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Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock 'n' Roll Nights, and My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley

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Overview

When George Klein was an eighth grader at Humes High, he couldn’t have known how important the new kid with the guitar—the boy named Elvis—would later become in his life. But from the first time GK (as he was nicknamed by Elvis) heard this kid sing, he knew that Elvis Presley was someone extraordinary. During Elvis’s rise to fame and throughout the wild swirl of his remarkable life, Klein was a steady presence and one of Elvis’s closest and most loyal friends until his untimely ...
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Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock 'n' Roll Nights, and My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley

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Overview

When George Klein was an eighth grader at Humes High, he couldn’t have known how important the new kid with the guitar—the boy named Elvis—would later become in his life. But from the first time GK (as he was nicknamed by Elvis) heard this kid sing, he knew that Elvis Presley was someone extraordinary. During Elvis’s rise to fame and throughout the wild swirl of his remarkable life, Klein was a steady presence and one of Elvis’s closest and most loyal friends until his untimely death in 1977.

In Elvis: My Best Man, a heartfelt, entertaining, and long-awaited contribution to our understanding of Elvis Presley and the early days of rock ’n’ roll, George Klein writes with great affection for the friend he knew—about who the King of Rock ’n’ Roll really was and how he acted when the stage lights were off. This fascinating chronicle of boundary-breaking and music-making through one of the most intriguing and dynamic stretches of American history overflows with insights and anecdotes from someone who was in the middle of it all. From the good times at Graceland to hanging out with Hollywood stars to butting heads with Elvis’s iron-handed manager, Colonel Tom Parker, to making sure that Elvis’s legacy is fittingly honored, GK was a true friend of the King and a trailblazer in the music industry in his own right.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“George, bravo! I learned some new things about you and your life, especially the earlier years. I feel you capture the essence of Elvis not only in dialogue, but also in giving the reader a sense of his personality, humor, and his spirit of play. . . . I know that Elvis would be proud that you’ve remained his loyal and lifelong friend.” —Priscilla Presley

“George was with Elvis from the beginning. He personally knows the story.” —Dick Clark

“George Klein is something else. Through the years, George has been right there. He’s got the great stories and he’s always talked about Elvis and presented him with great dignity.” —Tom Petty

“GK was there from the beginning, and there ’til the end. This book is fact.” —Jerry Lee Lewis

“GK was one of the most important friends and confidants of Elvis Presley. This book captures all the excitement of the birth of rock ’n’ roll, and reminds us of the very significant roles that Elvis and GK played as rock ’n’ roll pioneers.” —Jerry Schilling

From the Hardcover edition.

Library Journal
It is difficult to imagine there is anything new to learn about Elvis. Since his death in 1977, people from his wife, Priscilla, to his bodyguards have written about him. In the last five years, there has been at least one book about the King published each year. Klein, whose personal mission is to keep Elvis's memory alive and who knew Elvis since the eighth grade and considered him his best friend, offers firsthand insight into Elvis's early years. One wonders why he waited so long to tell his story—his answer is that he didn't want to add to the "clamor," but now he wants everyone to know that Elvis was a smart and funny friend. Klein tells his own story, too, of making his way to the top of the disc jockey ladder. VERDICT Klein's constant use of dialog is grating, but demand for all things Elvis continues. This may be sought out by those who enjoyed Jerry Schilling's Me and a Guy Named Elvis (also cowritten with Crisafulli).—Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA
Kirkus Reviews
A fond remembrance of the King of Rock 'n' Roll from a longtime member of his entourage, assisted by entertainment journalist Crisafulli (co-author: Me and a Guy Named Elvis, 2006, etc.)As early as 1948, when they were classmates at Humes High School in Memphis and Elvis played "Old Shep" and "Cold Icy Fingers" in a classroom, Klein sensed that Presley would amount to something big. So when he began an apprenticeship at a local radio station, Klein made sure to get early copies of the epochal singles Presley recorded for Sun Records. (The author claims to be the second person to play Elvis on the radio.) Elvis never forgot that early support, and when he became a full-blown phenomenon in 1957 he asked Klein to assist him on the road. Much of Klein's labor as an early member of the Memphis Mafia was mundane-he was in charge of minding Elvis's gold suit, for instance-and he eventually abandoned life as a hanger-on to pursue a successful career as a regional DJ and TV host. But their friendship was intimate enough that he consoled Elvis when his beloved mother died, and he had enough clout in 1969 to demand that Elvis pick better songs for himself-an insistence that led to the sessions that produced classics like "Suspicious Minds" and "Long Black Limousine." Elvis was the best man at Klein's wedding a year later, and Klein is clearly disinterested in writing ill of a man who performed such a kindness for him. Even the dishier parts of the memoir have a tempered, innocent tone, as when he and a friend were busted by Elvis for spying on a tryst between him and Ann-Margret. Klein's story isn't wholly toothless, however. His long experience in the music industry gives him a keen eye for themanipulations of Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and how his obsession with the bottom line eroded his client's ambitions, and the author displays admirable candor in describing his and his cohorts' failure to help Elvis halt the unhealthy behavior that eventually killed him. A respectful, personal assessment of Presley's character, even though it adds little new to the body of Elvis knowledge. Author event at Graceland. Agent: Scott Waxman/Waxman Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307452757
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 122,030
  • Product dimensions: 7.84 (w) x 5.28 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

GEORGE “GK” KLEIN is a Memphis native and a pioneering disc jockey and television host. He and Elvis met in eighth grade at Humes High in North Memphis, and they became lifelong friends. Today, Klein hosts a program for Sirius XM Radio’s Elvis channel, Memphis Sounds for WYPL-18 TV, and the Elvis Hour for WMC radio in Memphis, where he lives with his wife, Dara. He misses Elvis every day.

