Another body of opinion on the King

Related Topics
Today I am proud to bring you an exclusive interview with a leading expert on the late Elvis Presley, Jerry Bonaventura. Jerry is over here from his naive America to publicise his new book, Elvis Presley - The Posthumous Years.

Welcome to Britain, Mr Bonaventura.

Thanks very much. Incidentally, I am over here from my native America, not my naive America, as you just said.

I am sorry. It was just a joke.

I appreciate it. Especially as I am a Canadian.

You're a Canadian?

Yes. I think you'll find that most of the most important and influential figures in American public life are of Canadian origin.

Bill Clinton isn't Canadian.

My point exactly.


Yes, well, turning to your book, `Elvis Presley, The Posthumous Years', I believe this is the first publication on the man which actually takes his dying day as its starting point.

Apart from his autopsy report.

Apart, as you say, from his autopsy report. But isn't this a little unconventional? To write the life of a man and deal only with his dead years?

Well, there are two answers to that. One is that his life has been exhaustively written about, and the only space for a new book was in his posthumous days. That's obviously a trivial and facile answer, so I won't give that. The other is that what has happened to Elvis's reputation in the years since his death is just as interesting in its own way as what happened when he was alive.

How interesting is it?

Very interesting.

Try and interest me.

Well, for starters, you've got the whole phenomenon of people who refuse to believe that Elvis is dead. That never happened in his lifetime.

On the contrary, there were millions of people in his lifetime who refused to believe he was dead. I was one of them. I always thought he was alive in his lifetime.

Wise guy. What I am saying is that there are people now who think he is still alive, which is the same as believing he was dead during his lifetime. There were in fact quite a few people in his lifetime who thought he was dead at the time. They were nearly right, some of the time.

Where do they think he is now, those people who think he is still alive?

On another planet, mostly.

Do they think Colonel Tom Parker is also alive on another planet, still forcing the reborn Elvis to make very bad alien movies ?

No, I have not come across that theory before.


Getting back to your book, did you find it difficult to write about a man who died when you were only three years old?

Not at all. I was reading the other day in your English papers about a life of Daniel Defoe which has just come out. Nobody says to the author of that, "Wasn't it a bit daring writing about a man who has been dead so long, whom you never even met?".

Point taken. On the other hand, the book is about Defoe when alive, not about the dead Defoe.

Listen, wise guy. Every biography I have ever read of anyone famous has a chapter or two at the beginning about the subject's antecedents. About his parents and their parents and where they came from, and the politics of the time and all that. Right?


So what you've got there is a whole lot of stuff about the man's prenatal background. About him before he is alive. Right?


So, if they can write all that stuff about his prenatal years, why can't I do it about his posthumous years? After all, with all due respect to Mr Defoe, there is nobody going round imitating him today, but it is reckoned there are now more than 10 times the number of Elvis impersonators alive today than when he was alive. If they go on increasing at that rate, it has been calculated there will be more people imitating him by the year 2044 than people listening to them.

Yes, but ...

And that's just the impersonators who imitate the young, living Elvis. Did you realise that there is a growing school of Elvis impersonators who imitate Elvis Presley as he would be if he were alive today and a 62-year-old rocker?


React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Recruitment Genius: HVAC & Mechanical Service Estimator

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Yorkshire based firm looking to...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in August  

Ferguson: The sad truth is that Michael Brown was killed because he was a black man

Bonnie Greer
A protestor poses for a  

Ferguson verdict: This isn't a 'tragedy'. This is part of a long-running genocide of black men in America

Otamere Guobadia
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty