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Baby, Let's Play House: The Life of Elvis Presley Through the Women Who Loved Him [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Alanna Nash
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: 25.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Mar 2010

Elvis Presley re-made popular music – blowing away the polite, buttoned-up crooners by harnessing the feral sexual energy of black blues. The result was rock & roll – and “Elvis the Pelvis”’s provocative hip-shaking, the unbridled sexuality of his performances, scandalised America and Britain (and saw him only filmed above the waist to preserve good taste).
But what of Elvis’s own relationships with women – from his complicated and morbidly close relationship with his mother to his youthful sexual hyper-activity and his unsuccessful marriage? How far did they determine and affect his music? And what would the women who starred in movies with him, or who saw him at close quarters, or even became intimate with him – what are their memories of and insights into the real Elvis?
Alanna Nash’s book is the first to focus on Elvis and the most central aspect of his music and performances: sexuality – the thing that made him what he was and not Pat Boone. The revelations are often shocking, sometimes amazing, always fascinating.
Alanna Nash’s books on Elvis are characterised by their immense research and thoroughness, and their desire to soberly and responsibly get at the truth. This new book presents the most important side of Elvis, and the most overlooked.

Alanna Nash is the author of several acclaimed books about Elvis and his circle, including Elvis and the Memphis Mafia and The Colonel, both published by Aurum. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.


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Baby, Let's Play House: The Life of Elvis Presley Through the Women Who Loved Him + Elvis and the Memphis Mafia + Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (25 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845135113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845135119
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The facts and mythology of Elvis Presley's life are so far-reaching that they've spawned dozens of books, examining the King of Rock 'n' Roll seemingly from every possible perspective. Except, oddly, for that portion of his audience he arguably was most eager to please throughout his life: women.'I had already done three Elvis books, but I realized, 'Wait a minute -- there hasn't been a book that looked at him almost purely from the female perspective,' said veteran music journalist Alanna Nash, author of the new biography published this week, Baby, Let's Play House: Elvis and the Women Who Loved Him.'Since he is probably the most important male sex symbol in history,' Nash said, 'the idea seemed viable, and also because he was such a woman-centered man, mainly because of the closeness with his mother.'Nash conducted interviews with 40 to 50 women who had contact of some sort with Presley during his life, including classmates, relatives, girlfriends and costars. Among the relationships she explores are those with actresses Ann-Margret, Cybill Shepherd, Raquel Welch, Mary Ann Mobley, Barbara Eden and Yvonne Craig; she also examines Presley's ties to such pivotal early love interests as Dixie Locke, Barbara Hearn, June Juanico and Carolyn Bradshaw.At the center of it all, emotionally and psychologically, is Elvis' mother, Gladys, the onetime life of the party whose downward descent seemed to begin almost from the day she gave birth to the future King.Because his twin brother died at birth, 'From the moment Elvis was born, mother and son demonstrated a remarkable closeness,' writes Nash, also the author of biographies on Dolly Parton and newswoman Jessica Savitch, in addition to earlier works focusing on key members of Elvis' entourage, including his manager, Col. Tom Parker and the circle of cronies known as 'the Memphis Mafia.'She argues that the already worrisome Gladys became incapable of nurturing her surviving child toward independence as an adult and that his brother's death also left a crucial void in Elvis that no one, certainly none of his romantic partners, would ever be able to fill. After three deaths in the immediate family before Elvis was 1, Gladys 'clung to her son tighter than before, almost as if he were a shield against a treacherous and mercurial world, where disaster could strike at any second and take away all that mattered,' Nash writes Nash examines how that mother-son knot eventually doomed Elvis in his personal relationships and colored his working relationships and career choices.She points out that many of the women Presley was attracted to physically resembled Gladys or his long-lost twin, and that many of them were 14 -- including the only one he ever married, Priscilla Beaulieu -- when they came into his life. It was at that age that Nash argues Elvis stopped developing emotionally. If anything, 'Baby Let's Play House' heightens the heartbreaking aspects of Presley's life. He died in 1977 at the age of 42. 'His tragedy is not simply that he died too soon, without breaking his dependence on prescription drugs and realizing the enormity of his talent in projects that fed his creative Muse,' Nash writes in her epilogue, 'but that he was forever trapped in a loop of dissatisfaction and suffering, stemming from the loss of his twin and the premature death of his mother, with whom he had been lethally enmeshed since childhood. --Los Angeles Times

Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about Elvis Presley the drugs, the diet, the elephantine enemas it turns out that the debonair pill-popper and grits-choffer was also a complete sex addict, a 'randy rooster' who pelvised his way through hundreds of starlets, beauty queens, schoolgirls and strippers. At first the subject matter seems unpromising: surely the King, with his creepy idolisation of his sad-sack momma, Gladys, and his fetishistic interest in teenage girls, was more of a timid mummy s boy than a rock n roll Casanova who troughed his way through more virgin gussets than deep-fried PB&Js Nash has really put her back into it, producing 600-plus pages of anecdotes and spicy reminiscences from tremulous former flings, still obsessed 40 years after they lassoed him with their pantyhose in the lobby of the Las Vegas Hilton. Admittedly, a lot is rehashed from old biographies and articles, and there s reams of lavender-notepaper fill-in such as He kissed like a God. There aren t any huge scoops, unless you count the revelation that Elvis s wife Priscilla, the doll-like minx he met as a 14-year-old in 1958, and married in 1967, probably wasn t a virgin on her wedding night and might have gone to some lengths to obscure this. But the detail is fantastic: the cheesecake hysteria of his early shows, knickerless chicks called Wanda and Sherry lifting their skirts and hopping hungrily over table tops to get to their idol, screaming so loudly that his band had to take their cues from Elvis s body language. We were the only band directed by an ass, recalls his guitarist Scotty Moore. Elvis, who wore make-up and dyed and permed his greasy ducktail hair from an early age, apparently responded with hound-dog enthusiasm, groping his way lubriciously into crowds of girls, sucking fingers ( he proceeded to take Gloria s right hand to his mouth and suck each of her fingers, rotating his tongue around them one by one ) and pressing them up against walls, shoving his tongue straight down their throats. At one point, Parker instructed him to tell the press: 'Well, I have about 25 girlfriends that I date.' It wasn t far off the truth, because Elvis 'had a girl for every night and every occasion', recalls one groupie. He partied until his nose bled: right through his courtship of and marriage to Priscilla, who tried to enliven their dwindling romance by dressing up as a schoolgirl and (yawn) putting on lesbian floor shows. There were famous crushes, too Ann-Margret and Nancy Sinatra as well as moments with Monroe (she took one look at his spotty friends and said no), and 'mad' Natalie Wood who pursued him avidly: 'Tell him I m the best f*** in town.'The various backdrops, kidney-shaped hotel pools, gold bidets, humid film sets, are all deliciously evocative; the author has a high sense of romance, and often seems as aerated by Elvis as most of her subjects, claiming repeatedly things such as, 'Wanda/Sherry was the girl Elvis might have married.' She even goes so far as to suggest that a brush with Elvis ruined his conquests for life. In one of her less forensic examinations, she states: 'Though Jackie went on to marry, Once you d kissed Elvis, it was all downhill ...Her sentiment is common among women who enjoyed any involvement with Elvis...Jackie herself divorced after nearly 42 years of marriage.' No great stylist, Nash is also given to flabby generalisations and cod psychology. Still, when it comes to particulars, she can be refreshingly to the point: teenage girls, white panties, 'nice legs, a decent face, a shapely derriere; breasts were secondary', a lot of kissing and fumbling, a bit of artful penetration. She can be frighteningly anatomical: Presley, a dirt-poor boy with a 'hillbilly [uncircumcised] penis that he called Little Elvis...1 --Sunday Times online, April, 2010

About the Author

Alanna Nash is the author of several acclaimed books about Elvis Presley and his circle, including, Elvis and the Memphis Mafia, The Colonel (a biography of his manager Colonel Tom Parker), and Baby Let's Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him, all published by Aurum. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find out what made Elvis tick 1 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover
Alanna Nash's new biography is a veritable feast of anecdotes from numerous Elvis girlfriends and female acquaintances. There are new stories in this extensively researched book to thrill even the most well-read Elvis fan. Underpinning these episodes, however, is a deeper narrative which deals with Elvis's pyschological makeup, threading its way through each relationship from the first crucial attachment to his mother, which gives much credence to the theories of pyschoanalyst John Bowlby, to his last desperate fling with Ginger Alden. Nash provides a lucid, intelligent and meticulously sourced analysis of what motivated Elvis, in terms of his hopes, fears and desires. Some of it makes for uneasy reading and points up Elvis's human frailties. However, Nash handles the darker moments with dignity and responsibility and adds immeasurably to our appreciation of this beautiful man.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baby, Let's Play House 13 April 2010
Format:Hardcover
I have just finished reading the most beautiful and moving biography book about beautiful,generous,unfulfilled,loving boy-man, who was the most talented musician of his generation, which I have had privilege to read. This is from somebody who till January 2010 had not a slightest interest in Elvis Presley. Thanks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential!!! 27 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Alanna Nash's latest Elvis biography deals with his relationship with women.Based on countless interviews with the women in Elvis' life (both familiar names ans some long forgotten ladies) the book is fascinating from start to finish.
The author is helped in her analysis by pyschoanalyst John Bowlby who gives us a more clinical view on things. Alanna, manages to bring all this (intervies, analysis etc) perfectly together for what it must be the definitive book on Elvis the person.
I strongly reccomend it as a serious study to anyone how wished to REALLY know Elvis the man.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 19 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having read quite a few books on Elvis this one seems to me to be very honest and it did make me feel a bit sad for him having his life taken over not that he was aware at the time.
I love Elvis and this book makes you feel you have got to know him a little.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy customer 27 Jun 2010
By josee j
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book for all true die hard Elvis fans, you will gripped from beginning to end. Quick delivery, many thanks.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baby let's play house 23 May 2011
By Peter
Format:Hardcover
ThiS book by Alanna Nash is a great read from start to finish . You really get to know Elvis the man . There is so much in this book that I can't praise it enough , so if you want to know why Elvis was Elvis buy this book
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