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.
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.
Very good book. Very pro Elvis!
A memoir and memories
As an Elvis fan sine the first time I can remember listening to music I really enjoyed reading this book which is Jerry's memoirs and his memories of his best friend. I believe the is the best of the books about Elvis that I have read as it is honest without being mean spirited and reports the good and the bad following Jerry through his life that was dominated by his relationship with the greatest performer who ever lived.
Thank you Jerry Schilling for this wonderful book you wrote on your lifelong friendship with Elvis Presley. I have been an Elvis Presley fan for as long as I can remember, and your details in this book are so vivid, I felt as I was living and experiencing that moment with you. Elvis needed more friends like you, the kind that only wanted his friendship and nothing more. He didn’t seem to have that with many that were around him. He was blessed with you in his life, as I’m sure you felt blessed being his friend. Elvis Presley was just a human being like the rest of us, but many people expected him to be so much more and it took a toll on him. I was never lucky enough to see or meet him in person, so I thank you for this beautifully written book.
Forever an Elvis Fan, Audrey Abbott