Elvis in Vegas
The story of how Las Vegas saved Elvis and Elvis saved Las Vegas in the greatest musical comeback of all time.The conventional wisdom is that Las Vegas is what destroyed Elvis Presley, launching him on a downward spiral of drugs, boredom, erratic stage behavior, and eventually his fatal overdose. But in Elvis in Vegas, Richard Zoglin takes an alternate view, arguing that Vegas is where the King of Rock and Roll resurrected his career, reinvented himself as a performer, and created the most exciting show in Vegas history. Elvis’s 1969 opening night in Vegas was his first time back on a live stage in more than eight years. His career had gone sour—bad movies, and mediocre pop songs that no longer made the charts. He’d been dismissed by most critics as over the hill. But in Vegas he played the biggest showroom in the biggest hotel in the city, drawing more people for his four-week engagement than any other show in Vegas history. His performance got rave reviews, “Suspicious Minds” gave him his first number-one hit in seven years, and Elvis became Vegas’s biggest star. Over the next seven years, he performed more than 600 shows there, and sold out every one. Las Vegas was changed too. The intimate night-club-style shows of the Rat Pack, who made Vegas the nation’s premier live-entertainment center in the 1950s and ‘60s, catered largely to well-heeled older gamblers. Elvis brought a new kind of experience: an over-the-top, rock-concert-like extravaganza. He set a new bar for Vegas performers, with the biggest salary, the biggest musical production, and the biggest promotion campaign the city had ever seen. In doing so, he opened the door to a new generation of pop/rock performers, and brought a new audience to Vegas—a mass audience from Middle America that Vegas depends on for its success to this day. A classic comeback tale set against the backdrop of Las Vegas’s golden age, Richard Zoglin’s Elvis in Vegas is a feel-good story for the ages.

Elvis in Vegas Details

TitleElvis in Vegas
Author
ReleaseJul 23rd, 2019
PublisherSimon Schuster
ISBN-139781501151194
Rating
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, History, Culture, Pop Culture

Elvis in Vegas Review

  • jesse r lewis
    January 1, 1970
    Most people who aren't Elvis fans (and many who are) most likely don't know that Elvis actually played Las Vegas in the 1950s. His style at the time didn't fit the clientele (though he was invited back), so left it behind and moved on to mega-stardom. Then, with his music career in danger of being forgotten, Las Vegas came calling again. This time, both Elvis and Vegas were ready for each other. The popular view of Elvis in his Vegas years is of an entertainer in decline (I've been an Elvis fan Most people who aren't Elvis fans (and many who are) most likely don't know that Elvis actually played Las Vegas in the 1950s. His style at the time didn't fit the clientele (though he was invited back), so left it behind and moved on to mega-stardom. Then, with his music career in danger of being forgotten, Las Vegas came calling again. This time, both Elvis and Vegas were ready for each other. The popular view of Elvis in his Vegas years is of an entertainer in decline (I've been an Elvis fan for years and somewhat shared this opinion), but this book shows how Elvis not only re-invigorated the Vegas show in a way that still resonates today (big shows rather than intimate rooms), but it gave his career a boost exactly when he needed it most. Far from being a joke, he played over 600 shows and sold out every one. Previously a place for serious gamblers, Elvis made Vegas into the entertainment destination it is today. This book gives the real story of an entertainer and a city made for each other.
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  • Larinda Agee
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, how I love all things Elvis! I am a huge fan and have read many books on his life and its many aspects. Finding particular interest in his "Vegas Years", I was elated to be approved to read this story. What I found was a wonderful comeback story of the adventures of Elvis in not only the development and impact Vegas made on his life but what he did for Las Vegas during its "golden age" as well. For fans and non-fans (Is there even such a human who would exist?!), this is a must read. I found Oh, how I love all things Elvis! I am a huge fan and have read many books on his life and its many aspects. Finding particular interest in his "Vegas Years", I was elated to be approved to read this story. What I found was a wonderful comeback story of the adventures of Elvis in not only the development and impact Vegas made on his life but what he did for Las Vegas during its "golden age" as well. For fans and non-fans (Is there even such a human who would exist?!), this is a must read. I found it incredibly well-written and insightful to many questions I have had about his years and time there. I highly recommend this!
