One of a series of biographies of musicians and performers intended for a young audience, Elvis Presley: A Biography is a solid Elvis Presley biography, covering the essential points of his life and career. Longer books have been written about the King, and more detail can be found elsewhere, but this is a good introduction. It covers his origins in Mississippi and Tennessee and the beginning of his long professional relationship with Tom Parker, and his discovery by Sam Phillips of Sun Records who also managed Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash at the same time (Phillips was looking, in those deeply racist times, for a white singer who could do justice to black music and so bring it to a wider, white audience that would not accept the same sound from a black performer,). It covers Presley’s personal life and family relations, his successes and failures, the concert tours, the movies, the break in his career when he was drafted into the military, and his problems with gluttony.
A primary focus on Elvis’ early years and family life
This Elvis Presley biography focuses more on Presley’s personal and home life and his early career than it does on the later years, perhaps because its target audience might relate better to a young Presley than to an older one, or perhaps because this gives a clearer picture of Presley’s insecurities and emotional troubles which played a big part in his motivations. Presley grew up in what was in many respects a dysfunctional family, and certainly he grew up in poverty. Adjusting to fame and success that occurs so suddenly, as can be the case with big artistic success, always brings its own difficulties. All of this is covered fairly extensively in Tracy’s book. His strong ties to his mother, and the difficulties he had relating to women and maintaining relationships which Tracy argues was causally related to those ties – Presley’s promiscuity is a known fact – are gone over at length. A good introduction for younger readers to one of the most important figures in the history of popular music: the King.