Given the passion evident in most books about Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the scrupulously dispassionate tone of this new biography, the first of a projected two volumes, is admirable and startling. Guralnick (Lost Highway) lets the facts speak for themselves, more or less, by providing solid background and quoting at length from people who knew Elvis as well as the contemporary press. In retelling the familiar story of a poor Southern boy's meteoric rise to unprecedented fame, Guralnick eschews the conventional wisdom-Elvis was an instinctive artist whose career was trashed by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and by movie and record company executives-to present a more complex picture. He shows those associated with Elvis struggling to get a handle on a new music form, rock 'n' roll, that they barely understood. At times, one wishes the author were more open about his own opinions. But this welcome relief from the hysterical tone of most Elvis books closes somberly with the performer's induction into the Army and the death of his beloved mother in 1958. Photos. Author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/1994 Release date: 10/01/1994 Genre: Nonfiction
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