Elvis Presley, aka “The King Of Rock ‘n Roll,” is a legend. People loved him at the height of his career, and they still love him today. You can’t walk though a Vegas casino without seeing an Elvis impersonator. People still play his music and buy his albums. His manager’s name is Colonel Tom Parker. Some believe he was a genius, and others believe he was a villain. You are about to learn the little-known truth about how Elvis was exploited by his unscrupulous manager.
Elvis’ Early Years
Elvis was born to a poor family in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1935. He was born a twin; however, less than an hour before Elvis came into the world, his twin brother Jesse was born. Sadly, he was stillborn. Many people believe that the death of his twin affected Elvis his whole life, and it may have made him prone to manipulation.
Love Of Music
Elvis’ love of music began at a very early age. When he was young, he would watch people play guitar, and it picked it up himself. He loved to sing, but never in public. He was very shy. When he practiced singing and playing guitar on his own, he got better and better. In the 50s, when Elvis really broke out. When he was first heard on the radio, people thought that he was black due to the sound of his voice. When he made his famous appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, people saw that he was white. He also saw that he had some amazing moves. This is when people saw him as a star.
Thanks to his radio and television exposure, people started to love Elvis. When he had a performance scheduled at the Alabama Fair and Dairy Show, the National Guard had to be brought in to control the crowd. While Elvis’ star was rising, his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was the one pulling the strings. Parker was from the Netherlands, and it is believed that he fled to the United States to escape a murder charge. Those who knew Elvis’ manager described him as a psychopath.
After a run in the carnival business, Parker set his sights on music. His first client was singer, Gene Austin. After working for the Humane Society, Parker decided to put on a concert to raise money for the cause. This was when he discovered Eddy Arnold and soon became his manager. He took 25 percent of the singer’s earnings. This was when he started calling himself Colonel, and in 1952, he began managing teen singer, Tommy Sands. A year later, Tommy fired Colonel over another singer he was managing. In 1955, he discovered Elvis who would eventually make him rich.
Out To Dinner
In 1955, Colonel heard Elvis sing, and he was impressed. The same night, he took Elvis to dinner and then booked a few shows for him. During these performances, he was greeted by screaming teens. Soon after, Elvis signed a management contract with Colonel. The 1955 contract that Elvis signed gave Colonel 25 percent of his earning. Over time, this earned the man millions.
Colonel knew that people loved Elvis, and his merchandise sold like hotcakes. He knew that there were also people who hated Elvis for his racy moves and music, so he started selling, “I Hate Elvis” merchandise for this untapped market. Whether people loved Elvis or hated him, there was something for them to buy and fill Colonel’s pockets.
In 1958, Elvis was drafted. His manager saw this as a money-making opportunity, so he invited the media to see him get the military-mandated haircut. When Elvis was offered a position in Special Services, his manager told him not to take it. He was worried that it would make Elvis less popular. When Elvis returned to the states, he was more popular than ever. Many people believe that Colonel forced Elvis to take the draft noticed because if the press looked into his own army records, people would have discovered many very shady things about the manager.
When Elvis returned to the U.S., his manager stopped booking concerts and got him into film. He made one mistake when doing this. Rather than negotiating deals for each movie, he signed a long-term contract with the studios. Colonel didn’t care about the scripts at all. He didn’t even care if Elvis liked them. He wanted him in cheap, quick movies, that would keep his client in the public eye.
When it came time for Elvis to sign new contracts with his manager, Colonel wanted more than the 25 percent he was earning. Under the new contracts, Elvis’ manager was making more money than he was. All of the pressure Elvis was under caused his drug abuse issues and his weight gain. Parker knew about Elvis’ drug abuse but didn’t do anything to stop it. Getting him help could have slowed Colonel’s income. In August 1977, Elvis died at 42 with a massive amount of drugs in his system.
When Elvis died, Colonel didn’t mourn. He worked hard to sell his merchandise and showed up at Elvis’ funeral in a Hawaiian shirt. After Colonel’s death, his wife tried to make excuses for her husband’s greed, but many people believe that he bled Elvis dry during his life, and didn’t prevent his death. He really was a horrible man.