Thursday, 27 July 2017

Elvis Under The Covers By Michael Madden - Press Release

In August 1977 the world stopped when Elvis Presley passed away. As we acknowledge the 40th anniversary of his passing, it is appropriate to remember the full extent of the man’s legacy, a legacy that continues to grow. Elvis Under The Covers explores his influence through the artists that have recorded his most often covered original songs. We asked author Michael Madden about the book.
What gave you the idea to produce an Elvis Presley book that’s not just about Elvis Presley?
I was asked by my 13-year-old son Zac, “Why is Elvis Presley so famous?” That’s a tough question to answer! He was comparing The King to Justin Bieber, and especially their respective hits on YouTube. I explained that Elvis passed away 28 years before YouTube was even created, and that Elvis’s legacy is there for all to see, and will remain forever so. And of course it is, but if you don’t go looking for it you might find yourself swamped with Bieber and completely overlooking the most important musical icon that ever lived! So I put this together to show the legacy through those that have covered Presley’s songs.

The book has an impressive list of contributors, including Suzi Quatro. How did that come about?

I was researching a particular Elvis impersonator who, by coincidence, came from my home town. He responded quite quickly, and he seemed genuinely pleased to be asked about his passion. So I emailed some more people, and very soon I had a deluge of responses. One of the first was Mary Coughlan who came across as a really warm person as we exchanged emails about being grandparents, Ireland, music and, of course, Elvis Presley. She inadvertently encouraged me to be more ambitious, and when I got a response from Suzi Quatro I was a bit more than pleased. I remember Suzi on Top Of The Pops when I was around 13 or 14. Dressed from head to toe in black leather and strutting her stuff with a bass guitar. She was my first real crush, and now here she was emailing me. She has a real ‘connection’ with Elvis, and she just wanted to give more, so I asked her if she would write the foreword. She didn’t hesitate, and within a day or so we had the finished piece. I think as well that you just have to imagine these people as just that - people! They are only human, and if you can get through the layers of management they are only too pleased to offer words, which says a lot about the individual artists and even more about Elvis.

Did any refuse?

Yes, of course. There were many I didn’t get a reply from, and a couple of artists who didn’t want to contribute, but they did at least take the time to reply!

Whose response thrilled you the most?

Well that has to be Suzi Quatro for the reasons already stated. But it would be unfair to single her out. Eddi Reader gave me a really nice quote, and to receive responses from Wanda Jackson, Stella Parton, Tanya Tucker, Al Kooper, well, there are just so many. Oh, and I mustn’t forget Kenny Vance. Kenny didn’t just want to give me a sentence, so he called me. We spent a very fine Sunday morning discussing Elvis, the 1950s, Brooklyn and Doo Wop. Another memorable one came from Ondřej Hejma of Czech band Žlutý Pes. When you read that you realise how lucky we are to have easy access to arts, culture and especially everything Elvis.

Why the top tens?

Oh, that was just a bit of fun! A book full of facts and figures should hopefully generate lots of debate – so I thought I would get mine in first!

Rock and roll entertainer Mike Sanchez has provided several pages, I believe there is some history there?

Yes, I wrote Mike Sanchez Big Town Playboy, which is Mike’s authorised biography. It was a lot of fun, and I got to meet Robert Plant, Jeff Beck and several other great artists. We still keep in touch, and I go to see him whenever he is in the area. Truly one of the greats, and when it came to Elvis he jumped at the chance to write a few paragraphs. Of course, when you are Mike Sanchez you have to be a bit over the top – so it ended up being several really well written pages.

That was published by Music Mentor Books. Did you approach them about this book?

No. George Groom-White at Music Mentor is one of the most professional people that I have ever come across. A real perfectionist and a pleasure to work with. But this was more a labour of love and I wanted full control, including putting it out on Kindle which George is not really keen on.

Is it a lot more work?

It is in the sense that I have to do all of the design and the typesetting, though Createspace provide templates so its really quite easy. I had a copy editor for the Big Town Playboy book, and I have 2 editors working on this one. There’s a lot of cross checking and re-reading, but that’s the same with any book. I have to give a shout to Hollie Crankshaw who created the artwork for the cover. She is very talented, and I am sure she has a great career ahead of her. I worked with her previously on The Raven, an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s work that I wrote for the Buxton Festival Fringe. She provided makeup and special effects for four bizarre characterizations and they were superb. August promises to be a whirlwind, with 5 radio interviews in the pipeline and several book signings, with hopefully more to follow.

