By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
No, really. Smith, a sometime country singer and songwriter who lives in Scottsdale, says he's coming clean this month in a new book detailing his hush-hush life as the unheralded Prince of Rock 'n' Roll. Let the Boy Sing: Elvis Is My Daddy, from a tiny, pay-to-print publisher in Oklahoma, reveals everything the world wants to know about the perks of being Elvis' tug-of-love: The trust fund, set up by Elvis for Smith when he was born. The music gigs, playing with John Denver and Lawrence Welk, and the recording contract with Elvis' label, RCA Records. The chance to write songs for country superstars like Kenny Rogers and to record an album with music legends who also recorded with Elvis. All these cushy thrills, according to Smith's new book, were arranged by Elvis himself, who kept tabs on his boy via a network of people who did the King's bidding.
And that's because John Smith is, he says, the son of the King. "I've known that Elvis is my daddy since I was 27 years old," says Smith, 51. "And there's no one word that describes how it feels to finally tell the world the truth about me."
"The correct word is scary," according to Presley historian Cory Cooper, who's known in pop culture circles as "The Elvis Expert" and who recently served as technical adviser on director John Scheinfeld's Fame and Fortune, an adaptation of Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business, a 2008 bestseller by Presley's former bodyguard. "These people show up every few years, claiming to be Elvis' son or daughter. The sad thing is that some of them actually believe it. Maybe they've been fed a story all their lives about a one-night stand their mom had with Elvis, and they think it's true. Whatever the story, they always have two things in common: They all swear they have birth certificates or DNA evidence to prove their claim, and they all have a story about why they can't show you those things. And, of course, the real reason they can't is because they don't have them. Their story isn't true."
True or not, Smith's book provides a fascinating read — perhaps not for Presley fanatics or anyone who actually cares whether Smith is the out-of-wedlock son of the world's most famous dead rock 'n' roller, but most definitely for fans of unadulterated gall, tall tales, and lousy fact-checking. Because Smith's story — in which he makes bogus claims about his life and career that three minutes' worth of Googling can refute — proves to be, with very little digging, a hunk-a hunk-a burning crapola. Almost everything in the book is a story either wildly exaggerated or completely made up. The album deal with RCA Records turns out to be a pair of 45s released on a tiny indie label. The songs Smith says he wrote for famous artists clearly were penned by others. His claims about performing on recordings by John Denver appear also to be untrue, as Smith's name appears in none of the liner notes for any Denver recording. Nor does Smith cough up any proof of an Elvis-sponsored trust fund. Filled with inaccuracies, extrapolations, and flat-out lies, Let the Boy Sing is to literature what Harum Scarum is to the fine art of cinema.
And the DNA evidence? Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. failed to respond to questions about Elvis' lineage, and phone calls and e-mails regarding Smith's claim sent to Graceland, Lisa Marie Presley, and the Presley family's genealogist went unanswered. So, too, did repeated requests made to Smith's publisher requesting proof of his DNA evidence — requests that were likewise ignored by Smith himself. (Smith's ghostwriter, Rich Carlburg, explains Smith's failure to answer e-mails and phone messages with various excuses: His computer crashed; he's snowed in at a Smith gig in North Dakota; he has no cell phone reception. Mostly, though, Carlburg just joins Smith in refusing to answer questions about recordings, DNA evidence, and the like.)
After repeated requests, Smith does finally provide a PDF of a copy of a birth certificate that shows his birth name as John Dennis Roach and his birth parents as Elvis A. Presley and Zona Marie Roach. The document, which could easily have been doctored in a graphic design program, shows Smith's birthdate in July 1961, but it was issued in 1985. The Texas Department of Health didn't return phone calls regarding the veracity of the document.
"A phone call wouldn't have done any good," says private investigator and former journalist Rich Robertson, who's investigated hundreds of complex criminal and civil cases. "Smith would have to have sent a signed, notarized waiver to the Bureau of Vital Statistics and have them send you a copy of his birth certificate. Which, if he's who he claims to be, is in his best interest to do."
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this document, and about Smith's book, is what it doesn't tell us: That if Elvis really is his father, then that would mean that his birth parents were, to borrow the title from an old Elvis movie, Kissin' Cousins.
In the case of this writer he should get all the facts before he writes another word. In the case of John Smith let him go to court like Alice Tiffin (who submitted DNA) and like Deborah Presley-Brando (who WON in the Tennessee Supreme Court). I believe that anyone who writes a book, or article is entitled to Freedom of Speech as long as they are not libel in their writings. Court documentation especially from Family Court are private. Maybe Alice and Deborah and John don't want to spend their lives proving what is sealed in the courts because of irresponsible writers like this one.
I am very disappointed in Mr. Pela for this worthless piece. For an expose' to be worth the reader's time it needs to make a successful emotional connection between the reader and the subject. I need to either gain sympathy for the subject so his wrong doings will trigger an emotional reaction from myself...or I need to gain sympathy for the subject's victims. There are no victims. And by giving us a history of those before Mr. Smith that had claimed to be the blood of Elvis, there appears to be nothing special about him. There is no reason for me to care. The only thing that could had saved this article was some unbiased hope from the writer that maybe Mr. Smith was indeed the son of Elvis. Every bit of evidence detailed was revoked by Mr. Pela before the reader could absorb it and make a decision for themselves. So basically Robert Pela took a subject that 99.9% doubted in the first place before even reading the first paragraph and by the end of the article 99.9% still doubt Mr. Smith. Congrats! Mr. Pela's expose' impacted no one.
This stupid fake story is still in here?
Don't you have people that can write stories? I say NOT , there is no good stories in the New Times for a long time maybe you should call this paper LONG TIME!
I do hope "In the Shadow of ELVIS, Perils of a Ghostwriter" is as great a read as "My Bad Tequila" by author & writer - Rico Austin!
Seems like a lot of Elvis connections are here in Scottsdale! I dated one just recently. Believe me, Elvis has left the planet 'in pieces' and these guys are probably 'meteorite pieces' of Elvis for sure. Sad, that none of these guys could ever get a real life, and live their entire lives sadly believing People believe them, in hope to hide who they really are....which I find to be, totally uneducated no-bodies seeking public (mainly women's) attention thru their multiple personality disorder and, or, sick fascination to become their idol and most likely the man they wish they could (ahem) .... yuck! YOu should do an article on my story! 'Dating the ghosts of Elvis' . Pretty funny story, which would make a lot of these guys go back into the closet!
With he penchant for lying about his past, it seems Mr Smith is more likely to be Joe Arpaio's love child.
@Rico Austin I want to read your book. Dennis is a pathological liar and has completely lost touch with reality. I know this because I was married to him when he says he met his birth mother. I would have known that if it happened. In the new book, he claims his second marriage was annulled. That is a lie. It took years to find him to get a divorce. He attempted suicide on more than one occasion and was hospitalized in a psych ward. I really feel sorry for him. He needs professional help.
On the facebook page ELVIS ' "In The Shadow Of" they provided a link to this article as if it would give legitimacy to his claim... and it will if no one actually reads it. Well, okay. He has 114 "likes" on the page and there probably is a good chance that no one will actually read the article.
Really? reLLY? REALLY? He doesn't look a thing like Elvis!
Lets see the proof not talk the lie.
Hi, folks: I'M Elvis Presley, and I've been hiding in my trailer home here in Salome for years, and I can tell you all right now, that guy is NOT my kid! Thank you, thank you.
lol the King of Rock 'n' Roll married one time and had one child.
If what this fool is saying IS true thenhe should be required to prove it or shut the fuck up.