Book Review : "Pieces Of My Life"

EU Productions (Elvis Unlimited), 2003, Softcover, 80 pages, ISBN: 87-986523-6-2

( Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, May 17, 2003)

The cover for the latest photo-book release from EU Productions in Denmark is certainly eye-catching, cleverly showcasing parts of Elvis photos as jumbled up pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Inside is a visual Elvis record comprising hundreds of color and black & white pictures from the early 1950s to the 1970s. The design and layout of 'Pieces of my life' is excellent, with the photos well spaced and of a very good size. The problem with this release is its lack of consistency in photo quality. Some of the photos are crystal clear while others are fuzzy and blurred.

In particular, many of the On Stage 70's shots and the candids from the late 1960s and early 1970s aren't of a very high quality and this tends to detract from others that are first rate. A second concern is that the book’s softcover format means that if not very carefully handled, the cover will tend to bend, crease and become dog-eared after only a small number of viewings. A highlight of the book is the numerous rare photos of Elvis at work and play in the 1950s. Elvis water skiing, Elvis playing the piano accordian, Elvis with fans and friends....there are some fascinating pictorials of The King in his heyday.

The short two-page section on his films provides the best quality color pictorial record as the photos included are professional, still shots and the pictures taken at The Ten Outstanding Young Men of America Awards in 1971 are also very good. The section presenting Elvis in the 1950s contains some surprisingly high quality photos with only the distant, blurry shots of Elvis live on stage letting it down.

A plus for this release (and many other Elvis photo-books) is that it includes a large number of very rare or previously unpublished photographs. There is plenty to enthrall and interest both the casual or dedicated fan. The title of the book, borrowed from one of Elvis' 1970s songs, is symbolic of how the book has been put together.

The photo sections provide a snapshot of different stages of Elvis' life and career and each photo is captioned with relevant details of who, when and where. The title is very fitting.

The photos in 'Pieces of my life' were obtained from a variety of sources, namely the The Collection of the Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Denmark, the private collections of Henrik Knudsen and Lars Gjeding, The Mississippi Vintage Collection and Silverstone Picture Archives. The Elvis photo-book market is becoming very crowded with many titles competing for our money.

While Ger Rijff and Joseph Tunzi have proven themselves as the 'kings' of the market by releasing consistently high quality and interesting product, others are struggling in this regard. The key is access to high quality photographs, and enough of them.

Verdict: 'Pieces of my life' is not the strongest Elvis photo-book released. It certainly includes some great and rare photos but the inconsistent quality of the pictorials lets it down. However, given its relatively low price (particularly compared to the prices charged for Rijff, Tunzi and Lichter photo-books), ‘Pieces of my life’ represents very good value for money.

© EIN 2003