Friday, June 30, 2023

Review The Airplanes and The King (3rd Edition)

One could ask, if by now, is there any aspect of Elvis Presley’s life, career or legacy left that hasn’t been covered in a (dedicated) book. 

Just this year we got (or will get) books on his 8mm movies, German EPs, Japanese and U.K. vinyl, his spiritual side, his watches, a certain year or month, a specific movie, his daughter, his ex-wife, his army years, playlists with his music and even a book on “all the  things you didn’t know or have forgotten … and some things you wish you’d remembered or liked to forget!” So a book on his airplanes actually first in nicely!

Since I wrote the foreword for the latter book, I asked experienced author Rogier van Luyken - from the Dutch It’s Elvis Time fan club - to share his perspectives on the content, to ensure this is an objective review.

So here is our review of 'Elvis, The Man Flying High In The Sky'.


This third edition of Carlos Varrenti’s ‘The Airplanes and The King’ is a slimmed down and updated budget edition, aimed at the U.S. marked for both Elvis and aviation fans. Many U.S. fans missed out on this book as the Deluxe 400-page edition could be considered “heavy freight”. Due to the weight the shipping costs for fans outside Europe were pretty steep.

The cover of this 17 by 24 cm 285-page paperback remained the same throughout all three editions, capturing both main subjects of the book in one picture. The lay-out is easy on the eye, the font a bit big, but illustrated throughout with relevant pictures of Elvis with or in his airplanes. The book is full-color, so not just easy, but also attractive to the eye. 

Added to that are documents with intriguing facts about the airplanes, flight patterns, schedules and captivating pictures of pretty much the complete crew of ‘Elvis Presley Airways’, that complete the story in detail.


Looking at the list of books on almost ‘everything Elvis Presley’, you may wonder if a book on Elvis’ socks is up next! But perhaps the main question should be, how essential are all these books? And no, ‘Something for Everyone’ is not the answer! However, this book about covering ‘everything about Elvis and “his” airplanes, caught my eye. Being in the (slow) process of writing a book myself (about the last couple of years of Elvis’ life) I was curious about what writer Carlos Varrenti (from Argentina) had discovered about ‘Elvis Presley Airways’. 

In an interview with the Elvis Information Network the author said: "It took me about 1 year to write the book. But it took me 25 years to compile all the information! To tell you the truth, at first, it was not in mind to do this book, on the contrary, as every fan does, I was waiting for someone else to write it and then buy it! But it never came out... 

There are more than 2,900 Elvis related books released but I never found any book talking about Elvis’ Airplanes and his relation to Aviation, his fears and conquers in the aeronautical world. Not even in Graceland! If you go to visit the planes, the little aviation shop does not have any book related to Elvis and his planes! So, I said to myself: “If no one does it, I think I can do it"

The first edition of this book was a privately released 200-page Spanish book, the second edition was a lavish and heavy 400-page release, done together with Erik Lorentzen in the now well known ‘Elvis Files’ style. I did not own one of these editions, so in my hands is the third, commercial, release. 

Going back to my question, what did Carlos uncover about the ‘Elvis Presley Airlines’, I must say I am very impressed with his work! The research looks very extensive and complete, covering everything from 1955 to 1977 and beyond. It includes new information that came to light as recent as April 2023. 

With Varrenti being an aeronautical engineer writing a reference book there could have been a risk that it would be a technical book, but it’s not. It is very well written intertwining the stories of both Elvis and his airplanes. 

It takes a few pages before the book really “takes off” at page 23. We first get several well-deserved recommendations for this book as well as a foreword by Carlos himself. And check out page 9, where we see a TCB business card for Elvis’ pilot Milo B. High. Underneath his name Elvis wrote “How high?”. On the back of the card Elvis writes: “O GOD, thy sky is so great and my plane is so small” as well as his private telephone numbers. A nice detail that reminds us of Elvis’ fear of flying.

And that is the first subject in this book. We learn that this fear of flying was caused by the ‘horror’ flight Elvis made on April 14, 1956. At that point in time, I think Elvis could not have imagined that little over 15 years later, he would cover the nation by air or even being the “president” of his own airplane company. 

What follows is literally everything there is to know about Elvis and airplanes: the ones he used for travel in the fifties, returning from the army, traveling to Hawaii, the planes used in his movies and the planes he used to tour from city to city. It is all covered extensively, including all the technical specs of the planes. Based on meticulous research it provides a very informative and comprehensive overview for both Elvis and aviation fans!

It is interesting to read about the various planes Elvis rented before acquiring a Convair 880 that became known as the ‘Lisa Marie’. Planes from Ilustre’s names like Howard Hughes and Hugh Hefner. 

At the end of the book there’s even an extensive list of all of Elvis’ flights and dates and even maps of the USA showing from what town to the next our hero was flying. Throughout the book there are many great pictures to be seen of Elvis boarding and de-boarding planes, being pictured inside several planes through the years or being in planes used in his films. It must have taken a lot of research to find all these planes and pictures of Elvis with them. But adding these images is both “proof” that Elvis used that plane and it places the plane in the correct / historical “Elvis context”. 