CHUCK CRISAFULLI is a veteran entertainment journalist and author, most recently of Go to Hell: A Heated History of the Underworld, and Me and a Guy Named Elvis, with Jerry Schilling.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 28, 2010

    Elvis, My Best Man is GREAT!

    WOW! I've read a lot of books on Elvis, but none compare to what George has done with this master piece. You get the whole package, from humble beginings to super stardom and George was right here with Elvis every step of the way. This is a must read for any Elvis fan! The things that you thought you knew about Elvis all become clear when George tells of his best friend. Everyone should have a best friend like George in their life. This book was over 30 years in the making and well worth the wait. Well done GK, you did Elvis, the man, the myth and the legend proud. This is by far the best Elvis book ever written, and even if your not an Elvis fan, you will be drawn into it by it's love of a friendship that never ended. I know that George still misses his best friend and always will, and through his book, we miss him too and share his love and his sadness. Elvis may have left the building, but his spirit will live on because of the love and book that George Klein has given us. Do yourself a favor and read what a true friendship really is by picking up "Elvis, My Best Man" today. You will not be disappointed!
    JoJo Walker
    Mornings News/Talk 820 WWBA Tampa Bay, FL.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    Great book written by a best friend

    If you're looking for any new Elvis controversies, look somewhere else. But if you want to read about what it was like to be one of Elvis' best friends, you won't be disappointed. The only disappointment is that the pictures in the paper book are not in the ebook.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2010

    Great Insight

    Just finished George's book "Elvis, My Best Man". I am surprised at how George can remember all the names, he mentions in his book, amazing. Great book, will recommend it to all my friends. Good job George.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2010

    A MUST FOR ELVIS FANS!!

    This book is an up close and personal view of ELVIS & George's many years of friendship...it's really humorous & keeps you interested the whole time...There are so many wonderful stories about ELVIS, that i'd never heard & i will definitely read it again!! Thanks for a wonderful flashback into ELVIS'S life & hours of great reading!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Elvis- My Best Man

    I truly think that George Klein is giving us some insight into what the King thought as he was growing up, and how much he was devoted not only to his parents, but also to his close friends.
    Also, Elvis was instrumental in bringing people of different cultures together in ways they didn't expect.
    Any fan of the King will enjoy learning about Elvis and the different sides of him. I strongly recommend this as a good Read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What wonderful book.

    This book is not only an account of the wonderful friendship between George and Elvis, but a great historical look at the beginning of the rock 'n roll era in the south. With all of George's background in the radio and TV world, he is able to share his stories of not only Elvis, but of all the music beginnings in Memphis. This book is well written and it feels like he is sitting there talking to you. George is very sincere in his writing and you can feel the love and respect he had (and still has) for the man he called his best friend: Elvis Presley. I recommend this book to every reader, Elvis fan or not. As George always says, "there is no excuse necessary for being an Elvis fan, and if you are not there is no excuse possible".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2014

    A must read.

    Couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    I'm Alexa

    I'm 13 years old I never read this book I will

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    I dont see why

    I dont sewhy everybody calls elvis "the king" because all he did was drugs and thats why he died.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2012

    I just love it!!

    My daughter bought this for me for my birthday - I just love Elvis and GK!! What an excellent book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Great!

    What a great inside look to the life of The King. Thanks GK!

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A GREAT MEMOIR

    I got the feeling that this was a very sincere tribute to his friendhip with Elvis. Every Elvis fan has heard the worst about Elvis, so it was a refreshing read that focused on their frienship and just positive memories. It's a must read for any Elvis fan.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Had some new and interesting information.

    The research in this book appeared to be new and information that had not been presented previously. The writing is well done, concise and easy to read. The author presented some "real" accessible parts to Elvis that assist the reader in enjoying this book. There are personal stories that keep the reader involved in Elvis's life and bring the reader into the scene. It would be a GREAT Elvis fan club book club promotional book and for gift giving to Elvis fans. There are trivia points that are outstanding to have, on hand, when one wants to present ELVIS TRIIVA to other's. Overall this book presented in a unique, fresh, personal and interesting manner. The only lack that this reader noted was visual - a few more pictures would have enhanced the book scattered in between the book as opposed to in the center of the book.

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    Posted January 10, 2010

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    Posted April 20, 2011

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    Posted January 17, 2010

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    Posted July 3, 2010

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    Posted February 25, 2010

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    Posted May 6, 2011

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    Posted September 5, 2011

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