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Baby, Let's Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him Hardcover – January 5, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 181 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“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 Times)

“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.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“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.” (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

“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.” (The Globe and Mail)

“The most comprehensive work ever on how the women in Presley’s life…influenced him and his music.” (New York Newsday)

“Un-put-downabble.” (Jezebel.com)

“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.” (New York Post)

“A frank and fascinating portrait of an essentially lonely man...[told] with grace and intelligence...The work of a master.” (Louisville Courier Journal)

“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.” (BettyConfidential.com)

“If anything, Baby, Let’s Play House heightens the heartbreaking aspects of Presley’s life.” (Los Angeles Times)

“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.” (Philip Norman, New York Times bestselling author of John Lennon and Shout!)

“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 (Rosanne Cash)

“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.” (Jimmy McDonough, New York Times bestselling author of Shakey: Neil Young's Biography)

“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.” (David Hajdu, author of Positively 4th Street, music critic for The New Republic, and professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism David Hajdu, author of Positively 4th Street, music critic for The New Republic, and professor at Co)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1st Printing edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061699845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061699849
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #874,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I gave this five stars because, having read Nash's earlier "Memphis Mafia" book, I feel she has grown exponentially as a writer and as a journalist. In BLPH, Nash doesn't rely on one source for the retelling of certain events (such as how Elvis and Priscilla met), but presents opposing recounts from key witnesses and ultimately lets the reader decide whom to believe. This is a far leap forward from Peter Guralnick's dry and myopic two-volume "biography" of Elvis, and I learned some shocking things in the process. Some so outrageous I wonder how she legally got them into print. (No spoilers here--I won't go into detail.)

Ultimately, she has the benefit of much research and multiple interviews to pull from, and she does so freely. Unfortunately, she consistently returns to a single psychologist for repetitive views on Elvis's "twinless twin" obsession as a motivator/syndrome throughout his life. No doubt the Jessie Garon connection had an effect, but this book pushes it into every area of Elvis's psyche, and it's too much. Same with his connection to Gladys: every woman was his mother, etc. I find that simple and dismissive, but it doesn't detract from the overall presentation of material here. Given the state of book publishing these days, Nash had to find a "hook" upon which to build this book, so she has chosen to focus on his relationships with women as a backdrop to his life story. I have no problem with that; in fact, she does it rather well.

The downside for me was that, while there are numerous areas which explore a different side of Elvis the person, the book simply reiterates the age-old and, for my money, erroneous ideas regarding his career in the 1960s: the movies were all stupid, the music was terrible, Elvis hated doing them, he could have been a great actor, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
I've just finished reading a wonderful book, "Elvis, Let's Play House - Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him", by Alanna Nash. I finished the 600+pages book in three nights.
Just when I thought I'd read every conceivable approach to, and dissection of, the essence of Elvis (and I've read well over two hundred of them), Nash's new book brings a refreshing and enlightening angle to an already crowded field of writings about the King of Rock & Roll. It's a book that presents, in exquisite and well-researched detail, a view of Elvis from the many lives and loves of the women lucky enough to have shared a very private part of his life.
Unlike many of the dry and lifeless portraits already written about Elvis, this book grabbed me and kept me spellbound as I turned each page, never failing to hold my attention as it methodically transitions nicely from one girlfriend's account to the next; all this while, at the same time, enlightening the reader as to the very complex relationship between these women and Elvis, Gladys, and his stillborn twin, Jessie.
I thought I knew about every girl he dated from the numerous books I've read, but I learned so much more from this one. Another nice touch is the selection of pictures used throughout, some of which I'd never seen, making it easy to pair the names with the faces.
I was particularly struck by the easy, straightforward way the author has pulled so many complex stories of the intimate, while at the same time revealing, accounts of the women and their insights into those lucky enough to have loved (and made love to) Elvis Presley - the mingling of the "plain jane" types interspersed with some of the world's greatest beauties. This book details them all and does it in such an entertaining way that you'll find it hard to put down once you've started reading it.
I'd rate this book more than five stars if I could. Don't miss it.
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Format: Hardcover
Just when I thought that all of the Elvis books had been written--along comes "BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE--The Women Who Loved Elvis." Boy, I thought that I knew it "all" about him; however, the thorough research and actual interviews with the women involved (including myself) were stunningly revelatory! Nash is "beyond thorough" in her tedious research...tracking down every "live" specimen of a woman who had an association and/or relationship with lover boy Elvis. The book really tells a lot about what made Elvis "tick" when it came to women; however, in the final analysis it reveals--to the absolute delight of all his fans who love him--that "THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL" IN HIS LIFE WAS HIS FANS--AND THE AFFAIR IS STILL GOING ON! We just can't help falling in love with Elvis even after all this time; I guess there is nothing any sexier on the planet (and maybe never will be) than Elvis singing "Hunk of Burning Love" in a white leather, fringed jumpsuit. Whew! Yes, and most all the lucky gals who knew Elvis "close up" still cherish the experience and can't quite "wipe that smile off their faces" when reflecting on their up close and personal experiences with him. Alanna Nash's book has captured in enthralling, sexy detail their wonderful stories and present day reflective memories--all a marvelous, important part of the "mystery of Elvis." This book is a treasure and a "must have" for every true Elvis fan and I'm delighted to have been featured in it (Kay Wheeler). She told my story exactly per our interviews in complete accuracy. Like the great screen idol, "Valentino" of days gone by, Elvis' loves are intriguing and fascinating beyond measure. Real Elvis fans need to know EVERYTHING about him! Now we can all imagine and even almost believe that we are the "woman" that he needed; because obviously he never found her!Don't miss this incredible book! KAY WHEELER --[google it)
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