Book Review:

Elvis Presley

Music Movies Myth

Matthew Martin

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, December 2018

Elvis Presley Music Movies Myth, Matthew Martin, BigPale Publishing, USA, 2018, Hardback (with dust jacket) 16 x 23.5cms, 414 pages, Not illustrated, ISBN-13: 978-1387241378
A little known book release in October 2018, and one worth investigating, is Matthew Martin’s hardcover examination of the Elvis story, Elvis Presley Music Movies Myth.
Martin appears to be a prolific, self-published(?) author, who has released numerous titles in the subject areas of religion and pop culture. He has an easy-going writing style and while it is difficult to present the Elvis story in terms different to what has already been printed in more than one thousand other Elvis biographies, Martin’s analysis is a neat one which reflects careful thought, as this critique of Elvis' post Army smash hit, Surrender, attests:

It's the most alien-arrangement a pop music song had experienced thus far. Half a decade before the Beatles were rewriting the book on song structure and what you could do with a melody, “Surrender” was throwing those rules out the window. 

In relation to Elvis’ historic comeback, the narrative is measured:

As Elvis ended 1968, he did so with more optimism for the future than he’d had in nearly a decade. His film career was nearly finished, his TV special was drawing rave reviews, record sales were climbing and once again he was the talk of pop culture. Work still needed to be done, however, to maintain the momentum, not only as a music-artist but also as a celebrity.

The text is also measured when, about the sale of Elvis’ RCA back catalog in 1973, the author observes:

Other than specialty records such as his Gospel and Christmas albums, none of Elvis’ 1950’s or 1960’s music was selling with any consistency anymore. 

When detailing what he considers to be Elvis’ best songs, Martin observes about the King’s studio recording of the classic, Bridge Over Troubled Water

The radiating power in his voice when he reaches the song’s climax is chilling, and though the arrangement is bigger and bolder than in Simon and Garfunkel’s original, Elvis arguably (blasphemous though it is to say) out did theirs with his impassioned take. If you’ve never heard his version, you’re not the only one, but you owe it to yourself to hear it. 

Offering the necessary balance to the strengths of how Elvis' music was managed, regarding the release of Bringin’ It Back as a single, the author is critical:

It fared even worse than T.R.O.U.B.L.E. however, reaching only #65.....The song is fine for the album, but there was nothing about it that justified releasing it as a single, especially not over the much-stronger “And I Love You So”. The only reason it seems they released it was because they had partial ownership of it, and it wasn’t a cover of an already released song. 


Martin provides an in-depth analysis of Elvis’ 1975 New Year’s Eve concert at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, including: 

Elvis generally preferred not performing in stadium venues, despite two shows* at the Houston Astrodome, because the acoustics are different and the crowd is so far away again from the stage.... 

For starters, Elvis was in foul mood. The cold weather probably played a big part in that. He didn’t feel like doing a walk-through of the new Silverdome, and assumed the stage set-up would be comparable to the Houston Astrodome concert from 1974....... 

Here, however, the (Silverdome) stage was two-tiered, with the backers placed on a lower level accessible by a rickety-looking stairway. Elvis, having skipped rehearsal, did not know about the change until he walked out onto the stage to sing the opening number. He looked around, while bowing to the audience, trying to find the rest of his band, and then when he discovered where they were, he shouted obscenities (all the while, the opening refrains of “See See Rider” was playing........ 

At another point the author expresses his disagreement with what some others have suggested:

There's a misconception that Elvis had no passion for recording rock songs after his split with Priscilla. Yet, whenever he had one to work with, he always tore into it with that same manic enthusiasm he gave to "That's All Right" a lifetime ago (or at least as much enthusiasm as his older, more worn down body would allow).

In support of his contention, Martin cites the recordings of Burning Love and T.R.O.U.B.L.E.

Commenting on the creative malaise that afflicted Elvis at times throughout his career, Martin encapsulates well how Elvis re-ignited his creative passions at critical times:

In the past, whenever the performer needed a musical spark to rekindle his cultural relevance, he found it by changing up his status quo. It worked in 1966 with the How Great Thou Art session. It worked in 1969 with Chips Moman’s American Sound recordings. Elvis hoped it would work again by recording at the legendary Stax studio in Memphis, just five miles up Highway 51 from his Graceland mansion.

In relation to Elvis’ celluloid career, Martin provides a well modulated appreciation (both positive and negative) of Elvis' film output. Regarding Clambake, he is insightfully observes:

Clambake saw Elvis playing a son who rebels against the arranged plans of his father, and oil tycoon. Let's pause and consider the fact that Elvis was over thirty-years old and was playing a role that would have been right at home with someone almost half his age.

