The seven Elvis Files volumes are a very ambitious project by Erik Lorentzen that will carefully document almost every single day of Elvis' life from 1953 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 seven-volume series is truly unlike any Elvis book series that you have seen before. The sixth volume covers the three years 1971–1973, is 500 pages, hard-backed and printed on high quality paper. Click HERE to buy it directly from the author.
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 TWO years in Elvis’ life!
Now Updated - See end of this review for a size comparison, demonstrating the beautiful "coffee-table" size of this huge book. It weighs in at 3Kg! - Plus new correct pricing & new images.
By now most Elvis fans are aware that Erik Lorentzen ‘The Elvis Files’ are a stunning visual journey of Elvis’ life day by day. Featuring relevant newspaper reviews and articles about Elvis from the time, the books nicely match Ernst Jorgensen and Guranick’s book as an invaluable and detailed biographical insight into Elvis’ life.
Following on from Elvis’ sublime and energised return-to-splendour years of 1969 and 1970 this volume takes us through to Elvis’ career mega highpoint of Aloha From Hawaii and onto the beginning of the sad decline.
In these three years Elvis performed close to 470 concerts including eight energy-and-inspiration-draining seasons at the Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe casinos.
In fact one of the interesting features of this book is that, although we know Elvis’ unhealthy ways really kicked in after Aloha, there is still so much praise for him throughout 1973 and they are relatively few photographs where you can begin to see that sadness and emptiness in his eyes.
As a fan it makes me so angry that the tabloids still consider Elvis in jumpsuits as his "fat period" when he still looked so stunning even at the end of 1973.
The list of acknowledgments for photograph contributors gives you an idea of just how good the collection is going to be. A few of the well-known names are Keith Alverson, Ed Bonja, Judy Palmer, Sean Shaver, George Hill, Bob Heis, Patrick Janssen, Chris Giles, Pal Granlund, Paul Sweeney and Rex Martin. (See full list of acknowledgments below).
And what an astounding selection of sartorial elegance and jumpsuits Elvis wore throughout this period.
The ‘Pinwheel’, ‘Adonis’, ‘Snowflake’, ‘Fireworks’, ‘Red Burning Love’, ‘Blue Nail’, ‘Blue Wheat’, ‘Eyelet’, ‘Saturn’, ‘Black Conquistador’, ‘Aztec Star’, ‘Pharaoh’, ‘Arabian’ and ‘Thunderbird’ jumpsuits – to name only a few! - are all here both as catching close-up professional shots as well as in rare candids. Plus some stunning cape shots, several new to me.
And how nice to see Elvis also out of his jumpsuits and performing casually in those delightful two –piece suits with designer shirts. He really should have tried the stunning-but-casual look for more casino seasons.
The book starts with two nice introductions. One that says it all, "The Beginning Of The End" by Paul Richardson and another by author Erik Lorentzen who from 1972 not only met Elvis but also attended 50 concerts.
Paul Richardson’s introduction includes some emotional pointers…
… This volume of The Elvis Files begins at a high-point in Elvis Presley's life. On 9th January 1971, just over a fortnight after his audience with President Nixon and the day after he turned thirty-six, The King was nominated by America's Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of the nation's Ten Outstanding Men of the Year. The award ceremony was held exactly one week later in Memphis at the Ellis Auditorium and witnessed Elvis give a powerful and heartfelt speech in which he stated that "every dream that I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times." The King was clearly moved at having his achievements acknowledged in such a way and the trophy that he received from the Jaycees instantly became, by all accounts, one of his most prized possessions.
However, the celebratory note on which the year had started could not be sustained as, within ten days of the ceremony, Elvis had to get back to the grindstone of playing another month-long stint his fourth in less than eighteen months - at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.
... By the summer of 1973 Elvis' main problem was his deepening reliance on prescribed drugs to kill his boredom with life and to numb his pain over losing Priscilla.
...On the now rare occasion when he was in the mood, as he showed during the Stax sessions, Elvis could still deliver the goods. However, looking back to this point in his life, the tragic end to the story – to be charted in the seventh and final volume of The Elvis Files – carried with it a sad air of inevitability."
However with 1972’s focus on Madison Square Garden and the ‘On Tour’ film, Elvis’ career was still going strong with smash records plus sold-out performances in front of loving fans and there is real enjoyment in looking more closely at the rather overlooked year of 1971.
Elvis’ award for the Jaycees’ ‘Ten Outstanding Young Men’ is a marvellous start to 1971 and these three important years.
Once again the book design and layout continues with its stylish look and high-quality printing with each tour identified with a cool full-page photograph – as shown below. Designer Neil Chris Middleton of Nightrider Designs has worked on all of the Elvis Files books and deserves a huge amount of credit for his fabulous work.
Yet again Lorentzen has gone for the more unusual and candid photographs over the more familiar ones we seen many times before. As always the real pleasure here is discovering new photographs you haven’t seen and articles that you have never read before - and there is an abundance here.
There are for instance some wonderful articles from Strictly Elvis, tons of concert reviews, Elvis’ phone call with Denver Police Officer Ron Pietrafesco is featured and I really enjoyed "In The Studio" article from DISC magazine.
The "In The Studio" story includes..
... After 'Winter Wonderland' once they had a decent take, Presley turned to the bass player and said "Okay, let's go one time now" and he broke into "I Got a Woman." Everyone picked it up immediately and jammed, and Elvis dropped right back into his 1958 rock 'n' roll voice, it was fantastic. Everyone really enjoyed that, and then they got back to the business of Christmas songs and did another couple.
Then lead guitarist James Burton played a little sort of figure, and Elvis turned round and said "Hey, what's that?" James said "Don't Think Twice It's Alright." Elvis wasn't too sure he knew the number but they decided to try it and starting getting into a rhythm. Elvis wasn't sure of the words. He knew one verse and a couple of lines here and there, but it didn't matter because he made it up as he went along. They took the song at a rhythm and pace that I didn't believe it could be taken at and still be intelligible but there it was, incredibly exciting. While all this was going on the engineers had been snipping out the master tape of the previous Christmas song, and Felton said "For God's sake get the master tape cut out and switch on the machine, we've just got to get this". After they'd been playing for two minutes the machine switched on, and they continued for another 10 minutes. It was the same verse every time followed by an instrumental break. Finally they stopped because they were exhausted, and when they played it back everyone was so excited that it was decided to play the track on the next album."
The book is a packed 500 pages of which the year 1971 is covered in 114, 1972 gets 202 pages and 1973 is covered with 170 pages.
Elvis’ crucial 'Aloha From Hawaii' concert was of course a key part of Erik Lorentzen’s earlier ‘Elvis In Hawaii’ book (as well as the recent MRS deluxe Aloha 40th Anniversary release) so is covered here within a neat 30 pages. And yes, there are some Aloha photos included here that are not in the Deluxe MRS Aloha book. Unfortunately an identical photo of Elvis’ arrival is repeated on page 324 and 327.
Elvis at the Madison Square Garden concerts get a smaller overview than you might expect at only 8 pages although the Press Conference is also featured in full. The full-page action shots are however mouth-watering!
There are surprisingly few photographs of the actual concerts and for some reason no photographs at all from the very first June 9th concert. Perhaps Lorentzen didn’t want to repeat the overly well-known photographs but it also could also be a copyright issue.
Some fans would not be aware that Lorentzen has tried hard (unlike some other unscrupulous photo books) not to violate photographer’s copyrights. Therefore he has to pay for the use of well-known images and in a book such as this, with over 1,500 photographs, this would be a hard monetary issue to justify and resolve especially for well-known fans would already own.
Elvis was a busy man touring throughout these three years and the book still tries to represent every concert where possible with reviews and photos. I really enjoy choosing a favourite show such as Hampton Roads or San Antonio 1972 and checking out the photographs and the reviews all in context.
Some of the more familiar classic shots are shown smaller size while some less well-known candids have been enlarged or as a full page. Unfortunately at times this results in soft focus and even a few pixelated images, however the overall impact of the book and the look of Elvis in this early 1970s period is in no way diminished. Some classic shots of Elvis are enlarged to incredible full-page, stunning photos such as the ones shown below.
