The first time I styled Elvis Presley’s hair, on April 30, 1964, we became engaged in a profound three-hour conversation that changed both our lives. He asked some personal questions about my background, my interest in reading books on religion and spiritual growth, health, meditation and yoga. Our conversation quickly turned even deeper: Do we really have an immortal soul? Is there life after death? What is the meaning and purpose of our lives? Are fate and destiny pre-ordained?
Elvis said, “This is exactly the kind of stuff I secretly think about all the time, especially late at night when I’m in bed. But I don’t have anyone around me to talk about these things. You know, Larry, I’ve always felt that there had to be some purpose for my life. Ever since I was a little kid growin’ up, I felt this unseen hand behind me, guiding my life, getting me to the point where I’m at now. But why me?
Elvis leaned forward, his fingers delicately picking something invisible from the air. “Why was I plucked from all the millions of lives in the world; there’s gotta be a purpose in all this, a reason why I was chosen to be Elvis Presley.”
“The world knows Elvis Presley all right,” he said emotionally, “but they don’t know me,” poking his chest. “I want them to know me, the real person. Larry, I’ve always been misunderstood my whole life. When my career first took off, they didn’t know what to make of me; Hollywood still hasn’t figured me out, and there’s a lot of people who still don’t have a clue to what I’m really all about. There’s more to me than that guy up there on the stage: You know, Elvis the image. What my fans and everyone else need to know is that I’m a spiritual person. If they don’t know that, they’ll never really know who I am, and what makes me tick.”
Elvis then told me about his stillborn twin brother Jesse Garon, growing up in the church, and many other intimate memories and impressions of his earliest days. Then I stole a glance at my watch and started to pack my bag. “It’s getting late, Elvis, and I need to get back to my salon. Hey, it’s great meeting you; I really enjoyed our conversation. Look, if you ever need me to do your hair again, I’d love to come back and we could talk some more.”
Elvis was quiet for a moment. “I’ve got a better idea. I don’t know what your situation is, but why don’t you go back and tell them you’re gonna quit there and work for me full time. Because Larry, I sure as hell don’t believe in coincidences. You came here for a reason more than just doing my hair. Just meet me at Paramount Studios tomorrow morning at eight o’clock. And Larry…don’t forget you gotta bring me a few of those books you’ve been talking about.”