Elvis in Vegas: How the King Rein­vent­ed the Las Vegas Show

  • From the Publisher
January 1, 2013

The sto­ry of how Las Vegas saved Elvis and Elvis saved Las Vegas in the great­est musi­cal come­back of all time. The con­ven­tion­al wis­dom is that Las Vegas destroyed Elvis Pres­ley, launch­ing him on a down­ward spi­ral of drugs, bore­dom, errat­ic stage behav­ior, and even­tu­al­ly his fatal overdose. 

But in Elvis in Vegas, Richard Zoglin takes an alter­nate 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. Las Vegas changed too: the inti­mate night-club-style shows of the Rat Pack, who made Vegas the nation’s pre­mier live-enter­tain­ment cen­ter in the 1950s and 60s, catered large­ly to well-heeled old­er gam­blers. Elvis brought a new kind of expe­ri­ence: an over-the-top, rock-con­cert-like extrav­a­gan­za that set a new bar for Vegas per­form­ers. In doing so, he opened the door to a new gen­er­a­tion of pop/​rock per­form­ers, and brought a new audi­ence to Vegas — a mass audi­ence from Mid­dle Amer­i­ca that Vegas depends on for its suc­cess to this day.

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