All posts with more than 3000 Hits, prior to 2008

Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:02 pm

I do think the artistic credibility of Elvis' album output gets overlooked. If you were to take things with the album restoration work done in the 90s/00s you do get a strong series of albums spanning most of his career:

Elvis At Sun - Elvis Presley - Elvis - Loving You - Elvis' Christmas Album - King Creole - Elvis Is Back - GI Blues - His Hand In Mine - Blue Hawaii - Something For Everybody - Pot Luck - For The Asking - How Great Thou Art - Tomorrow Is A Long Time - From Elvis In Memphis - In Person - On Stage - That's The Way It Is - Elvis Country - He Touched Me - Burning Love - Madison Square Garden - Promised Land - Today - Moody Blue

I don't know about anyone else but I think that is a body of work to be proud of! For a career spanning 23 years that is very good going.

Yes, Elvis recorded less material than Cash, of course so, Cash's career was twice as long as Elvis'. Elvis did record a lot of sub-par material, but it is surely noted that the vast majority of this was a lot of his 60s movie soundtracks. These certainly shouldn't be considered in his artistic (not sales!) achievements when reviewing his career over albums. Indeed, the more soundtracks you introduce into the list the lower the overall quality.

That list could be reduced to even a dozen albums and would still be fantastic representation of Elvis' album career, what is removed though to do this? Its not so easy is it?! If I were to attempt it I'd end up with:

Elvis At Sun - Elvis Presley - Elvis - King Creole - Elvis Is Back - For The Asking - Tomorrow Is A Long Time - From Elvis In Memphis - On Stage -
Elvis Country - Burning Love - Promised Land

I'd pull out any of those and play all the way through!

The problem there lies in the the current marketing of Elvis' musical legacy. The above albums and upgrades are consigned to the deleted bin and resurrected on FTD. The push ought to be on remoulding the critical and public perception of Elvis the recording artist rather than Elvis, the singles hit maker. It has been stated "the original albums don't sell". Well of course! If you just release them with a sticker on the cover and just simply dump them onto the racks what do you expect! What coverage did the upgrades recieve in the late 90s through to last year? None! Absolutely nothing! Our boys went to the time and effort of remastering these tracks, getting new liner notes written up, CD released and then...no maketing! Most of them featured Artist of the Century stickers, however the product promoted was the Artist of the Century hit set. So yeah, go figure! Retrospectives and compilations sell because they are all that recieve any kind of promotion, even if it is slight.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:51 pm

The most disgusting thing of late that could've put him back in to the spotlight in a good way is JRM's laughable portrayal, that has been hailed as 'uncanny'

Ha, and people wonder why younger people (unlike me) think Elvis is 'unhip'

Re: They should treat elvis like they treat johnny cash

Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:35 pm

joshferrell wrote:I've notice that about every 4 -6 months there's a "live" johnny cash dvd released with complete uncut concerts and tv specials,I think it would be cool if every 4-6 months they release a complete elvis concert on dvd,we have concerts from TTWII and ELVIS ON TOUR,that can be released as their own induvidual releases ,for example if they recorded 6 or 7 complete concerts in 1970 and another 6 or 7 in 1972 then they have enough stuff to release to the public for years to come...like the releases that they have been releasing for johnny cash,,,



Can you please tell were I could buy those DVD's ???

Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:01 pm

Matthew wrote:IOur boys went to the time and effort of remastering these tracks, getting new liner notes written up, CD released and then...no maketing! Most of them featured Artist of the Century stickers, however the product promoted was the Artist of the Century hit set. So yeah, go figure! Retrospectives and compilations sell because they are all that recieve any kind of promotion, even if it is slight.


I read that Elvis Is Back is OOP because it only sold 500 copies each year. I don't think Miles Davis or Frank Sinatra sell that much more tbh, yet most of their original albums are still readily available.

I think Elvis' original albums should be in print because they are important albums by an important artist. Sony/BMG shouldn't expect these albums to sell 10,000 copies each year, because they won't.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:08 pm

Claus wrote:I read that Elvis Is Back is OOP because it only sold 500 copies each year. I don't think Miles Davis or Frank Sinatra sell that much more tbh, yet most of their original albums are still readily available.

I think Elvis' original albums should be in print because they are important albums by an important artist. Sony/BMG shouldn't expect these albums to sell 10,000 copies each year, because they won't.


They might sell more if they bothered to make them know, to promote them to the public, establish them as the classic albums they are.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:36 pm

shanebrown; If you go to amazon.com and do music search for Johnny Cash you'll find plenty Best Of, Essential, Greatest Hits, etc. packages cluttering up the catalogue.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:04 pm

Matthew wrote:
They might sell more if they bothered to make them know, to promote them to the public, establish them as the classic albums they are.


