This year it is 60 years since Elvis visited Paris, while stationed in Germany. A good reason For Jean-Marie Pouzenc (the French Todd Slaughter, who dedicated his whole mature life to Elvis and the fan club in France).
The book is 27x27 cm (just over 10") and has the company of both a CD and 25 cm vinyl record. Here we immediately have the only minor I could discover in this package. The vinyl record cover is pretty tight, so it's difficult to get the record out. Shaking the book upside down works, but it is recommended to take the CD out first, I found out.
The design itself is pretty 'loose', with pictures spread over the pages in different ways, which I happen to like, but that's all down to personal taste. The text is bilingual, French and English, with the French printed bold and the English normal, so it's easy to see which part you understand best (if at all). The Elvis pictures are mainly black and white, but there is full colour material too.
The book starts to describe how Elvis was 'introduced' to France (where EPs were more popular than singles, which I didn’t know… you're never too old to learn). Quickly it moves one to June 1959, when Elvis visited Paris for the first time. We get that visit almost from hour to hour in pictures. His visit to the Champs-Élysées after the arrival on June 16 takes several pages: while walking the street, with a shoeshine boy and finally ending up at the hotel Prince de Galles, where he stayed.
The press conference on June 17, 1959 seems to be photographed from second to second. Many great photos and some unsharp ones are the highlight to me, I really didn't know so many different pictures existed. Of course the visits to the clubs are presented too. The report of this first trip to Paris is ended with some fan photos and signed record covers.
The next trip, one week after his return to Germany, is pictureless, but the next one, in January 1960 makes up for that with the famous pictures with the karate instructor and his visit to the Lido. The January chapter ends with a long series at the train station upon return to Germany.
The book ends with a few chapters on the popularity of Elvis in France since, with covers of covers, fanclub events and the 50th anniversary party.
Besides the many pictures of Elvis himself there is also a lot of memorabilia to be found in the book. All together it gives a very nice overview of Elvis’ visits to the French capital and some interesting background information.
The CD contains outtakes of Elvis songs from That's All Right to Suspicion that are covered by French artists, a pleasant collection of songs (okay, Wooden Heart could be left out) of Elvis in his prime. The vinyl record is even better: Elvis at his top with King Creole, I Beg of You, I Need Your Love Tonight, I Got Stung, A Big Hunk O'Love, A Fool Such as I, Doncha' Think It's Time and As Long as I Have You, all hitting the public in the period of Elvis' visits to France.
A memorable reproduction of memorable events in Elvis' life. I really love these collections, listening to the right music while thumbing through a short period of time during Elvis’ career.