The “King of Rock-n-Roll” was known for being one of the greatest entertainers of all time who performed with an unprecedented level of confidence. Yet, according to Priscilla Presley, Elvis also had a shy side.
Even though his public appearances were characterized with ease and coolness, Elvis was a constant worrier. Unbeknownst to many, Elvis struggled with stage fright for the entirety of his professional career.
According to his former wife, Elvis fell victim to his anxieties and often worried about how others perceived him. During an interview on This Morning in November of 2019, the 75-year-old revealed a side of Elvis many of us weren’t familiar with.
“He did worry. Of course, he worried,” she said. “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. He didn’t feel like he was going to perform the way that they saw him because he has grown up. She continued, “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.”
Elvis Presley Marred With Nerves During Career
Despite the pre-performance jitters, Elvis transformed into the charismatic character his fans knew and loved once he stepped on stage. “Once he was on that stage you would never know it because he enjoyed it so much and loved it,” Priscilla remembered.
In a resurfaced interview from 1970, Elvis spoke candidly about his difficulty managing his nerves ahead of his comeback special.
“They asked me to do it, and I was anxious to do some live appearances. Y’know, I haven’t…it had been a long time since I’d been on stage in front of anybody live,” he said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to get in front of the people.”
Even though Elvis had a timid side, he would have one of the most illustrious careers in entertainment history. Despite his nerves, fans worldwide remember him as a pop icon and lasting fixture in American culture.