Issued a few months ago, but still pretty fresh, is the FTD book ‘Welcome Home Elvis 1960’. At first glance, there is lots of information and great pictures in the book, printed on high quality paper. There are however quite a few white pages with text only, which looks a bit cheap.
After the introduction the book starts with a letter from the Colonel, dated 9 January 1959. The Colonel urges Elvis to make tape recordings at home with only an organ or piano that would be released on single or an EP called ‘Elvis While Off Duty’. Elvis must keep this secret till a deal would have been closed. This letter may well have triggered the home recordings that were released after his death.
The book follows Elvis his activities from 3 March 1960 till 3 April 1960 in chronological order, one month in his life spelled out over 260 pages! It starts with nice pictures of an 19 year old Nancy Sinatra, as she welcomes Elvis upon his arrival in New Jersey with a message and present from her father. The original message from Frank Sinatra is printed in color, as well as a rare photograph of Elvis holding the present aboard a private railcar.
The next pages focus on the trip to Memphis by train, including newspaper articles and a nice picture of waiting fans at the Roanoke train station, as well as a quote from a Southern Railway flagman: “The largest crowd I’ve ever seen was in Knoxville, when singer Elvis Presley was returning home from Army service to Memphis. I was scared someone was going to get run over. They were swinging on the engines, never seen anything like it.” Also interesting is that Bill Burk claims that Elvis told him during this trainride, with the Colonel sitting next to him, that he would not have to do cookie-cutter films anymore after GI Blues. They would get him out of that whole routine. Well, it was just about to start in reality!
The arrival in Memphis is covered in quite some detail with beautiful pictures from the Commercial Appeal and a quote from George Klein welcoming Elvis home with the words “Graceland is going to rock tonight” at which Elvis smiled and replied “You got that right, GK”. Touching is that Elvis noticed the head of the local Elvis fanclub, the disabled Gary Pepper, sitting in a wheelchair in the crowd. Elvis asks security to wheel Pepper through the crowd to him. There are nice pictures of this moment. A picture of Elvis leaving the station in a car driven by a smiling army officer, and guarded by walking police officers, is just fantastic.
The following pictures at Graceland and from the press conference are pretty well known. There is one rare color picture though of Elvis standing in front of paintings of himself that I had never seen before. Elvis is wearing a wide-open black shirt with a golden medal, which looks stunning. There are also pictures of Elvis sitting by a present-loaded Christmas tree that has been awaiting his return at home. Elvis commented “This is my 1957 Christmas tree, my last Christmas at home”.
It is also nice to read that the next day Elvis tries to visit the SUN studios, but they have just been closed to his disappointment. At that time, Sam Philips is moving into new studios at Madison.
Apparently the following days there were big crowds at Graceland with fans wanting to meet the King as he was finally back in town. There is a nice color background picture of Elvis meeting his fans at the gate of Graceland, and also a nice story of deaf fans meeting Elvis. It is stated that contrary to popular notion deaf children love music. They dance in their stocking feet to feel the vibration of the music more keenly. Completely new info for me as well! A jukebox and several Elvis albums were donated to the Deaf school.
The recording sessions of 20 March are described in lots of detail, song by song in historical recording order, which is repeated later for the 3 April recording sessions. There is not only technical information about musicians and takes, but also quotes from people who were there, or that have a personal connection with the song. Like Anita Wood saying “He asked me to go out and buy the record, he told me he was going to make a record of it and he really did. He made a record of Soldier Boy later”.
Next is the trip to Miami by train and it is interesting to learn that this trip was as chaotic as the trip from New Jersey to Memphis. Extra police was send to train stations in Alabama where crowds of 2,000 gathered, and even 5,000 fans were waiting at the train station in Miami. Great pictures and newspaper articles of the event are included. There is a fantastic picture of Elvis posing with fists like a boxer and a hat on, giving him somewhat of a mobster look. There is also a detailed explanation how they sneaked Elvis past the crowd that is very entertaining to read. A beautiful color picture of excited fans climbing the train demonstrates this was out of pure necessity!
This treat is followed by other great pictures of Elvis at the Fontaineblue Hotel explaining how his hair was cut in the army and pointing at a mark near his left eye that was caused by an incident at a Memphis roller rink. Elvis tells the press “I was blocked by one fellow and, as I jumped over him, another one sailed into me with his shoulder first… Wham! … Racked me up pretty good”. One can only imagine the terror that the Colonel must have felt with important business deals coming up!
There are really great pictures of Elvis meeting a six-year old girl in private, as well as an injured fan from a car accident. Elvis invited them both based on sad stories in Miami newspapers, including a picture of the little girl in tears after waiting for hours in vain at the train station. Elvis also gave them a personalized guitar and there are nice pictures of this in the book.
Of course the Frank Sinatra Timex Show is well covered, starting with the rehearsals of which there are really great pictures from ABC. It is interesting to read that originally a scene was included in which Elvis shot Sammy, who died in agony in the best B-grade movie fashion. This was cut out for the show. Also interesting is that Elvis was not happy with the show because he did not feel comfortable with singing ‘Stuck on You’ and ‘Fame and Fortune’ live on stage. I guess a tuxedo was also not his favorite wear!
A touching detail is that Nancy Sinatra tells that her father called her immediately when Elvis died, as she liked him very much, being a warm and compassionate friend for many years. Frank Sinatra told Nancy not to worry, “Elvis will be getting a great reward today”.
All technical detail on the show itself is shared such as location, duration, musicians, full program detail, etc. There is a really great color picture of Elvis and Sinatra here, and of course plenty of newspaper articles of the event. It is remarkable that the press is not enthusiastic about Elvis his performance, and I must actually confess that I do not like this TV show very much either. Time Magazine opens even with “One of the worst” and concludes “As this sat on the shelf for seven weeks, some network employee – with guts and a Zippo lighter – could have sacrificed his job for the sake of the industry”. Ouch.
The book closes with the April recording sessions and it is interesting to read that Elvis actively asked for new English lyrics on ‘O Sole Mio’. Elvis told Aaron Schroeder that he was aware of the ‘There’s No Tomorrow’ lyrics, but that it wasn’t the kind of lyrics he could sing. Executives urged Elvis during the session to change his style on ‘It’s now or never’, as otherwise
Thanks for the very good in-depth review by Wim ! Olivier-fan : this is an FTD book, it's mentioned at the start of this review.The CD is the 'Elvis Is Back' album, but in MONO, also mentioned in 'The Music Part' of this review, so no Frank/Elvis duet ! Always El.
The duet between Elvis and Frank Sinatra was released on the 1986 LP "The Frank Sinatra Duets". It was not released on the two "Duets" albums Sinatra recorded in the nineties because those contained duets recorded especially for those albums. As for the other questions, I think the answers are all in the article itself.
Hi Olivier-fan, regarding the Timex Show recordings, the original tape is lost. ABC has done extensive search for this tape, but nothing has been found. It may still be in a closet somewhere as reportedly no one at ABC in their own right mind would have destroyed or erased something like this. In 1960, ABC made tow kinescope negatives from the final broadcast master. The bootlegs on the market are believed to be copies of these kinescope negatives. Nancy Sinatra was also handed a courtesy VHS for her dad.
Another overpriced ftd release,sure the elvis is back material is great but so what,overpriced.
I'm reading this book now , and really enjoying it . It does a great job of telling the story of the Welcome Home Elvis TV special. It also goes into detail on Stuck On You, Elvis Is Back, and It's Now Or Never.Since it features many articles from magazines and newspapers written in early 1960 , it almost makes you feel like your back in time reliving the Elvis related events of that year . The other recent FTD book From Memphis To Hollywood is also good and compliments this one. I'm looking forward to future books in this series.
Its nice stuff but way overpriced. I mean, c'mon, why do they cost so much?
It may be that there are big price differences across continents? I have paid 59 euro (about 75 dollar) for this book, which I think is pretty reasonable given the low quantity of print and the quality of product.
Oh yea 75 dollars is a bargain! lol
It's true - these books are very expensive. I'm an Elvis Insider member and get a discount because of that and always try to order when there's a sale , but they still cost more than most books .
I am sure it is very nice (Man & His Music said so!) but since when did $75.00 become the norm for a good book? My limit is 50.00 and it has to be very nice for me to spend it. Some, like the Elvis Files at 125.00 are totally out of control. So I guess I wont be adding any books to my collection and thats ok.
I agree dgirl...It does look nice, but $75 is too much. Maybe a very generous relative or friend will buy it as a gift for me, but I have a mortgage and bills and a book is not high on a list of my desires. I have purchased some expensive books over the years and the only one I can say was worth the price was "The Concert Years 1969-77". That was and is a book that unlike the other I continue to take off the shelf on a regular basis.
