“I hope I didn’t bore you too much with my life story.”
– Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley was an American singer-songwriter, an actor often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll”. As a musician, he wore rapid fame in the mid-1950s on the radio, TV, and the silver screen, and continues to be one of the biggest names in the rock ‘n’ roll. Later on, his habit of drug abuse ate his life up, which consequently led to a fatal heart attack.
Early life and career
Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. He came from very humble beginnings, decent upbringings and later on grew up to become one of the biggest names in the world of music. His music career began in Memphis, Tennessee in 1954. He was regarded as the leading figure, after a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records. By the mid-1950’s he had appeared on the radio, television, and silver screen.
Presley was commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues, and gospel. In the history of recorded music, he still is one of the best-selling solo artists with estimated record sales of around 600 million units worldwide. He won three Grammys, also receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at the age of 36.
Presley was one of the most significant cultural icons and influential musicians of the 20th century. He also served in the United States Army between March 1958 and March 1960. Soon after, Elvis commenced basic training at Fort Hood, Texas. Subsequently, during a week leave in early June, he recorded 5 songs in Nashville.
In early August that year, his mother was diagnosed with hepatitis and her health rapidly worsened. Presley, granted emergency leave to visit her, arrived in Memphis on August 12. Two days later, she died of heart failure, aged 46. He was shocked and devastated. They had shared a close relationship, even in Presley’s adulthood. Later on, he returned to duty on 2 March 1960 and was honourably discharged with the rank of sergeant.
Presley’s albums were on the top of billboard list. Later on, he was lost in Hollywood, he was now pushed into a heavy film making schedule, focused on formulaic, budgeted musical comedies. Back while Elvis was in Friedberg, he met Priscilla Beaulieu. Shortly before Chrismas 1966, Presley proposed to Priscilla Beaulieu. They got married on May 1, 1967.
Presley’s marriage didn’t work well. He and his wife, consequently, had become increasingly distant, barely cohabiting. In 1971, an affair he had with Joyce Bova and some other personal problems, resulted in the breakdown of their marriage. The failure of Presley’s marriage made him depressed. Elvis and his wife filed for divorce.
‘it was a blow which he never recovered from.’
Presley’s divorce took effect on October 9, 1973. He was now becoming increasingly unwell. Twice during the year, he overdosed himself on barbiturates, spending three days in a coma in his hotel suite. Toward the end of 1973, he was hospitalized, semi-comatose from the effects of pethidine addiction. Gradually, he was becoming a drug addict. Since his comeback, he had staged more live shows and concerts with each passing year, 1973 was the busiest schedule ever with 168 concerts. Despite his failing health, he kept on undertaking another intensive schedule.
All addicts have an inner monster that they must overcome in order to stay sober outside.
It is clear that Elvis turned to prescription drugs in order to feel happy which, on the inside, was eating him up. He wanted to be freed from the mental demons that lay deep within his soul. Eventually, he became selfish emotionally and further distant from his wife Priscilla Presley.
When Presley died
When Elvis died, he lacked family support. His mother, Gladys Presley had already passed away from a heart attack. He was divorced from his wife Priscilla Presley. Additionally, he was also living a highly stressed life, continuously putting on shows and travelling. His diet was out of control as he used to skip meals and took an excess of prescribed pills.
He died at the age of 42, in 1977.
When his body was taken up for post-mortem it revealed the fact that he had over 14 different prescribed medications in his body.
They were all significantly high levels that he was taking. Even though experts argue about the cause of his death, it is clear that he had an addiction. Some experts say that he died of a drug overdose and some others say that it was a heart-related condition, perhaps arrhythmia.
It is clear that his “inner demons” lead him to a life of drug addiction. It is important to understand that our inside thoughts cause and raise in us, a sense of hopelessness and gloom. Presley’s death came in the wake of many years of prescription drug abuse which had led to his deteriorating health.
What can we learn from Elvis Presley’s drug addiction?
We can learn a lot from the story of Elvis Presley.
When an addict assumes that nobody loves them or even bothers about them, they often turn to substance abuse and addiction for some form of escape.
It is important to make the addicts see all of the people that do love them. An intervention is usually the best way to let them know that they must go to rehab to get help. Often, this is the only way to get them to agree to go. Overlooking the problem will not help them get out of their perplexed and tense life, clearing the dilemma to disappear.
Edited by Preetika Dubey