Baby, Let's Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him

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Thirty-three years after his death, Elvis Presley's extraordinary physical appeal, timeless music, and sexual charisma continue to captivate, titillate, and excite. Though hundreds of books have been written about the King, no book has solely explored his relationships with women and how they influenced his music and life … until now.

Based largely on exclusive interviews with the many women who knew him in various roles-lover, sweetheart, friend, costar, and family member-Baby,...

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Thirty-three years after his death, Elvis Presley's extraordinary physical appeal, timeless music, and sexual charisma continue to captivate, titillate, and excite. Though hundreds of books have been written about the King, no book has solely explored his relationships with women and how they influenced his music and life … until now.

Based largely on exclusive interviews with the many women who knew him in various roles-lover, sweetheart, friend, costar, and family member-Baby, Let's Play House presents Elvis in a new light: as a charming but wounded Lothario who bedded scores of women but seemed unable to maintain a lasting romantic relationship. While fully exploring the most famous romantic idol of the twentieth century, award-winning veteran music journalist Alanna Nash pulls back the covers on what Elvis really wanted in a woman and was tragically never able to find.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nash culls reminiscences from long-term girlfriends, starlets like Ann-Margret and Cybill Shepherd, and assorted strippers, showgirls and groupies for this gossipy, besotted biography of rock's original sex god. They attest to the allure that had females lining up for access to the young Elvis's bed: devastating looks, pelvic gyrations and a bad-boy sneer combined with a romantic soul, sublime kissing technique and a courtliness that lulled parents into handing over their underage daughters. (He was attracted to 14-year-old brunettes, Nash argues, like future wife Priscilla.) And there's the indefinable magnetism—i.e., celebrity—that kept them coming through the drugs and debauchery, the bizarre monologues and random gunplay, the impotence and incontinence and vomit and bloat of the King's declining years. Nash's mix of breathless melodrama (“his voice was soft and sensuous, and he had a mischievous grin on his face, and he was looking straight at her”) with rote psychoanalysis (“Elvis could never really let go of [his mother] Gladys”) often reads like a fan magazine. Her shallow but vivid portrait nonetheless manages to evoke much of what made Elvis so enthralling. (Jan. 5)
Kirkus Reviews
A big hunk o' sordid details about Elvis Presley's many women. The third Elvis-themed book by Nash (The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley, 2004, etc.) depicts an enormously magnetic persona who frequently wielded his power as a sex symbol. The author includes seemingly every woman who fell into his orbit, from his wife, Priscilla, to one-night stands, to more long-term paramours like Ann-Margret. Though Nash draws heavily from the available literature, both major biographies and life-with-the-King tell-alls, she also conducted numerous interviews with the strippers, fans, co-stars and (especially) beauty queens with whom he consorted. In the process, she digs up surprisingly intimate details about Presley's sexual proclivities, and makes it clear that as Don Juans go, Elvis was exceedingly insecure. Early in his career he gravitated toward underage women-14-year-olds seemed to be his preferred make-out partners-and his attraction to the Priscilla Beaulieu while in the Army reflects an instinct to seduce women he could easily control. Though he later preferred more mature girlfriends, he never found a way to be completely comfortable with them. He showered them with gifts and jewelry, flew them to Vegas or Graceland and shared his increasingly esoteric religious ideas with them, but rarely seemed to care deeply about them. Further, his prescription-pill addiction destroyed both his libido and his conscience. Nash makes much of Elvis' close relationship with his mother and the fact that Elvis was an "untwinned twin"-his twin brother was stillborn-and she occasionally tethers a critical relationship to subconscious efforts to reconcile those lostconnections. But such pop-psychology ruminations add only the thinnest veneer of gravitas to an overstuffed, flatly written catalogue of bedroom tales and laments about how Presley shipwrecked himself. Tellingly, Nash's most intense investigative efforts are dedicated to whether Priscilla was a virgin before she met Elvis. Punishingly lurid, illuminating little about Elvis and less about the seemingly interchangeable women who fell for him.
Memphis Commercial Appeal
“An exhaustive and penetrating work that functions as an intimate personal profile, a family study and a psychosexual investigation of one of the 20th century’s true cultural icons.”
New York Newsday
“The most comprehensive work ever on how the women in Presley’s life…influenced him and his music.”
“New girls slip between [Elvis’] satin sheets on nearly every page...Combine that with an absorbing snapshot section, and [Baby, Let’s Play House] will leave you all shook up.”
The Globe and Mail
“A major new contribution to Presley lore...[Alanna Nash’s] focus on Presley’s relationships with women takes us on a long and often fascinating journey...It’s a welcome and well-crafted addition to our understanding of his strange, triumphant and tragic life.”
New York Times
“Alanna Nash’s long look at Elvis’ bizarre history with women...collect[s] all the madness, badness and sadness of the Elvis myth in one exhaustive and embarrassingly tempting volume.”
New York Post
“Alanna Nash…turns her eye toward The King’s other women in a psychological history ...Among those who loved him tender - Ann-Margret and Cybill Shepherd. Those who turned him down include Cher and Karen Carpenter. And of course, there’s plenty on the No. 1 woman in his life - Mom Gladys Presley.”
Los Angeles Times
“If anything, Baby, Let’s Play House heightens the heartbreaking aspects of Presley’s life.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“In this astounding look at the King’s unstoppable pursuit of women from his elementary school days until his untimely death at 42, hundreds of girls and women pass through the revolving doors of Elvis’ love life.”
Louisville Courier Journal
“A frank and fascinating portrait of an essentially lonely man...[told] with grace and intelligence...The work of a master.”
Philip Norman
“By far the best study of Elvis Presley I have read. ‘The King’ emerges more clearly from this mosaic of his troubled love life than from any linear biography to date.Impressively researched, written—and felt.”
Rosanne Cash
“Alanna Nash meticulously documents and explores all the relationships Elvis had with women that were ‘extremely special,’ as Ann-Margret so delightfully (and euphemistically) phrases it. I was delighted to see my stepmother, June Carter, make an appearance, as she always became uncharacteristically silent when Elvis’ name came up in conversation. Nash belongs in the pantheon of great music writers, and this book is a fascinating study
Jimmy McDonough
“What’s left to say about Elvis? Plenty, if Alanna Nash is on the case. She rips the satin sheets right off the King, resulting in the most entertaining Elvis book ever. Ann-Margret! Raquel Welch! Barbara Eden! Tura Satana! This is very funny book.”
David Hajdu
“Deliciously gossipy but never mean, revealingly intimate but never leering, Baby, Let’s Play House is a masterwork of psycho-sexual history neatly disguised as celebrity journalism.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594044819
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Pages: 684
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Alanna Nash is a recipient of the Country Music Association Media Achievement Award and the Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism, and the author of seven books, including The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley (winner of the Belmont Award); Dolly: The Biography; and Elvis and the Memphis Mafia. Nash lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she covered Elvis's funeral for the Courier-Journal.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

