On January 1, 1967, a new contract between 'Colonel' Tom Parker and his sole client, Elvis Presley, gave Parker a 50 per cent cut of royalties and profits that Presely generated. It was an unashamed grab for a bigger piece of a pie that had actually been shrinking for some time. Parker's plan to re-establish Presley as a star after he left the army in 1960 had been successful at first, with the success of films like "G.I. Blues" and "Blue Hawaii" and their soundtracks. But as the decade progressed the films became formulaic, the music bland, and sales declined. By 1967 Presley's singles struggled to break the top 20, and he hadn't had a number one for six years. Yet by the end of 1968 he was artistically revitalized, re-emerging in a TV comeback special of December that year slimmed down for the now iconic black leather suit, playing country-soul influenced rock like he meant it and loved it. It was the pivotal moment of the second great period of Presley's career, which lasted through to the end of 1970, during which he recorded some of his most enduring records, including "Suspicious Minds" and "In The Ghetto".
In "Return Of The King" author Gillian Gaar shows how Presley reclaimed his crown, making an extraordinary transition from fading MoR balladeer to engaged, vital artist.
Gillian G. Gaar is the author of several books about music, including She's A Rebel: The History of Women in Rock and Roll, Green Day: Rebels With A Cause and The Rough Guide To Nirvana. She has also written for Mojo, Rolling Stone, Record Collector, Goldmine, and the Experience Music Project museum, among others.