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Lew Allen Elvis Photobook To Be Released In The US

April 20, 2007 | Book
The book "Elvis & The Birth Of Rock: The Photographs Of Lew Allen" will be released in the US April 26, 2007.

The press release:

In perhaps the greatest photojournalism scoop in the annals of rock music -- certainly the earliest, as it happened in 1956 -- 17 year-old Lew Allen was the lone cameraman covering 21 year-old Elvis Presley's Nov. 23 concert at the Cleveland Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, now the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's home city.

50 years later, previously unpublished and mostly unseen, 27 of these priceless, historic images -- stored and unexamined for decades -- are the centerpiece of pre-eminent art house publisher Genesis Publications' newest signed, limited edition, "Elvis & The Birth Of Rock: The Photographs Of Lew Allen."

In honor of the magnificent large format volume's U.S. release in late April, the Morrison Hotel Gallery (MHG) in Los Angeles will host a special book signing and reception with Lew Allen on Thurs., May 3 from 6-8PM. Prints of six of Allen's images of Elvis will be on display during the event. Internationally renowned MHG's sole focus is music related imagery -- and one of its co-founders is famed rock photographer Henry Diltz -- making it the ideal venue at which to welcome "Elvis & The Birth Of Rock: The Photographs Of Lew Allen" to the States (it was released in the U.K. earlier this year). MHG is located in the heart of Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at 7517 W. Sunset Blvd. (1/2 block west of Guitar Center), LA, CA, 90046 (add'l MHG galleries are in SoHo/NYC and La Jolla, CA).
The landmark concert that Lew Allen serendipitously captured on film, and which is now featured photographically in "Elvis & The Birth Of Rock," took place two months after Presley's world-rocking debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, and just days after the premiere of his first film, "Love Me Tender." Allen's high school newspaper had dispatched him to document the frenzy surrounding the young star on his meteoric ascent from hillbilly cat-dom to iconic stature, and since the show fell in the midst of a press strike blacking out Cleveland's three newspapers, he was the only photographer covering it. The school paper published only one shot of Presley; Allen, who went on to a photographic career but only reported on music on another couple of occasions, boxed up the negatives and proofs, not thinking they were good enough to warrant further attention.

Genesis credits Allen's nephew, Bob Shatten, with sparking momentum for "Elvis & The Birth Of Rock" after he realized the vast importance of the images found gathering dust in his uncle's basement in 1988. Shatten, Allen (now based in Phoenix, AZ) and editor Mike McCartney provide lively, insightful written commentary to accompany the pictures, which reveal both intimate and onstage moments with the soon to be crowned "King," many simply chronicling the sheer elemental force of his presence. Genesis' website notes, it's "Elvis as he has never been seen before," with the idol's innocence and youth shining through it all -- Allen writes, he was a "gentle, kind, considerate, back-woods country kid. Polite beyond words ... That was my Elvis."

Genesis announced the "Elvis & The Birth Of Rock's" publication in the U.K. in late 2006, and initial Deluxe editions became available in early '07. Set for U.S. release April 26, the book -- which will be available for sale at MHG on May 3 -- also presents rarely-seen photos that Allen shot in 1958 at two shows in Rochester, NY featuring a stellar assemblage of early rock 'n roll legends. These images -- including ones of Buddy Holly (a year before his untimely death), The Everly Brothers, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Darin -- offer an insider's view into a bygone era, when musicians traveled by bus, casually helped each other with lyrics, carried their own gear and stage outfits and were backed by local sidemen on the road. (News, Source: PRInside)
Jerome wrote on April 21, 2007
"Genesis announced the "Elvis & The Birth Of Rock's" publication in the U.K. in late 2006", sorry but I can't find this passage in my Bible edition
Greg Nolan wrote on April 30, 2007
From what I've seen of the Lew Allen photos, this is a must-have. What a worthy project this will be. It's sure to be on par with the other great books with photos shot by Marvin Israel and others. And it's a neat story that he worked for a high-school newspaper. I did as well and can only imagine covering a story like this! It's not in my Old Testament, either, Jerome (good one) but Allen was there at the "genesis" of rock. The Henry Diltz mentioned in the article took some photos of '60s rockers like the Doors, including the "Morrison Hotel" album, which has an interesting story to it.. Once you get into the photographic artistic value of such collections, you realize that what better a subject than Elvis Presley. I know some fans dismiss these books (they're not for everyone) but for those of you collecting such books, you know that a shelf-load of such volumes can, in a way, conjur Elvis about as well as any DVD.