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Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:12 pm

custis wrote:I tend to believe that Elvis, We Love You Tender by the Stanleys was probably the most believeable account of life with Elvis.


Are you joking?? Believeable? :mrgreen: This books are the most fraudulent accounts. :oops:

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:30 am

I read many books but I didn't find Scotty's book about Elvis. Can someone please review it? About Peter Guralnick: Last Train was brilliant but Careless Love was less perfect. Sometime it seems biased to me. It covers too much details about Elvis' dates (who cares about this?) and too little about the music. Each one of the movies were treated in one page or two. Very few words about the soundtrack album content. Peter does not show us the good songs in Elvis' movies from the 60'. He only describes in detail the gospel albums and the 69 memphis sessions. the 70's, he does not see a difference between a good concert and a bad one, to him most of all after 1972, were bad. The Memphis live concerts from 1974, the Asheville unusual repertoire from 1975, the Tahoe may 1976 (elvis longest concert ever), the Pittsburh New year's Eve show-all are described in a couple of words. To him Elvis was in a steady decline, that's all. He portraits the Colonel and Dr. Nick in a very positive way. No critical judgement of anyone in the Elvis's circle. To him only Elvis is guilty for his tragedy. Even the infamous 1973 catalogue deal is not Colnel's fault, is Elvis's. So Peter Guralnick wrote sometimes a tale only in idea of "Rise and Fall". So Careless Love is a detailed book but not a definitive one on Elvis 1960-1977 period.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:14 am

brian wrote:I would say it would have to be a book by someone that actually knew Elvis and spent a lot of time with him experiencing things first hand.

So for me it would probably be Revelations of the Memphis mafia.


My issue with RMM is they dont agree with each other making it confusing as to what really happened. Its a good book though.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:27 am

TheMaskedClown wrote:
brian wrote:I would say it would have to be a book by someone that actually knew Elvis and spent a lot of time with him experiencing things first hand.

So for me it would probably be Revelations of the Memphis mafia.


My issue with RMM is they dont agree with each other making it confusing as to what really happened. Its a good book though.

'Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia' is certainly the best book about Elvis I have ever read. I have read most of the Elvis-books out there (the good one's). Yes, sometimes they disagree, but isn't that just a proof that they tell the story as they individually experienced it?! And that must be a good thing.

I think it is much more interesting to hear what the persons close to Elvis say directly instead of an author that decides to tell the story as he sees it. Honestly I don't care what Guralnick thinks; I want to know what Billy Smith, Lamar Fike, Marty Lacker experienced together with Elvis. I also think it is very interesting to hear about the rest of the family; Billy Smith talks about many different people in the Presley/Smith family. After learning about different individuals and how Elvis grew up etc I think it is easier to understand him. Elvis Presley was a troubled character like many other of his relatives. Brilliant book.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:09 am

I still think much of what Lamar and Marty (though not in his first book) say is iffy. There's truth in what they say but I don't like how they say it. Billy is cool but Nash goes places I don't want to know about. Later she showed that despite her sources being questionable in some cases, she always goes for the scandal.
jurasic1968 you detail a lot of what is wrong in Peter's second book. I will say that first one of his is maybe the best one ever done on Elvis to date. Day by Day isn't too bad though and I felt their notes in the Complete Masters actually show that they have learned the value of some of the work they ignored before.

My Elvis Records FAQ book doesn't detail every individual concert, but I do discuss every 1969-77 engagment or tour and every single record issued in Elvis' lifetime. I write about the fifties a lot too, though of course we don't have enough tapes to compare tour by tour, I think we have enough to give a view of Elvis' growth as a stage performer from 1954-61. To me all of this is so much more interesting than what pills he popped or who he slept with. You can't get completely away from drugs with Elvis as they did effect his later performances, and there is a little bit of discussion on the route Elvis' music went during his divorce, but honestly other than how it effected the music, Elvis' personal issues take a back seat (in my mind) to the incredible library he left us.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:15 am

