The Seeker King: A Spiritual Biography of Elvis Presley

Overview


A woman in the audience once handed Elvis a crown saying, "You're the King." "No, honey," Elvis replied. "There is only one king -- Jesus Christ. I'm just a singer." Gary Tillery presents a coherent view of Elvis's thoughts through such anecdotes and other recorded facts. We learn, for instance, that Elvis read thousands of books on religion; that his crisis over making bimbo movies like Girl Happy led him to writers such as Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, and Helena Blavatsky; and that, while driving in Arizona, an ...
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Overview


A woman in the audience once handed Elvis a crown saying, "You're the King." "No, honey," Elvis replied. "There is only one king -- Jesus Christ. I'm just a singer." Gary Tillery presents a coherent view of Elvis's thoughts through such anecdotes and other recorded facts. We learn, for instance, that Elvis read thousands of books on religion; that his crisis over making bimbo movies like Girl Happy led him to writers such as Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, and Helena Blavatsky; and that, while driving in Arizona, an epiphany he had inspired him to learn Hindu practice. Elvis came to believe that the Christ shines in everyone and that God wanted him to use his light to uplift people. And so he did. Elvis's excesses were as legendary as his generosity, yet, despite his lethal reliance on drugs, he remained ever spiritually curious. When he died, he was reading A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus. This intimate, objective portrait inspires new admiration for the flawed but exceptional man who said, "All I want is to know and experience God. I'm a searcher, that's what I'm all about."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/23/2013
Much as he did for George Harrison in Working Class Mystic, Tillery ploddingly traces the spiritual dimensions of Elvis Presley's life. Retelling the already well-told tale (see Peter Guralnick's Last Train to Memphis) of this young Mississippian's somewhat unlikely ascent to the heights of popular music, Tillery focuses on Elvis's 1964 meeting with Larry Geller, his hairdresser. Geller became Elvis's spiritual director, introducing him to a book that revealed to the musician his purpose in life—to serve others—and set him on a short-lived journey through a variety of spiritual traditions, from his own Pentecostal Christianity to Hinduism, Gnosticism, and New Age teachings. Yet Presley's manager, the domineering Colonel Parker, feeling threatened by Geller and the changes he witnessed in Elvis's personality under Geller's tutelage, eventually made it difficult for the hairdresser to remain in Elvis' entourage. Once Geller left, Elvis descended into the self-destructive behavior and excess that characterized his last seven years and from which he never recovered. Tillery illustrates Presley's deep insecurities and constant need for love, but his portrait of Elvis as a saint and seeker is ultimately unconvincing. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"Over fifty years ago, a talented young singer named Elvis Presley made one of his first appearances on my TV show in New York. Even then, I could see he had a very special presence. Here in this great new book, I feel like I got to know this complex and remarkable man even more than I did before. The Seeker King is a real gift for Elvis fans everywhere!" --Joe Franklin, legendary broadcaster

"While chronicling the full arc of the life and career of Elvis Presley, Gary Tillery zeros in on Presley's constant search for inner peace and spiritual growth. The Seeker King probes beyond Elvis' meteoric rise, worldwide impact, and ultimate demise, casting light on many of the man's personal quests that played out behind the scenes This book will be treasured by Elvis fans everywhere." --Dave Zimmer, author of Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography

"Elvis Presley was an icon of sex, stardom, and rock and roll, but beneath the glitz and Las Vegas glamour brooded a sensitive soul, deeply troubled by life's mysteries. Gary Tillery's highly readable biography shows us another side of the King, as a seeker eager to grasp life's secret meanings, and to explore a whole range of spiritual paths. Elvis may have left the building, but as this book shows, his spirit carries on."
--Gary Lachman, former Blondie bassist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and popular religion writer

"As a big Elvis fan, I thought I had read everything there was to read about him. But this book explores new areas and goes further into old ones. It's a must for Elvis fans and is now definitely a new addition to my library."
--Fred Willard, actor

"This is one fantastic book. The spiritual search that Elvis took to the very moment of his death is eye opening. His goodness is everywhere. He was generous and kind to those he loved and those he didn't. He was sure in his love of God and wanted to be closer to him. A wonderful and spiritual book for every fan and every seeker."
--Mary Willard, playwright, "Elvis and Juliet"

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780835609159
  • Publisher: Theosophical Publishing House
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 563,700
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


A native of the Southwest, Gary Tillery was born in Phoenix in 1947. In 1968-69 he served in Vietnam with the United States Air Force. His enlistment was over in 1970. After two decades in the business world, primarily as co-owner of an advertising agency in suburban Chicago, he turned his time and energy to his lifelong passion for literature and art. He published a collection of interrelated short stories set in Vietnam titled "Darkling Plain", and began a series of humorous novels featuring "soft-boiled" detective Jack Savage--the first two titled Death, Be Not Loud and To An Aesthete Dying Young. Tillery is also a professional sculptor. His most prominent work is the sculpture for the Vietnam Memorial in Chicago. He also created the bronze bust of Steve Allen for the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood; and through his association with the Rotblatt-Amrany Studio he created, among other works, the life-size bronze of Luis Aparicio at U. S. Cellular Field.
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