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

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Don’t pity me for eating alone, just give me a better table

Rosie Millard
Aerial view of planned third runway at Heathrow  

Heathrow expansion: This final 'conclusion' has simply fanned the airport flames

Chris Blackhurst
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her