Sony/BMG has a duty to keep the original albums in print, whether they sell or not. They are an important part of Elvis' legacy and it is a crime that most of them are out-of-print.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:06 pm

likethebike wrote:I think there are a lot of misconceptions floating around here.

Johnny Cash is more a of a "hip" taste now because unlike Elvis his death was fairly recent. He had been recording a popular series of albums at the time of his death. That gave Cash a great visibility at the time of his death which is again was only three years ago. Elvis has been dead almost ten times as long. Ten times. The newest Cash note is only three years old, the newest Elvis song is again ten times as old. There is simply no person under the age 30 who remembers a time when Elvis Presley was alive. That's a big deal.

Because Cash died in an up period, when he was 30 years older than Elvis at his death, his legend is enhanced in a way it wouldn't have been 30 years. I guarantee if Cash had died in say 1990 things his "hipness" and reputation would have been much different. He was a caricature for many people for years and years.

Also the good music at the time of his death made people forgive and forget his indifferent work. It's a little much to say he released no embarrassing albums. Even someone immersed in the American Recordings and the Sun stuff would have been knocked for a loop by
The Junkie and The Juicehead Minus Me. He was considered lost for a far longer time than Elvis' tenure in Hollywood.

I do believe that people will be listening to his best work 30 years from now because he is one of the seminal country acts. However, the scales seem in his favor now because of his recent demise.

I don't know what hipsters and mass popularity means. Both guys made important music that will continue to speak to those willing to listen. Will it always sell as well as the latest Britney or no-talent to catch the public's fancy but it will still be meaningful nonetheless.

Also the main assaults on Elvis' 70s work and image- the Jungle Room, the stage wear, the countrypolitan production- were not because Elvis kept up with the times but because he did.

I don't think there is any problem with Elvis's songs being just love songs. The most embarrassing cringe inducing music I have ever heard in my life is usually an attempt to "say something".


The voice of reason, AGAIN.....thanks for another intelligent post, bike.
Regarding 'The Junkie and The Juicehead Minus Me', I think within the context of the Sun and American recordings, it is indeed well below par.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:18 pm

Claus wrote:
Matthew wrote:
They might sell more if they bothered to make them know, to promote them to the public, establish them as the classic albums they are.


Sony/BMG has a duty to keep the original albums in print, whether they sell or not. They are an important part of Elvis' legacy and it is a crime that most of them are out-of-print.


I know how you feel but Sony/BMG is a business first and foremost.They really cant be blamed for deleting stock that just gathers dust on a shelf.Elvis the icon has completely overshadowed Elvis the artist unfortunately.Rather than being introduced to his music the younger people of today are likely to see some tacky Elvis products or hear him being the butt of a joke.I fear Elvis' artistry may be a tough sell to the IPOD generation of today.
Jak

Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:32 pm

jak wrote: I know how you feel but Sony/BMG is a business first and foremost.They really cant be blamed for deleting stock that just gathers dust on a shelf.


Do you think artists like The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis are outselling Elvis? Their catalogs are still in print for the most part, and have been for the last 20 years.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:45 pm

likethebike wrote:I think there are a lot of misconceptions floating around here.

Johnny Cash is more a of a "hip" taste now because unlike Elvis his death was fairly recent. He had been recording a popular series of albums at the time of his death. That gave Cash a great visibility at the time of his death which is again was only three years ago. Elvis has been dead almost ten times as long. Ten times. The newest Cash note is only three years old, the newest Elvis song is again ten times as old. There is simply no person under the age 30 who remembers a time when Elvis Presley was alive. That's a big deal.

Because Cash died in an up period, when he was 30 years older than Elvis at his death, his legend is enhanced in a way it wouldn't have been 30 years. I guarantee if Cash had died in say 1990 things his "hipness" and reputation would have been much different. He was a caricature for many people for years and years.

Also the good music at the time of his death made people forgive and forget his indifferent work. It's a little much to say he released no embarrassing albums. Even someone immersed in the American Recordings and the Sun stuff would have been knocked for a loop by
The Junkie and The Juicehead Minus Me. He was considered lost for a far longer time than Elvis' tenure in Hollywood.

I do believe that people will be listening to his best work 30 years from now because he is one of the seminal country acts. However, the scales seem in his favor now because of his recent demise.

I don't know what hipsters and mass popularity means. Both guys made important music that will continue to speak to those willing to listen. Will it always sell as well as the latest Britney or no-talent to catch the public's fancy but it will still be meaningful nonetheless.

Also the main assaults on Elvis' 70s work and image- the Jungle Room, the stage wear, the countrypolitan production- were not because Elvis kept up with the times but because he did.

I don't think there is any problem with Elvis's songs being just love songs. The most embarrassing cringe inducing music I have ever heard in my life is usually an attempt to "say something".


