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on 14 March 2010
This is an essential book for Elvis enthusiasts. Ernst Jorgensen writes centrally about the music, but in touching on the circumstances surrounding Elvis's recording sessions he leaves the reader with an enhanced empathy for the personal and professional tragedies that ultimately overwhelmed the singer. Ernst's chronology seems to break down a little when he details some of the live recordings in the early 1970s so perhaps some of the archive tapes haven't been dated specifically. What is a blessed relief is Ernst's honesty: he is always respectful about Elvis the Man but is very candid about, for example, the King's substandard peformances during the 'Elvis In Concert' sessions. A marvellous history containing a mountain of technical data within a human context.
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on 10 June 2015
Wow this is well researched. Just wish the real book wasn't so expensive as bits of it weren't laid out correctly in my Kindle (but I'm not willing to take a * off for that). Mainly where the listings for the records were - the margin on the right was losing some characters. And any letters with umlauts or graves above them came out as a weird string of symbols.

But. It's not just a list of recordings (with who played / sang what on each one) - there is a page or three following each one with background information. And that made me sad. Sad that the kid who was so enthusiastic at Sun that they had to be careful the mics didn't pick up him bouncing around as he sang....and then turned into the man in the mid 70s who was "bored of being Elvis" and unenthusiastic about many of the songs because the publishing deals the fat-cigar-chomping.... (I'll stop there) was demanding put off the best songwriters.

I've always despised the Dutchman and more so after reading this book. I could've cried when I read how Blue Hawaii sold more than Elvis Is Back and thereby condemned him to YEARS of singing stupid songs to girls / kids / dogs because they sold. It's telling that my dad and his brothers (born a little after Elvis) were crazy about him as kids/teens but, as the movies started, they all stopped buying his records and it was their mum that was going to see the films. That's how the audience changed.

As you read it you just have to wonder what might have been. What if he'd been able to record with better technology? What if he'd been able to record any song he wanted? What if he'd been able to do the serious acting he wanted to?. I suppose we just have to be thankful for the gems he left behind.
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on 20 October 2002
This is a fascinating book. It has obviously been painstakingly and lovingly researched. It documents all of Elvis' recording sessions in detail. However, the detail doesn't stifle the narrative. You never feel overwhelmed by minutiae. Instead, you get a definite sense of what it was like to be in a recording studio watching the King of Rock and Roll do what he did best. Elvis steps from these pages as a real person who happened to have a talent that rocked the world. Congratulations to the author for tracking down so many intriguing and illuminating moments. He has truly given the rest of us an insight into the talent that was Elvis Presley. The King is dead. Long live the King.
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on 12 July 2014
As far as I am concerned, this is the 'Elvis Bible'. Simply the most important work on Elvis ever written. If you want to know where and when every song was recorded, and who played what instrument on them, then this is the book for you. But there's more to it than just as a reference book. It tells the story of Elvis recording career, taking you inside every session with detail. You'll learn how songs were brought to Elvis and often discarded by him in favour of his own choices. And how he was pretty much in control of his own recording sessions most of the time, pretty much producing them himself. And how he would keep going for take after take with a live band (which is how he liked to record) until the sound he had in his head was matched by the recording. Written by Ernst Jorgensen who is a life long fan and (more importantly) the man who has been in charge of Elvis releases since the early nineties, this is a must-have! There is a new 3 volume set (expensive) coming out next month called 'Ultimate Elvis Sessions', by 'Elvis Files' author Erik Lorentzen. Whether or not they will add anything new remains to be seen. However, this book will always remain a classic!
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on 16 April 2015
I actually bought this book expecting more about the life of Elvis. It is far more focused on the process of how he made his music and though it was not what I expected, I really enjoyed it. The author has documented every single recording session Elvis ever performed. It is an incredible feat of research and extends to interviews with record company employees and musicians who worked with Elvis - all providing an insight into why he recorded one song over another, what worked, what did not work, where he made more money. It is a fantastic insight into the record business of the time and how Elvis became the king, despite almost entirely singing the songs of other people. I still need to read a more personal Elvis biography, but this book is essential for anyone with a deep interest in why and how Elvis became so popular and how the recorded music business worked when Elvis was a star.
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on 9 June 2013
Although I was aware of Elvis's music when I was young, it wasn't until his death in 1977 that I really began to listen to his music properly. I realised then that he was a great innovator and performer with amazing charisma and a great voice. His music changed popular music forever and it has enriched my life. I have always wanted to know more about the detail of his recording career and this book with it's meticulous research, provides all the facts about his recording career from 1954 to 1977.It is a great reference book and I just love it. It's worth it's weight in gold. Elvis Presley will always be the THE KING as far as I am concerned and this book does justice to a great artist.
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on 11 February 2016
This was a replacement for my book that was destroyed in a fire so I really appreciate it even though the second-hand price has appreciated also after ten years ! too bad - it's essential for me as a serious fan of Elvis/ music, rather than his personal life, so am very glad to possess it again.
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on 27 November 2015
Excellent account of how, where & when the recordings were made and of those who were involved in the music of Elvis Presley. Mainly factual, this book also has small insights as to how Elvis developed into the biggest star the world has ever seen.
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on 2 September 2015
Excellent read, its all about the music and so well researched that there were plenty of new revelations. It shows the craft that went in to Elvis's recording, a definite must. Elvis the musician, disected and laid bare right here. Cool book.
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on 14 September 2014
You could consider this book a biography of the music, which is why we're all fans in the first place. The reread value of this book is immense. A must for any serious collector of Elvis music. Biblical.
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