It was his most electric and influential time as a live performer. The young and hungry Elvis burst onto stages large and small--sexy, controversial, brimming with talent and ambition. One lightning-hot year in Florida fueled his rise from novelty act to headlining megastar.
Elvis Ignited tracks the rising star through his tours of Florida, from 1955 when Presley was an unknown to 1956 when Presley played more concerts in Florida than in any other state. In only fifteen months, Presley toured Florida four times, becoming the object of worship, scorn, and controversy. Struck by a new kind of music and performances so different from anything they had known before, Floridians saw how special Elvis was before the rest of the world caught on. Before their very eyes, he transformed from Hillbilly Cat to the King of Rock and Roll.
Bob Kealing interviews people who saw the King up close, recalling the time-stands-still memories of hearing his iconic songs for the first time. He speaks with Floridians who helped Elvis along the way: the late Jim Kirk from Ocala, who offered Presley his first headlining opportunity; former governor and U.S. senator Bob Graham, who saw the young rockabilly god at the dawning of Elvis mania; Steve Binder, who produced Presley's '68 Comeback Special; and Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Louvin, who opened for Presley in Florida.
Kealing follows Elvis after his return from the Army to his homecoming TV special in Miami with Frank Sinatra and through the filming of Follow That Dream in Florida in 1961, offering unique insights into the singer's relationship with co-star Anne Helm, his controversial manager Tom Parker, and the beginnings of his melancholy as a prisoner of fame.
This book is a roadmap to Elvis's time in the Sunshine State, a guide to the many small and large venues he played up and down the peninsula, and a spotlight on the people who witnessed, supported, and even opposed his meteoric rise to fame. It was a turning point in American music history; it was the arrival of rock and roll.
- ISBN-13: 9780813062303
- ISBN-10: 0813062306
- Publisher: University Press of Florida
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 280
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds