Who Murdered Elvis?: He made the Mob and the FBI furious

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Overview

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Who Murdered Elvis?

Presley's father knew he was murdered, but his

cries for an investigation were blocked by

every level of the government - why?

On November 20th, 2008, two years after the

government rejected reopening the Presley

case with concrete evidence, Elvis researcher

Jared Parker was brutally murdered.

Parker was going to expose newly uncovered

letters written by Elvis implicating Mob and FBI

operatives who were threatening his life.

Who's behind the cover up?

"It seems almost as if the City of Memphis

itself does not care to know the truth about

the death of it's most famous citizen"

- Geraldo Rivera, ABC News, 1979

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781475938425
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/8/2012
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Who Murdered Elvis?

He made the Mob and the FBI furious
By STEPHEN B. UBANEY

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Stephen B. Ubaney
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-3808-1


Chapter One

The Arrangement

"Now you listen to me; the only thing that's important is that that man is on stage tonight—nothing else matters—nothing!"

- Larry Geller, Elvis: The Last 24 Hours

If you want the same regurgitated Elvis fluff that's been written over the past 35 years, stop reading now. There are hundreds of other books that celebrate and worship The King and soft-pedal his tragic death. This book, instead, was written with two purposes in mind—one, to dispel the myth and fantasy that surround this man's untimely death; and two, finally set the record straight. Elvis Presley was murdered. There's new evidence that proves it. And it's time to rewrite the history books.

A literal truckload of books have been written about Elvis, and almost all of them were intended to do nothing more than profit from the specter of the man. They ask no difficult questions and deliver no real worth. But after a time even the most casual observers would begin asking questions, questions that no one had answers for. For me that day was August 16th, 2007—the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.

On this date there were televised festivities from Graceland and another candlelight vigil for the fallen idol. The ceremony was almost an identical rerun of every major Presley-death anniversary, except for a startling set of interviews. These interviews, broadcast to a national and worldwide audience, simply made no sense. On this particular anniversary a reporter interviewed the members of Presley's staff who were eye witnesses to the discovery of Presley's body.

One after another, the television captured short video clips and none of the stories were the same. In fact, the witnesses couldn't even agree on the simplest of details—what color pajamas Elvis wore, where the body was found or even what time of day it was. I witnessed these interviews in disbelief. How could these "witnesses" be telling different stories and why hasn't anyone investigated these accounts? These were questions well worth asking.

This book, for the first time, connects the disparate snippets of information into a final and believable event. Finally the world will know what happened. But before answers come questions. Exactly who was the real Elvis Presley? The name itself flashes mental images of the glamor and excitement that embodies Americana. From curled lip to swiveled hip, no entertainer riveted his audience and changed the societal landscape like this one man. Men wanted to be him, women wanted to bed him and Hollywood lusted to invent anyone with such an intoxicating persona.

Born in the most impoverished of circumstances and the only remaining sibling of a stillborn identical twin, Elvis Presley's stature in life didn't look promising. This shy, sad and unattractive boy cat walked his way through childhood, living an unpopular existence. He was a mama's boy who looked different than the other kids and was bullied throughout his childhood in Tupelo, Mississippi. His popularity didn't improve when the family uprooted and moved to Memphis in 1948, where his flashy clothing and James Dean haircut offended everyone in his conservative "Brush Cut" community.

In Memphis, the adolescent Presley attended high school, worked nights and added to his gospel-music roots by watching black performing artists Arthur Crudup, Rufus Thomas and B.B. King. Elvis was unsophisticated, poor and an untrained musician who played entirely by ear. High School was especially tormenting for the young Presley as classmates hurled insults, apples and eggs at the kid who dressed like a freak and played what they considered to be raunchy rockabilly music.

By 1953, Presley had gathered enough courage to saunter into Sun Records and try his hand at recording. Sun Records was owned by Sam Phillips who was always on the lookout for new music trends. Unfortunately, Phillips was unimpressed and young Presley left with only the recording that he'd paid for and not much else. What happened after this failure changed the world. Regardless of what claims have been made over the years, the person who discovered the greatest natural talent in music history was Marion Keisker, and she was the secretary at Sun Records. During that now famous first recording session, she understood that Elvis had the perfect blend of styles to fit what Sam Phillips was looking for.

More than a year passed before Phillips finally gave in to Keisker's repeated attempts to put him on Presley's trail. After all, Phillips was searching for a white kid who sounded black, and could merge the two profitable markets into one. Presley was granted recording sessions at Sun Records which led to local radio air time, and live appearances that created a public spectacle. By 1955 Presley's act had caught the attention of Tom Parker, a savvy music-industry veteran since his promotion Minnie Pearl, Hank Snow, Gene Austin, June Carter, Roy Acuff and Eddy Arnold in the early 1940's. Parker had many mysterious industry ties and had frequented Las Vegas since Sin City was a town of just 10,000 residents.