Once again there are a great selection of articles by people such as Alan Hanson, Geoffrey McDonnell and Sean Shaver. Sadly Elvis wasn’t doing many interviews in this period and mostly touring so on the whole the newspaper articles have to be focused on concerts and reviews.
Just a few of the interesting articles featured are…
- Opening Night Jan 26 1971 – Linda Holm
- In The Studio With Elvis – May 1971 – Chris Arnold .
- Elvis Live At Lake Tahoe – August 1971 Bob & Arlene Porter
- Are You Lonesome Tonight In Louisville – Nov 1971 – Rocky Barra
- The April Tour Of 1972 – Sean Shaver
- Elvis And Denise Sanchez - Jim Curtin
- Hilton Hotel M.S.G. Press Conference June 1972
- When I Met Elvis Presley – August 1972 – Livio Monari
- Kui Lee’s Widow So Happy About Show – Nov 1972
- Gold Crown Awarded To "King" Elvis – Honolulu Advertiser Jan 14 1973
- Killer Concert – Feb 18 1973 – Sean Shaver
- Another Amazing Show From The Greatest Entertainer Of Them All – Nassau Coliseum Jun 23 1973
- My First Meeting With Elvis – Erik Lorentzen June 1973
- If Elvis Is Bored He Hides It Well – Bill Hance July 1973
- He Looks Even Younger Than The Last Time I Saw Him – Jean Marc Gargiulo
- Meeting Elvis – Christine Colclough, August 1973
- Vegas Story - August 1973 - Ann Shiels Downey
- "Adios Las Vegas And Bye-Bye Colonel Too" – September 1973
For candid photo fans there are plenty of pages full of fan photos showing Elvis outside his house, at the airport, riding his motorbike, backstage at the hotels and in Las Vegas etc.
I also found the Brentwood Laboratories photographs where Elvis had to get blood tests against the paternity suit quite fascinating.
We all know that Elvis started a downhill slide after Aloha and so it is refreshing to see so many good reviews and great looking photographs from later in 1973.
Another delight is to see articles by Elvis Files author/producer Eric Lorentzen about his interaction with Elvis. Who could guess that forty years later fans would be still so interested in Elvis that he could produce such a detailed and fascinating series of books!
Another bonus is several articles by keen fans who met Elvis at that time and provide some lovely personal recollections.
Christine Colclough’s (below left in photo) story includes...
… Elvis walked quickly straight to us and spoke very quietly, just "Hi" and shook hands with each of us. Barbara told him how much we had enjoyed and appreciated the shows and he said "Thank you".
We gave him the presents we had brought for him. When I gave him the "73 Special" book, he said "I haven't seen this before" and held it on the flat of his hand and looked down solemnly turning over the pages.
He doesn't sound very talkative I know, but I remember quite a lot of conversation going on with the three of us giving him presents and Ed Bonja calling out "Look this way!" Colonel intervened at this point and said "Elvis wants each of you to have one of these" and Elvis turned and took three white scarves from him which he put around our necks. He did this very slowly and carefully, almost self-consciously looking into our faces, and maybe feeling a bit silly. When he got to Linda the scarf was sliding out of its folds in his hand, and he stood on one leg and held the scarf against his leg to steady it and restore it to order. He said "I'm making a mess of this" so I said "I'm sure she doesn't mind what it looks like." He put the scarf around her neck and said "I'll frisk you later" with another smile and twinkle."
One of the final articles that I thought very insightful for 1973 was from Nashville in July "If Elvis Is Bored He Hides It Well" – where author Bill Hance sure hits the nail on the head. Knowing that the mainstream press was reporting on these rumours at the time once again demonstrates the sadness and lack of empathy in Col Parker’s continued "flogging-a-dead-horse" management style.
Bill Hance noted..
