Elvis Presley, the undisputed King of Rock and Roll, has captivated the world with his music and charisma. Throughout the years, countless books have been written about him, but only a select few deserve a place in your personal Elvis library. These ten volumes offer an insider’s glimpse into the life and career of this iconic entertainer, shedding light on both the triumphs and tribulations of his extraordinary journey.
1. Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley / Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick
No Elvis library is complete without Guralnick’s comprehensive biography. Spanning two volumes, this work delves into every aspect of Elvis’s life, meticulously documenting his rise to stardom and the challenges he faced along the way. Guralnick’s unbiased perspective provides a balanced portrayal of the man behind the legend.
2. Elvis Presley: A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions by Ernst Jorgensen
For music enthusiasts, Jorgensen’s book is a treasure trove of information. Covering every recording session in Elvis’s career, this comprehensive guide offers a unique insight into his musical evolution. Jorgensen’s passion for Elvis shines through, making this a must-read for any fan.
3. Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia by Alanna Nash with Billy Smith, Marty Lacker, and Lamar Fike
Get an intimate look at Elvis’s life through the eyes of his closest confidantes. Written by three members of the famed “Memphis Mafia,” this book provides firsthand accounts and personal anecdotes, revealing both the ups and downs of their time with the King. Their honesty and genuine affection for Elvis make this volume a true gem.
4. That’s Alright, Elvis by Scotty Moore as told to James Dickerson
Scotty Moore, Elvis’s original guitarist, shares his unique perspective on the early years of Elvis’s career. From their humble beginnings to the meteoric rise to fame, Moore provides an insider’s view of the man who changed the music industry forever. Through his recounting of their experiences, Moore captures the essence of Elvis’s unparalleled talent and undeniable charisma.
5. Sergeant Presley: Our Untold Stories of Elvis’ Missing Years by Rex Mansfield, Elisabeth Mansfield, Zoe Terrill, and Marshall Terrill
Step into Elvis’s army years with this captivating book. Rex Mansfield, who served alongside Elvis, and Elisabeth Stefaniak, Elvis’s girlfriend and personal secretary in Germany, share their firsthand accounts of this transformative period in Elvis’s life. Their balanced portrayal gives a glimpse into the complexities of Elvis’s character during his years of military service.
6. Elvis Day by Day by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen
For those who crave a chronological understanding of Elvis’s life, this book is your ultimate guide. Guralnick and Jorgensen present a detailed account of each day in Elvis’s life, from his birth to his untimely death. Whether you’re looking for specific dates or a broader understanding of his timeline, this volume is an indispensable resource.
7. Elvis: His Life From A to Z by Fred Worth and Steve Tamerius
Delve into the minutiae of Elvis’s life with this comprehensive encyclopedia. Covering everything from his songs and movies to his concerts and TV appearances, this reference work is the go-to source for obscure facts and details. While it may contain some inaccuracies due to its age, it remains an invaluable resource for any Elvis enthusiast.
8. Return of the King: Elvis Presley’s Great Comeback by Gillian G. Gaar
Witness the resurgence of Elvis’s career through this captivating book. Focusing on his legendary 1968 NBC-TV “Comeback Special” and his subsequent return to live performances in Las Vegas, Gaar brings together firsthand accounts from those who witnessed this pivotal period. This volume offers a fresh perspective on the King’s triumphant return to the stage.
9. Elvis: What Happened? by Red West, Sonny West, and Dave Hebler as told to Steve Dunleavy
Explore the tumultuous final years of Elvis’s life through the eyes of his former bodyguards. While their bitterness may be evident, subsequent revelations from other members of Elvis’s inner circle have validated much of their account. This book holds historical significance as one of the first to expose the darker side of Elvis’s life, paving the way for future revelations.
10. Personal Favorites
No Elvis library would be complete without a favorite book that speaks to your personal connection with the King. Whether it’s Elaine Dundy’s “Elvis and Gladys,” Priscilla’s “Elvis and Me,” or Jerry Schilling’s “Me and a Guy Named Elvis,” this final volume should reflect your unique fascination with the man who continues to captivate audiences worldwide.
As an avid Elvis fan, I’ve curated this list to provide a well-rounded glimpse into his life and legacy. These books offer unparalleled insights and a deeper understanding of the man behind the music. So, grab a cup of coffee, settle into your favorite reading nook, and prepare to immerse yourself in the captivating world of Elvis Presley.