Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley Paperback – 2000
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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."
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Guralnick's stories have been described as "too wordy, too full of details". I must say that I fully appreciate all of the specifics. The finely tuned descriptions and numerous accounts from those closest to Elvis made the story come alive. There are few things, although somewhat trivial, that I took issue with....
In "Last Train", Guralnick says that there was an absence of body hair that gave Elvis a somewhat effeminate look. Not so! In photos, he clearly has chest hair. If there was anything at all feminine about the man, it was his use of mascara, his pink, ruffled shirts and his affinity for jewelry. Of course this could have also described Prince, God rest his soul.
Then there is the issue of his weight. We all saw how Elvis not only looks heavier in later years, but it is obvious that he's not only overweight, he's also swollen. But this isn't the only time that he's criticized for his girth. Early on in his career, specifically when he's making the movie "Frankie and Jonny, the director complains that he needs to go on a diet because he's "fat". I've seen that movie and many pictures from that time. I'm not sure what they were seeing, but he's not fat.
Then there are the songs...Guralnick claims that Elvis "overpowered Bridge Over Troubled Water" and describes "I'm Leavin" as "another of Elvis's over-the-top-ballads". Ballads, by their very nature are poetic, sentimental. It was in Elvis's nature to pour out his heart and soul. As for "Bridge", saying that he overpowered it is completely silly. That song in particular stands as a testament to his vocal ability and monumental talent. It's nothing less than amazing that Elvis could [rock out] on songs like Polk Salad Annie or Jailhouse Rock then switch gears and perform an American aria of sorts, like "Bridge Over Troubled Water". For me, this song in particular is like "going to church". It's moving, comforting, uplifting, hopeful.
I was blessed to have seen him live in concert. It was a defining moment in my life, as it was for thousands of other fans. And Peter Guralnick does an outstanding job of presenting each of his concerts in his books. Not to mention the nearly day-by-day account of his entire life.
These books should stand as a blueprint for what not to do if you're an entertainer. As well as a blueprint for how to be the best entertainer you can be.
The juxtaposition of an insecure Elvis with the Patriot Elvis is astounding. His dedication to the Jaycee's speech, for instance, it's contents and eloquence a testament to everything he was and could have been, yet wasn't. That evening after he received the award, he and Priscilla entertained guests at Graceland. Then again later at a local restaurant. To Priscilla, he was strong, brilliant, fully in control. How sad that he was so animated, so full of hope, only to forfeit it all and fall back into the same old traps. Somewhat like his excitement over the 68' Comeback Special. There is a palpable expectancy, and then, at the end as he sings "If I Can Dream", it's as though he is pleading not only for equality for mankind, but for his own freedom. And then the show ends, he walks away, satisfied that it was a success. The relationship that he'd formed with Steve Binder, left behind, forgotten. Binder had been so hopeful, so sure that Elvis could be so much more than the side show that Tom Parker had created. A prisoner to his own life. Trapped in a jaded castle with a gate and guards. Guards who would later turn on him.
The contrast of Elvis's respect for and total disgust with Tom Parker is amazing. Parker's constant assurance that he only had Elvis's best interests at heart was his attempt to cover his own dishonest ass. The only thing he was ever interested in was keeping his cash cow on the road, on stage, making money. (Yet, he passes up a tremendous opportunity to really cash in on a serious movie when Streisand asks Elvis to co-star with her in "A Star is Born".)There was no movie terrible enough that he'd pass it up. There was no level of exhaustion on Elvis's part that would keep Parker from booking yet another concert. He simply didn't care. The most evident example of this is when Elvis finally expires. Parker is just too busy to shed a tear. He immediately launches into new plans to take full advantage of his death to make a buck.
The women...There are so very many of them. He was like a kid in a candy store and all he wanted was a taste of everything. Just as he had no filter on how many cars he could buy, how many pieces of jewelry he would own, or how many bacon sandwiches he might eat at one sitting, he also had no limit to the number of women he would juggle at any given time. I remember considering how I might react if, while I was attending his concert, he would give out kisses to the women as they waited in line. Would I be one of them? (Of course I was only a kid of 14 at the time. I like to joke that I was probably just the right age.) And then I discovered that I was actually quite repulsed by the notion of waiting to be the next one to "swap spit" with Elvis, right after another girl/woman had just done that! If kissing him after numerous others had made me a bit nauseous I can't imagine how all of those women bedded down with him, many of them fully aware that another girl had either just left his bed or one was waiting in the wings to be the "next in line".
And then, there is his unrelenting religious beliefs. There were times when he "searched" for answers outside of the bible, outside of Almighty God's Word. He often looked to other "paths", but ultimately he seemed to stick with the Christian upbringing that he'd had with his parents. As a fellow believer, I truly hope this is the case. And I hope that upon taking his last breath he was immediately in the presence of the Saviour. And lastly, I hope to some day see him and hear him singing again. In heaven. But that's just me...
Overall, Peter Guralnick conveys Elvis's heart. His true feelings, his desire to reach people, to help those who were less fortunate. He never forgot where he came from. And he always gave the fans credit for his success, fame and wealth. These books are two of the best accounts of a life filled with hope, with fear, with fun, with anticipation and a life filled with the insecurities that are born out of fear. Out of poverty, out of a lack of education. Despite the lack of education, Elvis was quite intelligent and showed an appreciation for books of all sorts. His talent is almost indescribable. He set the stage for those who would follow in his footsteps. They have big shoes to fill. So far no one else has ever done what he did. No one ever could. He was the first. And Peter Guralnick has done an outstanding job of gifting us with the Story of Elvis Presley. If you are a fan you will get "it". If you're not a fan, shame on you. You should be.
just can't imagine. Lots of new info I gleaned from this obviously well researched book . I am a true fan of Elvis Presley. This book reflects on the good and bad.. It did not change my love for this man/entertainer one bit. The one thing that is very clear in this book is that there were so many people that took advantage of him, and that is so sad and hard to accept. Perhaps if he had not had so many "hanger oners" his life would
have taken a different turn. It actually explains , in my opinion, why Elvis' life was cut so short. I will
always love him and his music.