Lisa Marie Presley called Elvis’s song written about her ‘treacherous’
Throughout her life, Lisa Marie Presley had a complicated relationship with Graceland. She later criticized “That Damn Backyard”, saying it was macabre to have a family graveyard in the backyard. Tragically, she now rests there, along with her father, her grandparents, and her only child, Benjamin Keough, who died in July 2020. The shocking loss of Lisa Marie earlier this year, on January 12, brings the grief full circle. history. Her own childhood in the Memphis mansion was a dizzying whirlwind of excess and joy, which began to unravel when her parents separated in 1972, when she was just four years old. A deeply personal song by Elvis Presley speaks to her own pain during that period.
Elvis’s entire life was defined by his music, but he wasn’t a songwriter and very few of his iconic songs were really that personal to him. All great songs find universal resonance, plus he brought all of his considerable vocal talents to the recordings and added charisma and scenery to his live performances.
But it’s one of the later, lesser-known songs from the music legend that speaks directly about his own life and that of his young daughter. He sings about the tears he cries for her when they are separated from her and her pain that her parents are no longer together.
Years later, Lisa Marie, who had become a recording artist in her own right, revealed that she was drawn to the “darker” side of emotions and this was reflected in her favorite Elvis songs.
Lisa Marie said: “I like the darker songs, the sad ones. There’s a song called Separate Ways that was treacherously painful.”
The song was released in September 1972, with the iconic Always On My Mind on the B-side. Incredibly, it was written by one of Elvis’s inner circle, his Memphis Mafia, a man Lisa Marie would later condemn as a “disgusting idiot… a son of a bitch.”
Separate Ways was written by Robert ‘Red” West, one of Elvis’ bodyguards in May 1972, along with rising songwriter Richard Mainegra, who was sure The King would turn down a song that so blatantly depicted his own troubled life.
Mainegra said: “We started leaning the storyline towards Elvis’ breakup with Priscilla and how it affected his daughter. He (Red) told me that when he was done, Elvis was going to cut the song. I let it go in one ear and out the other I thought: ‘No way!’ Why would Elvis want to sing about his personal life that was already being dragged through the media every day in the first place?’”
Elvis, however, embraced the track, which also gave its name to a compilation album that same year.
The lyrics begin: “I see a change coming in our lives, it’s not the same as it used to be, and it’s not too late to realize our mistake, we’re just not meant for each other. Love has run away to the left”. We’re just friends, we almost seem like strangers, all that’s left between us are the memories we shared, of the times we thought we loved each other.”
Elvis and Priscilla had already separated and would divorce in 1973. The following verses refer directly to Lisa Marie, who was only four years old at the time.
The song continues: “There’s nothing left to do but go our separate ways, and pick up all the pieces that were left behind, and maybe one day, somewhere along the way, another love will find us. Someday, when I’m older, maybe I will”. understand why her mom and her dad aren’t together. The tears she will cry when she has to say goodbye will tear my heart forever.”
Red West was one of three members of the Memphis mob, along with his cousin Sonny West and David Hebler, who had been fired from their jobs and wrote a tell-all book. Elvis, what happened? it was released two weeks before the star’s death on August 16, 1977, and caused him considerable distress.
Lisa Marie later said, “These idiots were so disgusting…they helped him down and they 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.” “
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