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Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:59 pm

... Food for thought.....

ACTIVE] The beat goes on

For fans, the day an artist dies is also the day the music dies -- unless the artist has left some previously unreleased material.

That may be the case with Amy Winehouse, the Grammy Award-winning singer who died July 23. Winehouse reportedly left a trove of unreleased material, including an unfinished third album that had been shelved, raising prospects for a posthumous release.

But according to two Kansas State University professors, a posthumous release of unfinished and shelved material can often trivialize a career. Worse, it can also come off as unethical.

"Posthumous releases are both a positive and negative thing," said Steven Maxwell, an assistant professor of music and instructor of a history of rock and roll course at K-State. "On the positive side, it gives fans the opportunity to listen to something new from a musician one last time. The negative side is that many of the releases don't fit into the vision of the artist and in some cases, they diminish the artist's legacy."

One of the best examples of this is Elvis Presley's work, Maxwell said. During his life, Presley only released the music he felt was good, shelving the rest. After his death, though, many of those unapproved, unreleased recordings were taken off the shelf.

"Many people now look at Elvis as having corny music late in his life, even though he made some legendary songs," Maxwell said. "Much of that music that was posthumously released he had kept unreleased for a reason."


Yet due to a hungry fan base and even a little studio magic, that unreleased and unfinished material can easily find its way into record collections -- often extending an artist's career and sometimes bolstering a legacy. Rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. both cataloged more albums in death than in life. But could the same work for Winehouse?

Sales figures indicate the demand is there for her material. Winehouse's albums shot to the first and third spots on both the U.S. and U.K. iTunes sales charts right after her death. Since then, her 2006 album "Back to Black" has stayed in the top 25 bestsellers.

But misinterpreting the ideas of unfinished tunes and releasing substandard material would smack of greed to fans, said Diane Swanson, a professor of management and chair of the Business Ethics Education Initiative at K-State.

"In matters of death, people are more sensitive about a business cashing in because it appears as crass commercialism and exploitation," Swanson said. "If the motivation is really to make sure that a great work gets out there to honor someone's legacy, it needs to be genuine and respectful to the artist and the ideas."

That's especially true for posthumous releases, where values like honoring the deceased compete with profit, Swanson said. Though a business exists to turn a profit, it's still subject to social responsibilities not set in laws. Perceived exploitation could turn consumers off.

In cases of posthumous releases being sold, a portion of proceeds should be donated to a noncontroversial cause that the artist believed in, Swanson said. Ideally, though, the topic would bring about standardized public policy agreed upon by musicians, labels and estates as to how to handle unfinished and unreleased work after death.

According to Maxwell, the possibility that musician's shelved work would be released after his or her death is not a new industry trend.

"In classical music, willing your work destroyed after death happened on a regular basis," he said. "Some of the composers would have their handwritten sheet music burned because they thought it would destroy their reputation since it didn't meet their standards."

In the '60s and '70s the posthumous album became a more common practice as estates -- usually a spouse or family member -- gained control of the work and would often sell it to pay off debts. In other cases, as stipulated by the artist's contract, the label owns the material and decides whether to release it. Such was the case with the posthumous and controversial Michael Jackson album "Michael." Released in December 2010, many friends and family argued that "Michael" exploited Jackson and distorted his unfinished songs. For fans, the reaction was mixed.

"A few tunes on it are fun and are in the spirit of his prior work. To me as a fan, I kind of enjoyed that an album could be released since it was sort of one last hurrah in a sense," Maxwell said. "Was it the album Michael Jackson would have put out if he could have finished it? That's hard to say."

Though albums like Janis Joplin's "Pearl," Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" and "Otis Redding's "Love Man" are seen as some of the best examples of posthumous albums, most were completed or nearly complete before death.

"I think sometimes an estate or label abuse that unreleased and unfinished work, and that can change the legacy of the artist because it's not their vision," Maxwell said. "That's problematic."

http://www.cba.k-state.edu/CivicAlerts. ... 81&ARC=416

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:35 pm

Rock Legend wrote:One of the best examples of this is Elvis Presley's work, Maxwell said. During his life, Presley only released the music he felt was good, shelving the rest. After his death, though, many of those unapproved, unreleased recordings were taken off the shelf.

