author of Elvis The Army Years Uncovered
Interview conducted by Nigel Patterson, September 2021
|Buy 'Elvis The Army Years Uncovered' >
EIN: Trina, thank you for taking time to talk with EIN today. Who is Trina Young?
TY: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you! I am a music journalist and author. I have been writing about Elvis and The Beatles for several years. I wrote an Elvis Presley column for the Examiner.com website from 2011-2016. Unfortunately, the website was shut down which led me to launch my own Elvis-News.com website (Elvis News Examiner).
EIN: How and when did you become an Elvis fan?
TY: I had always liked Elvis Presley's '50s songs when I was younger, but I was an avid second-generation Beatles fan in my teenage years. I didn't become a hardcore Elvis fan until I was an adult living in California. I went to see his Palm Springs (Chino Canyon) home and did an interview with the then-owner for an article I was writing. I also went to a few Elvis festivals in Las Vegas and got to meet people like Joe Esposito and Steve Binder and DJ Fontana. From then on, I really became fascinated by all things Elvis!
EIN: You have written a number of books about Elvis. Your latest is Elvis: The Army Years Uncovered: Behind the Scenes of the Two Years That Changed The King of Rock and Roll's Life. What gave you the idea for this theme?
TY: Elvis' army years have always fascinated me because there seems to be a mysterious aura surrounding those years. He was away from Colonel Parker and in another country, so the U.S. media could not document his every move. I felt that the books that have been published about these two years offered great information, but left out part of the story.
EIN: What can readers expect to find in the book?
TY: My goal was to give an overall chronology and context to those two years while focusing more on his personal life and off-duty hours, and fill in the gaps with the most recent information, since many fascinating stories have come out in the last 10-15 years. I wanted to show how the army was affecting Elvis' personal life and all that happened before he met Priscilla.
EIN: Did anything surprise you when doing your research?
TY: I was surprised at how many secret concerts and informal performances Elvis gave when he was in Europe. I was also surprised about how the news broke that he was dating Priscilla.
EIN: I found the titles you have used for each chapter are very evocative, such as Hair Hoopla, Presley’s Own Brigitte Bardot, Blue Christmas In Germany, and Girls! Girls! And Kidnappers. Is this a device you use in all your books?
TY: I think I try to entice the reader with attention-grabbing chapter titles due to my experience in writing headlines for my online articles.
Elvis with Bad Nauheim local Margit Buergin
EIN: You mention in your new book that many biographies skim over Elvis’ Army years. Why do you think this is the case?
TY: Since Elvis' recording career and movie career were both put on hold during those two years, many books skim over his army service. They summarize it by saying the only significant event was that he met Priscilla. But he was in Germany for a year before he met Priscilla and had a very active social life including his trips to Paris and Munich. Elvis had a lot of interesting experiences in the army and I believe these two years were a turning point in his life and career.
EIN: It was in Germany that Elvis met Priscilla. But, Elvis being Elvis, he was also seeing other women. One of those who you discuss in the book is Heli Priemel. Please tell us about Heli’s relationship with Elvis.
TY: Heli was just turning 16 when she started dating Elvis in the early summer of 1959. His nickname for her was "Legs." Heli and her sister met Elvis when they came to the house as fans driving in their Opel Kapitan car - a German car that Elvis loved. Heli says he came out to see the car with Cliff Gleaves and the four of them drove off for an impromptu date. She continued dating Elvis during the summer months. This was before Elvis met Priscilla. Heli claims she was there at the Bad Nauheim house the night Elvis met Priscilla in September 1959. As a result, Heli felt in competition with Priscilla and had a hard time accepting that Elvis chose Priscilla over her.
Elvis with 18 year old actress Vera Tschechowa
EIN: One of the chapters in your new book is 'The King Is Dead'. What is the story behind this?
TY: A few times in 1959, rumors got started that Elvis died in Germany, which made it into newspapers both in Europe and the U.S. There were also a few close calls that Elvis had with death while he was in Germany, but I'll save the details for those who read the book.