There is also vast number of documents to be seen and read. Rare is the picture of the ‘Hound Dog II’ on January 3, 1977, when Elvis and Ginger flew out to the funeral of Ginger Alden’s granddad in Arkansas. I can’t remember having seen this picture before.

Of great interest are the stories on the Lisa Marie after August 16, 1977. I never knew that this plane was used by the CIA to transport an South American dictator. I’m pretty sure ‘Agent Elvis’ would have been thrilled to know that the CIA used his airplane for a covert mission! Or maybe Agent Elvis went undercover and witnessed all of this 

There is another police story on another Jetstar that was "scraped at the dessert”. That plane was recently sold at an auction and is currently being chopped up in little pieces to be sold to fans. The question remains if Elvis actually ever set foot in that plane. The engines of the plane were taken off years ago and are on display at the Tennessee Aviation Museum in the town of Sevierville. 

There is also an extensive account on how the Lisa Marie eventually was brought back to Graceland in February of 1984 for fans to visit. 


The author must be complimented for his research and the way in which he presents the story of Elvis and (his) planes. Even a tech-savvy reader can easily understand and enjoy this book. It fills another niche in Elvis history, that no one had yet taken the trouble to thoroughly research and document. With the use of many illustrations it provides an entertaining read.

After books on Elvis cars, houses, movies, concerts, (girl)friends, horses and … this is the definitive record on the King and his planes. This is a book that should have been written years ago, perhaps even by Graceland as the two planes opposite Elvis’ mansion are a real tourist attraction, but I’m glad it has been done now by someone who know what he’s writing about. 

Since there is so much to take in, it does take some time to read it all, but that is no punishment at all! We really enjoyed reading this book and must compliment Carlos on writing a book about ‘Elvis, The Man Flying High In The Sky’. 

Our verdict: highly (“how high?”) recommended! 

The book is available through Amazon, and at the Elvis Aviation Shop at Graceland near the airplanes (where it should be!).

June 30 - It's Elvis Time For the July 2023 Video News Report

Emiel Maier posted the July 2023 Elvis Video News Report. This new edition, looking back on June 2023 features news on Priscilla Presley's morbid request and movie trailer, James Burton back on stage, and Australian fan's car collection, a new exhibit at the Tupelo museum, a new Elvis musical and much more short news flashes.

It's Elvis Time magazine

The Dutch It's Elvis Time magazine will publish volume 303 of their self-titled magazine any day now. It features my review of 'Rags To Riches - The Original Mono Mixes' CD / DVD set. Other articles cover 'Elvis Sings Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup', 'P. J. Proby - Presley Style', FTD's 'Blue Hawaii' box-set and more. 
For more information visit the fan club's website at >>> It's Elvis Time.

Merry Christmas

The German ZYX record label released the red colored vinyl LP and a CD titled 'Greatest Christmas Songs'. 

Publicity stated: The most beautiful Christmas carols sung by one of the greatest artists of all time. The King Of Rock'n'Roll interprets the great Christmas classics in his unique and incomparable way.

Great versions of 'White Christmas', 'Silent Night', 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' create a festive atmosphere at Christmas. As a special highlight, there is a colored and limited vinyl edition in addition to the CD version.
Side A: White Christmas - I'll Be Home For Christmas - Silent Night - That's When Your Heartaches Begin - Santa Claus Is Back In Town - Take My Hand, Precious Lord - It's No Secret (What God Can Do)

Side B: Blue Christmas - (There'll Be) Peace In The Valley - Here Comes Santa Claus - O Little Town Of Bethlehem - I Believe - I Beg Of You - Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me).

(Source: Emiel Maier / it's Elvis Time)

Thursday, June 29, 2023

June 29 - Reinventing Original Recordings (Updated)

The Danish Memphis Mansion released the 10-inch LP 'The Best Of Elvis'. It contains 10 newly created stereo mixes from the original U.K. HMV LP.

Side A: Heartbreak Hotel / I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine / Blue Moon / Tutti Frutti / All Shook Up. 

Side B: Hound Dog / Too Much / Any Way You Want Me / Don’t Be Cruel / Playin’ For Keeps.

Anita Wood Died

Anita Marie Wood Brewer died early Thursday morning of pneumonia at St. Dominics Hospital in Jackson, MS. She was 85.

In her teens Anita Wood became a media personality, later Radio DJ and singer, she recorded for Sam Phillips' iconic SUN record label and subsequently for the also Memphis based Santo label.

Anita first met Elvis in July 1957 when she was on Wink Martindale's 'Top 10 Dance Party' Memphis tv show. George Klein introduced her to Elvis who invited her to Graceland. 

They became serious dates from 1957, through the army years, to 1962. In 1957 Presley referred to Wood as his "No. 1 Girl". Wood signed a contract to work for Paramount Pictures but  gave it up to be with Elvis.

On August 6, 1962 Elvis and Anita Wood ended their relationship. Anita announced the break up in the newspaper and that she had officially moved out of Graceland and returned home to live in Jackson, Tennessee. Anita, said “It is evident Elvis is not yet ready to settle down". 

Anita, overheard Elvis talking to his father Vernon, about the difficulty of choosing between his Anita and Priscilla Beaulieu. Anita, had been living at Graceland Mansion since Elvis' return from the Army. 

