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Elvis Day by Day

by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen

Reviewed by Geoffrey Mc Donnell

This large A4 sized book(published in October 1999)containing nearly 400 pages claims to be "The Definitive Record of his Life and Music" It lives up to this Claim in covering all MAJOR events with EXCELLENT documentation mostly not seen before but will NOT satisfy the 1970's fans! The book is simply 'packed' with many,many colour and black & white photos(some not seen before). Obviously with the two writers a lot of the book heavily reflects "Careless Love" and "A life in Music" giving accurate recording details as well as previously 'unknown' dates of the Barbera Streisand meeting and Red West Telephone conversation with Elvis given their correct Details here in the book.

Looking FIRST at the 50's this is OUTSTANDING featuring early income tax returns,Elvis's sixth grade report card,Humes Annual Minstrel 1953 program,1954 employment application and HEAPS more detail from the early years 1948-1953! The FIRST contracts,early Girlfriends,plenty of pictures are ALL here.However many LESS days are covered compared to Lee Cottens 'Did Elvis Sing in your Hometown' from 1954 ,1955.1956 onwards the coverage improves again . The MAIN benefit in DAY BY DAY is the EXTRA letters seen from Col Parker,Tom Diskin covering many topics such as Early T.V. appearences and rare Telegrams from Evis. The information here is generally better than the 2nd edition of 'ALL SHOOK UP'.

The 60's are just as well covered including all the movies,recording dates and even the Elvis's ENTIRE private 1964 movie screening shedule in Memphis (which is VERY interesting!) Once again the EXTRA photos of documents from the 60's will blow you away and this is clearly the strength of this book. The' Equine Expences Circle G ledger book' being an excellent example! Although the 70's is the weakest part of this book-there is still plenty to enjoy here! The 'infamous' 1969 tablecloth contract to start with!!! other 'highlights' are :- Elvis backstage at a 17.10.70 Gospel Convention with J.D. Sumner,A 1973 invoice for the Hawaiian Show Costumes(over $2,000 each), Elvis with Sheila Ryan Las Vegas March 1975, A Jewelry bill for the July 75' Tour. Details such as ALL the dates,times + place of rehearsals PRIOR to Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe engagements up to December 1975 is very good information, also 'rare' letters from the Colonel to Elvis such as on 16.6.76 saying how difficult it was to get in touch.Their is also reproduced here a full page of 1977 tour security badges.

The main flaw with the book I have found is that especially for the 70's it is clearly NOT DAY BY DAY and by that I mean if you look up his Lake Tahoe 1976 engagement and expect daily details then you'll be VERY dissapointed and you would be better reading the 2nd edition of ALL SHOOK UP instead! Some 'mistakes' such as the entry for 22.5.77 are repeated and other dates such as 11.12.76 simply 'omitted' as not worthy of noting?!, or the 10.12.76 show Elvis comments quoted 'out of context'. Most concert dates are just that,no further information!.For details of 70's shows,stage wear and concert songs this book is useless and you'd better read STEIN ERIK SKARS book 'Elvis The Concert Years' instead. However whatever your interest 50's,60's or 70's(up to Dec 77') the main events are here and their is just enough 'new' pictures to keep you turning the pages again and again.

I think 90% of Elvis fans will really like ELVIS DAY BY DAY and it has to be Recommended by me to all but the most fanatical 1970's fans. ONLY they will be dissapointed.
Expensive but worth it!