Elvis Presley toured relentlessly around the USA from the late 1960s, and was even due to fly back to a concert on the very day he died in 1977. From 1969 to 1976, he had a legendary seven-year residency at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, which had the biggest showroom in the city at that time. The King of Rock and Roll’s stepbrother has just revealed that the star had a spiritual ritual he would carry out every evening after he finished performing to 2,000 fans across a record-breaking 636 shows.
Billy Stanley, Elvis’ stepbrother, recently opened up about the side of the King that fans have never known.
He described a tender version of a man who acted like an older brother to him, and was vulnerable even in his strongest moments.
He also remembered how Elvis left himself unguarded every night after singing. Instead of using alcohol or drugs to bring himself back down from the adrenalised high of performing, Elvis would turn to one of the biggest passions he retained from his childhood: his religion.
Billy revealed that Elvis would worship his god every night after playing music live, as an act of celebration and reflection.
Billy said: “A lot of people don’t realise that after every show, he would unwind by singing gospel songs until the sun came up.”
Even on Elvis’ busiest days, he would sing hymns to his god to relax after a hard night’s work. And not only did Elvis practice what he preached, but he looked after the Bible that he kept with him at all times, Billy revealed. He was always studying it, highlighting scriptures and prayers that he felt spoke to him in some way.
“He was in touch with the Lord,” Billy went on. “A lot of people said: ‘Well, he did this and that.’ [But] we all fall short. We’re all human. As Christians, most of us live under a magnifying glass. Well, Elvis lived under a microscope because he was a big star. It was tough.”
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Billy said: “[Elvis] would just dive into the Bible and read it. Any experience that we all have is in the Bible… it will comfort you. I think the biggest thing everybody has a problem with is forgiveness. But God forgives. All you have to do is ask for it. But we have a hard time forgiving ourselves.”
He added that Elvis often spoke about how “god forgives us”. “He took great comfort in that,” he added. “Once you start believing Jesus came and died for your sins, your actions will change. You will try to stop doing the things that aren’t good for you.”
Priscilla and Elvis finalised their divorce on October 9, 1973. But Elvis still had a smile on his face when they walked down the aisle of the governmental building after finishing their paperwork.
As legend goes, Elvis took Priscilla’s hand as they walked out of the room and crooned a beautiful Dolly Parton song to his now ex-wife.
Elvis sang I Will Always Love You to Priscilla, with whom he had shared a home, a daughter – Lisa Marie Presley – and countless pets.
Billy revealed that this was normal for Elvis, who “focused on helping others”.
He went on: “The Bible says the Lord loves a generous giver and [Elvis] was the most generous giver I’ve ever met. Whenever you’re feeling lonely or feeling like nobody loves you… you see that the devil’s playground is your mind. But helping somebody else? It takes away all that self-doubt and fears you have going on in your life. That’s what we’re all put here on this Earth for. Elvis believed that.”