Before he was the King: Intimate pictures of Elvis aged just 21 and on the verge of changing rock 'n' roll forever .
A star is born: A 21-year-old Elvis 'kiss' young fan Barbara Gray just before going on stage at the the Mosque Theatre Richmond, Virginia in June 1956
Taken shortly after the legend had been signed by record company RCA Victor, some of the black and white snaps for the new book include a 21-year-old Elvis and a young fan sharing a tender moment just before he goes on stage. The famous photograph - known as 'The Kiss' - was taken without Elvis' or the young woman's knowledge and had become one of the most iconic of the King in his early years.The fresh-faced singer actually touches the blonde girl's tongue with his in the spontaneous moment. 'I never bothered to ask her name,' German-born Wertheimer said in a Vanity Fair interview about 'The Kiss' in 2011. 'And she never bothered to tell me.' In fact the buxom blonde is Barbara Gray, or Bobbi Owens as she was known back them , a young woman to whom Elvis had spoken to over the phone and had arranged to meet in Richmond.
Young Elvis: The King performing for StageShow in March 1956 photographed by Alfred Wertheimer who was commissioned to take publicity shots of the, then unknown, new star
Making history: Elvis already had his signature moved down to a T when he performed at the age of 21 on stage at the the Mosque Theatre Richmond, Virginia in June 1956
Early days of stardom: Elvis Presley in an undated photograph, probably May 1956, slouched on a stairwell in Memphis, Tennnessee (not featured in the book)
When they met in person, they spent the day together, and Mr Wertheimer captured it all, photographing them flirting and being playful in the back seat of the taxi. Later that day, Mr Wertheimer grew concerned when he found he had lost Elvis subject just before the show was about to start. As he walked around the theatre looking for him, he saw two figures at the end of a dark, narrow hallway - the future rock star, and his date for the day. He thought about letting the two have their private moment, but then thought better of it, saying 'the worst that can happen is that he’ll ask me to leave.' Speaking in 2011, Mr Wertheimer said he was never asked about all the pictures he took that day until 19 years later, when Elvis was found dead in his Graceland mansion. He told the Today Show: 'The day he died, Time magazine called me and asked me to bring all my photos over immediately.'
Suspicious mind: It was only early days for Elvis when he was photographed on a chair backstage in August 3 (not featured in the book)
A legend was born: Elvis sings onstage during his first tour, summer 1956, with his signature leather overlay on his acoustic guitar (not featured in the book)
All shook up: Pictured a month before recording his second album, Elvis Presley performed several shows in Miami in August, 1956, in front of ecstatic screaming female fans.
Sgt. Elvis Presley leaves the house he and his family occupied in Bad Nauheim, Germany, March 1960.
RETURN OF THE KING: WHEN ELVIS LEFT THE ARMY. Not originally published in LIFE. Sgt. Elvis Presley at a press conference before leaving Germany, March 1960.