Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show

Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show

The story of how Las Vegas saved Elvis and Elvis saved Las Vegas in the greatest musical comeback of all time.

The conventional wisdom is that Las Vegas is what destroyed Elvis Presley, launching him on a downward spiral of drugs, boredom, erratic stage behavior, and eventually his fatal overdose. But in Elvis in Vegas, Richard Zoglin takes an alternate view, arguing that Vegas is where the King of Rock and Roll resurrected his career, reinvented himself as a performer, and created the most exciting show in Vegas history.

Elvis’s 1969 opening night in Vegas was his first time back on a live stage in more than eight years. His career had gone sour—bad movies, and mediocre pop songs that no longer made the charts. He’d been dismissed by most critics as over the hill. But in Vegas he played the biggest showroom in the biggest hotel in the city, drawing more people for his four-week engagement than any other show in Vegas history. His performance got rave reviews, “Suspicious Minds” gave him his first number-one hit in seven years, and Elvis became Vegas’s biggest star. Over the next seven years, he performed more than 600 shows there, and sold out every one.

Las Vegas was changed too. The intimate night-club-style shows of the Rat Pack, who made Vegas the nation’s premier live-entertainment center in the 1950s and ‘60s, catered largely to well-heeled older gamblers. Elvis brought a new kind of experience: an over-the-top, rock-concert-like extravaganza. He set a new bar for Vegas performers, with the biggest salary, the biggest musical production, and the biggest promotion campaign the city had ever seen. In doing so, he opened the door to a new generation of pop/rock performers, and brought a new audience to Vegas—a mass audience from Middle America that Vegas depends on for its success to this day.

A classic comeback tale set against the backdrop of Las Vegas’s golden age, Richard Zoglin’s Elvis in Vegas is a feel-good story for the ages.

Title:Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show
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    Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show Reviews

  • Julie

    Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Vegas Show by Richard Zoglin is a 2019 Simon & Schuster publication.


    On a personal note, my husband is a huge Elvis fan. If it's the weekend and he decides to have a few beers and gets a bit maudlin, I'll find him watching an old VHS tape of "Elvis in Hawaii" or "The '...

  • BrotherSkip

    Dreadful sentences like "Elvis began wearing a jewel-studded cape, spreading it wide and bowing his head dramatically, like some weird cross between Dracula and Jesus" with too much filler material th...

  • Ylenia

    I love Elvis & Ive always been fascinated by Las Vegas - so this book was an instant-purchase.
    The book in itself was really interesting - but some parts failed to engage me & hold my att...

  • Larinda Agee

    Oh, how I love all things Elvis! I am a huge fan and have read many books on his life and its many aspects. Finding particular interest in his "Vegas Years", I was elated to be approved to read this s...

  • Tom

    The title is rather misleading, as the first half has much more to do with the rise of Las Vegas as an entertainment capital, while the second half climaxes with Elvis' first run at the International ...

  • Jim Byrne

    Fun read if youre a fan of either; even better if youre a fan of both. Elvis and Vegas, that is....

  • Laura

    This is a fascinating look at the evolution of entertainment acts in Vegas. Yes, it's about Elvis, but in my opinion it's more focused on how the lounge and stage acts of Vegas evolved (or didn't, in ...

  • Donna Hines

    Elvis brought Vegas to the forefront just when it was on the decline.
    The rat pack and other famous acts brought in many older gamblers but Elvis made it hip and young and attractive to the fun s...

  • Kristine

    Elvis in Vegas by Richard Zoglin is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late July.

    Elvis' tenure at Las Vegas International Hotel from 1969 to 1976 and the post-heyday of Vegas ent...