She was married to NFL football player Johnny Brewer for 46 years from 1965 until his death in 2011.

In 2019 she said: “Elvis – to me he was just a great guy. I mean… he was very handsome. Very polite. Very much a gentleman, always. Very humorous. Great sense of humor. Decent young man.”

“Elvis was my first love and Johnny was my true love” Anita said. 

Elvis once stated: "I have never and will never again love anyone like I love you, sweetheart. Also, I guarantee that when I marry, it will be Miss Little Presley Wood...Just remember this is a guy that loves you with all his heart and wants to marry you."

Anita’s memories of Elvis were published in the 2012 book “Once Upon a Time: Elvis and Anita” written by her daughter Jonnita Brewer Barrett. You can read a review of her memoirs 'Once Upon A Time: Elvis and Anita' on the >>> Elvis Information Network website.

Billy Smith posted: Anita was a good friend. As a kid, my brother, Bobby, and I spent a lot of time with Anita. We had good times. She was one of a kind. She blended in well with the family and the group. I first met Anita in 1957. Jo met Anita in 1961. Anita was easy to love. Very charismatic, very likeable, and a fun person. Elvis always loved her name, Anita Marie, and I’ve always wondered if that’s where he got Lisa’s middle name from, though I never asked. 

Jo and I both hate to hear this news. We are praying for her family and friends at this very difficult time. Please include the Brewer family in your thoughts and prayers as they lay this sweet soul to rest.

New '68 Comeback Special Documentary

Due Augustus 15, 2023 is a new documentary on Elvis' 1968 Comeback Special titled 'Reinventing Elvis: The '68 Comeback Special'. It debuts exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and Canada on August 15th, followed by an international streaming release in the U.K., Latin America, Brazil, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy on August 16th. Additionally, for a limited time, the film will screen in hundreds of movie theaters worldwide.

Publicity stated: He has directed some of the biggest names in the music history,  from Petula Clark to Diana Ross, but Steve Binder knows there's only one musician that everyone wants to talk to him about. "Somebody said to me years ago, 'Steve, no matter how many shows you do, you'll always be remembered for Elvis Presley's show,'" Binder tells Yahoo Entertainment with a knowing laugh. "And they were right! Ninety-nine percent of the time, everybody who approaches me wants to hear about Elvis."

Consider it both the blessing and the curse of helming what's not only the greatest televised concert that the late singer ever shot, but also one of the greatest televised concerts of all time. That would be 1968's Singer Presents... Elvis, better known as the '68 Comeback Special, which revived Presley's then-moribund singing career after a lengthy stint cranking out increasingly silly Hollywood movies.

With the special poised to celebrate its 55th anniversary this December, Binder lends his firsthand knowledge of how it all came together to the new documentary Reinventing Elvis: The '68 Comeback Special. Directed by John Scheinfeld and produced by Spencer Proffer's Meteor 17.

Considering the plethora of Elvis projects working their way through Hollywood in the wake of Baz Luhrmann's Oscar-nominated movie, the director admits that he required a little extra convincing to participate in Reinventing Elvis. (Binder was a creative consultant on Luhrmann's Elvis, with breakout Stranger Things star Dacre Montgomery playing Binder in the film's recreation of the '68 special) "I was approached by Spencer and John and told them, 'Look, guys, why should I do another [project] about this special?'" Binder recalls. "And they said, 'Because you're the only guy that was there from the very beginning to the very end.' That was their pitch and I loved it, so I said, 'I'm in.'"

Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment in 2018 for the special's 50th anniversary, Binder shared the broad outline for how the program came together. Originally pitched to NBC by Presley's notoriously controlling manager, Col. Tom Parker, as a Christmas special, the telecast instead morphed into a celebration of the singer's influences and early years as a rock 'n' roll firebrand. Although that shift in direction made Parker furious, Binder and Presley remained true to their shared vision and successfully sidelined the manager during the months-long production process.

"We were mirrors of each other," Binder muses now. "We had the same internal fire, and were willing to put in the work. My whole experience with Elvis was positive, from the very first day I met him to the very last day we said goodbye, and I never saw or talked with him again. You're constantly hearing this yin and yang about him, that he was a great guy and he was also a womanizer. But I just want to live with my experience from '68 where I really loved the guy."

Reinventing Elvis takes a deeper dive into the making of the Comeback Special, featuring interviews from some of the surviving performers and audience members, as well as Presley experts placing it in the context of the times and the singer's career. But as the filmmakers knew, Binder remains the final authority on this particular slice of rock history. The now-90-year-old director shares some new stories from his one-on-one collaboration with Presley, and why he thinks that Tom Hanks should have gotten an Oscar nomination for his divisive portrayal of Parker in Elvis.

Girls, Girls, Girls

By his own admission, Presley had a steady string of on-set affairs with his leading ladies. (The one exception? Mary Tyler Moore.) And there were certainly plenty of women on the set of the Comeback Special, both in the audience and sharing the stage with Elvis, who Binder says lived on the NBC studio lot during the shoot while his wife, Priscilla Presley, and their then-newborn daughter, Lisa Marie, were living elsewhere. "Elvis had rented a home for Priscilla and the baby in Beverly Hills, and didn't want to waste time traveling back and forth," the director recalls, adding that he wasn't personally aware about whether or not his star got up to any hanky-panky on set.

