Joseph A. Tunzi

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Joseph A. Tunzi
Born Joseph Anthony Tunzi
(1953-07-25) July 25, 1953 (age 61)
Chicago, Illinois
Occupation author, publisher, self-publisher, producer, researcher, archivist, historian
Website
http://www.jatpublishing.com/

Joseph Anthony Tunzi (born July 25, 1953) is a Chicago, Illinois based author, publisher, and producer. He has been described as “one of the foremost authorities on Elvis Presley,” [1] authoring, self-publishing, and producing nearly fifty titles about Presley for the past twenty-six years. Tunzi has also compiled a massive photo archive, from which he licenses photographs of Presley.

Adam Victor referred to Tunzi in his 2008 publication, The Elvis Encyclopedia as "one of the world's most prolific Elvis authors, with more than twenty books to his name, specializing in photo books about specific events and tours through his own publishing operation, J.A.T. Productions."[2] Victor went on to write in The Elvis Encyclopedia that "many of Tunzi's books feature exclusive interviews and recordings and that he has also published a number of DVD titles, including the Elvis Presley Hot Shots And Cool Clips series."[2]

Mike Eder wrote of Tunzi in AMICI Journal, "Deciding to focus purely on his writing and publishing, building a huge archive of photos, every book Tunzi has released has included a plethora of rare photographs. With their beautiful layouts, and accurate information, Tunzi quickly built a reputation as a top writer and archivist." [3]

Additionally, Tunzi has been interviewed by several television and radio programs as well as for several newspaper articles and websites throughout his career.[4] Between 1972 and 1977, Tunzi routinely was a guest commentator on Roy Leonard's radio program on WGN (AM), often offering opinions on Elvis Presley's latest record releases and Elvis' personal concert appearances, films and television specials he had recently witnessed, amongst other subjects.

Early career[edit]

Tunzi worked at several radio stations in the Chicago area between 1972 and 1982 as an account executive in charge of selling radio advertisements. He also owned Records For A Song, a Chicago area record shop in the late seventies.[3] In 1982, he formed his own publishing company, which up until 1987 strictly dealt with direct mail advertising. By 1985, Tunzi had stopped working for radio stations and began focusing his efforts towards becoming an entrepreneur in direct mail advertising.

First Book[edit]

By 1988 his company, JAT Publishing (name derived from his initials), diverted its efforts towards self-publishing books that eventually evolved to primarily featuring rare photographs of Elvis Presley throughout his life and career. His first self-published book, though, The First Elvis Video Price And Reference Guide, was a parody of the various price guides that were coming into the collectibles market at the time. As Mike Eder noted in his article, A Look At Joseph A. Tunzi in AMICI Journal (National Italian American Celebrity Magazine), "Feeling many of the values to be arbitrary, and also amused by the huge amount of publications, Joseph decided to do a parody price guide on Elvis Presley's videos." [3] As Eder further elaborated, "Tunzi deliberately used subtle humor to test out his theory that these guides were being given too much relevance in collectors' circles." [3] Steven Opdyke wrote in 1999 that “Tunzi had another claim to fame. In 1988, he compiled the first Elvis Presley video guide. It contained listings of movie prints, promotional tapes and foreign releases as part of its lengthy presentations. It also had pricing information, which was especially useful for obtaining items with limited distribution.”[5]

Photo Journals[edit]

Beginning with Elvis, Encore Performance (Chicago 1972) and continuing to this day, Tunzi has written and self-published numerous photo journals on Presley. As Opdyke elaborated in his book, The Printed Elvis: The Complete Guide To Books About The King, "one can only say that Joseph Tunzi (like Elvis biographer Bill E. Burk) has done a ton of work on Elvis. Each book (all from a nineties perspective) has been limited to a specific time period in Elvis' career, concentrating on the music and performances. Taken together, they formed one of the most in-depth chronicles of the King's career from the late sixties forward.”[6]

Beginning with his twentieth year, 2008, Tunzi began publishing all of his latest books in hardback format. That same year, he also published television producer Steve Binder's memoir, '68 At 40: Retrospective, of producing the Singer Presents Elvis television special. This television special is commonly referred to as the '68 Comeback Special. Later, '68 At 40: Retrospective was reprinted in soft-cover format as well.