I do think that we all agree that the FTD books are very expensive, but I am doubtful if they are heavily overpriced, assuming they are only printed in volumes of 2,000 or so. A price of 59 euro per book is pretty common here for high quality hardcover books that are printed in low volumes, for example academic books. It would be an entirely different story if we would talk about reprints or if the real sales figures of FTD books are much higher, which should bring the price down significantly. It may get somewhat circular by now, as fans are skipping good books because they are expensive, and the books remain expensive because sales figures are low.
I think the problem is also that FTD released several of these books in a short period of time: ‘King Creole – frame by frame’, ‘Jailhouse rock – frame by frame’, ‘4 days in 1956’, ‘From Memphis to Hollywood’, and this book. Add to that ‘A boy from Tupelo’ (which was an essential buy), and it does add up. I skipped all five books in order to buy ‘A boy from Tupelo’. If others want to buy them, that’s OK, but I’m now starting to skip the FTD books unless I believe they are worth it.
The last FTD book/CD I bought (before Tupelo) was ‘Fashion for a king’ and that one is worth the price! I’m also disappointed in the accompanying CD’s for these last books; ‘Elvis is back’ and ‘G.I. Blues’ in mono. We already have them as a classic album release, so I don’t think they add anything to these books.
I also believe that the last 2 books could have been combined into one (Elvis in 1960) with a CD that would include the Frank Sinatra Timex special songs, and the full interviews Elvis gave in 1960. That would make more sense to me than these 2 books (IMHO). TCB
Troubleman; if you think 'fashion for a king' was worth the price, I would put this book on top of your 'I've got to have this' list if I were you. This is a realy good book! I would skip some of the FTD soundboards and save my money for this one.
Just logged onto the official Elvis website (Graceland) and they have this for 115.00! 115.00! Certainly no book is worth that much . I feel the estate rips off the fans at every chance they can. This is just disgraceful and disrepsectful for longtime fans who are getting up in age. You want to sugar coat it by saying limited run, good quality, etc? Fine. The GI Blues book is also 115.00! Thats 230.00 for 2 books covering 1960! I'm done with FTD unless they find classic 50's outtakes. There are more important things.
I have two FTD books ; Writing for the King, and The Boy From Tupelo for which I paid 95 and 160 $ and I really think they are worth it, especially when I compare them to other prices on similar books here in Denmark. Normally I pay 45-55 $ for my study books which have about 225-325 pages (smaller) and have no pictures and of course no CDs either . I do not have enough money to buy all the Elvis books from FTD, Erik Lorentzen (Elvis files) Tunzi etc., but that does not meen that they are overpriced or that they are trying to rip me off, it just meens that my wishes and my paying abilities don´t match each other. When trying to decide if a book is overpriced I think it is importent to remember that books with many pictures normally are more expensive (look at art books) because the print are more costly, and often the pictures have to be bought. At the same time it seems like most books from different companies cost the same (if they are same size, same kind of cover, hard/soft and same amount of pictures), so maybe the prices just reflect the actually costs plus a fair profit (yes I know they should run their business pro bono, but then it would not be a business !).
Ftd products are overpriced,all of them,writing for the king has not so good sound on the second cd,and the first cd is a waste. I guess i just want more for my money,its clear now that ftd can release anything and fans who shout im glad to have the label will buy buy buy.
Yes and fans who doesn´t know what they are talking about will, complain, complain, complain !!
Thanks, Lex. I always appreciate your reviews. Is there anyone else who has purchased this book and can give me their opinion of it? I'm thinking of buying if for Chirstmas. Thanks.
2kisses&3scarfs : credit to credit is due : this review is by Wim, not by Lex ! Always El.
Benny Scott: You are absolutely correct! I am so sorry. Thank you, Wim. My apologies.
2kisses&3scarfs : no harm done ! Have a nice weekend. Always El.
Great reveiw, it was the last push I needed to order this book, luckily I live close enough to Graceland Randers in Horsens Denmark to go buy it and save the shipping.
One of the costing issues is due to the postage charges and the locations. For many years, the majority of bootlegs and heavy books were produced in America and those of us in Europe had to pay dearly for them. These days it appears that the majority of Elvis product originates in Europe and is shipped from there, so the fans in the States pay very high prices for them.
And we have to deal with shopelvis in usa,there a lost bunch,there is one dealer in usa who charges $50 plus $10 shipping for one ftd,insane!