Thank God you are here to put things into prospective!

Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:35 pm

Claus wrote:
jak wrote: I know how you feel but Sony/BMG is a business first and foremost.They really cant be blamed for deleting stock that just gathers dust on a shelf.


Do you think artists like The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis are outselling Elvis? Their catalogs are still in print for the most part, and have been for the last 20 years.


I have no idea about the sales figures.It might be fair to assume that the sheer number of Elvis titles available offers a clue.Sony/BMG knows how many copies are shipped and what titles are being swiped at the register.Most "new" fans probably go for some of the more recent best of stuff rather than something like Love Letter From Elvis or Loving You.It would be hard to justify keeping all of his titles in print.The truth is if Elvis sold enough copies of his original albums to turn a profit they wouldnt be out of print.It just basic supply and demand.
Jak

Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:47 pm

Elvis' catalogue is just so massive it would be hard for any new fan to pick and choose where to begin.I look at the FTD's differently though.With the higher price I really dont think many people would go for them with so many less expensive alternatives.Im in contact with lots of fans and Im sorry to say that even most longtime fans dont even notice the FTD releases.Other than a collector's forum like here I dont think the FTD's make a blip on the radar screen.
Jak

Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:58 pm

It is going to be (I would imagine) at least ten years before the Elvis catalogue is finally sorted out and, until then, the chances of getting new fans is very slim

Maybe longer, there isn't any real plan in place to clean up the Elvis Presley catalogue. It is as disorganized as it has ever been. BMG lacks vision and strips nearly all artistic credibility away from Elvis by making him a compilation/hits artist with their endless stream of lame releases. That release model is strongly in place.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:25 pm

Shane, you're out of line calling him "gutless" and as a fan, I take offense to that. Gutless people or people who lack "balls" don't change the world, or accomplish what he did. You go on stage in front of 70 million people, getting ridiculed from everybody who was anybody, and see how you make out. He sang live to, not like these phonies of today, who are manufactured stars. This shredding of him to the point where he's basically looking like an a--hole by certain "fans" on this site is getting out of hand. I get criticized for sticking up for Elvis, to a fault, yet I have no choice when he gets ripped apart repeatedly by people who supposedly admire him. What the phuck, this crap is getting old.
I'll tell you what, I'll take EP's 10 best albums, 10 best concert performances, 10 best studio sessions, 10 best movies and TV specials (including ratings), and stack them up against any other singer/entertainer.

Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:48 pm

Joe, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Shane's remarks are way off base. But you shouldn't get so upset about it. If someone thinks Elvis was "gutless", can you really take them seriously? He obviously has no true understanding of Elvis' career, personality and achievements. Since you are all about compassion, have some compassion for an obviously misguided and delusional fan. :wink:

Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:25 pm

shanebrown wrote:What i'm trying to say, Jak, is that it is impossible to get so many albums now unless you buy them in the FTD series.


Youre right about that.The FTD's are great but it also means they are lost to many people because of it.
Jak

Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:00 am

midnightx wrote:Joe, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Shane's remarks are way off base. But you shouldn't get so upset about it. If someone thinks Elvis was "gutless", can you really take them seriously? He obviously has no true understanding of Elvis' career, personality and achievements. Since you are all about compassion, have some compassion for an obviously misguided and delusional fan. :wink:


I do get upset, I can't help myself. I'm all for a good discussion about the pros and cons of EP's career or anybody else for that matter, I just can't understand why a personal attack of Elvis is neccessary to get a point across. To quote Springsteen, "he deserved better."

Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:10 am

shanebrown wrote:I think, to be honest, that you didn't read my entire post that praised Elvis' output.

If you can't take people referring to mistakes that Elvis made once in a while then I really seriously think you need to chill a little, my friend.


There's a difference in pointing out mistakes, and treating him with disrespect. Calling someone "gutless" isn't pointing out mistakes Shane, that's a personal attack my friend.

Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:20 am

shanebrown wrote:you are rewriting what i said. I said he didn't have the guts at that time to stand up for what his artistic integrity. I didn't call him a gutless man. I'm referring to one decision.


It's called honouring his contract. Unlike a lot of stars today, EP honoured his contracts, though it hurt him artistically, no doubt. It's easy to play the if game after all is said and done.

Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:54 am

shanebrown wrote:He may have honoured his contract but he could have bought his way out of it. Or, at the very least, have refused to record the sub-par film songs. The fact that many of these were recorded was, because of business reasons, only songs were used where a publishing deal could be made. This need not have been the case and Elvis still could have honoured his contract. The fact is, like it or lump it, a man who fought like hell to be allowed to record 30 takes of Hound Dog to get it right didn't fight like hell to be allowed to record decent songs during those six years or so of his career.

