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Essential books

Thu Jul 03, 2003 2:34 am

Of the many books on Elvis that have been published in the last ten years so years hears a list of what I consider Essential Elvis books for any budding Elvis scholar:

Day by day - Peter Guralnick & Ernst Jorgensen
Last train to Memphis - Peter Guralnick
Careless Love - Peter Guralnick
A life in music - Ernst Jorgensen
The Fall & rise of the Presley empire - Sean O' Neal ( I found this one facinating)
Elvis the concert years 1969- 1977 - Stein Erik Skar
Sessions two - Joe Tunzi (soon to be superseded by sessions three)

Each one of these gives a different angle on Presley's life: Personal, Public, the Music, the Man. Even Tunzi and Jorgensen books instead of riveling each other compliment each other.

I Haven't read Alanna Nash's book Revelation's of the Memphis Mathia but I'm sure it could be added to this list, as well as Alanna Nash's new book on the Colonel judging by the feedback on this messageboard.

Garry .

Thu Jul 03, 2003 6:16 am

Hi garry100

What about "The Death Of Elvis" by Thompson & Cole?
I would think this should be classified as an essential read.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 6:31 am

Agreed, Brad.

You've got to have the "afterlife" covered. That is an amazing read.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 6:39 am

Perhaps not an essential read, but one that I think is very underrated and certainly refreshing after reading titles like "Revelations Of The Memphis Mafia", "Careless Love", "Down At The End Of Lonely Street", etc., is June Juanico's "In The Twilight Of Memory".

It is a light read, but it is very well written (think the antithesis of Charlie Hodge's "Me 'n Elvis"--and he had help!!!) and lets us in on a whole new facet of Elvis's early years, even in a way that "Last Train To Memphis" doesn't touch. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed that book.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 6:47 am

Definitely add "Revelations Of The Memphis Mafia" and "The Death Of Elvis" to th list of must read books.
I would also recommend:
Elvis - Jerry Hopkins (I read this about 30 years ago. It was very good for its time)
Elvis On The Road - Robert Gordon
That's All Right, Elvis - Scotty Moore (kind of fun)

jeff R

Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:04 am

Scotty's book is nice. He has a pretty unique perspective. The title of his book is appropriate in that you could understand if he might be a little bitter about his not having been in the picture longer than he was (or his not being better compensated while he was around), but he doesn't sound that way at all. He sounds like a cool guy.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 8:44 am

Regarding Elvis, a biography should tell us more about the man and his music, without BS or "blinders" on. These Presley tomes listed below are worth your time and money, although none are perfect. I hope you get the enjoyment out of them that I did.

the story:
-----
Last Train To Memphis - Guralnick
Careless Love - Guralnick
Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia - Nash
Elvis: Portrait of a Friend - Lacker, Lacker and Smith
Elvis and Gladys - Dundy
When Elvis Died - Gregory and Gregory
If I Can Dream - Geller
The Death of Elvis - Thompson II and Cole
Elvis Day By Day - Guralnick and Jorgensen

the music (studio/live) and its impact:
-----
Elvis Presley: A Life in Music - Jorgensen
Talking Elvis - Cajiao
Sessions II - Tunzi
Mystery Train - Marcus
Dead Elvis - Marcus
Elvis: The Concert Years 1969-1977 - Skar
Elvis: Images and Fancies - University Press of Mississippi (edited by Thorpe)
The Elvis Atlas - Gray and Osborne

the images:
-----
ALL the Ger Rijff photo/essay collections
Elvis 56 - Werthheimer
Elvis Presley 1956 - Israel
Private Presley - Schroer
Private Elvis - Cortez
The Life of Elvis Presley - Shaver
some of the Joe Tunzi photo books

Read and learn!!

