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Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley
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Published:
Little, Brown and Company 2012
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Description
Written with grace, humor, and affection, Last Train to Memphis has been hailed as the definitive biography of Elvis Presley. It is the first to set aside the myths and focus on Elvis' humanity in a way that has yet to be duplicated.
A New York Times Notable BookWinner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award
"Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others." —Bob Dylan
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 and 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 an emotional, complex portrait of young Elvis Presley with a depth and dimension that for the first time allow his extraordinary accomplishments to ring true.
Peter Guralnick has given us a previously unseen world, a rich panoply of people and events that illuminate an achievement, a place, and a time as never revealed before.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
12/20/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316255806, 9780316206778
ASIN:
B005AL61B6
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Peter Guralnick. (2012). Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Peter Guralnick. 2012. Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Peter Guralnick, Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley. Little, Brown and Company, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Peter Guralnick. Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley. Little, Brown and Company, 2012.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Peter Guralnick has been called "a national resource" by Nat Hentoff for work that has argued passionately and persuasively for the vitality of this country's intertwined black and white musical traditions. His books include the prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love. Of the first Bob Dylan wrote, "Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others." Of the biography as a whole, the New York Times Book Review declared in a lead review, "It must be ranked among the most ambitious and crucial biographical undertakings yet devoted to a major American figure of the second half of the twentieth century." 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; and the novel, Nighthawk Blues. His latest book, Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, has been hailed by the San Fransisco Chronicle as "monumental, panoramic...an epic tale told against a backdrop of brilliant, shimmering music, intense personal melodrama, and vast social changes." He is currently at work on a biography of Sam Phillips.

      • name: Peter Guralnick
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Last Train to Memphis
fullDescription
Written with grace, humor, and affection, Last Train to Memphis has been hailed as the definitive biography of Elvis Presley. It is the first to set aside the myths and focus on Elvis' humanity in a way that has yet to be duplicated.
A New York Times Notable BookWinner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award
"Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others." —Bob Dylan
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 and 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 an emotional, complex portrait of young Elvis Presley with a depth and dimension that for the first time allow his extraordinary accomplishments to ring true.
Peter Guralnick has given us a previously unseen world, a rich panoply of people and events that illuminate an achievement, a place, and a time as never revealed before.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Stephen Wright, New York Times Book Review
      • content: "A triumph of biographical art...profound and moving...Even the minor revelations are positively spellbinding...Mr. Guralnick's narrative is rendered with an intimate, restrained intensity eerily reminiscent of the plaintive tone of Presley's ballads, that tremulous yearning of America itself."—Stephen Wright, New York Times Book Review
      • premium: False
      • source: Jay Cocks, Time
      • content: "Altogether splendid....It is the particular and spectacular achievement of Last Train to Memphis that holds both the making of the history and the beginning of the myth in firm, simple, and compassionate focus....Guralnick paints this world with perspective, respect, and great decency: it is one of the book's triumphs."—Jay Cocks, Time
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from October 3, 1994
        Given the passion evident in most books about Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the scrupulously dispassionate tone of this new biography, the first of a projected two volumes, is admirable and startling. Guralnick (Lost Highway) lets the facts speak for themselves, more or less, by providing solid background and quoting at length from people who knew Elvis as well as the contemporary press. In retelling the familiar story of a poor Southern boy's meteoric rise to unprecedented fame, Guralnick eschews the conventional wisdom-Elvis was an instinctive artist whose career was trashed by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and by movie and record company executives-to present a more complex picture. He shows those associated with Elvis struggling to get a handle on a new music form, rock 'n' roll, that they barely understood. At times, one wishes the author were more open about his own opinions. But this welcome relief from the hysterical tone of most Elvis books closes somberly with the performer's induction into the Army and the death of his beloved mother in 1958. Photos. Author tour.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        May 15, 1994
        Another work on Presley? Since Guralnick is "one of the best, most respected popular music historians" in the business (Sweet Soul Blues Music, LJ 6/1/ 86), this could be good.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        July 1, 1994
        Forty years ago this month, during a break in an unsuccessful recording session at Sam Phillips' studio in Memphis, a shy, well-mannered though strangely dressed young singer started fooling around with the old blues song That's All Right. The session guitarist and bass player joined in, and in the control booth, Phillips realized this was the synthesis of hillbilly music and rhythm and blues he'd been looking for. Pretty soon, Elvis Presley was making hit records, his public appearances were mob scenes, and Hollywood was calling. Retelling the oft-told early Elvis story soberly, thoroughly, and unsensationally, Guralnick depicts Elvis as a naive yet extremely talented boy whose dream of stardom came true, leaving him a virtual prisoner of his own success. Realized through scores of interviews and hours of in-depth research, Guralnick's Elvis is ignorant of worldly matters, seemingly without artifice, but a quick study; he aims to please, wants to be a good role model, and is genuinely distressed when some find his gyrations vulgar, even pornographic. He loves his mother excessively and will not sleep with hometown girlfriends. The first half of Guralnick's projected two-volume biography is eminently engrossing. Taking pains to keep the story fresh and flowing and refraining from foreshadowing and editorializing, Guralnick lets the facts speak for themselves. If you really want only one Elvis biography, let this sensitive book be it. ((Reviewed July 1994))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1994, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 4, 1995
        Vol. one of Guralnick's exhaustive, two-volume biography details the King's first 24 years, leaving off when his rise is interrupted by his being drafted into the army.

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shortDescription
Written with grace, humor, and affection, Last Train to Memphis has been hailed as the definitive biography of Elvis Presley. It is the first to set aside the myths and focus on Elvis' humanity in a way that has yet to be duplicated.
A New York Times Notable BookWinner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award
"Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others." —Bob Dylan
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...
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      • description: Music / Genres & Styles / Rock