"Many people now look at Elvis as having corny music late in his life, even though he made some legendary songs," Maxwell said. "Much of that music that was posthumously released he had kept unreleased for a reason."


The first paragraph is completely erroneous. Clearly Elvis did not "only release music he felt was good."

Additionally, some of the archival material issued posthumously is some of Elvis' finest music.

Glad I'm not tossing away tuition on music courses at Kansas State.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:59 pm

Elvis Now, anyone? Music Elvis didn't approve of was getting pushed out while he was still seen as a somewhat contemporary force...and some of the music released since his death (box sets, NYE, FTDs) has added to his legacy. Rock Chalk, piss on Kansas State.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:49 am

How's this for a killer album, released the same month he conquered New York.

ELVIS SINGS HITS FROM HIS MOVIES, VOLUME 1 (LP)
(US) RCA Camden CAS 2567
Released: June 1972

Side 1
Down By the Riverside / When The Saints Go Marching In
They Remind Me Too Much Of You
Confidence
Frankie and Johnny
Guitar Man

Side 2
Long Legged Girl (With The Short Dress On)
You Don't Know Me
How Would You Like To Be
Big Boss Man
Old MacDonald

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:20 am

Sure, some of those albums released during his lifetime were substandard, but still, the numerous posthumous releases containing substandard outtakes, poor quality home-recordings, rehearsals, etc. probably did harm his legacy somewhat. Not the kind of stuff you’d want Joe Public to hear, and yet it’s out there.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:46 am

Rock Legend wrote:... the numerous posthumous releases containing substandard outtakes, poor quality home-recordings, rehearsals, etc. probably did harm his legacy somewhat. Not the kind of stuff you’d want Joe Public to hear, and yet it’s out there.

Exactly which releases do you have in mind?

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:50 am

There's several. Would you really want to introduce somebody to Elvis' music by having them listen to stuff like "It's Different Now", "Bad Nauheim Medley", "Dominic", etc?

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:58 am

Rock Legend wrote:Would you really want to introduce somebody to Elvis' music by having them listen to stuff like "It's Different Now", "Bad Nauheim Medley", "Dominic", etc?

Get real. No one uses recordings like this to introduce Elvis to someone.

These recordings were no doubt released for collectors and accompanying liner notes usually always explain the purpose/reason for such releases!

Bad analogy. Try again, Rock Legend.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:06 am

Rock Legend wrote:Sure, some of those albums released during his lifetime were substandard, but still, the numerous posthumous releases containing substandard outtakes, poor quality home-recordings, rehearsals, etc. probably did harm his legacy somewhat. Not the kind of stuff you’d want Joe Public to hear, and yet it’s out there.

I'm not so sure there are numerous posthumous releases that actually contain "substandard" outtakes, poor quality home recordings, and rehearsals. The vast majority of mainstream archival releases containing outtakes have been quite strong; whether you are talking about the Essential Series or the Platinum set. The first couple of rarities box sets, Golden Celebration and EAP, were high-priced sets marketed as vault projects -- it is unlikely "Joe Public" made up a large portion of the consumer-base for such releases. Even modern-day archival sets of outtakes offered plenty of riches; and again, few casual "Joe Public" consumers were really going to pluck down $50-$100 for Today Tomorrow & Forever and Close Up, especially considering they were marketed as archival sets containing virtually all outtakes.

Aside from a few tracks on the aforementioned Golden Celebration Set or Platinum, BMG/RCA issued one release of "poor quality home recordings" back in '99 with "The Home Recordings" set. There was even a disclaimer on the back of the set about sound quality issues versus historical content. Again, one "home recording" title out of all posthumous releases since 1977 is hardly damaging to any legacy.

At the moment, I cannot recall individual releases of "rehearsals." A few ended up on various reissues such as Memories: The '68 Comeback Special, Platinum, TTWII-SE, etc. - but, none of them were the primary focus of any release and the actual performances were quite exciting and/or intriguing from a historical perspective.

The vast majority of "archival material" issued posthumously has only enhanced the legacy of Elvis Presley and provided a greater understanding into his genius and creative process. It is unimaginable to think of what we would have lost had the opportunity not been granted to us.