Importantly, Martin identifies two issues, one around the lasting impact of most of his film and the other the key element which helped make some of his films more popular than others: 

Blue Hawaii is fourth movie of the 1960’s and second film released in 1961, but for many it was his second movie after the Army. So many of his films failed to leave a lasting impression but a few have stayed memorable. Blue Hawaii is remembered alongside others like Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas as movies of Elvis that anyone can identify. A large part of its continued standing is due to the fourteen-track album that accompanied the film’s release. 

The author's perspective about Elvis in 1977 prior to his death is one which will rankle many fans - however, it is one deserving of close consideration:

Elvis' life was not even a joke in 1977; it wasn't important enough to comment on to joke about. He was beyond a punchline. He was forgotten.

Matthew Martin’s consideration of the Elvis story is presented in chronological order starting with the year 1953 and ending with the chapter, 1978. There are no photos, index, or author bio. 

However, Elvis Presley Music Movies Myth also contains a number of thematic appendices. These include: 
  • A brief consideration of each of Elvis’ 49 RCA albums released between 1956 and 1977 (the author lists them in descending order of worst to best)
  • Who Really Was “Colonel Tom Parker?”
  • On Sam and Sun and the Nativity of Rock and Roll
  • Every Elvis Movie, Ranked from Worst to First
  • The Best Elvis Songs

While the book contains more than 400 pages, it could have been printed with less than 300, as each page has wide left and right borders and the narrative lines are double spaced.

Verdict: Matthew Martin has written an entertaining, insightful and easy-to-read consideration of the Presley phenomenon, one in which Elvis’ music, movies and his myth are well covered. With a balanced and strong story to tell, and a reasonable price tag around US$26.00 (exclusive of postage), Elvis Presley Music Movies Myth positions itself as a solid entry in the biographical space between the highly detailed offerings of Peter Guralnick, et al, and the minimalist “quickie” biographies which generally lack research, substance or insight.
*..EIN note: Elvis played eight shows at the Astrodome (six in 1970 and two in 1974)


EIN Website content ©

Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
Elvis Presley, Elvis and Graceland are trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises.

The Elvis Information Network has been running since 1986 and is an EPE officially recognised Elvis fan club.












































































