In 1945, Parker struck a managerial agreement with Eddy Arnold for a 25% cut of the profit, and Arnold would pay the expenses. This was a double-edged sword for Arnold, because Parker was a good manager but he wanted to control and dominate every facet of Arnold's life, and was selling merchandise and secretly managing other performers on Arnold's dime. These side deals happened frequently with those in power at RCA Victor and although Arnold needed Parkers management skills he knew that he was being exploited. While Parker transformed Arnold from a country bumpkin into a superstar with radio shows, movies and appearances in Las Vegas, the two men eventually loathed each other and their arrangement ended badly. This would be a situation that Elvis Presley would come to know all too well in the years that followed.

Elvis' mother, Gladys Presley, distrusted Tom Parker on sight and warned Elvis to stay away from him. A similar warning came from Eddy Arnold himself, but Elvis ignored them. Their agreement was eerily similar to Eddy Arnold's years prior. Parker agreed to represent Elvis for 25% commission on all monies, and charged Elvis for expenses, as he had Eddie Arnold. Parker also peddled Elvis buttons, posters and other souvenirs from his vendor's apron and would eventually conjure up huge side deals with RCA Victor that Elvis would never profit from. Eddy Arnold was merely a dress rehearsal of what was to come with Elvis as every trick that Parker pulled on Presley he'd done years before. Years prior when Parker managed Roy Acuff he gave him the moniker of "The King of Country Music". It was all a fatal repeat that would end fatally.

From the first minute of Parker's management over Presley things would be different than they were under Sun Records. Parker never let Elvis do interviews and intentionally kept him away from TV talk shows which turned Elvis into an object of limitless fantasy. The control over interviews made Elvis more exotic, mysterious and obscure. It also forced fans to pay a handsome sum to see him, which was highly desirable Parker. By 1956 Elvis and Parker had signed a contract with the William Morris talent agency under the major recording label of RCA Victor and the worlds of race, culture and music had changed forever.

It was not smooth sailing however as Presley's act outraged conservative America. In late 1956, a Florida judge declared that Presley's music undermined the youth of America. The FBI was alerted to Presley's stage hysteria and he was deemed a danger to the security of the nation. His gyrations were viewed as a self-gratifying striptease with clothes on, and in many cases, he was seen as a savage, depraved, sexual pervert.

Parker knew it would only be a matter of time before Elvis Presley's life would be threatened, and it was. The same FBI that had carefully monitored Presley's every move to protect the general public against this vulgar new star had now been called upon to protect him. The bull's-eye on Elvis became larger every day as a portion of society rallied against this obscene and radical new music that had hijacked the innocent American youth. Despite the attempts by judges, parents and sensationalistic tales planted to vilify Elvis' character it appeared that nothing could stop the rising star—a rise driven, in part, by Colonel Parker's behind-the-scenes manipulation.

All the fame and fortune that the public saw never hinted at the darker side of the industry and its ever-present undertow. Beyond the resistance of black disc-jockeys who didn't want to play a record by a "white boy" because he'd been accused of "stealing" Negro rhythm-and-blues, and the full-scale rebuke of conservative adults who rejected the image of teenage rock-n-roll rebellion, other more sinister factors lay at work. Parker understood the sinister undertow of the music business and knew how to manipulate the players.

In the same way that fight promoters owned the top contenders that other fighters must face to become a champion, the mafia owned the entire entertainment industry and the price tag attached to any climb toward stardom. With his eyes on nothing more than his 25% commission, and whatever side deal he could manufacture, Parker's short-sightedness and continued involvement with unsavory characters, would cost him dearly.

In 1958, while under contract with Paramount Pictures for seven pictures, and in the midst of shooting his fourth feature film King Creole, Elvis received a letter from the Memphis draft board, ordering him to report for service in the US Army. Panic-stricken with fear they'd be sued by the movie studio for breach of contract, Colonel Parker pulled every string possible to get a favorable outcome and the Army granted Elvis a 60-day extension to complete the film.

A "favor" from the US Army was as impossible then as it is today, but Parker's contacts completed this seemingly impossible task a mere 16 days after the letter was opened. Nowhere in the US government does business happen so swiftly without incredible pull, and Tom Parker had it. He asked precious favors from sinister people in very high places, and those favors would have to be paid back at a time of their choosing.

Elvis, like the rest of the American public, was totally unaware that the CIA and FBI were deeply involved in various domestic programs that murdered or removed anyone whom they felt pushed the government or society along an ill-favored path. CIA projects such as the Operation Chaos, The Merrimac and Resistance Programs were designed and used to infiltrate, disrupt and destroy dissident groups by any means necessary.

Mark Zepezauer writes about such projects in his book The CIA's Greatest Hits: "... the CIA used its domestic organizations to spy on thousands of US citizens whose only crime was disagreeing with their government's policies." To those in power, it seemed that to ensure peace in the nation and keep everyone on the same page, the government would have to break a few constitutional laws—a small price to pay for delivering the illusion of control to the general public and maintaining order.

While Elvis Presley wasn't public enemy No. 1, he'd managed to gyrate himself to the full attention of both the FBI and the CIA and his stage hysteria was deemed a danger to the morals of the nation. Parents, teachers and even churches across the nation complained and wanted him off camera. The governmental powers that be had no choice but to act in a way that would ease the nation's uproar. The only logical thing for the US government to do was to find a way to get Elvis out of society and keep him away from the spotlight.