Thu Jul 03, 2003 10:59 am

I would also reccomend this one:
Elvis: his life from A to Z, by Worth and Tamerius.
It's a great reference book with different sections concerning Elvis' life, music, movie career, concerts plus an accurate songbase wich provides also informations about discography (original and import releases).
Even if the book needs to be updated (it was written in 1989), in my opinion it's worth buying it, especially when you need to check details coming from other sources.
The book is listed on amazon.co.uk but not available at the moment.
You can check it at this link:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASI ... ct-details

GOOD BOOK

Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:21 pm

I always liked "THE FINAL YEARS" by Jerry Hokins.
There is also a good new photo book out now called "Behind the image".
TONY DOBB

Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:49 pm

Skar's "The Concert Years" is essential reading but I find it strange that the picture quality is so bad. Hopefully, he will fix that if ever decides to release another edition.

"The Man And His Music" is a masterpiece. I love that book!

Keith Richards, Jr.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:56 pm

Haha. I meant "A Life in Music", of course.

In the future, I'd like to see more books about THE MUSIC -- the albums, the recording sessions, the singles, the live shows, etc.

Keith Richards, Jr.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 3:17 pm

gian wrote:I would also reccomend this one:
Elvis: his life from A to Z, by Worth and Tamerius.
It's a great reference book with different sections concerning Elvis' life, music, movie career, concerts plus an accurate songbase wich provides also informations about discography (original and import releases).
Even if the book needs to be updated (it was written in 1989), in my opinion it's worth buying it, especially when you need to check details coming from other sources.
The book is listed on amazon.co.uk but not available at the moment.
You can check it at this link:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASI ... ct-details


Hi gian!

You need to be careful when reading through this book for factual information. There are a number of inaccuracies.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 4:07 pm

I would have to add "Elvis In Texas: The Undiscovered King 1954-1958"
by Stanley Oberst and Lori Torrance to this list as it covers the very early years and has some really great pictures.

Tom

Thu Jul 03, 2003 4:45 pm

Lena Canada's "To Elvis with Love" is one I'm very fond of. Anyone who can read that book (or see the movie based on it: "Touched By Love")without being moved to tears doesn't have a heart. I think this book speaks volumes about Elvis' true character.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:29 pm

Elvis-fan what is so inaccarate about a-z? I personally love this book and it is better than David Stanleys encyclopedia. It has TONS of information, and most is accurate, IMO.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:55 pm

There are some inaccuracies that I have found...
One that immediately comes to mind is that it states a live performance in March of 1958.
I don't think it's a bad book. In fact, I look at it often.
I just thought I'd share my findings.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 8:06 pm

genesim
I agree with you about Elvis from A to Z.
Over the years the recording informations turned out to be pretty accurate, especially the ones concerning the songs supposedly recorded in studio or live.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 8:25 pm

There’s a great deal of valid information in the A- Z book, and errors in a work of this size are almost unavoidable, but I think one of the things that lets the book down is the list of songs Elvis supposedly performed live or recorded. Here we are presented with a list of known recordings that also includes song titles that the writers say Elvis either could of performed live or is thought to have recorded. The problem with this is that there isn’t any tangible evidence to support the fact that Elvis either performed live or recorded the majority of the listed “lost” songs, and this really lets this section down.

If the writers wanted to speculate on what Elvis may have performed live or recorded, surely that should have been a separate chapter.

Thu Jul 03, 2003 9:17 pm

I think Elvis - A Radio History From 1945 to 1955, by Aaron Webster, is a nice supplement to Last Train To Memphis. It gives a lot of extra little details and background to these formative years.

Derek

Fri Jul 04, 2003 6:26 am

DerekGillies wrote:I think Elvis - A Radio History From 1945 to 1955, by Aaron Webster, is a nice supplement to Last Train To Memphis. It gives a lot of extra little details and background to these formative years.

Derek


I couple of things I liked about that "Radio" biography, is the illustrations of so many 45rpm & 78rpm records - platters a disc jockey would see and use in the 1950s. And hard to find today! It's a vinyl colector's wet dream.