Elvis Sessions: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977[edit]

In 1993, Tunzi self-published the first edition in a series of books titled Elvis Sessions: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977 based on Elvis Presley’s recording sessions / live recordings. Two further volumes followed in 1996 and 2004. These books have documented the musicians and backup vocalists who performed with Presley as well as some unreleased recordings.[7] Booklist wrote of Tunzi’s first Elvis Sessions book, “Elvis Sessions encompasses the King’s musical career from his first commercial sides for Sun Records in 1954 through his final concert recordings in June, 1977, two months before his death. This terrain is traversed in Reconsider Baby: The Definitive Elvis Sessionography (rev. ed. 1986) but Tunzi also includes material that surfaced recently.” [8]American Libraries wrote of Tunzi's first edition of Elvis Sessions, "The genuine musical genius of Elvis Presley, has, to a large degree, been obscured by the tragic excesses of his last years and the seemingly inexhaustible supply of tabloid drivel about him. Elvis Sessions: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977 eschews such nonsense and sticks with the facts about Elvis's recording career, resulting in a solid bit of American pop music history." [9]

One of the unreleased recordings by Presley that Tunzi documented in Elvis Sessions II: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977 was a acetate recording he personally owned of A Little Less Conversation made in June, 1968 during the production of the “Singer Presents Elvis” television special.[10] In the mid-nineties, Tunzi sold to Bertelsmann Music Group (now owned by Sony Music) the unreleased recording that first appeared on the 1998 double album Memories: The '68 Comeback Special and was later used in the 2001 Warner Brothers motion picture Ocean's Eleven (2001 film) and ultimately remixed by DJ Junkie XL. This remix became a worldwide number one hit, part of a marketing campaign for Nike, Inc.’s "Secret Tournament" Scorpion KO during the 2002 World Cup and a bonus track on the chart-topping compilation ELV1S 30 #1 Hits.

Opdyke also wrote of Tunzi's first two volumes, "Tunzi's 1993 "sessions" book first came out through mail order only. Recently it appeared in a revised edition (412 pages) that quickly became even more useful than the first. There were many great photos along with endless appendices covering gold and platinum records, concert lists, and even a limited bootleg section."[11]

Tunzi has also written and published Elvis No. 1 - The Complete Chart History Of Elvis Presley, which details Elvis Presley's chart numbers on the various charts in both Billboard (magazine) and Cashbox (magazine).

A fourth volume of Elvis Sessions is planned for release in either 2014 or early 2015.

Television, Compact Disc and DVD releases[edit]

In 1997, Tunzi was part of an Elvis Presley twentieth anniversary Blockbuster Video television commercial which featured photographs from his own photo agency. In one of the rare occasions, Tunzi was physically credited for photo usage in the television commercial. This commercial promoted an exclusive Elvis Presley compact disc being sold at Blockbuster Video.

Over the years, his company, JAT Publishing, has expanded to produce several compact disc and DVD titles. He has also written and published two projects on the Beatles. These projects included a book titled Beatles '65 which featured the only known paparazzi photographs taken of Elvis Presley and the members of the Beatles on August 27, 1965. Included with this project was Elvis Sings Beatles Songs, the very first officially sanctioned compact disc release to feature all of Elvis Presley's cover recordings of songs written and originally recorded by the Beatles. The second project Tunzi did on the Beatles was Beatles '64: Goin' To Kansas City which was simply a smaller photo booklet accompanying a CD featuring the audio of a previously unreleased Beatles press conference from September, 1964.

Tunzi produced a DVD starring Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra in 2000, titled Welcome Home Elvis and in 2001 started a series of DVD videos titled Hot Shots & Cool Clips, which is presently at seven volumes. The Welcome Home Elvis release was one of the very first independent Elvis Presley video releases on the DVD format. The Hot Shots & Cool Clips series has featured newsreel, press conference, concert and candid footage of Elvis Presley throughout his career. Tunzi also produced a DVD titled Young Man of The Nation on Elvis Presley being bestowed as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men In America in 1970 by the United States Junior Chamber of Congress (Jaycees). The name of the award was later changed to the Ten Outstanding Young Americans.

In 2001, Tunzi released a compact disc titled Elvis, America The Beautiful, which sold in excess of 10,000 units. It was released in the United States as part of a book package featuring a book of the same name offered through Time-Life.

In 2007, Tunzi collaborated with Sony / BMG on the budget CD title Country's Golden Hits, a ten track title featuring musical selections from the likes of Mac Davis, Sonny James, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, The Oak Ridge Boys, Floyd Cramer, Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton and Charlie Rich.[12] Initially Tunzi sold this compact disc through his own website but later on it was sold through other outlets including Tuesday Morning. Most of the songs featured on this compact disc were songs that Elvis Presley had considered recording at some point.