Most of the book is dedicated to those who have recorded Elvis’s songs rather than Elvis himself. Do you think that will put people off?

Not really, because its all about Elvis’s legacy. These people, by their sheer diversity, extend that legacy to their own fans and music lovers the world over. I mean, they range from Bob Dylan to Daffy Duck, and from classical to punk. Just about every genre is covered, including some great jazz performers.

What’s next?

Who knows?! I have published books on music, cookery, adult fiction and children’s rhymes. At one time I did think …Under The Covers could be a series, with maybe Chuck Berry next. I’ll have to see how this one goes. I have got a teen fiction zombie book that should be out for Christmas, and a sequel to my cookery book! You can find details at Hopefully I will find time to update my website some time soon!

Elvis Under The Covers by Michael Madden is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle from August 2017.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Elvis Under The Covers by Michael Madden - My Favourite Quote

The hopefully final edits are complete and the book is off for review again. Next proof should be here within a week which allows me to get back to marketing!

Already got 3 radio slots booked, including BBC Radio Sheffield and Oldham Community Radio. I will publish a full list on the FB page.

One of my favourite quotes is from Ondřej Hejma of Czech band Žlutý Pes - I guess most of us cannot imagine what this would be like!

Elvis’s music was so strong you could hear it on the other side of the Iron Curtain. It was like a ray of light in those dark times. We knew very little about him, saw none of his movies, but the music was good enough all by itself.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Elvis Under The Covers by Michael Madden - the final countdown!

Got some great words from Kenny Vance and one or two other late quotes have come in. I've incorporated them into the latest (last?) version and am going through the final edits before the next proof.

August 16th marks the 40th Anniversary of Elvis's passing - so that's a real deadline, and I am booked on to Oldham Community Radio that evening - So I'd better be ready!

The artwork has finally come together - with Hollie Crankshaw providing these images:-

If you want to learn more about Hollie here is here Instagram link.

Now involved in the marketing (the hardest part of all).

Hopefully some of the contributors will give it a plug!


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Elvis Under The Covers by Michael Madden - Cover design

Spent quite some time yesterday revising the cover image (the one we are currently using is a stock photo and doesn't have that 'unique' feel.)

Its not quite finished yet - but you can get the idea - the names on the image are some of those listed in the book, superimposed on and around the image of Elvis.

Still need to work on the font and shade but its really not far off.

All artwork has been produced by the hugely talented Hollie Crankshaw - I'll get her page details and post them here.

Meanwhile the hard slog of proof reading continues. Hopefully this will be my penultimate trawl through the whole manuscript!


Saturday, 8 July 2017

Elvis Under The Covers by Michael Madden - The Impersonators

When Elvis Presley walked in to Sun studios in 1953 who could ever have known that his success would spawn a whole new career choice of 'Elvis Impersonator', and that career choice would itself hold national and international competitions as well as having its own Hall Of Fame?

There are some famous singers who could be classed as Elvis Impersonators, such as Freddie Starr or Les Gray who adopted the persona of Tulsa McLean, but my own favourite is Sweden's Eilert Pilarm.

I will let you make your own mind up about Eilert, he has had hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits, and he has reputedly played at Graceland. His songs were regularly featured on John Peel's radio show, and he was the Best Swedish Elvis Impersonator of 1999. It is unknown who the opposition were!

Eilert Pilarm sings In The Ghetto


Friday, 7 July 2017

Elvis Under The Covers by Michael Madden - In August 1977 The World Stopped When Elvis Presley Passed Away

In August 1977 the world stopped when Elvis Presley passed away. As we acknowledge the 40th anniversary of his passing, it is appropriate to remember the full extent of the man’s legacy, a legacy that continues to grow. Elvis Under The Covers explores his influence through the artists that have recorded his most often covered original songs. These are Can't Help Falling In Love. In The Ghetto, Don't Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel and Jailhouse Rock.

Glam rock legend Suzi Quatro has provided the foreword in which she describes the times that Elvis Presley touched her life, and when she touched his.

Mike Sanchez explains the influence that The King had on his life and his career.

