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Did Elvis have any interest??

Sat May 24, 2003 12:25 pm

Hi All,
I have been thinking lately about whether or not Elvis had any interest in the way his recordings were released from the mid 60's onwards..We all know Elvis took over in the studio when it came to recording and practically produced his own records, and when you consider the fact that Elvis had such an input on his own recordings,why did he allow them to be released in such a shoddy fashion by RCA.?
This is really evident in the 70's but in the 60's he recorded some great non movie tracks that were released as b-sides or added as fillers to soundtracks.
Music was always paramount in Elvis' life, so i can't figure out why he would allow his music to be treated and released so badly by his record company. I would have thought that with all the deals he would have made,the one deal he would have insisted on,would be having an input on his record releases as did most artists form the late 60's onwards.
Elvis must have known that his music was being badly produced and mixed but if he had had a greater interest in the releases maybe the sales figures wouldn't have been so bad and he wouldn't have needed to tour as much as he did in the 70's.

Promocollector

Sat May 24, 2003 12:35 pm

(Sorry I can't resist)

In response to your thread title: Did Elvis have any interest?


Yes, he did.

8% interest compounded annually.

:P

Sat May 24, 2003 6:20 pm

I’ve often wondered about this myself. The material that was used as bonus songs on the soundtrack albums, and eventually became “The Lost Album”/”For The Asking” some years later, would have given Elvis a strong studio album circa 1963, and why “Tomorrow Is A Long Time” wasn’t released as a single in 1966, and was allowed to slip out as a bonus track on the “Spinout” soundtrack album defies logic.

During the ‘70’s we know that Felton released performances that Elvis hadn’t approved for release, but I’ve never read anything regarding Elvis’ opinion on this. Did he know about it, and if so, did he care about it? Throughout Elvis’ career RCA and the colonel certainly operated a quantity over quality approach when it came to Elvis’ music, and it didn’t do Elvis any favours from an artistic standpoint. I think the constant pressure from the colonel and RCA to issue three to four Presley albums a year was certainly a contributing factor in the way Elvis’ recordings were released.

Sun May 25, 2003 10:30 am

While Elvis never realized the importance of song selection and sequencing on albums, he did take an active interest in how his music was presented. However, RCA's constant demand for product and the Colonel's machinations often wore him down. There were several songs Elvis asked not to be released but RCA put them down anyway. Sometimes this was to the public's benefit; Elvis considered a performance as volcanic as "One Night" merely a work tape. Still stuff like "Sound Advice" wound up on an album because of those old contractual obligations. The Colonel never thought to fight for Elvis on these issues because he thought they weren't important. And for the most part he was right. Stuff like "Blue Hawaii" sold even better than truly great music like "Elvis is Back". So Elvis' fans share a large part of the blame for some of the shoddy music he made. Maybe if there'd been greater support for an album like "Elvis is Back", Parker would have not had a leg to stand on.

But Elvis did care. Jorgensen's book details him delaying the release of the TV show soundtrack until they got the mix just right. The main thing I would say is that he got worn down. You can notice it in the performances on the movie soundtracks. On the early 60s soundtrack songs, he sings the heck out of even third rate material like "Song of the Shrimp" or "Kissin Cousins". By 1966 he couldn't bring himself to do the same favor for the songs on the "Paradise Hawaiian Style" soundtrack.

One area where Elvis truly ruled was in single selection. As late as 1972, he blew off the RCA suits by insisting that "An American Trilogy" be his new single. The suits turned out to be right as the single flopped but Elvis took his stand.

In many ways Elvis' career is a good example of the difficulty of being a commercial artist while maintaining your artistic integrity.

Sun May 25, 2003 11:13 am

Wasn't it during the Rapid City (june '77) show where Elvis said something like "Unchained Melody... from an album called "Unchained Melody"... well, that makes sense"...

Says enough