This 400 pages book includes over 140 interviews with songwriters and a fascinating behind-the-scenes story of politics, money, inspiration and great trivia about Elvis and his songs. And 2 CDs with previously unreleased live material from 1969 to 1972.
Writing For The King
Together with the essential “His Hand In Mine” FTD released “Writing For The King” earlier this month. Is this book/cd combination essential too?
The 400 pages are put together in the same way as the previous FTD books, so they continue to form a nice series on the shelf. The lay-out is near perfect, the text and pictures of our man, the writers and memorabilia are well balanced. So once again the design won’t be a reason to pass this expensive book.
To be honest I was in doubt a little for the first time whether to buy this book or not. I like to read the occasional interview in my favourite magazine, but a whole book with interviews… for that price?? The book has obviously a wrong title, since a lot of the writers didn’t write for Elvis at all, most of them were just happy that Elvis recorded their songs. Anyway, curiosity won again and I decided to go for it. When just thumbing through it at first, I found myself reading more than I intended to do. It has something catchy to see all those positive remarks about my idol. Obviously it isn’t a book to read from A to Z (at least not for me), but more something you read a few chapters in, put it away, pick it up again… for that one special song you are just listening too, and so on. All together I was positively surprised by the attraction it has. There is one big minor though… there is no biographical information on the writers at all. I would have thought “hey, since I’m putting this all together… let’s be as complete as possible”. Basic info like a birth date, day of death (if known of course ;-)), hometown, martial state and such would have made it much, much better.
The “Elvis CD” with the book is a kind of “greatest hits live” that we had a few years back. Every fan is happy with 23 (officially) unreleased live recordings in superb sound quality. I know I will keep it separated from the book, so I can play it regularly. A pretty rough version of “Polk Salad Annie” and beautiful renditions of “Something” and “I Just Can’t Help Believin’” were the highlights to me.
The “demo CD” is something to skip through once to me, although I have to admit that “Wearin’ That Loved-On Look” by Dallas Frazier is pretty good, maybe I’ll put that on my MP3-player. The only thing you can say (but we knew that already) is that Elvis stayed pretty close to the demos most of the time. It happens that I like Elvis’ voice more 10 out of 10 times (in the case of these demos)… so I’ll stick to the known versions. Nevertheless it’s a fun addition to the project.
To me this book is far from essential, certainly since it is not complete in my eyes. For the die hard collectors and people with too much money in their wallet it might be a nice buy though.