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    Elvis brought Vegas to the forefront just when it was on the decline.The rat pack and other famous acts brought in many older gamblers but Elvis made it hip and young and attractive to the fun seekers and hot rollers.While drugs,sex, rock and roll may have been on the menu the notion that his singing career was just reaching it's peak is an understatement.He truly set a new bar for opening acts to achieve bringing with him higher salaried performers, larger acts more than the prior intimate nigh Elvis brought Vegas to the forefront just when it was on the decline.The rat pack and other famous acts brought in many older gamblers but Elvis made it hip and young and attractive to the fun seekers and hot rollers.While drugs,sex, rock and roll may have been on the menu the notion that his singing career was just reaching it's peak is an understatement.He truly set a new bar for opening acts to achieve bringing with him higher salaried performers, larger acts more than the prior intimate night club style shows, swanier hotels, and high time players.He commanded an audience's attention like no other and while the truth be told he was on a downward spiral with drugs and erratic behavior he certainly will always be remembered as the King of Rock and Roll.This book was well written, evenly distributed and not too historical in nature as to create boredom for the younger audience of readers.I highly recommend this work!
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Elvis in Vegas takes readers through a the history of Las Vegas from the days it basically was a junction point on a railroad line through the development of the Strip with lots of interesting stories about the entertainers brought in to draw patrons into the casinos. Readers learn about the mob connections, easy divorce laws, the rise of nudity, the humiliation early black entertainers endured. Reading this book was a wonderful trip down memory lane. It’s a who’s who of those who developed Vega Elvis in Vegas takes readers through a the history of Las Vegas from the days it basically was a junction point on a railroad line through the development of the Strip with lots of interesting stories about the entertainers brought in to draw patrons into the casinos. Readers learn about the mob connections, easy divorce laws, the rise of nudity, the humiliation early black entertainers endured. Reading this book was a wonderful trip down memory lane. It’s a who’s who of those who developed Vegas into the entertainment capital of the world. It also tells how music changed, chronicling the shifts occurring after the Beatles arrived, and pop standards began to give way to rock. Mob control and management styles began to change when Howard Hughes arrived and started buying property. Hughes brought in a bottom line corporate approach that dispensed with a lot of the perks formerly enjoyed. The author devotes many pages to Frank Sinatra, his volatile temper, his group known as the Rat Pack, and explains why even though Sinatra didn’t particularly like Elvis or have any appreciation for his music, he was instrumental in Elvis’ career. The baton truly was passed from the old Vegas king to the one and only King of rock ‘n roll on July 31, 1969, Presley’s first live performance in nearly a decade. Elvis arrived and Vegas was never the same. This is such a fun, informative and culturally significant story. For those of us who became teenagers in the fifties, Elvis was a huge part of those years. The author does a very good job describing and drawing readers into the excitement of seeing Elvis live...even when viewing him from the nosebleed section of a convention center as I was fortunate to do. There’s no way to properly do justice to this book in a review...you must read it for yourselves. My hope is the teasers given will spike your interest. I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. Most highly recommend.
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  • Kristine
    January 1, 1970
    Elvis in Vegas by Richard Zoglin is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late July.Elvis' tenure at Las Vegas’ International Hotel from 1969 to 1976 and the post-heyday of Vegas entertainment. The way I’d describe this narrative is its sense of ‘halting bravado’ - you can practically hear a ‘skrill’ of rewind during a Vegas Strip tourism newsreel, going dizzyingly forward and back through time, while you feel uncertain of what’s going to be exclaimed about next. Elvis’ show planning doesn’t eve Elvis in Vegas by Richard Zoglin is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late July.Elvis' tenure at Las Vegas’ International Hotel from 1969 to 1976 and the post-heyday of Vegas entertainment. The way I’d describe this narrative is its sense of ‘halting bravado’ - you can practically hear a ‘skrill’ of rewind during a Vegas Strip tourism newsreel, going dizzyingly forward and back through time, while you feel uncertain of what’s going to be exclaimed about next. Elvis’ show planning doesn’t even kick in until the 58% mark, where there are some cracks at his between-song banter, some indication of critic’s response, then it all winds down fast before his death in 1977. All things considered, it would’ve worked considerably better as a series of articles than a book.