Research[edit]

In August, 2002, Tunzi was one of the first to properly document and correct the erroneous photo credits attributed to the cover of Elvis Presley's first self-titled RCA Records vinyl album.[13] The album, Elvis Presley (album) only originally credited the photographs used to photographer William Popsie Randolph. However, this credit line actually only applied to the photographs used on the back cover. The front cover, an iconic picture of Elvis Presley performing in concert at the Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory in Tampa, Florida on July 31, 1955 was actually photographed by William V. "Red" Robertson of Robertson & Fresch.[13]

Photograph Archives and Licensing[edit]

Photographs from Tunzi's archives have appeared in numerous compact disc and vinyl reissues of Presley's music beginning with the 1994 compact disc reissues of Elvis (1973 album) and Raised On Rock. Other notable releases to feature his photographs include Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential '70s Masters, An Afternoon in the Garden, Platinum: A Life In Music, Today, Tomorrow, and Forever (Elvis Presley album) and The Complete Elvis Presley Masters. Additionally, photographs from his archives have appeared in Time (magazine), People (magazine) and TV Guide.

A photograph from Tunzi's photo agency has been featured inside the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. In fact, Joseph A. Tunzi's name is also represented on the wall of The Valley View Casino Center below the photograph. The Valley View Casino Center was formerly named the San Diego Sports Arena. Elvis performed at the San Diego Sports Arena on three occasions. These were on November 15, 1970, April 26, 1973 and April 24, 1976.

Joseph A. Tunzi supplied photographs for the 2012 film documentary about songwriter Doc Pomus, titled AKA Doc Pomus.[14] Pomus had co-written several notable songs recorded by Elvis Presley, including Viva Las Vegas (song), A Mess of Blues, Surrender (Elvis Presley song), Little Sister (Elvis Presley song), and (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame.

Tunzi also supplied photographs of The Beatles for Chuck Gunderson's 2013 publication, Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How The Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours of 1964-1966, a two-volume tome detailing The Beatles' North American tours over the course of three years. [15] [16]

In 2014, Tunzi was acknowledged for supplying photographs of Elvis Presley for the Helen Maxwell book, Inside Beverly Hills PD. [17] Elvis is known to have befriended many police officers across the United States during his lifetime.

Cited Works[edit]

Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jørgensen acknowledged Tunzi's work in the introduction to their 1999 publication Elvis Day By Day: The Definitive Record of His Life and Music by lauding "Joe Tunzi's indefatigable photographic and discographical research Elvis Sessions II among others." [18]Julie Mundy, in her book, Elvis Fashion praised Tunzi's work by writing, "with the visually stunning publications from Joe Tunzi, which are certainly the best source for concert images." [19] In Mike Eder's book Elvis Music FAQ: All That's Left To Know About The King's Recorded Works, Eder acknowledged Tunzi with special thanks "for my start" as a writer.[20]

Ernst Jørgensens' book, Elvis Presley: A Life In Music - The Complete Recording Sessions, gratefully acknowledged Tunzi, among others, "for the use of illustrations in this book." [21] Several of Tunzi's works, including Elvis Sessions: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley, 1953-1977, Elvis '69: The Return and Elvis '73: Hawaiian Spirit were cited in the bibliography to Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, volume one of Peter Guralnick's two part biography on Presley.[22] In Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, the second volume of Guralnick's tome on Elvis Presley, several more works by Tunzi were cited in his bibliography, including Elvis Sessions II: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley, 1953-1977, Elvis: Highway 51 South, Memphis, Tennessee, Elvis: Standing Room Only, 1970-1975, Elvis '69: The Return, Elvis '73: Hawaiian Spirit, Photographs and Memories, Tiger Man: Elvis '68, and Elvis, The Lost Photographs, 1948-1969.[23] Additionally, Tunzi also supplied several photos for Careless Love: The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley.[24]

Awards And Accolades[edit]

Tunzi has won a gold publishing award from the IAPHC - The Graphic Professional Resource Network (www.iaphc.org) for his work. He also has been presented with three letters from former presidents. These include letters from George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush acknowledging his work.

