Elvis Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley says that Elvis did not believe his was a drug addict. Following years of declining health and prescription drug abuse, Elvis died of a heart attack on August 16th, 1977 at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. The eagerly awaited HBO documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher will premiere on April 14th on HBO, including never-before-seen photos and footage from private collections worldwide. Out today (April 6th) is the official three-disc soundtrack to the doc featuring a career spanning look at Elvis’ classic work, including previously unreleased performances and alternate takes.
The documentary was directed by Bruce Springsteen’s longtime filmmaker, Thom Zimny and produced by Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau, Priscilla Presley, and original “Memphis Mafia” member Jerry Schilling, who now serves as the president of the Beach Boys’ Brother Records’ Inc.
Priscilla told The Associated Press that Elvis was in a state of denial about his drug use: “He didn’t think he was addicted. It was a part of his life, really. There was no Betty Ford (Center). There were no rehab centers. But he didn’t think he had to go to a rehab center. There were prescribed to him. The doctors knew what they were giving to him. So that was pretty much a part of his life.”
She went on say that including only archival footage and stills sets The Searcher apart from other films: “Most documentaries, you see people talking, and I think that takes you out of the film. So you do get distracted, where here, you take on the flow, you can see what’s going on visually and you’re not taken out of that moment, and I think that’s brilliant.”
In a teaser promoting for the upcoming doc, Priscilla explained what truly made the “The King” tick: “Y’know, really Elvis was all about the music and people did not get that. Y’know, people try to complicate it. The music was so much a part of his life that in sharing his music, you lived it with him.”
Photo Courtesy of HBO