The friends of his youth and his companions in the Mafia
(November 20, 1936 – July 18, 2017)Robert Gene West was born in Memphis, Tennessee. His mahogany-colored hair eventually gave him the pseudonym of Red. From a young age he was an excellent athlete and former United States Mariner. He met Elvis in high school and was greatly noticed by his hairstyle. his striking clothing and his personality. Over time they met when Elvis was already singing and he made him the proposal that he work for him. In 1955, Red West was the conductor for Elvis and band members Scotty Moore, Bill Black and later with D.J. fountain. It was the time of Sun Records and the start to fame... at this time they were still touring the southern US performing live concerts as the 'Blue Moon Boys'. It would be from 1960, after the time of the army when Red went to work for Elvis as a bodyguard and became known as one of the members of the Mafia. When he began to work for his friend and partner Elvis as a protector or bodyguard in the early days he would leave everything to follow him on his artistic path. His restlessness towards music and the influence of Elvis made him learn to play the guitar and encouraged him to compose songs. Red learned to play with Scotty Moore and also sang very well, on several occasions he composed for Elvis Presley. The sheet music "You'll Be Gone" and "That's Someone You Never Forget". "You'll Be Gone" was also co-written with Charlie Hodge. On one occasion he was asked if Elvis had wanted to compose something with him, but in the end he only named the song
"That's Someone You Never Forget" without writing any notes...Red also co-wrote "If You Think I Don't Need You" with Joey Cooper for the movie Viva Las Vegas. He teamed up with Joey Cooper again on "I'm A Fool", which Ricky Nelson recorded. "I'm A Fool" later became a hit for Dino, Desi and Billy, the partnership of Dean-Paul "Dino" Martin, Desi Arnaz Jr. and William "Billy" Hinsche. He would have opportunities to become a songwriter for the singers of the moment... but he really didn't know how to take advantage of that opportunity. "Separate Ways" for Elvis afterwards. His path as a composer could have been a more interesting one if he had focused on this aspect. But from a young age he would work with Elvis and his dedication and company were more demanding than his own aspiration as a composer, which would be one of the reasons why he did not evolve either or did not dedicate much more time to composition. He also collaborated as an extra in the films of Elvis playing small parts... in the future he would continue down this path as an actor. When Elvis Presley was making movies in the 1960s in Hollywood, Red West appeared in small parts in sixteen of his films. During this time, like Elvis, he also befriended actor Nick Adams and thanks to his physical abilities he was hired as a stuntman on Adams' television series The Rebel.
From there, Red went on to do more stunt work in film, as well as pursue an acting career in a number of films and on television.
In recent times Elvis was very bad, his life was taking a very complex path and those who were with him, some could not bear it. Red was finally fired in 1976 by Elvis's father, Vernon. It is then that he and his brother Sonny West wrote the book that explained the reality of Elvis's life in his words and in his vision. Entitled "Elvis: What Happened", it was published weeks before Elvis's death. Red West was always criticized for this book. He always said that his intention was to help change the situation, the life that Elvis was then leading and his habits that were leading him to destruction. Red always said that he loved Elvis and for many years he proved it. Staying by his side, he never really got any benefit from it, his work would be his compensation. It is very difficult to live in the shadow of a God... it is very difficult to live in the shadow of someone loved and admired by all and to live almost without a name, without a face, without a presence... to be behind him protecting, sharing his successes, his failures, their laughter, but it is even more difficult to be a friend and an employee at the same time, to be submissive, and faithful without being able to do anything to change things,,, and to be criticized for the acts without knowing the truth of them Even with the years , continue to be someone else who was part of his life, his success, being invisible... and being accused of being disloyal, unfaithful, and also interested... The best example of this composer's sensitivity is his music... .
That Someone you never forget written by Red West
FROM TUPELO TO MEMPHIS
"Following the path of the King..."