"I'm the most naive person in the world," Binder says, chuckling. "If he was doing anything, I was oblivious of it! I was focused on doing the best special I possibly could. But I'm sure somebody in his shoes, and there aren't very many — were magnets to women."

Binder also doesn't recall any personal set visits from Presley's wife and daughter during the months-long shoot. In fact, he didn't have his first meeting with Lisa Marie - who passed away in January - until decades later and even then it was over the phone. "Lisa called me up one day and said she was very disturbed with all these rumors going around that Elvis may still be alive," he says. "This was when she was still married to Michael Jackson. She wanted to take on the press, but I advised her not to do that. I said, 'That's what they want you to do. Just let it happen and it'll eventually burn out.' Which it did."

That call was Binder's only contact with Presley's daughter, but he says that he's a big fan of the singer's granddaughter, Riley Keough. "She's sensational: I've never met her, but she's a terrific actress. I think it might almost be a detriment that she's so tied to her grandfather, because she can make it on her own. She's that talented."

Too Hot to Handle

One of the women who got extra close to Elvis on the set of the Comeback Special was Susan Henning — a 20-year-old dancer and actress who landed the role of a virginal innocent that Presley's "Guitar Man" persona encounters in what's become known as the "bordello scene," although that's not how Binder thinks of it. "It was NBC executives who labeled it the 'bordello scene,'" he says now. "For me, it was meant to be part of the journey of a kid who goes to seek fame and fortune and becomes Guitar Man."

Henning, now 76, is interviewed in Revisiting Elvis and remembers her "chemistry" with Presley, which is still felt in the duo's sensual dance. It proved too sensual for NBC, which reneged on its promise to Binder that the sequence would remain in the special. "I had demanded that from everybody connected with the show that the scene would air," he remembers, adding that he even made adjustments to the costumes worn by the female dancers to keep the sponsors, including Singer Sewing Machines and General Electric, happy. "Somebody said that too much cleavage was showing, so I had the costuming department cover up their chests with black netting."

Ultimately, a GE executive pushed the network to excise the scene, despite giving a pass to a similarly risqué moment on The Dean Martin Show. "There was a scene on that show with a 6-foot blonde in a bikini and he was laughing his head off," Binder says. "I'm thinking, 'This'll be a piece of cake.' But then he comes over to our monitor and goes, 'This can never air.' I was so pissed off that they lied to me."

But this story has a happy ending: Binder made a 90-minute cut of the '68 Comeback Special - which initially aired as an hour-long program - that ended up preserved in NBC's archives. Following Presley's death in 1977, the network rushed to re-air the special and the tape that was pulled happened to be the longer cut with the bordello scene intact. "From that day forward, they never played the 60-minute version again," Binder says, happily. "But it was a total fluke! I never expected that to happen."

Bonding with Baz

Binder had the slightly surreal experience of watching his own history repeat itself as drama during the production of Luhrmann's film, which features a stellar recreation of the Comeback Special. "Baz and I became very close during the making of the film," he says, while also acknowledging that Elvis takes some "creative license" with how things went down.

"For instance, I was never at the Hollywood sign," he says, referring to the scene in the film where Montgomery's Steve pitches Butler's Elvis on participating in the special. "The only times I ever saw Elvis during the entire production was at my offices on the Sunset Strip, at NBC and at United Western Recorders where we did the orchestra soundtracks. But that was it — otherwise we never went anywhere."

Despite those liberties, Binder counts himself as a big fan of Luhrmann's film and has nothing but praise for both Montgomery and Butler. "Austin was brilliant, and Dacre is going to be a major star. Overall, I was really pleased with it, and I thought it served its purpose. People have seen it over and over again, and those who were never exposed to Elvis before got to see him."

While Butler's Oscar-nominated performance was universally acclaimed, not everyone loved how Tom Hanks approached the role of Col. Tom Parker — who comes across as a comic book supervillain with an outrageous accent straight out of a James Bond movie. But as someone who personally tangled with Presley's bully of a manager, Binder says that the Cast Away star did the role justice.
"I think people were kind of shocked that Tom didn't play him as a colonel from the South," Binder says. "Parker was actually born in the Netherlands and had a Dutch name [Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk] originally. Tom wanted to be authentic, and went to that speech pattern. I think he took a big hit from fans because of that, but I thought he was excellent and was disappointed that he didn't get nominated along with everybody else."

The Fame Game

It may sound strange, but Binder initially won Presley's trust by telling the singer that his career was all but over. "He sensed this was a make-or-break situation," the director says. "One of the first things he asked me was, 'What do you think happens if I do this special and it bombs?' And I said, 'They'll still remember your movies and your early hits, but that'll be the end of your career in in rock 'n' roll.'"

And Binder was later able to demonstrate to Presley just how far he had fallen in the fame rankings. One day, he happened upon the singer staring out an office window at passersbys strolling up and down Sunset Boulevard, clearly contemplating how they might react if he were to suddenly step out on the street. "I said to him, 'What do you think will happen if you go out there?'" Binder recalls his - not-so-subtle - suggestion to Presley that his appearance might not generate Beatlemania levels of cheers and screams.

