It’s fair to say that Elvis Presley wasn’t in a very good place at the beginning of 1977. What’s more, various members of the press appeared to take great delight in his downfall. In a particularly scathing piece, writer Tony Scherman described the star as a “grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self.”
To be fair, though, Elvis did give journalists lots of ammunition. He lasted barely an hour during a show in Alexandria, Louisiana, for instance. Meanwhile, a show in Baton Rouge had to be pulled when he couldn’t summon the energy to crawl out of bed. And three other dates also had to be canceled owing to the faded star’s erratic behavior.
Presley himself either wasn’t aware of or didn’t particularly care about the outside world’s opinion of him, mind you. He spent his spare time reading spiritual books or staying in his room, sometimes inviting his cousin to discuss his favorite sketches from Monty Python. But he also regularly fell into a state of paranoia – inevitably thereby drawing comparisons with famed recluse Howard Hughes.