I'd be more concerned about "Joe Public" hearing master takes of Life, This Is Our Dance, If You Love Me (Let Me Know), and The Last Farewell.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:19 am

midnightx wrote:I'm not so sure there are numerous posthumous releases that actually contain "substandard" outtakes, poor quality home recordings, and rehearsals. The vast majority of mainstream archival releases containing outtakes have been quite strong; whether you are talking about the Essential Series or the Platinum set. The first couple of rarities box sets, Golden Celebration and EAP, were high-priced sets marketed as vault projects -- it is unlikely "Joe Public" made up a large portion of the consumer-base for such releases. Even modern-day archival sets of outtakes offered plenty of riches; and again, few casual "Joe Public" consumers were really going to pluck down $50-$100 for Today Tomorrow & Forever and Close Up, especially considering they were marketed as archival sets containing virtually all outtakes.

Aside from a few tracks on the aforementioned Golden Celebration Set or Platinum, BMG/RCA issued one release of "poor quality home recordings" back in '99 with "The Home Recordings" set. There was even a disclaimer on the back of the set about sound quality issues versus historical content. Again, one "home recording" title out of all posthumous releases since 1977 is hardly damaging to any legacy.

At the moment, I cannot recall individual releases of "rehearsals." A few ended up on various reissues such as Memories: The '68 Comeback Special, Platinum, TTWII-SE, etc. - but, none of them were the primary focus of any release and the actual performances were quite exciting and/or intriguing from a historical perspective.

The vast majority of "archival material" issued posthumously has only enhanced the legacy of Elvis Presley and provided a greater understanding into his genius and creative process. It is unimaginable to think of what we would have lost had the opportunity not been granted to us.

I'd be more concerned about "Joe Public" hearing master takes of Life, This Is Our Dance, If You Love Me (Let Me Know), and The Last Farewell.

Well said! :wink:

Rock Legend wrote:There's several. Would you really want to introduce somebody to Elvis' music by having them listen to stuff like "It's Different Now", "Bad Nauheim Medley", "Dominic", etc?

Nope, but "An Afternoon In The Garden" wouldn't be that bad... :wink:

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:06 am

The biggest problem with Elvis' catalogue is that some titles that are in heavy rotation right now in retail stores like the 3 pack of camden albums (being advertised for 7.99 at Best Buy ON DISPLAY) should be deleted and his catalogue should be cleaned up to include his albums, just like the Legacy series is doing (despite the two-fer mentality).there are also too many hits comps, so casual fans don't know which ones are good and which ones aren't. The best one out now IMO for a casual fan is the Essential Elvis 2 disc set, for around 12 bucks (including 40 songs). And even it is not perfect.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:07 am

I think the only thing that has hurt is that there have been way too many hits collections or reissues of already released material. I wish the albums and singles Elvis did have a hand in were treated with a little more reverence. FTD classic albums has helped this somewhat, but for the general public the huge catalog can be confusing.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:20 am

I look at the outtakes this way:

I write. I enjoy writing, whether it be plays, articles, whatever. But there is a reason why I decide not to go with first, second, third draft etc. If I was happy with that draft then that's the one I would want people to read. The fact that i discard them means that I wasn't happy with them and that i didn't want people to read them.

A carpenter wouldn't want you to buy one of his cabinets in a half-finished state.

A painted wouldn't want you to buy his painting until he had finished it.

The same goes for singers, in my opinion.

However, at the same time, they are a fascinating look at an artist at work.

My own view is that the whole thing has gone crazy. We have outtakes of songs where the master shouldn't have been released, let alone the first take. I think there are outtakes out there which do add positive to the legacy. But I also think Elvis is turning in his grave at the thought of some of the things we get to listen to from his time in the studio (and the same goes for soundboard recordings in many ways).

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:21 am

midnightx wrote:
Rock Legend wrote:Sure, some of those albums released during his lifetime were substandard, but still, the numerous posthumous releases containing substandard outtakes, poor quality home-recordings, rehearsals, etc. probably did harm his legacy somewhat. Not the kind of stuff you’d want Joe Public to hear, and yet it’s out there.

