The Beat behind the King is a fitting title for a book by DJ Fontana about his life with Elvis. The story of the force behind the King that ignited a revolution in pop music.
The book almost has an A4 format and is presented in landscape format. They should have chosen a hard cover in this format since the book bends a lot while reading it.
This book is somewhere between a text and a picture book. The format is good for the number of images in it, they can be presented in a larger size. Too bad the quality of the images is very poor, even on the glossy paper they used, because great images like this deserve the highest quality. They chose a good font which makes reading easy.
Along with the book comes a picture disk CD in which DJ tells some great anecdotes about life on the road with Elvis, which you also find in the book. The book is told by DJ Fontana, written by Darwin Lamm and published by Elvis International books.
DJ’s friend Scotty Moore did the introduction of the book and in several short and long chapters DJ tells his version of Elvis’ early years up to the 1968 Comeback Special and Elvis death in 1977.
From the beginning, meeting Elvis and the Louisiana Hayride, life on the road up to the TV shows and of course the movies, DJ tells us what happened. The text is written very pleasantly, almost like you’re listening to DJ personally. In between the facts we get a lot of anecdotes and jokes the guys played on each other.
Recording with Elvis was easy according to DJ, Elvis was in control and tried to lay down a track with all musicians present, not picking on the guy who made a mistake like other ‘big names’ he worked with did. The concentrated and smiling faces on the famous Wertheimer photos of Elvis in the studio January 1956 prove this.
From there we make a big step to February 1968 when Priscilla gives birth to Lisa Marie as a small intro to the ’68 Comeback Special Chapter. In the chapter ‘Later Days’ we read what DJ got up to from then on.
Besides the stories from DJ this book contains a lot of photos of the guys on the road, on stage, in the studio and on the movie sets. They’re either at work or having fun. Browsing through these classic fifties images shows what it was all about, as fifties glamour boys on a roll to nationwide fame. Besides old photo's of Elvis and DJ we also see some rare and lesser know images of Scotty and Bill Black. This way the book covers the whole BAND behind the KING.
We’ve read a lot by the guys who were there in the later years, but not too much from the guys who were there in the early days. This book contains DJ Fontana’s version of (especially) the fifties part of Elvis life and is told in a very pleasant, open and positive way. It is one of the better books we’ve read recently. A big minor is the quality of the photos, they deserved much better.
This book is a great read for any fifties fan and everyone interested in Elvis life (on the road) with his early friends.