Musician Biographies » Elvis Presley » Elvis, What Happened? - “if I Can Dream”, Back In The Studio, Las Vegas Concert, Strange Days, Priscilla And Elvis Split

Elvis, What Happened? - Strange Days

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Elvis's career was going fairly well, but his personal life was getting stranger and stranger, starting in the early 1970s. The Memphis Mafia, many of whom were relatives or childhood friends, catered to his whims. He had a gun collection and shot televisions if he happened to dislike what was on them. He made up for his fits of temper with equally extreme fits of generosity. He might spend $85,000 buying out a jewelry store to present all of his close associates with jewelry. Often the jewelry was inscribed with the letters “TCB,” which stood for Elvis's motto: Taking Care of Business. He might spend more than $100,000 buying Cadillacs, Rolls-Royces, Mercedes-Benzes, and the like for friends or even for complete strangers who happened to be in the car showrooms.

Elvis became increasingly dependent on drugs. Elvis was against the use of hard drugs, and he did not approve of drinking or of smoking marijuana. He had started using amphetamines, or speed, to stay awake during guard duty when he was in the army. He continued the practice throughout his life.

Elvis also took diet pills to control his eating habits. He always ate exactly what he wanted, including plenty of burnt bacon, grilled peanut butter sandwiches, and hamburgers. Both amphetamines and diet pills are highly addictive. Finally, Elvis took sleeping pills for his insomnia. Because doctors prescribed the pills, Elvis believed he needed the “medicine” the doctors gave him.

Today, we know how addictive prescription drugs are and how careful doctors must be not to overmedicate patients. At that time, no one recognized how serious the problem was—or had the courage to confront Elvis about it—until it was too late. Elvis Presley's drug dependence was tragic. Drugs undoubtedly cut short his career and his life.

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