Below are a few excerpts from Anka's new book, where Anka speaks out about Elvis. The excerpts have been provided by the organization Elvis Matters.
“My Way” meant so much to him as a song, he was going to do it. And I’d say, “Elvis, it’s not really your kind of song.” And he’d say, “Nooo, Paulie, but those words, they mean so much to me. Boy, I want to do that song one day.” It was one of the last songs he recorded. In the end, that song and those words had resonance for him but not in the way I intended. Basically, given Elvis’s pathetic state at the end, it was in the opposite sense that the words had had for Sinatra. There was nothing defiant or heroic about Elvis at that point. It was the same way he lived his life — he destroyed himself. Just went too far. He became another statistic. Life is about construction and destruction. It’s all in that balance, everything we see when we can look far enough. When you lose track of that, you self-destruct. And that’s what happened to my talented friend. I was in Vegas, got up, turned on the news. Elvis Presley — gone. I cried that day. He was a cool guy, a nice man, but was too young to go. Really blew it. I got to know Elvis pretty extensively when he first started coming to Vegas. He would come over to Caesars Palace, see the show, come over and visit, sit backstage. Through that whole evolution, from when he hit town to when things started going bad for him, and where he started losing control, I would sit with him and just try to tell him, “Man, you’ve got to get it together, you can’t live this twilight half-life. Get a hold of this situation or it’s going to pull you under.” But he couldn’t — would usually only see me in his suite. His social terror was extreme. I’d say, “Elvis why don’t we just go out to dinner, go for a walk?” “Oh, no!” He was terrified of that. You’d go over to his hotel — we both worked the Hilton — and he’d have aluminum foil on the windows; he never wanted to see the daylight. He’d go up to Vail, Colo., and I’d be up there with my family skiing — in the daylight. Elvis wouldn’t get up until the sun went down, and only then would he go up on the mountain with the floodlights turned on, to snowmobile. He was that kind of creature. Nice guy, but so locked in that prison of celebrity, of who he was, and his image, the person inside shrivelled up. Sometimes you sat and talked to him and it was as if he were already gone. You couldn’t save him."
My Way is bursting with rich, rollicking stories of the business and the people in Anka’s life: Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Dodi Fayed, Tom Jones, Michael Jackson, Adnan Khashoggi, Little Richard, Brooke Shields, Johnny Roselli, Sammy Davis, Jr., Brigitte Bardot, Barnum & Bailey Circus acrobats, and many more. Anka is forthcoming, funny and smart as a whip about the business he’s been in for almost six decades. My Way moves from New York to Vegas, from the casino stage to backstages all over the world.
source: Amazon.com, Elvis Matters, and CBC news