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  • Carol Custer
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a must-read not only for Elvis fans, but for anyone interested in the history of Las Vegas. It's a fascinating insight into Las Vegas from its beginning to the present and how the city was influenced by changing times. The impact Elvis made on Las Vegas was huge - - and it was huge for his career as well. I saw Elvis live once in Las Vegas and though I've never been a huge fan, I liked him and his show was magical. I've seen Las Vegas change since the 70's when I first visited there This book is a must-read not only for Elvis fans, but for anyone interested in the history of Las Vegas. It's a fascinating insight into Las Vegas from its beginning to the present and how the city was influenced by changing times. The impact Elvis made on Las Vegas was huge - - and it was huge for his career as well. I saw Elvis live once in Las Vegas and though I've never been a huge fan, I liked him and his show was magical. I've seen Las Vegas change since the 70's when I first visited there and it was so interesting to read how these changes came about. A tremendous amount of research went into this book and it's well worth reading.
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  • Deanna Stevens
    January 1, 1970
    I was extremely disillusioned with this book. First of all, the title is a come on. Elvis is barely mentioned in the first 30% of this book. Secondly, this is more of a history of Las Vegas entertainment. I also felt the book was extremely negative. Going on about political incorrectness about certain performers dialogues. This was over 50 years ago let it go! I could not finish the book. When the author started ripping a part the Elvis movies I enjoyed I had seen enough. This is not a book for I was extremely disillusioned with this book. First of all, the title is a come on. Elvis is barely mentioned in the first 30% of this book. Secondly, this is more of a history of Las Vegas entertainment. I also felt the book was extremely negative. Going on about political incorrectness about certain performers dialogues. This was over 50 years ago let it go! I could not finish the book. When the author started ripping a part the Elvis movies I enjoyed I had seen enough. This is not a book for an Elvis fan! I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest opinion.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    If you love Vegas, Elvis, and the entertainers of Vegas, you will I’ve this book. As much a history of Vegas entertainment and the entertainers who played Vegas, as it is the story of Elvis’ Vegas comeback, this is just a great well written look at all these topics. Zoglin, who wrote a great biography of Bob Hope, really tells a great story here. Highly recommended.
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  • Thomas Drago
    January 1, 1970
    Zoglin does an excellent job of detailing the history of Las Vegas from its conception to the modern era and uses Elvis as a motif to package the entire narrative. The only real complaint I have is that the same anecdotes appear multiple times throughout (like Elvis's first reaction to Streisand opening the International Hotel). Engaging, easy ready.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    This book should have been titled "The Musical History of Vegas." There are 250 pages in the main part of the book, excluding "note and acknowledgments." The Elvis Vegas concert material starts on page 170, well over half way into the book.The book was very interesting, but the majority of it was about people and events before Elvis's arrive on the Vegas scene.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Elvis in Vegas is great exploration of the history of Las Vegas entertainment and of Las Vegas itself. It is a comprehensive journey of Elvis' return to live performing. Richard Zoglin does a fantastic job of capturing this wonderful period of Elvis Presley's epic story. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in Elvis or Las Vegas. Thanks to #NetGalley for an arc of #ElvisInVegas.
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  • Mauberley
    January 1, 1970
    More a survey of what passes for entertainment in Las Vegas than all about Elvis’ ‘triumphant’ return in 1969, it is still a well-researched and vividly written book. Those of a certain age will be reminded of all of the dreadful comedians who once populated the Ed Sullivan show: Buddy Hackett, Sheckey Green, Jack Carter...
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  • Bob Kuster
    January 1, 1970
    A rockin and rollin good read !!! Elvis in Vegas was a pleasant surprise as the title made me think it would be all Elvis all the time. The book is so much more instead telling the story of the Las Vegas casino entertainment scene. Sinatra fans will be disappointed what they learn about Ol Blue Eyes. One for the money, two for the show, three get ready to read a good history.
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