They saw him as a bump and grind musical fad, and they thought he'd fizzle out. Although sending Elvis a draft notice came as a sudden shock to most people, it was a long time in coming from the US government's point of view. It was the path of least resistance for the Bureau, and the most cost-effective way to handle the situation until they hysteria calmed down and parents could be pacified. Besides, back in 1958, sending someone to Germany to serve in the Army was the equivalent of sending them to another planet which solved the FBI's issue with Presley well.

However, at that time in history, organized crime that circled within both the entertainment industry and the US government knew that sending Elvis a draft notice while he was under contract and in the midst of filming a movie would put him in an obvious breach of contract with Paramount Pictures. It was designed to happen that way because it would pinch Tom Parker into a desperate move: he'd run to the mob and ask for powerful favors to circumvent the problem. Either way, both the US government and the mob pulled off this well-planned maneuver and put both Elvis Presley, and more importantly, Tom Parker in their debt for years to come. For many reasons, drafting Elvis Presley worked for both the mob and the government, and the two definitely weren't strangers.

Drafting Elvis to soothe societies uproar worked so well it was repeated years later. In 1964 Cassius Clay defeated "Sonny" Liston and won the Heavyweight Championship of the World. Days later Clay informed the press that he'd converted to the Nation of Islam and his new name was Muhammad Ali. The Nation of Islam, at that time, was well connected with black militants, such as the Black Panthers, who were creating a great deal of unrest for the FBI in America's inner cities. Almost immediately Cassius Clay was "reclassified" and drafted into the US Army to remove him from society. In the same way that Tom Parker had honed his skills to perfection on Eddy Arnold, the FBI had honed their skills with the drafting of Elvis Presley, or whoever they deemed to be a menacing newcomer of the day. This had never happened before Presley, but it has happened many times since.

As Elvis' Army life passed, so did his beloved mother and the trip back to Graceland complicated things for Colonel Parker. Handling Elvis' business affairs and maintaining his country-boy image before the general public that once called him "a savage," was no easy task. A solemn Elvis now returned to Graceland to mourn his mother (who was also his best friend). His father Vernon Presley, who'd already remarried a divorcee named Davada (Dee) Stanley, and her three small sons Billy, Rick and David were also new residents.

Joining Elvis on his return trip were his usual high-school friends Lamar Fike, Red West, Sonny West, his cousin Billy Smith and new Army buddies Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito and Marty Lacker. This core group of best friends and confidants later came to be known as the "Memphis Mafia"—a term coined by the media as they were seen driving up to Las Vegas hotels in suits, sunglasses and limousines. Although the term Memphis Mafia was nothing more than a tag that labeled Elvis Presley's loyal friends, who also served as his employees, the real mafia didn't like the term at all.

Even the hint of Elvis with the mafia would start people digging for answers and who knew what they'd find. Exposure is the one thing that neither the mob nor Parker could withstand. Elvis and his family were equally petrified by this term as the general public was unaware that members of organized crime had attempted to take over Presley's career. Unfortunately, and without their knowledge, it had already happened.

Back at Graceland, Elvis' new band of brothers (the Memphis Mafia) had soon given way to 24-hour tomfoolery that was despised by Parker and Vernon alike. The two men initially distrusted these members and saw them as "hangers-on" who surrounded the star with unhealthy influences. Eventually each was given a job necessary to the business and the situation eased. Since the friends weren't on Parker's payroll and they helped with the function of the business, they were eventually accepted by Parker but were always kept at arm's length with the exception of Joe Esposito.

When Parker learned that the heartbroken Elvis was courting a 14-year-old girl named Priscilla when he was stationed in Germany, and that she was the daughter of a career officer in the Air Force, he turned irate and scolded both Elvis and his father for their stupidity. Parker knew a disaster when he saw one and he knew that even the slightest hint of sexual relations between Elvis and a 14-year-old girl would end Presley's career and the honest farmboy image that took so much effort to create.

Parker reminded them that the same thing had happened years earlier to another rock-n-roll star, Jerry Lee Lewis as the mention of him dating a teenager ruined his career. There was no guesswork surrounding the issue: Parker knew damage control was needed immediately to safeguard the star's reputation. To do it, Parker needed to control the release of information in the entertainment industry. That put him face-to-face once again with the only source that controlled it, the mob. Once again they had saved Elvis Presley, but debts were mounting.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Who Murdered Elvis? by STEPHEN B. UBANEY Copyright © 2012 by Stephen B. Ubaney. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    I had a great time reading this book and really enjoyed it. I w

    I had a great time reading this book and really enjoyed it. I would
    recommend it to everyone who wants to find a great book to read. I
    would hope everyone gets a chance to read it because it is very
    interesting to learn what happened to Elvis Presley. Elvis Fans and non
    Elvis fans would both like it.

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

    Posted August 19, 2012

    Horrible book. Not worth a dollar. Under 200 pages long, most of

    Horrible book. Not worth a dollar. Under 200 pages long, most of which
    is quotes from other people. The story makes no sense and the author is
    not credible especially to make such accusations.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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