Another thing, is the extent of info on four 1955 events commonly considered lost and forgotten:

Arthur Godfrey TV Auditon
The Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Concert/Broadcast
Pied Piper of Cleveland film
Nashville Disc Jockey Convention.

IMO, Webster succeeded where Guralnick failed to cover those events in as much detail.

GG

Sat Jul 05, 2003 8:21 am

Graceland Galonker wrote:Another thing, is the extent of info on four 1955 events commonly considered lost and forgotten:

Arthur Godfrey TV Auditon [ sic ]
The Jimmie Rodgers [ sic ] Memorial Concert/Broadcast
Pied Piper of Cleveland film
Nashville Disc Jockey Convention.

IMO, Webster succeeded where Guralnick failed to cover those events in as much detail.


This makes no sense whatsoever.

Webster's recent book has been thoroughly dismissed as being chock full of spurious information. Guralinick's 1994 biography has won national and international recognition.

And of the above four "lost" examples, only ONE was definitely filmed and recorded: the October 1955 Cleveland concerts, aka "The Pied Piper Of Cleveland."

Say good night, Gracie.

Sat Jul 05, 2003 8:57 am

What about ' The Illustrated Record ' - Roy Carr & Mick Farren, i find this very informative and a must for vinyl fans(all fans).


Promocollector

Sat Jul 05, 2003 10:01 am

I have learnt more on the message boards thousands of pages than in any of the above books

WE are writing the definitive Biography on all the message boards and guest books.

David Neale of Belgium, respected and long time Elvis book reviewer is the guy to consult for the best. Ask him about all the errors in the so-called Classics Elvis books:-)


Nonetheless, I do have my favourites.

http://www.dublinpeople.com/newssport/t ... /sspeople/ just scroll down a little for the Elvis story in this weekly newspaper.

Sat Jul 05, 2003 10:34 am

Tunzi's book Elvis #1 is invaluable because of its chart history. You'd have to buy about six Billboard books to get what you get in here and you still wouldn't have all of it.

I wouldn't rate "The Death of Elvis" as anything close to an essential read. The book has no insights on Presley's life or music and as such is nothing more than a curiousity.

Marcus' gives a better account of Elvis' post-mortal life. Also check out Janice and Neal Gregory's "When Elvis Died". Though the Gregorys are dismissive of Elvis' art their book captures the media and public hysteria that followed Elvis' death. It's essential in its way to understanding his impact. Perhaps the most revealing section of the book is a presentation of editorials that followed Presley's death. Many, many are dismissive. Newspapers at that time were still in the hands of the parents of Elvis' original fans and even by 1977 he still hadn't gained the respect of that crowd.

The A-Z book is invaluable for the way it gives the history of many Elvis songs and lists important earlier versions. This is something done by no other book. Also the encyclopedia section is broader than in any other reference.

The Carr and Farren book is also essential because of its attention to and respect for Elvis the artist. Dave Marsh's "Elvis" does the same thing. It was also the first blow in reclaiming Elvis' music of the 60s and the 70s.

Finally, Priscilla's book "Elvis and Me" features a number of anecdotes that give a glimpse into Elvis' psyche. Priscilla is lost by many of these anecdotes, always concerned with painting herself as the wounded party, but the stories speak for themselves and she chose well.

Sat Jul 05, 2003 10:46 am

likethebike wrote:I wouldn't rate "The Death of Elvis" as anything close to an essential read. The book has no insights on Presley's life or music and as such is nothing more than a curiousity.


Strike one!

likethebike wrote:The A-Z book is invaluable for the way it gives the history of many Elvis songs and lists important earlier versions. This is something done by no other book [ sic ]. Also the encyclopedia section is broader than in any other reference.


Strike two!

likethebike wrote:Finally, Priscilla's book "Elvis and Me" features a number of anecdotes that give a glimpse into Elvis' psyche. Priscilla is lost by many of these anecdotes, always concerned with painting herself as the wounded party, but the stories speak for themselves and she chose well.


Strike three! You're out!!

Back to the bench you go.