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From Barnes & NobleTracking the King
No mere bunching of lists, Elvis Day by Day joins Peter Guralnick's breathtaking two-volume Presley biography (Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley) and Ernst Jorgensen's exhaustively researched Elvis Presley: A Life in Music, which details every aspect of the King's recording sessions, to complete an essential quartet of books chronicling the life, times, and artistry of this century's most influential cultural figure. Together, the authors' impeccable research into and abiding passion for this artist's extraordinary life has produced another mesmerizing work.
Starting with the birth of Presley's mother on April 25, 1912, and concluding on October 3, 1977, with the heartbreaking words of Sweet Inspiration member Myrna Smith ("We were all wearing blinders.") upon viewing the broadcast of what was Elvis's final concert the previous June, Elvis Day by Day chronicles, by day, month, and year, the trajectory of Presley's life. The events noted are as mundane as a quick trip to Dallas for no apparent reason or "Elvis buys a 1956 Ford for Anita Wood" (March 21, 1958); as touching as the reproduction of a postcard Elvis's father wrote to his family from the Parchman Prison Farm, during his six-month imprisonment for forgery in 1938; or as monumental as the details of sessions at Chips Moman's American Studios in January 1969.
A wealth of this material was culled from the personal files of Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker, to which the authors were granted exclusive access. The final work reads like the polished primary research they gathered for their respective previous projects, with the sundry documents, reviews, press reports, and record releases supplemented by succinct critical commentary replete with the insight and low-key wit ("Under some duress, the entire troupe gathers on the tarmac at the Louisville airport to sing 'Happy Birthday' to the Colonel as Elvis's plane arrives and the Colonel's is about to take off.") common to Guralnick and Jorgenson's exegesis of Presleyana. The photographs (more than 400 all told), many published here for the first time, are worth the price of admission alone.
Authoritative and indispensable, Elvis Day by Day adds breadth, depth, and an informed point of view to the dry facts concerning this brilliant artist and troubled man, offering musicologists and devoted fans alike much to chew on.
—David McGee David McGee is the author of Go, Cat, Go! The Life and Times of Carl Perkins, The King of Rockabilly.