Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley

Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley

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by Jerry Schilling, Chuck Crisafulli
     
 

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On a lazy Sunday in 1954, twelve-year-old Jerry Schilling wandered into a Memphis touch football game, only to discover that his team was quarterbacked by a nineteen-year-old Elvis Presley, the local teenager whose first record, "That’s All Right," had just debuted on Memphis radio. The two became fast friends, even as Elvis turned into the world’s

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Overview

On a lazy Sunday in 1954, twelve-year-old Jerry Schilling wandered into a Memphis touch football game, only to discover that his team was quarterbacked by a nineteen-year-old Elvis Presley, the local teenager whose first record, "That’s All Right," had just debuted on Memphis radio. The two became fast friends, even as Elvis turned into the world’s biggest star. In 1964, Elvis invited Jerry to work for him as part of his "Memphis Mafia," and Jerry soon found himself living with Elvis full-time in a Bel Air mansion and, later, in his own room at Graceland. Over the next thirteen years Jerry would work for Elvis in various capacities — from bodyguard to photo double to co-executive producer on a karate film. But more than anything else he was Elvis’s close friend and confidant: Elvis trusted Jerry with protecting his life when he received death threats, he asked Jerry to drive him and Priscilla to the hospital the day Lisa Marie was born and to accompany him during the famous "lost weekend" when he traveled to meet President Nixon at the White House. Me and a Guy Named Elvis looks at Presley from a friend’s perspective, offering readers the man rather than the icon — including insights into the creative frustrations that lead to Elvis’s abuse of prescription medicine and his tragic death. Jerry offers never-before-told stories about life inside Elvis’s inner circle and an emotional recounting of the great times, hard times, and unique times he and Elvis shared. These vivid memories will be priceless to Elvis’s millions of fans, and the compelling story will fascinate an even wider audience.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
Schilling has the goods—where else can you read about the King giving karate lessons to Liza Minnelli in a hotel room while Chubby Checker and porn star Linda Lovelace looked on?
The Washington Post
More than anything, this moving and elegantly told memoir resonates with the spirit of true friendship.
Publishers Weekly
In 1954, at age 12, Schilling first met fellow Memphis homeboy Presley, a 19-year-old truck driver "a year out of high school and less than a week into a recording career that carried no guarantee of turning into steady work." He provides a fascinating view of Memphis in the late '50s, but most of his memoir is from after 1964, when he officially joined the retinue of friends-the "Memphis Mafia"-that served as Elvis's surrogate family. While this thoroughly enjoyable book deftly describes his many adventures with Elvis and other notables, including the Beatles, Ann-Margret, the Beach Boys and Billy Joel, the heart of it is his many observations of Elvis's inner exploration. Unlike the rest of Elvis's posse, Schilling was liberal in his musical and racial views, and he shared Elvis's spiritual hunger "for a sense of meaning and purpose." Schilling provides the most detailed account yet of the sometimes comical LSD trip he took with Presley, and he poignantly observes the "disappointment and frustration" Elvis felt about his Hollywood movies. Overall, Schilling's heartfelt narrative makes this more than just another piece of Elvis product. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In 1954, Schilling had a chance meeting with Elvis Presley at a Memphis pickup football game. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, which eventually led to Schilling's entry into the strange and exciting Presley entourage in 1964. Here, the author vividly describes meeting the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Richard Nixon, and basketball great Wilt Chamberlain; tripping on LSD with the King; and sitting in shock with Elvis as they watched the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on television. Throughout, Schilling treats Elvis evenhandedly, focusing on their friendship but not ignoring the drug problems, isolation, and creative vacuum that killed Presley. The King comes alive once again as a romantic, sensitive, caring, and sometimes childish and moody man in a bubble. Refreshingly, the author reveals as much about himself as Elvis, showing how the tinsel lifestyle transformed him from a well-meaning, wide-eyed, obedient kid to a divorced adult wanting freedom and a career. Schilling has captured the aura and grim realities of life with one of the most important American icons of the 20th century. One can only hope that he will follow with a book about his post-1977 life as a manager of the Beach Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rick Nelson, and Billy Joel. Highly recommended for all types of readers.-David P. Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"William Dufris could have tried to imitate the well-recognized timbre and intonation of Elvis's voice, but he chose instead only to slightly alter his tone, making Elvis sound more like a person and less like an icon." —AudioFile

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592403059
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/19/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
318,457
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
18 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"William Dufris could have tried to imitate the well-recognized timbre and intonation of Elvis's voice, but he chose instead only to slightly alter his tone, making Elvis sound more like a person and less like an icon." —-AudioFile

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