'Guaranteed To Blow Your Mind'

The November 1976 Tour Revisited

By Arjan Deelen and Jon Daly

Book Review by Nigel Patterson, September 2022

Book Review  

Guaranteed To Blow Your Mind –

The November 1976 Tour Revisited

By Arjan Deelen and Jon Daly

Hardcover, 2022, 152 pages, Illustrated (color); Foreword by Charles Stone

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, September 2022  

1976 was a busy year for Elvis in concert. For the most part it was also not a good one, as his physical and mental state continued to decline. However, his November tour would see an uptick, with a noticeable weight loss and improvement in his frame of mind (EIN wonders if Ginger Alden, who he met on November 19, had anything to do with this?).

The November 1976 tour was Elvis’ eighth for the year and spanned the 24 th to the 30 th of the month with seven concerts in Nevada, Oregon, and California. During that last week of November Elvis appeared in Reno, Eugene (twice), Portland, San Francisco (twice), and Anaheim.

Arjan Deelen and Jon Daly from the E.P. Blvd. Pawn Shop, have produced a comprehensive photo-journal account of the tour with their recently published book, Guaranteed To Blow Your Mind - The November 1976 Tour Revisited.

After the Foreword (Preface) by concert promoter, Charles Stone, the book starts with a handy list of the tour dates, warm-up acts, musicians accompanying Elvis, song list, and the jumpsuit worn at each show. The book then proceeds show by show through a deft balance of text, photo, and archival material.

The page design by Michael van Werven is simple, clean, and effective.

The Narrative

While Arjan Deelen wrote/compiled the text and his direct contribution to it is minimal, he not only displays a pleasant and engaging writing style, but one that reflects a thoughtful consideration of his subject. He insightfully sets the context for the book in From The Author…:

It was interesting to delve into this period, because it represented a brief ‘renaissance’ of sorts for Elvis. He’d lost a lot of weight since the September’76 tour, and he was looking and sounding better than he had in a while. He was doing solid, entertaining concerts night after night, and it seemed like his enthusiasm for performing live shows had been rekindled.

Elsewhere, the author comments:

It’s been said that Colonel Parker invented rock merchandise, and that doesn’t seem all that improbable, even though even before him Scotty and Bill were already selling Elvis photos at their early gigs. But there’s no doubt about the fact that the Colonel took it to a different place. He understood the fans’ passion for Elvis and knew that there was money to be made. Lots of it.

To populate the text, Deelen has assembled an engaging series of quotes (and archival material) from those who were with Elvis on tour. These add valuable context and color to the narrative. Among those quoted are John Wilkinson, Sherill Nielsen, Jerry Scheff, Dick Grob, Myrna Smith, and Ronnie Tutt.

Other narrative highlights include a review of Elvis’ show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on November 28, 1976 by Wayne Hawthorne, President of the Elvis Presley Fan Club of Victoria (Australia), and the author’s interview with Elvis world identity, Ed Bonja. Some readers will be intrigued, or perhaps amused, by the dilemma Elvis faced before his first show in San Francisco.

The section about Elvis’ performance at Macarthur Park (University of Oregon) on November 27 is introduced by the vibrant recollections of a fan named Bryan Rudick:

I got a teal blue scarf from Elvis after playing a little tug-o-war with him. My Mom climbed over a policeman’s chair as [he] leaned forward and rushed the stage getting to shake Elvis’ hand at the end….Back at her home my mom and her crazy girlfriends rubbed my scarf all over themselves LOL, Good memories.

The font size is arguably slightly too large, but those readers whose eyesight isn’t as acute as it once was, will undoubtedly appreciate this.

The Visual Element

The photos (sourced by Jon Daly) are from the Sue McCasland Negatives collection. Michael van Werven was the person who spent countless hours cleaning up the negatives, removing scratches and other imperfections. He is to be congratulated on doing a great job.

The photos are visually pleasing and while some are a tad dark, this is not an issue. A number of the photos span two pages.

The visual highlights are many, and include:

  • Neat shot of Elvis, surrounded by darkness, entering the stage at the Centennial Coliseum in Reno, Nevada (p9)
  • “Can you see me?” image of Elvis with a scarf encasing his head and almost hiding his whole face (p46)
  • Colorful close-up shot of a thoughtful looking Elvis starting to pull the scarf from his neck to bring joy to one of the thousands of screaming women in his audience (p68)
  • Elvis on stage with the fingers of his two hands “steepled”, prayer like, as he looks to the heavens with an open mouth (pp77-78)
  • An unusual photo of Elvis with microphone in hand, his knees bent, and his head tilted forward (p79)
  • Very expressive image of Elvis beaming a very wide smile (pp92-93)
  • Expressive set of three waist up images (pp94-95)
  • Another colorful photo with Elvis, eyes closed, and a facial expression suggesting he has just eaten a very sour lemon (p111)
  • Series of six frame-by-frame (like) images of the King on stage in Anaheim (p120)
  • Two large and attractive “on stage” images (pp122-123)


The Archival Material

In my opinion, archival material is always a positive inclusion for any book about the life of Elvis Presley. The archival material in Guaranteed To Blow Your Mind offers many interesting and enlightening pieces of information. The book features numerous press reports (including several neat collages) and concert reviews - these enhance its value to both the casual fan and serious student of Elvis Presley.

For instance, in an entertaining two pages review published in the Nevada State Journal, Pat O’Driscoll captures the reader with her opening salve:

When Elvis Presley bounced up on stage Wednesday night and a blinding blaze of popping flashbulbs, a sold-out Centennial Coliseum shook with screams and cheers.

Similarly, in his review published in The Sunday Oregonian, John Wenderborn observed:

When he got to the bottom of his voice, it actually rattled the huge bass-powered speakers and amplifiers in the building.


Verdict: Guaranteed To Blow Your Mind nicely positions itself as a cheaper option to the larger “coffee table” books from the FTD and Elvis Files organisations. It is a strong release with a mid-range price. It’s excellent blend of text, image and archival material will, not surprisingly, please many fans.

Guaranteed To Blow Your Mind is available from various Elvis dealers including:
The EP Blvd Pawn Shop Memphis and the Elvis Shop London

Priced around £50 / US$60 plus postage

Click to comment on this Review

Book Review by Nigel Patterson.
-Copyright EIN September
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.


(Book Review) Elvis Live At The International 50th Anniversary Edition (Kieran Davis): In 2011, Kieran Davis released the highly praised book, Elvis Live At The International. In 2022, he has published an expanded 50th Anniversary edition…and what an expansion it is!
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