I'm not so sure there are numerous posthumous releases that actually contain "substandard" outtakes, poor quality home recordings, and rehearsals. The vast majority of mainstream archival releases containing outtakes have been quite strong; whether you are talking about the Essential Series or the Platinum set. The first couple of rarities box sets, Golden Celebration and EAP, were high-priced sets marketed as vault projects -- it is unlikely "Joe Public" made up a large portion of the consumer-base for such releases. Even modern-day archival sets of outtakes offered plenty of riches; and again, few casual "Joe Public" consumers were really going to pluck down $50-$100 for Today Tomorrow & Forever and Close Up, especially considering they were marketed as archival sets containing virtually all outtakes.

Aside from a few tracks on the aforementioned Golden Celebration Set or Platinum, BMG/RCA issued one release of "poor quality home recordings" back in '99 with "The Home Recordings" set. There was even a disclaimer on the back of the set about sound quality issues versus historical content. Again, one "home recording" title out of all posthumous releases since 1977 is hardly damaging to any legacy.

At the moment, I cannot recall individual releases of "rehearsals." A few ended up on various reissues such as Memories: The '68 Comeback Special, Platinum, TTWII-SE, etc. - but, none of them were the primary focus of any release and the actual performances were quite exciting and/or intriguing from a historical perspective.

The vast majority of "archival material" issued posthumously has only enhanced the legacy of Elvis Presley and provided a greater understanding into his genius and creative process. It is unimaginable to think of what we would have lost had the opportunity not been granted to us.

I'd be more concerned about "Joe Public" hearing master takes of Life, This Is Our Dance, If You Love Me (Let Me Know), and The Last Farewell.


I think there’s some decidedly subpar stuff on important career overviews like WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES – The 70s Masters… Material like the aforementioned It’s Different Now, Alla’ En El Rancho Grande, Froggy Went A Courtin’ – and yet finished masters like Early Morning Rain are not there.

Even greatest hits compilations like Number Ones from ’02 contain several inferior outtakes like A Fool Such As I and The Wonder Of You. And that’s the best-selling Elvis release in eons.
Some of the rare recordings on official mainstream releases are embarrassing and in my view should have never been released on the main label.

Clearly, Sony feels the same way – hence the Follow That Dream label for the collectors. Since the inception of that label the number of mainstream releases featuring rare material has decreased considerably.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:37 am

Rock Legend wrote:I think there’s some decidedly subpar stuff on important career overviews like WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES – The 70s Masters… Material like the aforementioned It’s Different Now, Alla’ En El Rancho Grande, Froggy Went A Courtin’ – and yet finished masters like Early Morning Rain are not there.

Even greatest hits compilations like Number Ones from ’02 contain several inferior outtakes like A Fool Such As I and The Wonder Of You. And that’s the best-selling Elvis release in eons.
Some of the rare recordings on official mainstream releases are embarrassing and in my view should have never been released on the main label.

Clearly, Sony feels the same way – hence the Follow That Dream label for the collectors. Since the inception of that label the number of mainstream releases featuring rare material has decreased considerably.


The number of excellent posthumous releases far outweighs the handful of substandard material. If anything, it has had a positive impact on Elvis' legacy as one of the finest artists of the 20th century illustrating how diverse a performer he really was. Also, don't you think it would make sense that "the number of mainstream releases featuring rare material" from Sony should decrease because of FTD??? - it's their label. Why would Sony continue to issue mainstream releases with alternate takes for an artist who has been dead for more than 30 years?

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:45 am

Rock Legend wrote:I think there’s some decidedly subpar stuff on important career overviews like WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES – The 70s Masters… Material like the aforementioned It’s Different Now, Alla’ En El Rancho Grande, Froggy Went A Courtin’ – and yet finished masters like Early Morning Rain are not there.

Again, pinpointing a handful of "rarities" on a retrospective set that are included for 1) historical reasons so that the enthusiast and historian can gain additional insight into an artist's creative process, and 2) that are included as marketing and retail enticers -- are not tracks that set the tone for such a release. It’s Different Now is a useless track, but it isn't as if it is any worse than Mr. Songman. The inclusion of Mr. Songman as a master recording and single is far more troubling on many levels than a rehearsal take of It's Different Now. The vast majority of the '70s set is of medium to high quality (particularly for the era in which it was released) in terms of presentation, mastering, and content.

