Hailed as "a masterwork" by the Wall Street Journal, Careless Loveis the full, true, and mesmerizing story of Elvis Presley's last two decades, in the long-awaited second volume of Peter Guralnick's masterful two-part biography.
Winner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award
Last Train to Memphis, the first part of Guralnick's two-volume life of Elvis Presley, was acclaimed by the New York Times as "a triumph of biographical art." This concluding volume recounts the second half of Elvis' life in rich and previously unimagined detail, and confirms Guralnick's status as one of the great biographers of our time.
Beginning with Presley's army service in Germany in 1958 and ending with his death in Memphis in 1977, Careless Love chronicles the unravelling of the dream that once shone so brightly, homing in on the complex playing-out of Elvis' relationship with his Machiavellian manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It's a breathtaking revelatory drama that for the first time places the events of a too-often mistold tale in a fresh, believable, and understandable context.
Elvis' changes during these years form a tragic mystery that Careless Love unlocks for the first time. This is the quintessential American story, encompassing elements of race, class, wealth, sex, music, religion, and personal transformation. Written with grace, sensitivity, and passion, Careless Love is a unique contribution to our understanding of American popular culture and the nature of success, giving us true insight at last into one of the most misunderstood public figures of our times.
Opening with the 25-year-old Presley's nervous return to the United States in March 1960, this second volume of Guralnick's definitive and scrupulous biography then circles back to describe the singer's military service in Germany, where he encountered two elements destined to define his post-Army life: prescription drugs and 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. His manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was by now a major factor in Elvis's career, and Guralnick is the first to explain successfully how the Colonel, a one-time carnival huckster, maintained an enduring hold on a man whose genius was beyond his grasp. Presley believed that they were "an unbeatable team," and the Colonel's success in keeping Elvis's popularity alive during the Army stint seemed to prove it. The subsequent results of the Colonel's go-for-the-quick-buck mentality--crummy movies made on the cheap, mediocre soundtracks rather than studio albums--shook Elvis's faith in his manager, but he remained loyal through the inevitable artistic and commercial decline. Guralnick's meticulously documented narrative (which draws on interviews with virtually everyone significant) shows the insecure, fatally undisciplined Elvis to be his own worst enemy, closely seconded by the Colonel and the entourage of hangers-on who feared change and disparaged Presley's tentative efforts to grow, especially his spiritual apprenticeships to his hairstylist, Larry, and to Sri Daya Mata. When Elvis roused himself--for his 1968 television comeback, for the legendary Chips Moman-produced sessions of 1969, for the early Las Vegas shows--he was still the most charismatic performer in popular music, with a voice that easily encompassed his rock-and-roll roots and his desire to reach beyond them. But as the '70s wore on, Guralnick shows, he became imprisoned by laziness and passivity, numbing his contempt for himself and those around him with the drugs that finally killed him in 1977. As in volume one, Last Train to Memphis, Guralnick makes his points here through the selection and accretion of detail, arguing in an author's note that "retrospective moral judgments no place in describing a life." While some readers may wish he had occasionally stepped back to tell us what it all means, the integrity of this approach is admirable. Many writers have made Presley the vehicle for their own ideas; Guralnick gives us a fallible human being destroyed by forces within as well as without. It's an epic American tragedy, captured here in all its complexity. Major ad/promo; author tour.
Really enjoyed this book also . You have to read em both .
Can't wait to finish the first part of this two-parter
The last train to Memphis was the rise of Elvis Pressley. This Second part is about the fall or the unmaking of Elvis. I'm kind of hesitant to read it because it seems very sad to me. But I will press on and I can't wait to get to the second book. The first part was so amazing and I'm sure this will be as well