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Channeling Elvis: How Television Saved the King of Rock 'n' Roll

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Elvis Presley was a virtual unknown when, in 1956, he strutted his stuff in front of a national television audience for the very first time. By year’s end, following a dozen TV appearances, he was an international superstar. Over the next two decades, Elvis turned to TV whenever his career required a boost or a complete makeover. "Channeling Elvis: How Television Saved the Elvis Presley was a virtual unknown when, in 1956, he strutted his stuff in front of a national television audience for the very first time. By year’s end, following a dozen TV appearances, he was an international superstar. Over the next two decades, Elvis turned to TV whenever his career required a boost or a complete makeover. "Channeling Elvis: How Television Saved the King of Rock 'n' Roll" peers through TV’s unique lens to take a close-up look at his 20-year career. Based on more than a decade of research, dozens of fresh interviews, and careful review of hours of television and other footage, "Channeling Elvis" focuses on the role television played in creating, sustaining, and reviving the King’s unrivaled popularity. Only television captured the full arc of his career, from those initial steps on the national stage and highly anticipated return from the U.S. Army to his resurrection in the wake of some lame recordings and less-than-stellar movies, renewed acclaim as a concert artist, and premature, self-inflicted 1977 exit. Television captured it all, and Elvis Presley's TV appearances also provided us with the most extensive visual record of this incredible man doing what he loved best: performing live. Praise for "Channeling Elvis": “Allen Wiener puts a new charge into the story of Elvis and his rise, namely television. It's arguable that television had more to do with Elvis' meteoric streak to the top than radio. 'Channeling Elvis' is something new under the Elvis sun.” -- Allen Barra, author of "Mickey and Willie: Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age". “Unlike the Hollywood-contrived plastic persona that characterized the vast majority of his big-screen appearances, the Elvis who turned American television on its head during the mid-’50s and used it for his rebirth in the late-’60s was the real performer in all of his lip-curling, pelvic-thrusting glory. Equally captivating was the sadder figure who faced the final curtain on his 1977 TV special, and it is thanks to Allen Wiener’s great insight and invaluable research that, at long last, 'Channeling Elvis' explores, explains, and relives these pivotal moments of a legendary career.” – Richard Buskin, author of "Classic Tracks: The Real Stories Behind 68 Seminal Recordings". “Television made Elvis Presley in 1956. Twelve years later -- all too briefly -- it resurrected him. In 'Channeling Elvis', Allen Wiener illuminates a bittersweet American romance.” -- Bob Thompson, author of "Born on a Mountaintop: On the Road with Davy Crockett and the Ghosts of the Wild Frontier." “Allen J. Wiener knows his way around icons, and 'Channeling Elvis' ably makes the case that TV transformed the greatest recording artist of the early rock ‘n’ roll era into a unique cultural phenomenon. The Elvises that emerge in Wiener’s account always command the spotlight.” -- Paul Cool, former program director and disc jockey, KUSF Radio, San Francisco, and author of "Salt Warriors: Insurgency on the Rio Grande".


