"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)


"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)


"The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image"


(Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden press conference, 1972)


"Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was actually stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something"

(David Bowie)


"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme"

(Mick Jagger)


"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother...there'll never be another like that soul brother"

(Soul legend, James Brown)


"Before Elvis there was nothing!"

(John Lennon)


"There were rock 'n' roll records before Heartbreak Hotel, but this was the one that didn't just open the door…it literally blasted the door off its rusted, rotten, anachronistic hinges…. producing....no propelling, an unstoppable, fundamental and primordial shift in not only musical, but social, political and cultural history"

(JNP, BBC website)


"Elvis, the musician, is largely a relic belonging to the baby boomer generation...Elvis, the icon, is arguably one of the most potent symbols of popular culture"

( Dr. John Walker)


"It [rock & roll] was always about Elvis; not just because he was Elvis, but because he was the big star"

(Bono from U2)


"If they had let me on white radio stations back then, there never would have been an Elvis"

(Little Richard)


"Elvis loved opera, and he especially liked Mario Lanza. He would watch The Student Prince which was set in Heidelberg, over and over again. He loved the power of the big voices. And he loved big orchestras. He liked real dramatic things"

(Marty Lacker in 'Elvis and the Memphis Mafia')

















































































































































































































































































(Book Review)

The Year the Music Changed: The Letters of Achsa McEachern-Isaacs and Elvis Presley

A Novel by Diane Thomas

Toby Press, USA, 2005, Hardcover (d/j), 244 pages, ISBN: 1592641229

"My heart is smitten, and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread"


The Year the Music Changed is a clever and rewarding experience.

The novel is clever in that its plot device is a narrative expressed through intimate correspondence between a young, adolescent girl, Achsa McEachern, and the soon to be King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis.

The novel is rewarding in that it is poignant, and at times achingly funny, as it paints a vivid, multi-layered landscape capturing a rich coming-of-age story.

The Year the Music Changed takes place between early 1955 and mid 1956 with each chapter chronologically covering a period within the timeframe. The author drives her narrative with a well balanced blend of historical accuracy and pleaeant writing style which is a joy to read.

The series of letters in The Year the Music Changed are believable, personal accounts of two disparate, yet also similar, young lives. One is facing the emotional turbulence of adolescence and a troubled family life; the other is facing the uncertainties of a world he has yet to conquer...but a world which promises incredible fame and success.

Often bittersweet, The Year the Music Changed resonates with humorous episodes and emotional fragility. The contradictions and dilemmas of American society in the economically prosperous but culturally changing 1950s provide a rich textual backdrop throughout the novel. The above quotation from Psalms is evocatively reflective of the bittersweet nature of the novel.

Achsa's father forcing her to write a cease and desist letter to Elvis is a powerfully telling moment, while the connection between the novel's two central characters through Achsa's middle name is nicely symbolic and reflective of one part of the Elvis story.

Also symbolic is the final series of letters which are deliberately one dimensional, in the sense that they are all from Achsa to Elvis. They fittingly highlight the evolution of our lives and how change can be separative; in this case how Elvis' career has taken off, thereby restricting the time he has to respond to his young friend and admirer.

Verdict: The Year the Music Changed is rich in emotional depth and the insecurities of life. Diane Thomas has infused her debut novel with a powerful realism which lingers in your mind long after you have put the novel down. If you enjoy good fiction, you'll love The Year the Music Changed.

Visit the Diane Coulter Thomas website

Click to comment on this review

What others had to say about "The Year the Music Changed":

"Touching, funny and tender...Highly recommended."

(Library Journal Starred Review)


"Startling in its beauty!...The whole novel sings."

(David Bottoms, Georgia Poet Laureate)


"A stunning achievement...It is soul-touching and memorable, and the writing is simply dazzling."

(Terry Kay, author of To Dance with the White Dog)


"A bittersweet, funny, big hearted book."

(Joshilyn Jackson. author of Gods in Alabama)





Playboy magazine: In Bed With Elvis
DVD: Born To Rock
Book: Elvis Aaron Presley: A Candle In The Wind
FTD: Too Much Monkey Business
Book: Desert Storm
Book: Elvis On Stamps
Photobook: A Tribute To The King
DVD: Lilo & Stitch 2
FTD: Elvis Today
Concert: Elvis Leaves His Mark
Book: Elvis-UFO Connection
Book: Behind The Image Vol. 2
Book: Elvis on Screen
DVD: Elvis & Me
FTD: All Shook Up
FTD: Tickle Me
CD: Elvis by the Presleys
Book: Warman's Elvis Field Guide
DVD: Why Elvis?
Book: Dewey and Elvis
CD: Black & White Elvis
CD: All Shook Up
Book: Rough Guide to Elvis
FTD: Rockin' Across Texas
FTD: Elvis Is Back
TV Special: "Elvis by the Presleys"
Book: Elvis by the Presleys
CD: Tom Green
Show: Sonny West
CD: A Legendary Performer Vol. 5
Mini-series: Elvis
FTD: Big Boss Man
How Mario Lanza influenced Elvis
Enduring economic power of Elvis
Graceland - the ultimate bachelor pad
Elvis was not a racist!
The Definitive Elvis "blues" album
Elvis on The Creative Edge - Part 2 - The CD
'Elvis Seriously'- Why is Elvis' voice too often ignored
Elvis & Ed Sullivan - The Real Story
It's Over - Gordon Minto on 18 #1's
Elvis - symbol of freedom or not?
The importance of being Elvis
Elvis rules on television! (updated August 2005)
Tribute to Elvis (16 August 2005)
Elvis in the 50s - Maxine Brown
Meeting Elvis & Priscilla
How & where to sell your Elvis collection
Elvis in the 1970s
More on Elvis on TV
"Orion" gunned down!
Elvis Is Back
Elvis - Hero with 1000 faces
Elvis Film Guide
Elvis rules on television! (updated May 2005)
Elvis & other major artists miss out on Grammy Awards
How did Elvis die?
Max Pellicano
Ronald King (Elvis On Stamps)
Bernard Lansky
Albert Wertheimer
Priscilla Presley
Marshall Terrill
Lisa Presley on Larry King Show
Tony Joe White
Stanley Oberst
Bud Glass (part 2)
Red & Sonny West
Ed Bonja (Part 2)
Ernst Jorgensen
Phil Aitcheson (Presley Commission)
Elvis On Tour (Hampton Roads) footage
Elvis On Tour
Graceland cam
Listen to the Elvis "strung out" in Vegas audio
The "Real" Elvis off-stage
Unreleased Elvis audio now online
View EPE Graceland tourism ads
View video of "All Shook Up" opening night on Broadway
All about Elvis
All about Elvis tribute artists
All about Lisa Presley
All about Graceland
Elvis books 2005-07
Elvis film guide
Elvis Online Virtual Library
Elvis Presley Research Forum
Elvis was a racist? (archives)
Elvis Week 2005
Links to Elvis' family & friends
Online Elvis Symposium
Sale of EPE "Archives"
6th Elvis Website Survey
Spotlight on The King
"Wikipedia" Elvis bio


"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Gary Enders)


" Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"



"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)


"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")


"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)


"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"

(Carl Perkins)


"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"

(Bob Dylan)


"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"

(Sir Paul McCartney)


"You can't say enough good things about Elvis. He was one of a kind"

(Johnny Cash)