Cruisin’ With Elvis

Cruisin’ With Elvis

What an experience!  Living for four days in an atmosphere of all Elvis, all the time; sharing a unique world with over two thousand people who love and deeply appreciate Elvis.  I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Surrounded by so many true Elvis fans in such an intimate setting, the vastness of the ocean a dramatic contrast, the atmosphere was saturated with love.  Because of the closeness of the ship and the isolation from the rest of the world, I felt that love even more so than in Memphis. Then it hit me: the fans don’t really know how much Elvis loved and appreciated them. Boy did he ever!  And that’s something they should know.

The first time I styled his hair at his Bel Air home back in early 1964, when we engaged in a three hour conversation, Elvis was openly passionate about his feelings for his fans. “Larry, if it weren’t for my fans I wouldn’t be where I am today; it’s as simple as that.  They go out and buy my records, and pay to see my movies, and most of them can’t even afford it.  I mean I owe them everything, and I appreciate what they’ve done for me and my family more than they’ll ever know.”

Elvis had a genuine love affair with his fans.  All during his life he reached out to them, one way or another, always ready to give of himself: artistically, even materially, whatever it took. But generosity was his second nature.  The underdogs of the world, the needy were quick to move him.  It was a throwback to his own impoverished childhood.

One evening while we were on tour in Oklahoma City I had just finished preparing Elvis’ hair in the dressing room before the concert. One of the assistants who worked for the concert promoters ran up to Elvis, excitedly exclaiming that he had good news!  “What is it?”  Elvis inquired.  “Well, starting on the next tour they’re going to raise the price of your concert tickets; more money for everybody! Isn’t that great?”

“Great? No way, no damn way!”  Elvis stared thoughtfully for a moment, and then shook his head.  “No, that’s not going to happen; I’ll make sure it doesn’t. Listen, no one knows better than I do just how hard it is out there for folks.  A lot of my fans have to struggle to save up just to come to one of my shows, and hear me sing.  And man, do I know all about struggling.  Where I came from we didn’t even have any electricity in our little house. Not only that, we didn’t have running water, or faucets or anything most other people have.  Man, we didn’t even have a bathroom in our place; we had to go outside to the outhouse, in the freezin’ dead of winter. Struggle? Can you even imagine growing up that way, livin’ like that? Seeing what your mom and daddy have to go through. Watching them slave their lives away? Man I’m telling ya, I know all about being poor, it’s branded on my soul, and I can’t ever forget, ever”

Elvis was bursting with emotion.

“Why do you think I go out there very night?  What the hell do ya think keeps me going?”  We all stood in silence.  “Well, I’ll tell ya, and it’s very simple; it’s to make people happy, and bring some joy into their lives.  Hey, life can be so damn hard.  When my fans come to see me, all I want to do is lift them up, help them forget their problems for awhile, and send them some love.  And that’s it right there, that’s exactly what my life is all about…that’s why I’m here”

About Larry Geller

Before becoming Elvis Presley's personal hairstylist, spiritual mentor and confidant in 1964, I worked with the famed Jay Sebring in the very first men's hair styling salon. Our clientele read like a Hollywood Who's Who: Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Peter Sellers, Rock Hudson and many more. The last time I did Elvis' hair was for his funeral in August of 1977.
This entry was posted in Elvis and his fans, Elvis' life purpose. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Cruisin’ With Elvis

  1. Cathie Hilton says:

    Larry,

    I just discovered your interviews through Youtube and bought a few of your books. I can not thank you enough for sharing your memories with us. I have learned so much about Elvis through your gift.

    Do you happen to have a list of Elvis’ books typed up on this blog that I can send to other people through email or the internet? I have the list in your book, If I Can Dream”, but would love not to have to type it up if you have it available. :) I had many of the books on the list already, but have ordered a few new ones.

    Again, thank you so very much for being such a great friend to Elvis. I am so glad he had friends like you. For whatever reason, he still has an impact on my life. I was born in 1960 and my parents played Elvis records and movies for us. I am so grateful for that. Elvis truly enriched my childhood, and I will forever hold a light for the King. :)

  2. Nicoleta says:

    Hi Larry. Do you belive in past lives?

  3. gabriella briganti says:

    You have to make a movie with all these stories and memori4!!Please!!

  4. Mark Tubee says:

    Hi Larry,

    Thank you so much for all yout time, effort and love you put in your stories!!!
    I think and feel that you are the only one who can be trusted with all the Elvis stories that goes around.
    You are the only one who doesn’t do it for the money, but for the love of Elvis and his life and music.
    I first read about you when I bought the book ”If I can Dream” with the black picture on the cover.
    I so much loved it that I had it everywhere with me.
    But due to a fire I lost the book years ago, and up to now I still haven’t found it anywhere.
    It is so hard to get here in Holland, but I hope someday my wish will come true and that I can get it again.
    I am now saving for your e-book you have on here.
    And hopefully someday have other books from you as well.
    You are the one and only I trust with the story of Elvis.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!!!!

    Mark

  5. Sidsel Ferguson says:

    I know Elvis and his family where very poor. I have not red it all until now. Elvis never forgot how he grew up, in poverty. He never ever became arrogant after he earned all his money, allways on tour to please his fans. He was so good. And best of all, he had Jesus in his heart. Are you sure Elvis is dead? I believe he is alive some where in the world. Last I read about it, it was about 35% who belive that Elvis is still alive. I strongly believe he is. Elvis, is Elvis. He was not stupid. He could very well fake his death

    SidselFerguson

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  7. Judy Stambaugh says:

    Larry, this is the first I’ve read your blogs and am enjoying them very much. I can understand Elvis not wanting ticket prices to be raised. As he said himself, he remembered being poor and understood the financial struggle some of his fans had. Elvis never forgot where he came from or that without the fans he wouldn’t have the success he enjoyed. I think even today he would not be happy with the prices of things at Graceland. I have seen how much ticket prices have raised for Graceland and see how impossible it could be for some fans to be able to tour the house and exhibits. I know people who save all year to be able to go to Graceland and take the minimum tour, pay for a hotel, food and still be able to purchase a few things to take back home with them. It just seems to me that with all the people who go thru there in a year that prices could be lowered, more people could afford to go and EPE wouldn’t be losing any money. I can’t imagine that Elvis is okay with the way things are being run. I also want to thank you Larry, for sharing your experiences with Elvis with us and for being a wonderful friend to Elvis. I don’t feel that there were too many people in his life that he could trust with his deepest thoughts so I thank you for being that person in his life.

  8. Anne Farrell says:

    I know that what you say about Elvis’ love for his fans is true. When I watch him with them in videos & concerts and they hug, Elvis NEVER stiffens up, but melts into the hug. To me this is pure unconditional love.
    I was happy to read that Elvis himself did not want ticket prices to increase.
    I never had the honor of meeting him, but did see him in concert in 1976 and May 1977 in MD. My dream was to see him perform in Vegas and maybe meet him, but had no financial means to do so.
    This is your first blog I have read and am impressed with the amount of personal information in it. I read & reread both your books and found them to be extremely interesting. Thank you for being a true friend to Elvis. I’m sure he was a true friend to you, too.

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