Did You Miss these Popular Interviews?
Linda and Sam Thompson in Australia:
John Wilkinson Tribute & 1972 Interview:
Interview - Dr. Gary Vikan:
'Elvis: Walk A Mile In My Shoes' - Arjan Deelen Interview:
RIP - Bernard Lansky talks to EIN:
Allyson Adams 'The Rebel and The King' Interview: 
Joseph A. Tunzi
David Stanley (2012)
Author Chris Kennedy Interview about D.J. Tommy Edwards:
Vernon Presley Interview:
EIN interviews John Scheinfeld director of  'Fame & Fortune'
Jerry Leiber Interview for EIN
Elvis Paradise Hawaiian Interview - with Peter Noone
Sam Thompson, Elvis' bodyguard, 2011 Interview
James Burton Interview - Rick Nelson & Elvis:
Elvis Drummer Jerome "Stump" Monroe EIN Interview:
Donnie Sumner Remembers his friend Sherrill Nielsen: 
Lamar Fike EIN Exclusive Interview
Jamie Aaron Kelley - EIN Interview:
Ernst Jorgensen interview about 'The Complete Masters' and more:
D.J Fontana Interview - Elvis Week 2010 special: 
Red West Interview:- 2010 Elvis week special
Linda Thompson - Interview Special:
Elvis in 1969 - Ann Moses & Ray Connolly Interviews:
Ernst Jorgensen interview about 'On Stage' and Elvis' Legacy in 2010:
Paul Lichter
Dr. Nick talks to EIN
Alanna Nash
Ernst Jorgensen (2009)
Joseph Pirzada
Jeanne LeMay Dumas
Larry Geller
Mac Davis
Roger Semon
Ernst Jorgensen
Wayne Jackson (Memphis Horns)
Ernst Jorgensen (Record Collector)
Did You Miss these Popular EIN articles
'The Nation's Favourite Elvis Song' Spotlight
Linda and Sam Thompson in Australia:
Elvis Passwords - We’ve Hacked them all! 
Fourteen Key Elvis Singles:
Remembering ELVIS in 2013:
Elvis And The Vocal Group Tradition:
Happy Birthday EIN EIN turns 100 – a retrospective!:
Aloha From Hawaii - The Concert 2013- EIN Exclusive
Elvis at Madison Square Garden 40 Years Ago
'The Wedding' Elvis & Priscilla EIN special Spotlight:
'Elvis In Ottawa' Spotlight & Elvis Interview:
'Elvis: Live at the International' Book Review:
Book Review: Elvis in Vegas
'Promised Land' FTD CD Review:
'The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956’ Review:
Elvis By Special Request '71 At 40 (Book Review):
"Kissed By Elvis" Janet Fulton Interview:
'1956, Elvis Presley’s Pivotal Year':
"ReBooked At The International'- in-depth Review:
EIN Spotlight on Alfred Wertheimer:
'Elvis Memphis to Madison 1977' The Gas Station Incident:
'The Elvis Files Vol. 2' Book Review:
'Elvis In Concert' 1977 TV special; Should it be released officially?
Ernst Jorgensen interview about 'The Complete Masters' and more:
Dark Side of the Colonel
Did you miss these Reviews
'Elvis Files Magazine ISSUE 5' Review:
'The Elvis Files Vol. 6 1971-1973'  Book Review:
'Love Me Tender' Blu-Ray Edition Review:
'Houston We Have A Problem' - CD review:
‘Elvis At Stax’ [Deluxe] Reviews:
‘The King Revealed’ Magazine Review:
'Hot August Night' FTD CD Review:
‘The King Revealed’ Magazine Review:
'Elvis - The Man & His Music'#100 review:
'Elvis Files Magazine ISSUE 4' - Review:
'Elvis - Aloha Via Satellite: A 40th Anniv Release' Book Review:
'The Elvis Files Vol. 1 1953-56' In Depth Book Review:
'Aloha From Hawaii' 40th Anniv LEGACY CD Review:
'Elvis Files Magazine ISSUE 3' - Review:
Aloha From Hawaii - The Concert 2013- EIN Exclusive Review:
‘Elvis On Tour’ E-book Review - with Great jumpsuit photos-
'From Elvis Presley Boulevard' FTD In-Depth Review:
'Prince From Another Planet’ In-Depth Review:
'Elvis: Walk A Mile In My Shoes' - EIN Review:
‘Greatest Live Hits of the 50s’ MRS CD Review: 
Once Upon A Time: Elvis and Anita (Memories of My Mother) - Book Review:
'A Boy From Tupelo' special In-depth Review:
Bootleg Elvis (Book Review)
'G.I.Blues Vol.1' FTD Soundtrack - CD review:
'The Elvis Files Vol. 5 1969-70'  Book Review:
'From Hawaii to Las Vegas' FTD CD Review:
'Blue Hawaii - The Expanded Alternate Album' Review:
'Elvis: Live at the International' Book Review:
'The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956’ Review:
'48 Hours To Memphis' FTD CD Review:
Elvis By Special Request '71 At 40 (Book Review):
'The Elvis Files Vol. 4' Book Review:
'Young Man with the Big Beat' In-Depth Review:
'Fashion For A King' FTD in-depth Review:
"ReBooked At The International'- in-depth Review:
'Stage Rehearsal' FTD Review:
Best of Elvis on YouTube
Graceland cam
EPE's Multimedia Elvis Gallery
Sirius Elvis Satellite Radio
Elvis Radio (ETA's)
Elvis Express Radio
Ultimate Elvis Radio
Elvis Only Radio
"Images in Concert" PhotoDatabase
Radio Interview: Vernon & Gladys Presley
Sanja's Elvis Week 2007 Photo Gallery
'EIN's Best of Elvis on YouTube'
The Music of Elvis Presley - Australian Radio Show
All about Elvis
All about Elvis Tribute Artists
All about Graceland
All about Lisa Marie Presley
Ancestors of Elvis
Art Archives
Book Releases 2009
Contact List
Elvis and Racism
Elvis as Religion
Elvis CDs in 2007
Elvis DVDs in 2006
Elvis Film Guide
'2007 New Releases'
Elvis Presley In Concert "downunder" 2006
Elvis Online Virtual Library
Elvis Research Forum
Elvis Rules on Television
Graceland - The National Historic Landmark
How & where do I sell my Elvis collection?
Is Elvis the best selling artist?
Links to Elvis' family & friends
Links to other Elvis sites
Marty's Musings
Online Elvis Symposium
Parkes Elvis Festival 2009 (Australia)
Presley Law legal archives (Preslaw)
Presleys In The Press
Sale of EPE (Archives)
6th Annual Elvis Website Survey
Spotlight on The King
"Wikipedia" Elvis biography