jurasic1968 wrote:I read many books but I didn't find Scotty's book about Elvis. Can someone please review it? About Peter Guralnick: Last Train was brilliant but Careless Love was less perfect. Sometime it seems biased to me. It covers too much details about Elvis' dates (who cares about this?) and too little about the music. Each one of the movies were treated in one page or two. Very few words about the soundtrack album content. Peter does not show us the good songs in Elvis' movies from the 60'. He only describes in detail the gospel albums and the 69 memphis sessions. the 70's, he does not see a difference between a good concert and a bad one, to him most of all after 1972, were bad. The Memphis live concerts from 1974, the Asheville unusual repertoire from 1975, the Tahoe may 1976 (elvis longest concert ever), the Pittsburh New year's Eve show-all are described in a couple of words. To him Elvis was in a steady decline, that's all. He portraits the Colonel and Dr. Nick in a very positive way. No critical judgement of anyone in the Elvis's circle. To him only Elvis is guilty for his tragedy. Even the infamous 1973 catalogue deal is not Colnel's fault, is Elvis's. So Peter Guralnick wrote sometimes a tale only in idea of "Rise and Fall". So Careless Love is a detailed book but not a definitive one on Elvis 1960-1977 period.

Some of your points are valid, but it is also quite true that both volumes of Guralnick's history are now the new standard for the Elvis Presley story. It remains to be seen if they shall ever be surpassed.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:22 am

Mike Eder wrote:I still think much of what Lamar and Marty (though not in his first book) say is iffy. There's truth in what they say but I don't like how they say it. Billy is cool but Nash goes places I don't want to know about. Later she showed that despite her sources being questionable in some cases, she always goes for the scandal.
jurasic1968 you detail a lot of what is wrong in Peter's second book. I will say that first one of his is maybe the best one ever done on Elvis to date. Day by Day isn't too bad though and I felt their notes in the Complete Masters actually show that they have learned the value of some of the work they ignored before.

My Elvis Records FAQ book doesn't detail every individual concert, but I do discuss every 1969-77 engagment or tour and every single record issued in Elvis' lifetime. I write about the fifties a lot too, though of course we don't have enough tapes to compare tour by tour, I think we have enough to give a view of Elvis' growth as a stage performer from 1954-61. To me all of this is so much more interesting than what pills he popped or who he slept with. You can't get completely away from drugs with Elvis as they did effect his later performances, and there is a little bit of discussion on the route Elvis' music went during his divorce, but honestly other than how it effected the music, Elvis' personal issues take a back seat (in my mind) to the incredible library he left us.


I know what youre saying Mike! I think that Alanna Nash as a professional joiurno has to have some scandal to get commissions and sell her books. Not her fault just how it is. What do you think?

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:28 am

Probably, and she makes a lot more money then me for it. Myself it's not about money so much as remembering that I am writing about real people who have or had real life issues like all of us. What Elvis did that is special is his music, and in his life he made far many more people happy than he ever hurt. I just could never disrespect a person who isn't here to defend themselves and print a story that makes them look unduly bad. I don't turn away from the trials Elvis went through but I handle it like I would want somebody to handle my own life i.e. with balance and basic human compassion. Elvis was a real person not some mythical character.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:34 am

Mike Eder wrote:Probably, and she makes a lot more money then me for it. Myself it's not about money so much as remembering that I am writing about real people who have or had real life issues like all of us. What Elvis did that is special is his music, and in his life he made far many more people happy than he ever hurt. I just could never disrespect a person who isn't here to defend themselves and print a story that makes them look unduly bad. I don't turn away from the trials Elvis went through but I handle it like I would want somebody to handle my own life i.e. with balance and basic human compassion. Elvis was a real person not some mythical character.


