Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show

Richard Zoglin. Simon & Schuster, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-501-15119-4
In this fascinating entertainment history, Zoglin (Hope: Entertainer of the Century) examines the symbiotic relationship between Las Vegas and Elvis Presley. As Zoglin explains, Vegas underwent a handful of reinventions throughout the early 20th century—in 1931 gambling became legal and construction began on the Hoover Dam, bringing in thousands of workers—all of which laid the groundwork for the city’s status as “gambling capital, celebrity playground, mob hangout, entertainment Valhalla” by the late 1950s, when Elvis first performed in Vegas. Much of Zoglin’s account focuses on the evolution of the Vegas entertainment industry, from the performances of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack to Wayne Newton’s embodiment of the city as a conservative, familiar destination in the 1960s for “middle-aged, Middle American audiences [that] didn’t want to be provoked.” Vegas hotels hosted few pop and rock performers, but the arrival of performers like Tom Jones in 1967 paved the way for Elvis’s landmark 1969 residency at the International Hotel. Elvis, rejuvenated and in top form, “established a new template for the Las Vegas show,” one that Zoglin contends helped transform the city even further into an entertainment destination. Elvis fans will enjoy this richly sourced look at one of the most consequential performances of his career and his lasting legacy in the city that hosted him. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/19/2019
Release date: 07/23/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-5011-5121-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-9486-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-9484-9
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