The Rough Guide to Elvis (Rough Guides Reference Titles) Paperback – 28 Oct 2004
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About the Author
Paul Simpson is the author of The Rough Guide to Cult Movies and has been an Elvis fan since the age of 12. He even took his wife to Memphis on their honeymoon.
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Top Customer Reviews
That such a small and accessable book could contain so much information is astounding. Simson gives us plenty of information on Elvis infuences and the influence he has had on everything, reviews of every film and album, theories on his death (or faked death *rolls eyes*) and detailed analysis on his best songs.
All this and Simpson manages to convey Elvis as a human being, something that is increasingly rare. Simpson clearly loves his subject, but doesn't let this cload his judgement about Elvis faults. He also warns us to treat the words of greedy "family" and "friends" such as David Stanley with extreme caution.
A few things though Paul, I think your reviews of the move soundtracks were at times fleeting and I felt some songs were not given the time they deserved some are not mentioned at all. Roustabouts soundtrack may not be that good but what about 'Big love big heartache'? Likewise is Speedway, again not amongst the pantheon of classics but what about 'Who are you? (who am I?' Also the film 'Live a little love a little' is fantastic, a precursor to the American sitcoms of the Seventies.
These though are minor quibbles and this book is one that is as essential as 'From Elvis in Memphis' to Elvis fans of any age. He will never be equalled.
Sort the index out next time please, if you look for something and it says pg 82 it will be on either pg 81 or pg 83, in every single case.
People forget how VERSATILE Elvis was. Simpson rightly points out that he was masterful at performing pop, rock, ballads, country, soul, gospel and blues. Of the major musical genres, only jazz and reggae remained untouched by his superhuman tonsils.
The section '50 Essential Songs' (FIFTY! Most artists would be happy with half that number!) was voted for by fans from all over the world and tells the stories behind some of The King's best-loved songs, plus lesser-known (yet equally brilliant) tracks like 'Reconsider Baby', 'Any Day Now' and 'Stranger In My Own Home Town'.
Reading the amusing and enlightening chapter on Elvis's films, it's heartening to know that Elvis was frequently disgusted and outraged by the substandard scripts and songs presented to him. If he could only have turned that rage on the Colonel, who knows how many more great songs he would've made instead of humiliating himself with dross like 'Old Macdonald'.
Simpson writes in a humourous, accessible style, and there are plenty of fascinating inserts on topics such as 'The 10 weirdest songs', 'Elvis and The Colonel', 'The King's robes', 'Priscilla and the women' etc.
A concise round-up of the 50 or so best (or just downright weirdest) books on Elvis concludes the Guide, and shows just how collossal and all-pervasive Presley's influence on music and popular culture has been.
If you don't fancy wading through Peter Guralnick's epic 2 volume biography, but would like to find out more than the basics about Presley's amazing life and work, Dave Simpson's book is for you.