Im with you but I do like a bit of salacious gossip to spice things up. Dont think we'll ever really know some things about EP. I've always wondered if Elvis had lived and wrote his autobiography what it would be like. A lot of autobios are boring because the person only provides that part of story they want readers to know.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:36 am

custis wrote:I tend to believe that Elvis, We Love You Tender by the Stanleys was probably the most believeable account of life with Elvis.


Youre taking the piss, right?

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:15 pm

Thanks, Doc for your comment to my earlier post regarding Careless Love. I reread this book (4 times in 6 years) these days and again I ended dissapointed, now I never found any positive review of Elvis's movies in the whole 60's. He didn't like even Flaming Star apreciating it as a "conventional message banal western" where Elvis, instead of rehearsing the movie scenes, played football with friends in the July summer taking uppers for this.. About Wild in the Country he makes a nasty comment "Elvis is flat, indiferent in the movie. How far is here from King Creole. What the amphetamines role played no one can say for sure". How comment is that????????
Even about "Elvis, that's the way it is" writes "Elvis sometimes looks not good". Also again the catalogue buyout was done with "Elvis' full enthusiasm and support". "The Star is Born" cancelled offer is also Elvis's fault. The international tour offers were adnotated with a statement of a friend " I wonder if Elvis really want to go". These comments are far from objective to me, are clear biased because of the main theme of the book: "Elvis was in a sad decline from 1960 to 1977, excepting the 1968-1968 era" The book is good because contains so many infomations (too much on girls, the karate movie and the spending sprees) but It's not definitive, in my opinion.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:34 am

I'm also choosing Elvis - What happened.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:43 am

jurasic1968 wrote:Thanks, Doc for your comment to my earlier post regarding Careless Love. I reread this book (4 times in 6 years) these days and again I ended dissapointed, now I never found any positive review of Elvis's movies in the whole 60's. He didn't like even Flaming Star apreciating it as a "conventional message banal western" where Elvis, instead of rehearsing the movie scenes, played football with friends in the July summer taking uppers for this.. About Wild in the Country he makes a nasty comment "Elvis is flat, indiferent in the movie. How far is here from King Creole. What the amphetamines role played no one can say for sure". How comment is that????????
Even about "Elvis, that's the way it is" writes "Elvis sometimes looks not good". Also again the catalogue buyout was done with "Elvis' full enthusiasm and support". "The Star is Born" cancelled offer is also Elvis's fault. The international tour offers were adnotated with a statement of a friend " I wonder if Elvis really want to go". These comments are far from objective to me, are clear biased because of the main theme of the book: "Elvis was in a sad decline from 1960 to 1977, excepting the 1968-1968 era" The book is good because contains so many infomations (too much on girls, the karate movie and the spending sprees) but It's not definitive, in my opinion.


I agree with all of that. A lot of good info but a sometimes uneven view. A shame Last Train made me feel I knew Elvis and understood his motivations. I often felt Peter just couldn't figure out the later Elvis with the same level of heart or care. Not a whitewash but maybe a more even critical eye on things like the better movies and tours.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:42 pm

Mike Eder wrote:
jurasic1968 wrote:Thanks, Doc for your comment to my earlier post regarding Careless Love. I reread this book (4 times in 6 years) these days and again I ended dissapointed, now I never found any positive review of Elvis's movies in the whole 60's. He didn't like even Flaming Star apreciating it as a "conventional message banal western" where Elvis, instead of rehearsing the movie scenes, played football with friends in the July summer taking uppers for this.. About Wild in the Country he makes a nasty comment "Elvis is flat, indiferent in the movie. How far is here from King Creole. What the amphetamines role played no one can say for sure". How comment is that????????
Even about "Elvis, that's the way it is" writes "Elvis sometimes looks not good". Also again the catalogue buyout was done with "Elvis' full enthusiasm and support". "The Star is Born" cancelled offer is also Elvis's fault. The international tour offers were adnotated with a statement of a friend " I wonder if Elvis really want to go". These comments are far from objective to me, are clear biased because of the main theme of the book: "Elvis was in a sad decline from 1960 to 1977, excepting the 1968-1968 era" The book is good because contains so many infomations (too much on girls, the karate movie and the spending sprees) but It's not definitive, in my opinion.


