I am pleased to announce my new book on a unique music icon for Equinox Press, Elvis: Roots, Image, Comeback, Phenomenon (2020)…
Elvis Presley remains the single most important figure in twentieth century popular music. To many commentators, however, he has simply embodied the benefits and problems of uncritically embracing capitalism. By 2005 the ‘Memphis Flash’ sold over a billion records worldwide, yet his cultural significance cannot be measured by these extraordinary sales figures alone. He cannot quite be reduced to a placeholder for the contradictions of commerce. As the most prominent performer of the rock’n’roll era, then as a charismatic global superstar, Elvis fundamentally challenged the established relationship between White and Black culture, drew attention to the social needs of women and young people, and promoted the value of Southern creativity. He functioned as a bridge figure between folk roots and high modernity, and in the process became a controversial symbol of American unity.
Here is what the book’s reviewers are saying…
Do we need another book on Elvis? Yes, we do, if the book is by so sophisticated and well-read a scholar as Mark Duffett. Intersecting and interrogating existing interpretations within a larger musical and cultural context, Duffett sheds new light on a universally-recognized subject.This book is enlightening.
Michael T. Bertrand, Professor of History,
Tennessee State University
The book provides a succinct discussion of some of the key facets of Presley’s career. Mindful of the need to approach history as more than a mere compilation of dates and places, Duffett seeks to contextualise and understand the singer, his music, and the responses they provoked. He succeeds admirably, and offers a dynamic analysis in which Presley is recognised not just as a revolutionary performer, but as a historical and sociological event.
Ian Inglis, author of The Beatles and formerly
Visiting Fellow at Northumbria University
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