By the time the turbulent Sixties were halfway through -- really, before they'd even had a chance to become the Sixties we know fully -- certain pop stars were already undergoing overwhelming personal transformations, questioning authority, consuming mind-altering drugs, reinvesting in their spirituality, looking for a purpose. That's not news to anyone, unless you put Elvis in that number; by 1965, he was exhibiting all these behaviors and more, demonstrating that even as the entertainment world's most pampered housepet, one seemingly removed from any sense of a normal interaction with the world, that he could still be reached and even changed. The pull of the turbulence now rolling under polite society was even stronger than The King. Without realizing it (or perhaps even wanting it), he'd help set in motion the very forces that would cause him to question his success.
Or maybe it was just that his success wasn't deeply satisfying. In that same year, he made what's usually considered the worst film of his career, Harum Scarum, a horrible pseudo-comedy that was filmed in just under a month, starred a former Miss America as a Middle Eastern princess, and used costumes and sets from 20-year-old films in lieu of anything resembling authenticity. Then there were the songs he recorded for this and two other films that year: "My Desert Serenade," "Petunia, The Gardener's Daughter," "Queenie Wahine's Papaya." Who wouldn't be looking for a deeper meaning?
It's debatable, given how his life ended, that he found it. But he was looking, that's the important point; as soulless and ignorant as his detractors have made him out to be, he cast off all his dreams (at least, in his own heart) when they failed to help him understand himself and went looking for other ones. Can you imagine the Colonel doing such a thing? No, Elvis was no dummy: he knew, sitting on a pile of money, cars, and women any man would kill for, that he'd been had. What he didn't know was why -- why, if there was someone behind the wheel, he'd focused his lightning on Elvis Presley. He may have been a truck driver from Memphis by way of Tupelo, but he wasn't stupid enough to think he'd deserved it just by being born. Or what in God's name he was meant to do with it now.