From Publishers Weekly
In this slim illustrated volume, icon biographer Keogh (Audrey Style; Jackie Style) presents an homage to Elvis from a unique perspective, explaining how his inimitable style-not just the way he dressed, but also the way he spoke and behaved-influenced the music and the sensibilities of Americans unlike anyone before or after him. He was "the original Slim Shady," Keogh writes; "his appearance on Ed Sullivan ripped the 1950s in half." "Before Elvis, there was nothing," John Lennon said. Keough breaks down the Pelviss life into chronological chapters, from Elviss early days in Memphis through his last days at Graceland. Keough highlights major milestones as well as small, personal anecdotes, and includes essays such as "Elvis closet," which recounts his style choices. ("Things the King Never Wore-Baseball caps, Dockers, golf shirts, boxer shorts with funny patterns, rep ties, clogs, a Snugli, Earth shoes, a fanny pack, you get the idea.") And she gives an especially moving account of the early relationship between the singer and his 14-year-old love, Priscilla Beaulieu. Appealing though uninspired photographs of Elvis at moments of celebrity and privacy round out this intimate portrait of a man who was larger than life.
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Keogh freshens up a musty biographical perennial by making Elvis' style--his manners, grooming, clothes, interior design choices, and preferences in consumer goods--the leitmotif of an otherwise breezy overview. Her bottom line is that Elvis was cool, cooler than any other man of the twentieth century. Shy with the ingrained inferiority of deep poverty, he asserted himself early with his long, greased hair and, once the Lansky brothers opened their men's store in Memphis, just in time for Elvis' upper teens, clothes otherwise favored by black entertainers. At the other end of her account of the rock 'n' roll king, Keogh rhapsodizes about the decor at Graceland. The author of previous books on the stylistic impacts of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, Keogh certainly speaks with authority about mid-twentieth-century American fashion, but she can be a little off when the subject is Elvis' music; for instance, she misquotes the opening lines of his first, regional hit, "That's All Right, Mama." Profusely illustrated with some of the King's most flattering photos. Ray Olson
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