For every dud you can name that has been issued from the archives, I can name dozens that are stunning and are of very high quality. More importantly, often the majority of archival material is part of expansive sets aimed at the hardcore fan, not the casual consumer. The "Joe Public" that you refer to is most often going to purchase "hits" compilations that rarely have "archival" material included. "Joe Public" gets his hits -- he usually doesn't spring for the Platinum box set loaded with rarities. And frankly, I strongly believe the Platinum set provides an invaluable insight into Elvis Presley's talent and artistry, possibly more so than a straight hits compilation.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:03 am

What a crackbrained idea! Elvis was not PERMITTED a "vision" in life, while recently his true musical ethos has been revealed. It has not been easy and I say Ernst deserves a Grammy Lifetime Acheivement Award for his efforts. There is no perfection but thank God his true legacy was finally rescued.

The other example is also wrong: I very much enjoyed the "Michael" album and finally got to hear "Behind The Mask" for real. Maybe it was a little soon, but that's all.

Certainly the immediate RCA releases were generally hideious, but Joan Deary is a memory and others have done a wonderful job. The guy is simply ignorant.
Just the PBS releases have converted so many. Ridiculous.

rjm

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:08 am

poormadpeter wrote:I look at the outtakes this way:

I write. I enjoy writing, whether it be plays, articles, whatever. But there is a reason why I decide not to go with first, second, third draft etc. If I was happy with that draft then that's the one I would want people to read. The fact that i discard them means that I wasn't happy with them and that i didn't want people to read them.

A carpenter wouldn't want you to buy one of his cabinets in a half-finished state.

A painted wouldn't want you to buy his painting until he had finished it.


The same goes for singers, in my opinion.

However, at the same time, they are a fascinating look at an artist at work.

My own view is that the whole thing has gone crazy. We have outtakes of songs where the master shouldn't have been released, let alone the first take. I think there are outtakes out there which do add positive to the legacy. But I also think Elvis is turning in his grave at the thought of some of the things we get to listen to from his time in the studio (and the same goes for soundboard recordings in many ways).


Dont be that naive..if the carpenter couldnt make more furniture, he would sell whatever he had in his vaults ...unfinish or uneven ...

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:20 am

Francesc wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:I look at the outtakes this way:

I write. I enjoy writing, whether it be plays, articles, whatever. But there is a reason why I decide not to go with first, second, third draft etc. If I was happy with that draft then that's the one I would want people to read. The fact that i discard them means that I wasn't happy with them and that i didn't want people to read them.

A carpenter wouldn't want you to buy one of his cabinets in a half-finished state.

A painted wouldn't want you to buy his painting until he had finished it.


The same goes for singers, in my opinion.

However, at the same time, they are a fascinating look at an artist at work.

My own view is that the whole thing has gone crazy. We have outtakes of songs where the master shouldn't have been released, let alone the first take. I think there are outtakes out there which do add positive to the legacy. But I also think Elvis is turning in his grave at the thought of some of the things we get to listen to from his time in the studio (and the same goes for soundboard recordings in many ways).


Dont be that naive..if the carpenter couldnt make more furniture, he would sell whatever he had in his vaults ...unfinish or uneven ...


He wouldn't get much for it if it wasn't finished, would he? I hate to think what your house looks like if you think having a half-finished piece of furniture is ok.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:31 am

The thing about Elvis is that he was often undermined by his own label. I take your point about a "final draft" but Elvis's situation didn't allow for that. His contract demanded too much per year and so ften his best stuff got totally lost. Sometimes he released truly envisioned work: FEIM and other work. Those have recently been treated with great respect. A look inside these sessions is also warrented.

There can be no perfection in this case but the situation was far worse before the body of work was rescued.

The original writer: Maxwell, is under an erroneous impression regarding Elvis's vision coming through in life. I was addressing the original article posted.

rjm

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:18 am

After Elvis' death he got a lot of redicule for his Vegas and movie period. It was only the effort of Ernst/ Roger with the 50s, 60s and 70s boxed sets which brought Elvis back his credibility. I agree with MidnightX that some of the posthumous released material is among the finest he ever produced. This guy obviously does not have a clue!

