Elvis: The Lighter Side by Will “Bardahl” McDaniel

I have heard the name Bardahl for years and knew he had a book, but didn’t really know exactly how he fit in with Elvis. This past Elvis Week in Memphis, I met Bardahl first at Elvis Con then the next day at the Book Sale at Marlowe’s. I chatted with him for a minute then bought his book Elvis: The Lighter Side, which Bardahl signed.

Will “Bardahl” McDaniel met Elvis when he worked at the Rainbow Skating Rink and stayed late one night during one of Elvis’ skating parties. After that, Bardahl became a regular at the skating rink, the fairgrounds, at Graceland and in LA. Elvis gave him his name “Bardahl” because he was wearing a Bardahl oil shirt, where his dad worked.

Bardahl’s book was a quick read at only 165 pages with large print and lots of photos. I loved how he included photographs of how the places looked today where Elvis and the guys would go – like old restaurants and movie theaters etc. Bardahl told about the time he encountered Jerry Schilling (although he spelled it SchillingS with an ‘s’ as he did throughout his book) in the bathroom at one of Elvis’ New Year’s Eve parties. Jerry was angry at his date, so Bardahl tried talking to him to calm him down, but it did not work. They walked out of the bathroom together, Jerry stopped in the hallway and punched the wall breaking liquor bottles on the other side from the liquor store next door. Elvis paid for all the broken bottles. Bardahl also told how Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis would jam together in the music room at Graceland. I have never heard that before.

Bardahl’s book was ok. There was no organization to it, and in some stories he repeated himself. There were no dates for things and it would jump from 1957 to 1964 back to 1957, and I would have to figure it out real quick where in Elvis’ life I was. But at least the stories were new, and I had never heard them before.

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