The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley

Author(s): Ted Harrison

Reaktion Books | No Category

Elvis Aaron Presley is more popular today than ever, yet he died nearly forty years ago. His music is constantly remixed and re-released to a new generation of fans, and his image thrives in popular art and culture. Elvis's Graceland home and Tupelo birthplace have become places of pilgrimage. His relics command astounding prices at auction. Around the world it is estimated that there are 200,000 Elvis impersonators paying tribute to their hero. Elvis is the subject of some truly astonishing rumours and legends, including the one that he never actually died. Ted Harrison asks what lies behind the remarkable resurrection in popular culture of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley tells the story of Elvis after Elvis. It shows how his estate, which was pillaged by his manager, was saved through the business acumen and financial vision of his ex-wife Priscilla Presley. It explores a spiritual dimension to the Elvis revival, where fans create a fantasy quasi-religion through which they blend and confuse Elvis and Jesus. In the growing myth of Elvis, Harrison identifies a vibrant synthesis between money and faith, unique to the modern age, but reminiscent of the early centuries of Christianity. And underpinning the whole story is Elvis's extraordinary charisma, thousands of fans simply having a lot of fun and ultimately some great, enduring music. This is a must-read for the many millions of loyal followers, as well as those who are more critical of the King.


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Ted Harrison does the unenviable task of documenting the legacy of The King, one of popular culture’s most iconic figures, with curiosity and glee - there is no small amount of reverence, and Harrison’s enthusiasm is infectious. It’s rare to read a music bio that focuses so heavily on life after the subject’s death, an inspired angle that makes this more a love letter to Elvis’ fans than the man himself. Thomas, Book Grocer Northcote

“Harrison’s central thesis that Elvis has been much more heavily and successfully commercialized in death than in life is convincing. . . . It is original. And its most compelling line is that the reason Elvis has been so brilliantly marketed after his death is because he was so badly handled in his lifetime.”

– Spectator  (JC BookGrocer)


Ted Harrison is a British writer, artist and broadcaster based in Wales and the Shetland Islands. He is the author of many books, including Diana: Myth and Reality (2006) and Remembrance Today: Poppies, Grief and Heroism (Reaktion, 2012), and produced the award-winning BBC documentary Elvis and the Presleytarians with the late John Peel.

General Fields

  • : 9781780236377
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : 0.476
  • : August 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ted Harrison
  • : Hardback
  • : 256