BOOKS: Comet Over Tennessee

A critic gives a splendid account of Elvis Presley's early years

He was not much given to argument. In most matters he was deferential to his elders and compliant with his peers. But where music was concerned, he liked getting his own way, and he knew with fearsome certainty what his own right way was. With music, he was fierce, always. With music, Elvis Aron Presley gave no quarter.In the eighth grade at Humes High in Memphis, Tennessee, 10 blocks from the public-assistance housing project where he lived with his mother and father, Presley pulled a C in music. He objected. As Peter Guralnick writes in his supple and altogether splendid new...

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