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HomeU.S.AElvis was a religious Christian who prayed earlier than reveals, reveals stepbrother

Elvis was a religious Christian who prayed earlier than reveals, reveals stepbrother

While his followers worshipped him as a rock’n’roll deity, Elvis Presley would say a prayer earlier than happening stage, studying the Bible and trying to God for steerage in all the pieces he did, his stepbrother has recalled.

“Once we noticed him bow his head, then we knew,” Billy Stanley, who additionally labored for the singer, informed the Observer, noting that Presley didn’t recite the prayer aloud. “It was in all probability about 15 seconds lengthy. I requested him as soon as, ‘Why do you say the prayer earlier than?’ He stated: ‘It sort of settles my nerves but additionally I would like God to assist bless this live performance, so make it a very good one.’ He at all times turned to God at any time when he wanted assist.”

Billy Stanley. {Photograph}: Thomas Nelson

Presley as soon as informed him {that a} present was like a primary date: “You by no means actually know the way the date will prove however you at all times hope it will likely be a very good one.”

Though Presley’s love of gospel music is well-known, Stanley believes that the depth of his Christian religion isn’t realised. “He relied on God for all the pieces,” he stated. “It’s the place he acquired his power. Elvis was so appreciative of what the Lord had given him. He thanked God daily and consistently sought God’s steerage by prayer and studying the Bible.”

He added: “Everyone seemed on the glitz and glamour [of Presley]. They didn’t take a look at the person and attempt to perceive his religion. While you’ve spent 17 years with a person, you get to know him fairly effectively.”

Stanley’s insights into life together with his well-known stepbrother will probably be outlined in a forthcoming ebook, The Religion of Elvis, to be printed in October.

The king of rock’n’roll modernised blues, nation and bluegrass, sparking a musical revolution and mass hysteria together with his extraordinary voice, his stage presence, his matinee idol seems and his hip-shaking strikes. He died all of a sudden in 1977, aged 42, however his recognition stays, inspiring Baz Luhrmann’s newest movie, Elvis.

Stanley was seven when he and his two youthful brothers, Ricky and David, moved to Presley’s Memphis mansion, Graceland, in 1960, the 12 months their mom, Dee, married Presley’s father, Vernon.

Presley was 25 and had already discovered fame with hits corresponding to Heartbreak Resort and Love Me Tender. Stanley recalled: “He scooped me and my brothers up in his arms and exclaimed, ‘Daddy, I at all times wished slightly brother. Now I’ve acquired three!’ ”

William Mims, Tuesday Weld and Elvis Presley pray in a scene from the 1961 film Wild in the Country.
William Mims, Tuesday Weld and Elvis Presley pray in a scene from the 1961 movie Wild within the Nation. {Photograph}: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs

As their huge brother and mentor, he taught them “the worth of laughing”, gave recommendation on relationships – “Be protecting of ladies … make them snort. If you are able to do that, they are going to love you for ever” – and boosted their self-confidence, telling them: “With God, all issues are potential.”

He took them by bedtime prayers and browse the Bible with them, generally appearing out its characters. “It was fairly an expertise to have Elvis as your Sunday college instructor,” Stanley stated.

After they first arrived at Graceland, he and his brothers have been too younger to know who Presley was. They have been puzzled by followers who waited on the gates and within the timber outdoors Graceland. Presley informed his stepbrothers: “I’m simply an entertainer.”

In 1961, aged eight, Stanley attended his first Presley live performance: “Out of the blue the lights went down and folks started to scream. That scared us, so we seemed again at Mother and Vernon. They gave us a glance that stated everybody was OK.”

Afterwards, Stanley requested Presley why everybody had screamed: “He smiled. ‘That’s what some folks do once they like one thing.’ ”

He remembers that Presley was such a perfectionist that he would by no means hearken to his personal recordings: “One time I requested him, ‘Elvis, how come you don’t hearken to your individual stuff?’ He stated, ‘Billy, I do know I can at all times do it higher. Once I hear my very own music, all I need to do is go repair it. However I can’t, as a result of it’s already been completed.’ ”

Stanley would hear Presley singing round the home, normally gospel songs: “It was how he would unwind after a live performance. He would sing gospel songs till the solar got here up.”

He added that, whereas Presley having fun with performing rock’n’roll songs corresponding to Hound Canine and Jailhouse Rock, his “coronary heart and soul have been at all times with gospel music”, which he likened to “singing the Bible”.

Presley struggled with dependancy and his playboy picture, and at any time when he confronted self-doubt or something detrimental he would pray, Stanley stated. However Presley by no means went to church together with his brothers, telling Stanley: “I’m afraid if I am going in, folks can pay extra consideration to me than the preacher.”


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