The six Elvis Files volume 1-6 are a very ambitious project by Erik Lorentzen that will carefully document almost every single day of Elvis' life from 1954 to 1977, covering everything from what he wore on stage, to who he met, rare interviews, candid photos and newly discovered images.
Erik Lorentzen is also the author of the critical acclaimed book 'Elvis - The King Of Las Vegas' and there is no doubt that this stunning six-volume series is truly unlike any Elvis book series that you have seen before. The first volume, covering the five years 1960 – 1964, is 470 pages, hard-backed and printed on high quality paper.
A large "coffee-table" book of 30 cm x 26cm with colour photos throughout, it is almost 1½ times bigger than Ernst Jorgensen/Peter Guralnick’s ‘Day by Day’ book yet covers only five years in Elvis’ life!
In publishing the book Lorentzen has also used a large number of well-known contributors including Rex Martin, Trevor Cajiao (Elvis the Man & His Music), Chris Giles, Patrick Janssen (Elvis Presley Images), Pal Granlund (‘Flaming Star’ fan club & many books) and Joe Pirzada just to name a few. It is an impressive list of acknowledgments.
The first book published in the six part series is surprisingly Volume 3 – I guess due to the fact that this is a lesser-explored area of Elvis’ work in photo books! (Next issue I am told will be Volume 2)
The publicity states the contents as the following.
The Elvis Files Vol. 3 (1960 – 1964) contains over 1200 stunning photos in its 470 pages and all in quality printing.
- All ELVIS EVENTS in this Time Frame Period "1960 to 1964" are shown with full Information.
- Every Working Moment...
- Every Getting to that Busy Elvis Schedule
- Lots of Returning from Each ELVIS PROJECT
- Elvis AT PLAY Images. (over 200 Newly Discovered - seen for the first time)
- Plenty of Off Set CANDID Moments.
- Most of the Recording Sessions have pages of Features (Film & Studio)
- ELVIS BEING HONOURED With Many Awards during this period
- All the "Many Interviews" are shown.
- Wonderful Photos of ELVIS' CHARITY WORK in the 1960s
- The Hawaii and Memphis 1961 Shows.. are showcased with Many Rare Pictures
- The Movies from GI BLUES up to 1964, are covered in Great Detail...
This is a labour of love for Norwegian Erik Lorentzen, author and long time Elvis fan, who has found a ton of images and information never before published.
Opening the book for the first time it is a real stunner. It is a beautiful, very heavy publication, printed on thick quality paper.
My firstly impression was that while there are a lot of photos I have previously seen almost all of them are printed in better quality and larger size than I have seen before. Some of them I didn’t even realise existed in this quality!
Then there are the unreleased or rare photos, many of them totally breathtaking - and SO many in colour!
The text mostly follows a similar format as ‘Day By Day’ following Elvis’ life but this time matched with loads of photos, as well as including plenty of interviews, a fabulous look at his early live sixties performances plus media & newspaper articles.
Every movie gets a very large section with a plethora of photos. G.I Blues for instance gets 40 full pages and around 95 photographs!
The basic text for all the movies comes from the detailed summary, cast profiles and trivia written by EPE (remember those ‘facts of the week’?) but also includes reviews and appropriate newspaper articles.
Surprisingly the book also includes the soundtrack lyrics, which seem unnecessary to me. However when I questioned the author he pointed out that there are so many great movie photos and candid images that it was important to have some matching text to go with them.
There are loads of rare (plus well-known) full-length interviews with Elvis. I don't remember reading the fascinating Kid Galahad Elvis interview by Elvis Monthly editor Albert Hand before. Similarly there are articles on British DJ Jimmy Saville meeting Elvis, phone calls with Tom Moffatt and articles from the Memphis and Hawaii newspapers. Over its 470 pages it is a lengthy and absorbing read.
To get a feel for the layout and style of the book see the scans below – as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Images from Elvis March 1960 trip for the Frank Sinatra special...
Sensational new photographs from the Viva Las Vegas film shoot ...
Or from the March 1962 recording session...
It is inevitable that with a book this size there has to be some minor quibbles. I realise that the book has been produced in Norway so there are some inevitable spelling mistakes and text issues on a few pages.
It’s not a major complaint but I also found it odd that at times the text occasionally varies in font size so as to fill space on a page and it doesn’t look right. Being the first of the series I hope that this will be rectified in future volumes.
With so many photos, some of your favourites will have to have been printed a little too small and on a few photos the picture quality could actually be better, as there is some peak-white-clipping on several images.
While the book does follow Elvis’ life day by day I noticed that at times there are some big jumps in the time-line especially between the movies. For instance there is a jump from the end of Kissin’ Cousins being filmed November 8th 1963 through to Elvis’ next recording session on Jan 12th 1964. So this is not a duplicate of the information in Day-By Day in the fact that some of the in-between telling stories are missing.
The most annoying factor for me was that most of photos do not indicate who is actually in them. Of course with the majority of the photos it is obvious, however with the rare ones I really wanted to know.
The book also has no index, which may also frustrate some readers.
However even with these minor quibbles there are SO many Elvis books out there costing around half the price of this book that only include a few unseen photos, no text and black & white images and take 20 minutes to read - and in comparison this is a total bargain.
See more page scans below...
Recent Elvis books of a similar quality are Ken Sharp’s ELVIS Vegas 69 and Steve Binder JAT’s ‘68 @ 40’. Both contain fascinating text and quality photos and are books that you can take time to read & enjoy. This book is way bigger than both of those are so understandably more costly.
I hope that enough people can afford this book as I feel the price of US$100 (plus postage) is justified and I hope the series continues with even better books with every volume. I am sure that text issues and better proof-reading will ensure that the next
volume will be even better. In fact EIN has offered to help with further
volumes. Such a mammoth undertaking about Elvis deserves all the help it can get
since these photo-books are a fabulous concept that have never been produced so
I believe they are being released with a four months between each issue giving readers enough time to save their pennies & cents.
Overall Verdict: I’m not sure how many fans can afford all six volumes in the series at US$100 per book. However this volume is a fantastic start and highly recommended - if you have the money to spare. And while more than the price of your normal Elvis book it is still great value compared to other far-slimmer books with poor printing and basic B&W photos. The photos, rare interviews and quality of printing here are sure to impress every Elvis fan.
I wish it every success, as I would like to see the series continue with as much detail and love in every single volume.
It seems that the CHEAPEST price for most fans to buy the book is on-line direct through the author’s website. The sheer weight of the book means that it is costly to post.
For more details and purchase information click here to this website> www.elvisfiles.no
Review by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN June 2010
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
Click here to comment on this article