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:11 am

Mx
A good example of poor material released post 1977 would be the set "Elvis Aron Presley": the 1961 show was great but most of the 60s Out-takes are no standout (Datin´, Dog´s Life...) The selection of TV performances had no interest at all (a mixed bag of 1968-1973-1977 tracks) and the 75 show(s) was nice but neither outstanding (a full 69 concert would have given a better idea of how good was Elvis at his best). Knowing the quantity of great material they had a the time, why didn´t they gather better material (ala "Platinum") instead of giving us goofy outtakes of poor movie soundtracks?

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:52 pm

Pretty sure the entire Love Letters album consisted of rejected tracks? Modern artists have more control over what is released or not. Elvis had little say, RCA would release anything because it would sell.. Little wonder Elvis lost his enthusiasm for going into the studio.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:50 pm

nohair 1 wrote:Pretty sure the entire Love Letters album consisted of rejected tracks? Modern artists have more control over what is released or not. Elvis had little say, RCA would release anything because it would sell.. Little wonder Elvis lost his enthusiasm for going into the studio.


In a sense Elvis did not care too much. he just did the material he was offered like he always did what he was told to do. On one of the outtakes on Love Letters FTD you can hear him joke that the song he is recording is "not good, not bad, but mediocre". Well, if it is that why do you record it?

The Colonel is to be blame here, just as RCA for the ridiculous three albums a year obligation but it is certainly also to blame on Elvis who simply did not give any direction to his career. Posthumously we have seen very bad mainstream releases (like the 1980 and 1984 boxes) and from 1987 on some great releases as well Sun Sessions, The Memphis Record, Masters boxes in 90s and outtakes boxes in the final decade.

Re: Posthumous releases - negative impact on Elvis' legacy?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:57 pm

midnightx wrote:
Rock Legend wrote:I think there’s some decidedly subpar stuff on important career overviews like WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES – The 70s Masters… Material like the aforementioned It’s Different Now, Alla’ En El Rancho Grande, Froggy Went A Courtin’ – and yet finished masters like Early Morning Rain are not there.

Again, pinpointing a handful of "rarities" on a retrospective set that are included for 1) historical reasons so that the enthusiast and historian can gain additional insight into an artist's creative process, and 2) that are included as marketing and retail enticers -- are not tracks that set the tone for such a release. It’s Different Now is a useless track, but it isn't as if it is any worse than Mr. Songman. The inclusion of Mr. Songman as a master recording and single is far more troubling on many levels than a rehearsal take of It's Different Now. The vast majority of the '70s set is of medium to high quality (particularly for the era in which it was released) in terms of presentation, mastering, and content.

For every dud you can name that has been issued from the archives, I can name dozens that are stunning and are of very high quality. More importantly, often the majority of archival material is part of expansive sets aimed at the hardcore fan, not the casual consumer. The "Joe Public" that you refer to is most often going to purchase "hits" compilations that rarely have "archival" material included. "Joe Public" gets his hits -- he usually doesn't spring for the Platinum box set loaded with rarities. And frankly, I strongly believe the Platinum set provides an invaluable insight into Elvis Presley's talent and artistry, possibly more so than a straight hits compilation.


I think you are underestimating how many copies of these sets were sold. These were not just sold to hardcore collectors. I think most of these titles sold more than 100,000 copies each. So its scope is much wider than what you are assuming in your posting.

I’m also not too sure about the historical reasons / insights that you mention. I think some of what has been released on the main label should never have been released in the first place. Can you tell me what the point is of having stuff like the ‘Bad Nauheim Medley’ on an important set like PLATINUM?.... Elvis doodling around on the piano in a rather amateuristic way & in terrible sound-quality? And surely those who are interested in the historical aspects of recordings like this won’t be too thrilled with the fact that the recording has been edited significantly? Maybe you and I can find some merit in recordings like this, but it’s safe to say that a clear majority of the 100, 000 people who bought that set turned the CD off the moment the moment this recording came out of the speakers. And what’s the point of releasing ‘I’m Beginning To Forget You’ (on the same set), which has Elvis moaning like a cow? I honestly cannot see the historical interest in this case, especially since a far better version had already been released on ‘A Legendary Performer vol. 4’.

And why is ‘Elvis At Sun’ a much better listening experience than ‘Sunrise’? One really has to wonder what the point was of releasing those truly awful, unlistenable quality Louisiana Hayride recordings (which also suffer from speed variations). As I remember, ‘Sunrise’ even got a poor review in ‘Elvis - The man and his music’.