Naturally, the singer seemed reluctant to acknowledge the dimming of his star power. But a few days later, Presley took Binder up on his challenge. "He and I went out there alone," Binder remembers. "He was trying to get noticed, but nobody was running up to him trying to tear his clothes off or anything. It was kind of embarrassing! After five minutes of trying to get attention, he said, 'OK, you've proved your point.'"

Reflecting on that moment now, Binder thinks that the lack of Elvis-mania had more to do with the fact that plenty of Presley imitators were already on the Sunset Strip. "So many guys tried to emulate Elvis, so people probably didn't realize it was actually him," he says, chuckling. And while it's never fun to be publicly humiliated, Presley took it in stride and it further cemented his bond with Binder.

"It's hard to put a finger on, but when we went back upstairs, he seemed to trust me more," the director says. "He was confident that I was on his side, whereas almost everybody else in his life was on Col. Parker's payroll. I've always felt strongly that everyone needs a Jiminy Cricket on their shoulder, and I was that for Elvis."

(Source: Dorthe Bach Richter Larsen / Yahoo News / WikiPedia / FECC)

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

June 28 - Fact vs. Fiction in the 2022 ELVIS Movie

Elvis author Trina Young published her 4th book 'Fact vs. Fiction in the 2022 ELVIS Movie: An Unauthorized Scene-by-Scene Analysis'. The 223-page paperback should answer all your questions about the 2022 'ELVIS' movie.

Synopsis: This book celebrates the film while also examining it for historical accuracy. Learn the backstory of the film, how Austin Butler was chosen to play Elvis Presley, how director Baz Luhrmann came up with the idea for the movie, how the Presley family was involved, and much more about the filmmaking process -- plus a detailed scene-by-scene analysis of the film exploring what is true and what is not true in the movie.

'Fact vs. Fiction in the 2022 ELVIS Movie' contains meticulous research by Trina Young, the author of three other books on Elvis Presley. Out of respect for Elvis, this book clears up any misleading information or artistic license that may confuse people between what is shown in the film and what is true Elvis history. The purpose of this book is to offer a balanced side to the story.

Learn the answers to these questions from the storyline of the movie including:

  • Was Elvis really stuck in a "cage" in Las Vegas?
  • Was the portrayal of Elvis' parents accurate?
  • Did Elvis ever hang out with BB King, Little Richard, or Sister Rosetta Tharpe?
  • Was Colonel Parker really an evil villain as portrayed in the film?
  • What did Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley and Riley Keough love about the movie?
  • How did fate play a part in getting Austin Butler the lead role?
  • Why were other women in Presley's life excluded?
  • What did Baz Luhrmann wish he could have included in the movie?
  • What do Priscilla and Jerry Schilling really think of the Colonel?
  • How limited was the focus on Presley's entourage or "Memphis Mafia"?
  • Did Elvis fire Parker when he was onstage?
  • How did Presley's living relatives and former girlfriends feel about the movie?
  • A new Elvis Revelation to Elvis History - who really discovered Elvis?
  • and much more!
TrinA Young added: "In its 2 hours and 39 minutes of screen time, the 'ELVIS' movie covered so many fascinating and controversial facts and details about Presley's life that I wanted to delve into. At first, I considered doing a series of articles about the film. But then I realized there was so much to cover that it would make more sense to go through the entire film, scene by scene, and address, in book format, how accurate the story is to Elvis' true history. 

My goal is not to criticize the movie, but rather complement it by presenting the related background, context and chronology to what is portrayed in the film. When watching the movie in digital format, it is amazing how many details and historical references can be found on multiple viewings. It's likely that many generations to come will first learn about Elvis from this movie, and this book will help people get the answers to all the questions they may have."

The book also includes an 8-page photo section. The book is available from >>> Amazon or her website >>>

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

June 27 - Fun In Houston, Fort Worth and Baton Rouge

According to posts on the Elvis Presley FTD Collectors Label group on Facebook the first fans received the latest Follow That Dream 2-LP ‘Fun In Acapulco’. 

This FTD edition of the soundtrack album features a collection of Masters and Outtakes.

According to a post from the Danish Memphis Mansion, the 3-CD-set 'Houston, Fort Worth, Baton Rouge 1974' has been released too. 

This set features the concerts: 
CD 1: Astrodome, Houston, Texas (Evening Show), March 3rd 1974.
CD 2: Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas (Evening Show), June 15th 1974.
CD 3: Louisiana State University Assembly Center, Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, June 17th 1974.

The Elvis Information Network noted:  The Texas Astrodome concert has previously been bootlegged multiple times ie 'Event Number 8' and '8th Wonder Of The World'. It is a fascinating concert for only having Elvis' TCB band and without any orchestra. Hopefully the sound is vastly improved. The FTD-label previously released other shows from these tours:  'Sold Out! CD1 - Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 1st' and also Fort Worth, Texas 1974 June 16 Afternoon and Evening Show.

The Follow That Dream label previously announced that the 'How Great Thou Art Sessions' 5-CD-set were delayed.

Here is the first unboxing video.

Elvis at 21

Insight Editions re-issued Alfred Wertheimers 2006 photobook 'Elvis at 21 - New York to Memphis' as a 290-page hardcover edition.

