Last Train to Memphis : The Rise of Elvis Presley
From the moment that he first shook up the world in the mid 1950s, Elvis Presley has been one of the most vivid and enduring myths of American culture. Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley is the first biography to go past that myth and present an Elvis beyond the legend. Based on hundreds of interviews and nearly a decade of research, it traces the evolution not just of the man but of the music and of the culture he left utterly transformed, creating a completely fresh portrait of Elvis and his world. This volume tracks the first twenty-four years of Elvis' life, covering his childhood, the stunning first recordings at Sun Records ("That's All Right, " "Mystery Train"), and the early RCA hits ("Heartbreak Hotel, " "Hound Dog, " "Don't Be Cruel"). These were the years of his improbable self-invention and unprecedented triumphs, when it seemed that everything that Elvis tried succeeded wildly. There was scarcely a cloud in sight through this period until, in 1958, he was drafted into the army an his mother died shortly thereafter. The book closes on that somber and poignant note. Last Train to Memphis takes us deep inside Elvis' life, exploring his lifelong passion for music of every sort (from blues and gospel to Bing Crosby and Mario Lanza), his compelling affection for his family, and his intimate relationships with girlfriends, mentors, band members, professional associates, and friends. It shows us the loneliness, the trustfulness, the voracious appetite for experience, and above all the unshakable, almost mystical faith that Elvis had in himself and his music. Drawing frequently on Elvis' own words and on the recollections of those closest to him, the book offers anemotional, complex portrait of young Elvis Presley with a depth and dimension that for the first time allow his extraordinary accomplishments to ring true.
- Paperback | 576 pages
- 150 x 231 x 41mm | 703g
- 01 Sep 1995
- Little, Brown & Company
- New York, United States
"Altogether splendid...It is the particular and spectacular achievement of Last Train to Memphis that it holds both the making of the history and the beginning of the myth in firm, simple, and compassionate focus."--Jay Cocks, Time "Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others."--Bob Dylan "A triumph of biographical art...Profound and moving."--Stephen Wright, New York Times Book Review
About Peter Guralnick
Peter Guralnick's books include the prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love. He is a recent inductee in the Blues Hall of Fame. Other books include an acclaimed trilogy on American roots music, Sweet Soul Music, Lost Highway, and Feel Like Going Home; the biographical inquiry Searching for Robert Johnson; the novel, Nighthawk Blues; and Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. His most recent book is Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll.