The "Elvis Special" is an annual yearbook which was published by Elvis Monthly magazine
from 1961 to 1984. It contains articles, short stories and poems by Elvis
fans and experts, facts about Elvis's life and career including photographs,
quotes, reviews, filmography and discography lists.
The first of the Elvis Special yearbooks was the "1962 Elvis Special" and appeared in 1961.
Albert Hand was editor till "Special 1973". Hand was one of the earliest Elvis fans
to write about his idol. From 1959 until his passing in 1972, Hand
produced a number of Elvis titles, mostly in conjunction with his fan club and
his magazine, Elvis Monthly (see for example
A Century of Elvis
Elvis A to Z).
The 100-page The Elvis Pocket Handbook
published in 1961 was the first of its kind.
Hand was president of the Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain and
the Commonwealth, as well as founder of the
International Elvis Presley
After the passing of Hand the Elvis Specials 1973 to 1975 were edited by the
"editor of Elvis Monthly". All later editions were edited by Todd Slaughter.
The Elvis Special from 1978 was a special edition.
Printing of "Elvis Special 1978" had been completed before Elvis's death and an updated
Special appeared also simply as "Elvis Special". Except the "Elvis Special 1962",
all editions were hardcover.
A more detailed description of each "Special" is given below. The text was partly taken
from David Neale's excellent site
Elvis in Print ....
Elvis Special 1962 (Albert Hand, 1961)
The very first Elvis Special (and not to be confused with
which is often listed as the 1962 Special, but was actually an
"Elvis Monthly Special" issued in 1962!). Albert's brief editorial
indicates his doubts about the success of his new project -- little
did he know that more than 20 further annual Specials would follow!
For a first attempt, this is an excellent collection of photos (all
black and white, except for the cover) and fan articles. Already fans
were writing about unreleased tracks, but the main question seemed to
be if Elvis was going to marry! Controversy is provided in the form of
an article listing "Elvis's Most Overrated Recordings," too! They were
all "gone, real gone," and listening to their wirelesses in those days,
but I bet they had a great time! The only Special with a soft cover, too.
Being soft-cover, the 1962 Special has not held up so well against the
ravages of time. Fewer of them were printed, too, than later editions,
which all goes to make the 1962 Special a choice and scarce collectors item.
Elvis Special 1963 (Albert Hand, 1962)
The second Special, but the first in hardback!
Apparently, this was the first UK home-grown Elvis hardback ever ("Operation Elvis"
was originally published in the US, so isn't taken into account) -- the now late
Albert Hand says so in his editorial, so who am I to argue? A 78-page effort,
all b/w illustrations, with prize for best article going to
"What Do You Think Of Elvis?" in which numerous pop stars of
the day give their thought on the leader of the pack -- and some
of them even think he'll still be around in 1972...!
Elvis Special 1964 (Albert Hand, 1963)
The first edition in 1962 was
a soft-cover, 66 page effort -- If you've got one, let me know!; the 1963
edition was hardback with 78 pages, and by 1964 the annual had fattened out
to almost 100 pages of fan articles and Elvis information. You'll love "The
Elvis Monthly Story," with, amongst other things a pic of the El-Cyclopedia
and (for the old-timer fans) one of Albert's red Sunbeam!
Elvis Special 1965 (Albert Hand, 1964)
Cartoons (Elvis Toons) illustrate Elvis song
titles and the winning 1964 formula of articles and info continues.
Elvis Special 1966 (Albert Hand, 1965)
Best article must be "Elvis In Person -- 1972"
in which Michael Wolkins looks into the future and has Elvis winning an
Oscar for Best Actor and appearing live at Wembley Stadium. If only! Photos
of Tupelo birthplace before the big clean-up.
Elvis Special 1967 (Albert Hand, 1966)
British fan club annual. Did Elvis have a nose job? Read the evidence,
compare the photos, and judge for yourself!
List of Elvis's films corrected tidily with ink, in small writing, to
include "Kid Galahad," which had been forgotten!
Elvis Special 1968 (Albert Hand, 1967)
Read all about when Albert and Phyllis Hand meet
Elvis on the "Kid Galahad" film set.
Elvis Special 1969 (Albert Hand, 1968)
Most specials contain fairly predictable Elvis
photos, but there's an interesting series from "Elvis's Personal Album."
Pics from the Elvis Birthday Party in London too.
Elvis Special 1970 (Albert Hand, 1969)
British fan club annual. The first issue to include colour photos --
five full-page plates from the sixties.
Elvis Special 1971 (Albert Hand, 1970)
Back to a full black-and-white content, following 1970's introduction of
colour photos. Good selection of photos from the "personal album" of Elvis,
along with the more usual publicity shots and film stills. Also included are
some pics from the Fan Conventions held in the preceding years -- great to
have! Peter Jones provides the three best articles and an early attempt at
Elvis sleuthdom, mixed with science-fiction, is presented in the story,
"Good Grief!!! Flying Sucers!" by Virginia Coons. Todd Slaughter lambasts
Tom Parker in an open letter, imploring him to let Elvis visit Britain.
118 pages for the die-hard fans!
This is "the crinkly one." Because of an error during the production
process, almost all 1971 Specials display a crinkling of the plastic
laminate used to cover the cover boards. Look upon it as a feature rather
than an error.
Elvis Special 1972 (Albert Hand, 1971)
Albert Hand looks forward in his editorial to Elvis's visit to Europe and
Great Britan in particular ("this treat will not now be long delayed").
Albert was always an optimist! Terry Mailey Jr. does a stirling effort in
providing a large part of the articles, backed up by Peter Jones and just
a few others. Wayne Stierle does an excellent job of transforming Edgar
Allan Poe's "Never More" poem (was it called "The Crow"?) into an Elvis
context -- a decent fan poem for once! -- and the whole is, as usual,
filled out with a good selection of EL-pictures!
Elvis Special 1973 (Albert Hand, 1972)
Albert Hand, long-time stalwart of the British Elvis movement, editor of Elvis
Monthly and compiler of Elvis Special, died shortly after having compiled this
edition of the Elvis Special annual. An excellent edition to go out on, with 94
pages of Elvis photos and fan articles, including a couple by Peter Jones,
journalist and editor of "Record Mirror," one of the best pop weeklies (good
article about B.B King), and Tony Neale. Todd Slaughter had already taken over
the OEPFC by this time and writes of the problems involved, little knowing that
soon he would also be confronted with getting out the next edition of Elvis
Special. Also in this 1973 Special, a pic of Dave Kay and the Dykons performing!
Elvis Special 1974 (The Editor of Elvis Monthly, 1973)
Elvis in full concert belt-it-out mode on the cover of a mammoth 94-page Special.
Peter Jones and Terry Mailey make big contributions, but Tony Neale does the best
of a not very inspired collection of articles with "From Country To Blues."
Elvis Special 1975 (The Editor of Elvis Monthly, 1974)
A surprisingly good collection of fan articles, marred perhaps by some of the
worst concert photos possible, especially the one on page 29!
Elvis Special 1976 (Todd Slaughter, 1975)
A fairly predictable collection, but still including some interesting stuff,
such as the unusual "Elvis and Myth" by Kay Parley, a look at the carer of
James Burton in "Play It James" by Tony Neale and, given the events to come,
the unfortunately titled "Changes Ahead For Elvis?" by Peter Jones.
Elvis Special 1977 (Todd Slaughter, 1976)
A somewhat different-looking Special for 1977, with a collage of Elvis-in-concert
photos on the cover, as opposed to the usual head-and-shoulders, and no colour on
the inside. This is certainly not a drawback, however, as this must be one of the
best Specials ever printed. Better than average articles, including one on the
architectural history of Graceland! An added bonus is formed by the three
cartoons by Dutch superfan Ger Rijff. Yep, one of the very best Specials, but
what a year it would prove to be!
Elvis Special 1978 (Todd Slaughter, 1977)
Printing had obviously been completed before
Elvis's death, as there are details of the planned 1978 visit to the USA
with "the chance to see Elvis appearing live." Lots of colour pics, a
review of all Elvis's films and a complete RCA catalogue are included,
together with a number of articles from fans.
Elvis Special (Special Edition) (Todd Slaughter, undated)
Elvis Special 1978 (undated). Printing of Elvis Special 1978 had
been completed before Elvis's death. To compensate for this, the
1978 Special appeared also simply as "Elvis Special" (no year, but
otherwise the same cover), with the article about the forthcoming
1978 visit to the States scrapped (replaced by a concert photo), a
more sober title page (with reference to "the late Elvis Presley")
and a new leader by Todd Slaughter, called "The World Mourns Elvis."
Elvis Special 1979 (Todd Slaughter, 1978)
The first new edition of the Special to be completed after Elvis's death
(the 1978 issue had been slightly amended after its dated edition and
reissued with no date). Surprisingly upbeat issue, with no heart-rending,
just good articles looking forward (as far as 2077!) and back. Some unusual
pics, too, making this a very special Special.
Elvis Special 1980 (Todd Slaughter, 1979)
Wow! You'd think Elvis had never left the building!
Better paper, a great selection of photos and some good articles, with
stalwarts of Elvis Monthly, such as Terry Mailey and Anne Nixon still
providing the goods. The shape of things to come is covered in a couple
of pieces, especially "Collectormania" and "Two British Rarities."
Elvis Special 1981 (Todd Slaughter, 1980)
British fan club annual. Back to a slightly poorer quality of paper, but Terry
Mailey continues his huge input and the crossword is back (it disappeared in
1980)! The prize for the most interesting article, though, must go to Dave
Whitehead's "Behind Closed Doors," which looks at supposedly unreleased
Elvis numbers. Some have appeared in the intervening time, some we now
know were never recorded, and others seem to be lost forever. But at the
time it gave us hope for far less than we have since received!
Elvis Special 1982 (Todd Slaughter, 1981)
The silver jubilee year of the OEPFC of Great Britain and the Commonwealth,
but a standard issue 62-page Special. Lots of colour and Terry Mailey, but
interesting, too, for the look back at 25 years of the fan club, the first
Miss Elvis Presley Fan Club, a premonition of a fan club convention in 2003
(fairly accurate, too, other than the "new" De Montfort Hall!) and a review
of Roy Hamilton's career by Tony Neale.
Elvis Special 1983 (1982)
Fairly lean issue of the the annual Special put out
by the OEPFC of GB. Illustrations in both b/w and colour include one seldom
seen portrait of Elvis and a pic of Billy Fury at the Pontins gathering of
1982, which makes the book of particular interest to fans of the late British
singer. Articles are predictable, except for one about the making of the 8-LP
set, "Elvis Aron Presley," by RCA's own Joan Deary.
Elvis Special 1984 (Todd Slaughter, 1983)
The 23rd annual Elvis Special to roll off the presses and a pretty good one at
that, even if (or just because?) it follows the tried and tested formula.
16 pages of full colour are included in the full 62 this time. A reprint of
an early 70s interview with Scotty Moore, a look back at the '61 Hawaii
concert, and several pages of seldom-seen b/w pics are the highlights.
Elvis Special 1985 (Todd Slaughter, 1984)
By now an institution,
and this edition celebrates what would have been Elvis's 50th birthday.
Excellent editorial by Slaughter and the usual mixture of fan articles,
poems and puzzles. Terry Mailey Jr is again a major contributor, with a
fair input from Anne E. Nixon, too. Very well illustrated in b/w and colour.
The Man and his Music (Todd Slaughter, 1981)
This looks like an Elvis Special, but isn't. This "Special" was not published
until 1981, or MCMLXXXI as the Romans used to say, but because it has the same
dimensions as the usual Specials (though, strangely, not as the 1977 Special,
which was larger than the others) and uses the same cover image as the 1977
Special, many sellers describe it as such.
Text updated: 4 July 2020
1959 - A Century of Elvis
1961 - The Elvis Pocket Handbook
1961 - Elvis Special 1962
1962 - Elvis Special 1963
1962 - Meet Elvis
1963 - Elvis Special 1964
1964 - Elvis Special 1965
1965 - Elvis Special 1966
1966 - International Elvis Presley Appreciation Rules
1966 - Elvis Special 1967
1967 - Elvis Special 1968
1968 - Elvis Special 1969
1969 - Elvis Special 1970
1970 - Elvis Special 1971
1971 - Elvis Special 1972
1972 - Elvis Special 1973
1973 - Elvis Special 1974
1974 - Elvis Special 1975
1975 - Elvis Special 1976
1976 - Elvis A To Z
1976 - Elvis Special 1977
1977 - Elvis Special 1978
1977 - Elvis Special (special edition)
1978 - Elvis Special 1979
1979 - Elvis Special 1980
1980 - Elvis Special 1981
1981 - Elvis The Man and His Music
1981 - Elvis Special 1982
1982 - Elvis Special 1983
1983 - Elvis Special 1984
1984 - Elvis Special 1985
- Elvis In Print ... by David Neale
- Infinite Elvis; An Annotated Bibliography by Mary Hancock Hinds