During his performances, Elvis Presley always appeared confident and charismatic. However, before every show, he was very nervous and needed to psych himself up alone. The reveal came from former wife Priscilla Presley and Memphis Mafia member Jerry Schilling during The King’s 85th birthday celebrations at Graceland last week.
Speaking to an audience, the duo commented on footage of Elvis backstage getting ready to perform.
Jerry said: “You can tell by the tension backstage that Elvis felt… we picked up on it.”
While Priscilla continued: “He was nervous. You never approached him before a show.
“He was in his dressing room by himself, because he had to psych himself out.”
Elvis’ ex-wife continued: “Right now [referring to the footage] he’s psyching himself out. Head down, getting himself ready, taking deep breaths.
“And people were wondering, ‘oh my god, why would he be nervous?’ Because you get nervous.
“He always said, ‘you get a different crowd’, you never know, you get people drinking – this is Vegas.
“He said: ‘Every show’s different. You start seeing somebody yawning or looking at their watch, you’d better do a better job’”
Jerry added: “He was this way before every show.
“Always in quietness. He’d think about what he was going to do.
“And whether it was Vegas or on the road or wherever, that’s how he’d psych himself up.”
Speaking on This Morning back in November, Priscilla spoke of Elvis’ worries.
The 74-year-old said: “He did worry. Of course, he worried.
“He worried when he was in the army coming back to the States after being drafted.
“He was out of the limelight for two years. He didn’t know if the fans would still be supporting him, [or] if he’d lost all his fans because newer, upcoming rockers were coming up in the business.”
“Even when he did the ’68 special: nerve-racking. He wanted to stop right then and there.”
She added: “He didn’t feel like he was going to perform the way that they saw him because he has grown up, matured.
“And, of course, going into Vegas, you couldn’t talk to him before the show.
“You didn’t go into his dressing room. He had to do his own mental, emotional meditation for himself to get out there.”
Nevertheless, once performing, Elvis was the confident and charismatic personality his fans know and love so well.