Books: Elvis Music FAQ, by Mike Eder (2013)

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It goes without saying Elvis Presley changed the world — which is why, six decades on, his presence and influence remain as visible as the sun in the sky.

Not only did the Tupelo, Mississippi-born singer (after later relocating to Memphis, Tennessee with his parents where he launched his career) remodel the total landscape of music as a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, but he altered culture in general.

Before Elvis, kids dressed, wore their hair and yes, listened to the same kind of music as their parents and even grandparents. But after the great man staged his mark, young folks adopted his fashion sense, which at the time was considered wildly radical. Music has always brought people together, but Elvis added a special and personal touch to what he was doing, allowing his audience to feel they were part of his performance, rather than just passive spectators. He further broke down racial barriers to a certain extent by making his music colorblind — the way it should be.

Although Elvis was first and foremost an entertainer, there’s no question he liberated, encouraged and gave hope to his legion of admirers in a similar manner a teacher or guru inspires students.

Authored by renowned writer Mike Eder, Elvis Music FAQ (subtitled “All That’s Left to Know About the King’s Recorded Works,” and due on October 15, 2013 from Backbeat Books) supplies the goods and then some on every single year Elvis was active, along with astute and informative reviews on each record he released, including demos. To be sure, the music of Elvis has been profiled and analyzed for eons, but Mike’s detailed and easy to read observations manage to shed revelatory light on the songs and albums.

The years 1956 to 1959 may have been when Elvis experienced the most mainstream success, yet contrary to popular belief, his remarkable talents did not diminish in the least and he still possessed a creative itch, which Mike strongly emphasizes in the book. A new breed of music, namely the British Invasion, rapidly trailed by folk rock and psychedelia, may have rendered Elvis archaic for the better half of the ’60s, but he plugged on, and in 1968 turned in a phenomenal return to form with a TV special, followed by a handful of potent recordings.

While Elvis never fully regained the credibility he achieved early on, he never lacked for fans and his live concerts were legendary. Unfortunately, that all came to an end on August 16, 1977, when he passed on.

Elvis is now possibly bigger in death than in life, as his music and story refuse to expire. And for a logical reason, considering how incredibly gifted he was. Be it rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll, country, pop, blues, soul or gospel, Elvis electrifies and excites the listener. His voice moves, grooves and empathizes.

Armed with a love and understanding of Elvis, Eder has penned an intelligent and interesting look at an artist who transcends genres and generations. As is the case with Elvis impersonators, there are billions of Elvis books available, but Elvis Music FAQ is the real deal — because it offers facts that matter and simply smacks of quality.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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