EIN: Recently, Amazon sites listed several "The Beatles and Elvis" books with identical text to your 2018 release, Elvis And The Beatles: Love and Rivalry Between the Two Biggest Acts of the 20th Century (reissued in 2021 as Elvis and The Beatles: What They Thought of Each Other). Each of the new books has a different title and a different author name on the Amazon listing*. In each book, only the Introduction is attributed to you. You cannot be happy about this?
TY: No, I am extremely upset and disheartened that someone would try to blatantly sell my book as their own.
EIN: I understand that you contacted Amazon recently about these books. What was its response?
TY: They said they are working to remove those titles from their website.
EIN: Is it clear how these books came about – who is responsible for them?
TY: No, I have no idea who put these out. They each had different author names which sounded made up.
EIN: Trina, please tell us about your 'Elvis and the Beatles' release.
TY: Fans are always intrigued by the legendary 1965 meeting between Elvis and The Beatles which I document in Chapter 5, but they don't realize there was a lot more to the relationship -- not only between them, but also their managers. For example, Colonel Parker always gets a bad rap among Elvis fans, but The Beatles and their manager, Brian Epstein, really appreciated him. He was very generous giving them advice - so much so, that when Epstein died suddenly in 1967, The Beatles asked Colonel Parker to be their manager. He turned them down.
One can only imagine how The Beatles story might have turned out differently if they weren't fighting over financial matters (due to Epstein's replacement) which was one of the major factors that led to their breakup only three years later. This is just one example of the many connections The Beatles and Elvis had. I explore many more in my book.
EIN: Also still available, is your first book, Elvis Behind the Legend: Startling Truths About The King Of Rock And Roll's Life, Loves, Films And Music. What are its major themes?
TY: My first book was inspired by all the articles I had written for Examiner.com. I had discovered a lot of fascinating facts that disputed many of the stereotypes about Elvis that are out there. Also, being a Beatles fan, I was aware how many classic rock fans really do not understand Elvis. They only appreciate his Sun Records/'50s period and do not understand why he shifted his musical style. I wanted to explain the reason that he changed and how Presley's image often conflicted with his own personal passions.
EIN: Do you have any plans for another Elvis book?
TY: My focus right now is on spreading the word about my latest book, so I do not have plans at the moment for another Elvis book.
EIN: Trina, is there anything else you would like to say to EIN readers?
TY: Yes, thank you. I am offering free access to bonus material about Elvis' army years that wasn't included in my book as an online companion to Elvis: The Army Years Uncovered. This is available exclusively to readers of the book. They can visit the official book website, ElvisBiography.net, for more information.
*EIN Note: Listing books which have identical text but different titles and author names is not a new phenomenon on Amazon. In 2017, EIN published an article about other Elvis books being marketed on Amazon in this way, and the practice is also currently being used regarding books on the 1996 murder of child beauty queen, JonBenet Ramsey.
Coming soon to EIN: Review of 'Elvis The Army Years Uncovered: Behind the Scenes of the Two Years That Changed The King of Rock and Roll's Life'
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Interview by Nigel Patterson.
-Copyright EIN September 2021
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
Image from the book.
Fan Lillian Portnoy got a kiss from Elvis as his ship was leaving New York. The photo appeared in many papers across the country (9/23/58).
'Elvis - Made In Germany’ In-Depth Review: The new MRS 'Elvis - Made In Germany – The Complete Private Recordings’ 4CD set contains more than 3 hours of the private recordings Elvis made while off duty in Germany when he was serving as a soldier in the US army during the 1958 -1960 period and, includes rare tracks from a recently discovered tape comprising over an hour of unheard personal recordings.
The 152-page hardback book contains rare photographs and documents plus a comprehensive text provided by Gordon Minto, which discusses each of Elvis’ RCA studio (non-film) recording sessions held during 1957-58, before focusing on the private recordings he made in Germany.
The BONUS CD features the essential RCA studio masters from 1957-58.
With such an expansive book, along with hours of Elvis jamming with his friends in Germany, there is plenty to discuss as well as finding out what extra material this set contains over the official releases.
Go here as EIN's Nigel Patterson & Piers Beagley provide an in-depth review of this new MRS release
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