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The late great King of Rock 'n Roll Elvis Presley

“Elvis and Ireland” explore the life and career of the rock legend along with his Irish influences and connections

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The late great King of Rock 'n Roll Elvis Presley

Irish rock star Barry Devlin of legendary Celtic Rock group Horslips will be on hand this Friday at The Corner Note Café, in the south Dublin village of Dalkey to officially launch the new music biography, “Elvis and Ireland” by Ivor Casey. “Elvis and Ireland” explores the life and career of American singer Elvis Presley and his influences and connections with Ireland. Ivor notes the book as the “Irish biography” of Elvis Presley as it tells the story of the rock ‘n’ roll legend from an Irish perspective. It features the detailed story of Elvis Presley’s life and career, combined with a timeline of events in Irish popular culture and the social changes brought on by his unique brand of rock ‘n’ roll. “It is one of the first books to document the evolution of rock and pop culture in Ireland” Ivor adds.

“Elvis and Ireland” is a journey through his impact on the showbands, beat groups and rock stars such as Rory Gallagher, Phil Lynott and Bono. What you will also find in it is just about everything to do with Elvis and his links with Ireland including his Irish chart successes, as well as areas of censorship and condemnation by Ireland’s establishment. The book references and details eyewitness accounts and officially recorded government notes of the 1950s, giving a glimpse into how the establishment viewed Elvis in Ireland. In his research Ivor also uncovers the files of the Irish film censors of the time, to provide historical fact on what exactly was cut out of Elvis’s movies, as well as the news that Presley’s 1958 film “King Creole” was originally banned in Ireland on its first release.

The author highlights how this information helps to serve as a historical social study of Ireland throughout the 1950s and beyond. Nonetheless, it doesn’t end there as the book focuses primarily on music, charting decades of new Irish bands, up to the present day who regard Presley as an everlasting influence. It is full of interviews, quotes and facts from different Irish personalities of various fields. Eamonn McCann of Irish music magazine “Hot Press” recently called the book, “an enchantingly idiosyncratic work” and “genuinely original”, while Barry Egan of The Sunday Independent notes that “Casey is to be commended for a rare feat: an original book on The King”. Bono has recently been photographed with the author giving his thumbs up for the book and Barry Devlin has expressed his enjoyment of the work, as well as his delight to be part of the upcoming official launch.

Casey, aged 29, began writing the book over a decade ago, when he was just eighteen years old and heading for the Leaving Cert. Ivor recalls, “I discovered Elvis when I was thirteen after a night of TV tributes to Presley on the 20th anniversary of his death in 1997 and became captivated by the excitement and energy he injected into his performances”. Casey adds, “The re-release of his song ‘Always On My Mind’ was also a big hit at the time and for the first time in my life I discovered that singers sing songs about subjects which reflect their lives, as Elvis recorded this when he had just separated from his wife”.

Combining a sense of national pride and a deep admiration for Elvis and Irish rock music, the book was conceived. Ivor got side tracked into freelance journalism, where he wrote articles for regional and national papers in Ireland. He eventually went back to college as a mature student and received a BA (Hons.) degree in English, Media and Cultural Studies at Dun Laoghaire’s Institute of Art, Design and Technology. On completion of college, Ivor returned to the book recently and decided to edit and publish it himself. Ivor is possibly the youngest Elvis biographer and reflects the new generation of Elvis enthusiast as he was born over 6 years after Elvis died.

Casey highlights how the book covers several decades of Irish popular music without ever losing track of Elvis’s story. In brief this book is a view of Elvis Presley through Irish eyes. “Elvis and Ireland” brings together the story of the global superstar from his birth to his untimely death, picking up the Irish connections along the way. Ivor explains “Hundreds of Elvis books already exist but rarely does a new Elvis book have something to say from a totally different cultural stand point”.

“Elvis and Ireland” will be officially launched on Friday 10 May 2013 at the The Corner Note Café, Dalkey, Co. Dublin at 6.30pm.

“Elvis and Ireland” is available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. In Ireland it is on sale at Tower Records, Wicklow St., Celtic Note, Nassau St., The Corner Note Cafe, Dalkey, as well as Easons – RRP $18.99 / €14.99

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