts about his state of health, that he took pharmaceuticals just to be stoned ? Of course this discussion should not overshadow his brillance. But regrettably it has overshadowed his history the last 30 years. But fortunately times has changed and nowadays nearly 70 % of the people between 16 and 50 have (had) drug experiences. So they think Elvis fits to them like a glove. Not the worst marketing. But not the truth. Regarding their lives you do not find a man who likes to be stoned and refuses in the same time alkohol and illegal drugs. With them it's much more easier. No. Keeping a minimum of decency it's impossible to deny that Elvis has taken doctor's stuff against sicknesses.
Dear Rev Gerhard, what I mean to say is that we (or at least most of us here) don't know the real facts. It is all hearsay and it tends to just keeping alive a true or untrue story. Why should we keep on doing that? At some point we should just end that and focus on his career. That´s what I was trying to make people aware of.
Those who state what Elvis was thinking at any time are full of it. Nobody knows but Elvis himself.
Rev. Gerhard, Elvis was a professional and gave himself up until the very end to his fans from whom he got his fame & fortune. He always fullfilled his contracts (serious artist, not like some of today's coo coos who are made celebreties by the press, not much talent in their veins you see). We should not try to defend Elvis in doing some prescribed drugs. It cost him his life and in the end we have now all seen that EP had very few real friends that he could count on. Larry Geller, Charlie and JD & Donnie Sumner were/are for real. He knew he count count on them while paying 300 people who were on his payroll every two weeks. Althoug we dig the review, we will not buy this book now. Maybe later when it shows up on the discounted book shelf at BarnesNoble
It would not be amiss if some fans would read the report of Dr. Brian S. Finkle, the director of the Center for Human Toxicology of the University of Utah, who had completed laboratory studies of autopsy specimens from the body of Elvis, and who said, that all of his "drugs" were consistent with medical treatment. "As a toxicologist, if you ask me why he had the drugs (in his system), the answer is that he needed them medically. All the drugs were in a range consistent with therapy and therapeutic requirements for known conditions of illnesses which he had," Dr. Finkle said.
Rev.Gerhard, that is what I read back then and that suffices. What followed in the next 30 years indeed overshadowed a lot of his achievements. Nevertheless he is still number one and even in the smallest places in the world people know about him. So that shows his greatness.
We can write all day long what he was thinking,why he did what he did,but its all nonsence,we dont know what he was thinking or why he did what he did,everything Elvis is not sexy or worth listening to and some of the 74 shows are not my cup of tea,no matter what the reason for his condition,i fully believe his had some type of mental condtion,maybe a deep depression or bi-polar,he was not prepared either for life in general in my view,he was an only child and it shows,he was so complex trying to understand what caused him to be the way he was is really nothing anyone is ever gonna succeed in!
Dear mature fan 75, That's the point. Some like to drink their cup of tea with that side of Elvis, other with some other sides. So Elvis seems to have a good inspiration for each personality and temper and last but not least for each believer. I think he was in great constitution in 1974, although, yes although he had a depression in the same time. A comprehensible depression by comprehensible reasons. The divorce hadn't been a long time ago, but much more than the separation from his wife he was hurt, that he was separated from the human being he loved most - his daughter. He missed her with every gasp, and he felt that her mind was damaged too. That was his biggest tragedy in life. How useful is all your success if the one you love most had been taken away? But in the same time these concerts do demonstrate that he had the ability to handle the depression. It's human in the most naked way demonstrating your weakness and your strength in the same time. That's life. Most of us are not cut only from the same cloth. Life is more than being the King of Rock, more than being sexy all time, more than guaranteeing you your cup of tea. And then there had been another story. Not very enjoyable. There was a woman maintaining that he was her child's father. And the gossip enjoyed that story. The paternity suit took about nearly five years. Of course it wasn't so very easy to give you the smile of a superstar all time. Especially if your healthiness is declining. But Elvis did his very best. And in return he merits our and my biggest respect.
I would like to know what makes anybody think they know anything about what Elvis thought or what motivated him one way or the other? I have spent thousands of hours reading everything I could get my hands on about Elvis and I've listened to over 600 of his recordings. I list my hobby now as the studying of Elvis, his life and music. Even with all that, I would never presume to know what he was thinking when he did drugs, who his greatest love was ( if not his mother???) or who his real friends were. The layers that are Elvis are all part of what makes him so fascinating to study but to speak as if you know something that only he could know is the epitomy of arrogance. Or should I say ignorance? Leave be already! Go listen to Love Letters and relax into that voice. It always works for me.
I agree, that was my point,just listen to what you like,i odnt understnad some of his moves like some of the songs he sang or movies he made,but i think he had a lack of confidence and many other issues,but i am no way saying i know what his thoughts were,that will remain a mystery!
Hey friends! It's not necessary knowing and understanding each little thought in the person's mind you love. But without doubt Elvis was a real decent and loving person. Of course not a perfect human being. But trying to be decent and loving you will understand more of his life and some of the queerness of his image. Yes. "Love Letters" is a perfect introduction.
Rev Gerhard, your analysis is right on the spot.