There are also personal contributions from many of the artists featured in the book, including Eddi Reader, Mary Coughlan, Chris Spedding, Tanya Tucker, Wanda Jackson and Stella Parton.

These musicians, singers, actors and performers cover the whole spectrum of musical entertainment, from fame to obscurity, from number 1 hit makers to the occasionally bizarre, from cartoons to classics, and from religion to rock and roll.

It is not often that a book can legitimately mention Bob Dylan, Andy Williams and the members of The Beatles alongside Bugs Bunny, Stephen King and a camembert cheese (the reader will have to search for that one!) However, on a journey through this legacy there are many unusual connections, including a tenuous link between Jona Lewie and Howlin’ Wolf! The one thing that binds them all together, the essence of the journey that they have all chosen to take, is the elixir that is Elvis Presley.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Elvis Under The Covers by Michael Madden - More Famous Names!

Came in after a long day today to two very nice emails. The first of these came from someone that I have been a fan of since I first heard Delta Dawn. I had no idea that Tanya Tucker was just 13 when she recorded that timeless country classic.

Delta Dawn

The second was from the son of Kenny Vance, and Kenny is keen to set up an interview so that he can contribute to the book.

Kenny's band Jay & The Americans have something unique in that they opened the first US shows for both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

In other news the initial proof should be delivered over the weekend. Its still a long way from being complete - but I'm looking forward to seeing something tangible after hours of staring at a computer screen!


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Elvis Under The Covers by Michael Madden - Author Bio

I realise that not many of you will know who I am! I could just keep the suspense until you get to the very end of the book - but where's the fun in that?!

My previous works have included a fictional tale about Stags in Amsterdam, a cookery book and a children's rhyming picture book.

However, my most notable literary achievement was Mike Sanchez Big Town Playboy, an authorised biography for which Robert Plant supplied the foreword. Other contributions came from Bill Wyman, Jeff Beck, Albert Lee, Rick Vito and so many more.

Whereas the introductions to those notable musicians were made through Mike Sanchez himself, for Elvis Under The Covers it has been all my own work! Suzi Quatro has been fabulous in turning around the foreword, and there are others such as Eddi Reader and Wanda Jackson who have replied through their agents. Of course, there will always be those who decline, and several that it is just impossible to get to! But for every one that does not respond there is usually a welcome surprise from an artist that emails directly, such as the Irish star Mary Coughlan.

Then there is the aforementioned Mr Sanchez, an accomplished lyricist and writer. He was only too happy to provide his Rock And Roll Reflections, issuing several drafts as he sought perfection, the same standard that he applies to his stage shows.

And myself?

Well here is the bio from the book. Enjoy.

About The Author

Michael Madden is a child of the 1960s and 1970s. Too young to remember the early days of Elvis Presley, but old enough to be an impressionable 15 year old when The King passed away. His influences gathered themselves in the glam rock era of Marc Bolan and Suzi Quatro, and blossomed into the halcyon punk days of The Stranglers, The Rezillos and countless bands that came and went with barely a murmur.

And yet rock and roll was always there. His parents passed on their records by Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, and it was an obscure Kings Of Rockabilly cassette tape featuring Sleepy LaBeef that led to one of Michael’s previously published books Mike Sanchez Big Town Playboy.

He has published a total of 5 titles, and he adapted Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven for a youth theatre production at the Buxton Festival Fringe. His home is in the village of Whaley Bridge in the Peak District where he lives with his wife and 2 youngest children, playing cricket, writing books and songs, and striving to pass on his musical legacy to all 3 of his children and his granddaughter with varying degrees of success.

#40th Anniversary

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Its taken a while...

The last few months have been hard work, but it is now all coming together, and hopefully in time for the 40th anniversary of Elvis' passing in August.

The artwork for the cover of Elvis Under The Covers is being produced by the very talented Hollie Crankshaw who of course did the makeup for The Raven.

And that's not all...

I previously suggested that Mike Sanchez would be providing the foreword, well that's not quite true. Mike has kindly written his Rock And Roll Reflections that describe the influence that Elvis had on him whilst he was growing up as well as later on in his career.

Still available on Amazon!

So what of the foreword? Well I am pleased to say that the wonderful Suzi Quatro has given me her take on Elvis Presley, what he meant to her, and perhaps what she meant to him!

There are also many quotes from some quite surprising artists - but more of that in the next update.