Hound Dogs Books & Media, USA, 2016, 190 pages, Illustrated, Hardcover (ISBN-13: 978-0996788922)/Softcover (ISBN-13: 978-0996788915)/Digital (ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0996788908)
"Mart was your typical small town," he once said. "Just a sleepy, quiet little Texas town. "When we would visit there as kids, everybody knew me and I knew them. I thought that when you died, you went to Mart instead of Heaven." Lamar Fike
"I dated Elvis for about five years and saw Lamar about every time I saw Elvis. He was humorous and so was Elvis, and they were so funny together. They kept me in stitches all the time." Anita Wood
Many of Elvis’ inner sanctum (family, friends and the Memphis Mafia) have released one or more books about their experience with Elvis. In 2011 it was anticipated the larger than life, Lamar Fike, would finally publish his memoir. Publication plans were delayed as Lamar courted interest from Hollywood about a screen adaptation of his book. Then, very sadly, before the book was finished, Lamar passed away on 21 January 2011.
Recently, it became known that before he died, Lamar had also spent several days with researchers L.E. McCullough and Harold F. Eggers, Jr. discussing his 23 years association and friendship with Elvis. The result of those discussions have been released in the book, Elvis: Truth, Myth & Beyond An Intimate Conversation with Lamar Fike Elvis Presley's Closest Friend and Confidant.
McCullough and Eggers' book is a compilation of 400 questions and answers that provide a multi-lensed window into Lamar Rielly Fike’s forthright and candid perspective on the King. Each of the wide ranging chapters contain questions and answers for a particular category. Some of the chapter titles are:
The questions asked of Lamar by the authors are broad and cover a spectrum from the somewhat prosaic to the deep and meaningful, and occasionally unusual.
Examples of the 400 questions include:
- Family Roots: The Boy in the Man
- Elvis Meets America: The 1950’s
- Elvis and the Colonel
- The Everyday Elvis
- Elvis and Priscilla
- Elvis and His Other Women
- Elvis and His Public
- The Inner Elvis: Feelings, Emotions, Sorrows & Joys
- Living on the Edge: Elvis & Danger
- Elvis Is In the Building – The 1970’s
- The Final Day
- Did Elvis ever talk of his childhood?
- Was Elvis’ early success aided by radio payola?
- (in relation to his Army days) Did he perform at any of the USO shows?
- So, the Memphis Mafia served as a shield for his eccentricities?
- Did he ever connect with [Marlon] Brando over the years?
- Elvis was really going to get rid of the Colonel as his manager?
- Did Priscilla have knowledge of Elvis’ drug use when they first got married?
- Did his concern of the affair [Priscilla and Mike Stone] affect the music at some point?
- Was he ever rejected by a woman?
- Was Elvis not a fan of ribs?
- Did Elvis want to buy a helicopter?
- Did he get into nature much?
- Was it tough for Elvis to decompress after a show?
- Did Elvis read his concert or record reviews?
- Did Elvis ever do any private shows?
- At the end, do you think Elvis was consumed by depression?
- Was Elvis’ last year a sort of slow suicide?
- What is it about Elvis that makes some people regard him as almost a saint or a divine being?
Lamar’s answers are, as you would expect from one of Elvis’ most outspoken and colourful friends……..thoughtful, incisive, often thought provoking, sometimes surprising and invariably, illuminating.
In relation to Lamar’s answers, the following are instructive:
Q. Were you ever fired?
Verdict: Elvis: Truth, Myth & Beyond is an easy to read and enjoyable book. At times it entertains or educates. At other times it makes you think or elicits a smile as you come face to face with the wonderfully wry and dry Lamar Fike sense of humor. It is also the sort of book you can casually browse from time to time to refresh your memory and understanding of the complex person that was Elvis Aaron Presley.
Elvis: Truth, Myth & Beyond includes a Foreword by Marty Lacker and also contains a brief biography of the very interesting and diverse life of Lamar Fike.
A. I was fired about 300 times. Maybe 400. And then he'd hire me back. Everybody got fired. He just did it. He fired me more than anybody, because I was always arguing with him.
Q. Was Elvis obsessed with his public image?
A. (part of answer)
Elvis never knew at any given time what caused whatever he did. It just happened. I remember one time Wolfman Jack was backstage. Jack just asked Elvis, "What's it like to be Elvis Presley?" Elvis just stopped cold. I was sitting right beside him. He said, "Where did that question come from?" I said, "I have no idea. Can you answer it?" He said, "I don't think I can." He finally told Jack, he said "I can't answer that. I don't know."
That was probably the best question I've ever heard asked of Elvis, and he couldn't answer it.......It just stunned him. It was like somebody had just landed a flying saucer andf started talking......
Q. (about performing overseas) How was the Colonel able to keep these offers at bay?
He would read the bad reviews and get pissed off about them. They put him down big time. We'd just try to keep everything away from him. Any good press was bad press to Elvis. He'd pick out something the guy said. It'd piss him off. So he just got so he didn't read it. He wouldn't read his reviews. We just wouldn't put his reviews around him. They'd talk about his weight and stuff like that. ?He'd go crazy. Just get mad and start throwing shit, make our life miserable.