I agree with all of that. A lot of good info but a sometimes uneven view. A shame Last Train made me feel I knew Elvis and understood his motivations. I often felt Peter just couldn't figure out the later Elvis with the same level of heart or care. Not a whitewash but maybe a more even critical eye on things like the better movies and tours.



I agree also 100% with you. Peter Guralnick didn't like Elvis Presley in the 60's and 70's so he was interested presenting Elvis in a sliding decline. He does not present Elvis's funny moments in the movies and to a casual reader Elvis was living a tragedy for 17 years. Far from true.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:11 pm

jurasic1968 wrote:Peter Guralnick didn't like Elvis Presley in the 60's and 70's so he was interested presenting Elvis in a sliding decline.


this doesn't sound like you read the book at all.
and by the way: the subtitle of guralnick's book is "the unmaking of EP" not "the decline..." which makes a lot of difference. but surely you think elvis was getting better and better towards 1977?

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:21 pm

I read it 4 times in the last 6 years. I didn't say ever that Elvis was at his pinnacle of his carrer in 1977. I only sad that P.G.constructed a scenario from himself : the rise of Elvis Presley: 1954-1958, the fall : 1958-1977

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:47 pm

one book that hasn't been mentioned at all in this thread that i cherish a lot is paul simpson's "rough guide to elvis" (penguin). it's well written and packed with information that goes well beyond being just a "rough guide". mr. simpson definitely knows his stuff. i particularly enjoyed the spot-on short reviews of the albums, the movies and 50 outstanding songs. also you find stuff like the contents of elvis' record collection or some of the books he read etc. etc.
perfect for elvis-novices but also already well informed elvis fans will keep going back to it. i know i do.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:00 pm

Both Guralnicks books , the first Hopkins book are all that one ever needs to read for the Elvis story. Scotty's book also because he was part of it all and was there for the history they made together - music. The others are just tell alls. As for photo books and record sessions, there are plenty to choose from.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:48 pm

I might swear in church by writing my opinion but this is my true opinion. I read both books when they first was released Elvis what happened and Goldmans book as well. There was a very negative feeling in both books, but
have been a lifetime Elvis fan it revealed some insight on what was going on in Elvis life. I never felt that they trashed Elvis and over the years many stories had seen the light of day both in written words and in audio recordings to verify that something was very wrong in Elvis life.

After reading Goldmans book I remember that I felt very sorry for Elvis, there was this young talented man that never had a chance to grow up after 1956. Many of the early rockstars came from very poor backgrounds and
many had very short careers and ended up in povertry. He felt that he had to take care of his parents. He had
a manager that decided over him very early, Parker throw out for example Leiber & Stoller as they was supposed to have a big impact on Elvis and so on. The Goldman book revealed nothing but sadness to me, it could have been writided with more respect but it gave another insight to how Elvis life must have been, hence the selfmedication and destuctive lifestyle.

This said as I also read the Lennon biography by Goldman and got the feeling that he was doing everything to put
the former Beatle in a baddest way he could think.


I take the risk and suggest that you try to read those books with new Eyes, not as they try to judge Elvis but there is many stories that gives an insight to what realy was going on.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:13 pm

I never read Goldman's books about Elvis but I read the one about Lennon. To me it's enough. And I read an article about his second book about Elvis (the last 24 hours) with his ridiculous claims that Elvis commited suicide. No more about Goldman, please. He hated not only Elvis but everything about rock'n'roll music. He was a so called " New York professor, writer and intelectual" (in a bad term meaning he despised everything coming from the South) angry of Elvis' success. In his mind was this thing: if a trash southern hilbilly made such money-only because of Colonel Parker's talent, not for Elvis' qualities- means that America was upside down. That's what Goldman think: How an super intelectual from New York became less payed that an ignorant nobody from the South.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:22 pm

How can you tell all this without reading the book?

