|A LOOK AT THE ELVIS FILES
VOLUME 2 (1957 - 1959)
By Lee Dawson
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There are thousands of books written about Elvis Presley and each year see’s more and more titles
added to the plethora of books released around the world. But there are only a very small amount that
can be called essential reading and even fewer that deserve to be known as great.
So what about the series of books called “The Elvis Files”? Author Erik Lorentzen calls them a labour
of love (something you would expect any writer to say about his own work), I have not been able to
obtain a copy of the first release back in April 2010, but after receiving the second volume of the 6 part
series, 1957 – 1959 (the first release was vol 3 1960 – 1964), I can only agree 100% that this really is a
labour of love from the author.
This hard cover book has 528 pages and features more than 1300 photos, many of which are
presented here for the very first time and can only be described as a series of books on Elvis unlike
anything we as fans have ever seen before. I love the Ernst Jorgensen book, “Elvis: Day By Day”.
However, “The Elvis Files” gives us the most comprehensive look at the life and career of Elvis
Presley that we could only previously wished for.
Before the book even starts we are treated to no fewer than 12 beautiful photos, including a couple of
full page/colour images, one being Elvis looking super cool in a publicity shot of him in his red and white
cowboy outfit from ‘Loving You’.
The journey through Elvis history starts on January 4th 1957 with an article by Bob Johnson (Editor of
16), “Elvis With A GI Haircut?” about Elvis reporting at Kennedy Veterans Hospital in Memphis,
Tennessee for his pre-induction examination to determine if he was physically and mentally prepared to
serve his country when the time came to be called up? We read how the Army and Air Force were present at the examination and the Navy, while not
present had made it known that they, along with the two forces in attendance wanted to have Elvis inducted into their care, so to speak! The article includes
20 photos of Elvis taken on the day which really does place you, the reader, right there at that moment in the Kings past.
One of my favourite parts at the start of the book on page 9 (January 6th 1957), Elvis is in New York City, New York for his final appearance on the Ed
Sullivan show. Before this historic appearance, Elvis is taking time out to help promote the ‘March of Dimes’ and to promote polio vaccinations by recording
a special message and posing for promotional photographs with the organisation’s poster girl, Joanne Wilson (Remember the little girl with crutches and
licking a giant lolly-pop with Elvis). We get some great photos of this meeting and In an interview from 2007 by our colleagues over at EIN, there is a really
cool part where the now grown up Joanne Wilson remembers something so very touching about the 21 year old Elvis.
Here is what Joanne reveals, “My parents weren’t fans but Elvis spent over an hour with them. He
offered all sorts of things to help me but my parents always refused these offers. They said he was
the nicest celebrity they had ever met.” The interview goers on, “My parents were surprised at how
wonderful he was to them. Many other celebrities just showed up for the pics and then rushed out as
soon as they could. They said he seemed very concerned about my welfare and asked many
questions about my surgeries I had had and what my future would be like.”
Apart from little gems like this, “The Elvis Files Volume 2" includes every working moment Elvis
did in 1957 through to 1959, including:
Photo Shoots, and all with great photographs from the actual events (were possible). We get treated
to newspaper articles from the time, detailed articles from some of the very best Elvis historians,
interviews from those who worked with Elvis...(Even E.E.R’s Joe Krien has one of his interviews
As mentioned previously, we get the feel of what it was like in 1957 when Elvis appeared on the Ed
Sullivan show for the last time and the story behind the whole filming from the waist up story. This is
followed by some photos of Elvis' visit to Poplar Tunes on Poplar Avenue in Memphis on his 22nd
As we approach the middle of January 1957, Erik takes us in to the recording sessions for the film,
"Loving You" on the 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th & 19th which are accompanied by several
photos taken during those sessions.
We get to the making of the "Loving You" film, and are treated to more than 100 photos including
many previously unseen. Amongst the stills, backstage and publicity photos are some wonderful
shots of Elvis on the set with his mother and father.
Up next is a news report from March 23rd 1957 announcing that Elvis is interested in purchasing Graceland, which moves on to the King's first tour of the
year which would result in his only ever live appearances outside of the United States. Several shows from this tour, along with photos are detailed for us
thanks to newspaper reports. Also featured is an interesting article by Mike Eder, "Elvis In Gold: A Look Back" which tells the story of his famous gold lame
suit as seen on the LP "Golden Records 2 - 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Cant Be Wrong".
