Despite having left this green(ish) earth while sitting on the bog in 1977, Elvis Presley’s cultural capital stubbornly refuses to go away. You know you’ve got a hell of a lot of pop-culture relevance when there’s an annual festival and a Baz Luhrmann biopic of you in the works.
But for all the impact he had on music and entertainment as the “King of Rock n’ Roll”, Elvis was also into something that’s incredibly wrong and will make you rethink whether we should even be celebrating him in the first place: preying on underage teenage girls.
When Elvis’ rocketed to fame in the 1950s, he soon had swarms of young, screaming women following his every move. So like any rock star, he took advantage of the admiration these women had for him, which isn’t that uncommon except for the fact that the women were only 14 years old.
Joel Williamson’s biography, Elvis Presley: A Southern Life, details some of his extremely questionable exploits, such as preying on three 14-year-old girls while on tour, accidentally getting a fan pregnant and leaving her at the hospital to get an abortion, and obsessively calling his 15-year-old girlfriend, Dixie Locke, while he was getting up to no good with all his underage groupies.
When Elvis met his first and only wife, Priscilla, she was only 14 years old whereas he was 24. The “ick” factor gets cranked up a few notches as Priscilla details in her memoir, Elvis and Me, that he did basically everything to her but penetrative sex until they were married in 1967 when she was 22. Guess they were following the “the tip doesn’t count” rule.
While this “no sex before marriage but everything else is fair game” thing was disputed by Suzanne Finstad’s biography on Priscilla, it is documented that Elvis would bring home other women so he can have threesomes involving his wife or would just side on the sidelines as a horny spectator while they went at it.
As a sour cherry on top, Williamson also writes in his biography how Elvis would install two-way mirrors in his Palm Springs home so he could spy on couples getting freaky during the crazy parties he would throw.
So not only was Elvis into teenagers and group stuff, he was also a creepy voyeur.
Elvis may have preyed on underaged girls and spied on people having sex but at least he didn’t abuse anyon – *checks notes* – oh wait, he did.
When Priscilla cheated on Elvis, she writes in her memoir that after telling him he “forcefully made love” to her while saying “This is how a real man makes love to his woman”.
Okay, but at least he didn’t go around firing guns dangerously in a deranged state – *checks more notes* – hang on, he also did that.
In Ginger Alden’s memoir, Elvis & Ginger, she details some of Elvis’ abuse, including one incident when they were in bed and she woke up to the sound of him firing a pistol off and calling it an “attention getter.”
Yeah, there’s no defending Elvis at all, he’s the worst.
There’s no denying that Elvis had in incredible impact on the entertainment world during his lifetime. But there’s also no denying that the “King of Rock n’ Roll” was also an awful human being with some seriously twisted tendencies and should’ve been thrown in the cancelled bin – and a jail cell – long before he died.
It’s perhaps fitting that Elvis Presley ultimately got shuffled off this mortal coil while sitting on the bog. It’s what a predator like him deserves.