Selected Bibliography[edit]

The First Elvis Video Price And Reference Guide (1988)

Elvis, Encore Performance (Chicago 1972) (1990)

Elvis ‘69, The Return (1991)

Elvis ‘73, Hawaiian Spirit (1992)

Elvis Sessions, The Recorded Music Of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977 (1993)

Elvis, Standing Room Only 1970-1975 (1994)

Elvis, Highway 51 South Memphis, Tennessee (1995)

Elvis, The Lost Photographs 1948-1969 (1995)

Elvis Sessions II, The Recorded Music Of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977 (Revised And Expanded Edition) (1996)

Tiger Man; Elvis ’68 (1997)

Photographs & Memories (1998)

Elvis Number One, The Complete Chart History Of Elvis Presley (2000)

Beatles ‘65 (2002)

Elvis Sessions III, The Recorded Music Of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977 (Revised And Expanded Edition) (2004)

ELVIS 68 at 40 (2008) (A 20th Anniversary J.A.T. Full-Color Book)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paoletta, Michael (18 August 2007). "Making The Brand - What Would Elvis Think? Reaction Is Mixed For Viagra Ad Set To Famed Presley Tune". Billboard. John Kilcullen. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b The Elvis Encyclopedia, Overlook Duckworth, October 2, 2008, ISBN 978-1-58567-598-2 (United States) ISBN 978-0-7156-3816-3 (United Kingdom), Adam Victor, Page 541
  3. ^ a b c d AMICI Journal, AMICI Journal Publications, Spring 2005, Mike Eder, Page 2, A Look At Joseph A. Tunzi
  4. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991-07-21/news/9103210465_1_natural-gas-explosions-natural-gas-al-russell
  5. ^ Opdyke, Steven (1999 ISBN 0-313-30815-2, Pages 160). "The Printed Elvis: The Complete Guide To books About The King". The Printed Elvis: The Complete Guide To Books About The King. Greenwood Press. Retrieved 16 January 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Opdyke, Steven (1999 ISBN 0-313-30815-2, Pages 131-132). "The Printed Elvis: The Complete Guide To books About The King". The Printed Elvis: The Complete Guide To Books About The King. Greenwood Press. Retrieved 16 January 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ Boehlert, Eric (16 April 1994). "The Medialine". Billboard. Howard Lander. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Flagg, Gordon (1 October 1993). "Tunzi, Joseph A, Elvis Sessions: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977". Booklist. American Library Association. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  9. ^ American Libraries, American Library Association, September, 1993, Unknown Author, Page 718, The Source
  10. ^ Elvis Sessions II: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977, JAT Publishing, 1996, ISBN 1-88846401-1, Joseph A. Tunzi, Introduction by Al Pachucki, Pages 139 and 399
  11. ^ The Printed Elvis: The Complete Guide To Books About The King, Greenwood Press, 1999, ISBN 0-313-30815-2, Steven Opdyke, Pages 160-161
  12. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Countrys-Golden-Hits-Various/dp/B000P1KROI
  13. ^ a b Tampa Tribune, Steven M. Weaver, August 16, 2002, Greg Williams, Forever Elvis In Tampa
  14. ^ http://akadocpomus.com/credits/
  15. ^ Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How The Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours of 1964-1966 Volume 1: 1964, Gunderson Media, 2013, ISBN 978-0-615-88162-1, Chuck Gunderson, Page 306
  16. ^ Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How The Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours of 1964-1966 Volume 2: 1965-1966, Gunderson Media, 2013, ISBN 978-0-615-88162-1,Chuck Gunderson, Page 312
  17. ^ Inside Beverly Hills PD, Lawtech Publishing Group, 2014, ISBN 978-1-4951-2558-4, Helen Maxwell, Acknowledgements
  18. ^ Elvis Day By Day: The Definitive Record of His Life and Music, Ballantine Books, 1999, ISBN 0-345-42-089-6, Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jørgensen, Page VI
  19. ^ Elvis Fashion, Universe Publishing - A Division of Rizzoli International Publications Incorporated, 2003, ISBN 0-7893-0987-4, Julie Mundy, Page 206
  20. ^ Elvis Music FAQ: All That's Left To Know About The King's Recorded Works (FAQ Series), Backbeat Books - An Imprint Of Hal Leonard, 2013, ISBN 978-1617130496, Mike Eder, Page XIII - Acknowledgements
  21. ^ Elvis Presley: A Life In Music - The Complete Recording Sessions, St. Martin's Press - New York, First Edition: July, 1998, ISBN 0-312-26315-5, Ernst Jørgensen, Foreward By Peter Guralnick, Page IV
  22. ^ Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, Little Brown And Company, 1994, ISBN 0-316-33220-8, Peter Guralnick, Pages 533 and 542
  23. ^ Careless Love: The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley, Little Brown And Company, 1999, ISBN 0-316-33222-4, Peter Guralnick, Pages 731 and 742
  24. ^ Careless Love: The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley, Little Brown And Company, 1999, ISBN 0-316-33222-4, Peter Guralnick, Pages 268, 292, 618

External links[edit]