To give you an idea of just how these rare photos are to hand for the author, earlier this year EPE
announced how everyday could result in the discovery of something previously unknown to exist. EPE
claimed that in Vernon’s office at Graceland, some papers were found and contained in them were
negatives of 3 never before seen photo’s of Elvis at the Graceland gates in 1957.
However, Erik Lorentzen was somewhat surprised at this announcement because these same 3 photo’s
had been in his own collection for more than 20 years and are included in this edition of “The Elvis
Files”. So how true is it really that there are still unseen gems to be found in a draw or cupboard
somewhere on the Graceland property after all these years?
"Jailhouse Rock" is the next big feature in the book and is again presented to us with another 100 plus
photos many being previously unpublished and some great behind the scene pictures including some from
the famous title song dance sequence.
The book then continues through Elvis' career and life with interviews and newspaper articles from the time
and an abundance of photographs of Elvis looking super cool. Not all the times were happy ones for Elvis,
as the book brings us in on a bust up between Elvis and Dewey Phillips. In a report from the Memphis
Press-Scimitar in the Summer 0f 57, Elvis brought Dewey to Hollywood and spent a few hundred dollars on
him, including $400 for some new caps for his teeth. Elvis also took him to the Moulin Rouge where he
would end up embarrassing Elvis in-front of the entire audience during an introduction and later as Elvis
introduced him to Yul Brynner, Phillips called the actor a "Shortie Mother".
The year would end with Elvis and Dewey burying the hatchet and getting back their friendship. But all was still not well with Scotty Moore and Bill Black both
resigned from working with Elvis. We are treated to a detailed news report from September 21st 1957 with the headline, "Elvis Is Shocked At Musicians
Quitting" telling us all about the split of Elvis, Scotty and Bill.
More newspaper reports about concerts follow with even more amazing and previously unseen photos and a transcript of an interview from Los Angeles on
October 28th 1957 with photos taken at the press gathering.
There really is too much to write about where this book is concerned and I just do not know what to
tell you about next?
My all time favourite Elvis movie is of course featured and "King Creole" includes many great
photo’s including rare and never before seen candid’s and promo shots. There are over 160
images used to take us through the making of this movie, including some truly amazing photos of
behind the scenes on the set of the movie.
We get to read about the inner goings on of these moments in Elvis’ life / history, including the
legend that is Walter Matthau telling the story of how Elvis threw up after he smashed a chair
across his back in one fight scene and how when Elvis asked Matthau to help him with this acting
thing and the legendary actor telling Elvis “I’ve seen you act and I don’t think you need any help
The final countdown of the book begins on page 409 (March 23 - 24 1958) as we reach the point
where Elvis is inducted into the United States Army. We then follow his Army service with the help of
articles, interviews even more amazing photographs.
There are so many unseen and rare photo’s in this one book that it’s hard to believe this is just
ONE volume and that there are another 5 volumes to go which when put together will result in more
than three THOUSAND pages of Elvis history and the collection will result in thousands of Elvis
photos all in one place.
I've only seen this edition of "The Elvis Files" but if this one volume is anything to go by then this will truly become the ULTIMATE collection of Elvis books.
And do you know what? I have no doubt what so ever that the rest of the volumes will be equally, if not better than this one.
Now, the only down side is the price. I have seen prices range from £60.00 up to £89.00, making these a very pricey addition but I can tell you right now,
these are worth every penny and I cannot help but feel sad to know that I will never be able to have all these amazing books to look at and drool over.
"The Elvis Files" have everything, these could easily become the only books you will ever need and I really would go as far as saying “The Elvis Files”
are without doubt the BEST books EVER written on the career of Elvis Presley.
The 6 volumes are not released in chronological order but here are the proposed release schedule at the time of writing:
The Elvis Files Vol. 3, 1960-1964, (Out Now)
The Elvis Files Vol. 2, 1957-1959, (Out Now)
The Elvis Files Vol. 1, 1953-1956, (April 2011)
The Elvis Files Vol. 4, 1965-1969, (November 2011)
The Elvis Files Vol. 5, 1970-1973, (April 2012)
The Elvis Files Vol. 6, 1974-1977. (November 2012)
You can order your books from you local Elvis dealer or order from the official site: www.elvisfiles.no