“An interesting look at how 1977 marked the explosion of punk alongside this heartbreaking (though not altogether surprising) loss of a legend” (USA Today).
In the late 1970s, punk music was setting out to destroy everything Elvis Presley had come to represent. But punk couldn’t destroy The King himself—he had already done that, succumbing to his excesses at Graceland on August 16, 1977.
Ever since, Elvis has permeated the world in ways that are bizarre and inexplicable: a pop icon while alive, he has become almost a religious icon in death, a modern-day martyr crucified on the wheel of drugs, celebrity culture, junk food, and sex. In Elvis Has Left the Building, Dylan Jones takes us back to those heady days around the time of his death and the simultaneous rise of punk. Evoking the hysteria and devotion of The King’s numerous disciples and imitators, Jones offers a uniquely insightful commentary on Elvis’s life, times, and outrageous demise. Recounting how the artist single-handedly changed the course of popular music and culture, he also delves deep into the cult of The King and reveals what Elvis’s death meant—and still means to us today.
“I’m not sure punk would have existed without [Elvis]. In fact I’m not sure a lot of things would have existed without him. Dylan Jones is the right man to ponder such questions.” —Bono
“A gripping tale of impossible success and terrible waste and lost beauty that veers from Memphis to Las Vegas and all the way to the broken backstreets of London.” —Tony Parsons, author of The Hanging Club