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:30 pm

I read many articles and reviews about him and his books

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:49 pm

jurasic1968 wrote: He hated not only Elvis but everything about rock'n'roll music.


i had a book once containing goldman's essays and articles and it included a review of a 1970 vegas show that was absolutely positive so there must have been a point where his perspective on elvis changed.
i have read only excerpts of his elvis book so far. the stuff about elvis' uncircumcised pecker was pretty funny i must admit. think i'm going to read the rest of it too one day.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:39 pm

One must have in mind that th book was written short after Elvis Death. Most of the world didn't have a clue
about what the condition Elvis was in. Living outside U.S.A there was nothing indicated other that Elvis was the most handsome man living a perfect life and still on top of his game. I thought that Elvis was looking something that was near Aloha the last filmed footage of Elvis but the shock came when I saw EIC on television, then I could se the Connection to what I had read in the mentioned books.Both EWH and Albert Goldmans book reveled something else and gave the "saga" a very different point of view, not in a horrible manor but just showed me that everyting that was in the ordinary "fan" books wasn't neccesery the truth.

To say I have read a lot about Goldman and Review of that book and passed reading it myself must be the same
as I didn't buy the new FTD release couse someone else didn't like it so I skipped listened to it myself.

So again, read it with new Eyes and you might read between the lines in some causes but still there is a lot to
find out without coloured glasses.

Re: Which Elvis book, in your opinion, is the most credible?

Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:48 pm

patricia66 wrote:There is not ONE book that is most reliable. I would recommend to read as many as possible and to make up your own mind. Besides, it depends on what you are interested. If you are interested first of all in Elvis the singer and musician as well as his cultural impact, I would recommend the following:

* Richard Middleton: All Shook Up? Innovation and Continuity in Elvis Presley’s Vocal Style. in: Kevin Quain: The * Elvis Reader, New York, St. Martin’s Press 1992
* Jorgensen "A Life In Music"
* Daniel Wolff: Elvis in The Dark, The Threepenny Review, no. 79 (Autumn 1999)
* Michael T. Bertrand: Race, Rock And Elvis. How A White Take On Black Sounds Revolutionized Race Relations. University Of Illinois Press, Chicago / Illinois 2005
* Simon Frith: Wise Men Say: Elvis Presley, Essay in: Aspects of Elvis 1994
* Charles Hamm: Elvis, A Review, in: Putting Popular Music In Its Place, Cambridge University Press 1995, S. 131ff
* Greil Marcus: Dead Elvis
* Greil Marcus: Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music
* Dave Marsh: Elvis, Omnibus Press 1992
* Georges Plasketes: Images of Elvis Presley in American Culture, 1977 – 1997, The Mystery Train, The Haworth Press 1992
* Henry Pleasants: The Great American Popular Singers, New York: Simon & Schuster 1974
* Sharp: Writing for the King

Guralnick's biography to me is a great piece of American literature, extremely well written, almost comparable to Melville's "Moby Dick". It is a great novel about the great American folk hero of the 20th century. But is it really the definite biography as the The New York Times claimed? Read what Middleton, Frith, Wolff, and Hamm have to say about Elvis Presley, it will help to put things into perspective.

With regard to the publications of the entourage members, read as many as you can. They all contain interesting stories, although they all include a lot of mistakes too. It's interesting with which people Elvis surrounded himself. Besides, the way the books are written reveal a lot about the authors, often more than about the person the book is about. No wonder "Revelations from the Memphis Mafia" ist such an interesting book title, though probably not in the sense the authors intended it to be :smt001 .

Thompson & Cole "The Death of Elvis" should be read together with Dr. Nichopoulos account published early this year. Two books about one topic that come to very different conclusions. Judge for yourself what is the more reliable account.



Excellent post! 100% agreeable!