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Review : Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977 Hardcover Book

By: David Troedson
Source: Elvis Australia
September 6, 2012 - 8:15:40 AM
Elvis Reviews, Elvis Book Reviews, Elvis Articles, By David Troedson

Review

My boy, my boy, how to best review this book? There have been so many good books released in the past two years, and we have the FTD SUN book and 3 CD set coming out in August that will no doubt be a beauty.

The book is startling, how do I give it an appropriate review, can I do it?

Joseph Pirzada told me 4 years ago that he had a book on Graceland coming out and that it would be very special and complete, and put to shame the soft cover book on Graceland that had just been released at the time. Little did we know it would be four years in the making, the question is, has he succeeded?

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Feedback

Just wanted to let you know that I received my book today.  One word: WOW! I have NO regrets. It's a fantastic book and, obviously, one of very high quality.  I now understand why it was so expensive. It's definitely a collector's item. It arrived much sooner than I anticipated, so I was thrilled. Many thanks for getting it shipped so quickly!  I'm sure I'll be ordering more from you in the future - you have a great shop. Michael

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Boxcar Enterprises released Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977 on the 9th of July, 2011.

The release was a strictly LIMITED EDITION RELEASE of only 2000 Copies worldwide.

Boxcar are now SOLD OUT so we can now only obtain a few copies from suppliers indirectly. The hardback book measuring 12 x 10 inches and weighs over 3 Kilo's and is bound with a hardcover cardboard sleeve slipcase precisely like their previous sold out outing of 'The Final Curtain' from last year. The book contains 450 pages and includes over 1000 photos many of which are never before published with informative text (including Graceland's pre history before Elvis' time), original purchase documents, receipts, blueprints and much much more. It is the most comprehensive book on Graceland to date covering Elvis' time at his residence.

Buy Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977

First Impression

The first impression upon opening the protective layer of cardboard followed by a layer of soft foam wrapped around the book is awe. We just don't normally get books packed in this way.

The book itself is housed in a high quality think cardboard case that the book slides into, and I do mean thick, and I do mean quality, like the hardcover of a book, this book, and as promised in the pre publicity, precisely like Boxcar's own previous sold out outing of 'The Final Curtain' from last year. The only difference is 'The Final Curtain' had in addition 6 CDs and 6 DVDs making for a larger outer cover. However the Graceland book is one and a half inches wider and one inch taller. It is also bound perfectly, a bit better than the bootleg set.

The front image and presentation is amazing, you can't help but to then flip it over and see what is on the back, it just has you spellbound, once there you find the back has a photo of Elvis proudly standing in front of his newly installed gates to Graceland : the very day they were installed, April 22, 1957.

Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977 Hardcover Book : with Deluxe sleeve.
Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977 Hardcover Book : with Deluxe sleeve.

Back to the front and you slide the book out of its hardcover and you are greeted with the back cover [due to the way the set is set is packed with the spine on the outside], now while I have seen this photo online, indeed we have it in the Elvis Australia photo section, [Don't ask be where, we have thousands of images online]. But here in 25cm [10"] x 31cm [12"] it is startling, one of the great photos of Elvis, and as they often are, this one is taken by a fan. [Who is clearly sitting on top of the famous Graceland wall.]

Back to the front again, this time of the book, a lovely photo of Elvis at the Graceland press conference in 1960. These two photos show us that the book contains many photos of Elvis as well as of Graceland, perhaps I say that with the benefit of already having the benefit of seeing through the book.

The Contents

Firstly thank god we don't have a 'newly found' mono CD with this set!!!!

Now all that I have written above would be of little value if the book did not excel in the way of the content as it does in the presentation and the quality. As per the title, the book covers Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977, but importantly also a little of the history, just enough to be interesting without being an encyclopedia full of information we don't need nor can absorb. So, opening the book, we find the chapters;

Introduction

Part 1

  • A Brief History of Graceland

Part 1 is as I explained above, the history of the property, the land, then the building of Graceland and how it then became to be available for sale and how the Presley's managed to impress the owners in more ways than one to gain the status of favourite buyer, and as said just enough to be interesting without being an encyclopedia full of information we don't need nor can absorb. To this point I started reading from page 1 last night, I must confess I don't usually go to the first page of a book this size and start reading, I love the photos and pick out the odd story usually. But the text was interesting from the getgo, 'It is often said that a man's home is his castle and no other home is more deserving of this description than Graceland. Charming and stately are two of the words frequently used to describe the white columned mansion ...'

