By Gillian G. Gaar
This book, a joint production between Elvis Presley Enterprises and the Memphis daily The Commercial Appeal, is a fun scrapbook celebrating the King and the city he loved. Though some pictures will be familiar to fans, there are many lesser-seen shots. There are also a number that focus on Memphis, coupled with short pieces on personalities like DJ Dewey Phillips, neighborhoods like Beale Street, and venues like Ellis Auditorium.
Fans will surely want more. The photos are skewed heavily in favor of Presley’s early years. Photographers who shot Presley over the years are profiled, but they’re not asked about good Elvis anecdotes they must have. Some articles are only excerpted, when it would have been interesting to read the entire piece (especially in the case of reviews). Indeed, the archival quality of the book could have enhanced by reproducing what must surely be a wealth of contemporaneously published articles, instead of post-1977 pieces.
So the edge must be given to the photographs and other artwork; facsimile reproductions of tickets, ads, and other ephemera (just think, if the charities had held on to those $1000 checks Presley had written to them, they’d be worth much more than $1000 now on an auction block). The ‘50s era shots are the most interesting, clearly indicating how the city has changed over the years, and it’s great to have a visual record of some of the places Presley and his gang visited that are no longer in existence. It’s a book fans will have a great time flipping through.
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