Publicity stated
: In 1956, photographer Alfred Wertheimer was asked to photograph the then twenty-one-year-old Elvis Presley just as his career was about to explode. This book features the collection of photos taken by Wertheimer, offering a snapshot of the young Elvis Presley’s remarkable rise to fame and his permanent status as the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll.”       

In 1956, Alfred Wertheimer was asked by Presley’s new label, RCA Victor, to photograph Elvis Presley’s budding career just as it was about to take off in a way the world had never seen. With unimpeded access to the young performer, Wertheimer captured unguarded and everyday moments in Elvis’s life during that crucial year. It was a year that took him from Tupelo, Mississippi, to the silver screen, the verge of international stardom, and his crowning as the “King of Rock 'n' Roll.” As Wertheimer photographed Elvis during 1956, and again in 1958, he created classic images that are spontaneous, unrehearsed, and without artifice.

A Pivotal Year: Dubbed the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll” in 1956, 21-year-old Elvis, placed 17 songs on Billboard’s Top 100 singles chart, including 3 singles that reached #1, appeared multiple prime-time TV variety shows, performed 143 times in 79 different cities, and released his first film, Love Me Tender

Exclusive Photos: Dive into the complete collection of Alfred Wertheimer’s photos of the young Elvis Presley as he tours from New York to Memphis, Tennessee

Perfect for All Elvis Fans: Fans of all ages will enjoy this exclusive deep dive into Elvis’s early life as he builds his career and shakes up the world of music

Go Behind the Stage: Explore intimate and candid images captured after Elvis has left the building—backstage, writing, or reading fan mail from his admirers

Renowned Photographer and Author: Experience the King of Rock ’n’ Roll through the lens of famed Alfred Wertheimer, the photographer who captured every moment of the young star’s early career.

(Source: Facebook / Memphis Mansion / Amazon / insight Editions)

Sunday, June 25, 2023

June 26 - Number One Army Vinyl

Released by the Reel to Reel record label is the 18-track picture disc compilation 'Number Ones (USA and UK)'. The album is also available on red colored vinyl.

The sets contain a selection if oldies, originally released between 1956 and 1962.

Side A: Heartbreak Hotel - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You - Hound Dog - Don't Be Cruel - Love Me Tender - Too Much - All Shook Up - Jailhouse Rock - (Let Me Be You) Teddy Bear

Side B: Hard Headed Women - Big Hunk O Love - Stuck On You - It's Now Or Never - Are you Lonesome Tonight - (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame - Can't Help Falling In Love - Return To Sender - Good Luck Charm

Elvis 1958

Following the release / announcement of 3 new books by visual Elvis biographer Paul Belard is another new 2023 release: 'Elvis 1958 - March 14 to 31'. 

Synopsis: “Well, I started working on the shows with the guys from the Opry. Doing more TV shows. Then I came to Hollywood and filmed movies. Everything was happening in a short period of time. And right when things were going, I got drafted. And overnight it was all gone. It was like a dream. Pop! Changed!”

Of his call to serve, Elvis said: “People were expecting me to mess up, to goof up in one way or another. They thought I couldn’t take it and so forth, and I was determined to go to any limits to prove otherwise, not only to the people who were wondering but to myself.”

This book covers everything that happened - in a visual day by day format - in the two weeks from March 14th to March 31st 1958.

The book can be ordered directly from the author ( or via Amazon.

(Pascal Matteo / Reel to Reel Store / Paul Belard)

June 25 - From Tokyo To YouTube

David Ward just uploaded an update video on his Elvis Presley in Japan YouTube channel with a preview of the 'From Memphis to Tokyo - A Reference Guide to the Absolute Mastery of Elvis' Japanese Vinyl' book he is working on with Dick Dekker. The book should be due later this year.

The first 500 pre-orders will receive a free 45 RPM single with the songs 'Your Cheatin' Heart' coupled with 'Memphis Tennessee'. This single was originally planned for release in 1965, but in the end, never was.

To pre-order a copy and get the free single, please contact Dick Dekker at

History of Elvis Presley in Playlists Paperback

Jesse Shanks published his 133-page paperback 'History of Elvis Presley in Playlists Paperback'.

Description: Elvis Presley remains an iconic figure in the world of music, captivating audiences with his unique style and leaving an indelible mark on popular culture. In recognition of his enduring popularity, this book offers a series of meticulously curated playlists that cover his remarkable career, from his early breakthrough in the mid-1950s to his untimely death in 1977.

Recognizing that Elvis's musical style may not appeal to everyone, the curator of this collection took care to cater to different preferences. Each playlist is thoughtfully structured, generally following a chronological order to trace the evolution of Elvis's artistry. However, there are instances where the curator deviates from strict chronology, creating separate playlists for live recordings and studio recordings to enhance the listening experience. The primary focus throughout is on listenability, ensuring that the playlists flow seamlessly and resonate with the audience.

To provide a comprehensive exploration of Elvis's diverse body of work, his career is divided into several categories: 'Before the Army', 'After the Army', 'Gospel / Christmas', 'Hollywood Soundtracks', 'Later Studio', 'Live' and 'Alternate Tracks'. The curator carefully avoids mixing live performances and alternate tracks with the studio material, maintaining a distinct separation. Gospel recordings are thoughtfully grouped with Christmas albums to preserve the intended spirit of each genre.

