Happy 85th Birthday, Elvis!

by Chris Murray on January 7, 2020

In the introduction to Elvis at 21, the book I had the pleasure of editing of Alfred Wertheimer’s photographs from 1956, I wrote that, “It is hard to describe the magnitude of Elvis‘ impact at that time, but whatever it was and however you measured it, Elvis and his music were wonderful. As Sun Records proprietor Sam Phillips said of the kind of music Elvis was making, ‘This is where the soul of man never dies.’ I was growing up on rock and roll and Elvis was an electrifying start.”

Limited edition box set of Elvis at 21: New York to Memphis.
Available through Govinda Gallery.

I am grateful to Elvis for his music. I am also grateful to the wonderful photographer Alfred Wertheimer and the 20 years I spent with him working with his photographs. As my favorite author Peter Guralnick wrote in the foreword for Elvis at 21, “What is so remarkable about Al Wertheimer’s documentary portrait of Elvis Presley, very much like the music of the artist it chronicles, is how fresh and contemporary the picture still seems, how utterly unlike any other portrait of this endlessly scrutinized figure.”

Alfred Wertheimer, 1956.

Alfred Wertheimer – Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll (Taschen). Edited by Chris Murray.
First Arrival, New York City, 1956. Photograph by Alfred Wertheimer.

Alfred Wertheimer’s photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.

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