'... Historical accounts of the land date back to the years of the American Civil War (1861-1865) when it was established as a 500 acre Hereford cattle farm'. This continues down the right side of the right page [with the left and left column of the right displaying a newspaper article from 1940 with a story and photographs of the newly constructed building. Then over the next page the first column continues, all VERY INTERSTING, then just as I am about to tire of this in comes Elvis. So very well setout just enough information as stated already and then onto, Elvis Presley, for whom the book would not exist without his stamp on what was originally named 'Graceland Farm'. We then have two double pages of 'then and now' type photographs showing the living room in 1941 compared to what it is today and the dining room in 1940 compared to what it is today.

And that's 'A Brief History of Graceland' perfect and the very next page we have an again startlingly clear photograph of a very handsome and happy looking Vernon, a 'punk' looking Elvis and by Gladys Presley's 'standards' a happy looking Gladys taken in 1956 at 1034 Audubon Drive and the chapter is titled ...

  • We're Gonna' Move

Elvis buys $100,000 home.
Elvis buys $100,000 home.
'We're Gonna' Move' as the title suggests deals with how Graceland became to be owned by Elvis Presley. Gladys was approached by realtor Virginia Grant who was aware the Presley's were looking to move. And it is here we learn the process of what was a fairly straight forward search for someone that within a space of one year did not need to be concerned about money [To the surprise of realtor Virginia Gran who initially underestimated their buying power] when buying what would have to have been Memphis' and perhaps [one of?] Tennessee's most highly priced properties. As I explained above it is in this section we learn how Graceland became to be available for sale and how the Presley's managed to impress the owners in more ways than one to gain the status of favourite buyer.

I found this all very interesting.

We then have the following two sections over 30 pages.

  • The Contract
  • Graceland Blueprints

The blueprints are both interesting and somewhat meaningless [to me anyway] but the four pages they take up do make the book complete. [Supplied by former yellow Wiggle, Greg Page.] Joseph Pirzada told me 4 years ago that he had a book on Graceland coming out and that it would be very special and complete, and put to shame the soft cover book on Graceland that had just been released at the time. With this book he has delivered on every possible count you could ask for. In this section we see some great photographs of Graceland, the gates from both sides of the fence, Elvis posing at the gates on the very day they were installed, April 22, 1957, the guardhouse and one of the photographs taken by Australian Tony Douglas and featured on our website in 2008, and boy has it been cleaned up, looking like it was taken yesterday.

  • The Pool

The pool, now days unused and oh so close to Elvis' final resting place : I can't help but find it sad but of course it was a place that was much used and provided much pleasure to the family and their friends over two decades. I knew Elvis had his own jukebox but I did not know he also had one in the pool area under a weather proof ornate cover in the late 50's but the photo is there to show he did.

  • A House That Has Everything

A House That Has Everything, it sure does, and I must say, I get strong feelings of wanting to have a home like this that I did not get on my actual visit to Graceland. In a big way this book gives you so much more than a visit to Graceland can. But in no way do I suggest that a visit to Elvis home is not essential, in fact I can say of my one visit in 2002 that my big regret is not going though the house more than once. [So I would strongly recommend to those that will visit in the future - it is essential - in fact go though as many times as you can, just to try to take it all in - as for most of us then all that we have left is our memories of the visit. Now if a visit to the mansion is essential, which it is, then so too is this book, and for anyone living outside of Memphis and particularly the United States it is one heck of a lot cheaper.

Peacock stained glass inside the living room of graceland.
Peacock stained glass inside the living room of graceland.
In this section we 24 stunning color photographs of Graceland 1974-1975, Linda Thompson style. And with no disrespect intended towards Priscilla who returned the look to what it was in her day on opening Graceland to the public in 1982. But Linda just makes what could be awful, work!

And we have well written informative text to accompany all this detailing the changes over the years, 'there were regular changes to Graceland over the years'. Again, not too much but enough to include descriptions of the look and even room sizes without being 'technical'.

Note! Here we wanted to show an image from the living room - however our normally very actuate scanner simply cannot capture the brilliant rich red color in this photo that the accurate book printing process can. This is the first time I can recall not being able to have a scan reproduce the same color, so I do believe it shows just how rich and well printed the book is.