Within each playlist, the reader will find a captivating journey through Elvis's discography, highlighting the growth, versatility, and lasting impact of his music. From his groundbreaking rock 'n' roll hits to soulful ballads, each album represents a unique blend of styles that solidifies Elvis Presley's status as a true legend.

Furthermore, this book encourages personalization and discovery, recognizing that every listener has unique preferences. As the curator of your own playlists, you have the freedom to make different decisions and explore additional tracks that resonate with you. The book emphasizes the advantages of using platforms like Apple Music, which allows for customization and fosters a community of music lovers who can share their playlists and discoveries.

In addition to the playlists, the book provides QR codes that directly link to each playlist on the Apple Music system, offering a convenient and immersive experience for readers to delve into the curated selection. It also highlights the potential of the Apple Music community feature, where users can find and follow other music enthusiasts, gaining insight into their playlists and musical preferences.

This is not just a book but a gateway to a world of musical exploration. It celebrates the enduring popularity and influence of Elvis Presley, inviting readers to discover and rediscover his iconic recordings, rare gems, and powerful live performances. Whether you are a dedicated fan or a newcomer to his music, this book promises to provide an enriching and immersive experience that pays homage to the King of Rock 'n' Roll and his lasting impact on the world of music.
(Source: Dick Dekker / Amazon)

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Review Elvis Almanaque 2022

My blog and books were inspired by 'Elvis Day by Day: The Definitive Record of His Life and Music' by Ernst Jorgensen and Peter Guralnick and the 'Elvis Specials' by Albert Hand and Todd Slaughter. 
Brazilian author Waldenir Cecon in turn, found inspiration in my yearbooks. In March 2023 he published his book ‘Elvis Almanaque 2022’, the first of what should become an annual yearbook series from Brazil. 
Reason enough for me to have a look at this 2022 yearbook. 
The 268-page paperback, written in Portuguese, comes in two editions. A black and white edition for the Brazilian / South American market and a full color edition for Europe (and the rest of the world). Simple market economics are the reason behind the two editions. 
The design of the EU edition is modern with a fresh cover and an easy to read two-column page lay-out. The illustrations fit in nicely with the texts. The use of a shadow effect makes the images seem to float above the text on a “smudged surface”. 
The book-size is 16 x 23 cm, so easy to hold in your hand. I like the addition of QR-codes, making the book interactive by linking the content of the book to various (fan club) sites, social media pages and even on-line streaming option for CDs covered in the book. The articles itself are written or translated by various contributors. Translating the articles, they provided some entertaining reading. 
Waldenir Cecon describes his book as “Organized by Waldenir Cecon, the book … was based on the publication by Kees Mouwen, ‘Elvis Day by Day’. A large part of his research is done on major websites from Europe and Australia” which he considers the most reliable ones.

However, despite being inspired by ‘Elvis Day by Day’, the content of the Almanaque is more diverse and not only a retrospective of the previous year. It includes special articles, such as a tribute to Lisa Marie, an article telling the stories of Elvis fan clubs in Brazil, and also 45 important facts about Elvis' life.”
The book can be divided in two section; the first 200 pages contain various articles while the last 70 pages contain an overview of some of the 2022 book, CD and movie releases, auction results and an In Memoriam of the people we lost in 2022.
Looking at the table of contents I'm a little confused, a 2022 yearbook that opens with one of the main "news events" of 2023, the untimely death of Lisa Marie Presley .... 

This is followed by articles about Yvonne Lime's memories of her weekend with Elvis (from April 1957), a review of the 2004 Follow That Dream CD release 'Closing Night', written by Piers Beagley, with Anne Nixon, who did not know that his work was published in this book. 

Added to that are 45 facts on Elvis - as it was 45 years since his passing in 2022 - on his life, career, family, jumpsuits, concerts, and more. This section reads like an Rough Guide on Elvis’ or ‘Elvis for Beginners’ and covers one-third of the book. 

Completing the table of contents are stories on the history of various Brazilian fan clubs and an article from August 17, 1977, the day after Elvis passed away. 
In between all this general Elvis content, there is one article on 2022, an article on Baz Luhrmann’s ‘ELVIS’ movie. Also on 2022 are the last 30 pages covering the before-mentioned selection of book, CD and DVD releases and auction results. 
Having these listed in separate sections works well for a yearbook. Closing the book is an 2022 In Memoriam. 

To be honest, I’m a little disappointed, I had expected a 2022 yearbook, as it was inspired by the reference books I make. And it would have been interesting if Waldenir Cecon could have added another perspective and language to this for fans to enjoy. 

Reading this book reminds me more of the ‘Elvis Specials’ that Albert Hand ,and later Todd Slaughter, released in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. So wrapping things up, this book provides an interesting Elvis-read with something for everyone, and something special for Brazilian fans, but it is not an 2022 yearbook, it's an Elvis Special.

More information available at the >>> Elvis Presley Brasil fan club.

June 24 - Charts June 2023 - Week 4 (Updated)

The weekly global Elvis Presley chart update. In both the United States and the United Kingdom there is little movement on the chart, with the exception of the 'ELVIS' movie, making a 20-spot jump on the Official Film chart.

