"IF I CAN DREAM": Elvis' Own Story by Larry Geller

"IF I CAN DREAM": Elvis' Own Story

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Heady fare for Elvis fans: life with the King as recalled by his hairdresser/spiritual advisor, including verbatim transcripts of Elvis-Geller conversations that Elvis allegedly planned as the basis for his own stillborn autobiography. At the heart of this emotional account--written with the aid of theater-entrepreneur Spector (My Elvis) and professional celeb-coauthor Romanowski (Temptations; Dream-girl: My Life As a Supreme)--is, of all things, the story of Elvis' spiritual development. The King's appetite for otherworldly fodder, it seems, matched his legendary earthly hunger; here, a description of Elvis eating five banana splits for breakfast lies near one of his rambling on to Geller about "how God has used me to get the message across." Geller and Elvis met in 1964 when Geller--a student of yoga and other mystical disciplines--was ascending as one of Hollywood's top hairdressers just as Elvis was descending into show-biz limbo at the greedy hands of Col. Parker. The two sparked, and for much of the next 13 years Geller acted as Elvis' spiritual guide, feeding him esoteric lore and books (a bibliography of Elvis' spiritual library--he travelled with 300 books--appends the text). Here, inside details of Elvis' sincere but bizarre spiritual creed (he evidently believed that he was a kind of singing messiah under the guidance of the Great White Brotherhood) shares space with more mundane fare--Elvis meeting the Beatles, life with the Memphis Mafia, memories of Priscilla. Full of Elvis' own words as jotted down by Geller, the final chapters take on a sad weight as the King drowns in food, drugs, and self-pity, seeking escape in sensuality from the loneliness that sucked at his heart and the pain that tore his body (Geller, startlingly, alleges that Elvis had leukemia). A paradigmatic tale of a man for whom the spirit, finally, proved much weaker than the flesh. Geller writes with great love and honesty and compassion in this frequently astonishing book that will no doubt delight Elvis fans (while leaving most others cold) and that stands as a fascinating complement to Priscilla's Elvis and Me and Albert Gold-man's Elvis.

Pub Date: March 29th, 1989
ISBN: 671-65922-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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