Erik Lorentzen, author of The King Of Las Vegas, started a ambitious project: a series of books covering Elvis’ complete career. The first volume to hit the street was number 3, 1960-1964.
My head is still dazzling from the information I consumed through this book the last week. Not only the information collected is impressive, but also the way it is presented is amazing. The press release claimed each volume contains over 1200 pictures. I didn’t count them, but wholeheartly believe it.
Well, let’s try to get structure in the chaos in my head, first content-wise. The book is, not surprisingly, chronological ordered. It starts in Germany, with Elvis’ 25th birthday, yes, on January 8. The interview with Dick Clark is transcribed completely and the famous pictures of Priscilla with For LP Fans Only are included. From there on we get a day-by-day view on 1960:. from his visit to Paris in January, the maneuvers to his return to the States. This is all decorated with pictures, sometimes known, some rare and even some in full colour. More transcribed interviews follow and then we get to a picture I have to mention: a full page full colour shot of Elvis looking up to fans on the wall of Graceland. Then we get some complete articles by the Memphis Press Scimitar and the first session at Studio B. For the session al songs, including the master take numbers are mentioned and all musicians are listed.
This is a bit how the book goes on. The movies get an extended view: background information on the story, script, filming, bloopers etc. etc. All main actors are listed, with a little extra information, like other movies they starred in. The fact that the movie-songs get a more extensive treatment (complete with lyrics) amazed me a bit. So I contacted the author and asked why this choice was made. He explained that fans from 1960s, like he, became fan because of the movie(song)s. Next to it he wanted information and pictures to create a complete image together. I can only say he succeeded in this attempt.
I can go on and on describing the book like this, but you have to see it to believe it. Aren’t there any minors then? Yes there are some. Some of the pictures are strangly coloured. I guess that’s because of the source, since the printing is perfect and tons of pictures look perfectly. And of course a project like must have its own blooper or two too. A great publicity shot during Kid Galahad was included full page twice. It is a great photo, Elvis sitting in front of a fountain, but to add it twice is a bit overdone. And there is one minor “blooper”, but that is more of personal taste: there are way too few pictures with Jocelyn Lane!
I am sure this series will be the ultimate work on Elvis’ career. This volume only is an astonishing achievement. I have to take a deep bow (as I remember well the only time before I did this, was for a Scandinavian guy too: Stein Erik Skar) for the author and congratulate Erik Lorentzen with this first released volume of his series! I realize the book is not cheap, but compared to what you have to pay for other (just picture) books, it’s worth its prize a million times!