A “sympathetic and exceptionally well-written account” (USA Today), Ray Connolly’s biography of the King soars with “spontaneity and electricity” (Preston Lauterbach). Elvis Presley is a giant figure in American popular culture, a man whose talent and fame were matched only by his later excesses and tragic end. A godlike entity in the history of rock and roll, this twentieth-century icon with a dazzling voice blended gospel and traditionally black rhythm and blues with country to create a completely new kind of music and new way of expressing male sexuality, which simply blew the doors off a staid and repressed 1950s America. In Being Elvis veteran rock journalist Ray Connolly takes a fresh look at the career of the world’s most loved singer, placing him, forty years after his death, not exhaustively in the garish neon lights of Las Vegas but back in his mid-twentieth-century, distinctly southern world. For new and seasoned fans alike, Connolly, who interviewed Elvis in 1969, re-creates a man who sprang from poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, to unprecedented overnight fame, eclipsing Frank Sinatra and then inspiring the Beatles along the way. Juxtaposing the music, the songs, and the incendiary live concerts with a personal life that would later careen wildly out of control, Connolly demonstrates that Elvis’s amphetamine use began as early as his touring days of hysteria in the late 1950s, and that the financial needs that drove him in the beginning would return to plague him at the very end. With a narrative informed by interviews over many years with John Lennon, Bob Dylan, B. B. King, Sam Phillips, and Roy Orbison, among many others, Connolly creates one of the most nuanced and mature portraits of this cultural phenomenon to date. What distinguishes Being Elvis beyond the narrative itself is Connolly’s more subtle examinations of white poverty, class aspirations, and the prison that is extreme fame. As we reach the end of this poignant account, Elvis’s death at forty-two takes on the hue of a profoundly American tragedy. The creator of an American sound that resonates today, Elvis remains frozen in time, an enduring American icon who could “seamlessly soar into a falsetto of pleading and yearning” and capture an inner emotion, perhaps of eternal yearning, to which all of us can still relate. Intimate and unsparing, Being Elvis explores the extravagance and irrationality inherent in the Elvis mythology, ultimately offering a thoughtful celebration of an immortal life.
Author: Ray Connolly
Publisher: Hachette UK
Release Date: 2016-11-03
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
What was it like to be Elvis Presley? What did it feel like when impossible fame made him its prisoner? As the world's first rock star there was no one to tell him what to expect, no one with whom he could share the burden of being himself - of being Elvis. On the outside he was all charm, sex appeal, outrageously confident on stage and stunningly gifted in the recording studio. To his fans he seemed to have it all. He was Elvis. With his voice and style influencing succeeding generations of musicians, he should have been free to sing any song he liked, to star in any film he was offered, and to tour in any country he chose. But he wasn't free. The circumstances of his poor beginnings in the American South, which, as he blended gospel music with black rhythm and blues and white country songs, helped him create rock and roll, had left him with a lifelong vulnerability. Made rich and famous beyond his wildest imaginings when he mortgaged his talent to the machinations of his manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker, there would be an inevitable price to pay. Though he daydreamed of becoming a serious film actor, instead he grew to despise his own movies and many of the songs he had to sing in them. He could have rebelled. But he didn't. Why? In the Seventies, as the hits rolled in again, and millions of fans saw him in a second career as he sang his way across America, he talked of wanting to tour the world. But he never did. What was stopping him? BEING ELVIS takes a clear-eyed look at the most-loved entertainer ever, and finds an unusual boy with a dazzling talent who grew up to change popular culture; a man who sold a billion records and had more hits than any other singer, but who became trapped by his own frailties in the loneliness of fame.
Author: Peter Guralnick
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: 2012-12-20
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
From the moment that he first shook up the world in the mid 1950s, Elvis Presley has been one of the most vivid and enduring myths of American culture. Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley is the first biography to go past that myth and present an Elvis beyond the legend. Based on hundreds of interviews and nearly a decade of research, it traces the evolution not just of the man but of the music and of the culture he left utterly transformed, creating a completely fresh portrait of Elvis and his world. This volume tracks the first twenty-four years of Elvis' life, covering his childhood, the stunning first recordings at Sun Records ("That's All Right," "Mystery Train"), and the early RCA hits ("Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel"). These were the years of his improbable self-invention and unprecedented triumphs, when it seemed that everything that Elvis tried succeeded wildly. There was scarcely a cloud in sight through this period until, in 1958, he was drafted into the army and his mother died shortly thereafter. The book closes on that somber and poignant note. Last Train to Memphis takes us deep inside Elvis' life, exploring his lifelong passion for music of every sort (from blues and gospel to Bing Crosby and Mario Lanza), his compelling affection for his family, and his intimate relationships with girlfriends, mentors, band members, professional associates, and friends. It shows us the loneliness, the trustfulness, the voracious appetite for experience, and above all the unshakable, almost mystical faith that Elvis had in himself and his music. Drawing frequently on Elvis' own words and on the recollections of those closest to him, the book offers an emotional, complex portrait of young Elvis Presley with a depth and dimension that for the first time allow his extraordinary accomplishments to ring true. Peter Guralnick has given us a previously unseen world, a rich panoply of people and events that illuminate an achievement, a place, and a time as never revealed before. Written with grace, humor, and affection, Last Train to Memphis has been hailed as the definitive biography of Elvis Presley. It is the first to set aside the myths and focus on Elvis' humanity in a way that has yet to be duplicated.
