Elvis: Daughter Lisa Marie Presley’s fury at Memphis Mafia ‘They were responsible’

Elvis Presley: Priscilla and Lisa Marie discuss singer in 2012

Lisa Marie came home to Graceland as a baby in 1968 and lived there until she was nine years old. Although her parents separated when she was only four years old, she split her time between her father’s Memphis mansion and her mother, Priscilla’s, new home. Her time with Elvis was filled with endless games and very little discipline. Unfortunately, the same applied to his own life, as he spiralled into increasing dependence on prescription drugs. In a series of blistering attacks years later, Lisa Marie blasted the star’s closest companions, his Memphis Mafia, for their role in his decline and their actions after his death. She called them “slithering mother ****ers.” 

Elvis died on August 16, 1977, surrounded by people in the house, yet alone in his final hours.

Over the years, a succession of tell-all books and TV shows have been made by various members of the Memphis Mafia.

Lisa Marie named three of them in a particularly furious attack, accusing them of contributing to her father’s demise and then profiting from it afterwards.

She referred to: “ Sonny West, Marty Lacker, Red West, all these people that were worse than him.”

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She added: “They scared the hell out of me when I was a kid, too. I remember seeing the Playboys, the drugs, the women – I watched it all, and I watched them. I know the real story behind all of them.”

Shortly before he died, Elvis became aware and deeply upset that three of his former guards – Red West, his cousin Sonny West, and David Hebler – were about to publish a book. The salaciously detailed Elvis, What Happened? was set to expose the star’s drug use and unhealthy lifestyle.

The trio had been fired, officially to save money, but they claimed it was because they had tried to force Elvis to face his addiction issues.

Over the years, these three and numerous others from Elvis’ inner circle would continue to give interviews, release books and make documentaries revealing yet more private details about their former friend and boss.

Lisa Marie was particularly upset about the E! True Hollywood Story: The Last Days of Elvis, which included many of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia and other associates.

She said: “I couldn’t believe they were trying to take his dignity… I just thought, ‘You slithering mother****ers have no right. None.

“‘You were responsible for this just as much as he was. His dignity was one of the most important things to him, and you are trying to take it away.'”

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He fury drove her to write the doing Nobody Noticed It for her 2003 debut album, To Whom It May Concern.

In another interview, she said: “I wrote that to relieve myself of something I saw on TV about him, on the E! True Hollywood Story. It actually did me in, emotionally, for days. 

“What made me angry was the interviews with the mother****ers who hung around him. These idiots were so disgusting–they helped him go down and were actually worse than he was. 

“It infuriated me. They were trying to take away his dignity, the one thing that was most important to him. And I needed to strike back at that. I happened to be going to the studio, and I got the melody in my head and started to cry.”


The lyrics of the song paint a picture of Elvis suffering alone, with nobody to help him.

They say:  All that you had to endure, Nobody noticed it,” and go on to promise, “Well, they tried to make, You look broken, But not while I’m living.”

While everyone from the Memphis Mafia has always protested over the years that there was no way to help Elvis, that it was impossible to ever challenge his wishes, Lisa Marie believed they should have done more.

But she also recognised that it’s rare that stars like her father survive such an extraordinary pressures and lifestyles.

Lisa Marie said: “He didn’t have anyone to keep him levelled off. You get into this world where nothing you do is wrong. 

“I don’t think any artist has really done that well with it – they usually end up destroying themselves. Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison . . . he wasn’t the only one. 

“It’s like you have no basis anymore. No foundation. And I think he was one of the first ones to go through it. 

“It was very lonely there, where he was. I know that.”

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