Review - Elvis : Day By Day Book

By: David Neale
Source: Books in Print
May 9, 1999

Elvis : Day By Day - The Definitive Record of His Life and MusicElvis : Day By Day
Authors: Peter Guralnick, Ernst Jorgensen
Published in hardback by Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0345420896

If you're lucky, you'll be able to find out what Elvis was doing on your birthday in this new title by favorite Elvis people Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen.

'Elvis Day By Day' covers almost every day from the mid-fifties up to Elvis' death on 16 August, 1977, and then some. Significant dates before 1954 (back to Aril 25, 1912, Gladys's date of birth) and just a few after August 77 are also included, so I am one of the lucky ones whose birthday is actually mentioned, though it is unfortunately in the earlier section, rather than the later!

A few years ago, a book with a similar title appeared from the hand of Patricia Joe Pierce ('The Ultimate Elvis: Elvis Presley Day By Day'), but its execution was poor, to say the least, being riddled with errors. Given the pedigree of the authors of this latest tome, the same problem is unlikely to be encoutered and the book continues a generally upward trend in the quality of Elvis books in the last few years, a trend owing much, it has to be said, to other titles from both Guralnick and Jorgensen.

As the subtitle of 'Elvis Day By Day' (The Definitive Record of His Life and Music) suggests, the book attempts to give a day by day account of what Elvis did and where he was on almost every day of his career, and this in almost 400 pages, including an extensive index. As a result, each page of text contains references to several days and much of the information is necessarily very short and to the point, thereby omitting significant detail and contextual information. A 'definitive record' is therefore perhaps too ambitious a term to use in connection with this approach; rather, the book provides an excellent springboard to further research, if that is required, and a useful collection of basic information if that is all that is wanted.

The authors had unprecedented access to the Graceland archives, including the vast quantity of material bought by the Estate from Tom Parker. This has resulted in the inclusion of a number of previously unseen photographs of Elvis, some of which are very early indeed. Also, numerous documents are depicted, not the least of which is a postcard sent by Vernon Presley to Gladys during his imprisonment. A surprisingly large number of the illustrations have, however, been seen before, so either there is a lot less suitable previously unpublished material available, or some (a lot?) is being kept back for future release... My guess is that we are going to see numerous 'from the archives' books in the coming years.

'Elvis Day By Day' is excellently bound and printed. I must admit that I have not yet read the book thoroughly from cover to cover, but I get the impression that it is perhaps not quite as revolutionary as we had expected, as far as new photos and information are concerend. Nevertheless, it will make a nice addition to any Elvis book collection, big or small, and if you don't yet have any books about Elvis, then this is certainly a good place to start.

David Neale

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Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950'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. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.

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