Hotel is one of the more unusual entries in the world
of Elvis literature. It sets itself apart from other
books by telling the Elvis story in verse. The author
is Jeremy Reed, one of Britain's best known contemporary
Heartbreak Hotel is split into chapters with various
verses within each chapter. The chapters range across
a variety of subject areas and are presented in chronological
order with various detours into unfamiliar territory
along the way.
early sections cover the halcyon days of the 1950s (All Shook
Up) while later parts focus on Elvis' final years as well
as socio-cultural issues (Charles Manson) and Elvis' musical
contemporaries (Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison). Jeremy Reed's
verse is a no-holds barred rampage through everything Elvis
Presley, challenging and incredibly evocative. He creates
vivid and wild images full of color and motion:
crashing in the swimming pool Elvis is psycho in his groove'
'Elvis is on time hold like spike-haired Johnny Rotten or
a model sashaying an exit from the catwalk'
scorchy credo's burning love, romance that's pepper torrid
on lips cool as any rose.'
verse titles engage the reader, traversing through challenging
themes like 'Daughters of the Precious Blood' and 'Dancing
on Hot Red Lips, My Love' to the more prosaic including 'Elvis
at 40' and 'Pink Cadillac'.
into the melting pot, Martians, an unpublished songbook and
'way out there' verse spiked with the titles of well known
Elvis recordings and you will begin to comprehend the incredible
diversity of theme in Jeremy Reed's poetic tour- de-force:
'There's an ape in a fun-wig purple as a split fig in Elvis'
Heartbreak Hotel is multi-layered, colorful, over the
top storytelling that confounds, stimulates and entertains.
Flavorsome and at times frustrating it is a potent example
of contemporary verse that haunts the back of one's mind long
after it has been sampled.
by Nigel Patterson,
President, Elvis Information Network, © 2002