Author: Peter Guralnick
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: 2012-12-20
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Careless Love is the full, true, and mesmerizing story of Elvis Presley's last two decades, in the long-awaited second volume of Peter Guralnick's masterful two-part biography. Last Train to Memphis, the first part of Guralnick's two-volume life of Elvis Presley, was acclaimed by the New York Times as "a triumph of biographical art." This concluding volume recounts the second half of Elvis' life in rich and previously unimagined detail, and confirms Guralnick's status as one of the great biographers of our time. Beginning with Presley's army service in Germany in 1958 and ending with his death in Memphis in 1977, Careless Love chronicles the unravelling of the dream that once shone so brightly, homing in on the complex playing-out of Elvis' relationship with his Machiavellian manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It's a breathtaking revelatory drama that for the first time places the events of a too-often mistold tale in a fresh, believable, and understandable context. Elvis' changes during these years form a tragic mystery that Careless Love unlocks for the first time. This is the quintessential American story, encompassing elements of race, class, wealth, sex, music, religion, and personal transformation. Written with grace, sensitivity, and passion, Careless Love is a unique contribution to our understanding of American popular culture and the nature of success, giving us true insight at last into one of the most misunderstood public figures of our times.
Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Elvis death. As well as being the greatest solo star of the 20th century, Elvis Presley's career is full of controversy and Spencer Leigh's new biography ELVIS PRESLEY: CAUGHT IN A TRAP sorts out facts from the fiction. What separated Elvis Presley from his contemporaries, just how important was Colonel Parker, how did he come to reinvent himself for Las Vegas, did he have to die so young, and why does his legend endure. How good a singer was he, how good an actor was he, and was he caught in a trap, perhaps set by Colonel Parker Spencer Leigh has spoken to band members, songwriters, friends, fans and many people who have worked with the King, and he examines the evidence with the scrutiny of a forensic scientist. With a Foreword by RUSSELL WATSON, the 'People's Tenor'.
Author: Ted Harrison
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Release Date: 2016-09-15
There is no other way to put it: Elvis is the King. Note the present tense: even though Elvis (supposedly) died nearly forty years ago, he has lived on in our hearts, as a sound, as an image, and as an especially vigorous personality. In fact, it’s safe to say no other celebrity has done so quite as well. The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley is the story of that afterlife, of Elvis after he left the building. Walking the eccentrically carpeted rooms of Graceland, bidding into stratospheric sums on his auctioned relics, and mingling among the some 200,000 impersonators of his likeness, Ted Harrison offers nothing less than the ultimate Elvis tribute. Harrison begins, of course, in pilgrimage: to Graceland. He shows how Elvis’s estate was pillaged nearly to ruin by his manager but was saved through the deft business acumen and financial vision of his divorced wife, one Priscilla Presley. If Graceland seems holy, that’s because it is: Harrison unveils in Elvis’s allure a deeply spiritual dimension, showing how Elvis fans, over the decades, have anointed their idol with Christ-like qualities. Through Elvis’s extravagance, Harrison raises fascinating links between money and faith, and through Elvis’s life, he shows how the King actually fulfilled a host of roles ranging from hero to martyr to saint. Underpinning the whole story is Elvis’s extraordinary charisma and—lest we forget—his astonishing musical genius. Fascinating, colorful, and deeply informative, this book is a must-have for any fan, anyone who was ever lucky enough to see Elvis alive or who hopes they might still be able to.
Author: Laura Victoria Levin
Publisher: Perigee Trade
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Performing Arts
The ultimate guide for Elvis Presley fans provides a host of never-before-seen photographs, helpful advice on collecting Elvis memorabilia, trivia, a complete discography, and information on Elvis websites, movies, music, fan clubs, chat rooms, and more. Original.
From details of his childhood in Tupelo, through his rise to success, to his death, a chronology of Elvis Presley's life and career draws on an array of archival material, photographs, documents, letters, artifacts, and memorabilia.
Elvis Presley is the single biggest personality in American popular culture. Over three decades after his death in August 1977, he remains the undisputed king of rock'n'roll. Featuring a wealth of first-hand interviews, Elvis combines Jerry Hopkins's two previous classic bestselling Elvis biographies - Elvis: A Biography and Elvis: The Final Years - with all-new material to give the definitive detailed account of Presley's fantastic life
NEARLY 40 YEARS after his death, Elvis Presley remains one of the most intriguing human beings of the last century. Millions of people still want to know intimate details of Elvis’ life: What did he think about his music? What did he really do behind the gates of Graceland? What were his final thoughts the day he died? We have the answers here. What will you learn from these 400 questions about Elvis answered by Lamar Fike? First, that it took guts to be Elvis. As bizarre as today’s Elvis impersonators might appear to current audiences, imagine the mental pressure cooker the Real Elvis endured as he underwent the sometimes rapturous, sometimes strained metamorphosis of an average face-in-the-crowd Memphis teenager into The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Number Two, that being Elvis required the dedicated help and support of a close circle of friends and family who believed in him. As a performer. As a person. Lamar Fike was one of those friends. Sit down here a while, and he’ll tell you about the Elvis Presley you thought you already knew. At the peak of his popularity. At the depth of his despair. You’ll also learn about that little bit of Elvis we carry around inside, each and every one of us. Elvis may have left the building, but his voice is still in our soul.
Author: Gillian G. Gaar
Release Date: 2011-03-01
Genre: Large print books
By the end of 1968 Presley was artistically revitalised, re-emerging in a TV comeback special during December that year, slimmed down for the now iconic black leather suit, playing country-soul influenced rock like he meant it and loved it. In this second period of Presley's career, which lasted through to the end of 1970, he recorded some of his most enduring records, including "Suspicious Minds" and "In The Ghetto". Author Gillian Gaar shows how Presley reclaimed his rock and roll crown, making an extraordinary transition from fading balladeer to an engaged, vital artist.