By the time the last year of Elvis' life began, it was clear to many in his inner circle that things had gotten out of control. Clear to Priscilla, who'd grown increasingly worried about her ex, clear to his bandmates (especially those who had been away while the transformation took place), clear to even the Colonel, who seemed to feel as if his meal ticket had become not worth the trouble. In fact, the decay was starting to leak out past the King's carefully crafted public persona, obvious to the most discerning fans in his audience, to the press who made a living noticing such things, and to the girls Elvis was dating, who could tell even from a distance that the singer had become divorced from reality and, contrary to everything they'd been taught, not that much fun to be around.
And yet, few seemed to see the King as heading towards an inevitable demise. He was, after all, Elvis -- possessed of a nearly paranormal charisma, able to change the mood of a room just by walking into it, a symbol of poor boy makes good who divorce and the draft board and public indifference could not stop, the man who had defined himself by his ability to redefine himself. Even after the publication of the tell-all book Elvis: What Happened?, even after the tabloids began to have a field day with his eccentricities, it was easy for many fans who'd always needed his dream to say alive to simply disbelieve, to write off all the reports as jealousy or simple muckraking. Elvis' very illusion of immortality also blinded the eyes of many of his followers, including his father, members of the "Memphis Mafia," and even the band members who worked with him every night. The King, like real royalty, was given a pass: his instability became eccentricity, his isolation proof that he was noble. And it was this very fantasy, created and maintained by Elvis and some very good, well-meaning people, that ultimately did him in.