In 1995, Adrian Payne’s excellent release The Australian Elvis Discography & Price Guide was welcomed by Elvis enthusiasts and collectors.
In 2015, Glenn Reimer has taken the narrative-visual record of Elvis’ vinyl output and the King on the big screen in Australia to a wonderful new level.
Packed into an impressive 245 pages, Reimer’s book is full of color, information and archival delights!
The author’s exhaustive research has uncovered a wealth of fascinating information and images which will have Elvis collectors salivating. The volume of information and images is particularly impressive given the paucity of archival material maintained by Sony Australia (RCA Australia records on Elvis’ vinyl related releases were lost / destroyed over the years).
The book comprises nine chapters:
- Promotional Material
- Newspaper Advertisements
- Sheet Music
- Charts & Gold Awards
- Cadillac Tour
- Films & Magazines
- Label & Sleeve Identification
- Price Guide, Reissues and Variations
The range of information showcased by the author is stunning:
- All of Elvis’ Australian vinyl releases (full description including year of release, track listing, catalogue number, label colour etc and imagery for picture covers, sleeves and labels)
- Sleeve and Label Identification Guide
- Rare vinyl and promo releases
- RCA promotional material including the wonderfully titled “Private Presley’s Private Bar” and a variety of newspaper ads
- Record price guide (updated for the new millennium)
- Sheet Music and Song Books
- Gold Awards
- National and State Record chart information (singles, EPs and albums) and visuals from Record Guide, Music Maker, Go-Set and various radio station weekly charts available from local record shops
- A record of Elvis’ film screenings in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane plus Daybill posters and One Sheet
- Visual record of Elvis cover articles in Australian magazines including Australian Women’s Weekly, Photoplay, Everybody’s, Movie News, TV Times, TV Week and Screen News
All sections feature easy to understand detail. These include RCA Catalogue Numbering, Record Label Guide and RCA single, EP & LP label promo stamps and stickers. Images for the more obscure promo releases will be welcomed by serious collectors. There is also a range of fascinating information including about the RCA SP Series and Singapore Sleeves, and an article by Bob Hayden on Planet Records!
In relation to its primary focus, all the important elements comprising an Elvis record are covered, from matrix numbers and the use of Stereo stickers to label variations and . The information detailed by the author makes it easy for the and novice to identify whether the Elvis vinyl you discover in a garage sale is valuable or simply a coaster for your next cup of chai latte.
The inclusion of the newspaper and magazine reviews for many of the entries when originally released is a value added feature!
Australian only "Portrait" series - two of the rare 45rpm sleeves
Some EIN readers will remember the iconic Australian disc jockey, Howard Craven (host of the long running radio program, Rumpus Room on 2UE and 2UW) - in the book we discover his involvement in the Elvis world. Another revelation is the name of the Australian RCA Executive who decided on the threshold number for awarding of a Gold Record while collectors interested in the pricing of records will appreciate the 'industry only' Price Structure information reproduced in the book.
Other fascinating include the stories behind the AWA Custom Recording – G.I. Blues Word Spot (45rpm single) and 1967 Radio Spot Recordings. There is also a brief history of RCA in Australia.
The release also includes a seven page section devoted to the 1968 tour of Elvis’ Gold Cadillac ‘downunder’.
The veritable ‘smorgasbord’ of great visuals (most in colour) will delight even casual readers and the incredible volume of information, data and other archival detail mean it will take collectors many revisits to fully (if ever) digest.
The sheer volume of archival images in the book is staggering! From RCA company flyers and sheet music covers to Elvis’ gold Cadillac on tour “downunder” and newspaper clippings advertising the latest Elvis records plus everything in-between, the images in the book provide an wonderful photographic record of the history of Elvis’ vinyl output and film showings in Australia.
The images in the book are high quality, predominately in full color and are neatly and (at times) creatively presented, making the a casual browse through the book not only informative but also fun and entertaining. The semi-gloss paper stock allows the visual element of the book to shine.
The book design is strong. A thick A4 flexi cover protects tightly bound pages of high quality semi-gloss paper stock. Each page has a clean design with good use of “white space” to enhance readability.
Readability is further helped by effective text font size(s), line spacing, margins and gutters.
Verdict: A Guide to the Australian Records of Elvis Presley The Vinyl Years 1956-1990 is a fantastic multi-faceted record of Elvis’ vinyl releases, chart and celluloid impact in Australia. Reimer (and his co-conspirator, Bob Hayden) can be justifiably proud of what is a wonderfully informative and visually impressive book release which adds appreciably to our knowledge and understanding of Elvis’ impact in Australia. The book will satisfy both serious collectors and fans who appreciative an eclectic, informative and enteraining mix of narrative-visual archival material. It is, and will be, an important reference material for current and future Elvis collectors, scholars and fans.
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