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One of Elvis Presley‘s girlfriends was an actor and songwriter named Linda Thompson. During a conversation, Elvis told her why he felt so lonely despite having numerous fans. Furthermore, she explained why he connected so much to one of his songs.

Elvis Presley with a microphone
Elvis Presley | Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Elvis Presley’s girlfriend Linda Thompson tried to comfort him when he felt lonely

Elvis dated Thompson from 1972 to 1976. Thompson co-wrote several hit songs, most notably Whitney Houston‘s “I Have Nothing.” In her 2016 book A Little Thing Called Life: On Loving Elvis Presley, Bruce Jenner, and Songs in Between, Thompson wrote that Elvis often said he felt an “intense loneliness.”

Thompson tried to comfort her boyfriend by noting all the fans outside Graceland. “Look at the gate,” she said. “Look at all those people down there that just want to get a glimpse of you. They love you. They’re so devoted to you.” 

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was not comforted by her observation. “But they love Elvis Presley,” he said. “They don’t know Buntyn. They don’t know little Gullion.” Buntyn and Gullion were pet names Thompson gave Elvis. In the book, she did not explain the meaning of those names.

Elvis Presley sitting near his girlfriend Linda Thompson
Elvis Presley with girlfriend Linda Thompson | Tom Wargacki/WireImage

Linda Thompson said Elvis Presley and his fans enjoyed the song ‘Do You Know Who I Am?’

Elvis further dismissed the fandom surrounding him. “It’s an impersonal love,” he opined. “It makes me feel really lonely to know that not many people know me, the real me. 

“But you do, [Linda],” he continued. “You know who I am, and you love me, and one day maybe you’ll write a book about me. About the man, not the myth.” 

Thompson connected Elvis’ loneliness to a song. “His loneliness was an extreme, influential part of his complex self — that’s why he so loved that song ‘Do You Know Who I Am?’ which he released in 1969, and why, I think, his fans have always responded to it,” she wrote. “Elvis definitely had that desire and the corresponding fear that if people knew the real, flawed him they might revoke their love.”


Elvis Presley Inspired 1 of His Girlfriends to Write Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing’

‘Do You Know Who I Am?’ appeared on a hit album

“Do You Know Who I Am?” was not released as a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The song appeared on Elvis’ album From Memphis to Vegas / From Vegas to MemphisFrom Memphis to Vegas / From Vegas to Memphis reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200. It remained on the chart for 24 weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, “Do You Know Who I Am?” did not chart in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, From Memphis to Vegas / From Vegas to Memphis reached No. 1 in the U.K. for one week. It stayed on the chart for 14 weeks in total. “Do You Know Who I Am?” wasn’t a hit song — but it meant a lot to Elvis.