Elvis Presley is known and loved the world over for ushering in the era of American rock ‘n’ roll. And even to this day, Elvis-mania persists, even though the star himself passed away back in 1977. Yet even devoted fans of the King may not know everything about the man who helped earn him his crown. That controversial figure made millions for himself, too, thanks to the talents of his young charge.
The larger-than-life, cigar-smoking Colonel Tom Parker acted as Elvis’ manager, and he reportedly worked relentlessly and ruthlessly to make the singer a superstar. Indeed, it was Parker who arranged Elvis’ shows, promoted his albums and turned him into a part of mainstream American life. And he’s a near-mythical figure for Elvis researchers, who have cast him both in the role of both deeply flawed hero and nightmarish villain.
Yet the entrepreneur’s true impact on the life and career of the musical icon is still up for debate. So, did Parker help or hinder Elvis through his own unscrupulousness? Well, that’s a question that can perhaps only be answered with an in-depth look at Parker’s story.