Joseph A. Tunzi in Association with Paul Lichter
, JAT Productions, USA, 2012, Hardback, 136 pages, ISBN: 978-0982828342
Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, May 2012
Images courtesy of Paul Lichter
(Please note the images shown here are far inferior to the actual images in the book)
View the You Tube video trailer for Rock Sex-N-Roll here
'How Can Elvis Get Any Freakier? - The Pelvis' Behavior Is Alarming! - Presley Fans Are Fanatic. - Is He Dangerous Or Harmless?'
The prodigious Tunzi-Lichter partnership hits another bullseye with Rock Sex-N-Roll, a very impressive photo-book showcasing Elvis' breakout year, 1956.
From its almost menacing dark cover (symbolic of the book's title and the post-nascent sexual threat that the 1950s establishment believed Elvis to represent) to its many mouth watering visual images (many ultra rare!) of the ascendant King of Rock 'n' Roll, Rock Sex-N-Roll represents an important historic time capsule of events which changed popular music forever.
The nearly 250 photographic images feature many memorable stills. Some of the stand-out visuals include:
Elvis being manhandled by a bevy of female fans (p. 29)
Elvis doing what appears to be a tap dance with a teenage fan in Las Vegas (p. 47)
full page youthfully expressive stills on tour (pp 56-57)
great full page action stills on-tour (pp. 66-67 and 70-71)
a wild pose on tour (p. 80)
- resplendent in jacket off camera when filming Love Me Tender (pp. 114-115)
Other candids have the King relaxing after busy days working; shopping during breaks while filming Love Me Tender and Elvis appearing in court at the hearing into his physical altercation with gas station attendant, Edd Hopper.
Several pages of a sultry Elvis without his shirt on are sure to please female fans. There is also a great shot of Elvis with Natalie Wood and Nick Adams and action stills from his famous concert in Tupelo as part of the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show never fail to impress.
The biggest section of Rock Sex-N-Roll is devoted to images from Elvis' 1956 concert appearances. The section includes a terrific array of on stage photos from many of his riot inducing performances across the US. Some of the shows featured are Fort Worth, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dayton, Ohio; Tampa, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Waco, Texas and Memphis.
Complementing the photos of Elvis are other visuals of various memorabilia and publications from 1956.
I have long been a fan of Tristan-Elvis Lichter’s book design skills. Initially I felt there was too much off-white space on many pages in Rock Sex-N-Roll, but after several viewings I realised that the off-white space allows the b&w photos to shine.
In addition, high quality fine art paper stock has been used, which together with a sturdy hardcover, means Rock Sex-N-Roll is a book produced to last.
The size and variation in font type within and between pages is, for me, a minor issue, but as this release is really all about its wonderful images, it is of temporal concern.
A clever design device is the use of a black vertical border on each page which neatly houses the name of each book section. The sections are:
The 56 Recordings
(with song lists, take numbers and recording dates)
The Television Appearances (including song and musician lists for each program)
Home in Memphis
- The Atomic Powered Singer
- The Elvis Presley Show Touring The Nation (including a list of Elvis' 1956 Concert Appearances)
- Silver Screen Hero - Love Me Tender
Rock Sex-N-Roll comes with a bonus wallet sized 2012 calendar featuring a glorious color head and shoulders photo of Elvis.
The text is a mix of lists and various quotes from Elvis.
The b&w photos and memorabilia images are from Paul Lichter's Elvis Photo Archives.
Verdict: Rock Sex-N-Roll presents the Hillbilly Cat at the peak of his performance powers. It is very strong collection of evocative and often stunning images which will delight both longtime and newer fans alike. This is a book you will savor time and time again.
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