… There's talk in the tight-lipped Elvis Presley compound that the famed 38-year-old entertainer is becoming "bored" with his personal appearance tour. If he is, he hides his feelings well because both of his Nashville concerts on Sunday were loaded with excitement from start to finish. Presley hip-swivelled and karate-chopped his way through a long strings of songs, from oldies like "Hound Dog" to the more recent "American Trilogy" and "Steamroller Blues."
Whether Presley is becoming disenchanted with his highly pressurised tour, still remains in question, although rumors are circling. But it looks as though he will remain in the public eye at least until his shows fail to be sell-outs. When his road ordeal is over, Presley will go to Los Angeles for about a month before moving on to a four-week engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton on Aug. 6. But the L.A. lay-over may not be enough care-free relaxation time he claims he's hankering for. Time will tell."
With so many articles and photographs to enjoy once again this is big book that you can get totally engrossed in - but unfortunately the quality of the proofreading and photo dating seems to have slipped a bit with this volume. While there was almost nothing I could fault in Volume 5 (1969-1970) here there are a few obvious errors. Perhaps Lorentzen had to rush to fulfil his promised August 16 publishing deadline and if this is the case it is a shame since a few weeks delay and some eager eyes could have fixed the errors.
Notable issues for me are Geoffrey McDonnell’s ‘Love In Las Vegas’ 1972 article which for some reason appears twice in the book, on page 124 and 250. Mike Eder’s look at the music and impact of ‘Aloha From Hawaii’ also stops before it starts. The book’s time-line also slips with June 19, 1972 (featured twice) but initially coming before June 17 and June 18.
There are also several photo repeats, a couple which I understand may be intentional. However the large photo of Elvis on page 80 from November 1971 is also repeated on page 172 supposedly from April 1972.
Similarly the great shot of Elvis by his car is shown twice on page 237 (June 19, 1972) and again correctly as June 21 in Tulsa eight pages later. Similarly page 469 and the following page 471 features the same half-page photo.
I love this 1971 shot of Elvis and Col Parker - he should have strangled him with his belt there and then!
And that is not Linda Thompson’s sister shown on page 353 but Elvis’ friend Patti Parry (check EIN’s Patti Parry Interview here) - and one of my all-time favourite Ed Bonja photos of Elvis squatting down in his green-patterned shirt, June 19 1972 (page 243) is printed in reverse - but maybe now I am just getting too picky.
Above - check out a regular CD shown against the book to give a size comparison of the stunning presentation and photos here of Priscilla and Elvis celebrating Lisa Marie's birthday in 1973.
On a positive note it is nice to see that the few photos that did feature previously in the ‘Fashion For A King’ book are printed in better quality here and not so black-crushed. And let’s be honest, the text in ‘Fashion For A King’ was truly un-readable and with so many errors that in comparison The Elvis Files Vol.6 is a delight to read.
Fabulous candid photos of Elvis' On Tour rehearsals April 5, 1972, Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
While I am no jumpsuit junkie I did notice a few photos that seem incorrectly dated. The real oddity for me is that fans now believe that Elvis’ cool Cisco jumpsuits were first used in his Las Vegas August 1971 season, despite earlier incorrect presumptions. This was confirmed in the ‘Fashion For a King’ book from Lorentzen’s friend Pal Granlund back in 2011. However the Cisco suits – actually only 4 large photos - are still shown here as being worn in the earlier January Vegas season. The Cisco suits do however also feature correctly as part of the later August 1971 Las Vegas season.
Having raised those negatives it is obvious that with a book of nearly 500 pages and 1500 photographs it would be impossible to get every reference correct and in no way do the date errors spoil the overall feel or impact of the book as a thorough look through these last essential Elvis years before the decline really kicked in.
It is noticeable that there are very few photos from the last few months of 1973, except the October divorce photos, several of which I had not seen previously. However this was a distressing time for Elvis which found him hiding himself away and which ended up with him being hospitalised at Baptist Memorial.
The last concert season in Las Vegas August 1973 features several candids I had not previously seen but there are surprisingly none of those monkey-on-my-back photos to go with the "Adios Colonel" article.
