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Rock Reads: Return of the King: Elvis Presley's Great Comeback by Gillian G. Gaar

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

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With all the hoopla and hysteria that usually surrounds any mention of Elvis Presley it's not always the first thing to pop to mind that the late icon went through a period when he was more a pouty prince than he was The King. Presley was never a fan of the schlocky movies he appeared in; he didn't care for a lot of the songs he sang in the films and he had aspirations of being a serious leading man as opposed to the hunky boho he was typecast as. Return of the King chronicles how Presley got seriously depressed about this, how he was bullied by manager Col. Tom Parker into continuing to make corny films until he had had enough and rebelled by making himself scarce. But that situation is just the set-up for the meat of this book, the details of the making of the television broadcast known familiarly as the Elvis '68 Comeback Special, the show that reinvigorated Presley and his career. Finally doing what he wanted to do musically, Elvis once again displayed all the hip-shaking fire that made him a star in the first place. The show led to lots of good things, including Elvis' first run at Vegas shows. Fans that re-watch the TV special after reading this book will see Presley in an entirely different light as the book does an excellent job of revealing the machinations of the many to salvage the career of a superstar and, at least for a time, Presley's life.


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