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Elvis Day by Day: The Definitive Record of His Life and Music Hardcover – October 5, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On the heels of Peter Guralnick's acclaimed two-volume study of the rise and fall of Elvis Presley (Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love) comes a book that chronicles the same epic tale in a manner that's far less weighty than the preceding tomes, but almost as telling. For this quick-hit chronology of the Elvis story, Guralnick and his collaborator, archivist/record producer Ernst Jorgensen, were given access to 35 tons of Presley flotsam that included everything from his first income tax return to a mother lode of unpublished candids. Freed from a narrative structure, the authors chronicle the cultural icon through snippets that capture the mundane (Elvis gets his first Tupelo Public Library card, February 13, 1948) and remarkable (Elvis enlists in the battle against drugs when meeting President Nixon in the White House, December 21, 1970). Little by little, the fragments fit together to form the picture of a man hurtling toward the precipice (March 24, 1977: "Elvis's stage wardrobe is limited to two jumpsuits that he can fit into"). In this sense, Day by Day's scrapbook appearance is deceiving; this is serious business, indeed. --Steven Stolder

From Booklist

It seems as though a day doesn't go by without an Elvis sighting of some kind. The King lives on--on TV, radio, and the New York Times' best-seller list as well as embodied by innumerable impersonators, some of whose careers have lasted longer than Elvis' did. Guralnick and Jorgensen have devoted major portions of their lives to documenting Elvis. Guralnick just completed a noteworthy biography in two volumes, Last Train to Memphis (1994) and Careless Love , and Jorgensen has concentrated on Elvis' recording career (see Elvis Presley: A Life in Music, 1998). Thus, both have had access to truckloads of material, much of it previously unexamined, which enabled them to compile a detailed Presley biochronology that begins on April 25, 1912, with the birth of Gladys Love Smith, Elvis' mother, and ends on October 3, 1977, with the airing of a CBS special recorded two months before Elvis' August 16, 1977, death. Anything that could be verified by documents is recorded, including school report cards (Elvis got an F in typing in tenth grade), purchase receipts (on February 1, 1966, Elvis, his motor home, and a caravan of cars stopped in Clines Corners, New Mexico, to fill up with 75.8 gallons of fuel), and his movie and touring profits (after his seventh tour of 1976, he split $1,005,000.09 with Colonel Tom Parker, his manager). Copies of contracts, income tax forms, posters, and programs, as well as more than 300 photographs, ease eyes wearied by the three-column text display. Essential for thoroughgoing Elvis collections. Benjamin Segedin

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345420896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345420893
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.2 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

"Peter Guralnick is widely regarded as the nation's preeminent writer on twentieth-century American popular music. His books include Feel Like Going Home, Lost Highway, Sweet Soul Music, Searching for Robert Johnson, the novel Nighthawk Blues, and a highly acclaimed two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I initially bought this as a gift, but ended up keeping it myself. This is not your typical rock star coffee book with the same rehashed Elvis tidbits regurgitated over and over again.
From the very 1st pages you will learn more about Elvis's family that has ever been told. The records are more than just accurate, their are TONS of factual pictures and documents that have been scoured up from all of the Presley family and elsewhere. It is outsatnding! For the devout Elvis fan, I guarantee you will learn new tidbits, especially his early life in highschool, how many times they moved, and ALL the odd jobs he had.
The day-to-day history is simple to read, and full of very amazing trivia. Short enough to keep you interested, yet very detailed. The only con I have with this book is that it lists many of his early booking dates, with no more than the location and those get a bit tedious after a while.
The pictures throughout the book are amazing. Never have I seen a collection of Elvis pictures, and I'm sure many of them have never been in print before. The occasional full page 'splash' pictures capture The King in all his splendor from different periods of his life, whereas this book can almost be considered an art/photography book. (I really liked his judo poses throughout the years in his different costumes backstage-amusing)
In addition to the life of Elvis, we see the corresponding day by day accounts of Col. Tom Parker, Priscilla, Vernon, Gladys, and tons of other characters that somehow would come to touch Elvis's life. Truly a treasure, you will not be disapointed with this book at this price! Now I gotta buy another one as the first gift I intended it to be.
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Format: Hardcover
Elvis Day By Day is not perfect. The depth of the book doesn't match say, The Beatles Anthology and it could have. It doesn't have the striking pictures that other books in the genre do. But let's not get to critical. Ernst Jorgensen has almost singlehandedly revitalized the music of Elvis into mainstream America and Guralnick, while not always perfect has presented an accurate image of Elvis. Many little things add interest to this book. These include the many photos of documents that Elvis signed. Also, some unreleased and rare photos.I could have suggested more quality photos and experiences from the 68-72 era. The day by day in these years could have been better chronicled, in my opinion. I thought the picture of Elvis on stage live with Tom Jones was quite neat and worth the price of the book. Overall this book is excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it and any fan will be delighted to have it on their coffee table. Kevin Hogan, ...
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great book with lots of wonderfull pictures, If I could have only one Elvis book this would be it.ITs nice to be able to look and see what Elvis did on a particular date and there is so much more to this book than just that. Its that good and I am really Impressed with this, great job. thank you
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Format: Hardcover
From Elvis' foremost biographer, Peter Guralnick, author of the best-selling two-volume biography, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, and Ernst Jorgensen, the premier archivist and reissue producer of Elvis' recorded work, comes a unique chronicle of Elvis Presley's life and music. Granted unprecedented access to hundreds of thousands of photos, documents, letters, artifacts, and memorabilia by Elvis Presley Enterprises (it pays to be liked by Pricilla), Guralnick and Jorgensen present the King in greater personal detail than most authors. Elvis Day by Day is a complete account of Elvis' public, private, rare, forgotten, and renowned moments, captured with such detail and immediacy they read like diary entries in a life--from his first steps to the first time the young "hillbilly cat" stepped on stage; from the creation of a revolutionary new sound to the last days of a universally known, tragically misunderstood, drug dependent, and emotionally depressed entertainer.
The book contains more than three hundred color and black-and-white photographs and features such hitherto unknown details of Elvis' childhood in Tupelo as a father's touching postcards from prison and the family's backbreaking struggle to make ends meet. It includes Elvis' first work application at eighteen in which he describes his leisure-time activities as "sing[ing], playing ball, working on car, going to movies." At last, the complete story of how Elvis met his legendary manager, Colonel Tom Parker, is revealed in detail, and long-debated mysteries like Elvis's famous lost tryout for the Arthur Godfrey show are finally put to rest.
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Format: Hardcover
A previous reviewer questioned how the writers could know what Elvis was doing from day-to-day. Just a clarification...the authors had full access to the Elvis archives that house artifacts from the entertainer's life, including 60,000 photographs, 4,000 pieces of wardrobe, stacks of furniture, and more than a MILLION pieces of paper.
The archives are located in 5 warehouses not open to the public and the authors were granted rare access to the archives.
The public usually only sees the "hot" items such as the flashy outfits and gold records. But the housed artifacts include items such as grocery receipts from Tupelo, Army leave papers for some R&R in Paris, casual notes, canceled checks, furniture invoices from when Elvis decorated Graceland and other odds and ends.
Obviously, no one person is going to know exactly what Elvis did everyday of his life but with as many items that have been archived, the authors give a more fuller picture of Elvis' life than you might expect.
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