Once again this is no doubt a copyright issue and Lorentzen not wanting to repeat well-known photos.
Rumours are that this sensational series of Laurens van Houten photos are in fact to be re-published in 10th anniversary newly expanded edition of Arjan Deelen’s ‘Caught In A Trap’ book.
Left; Elvis with Casino employee Jeannie Steele- Right: Backstage at the Aloha concert January 1973
As I have noted, living in Australia the postage is a killer (the book weighs 3 Kilos) but unlike some other recent photo-books that I will never look at again I have already spent days reading through this volume and I’m not finished yet! Once again this is a reference book that I will not file away like most photo-books.
This is surely an crucial purchase for any fan who loves Elvis in his 1971-1973 period.
Order it before it sells out.
Overall Verdict: Another packed book of wonderful Elvis photos and articles - and even after 500 pages focused on just the three years 1971-1973 this book still left me wanting more. The design is top-notch as always and the photographs beautifully presented. It’s just a shame that this time the near perfection has been let down by the occasional proof-reading mistake and photo slip-ups. Once again the book helps you understand the incredible pressure on Elvis to keep that momentum of 1969 and 1970 going which would be an impossible task for anyone. And one of the nicest surprises of the book is that Elvis still looked so good, and for the most part happy and excited, even through to the end of 1973. Of course after the astounding worldwide crowning performance of Aloha there was really nowhere Elvis could go but down. But that’s for another book – the final volume.
Please note - apologies, any patterning or shade on the photos featured above is due to my low-res scans.
Review by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN September 2013
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Do NOT copy onto other Elvis websites without permission from EIN.
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Several fans have contacted EIN regarding the price of these books.
Yes, they are more costly than the average photo book but the size and production values still make them great value-for-money, they are a reference book you will be regularly going back to.
The size and weight of them however means postage has to be high.
EIN is not selling them directly but the cost is around US$85, GB£54 or EURO53 --- PLUS postage.
CLICK HERE to buy this book directly from ‘The Elvis Files’
or try a local Elvis dealer to see if the total PLUS postage works out cheaper.
Below, a regular CD shown against the book to give a size comparison of the stunning presentation of Elvis LIVE in on-stage action.
Elvis Files Vol 6 Photo Acknowledgments
This volume includes photographs by:
Keith Alverson, Ed Bonja, Judy Palmer, Sean Shaver, George Hill, Bob Heis, Patrick Janssen, Chris Giles, Pal Granlund, Paul Sweeney, Virginia Coons, MGM Studios, Filmjoumalen/Norway, Memphis Press-Scimitar, Fotorama/Norway.
This volume features photographs from the collections of:
Erik Lorentzen, Patrick Janssen, Elaine Christan, Mike Florysiak, Chris Giles, Anthony King, Louis Van Ettinger, Pal Granlund, Christi Dragomir, Kenny Kjohl, Paul Sweeney, Rex Martin, Arjan Deelen, Darren Cavanagh.
Above - A marvellous Elvis signed photo for Japanese fan Yoko Itakura, September 1, 1973.
The Seven-Volume series and proposed publishing dates are:
The Elvis Files Vol. 1,1953-1956, (April 2013)
The Elvis Files Vol. 2,1957-1959, (November 2010)
The Elvis Files Vol. 3,1960-1964, (April 2010)
The Elvis Files Vol. 4,1965-1968, (December 2011)
The Elvis Files Vol. 5,1969-1970, (August 2012)
The Elvis Files Vol. 6,1971-1973, (August 16 2013)
The Elvis Files Vol. 7,1974-1977, (early 2014)
The first book The Elvis Files Vol. 3 1960 to 1964 was launched in April 2010.
Size: 25 (10") x 30 (12") Glossy & Hard cover....3 kilos
The Elvis Files – a Collectors Dream
Publisher: KJ Consulting, Oslo
Click here for more information
- Erik Lorentzen
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Go here for EIN's 'The Elvis Files Vol. 1' 1953 - 1956 review with lots of example pages
Go here for EIN's 'The Elvis Files Vol. 2' 1957 - 1959 review with lots of example pages