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.