Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Best Elvis Presley Books

Instead of my usual pick of an Elvis recording to commemorate the anniversary of his death, I'll recommend some books.

Both biographies by Peter Guralnick, Last Train To Memphis and Careless Love are superb.  Especially the former, which is one for every music fan's library.
Guralnick's fine 2015 Sam Phillips bio, The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll, has plenty of stuff on Elvis & Sun records.

From there pick up Greil Marcus' Mystery Train (1975), which has a chapter called Elvis: Presliad. There's also a discography that will have you hunting down many Elvis titles you didn't know existed.  Now in its 6th printing, the whole book is essential.
Marcus also has another good Presley book called Dead Elvis (1991) that shows how popular the King became after his death.  More popular dead than alive?

Ernst Jorgensen has been responsible for many of the best Elvis reissues of the last 30 years.  His A Life In Music: Complete Recording Sessions (1998).  Yep, every recording session.  Jorgensen needs to release the updated version of this in book form.
He teamed up with Guralnick for 1999's Elvis Day By Day (1999) an interesting, kind of fun, read on what the King was doing throughout his life.

For '68 comeback Elvis, I enjoyed Gilliam Gaar's 2010, Return of the King: Elvis Presley's Great Comeback.

Dave Marsh's Elvis (1982) was one of the first books I read on Elvis.  Not really a biography as a picture book that tells Elvis' story from birth until he died.  Great pictures.

I also like Alanna Nash's 2005 Elvis and the Memphis Mafia, in which 3 Mafia members look back on their Elvis years.  It's overlong, though at 800 pages, but it's never boring.
Nash's other Elvis book Baby Let's Play House:  Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him (2010) is another long book at 700 pages, but another easy read.
Neither of her books are essential, but if you're looking to expand your knowledge of all things Elvis, then they are worth a read.
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