Synopses & Reviews
The story of how Las Vegas saved Elvis and Elvis saved Las Vegas in the greatest musical comeback of all time.
The conventional wisdom about Elvis Presley is that Las Vegas is what destroyed him: launching him on a downward spiral of drugs, boredom, weight problems, erratic behavior, and eventually his fatal overdose. But in Elvis in Vegas, Richard Zoglin takes a revisionist 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, mediocre pop songs that no longer made the charts--and 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 than any show in Vegas history. His performance got rave reviews, "Suspicious Minds" became his first number one hit in seven years, and Elvis became the city's biggest star. Over the next seven years, he performed more than 800 shows there, and sold out every performance.
Vegas was changed, too. It got a new kind of show: an over-the-top, rock-concert-like extravaganza. The King set a new bar for Vegas performers, with the biggest salary, the biggest musical production, and the biggest promotional campaign the city had ever seen. He also opened the door to a new generation of pop/rock performers, who brought a new audience to Vegas--not the traditional wealthy, older gamblers, but 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.