As the only child of rock & roll’s first and most celebrated star, Lisa Marie Presley had to work extremely hard to establish herself, far away from her famous Father. It was a rough road, but Lisa Marie had the spark and rawness to do it, and to do it on her own terms.
Born to Elvis and Priscilla Presley on February 1, 1968, Elvis’s only daughter spent the first four years of her life at Graceland, where she was the apple of her father’s eye. When her parents split in 1972, Lisa Marie left Nashville with her mother for the suburbs of Los Angeles, but regularly visited Elvis in Memphis. Music was undoubtedly a big part of her life; Elton John, David Cassidy and some of Elvis’ softer songs were her favorites. Having music around allowed Lisa Marie an escape. The tension between the two households and the geographic distance was emotionally taxing for a young girl; such stress came to a head on August 16, 1977, when her father died after an apparent drug overdose.
The decade that followed showed an aggressive young lady that lacked direction and discipline. Lisa Marie meddled in drugs during her teenage years, while listening to Devo and the Sex Pistols. At age 18, she left drugs behind and began following Scientology. She began writing songs, but the process proved nerve-racking. Aware of the pressures of being Elvis Presley’s daughter, she didn’t pursue a songwriting career, spending time instead beginning a family; she married her longtime boyfriend, Danny Keough, in 1988, and during the six-year marriage had two children. Soon after that marriage dissolved, she confirmed that she had tied the knot with Michael Jackson. After three years of media scrutiny, Presley grew exhausted and divorced Jackson in 1997.
A chance meeting with producer Glen Ballard motivated Presley to give music another try. Ballard was impressed with her dark, luckless melodies and coordinated a deal with Capitol. Although her debut album was initially slated for a 2000 release, it didn’t appear for another three years. In the meantime, Presley had begun another tumultuous relationship, with actor Nicolas Cage; the couple married in mid-2002 but split just three months later.
Finally, in spring 2003, Capitol released her debut album, To Whom It May Concern. Deeply personal, edgy and furious, the record displayed a side of Lisa Marie that was both smart and brash. She wasn’t interested in living up to her Father’s legacy in the eyes of others because she was comfortable with her own. To Whom It May Concern sold 140,000 copies during its first week of release in April. It was also one of the year’s highest debuts with its number five position on Billboard.