  • The Music Room
  • The kitchen
  • Elvis' Bedroom [Yes photos]

'When Elvis bought Graceland, the upstairs contained four bedrooms and three bathrooms. He later had one of those bedrooms converted into a wardrobe room ...'[I want one of these too!!!] '..., and yet another into his own personal office space. Later after these changes were implemented, the upstairs also included Lisa Marie's nursery and bathroom (and later her bedroom); Elvis' master bedroom with 'his and hers' bathrooms; and another dressing room that was originally used by Priscilla'.

We have four pages detailing this area describing the contents [As above] and photographs of Elvis' king size bed, bedroom and office.

Now you don't get any of this on a tour of Graceland these days!!!

  • Lisa Marie's Bedroom

'Undoubtedly Lisa was a very fortunate little girl who unlike most children at the time had a bathroom of her own'. And we have a description of the room and three photographs including two with Lisa Marie.

  • The Jungle Room

The Jungle Room section gives us 12 amazing color photographs including 4 for the boys with Linda posing in an Amazon like skimpy two piece attire looking great and showing one very good reason why Elvis would like her! But it is the documentation of the room that again is complete, and is the perfect way to document what is today a very famous room.

I keep using the words 'amazing' and 'perfect', this is because every photo in this book is crystal clear printed on quality paper, one can not escape the words, they are no exaggeration.

  • Home Recording

One page of text with the history of the room, not just the recording sessions in 1976, and one with a photo of the RCA mobile recording truck parked at the back of Graceland. These recording sessions contributed to two albums, From Elvis presley Boulevard and Moody Blue and the best selling FTD : Elvis Presley Collectors Label CD, The Jungle Room Sessions. Without doubt on of the very best listening experiences you will ever have!

  • The TV Room

10 colorful pages showing all angles of this room with several with Linda [As below] including one with their dog Getlow and a great 'see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil shot with the rooms monkey statue, Linda and I believe Jeanne Lemay. [ Please note it is not possible to reproduce images to anywhere near the quality achieved in print on a website due to the necessary compression.]

Linda Thompson in the 'TV Room, 1974.
Linda Thompson in the 'TV Room, 1974.

  • The Trophy Room

This is one area I distinctly remember from my tour of Graceland and here we have 20 pages that give those that have visited a pleasant reminder of Elvis' incredible success in the area of awards but on this occasion you really have to be there, where you would see a lot more too.

  • The Pool Room

Here we have 10 pages that again give us a detailed tour of, this time 'The Pool' room at Graceland. Again something I always wanted when I was younger, that luxury of having that spare large room, and that expensive decent sized pool table. Well Elvis had one, as he deserved it of course and we know he made good use of it. These photos from 1974 do not appear to show the famous tear in the fabric in one of the corners due to an unsuccessful trick shot. I am not sure when this event occurred, from the images I assume after '74.

Elvis Presleys Pool Table, 1974.
Elvis Presleys Pool Table, 1974.

  • Leisure Time
  • Vernon's Office
  • The Racquetball Building

The 'Racquetball Building' was added by Elvis in 1975, here we have 8 pages that give us a good overview of the building around the time of its construction.

  • Meditation Garden

When you exit the 'Racquetball Building' and follow the pathway back towards the rear of the house you will reach The Meditation Garden. 'Originally it was never intended to be anything more than a meditation area ....'

Sadly we all know different today. This section celebrates Elvis in his prime with 4 pages of photographs of Elvis, Priscilla, Jerry Schilling and his future wife all taken in 1966.

  • Animal Instinct

Elvis Presley with a pet Donkey, Graceland stables, 1960.
Elvis Presley with a pet Donkey, Graceland stables, 1960.
Everyone knows [or should] that Elvis loved animals and had more than we could mention over the years, including a donkey as we see in the first photograph in the 'Animal Instinct' section featuring which has a total of 26 pages, showing Elvis mainly riding horses and greeting his fans. All good quality. Then there is plenty of information on the horses, and who they were purchased for. Like every section in this book, concise and to the point.

  • Other Animals At Graceland

Next up we have 'Other Animals At Graceland' which is two pages, the main photograph being the famous pet chimpanzee, Scatter, and 4 dogs, one we are told is Elvis and Priscilla's, Collie, 'Baba'. The others are unnamed, one we know is Lisa Marie's as it is featured with her on her bed in the Lisa Marie's Bedroom section, and then I know one of the the other two, to be Elvis and Linda Thompson's Chow, Getlow.