1 "My Best Gal" 1

2 An Ideal Guy 21

3 Blue Heartache 43

4 Dixie's Delight 63

5 "You Need to be Kissed" 79

6 "A Great, Big, Beautiful Hunk of Forbidden Fruit" 99

7 Biloxi Bliss 113

8 "An Earthquake in Progress" 129

9 Love Times Three 153

10 Hillbillies in Hollywood 175

11 Showgirls and Shavers 191

12 Twin Surprises 207

13 "The Most Miserable Young Man" 221

14 Nipper Dreams 235

15 Private Presley 249

16 "Wake Up, Mama, Wake Up" 259

17 Fräulein Fallout 273

18 House Full of Trouble 285

19 Priscilla 297

20 "Crazy" 321

21 Going Under 341

22 "A Little Happiness" 359

23 Nungln, Thumper, and Bug 373

24 Satyrs and Spirits 393

25 "You Don't Really Love Me!" 411

26 Hitched! 431

27 A Baby, A Babe, And Black Leather 447

28 Sin City 471

29 Girls, Guns, and the President 485

30 "A Prince from Another Planet" 507

31 Buntin' 523

32 "Where Does Love Go"" 539

33 Flickering White Light 559

34 Breathe! 581

Epilogue 607

Acknowledgments 611

Endnotes 615

Bibliography 659

Index 663

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2012

    An Excellent Book, Highly Recommended!

    Alanna Nash is truly one of the best authors ever! Her research and information is very detailed and accurate. It's very hard to put this book down. I've read many Elvis biographies but this work by Alanna is the best by far!

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