Additional charts will be updated over the weekend when the listings become available.

U.S. Billboard charts:

  • Billboard Top 200 Album chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' climbed from #168 to #161.
  • Billboard Top Country Album chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' climbed from #28 to #24.  
  • Billboard Top Rock and Alternative Albums chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' climbed from #40 to #38.  

Official U.K. charts:

  • Official Album chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' dropped from #52 to #56. 
  • Official Streaming Album chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' climbed from #38 to #36. 
  • Official Soundtrack Album chart: 'ELVIS' Soundtrack dropped from #44 to #45. 
  • Official Country Compilations chart: 'From Elvis in Nashville' dropped from #8 to #13.  
  • Official Film chart: 'ELVIS' climbed from #30 to #11.  
  • Official Video Chart Top 100: 'ELVIS' remained steady at #12.. 
  • Official DVD chart: 'ELVIS' dropped from #8 to #13.
  • Official Blu-ray chart: 'ELVIS' dropped from #24 to #37. 
  • Official Films On Disc chart: 'ELVIS' climbed from #12 to #11.  
  • Official Music DVD chart:' the Elvis Collection' makes a re-entry at #29.
Irish IRMA charts:

  • Official Irish Album chart: 'ELV1S 30#1 Hits' dropped from #66 to #82. 
  • Official Irish Video chart: 'ELVIS' dropped from #11 to #22. 
(Source: Official Chart Company / UK Mix Forum / Billboard / IRMA)

June 24 - That's The Way It Is In Motion

Millbranch Music import label has released the DVD 'That's The Way It Is - In Motion', previously released as part of their CD/DVD set 'Rags To Riches'. This is a very limited re-run of only 250 copies.

Publicity stated: The DVD has a running time of more than two hours and while this is definitely not a re-edit of the original 'That's The Way It Is' movie, it is a musical documentary of its own, and represents the album and the songs that appeared on it. And much more! 

Using footage that has no watermarks or similar impairments, we are able to present it in a nice and watchable quality. All of the songs on the DVD are newly edited with several different camera angles. You ́ll see and hear Elvis having fun rehearsing 'You Don ́t Have To Say You Love Me' on July 15, 1970 and also doing the tune live at the Opening Night performance on August 10, which has Elvis calling out Sammy Davis Jr. We have also included an interview segment of Sammy Davis Jr. talking about what he saw on stage that night and it accompanies the clip. 

A newly edited version of 'I Just Can't Help Believin ́' which goes from rehearsal to live is presented in split screens, using several different angles. Also on this DVD are newly edited performances of ''Make The World Go Away', 'Polk Salad Annie',  'I've Lost You' and 'The Walk Through The Audience' (which has never been edited properly before). 

Added to that are several split-screen performances like 'Heartbreak Hotel' from the August 12th 1970 Dinner Show and 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. The 'Little Sister / Get Back' sit down medley has been edited properly for the first time and is for sure one of the many highlights on our DVD.

'Blue Suede Shoes' has been re-edited, despite its appearance in the original movie. This DVD brings you a great experience in going back to Las Vegas in the summer of 1970! 

(Source: The Elvis Shop London)

Friday, June 23, 2023

June 23 - Virtual Elvis Week

Graceland announced the return of the Virtual Elvis Week 2023 for August 9-16. This will allow fans who are unable to attent Elvis Week 2023 in person to participate in the events online. 

Graceland posted: Make your plans to join us in Memphis for an unforgettable week filled with live music, panels, contests, screenings and more!

Elvis Week 2023 highlights include the August 16 Aloha from Hawaii 50th Anniversary Concert featuring Elvis on the big screen backed by a live band; ’68 Special Enhanced Screening with Elvis bigger than life in black leather; the annual Ultimate Elvis Tribute,  Conversations on Elvis, with those who knew Elvis best sharing memories and stories; A Celebration of Lisa Marie Presley with Jerry Schilling; and the cornerstone event of the week, the annual Candlelight Vigil on August 15 where fans gather in quiet remembrance of the King.

All shows included in each pass can be watched live, plus every event is rewatchable for 10 days - unlike last year - so fans can relive their favorite moments again and again.

There are three Virtual Elvis Week Pass options: 
  1. The Elvis Super Fan Pass, The Elvis Tribute Artist Pass, and The Elvis Fan Pass. The Elvis Super Fan Pass is the premium offering (US$225) for the Elvis fan who doesn’t want to miss a thing. This pass features virtual access to all 9 Sound-stage events on Aug 9-16. Everything from ETA shows, concerts, conversations on Elvis and more! PLUS the special bonus of a pre-recorded virtual tour of Graceland the Entertainment Complex hosted by Angie Marchese, Graceland’s VP of Archives.
  2. The Elvis Tribute Artist Pass (US$130) features access to the main Elvis tribute artist shows. 
  3. The Elvis Fan Pass (US$130) features access to five key events, Elvis Music Salute, ’68 Special Enhanced Screening, Conversations on Elvis, A Celebration of Lisa Marie and Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii 50th Anniv Concert.
For more information visit >>> Virtual Elvis Week.