  • Automobile Obsession

With 48 pages one cannot deny Elvis had an 'Automobile Obsession', well finally I can say I have always had one too and had my fair share of spoiling myself over the years, but not like we can see Elvis was able to do!! Here we see everything from the famous Pink Cadillac to motorbikes, Elvis on an 'International' Tractor, Elvis with his Rolls Royce in 1961, Elvis riding a golf cart, and to my shock a $1,055.38 Harley Davidson cart purchased in 1967. I found this difficult to believe but a quick Google entry confirms that not only did they exist they still do today. Then turning the page the photographs reveal it to be much more than the 'average' cart with Elvis having a good deal of fun. A new Mustang for priscilla's brother, Don, which Elvis promptly takes for its first drive! Then four pages that are most interesting, Elvis stopped at an accident scene to offer help in 1976 and someone managed some quality shots.

Then on to Elvis' late 70's favourite, the 'Trike' a three wheeled machine made by Volkswagen. We have many photographs of Elvis passing through the gates of Graceland [open of course]. There is a great shot of a young fan, presumably begging for an autograph from a cigar puffing King of Rock 'n' Roll too.

Then one of my favourite topics, his Stutz Blackhawk automobiles to end this great section.

You can read more about Elvis Presley Photos Articles about Elvis Presley Elvis Presley's Stutz Blackhawk's

  • Merry Christmas Baby

'I'm dreaming of a White Christmas ...' : The first page features a majestic snow covered Graceland building, and another on turning the page [below] with a mirror reflection on the opposite page without snow. Well done Boxcar!!!! This takes a lot of foresight in a book of 448 pages in particular.

What a wonderful place [location] to live!

As the title of the section suggests, 'Merry Christmas Baby, informs us about Elvis and Christmas and features 4 pages with rare photographs of Elvis, Lisa Marie and Linda Thompson Christmas 1975.

Again, well done Boxcar.

A White Christmas at Graceland.
A White Christmas at Graceland.

Part 2

A Photographic Journey With Elvis through the years 1957-1977

  • 1950's

56 pages of photographs of Elvis in the 1950's at Graceland.

And for the first time I have seen the famous photo of Vernon and Elvis grieving on the back steps of Graceland edited to be more dignified as to what was captured in the full frame. I like it, Joseph Pirzada has style!

  • Elvis, Graceland, lat 1960s.
    Elvis, Graceland, lat 1960s.
    1960's

If my count is correct we have 90 pages here of Elvis at Graceland in the 1960's.

  • 1970's

To finish the book [1957-1977] we find 36 Photographs of Elvis at Graceland in the 1970's.

This section ends with the very last photo taken of Elvis, on August 16, 1977 passing through the Graceland Gates shortly after midnight in his Stutz Blackhawk III. In great quality and I must say, I have not seen this quality before, and it is some what of a miracle that the photo came out, and with Elvis looking good too.

  • Graceland Lives

Graceland Lives is four pages on Graceland post 1977 and features photographs of Elvis' final resting place.

In Conclusion

Joseph Pirzada told me 4 years ago that he had a book on Graceland coming out and that it would be very special and complete, and put to shame the soft cover book on Graceland that had just been released at the time. With this book he has delivered on every possible count you could ask for. It is a very good book and vastly more comprehensive than the 'Official' Graceland book and we highly recommend this to all fans.

In a big way this book gives you so much more than a visit to Graceland can. Now if a visit to the mansion is essential, which it is, then so too is this book. And it is presented like no other. Real class and a great way to kick off Boxcar's first official book release. I use the words 'amazing' and 'perfect' often, this is because every photo in this book is crystal clear printed on quality paper, one can not escape the words, they are no exaggeration. Pre-order your copy of Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977 now before they sell out.

Several years in the making this is one very essential book for every Elvis fan with 450 pages including 1000 photos with many never before published of Graceland and Elvis at Graceland from 1957 to 1977. In addition there is plentiful informative text, original purchase documents and blueprints of the Graceland mansion.

It is not likely that there will be a reprint despite reports to the contrary. 

The Promo Video

Elvis Presley Video Promo Video : Graceland Through The Years 1957-1977

It is all together bound in a 12 inch by 10 inch hard cover cardboard sleeve slipcase like Boxcar's previous outing last year of 'The Final Curtain'. View promo video and book cover below.

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Elvis Presley Video Video Preview: Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet. Never before have we seen an Elvis concert from the 50's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered Unreleased Film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don’t Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. This is an excellent release no fan should be without it. The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people.

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