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Elvis Presley was a virtual unknown when, in 1956, he strutted his stuff in front of a national television audience for the very first time. By year’s end, following a dozen TV appearances, he was an international superstar. Over the next two decades, Elvis turned to TV whenever his career required a boost or a complete makeover. "Channeling Elvis: How Television Saved the Elvis Presley was a virtual unknown when, in 1956, he strutted his stuff in front of a national television audience for the very first time. By year’s end, following a dozen TV appearances, he was an international superstar. Over the next two decades, Elvis turned to TV whenever his career required a boost or a complete makeover. "Channeling Elvis: How Television Saved the King of Rock 'n' Roll" peers through TV’s unique lens to take a close-up look at his 20-year career. Based on more than a decade of research, dozens of fresh interviews, and careful review of hours of television and other footage, "Channeling Elvis" focuses on the role television played in creating, sustaining, and reviving the King’s unrivaled popularity. Only television captured the full arc of his career, from those initial steps on the national stage and highly anticipated return from the U.S. Army to his resurrection in the wake of some lame recordings and less-than-stellar movies, renewed acclaim as a concert artist, and premature, self-inflicted 1977 exit. Television captured it all, and Elvis Presley's TV appearances also provided us with the most extensive visual record of this incredible man doing what he loved best: performing live. Praise for "Channeling Elvis": “Allen Wiener puts a new charge into the story of Elvis and his rise, namely television. It's arguable that television had more to do with Elvis' meteoric streak to the top than radio. 'Channeling Elvis' is something new under the Elvis sun.” -- Allen Barra, author of "Mickey and Willie: Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age". “Unlike the Hollywood-contrived plastic persona that characterized the vast majority of his big-screen appearances, the Elvis who turned American television on its head during the mid-’50s and used it for his rebirth in the late-’60s was the real performer in all of his lip-curling, pelvic-thrusting glory. Equally captivating was the sadder figure who faced the final curtain on his 1977 TV special, and it is thanks to Allen Wiener’s great insight and invaluable research that, at long last, 'Channeling Elvis' explores, explains, and relives these pivotal moments of a legendary career.” – Richard Buskin, author of "Classic Tracks: The Real Stories Behind 68 Seminal Recordings". “Television made Elvis Presley in 1956. Twelve years later -- all too briefly -- it resurrected him. In 'Channeling Elvis', Allen Wiener illuminates a bittersweet American romance.” -- Bob Thompson, author of "Born on a Mountaintop: On the Road with Davy Crockett and the Ghosts of the Wild Frontier." “Allen J. Wiener knows his way around icons, and 'Channeling Elvis' ably makes the case that TV transformed the greatest recording artist of the early rock ‘n’ roll era into a unique cultural phenomenon. The Elvises that emerge in Wiener’s account always command the spotlight.” -- Paul Cool, former program director and disc jockey, KUSF Radio, San Francisco, and author of "Salt Warriors: Insurgency on the Rio Grande".

25 review for Channeling Elvis: How Television Saved the King of Rock 'n' Roll

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Robin Markowitz

    A wonderful new perspective on Elvis Presley's career. Much new and necessary information. If you enjoy music history, particularly that of the first rock era in the 50s through the 70s, get this book! A wonderful new perspective on Elvis Presley's career. Much new and necessary information. If you enjoy music history, particularly that of the first rock era in the 50s through the 70s, get this book!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Cochran

    Elvis and TV: beginnings to the end Although I knew most of the things written I learned new details of behind-the-scenes of Elvis' TV performances. Extensive Lists at end of book are indispensable to an Elvis fan. Highly recommend this book I would like a Hard Copy for the references Elvis and TV: beginnings to the end Although I knew most of the things written I learned new details of behind-the-scenes of Elvis' TV performances. Extensive Lists at end of book are indispensable to an Elvis fan. Highly recommend this book I would like a Hard Copy for the references

  3. 5 out of 5

    John Daly

    I would not normally have chosen to read this, but it is a selection by the book club to which I belong and is written by a friend. I found I enjoyed reading the book. I actually learned quite a bit. Elvis is of course a phenomenon, hugely popular in the late 1950s and early 60s, with a following that persists even today. He sold more records than almost any other artist, with 90 albums that went gold, starred in 33 movies, and made countless stage appearances, including in some of great venues. I would not normally have chosen to read this, but it is a selection by the book club to which I belong and is written by a friend. I found I enjoyed reading the book. I actually learned quite a bit. Elvis is of course a phenomenon, hugely popular in the late 1950s and early 60s, with a following that persists even today. He sold more records than almost any other artist, with 90 albums that went gold, starred in 33 movies, and made countless stage appearances, including in some of great venues. He earned a huge amount of money, tens of millions of dollars after his death. Allen Wiener shows how his relatively few TV appearances were central to that career. The book is very good at explaining how a certain kind of television show comes about and how it is made. The book turns out to be very sad, telling a history of a nice young man with talent who becomes too famous and too rich too fast, loses his career and his health and dies young. His popularity decreased. He went on a downward slide of use of (perhaps prescription) drugs, binge eating leading to weight gain and crash diets,binge consumerism, and ultimately decreasing ability to perform until his death at age 42. Here is a summary of a discussion of the book by members of the book club: http://j.mp/1CwQtHg

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janet Cummings

  5. 4 out of 5

    George

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anita Yuritich

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rob Reboso

  8. 4 out of 5

    Håkan

  9. 5 out of 5

    Martin De jong

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  11. 4 out of 5

    C. Nuttall

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bill Gordon

  13. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Huff

  14. 4 out of 5

    J.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kensington Day of the Book Festival

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura Pflum

  17. 4 out of 5

    Connie Anderson

  18. 5 out of 5

    PJ

  19. 4 out of 5

    LaVerda Hoffman

  20. 4 out of 5

    kay henn

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Crowther

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Júlio

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aberiel K Walton

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