This thread started as a comparison with Johnny Cash - who recorded what he wanted to and toured when he wanted to. He left Sun only because he wanted to be allowed to record gospel music. When he got to Columbia he said that 10% of his output would be gospel music and it wasright up until the end. He stood up for what he believed in right the way through his life - whether it be for prison rights, or the rights of the native americans.

The same can't be said for Elvis. He was a remarkably generous man to both his friends and strangers. We all know this. But Elvis was, for some reason, unable or unwilling to fight for what was best for him for much of the time.


EP didn't fight for his artistic credibility, are you joking? This is a guy who recorded numerous classic rock, country and gospel albums during his lifetime. What, because he had a lull in the mid-sixties, seems to me Mr. Cash had a lull as well, all artists do. I also believe that Elvis did not want to record rock&roll songs anymore in the seventies, preferring gospel and ballads, again, his choice. The only bad decisions he made, (and I'll give you this) was not turning down some of the crap handed him in the sixties. He eventually did however decide enough was enough and as early as 1966, started concentrating more on his music, as opposed to movies. Hey Shane, sometimes in life, people get into ruts, it took him a few years to see the writing on the wall that Hollywood was not going to take him serious as an actor, thus he shifted his focus. See, I could slam Cash for all of his faults and mistakes he made during his career and life, yet I choose not to, out of respect for him and his fans. I just ask the same back.

Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:59 am

The best thing that Johnny Cash did was not die prior to 1994. Before the first 'American Recordings' album was released, Cash was a well-respected elder statesman of country music, but he was not "JOHNNY CASH-MUSICAL ICON". The American recordings launched him into another stratosphere altogether, he became very popular with the younger generation of music fans of all tastes.

Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:12 am

I have great respect for your posts Shane and I would hate for you to be discouraged from positing because of some criticism here. I just disagree with your point.

Cash's hipster status is elevated IMO because of his recent death and the fact that he happened to be in an up period when he passed. When a performer's death is recent, everyone is interested and respectful for awhile. You are elevated to almost sainthood and everything you did looks better. Elvis had this before the 20/20 report and the Goldman book. Lennon had it. Orbison had it. Marvin Gaye had it. Then there's a usually a backlash and eventually we start to come to some kind of legitimate understanding. With Elvis this part has only really started in the past 10 years.

I guarantee you though if Cash had died in 1990 we would not be discussing his hipster. Junkie and many, many other Cash works of the late 1960s, early 1970s have a hectoring, strident, self-indulgent quality that makes them often hard to listen to. In the 1980s, Cash's reputation was basically as an eccentric who once made some great near rockabilly recordings for Sun. But he hooked up with a hip young producer and made some excellent recordings later in life. Along with his death, that made people re-up a lot of what they had dismissed.

Also the length of Cash's career compared to the length of Elvis' career is important. Since Elvis had basically half the recording career Cash did. So six years in Elvis' career has an outsized impact compared to six years in Cash' career. If Cash, had a four year stint like Elvis did in the mid-60s, it would seem like a blip. With Elvis it seems like a long time because his career was much shorter.

As for artistic integrity, I think that's kind of a middle class and late 20th century notion. With Elvis it was very important that he make a maximum amount of money to ensure that he would not return to the poverty of his youth. Also, it's important to consider that performers of previous eras like Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and Sinatra had also made their share of movie filler. When you're singing to advance the plot in a movie, you're not always going to be singing the sharpest songs. And when you are a performer at the level of Elvis, Sinatra etc. it's important to keep that audience that you've earned. Sometimes that means making stuff like Blue Hawaii. That Parker used this kind of popularity only to financial advantage is sad. As I have stated in other posts, I think you can get on Elvis for not learning the business and using and understanding the leverage that he had but I don't think you can get on him for not having artistic integrity or vision. Artistic integrity doesn't mean a whole lot when you're Chuck Berry wandering from label to label in the late 1960s.

A performer of Cash's status could afford to move a little more than Elvis since his top side was generally lower than Elvis and he depended upon the much less fickle country audience. And by the 1980s the industry had completely swung the artist way. It was common practice for labels to stay out of even the most significant artist's way. Ironically an artist like Prince partially left his label because he wasn't allowed to release enough music. A move by the way, that hurt his career.

Cash moving from indie low royalty Sun to major powerhouse Columbia is not really a show of artistic integrity. Making the move meant he was probably going to get paid more. There's nothing wrong with that but it's not sticking it to the man.

Plus, even on throwaways Elvis generally maintained a certain sense of standards. For all the bad songs that appear on the movie soundtracks, he rejected dozens worse. He spent 30 takes on a movie throwaway like "Do Not Disturb" to try and turn it into something.

The lack of decent material again shows that Elvis should have actively educated himself about what was happening in the business. Marty Lacker basically said Elvis was stunned when he found out he was getting top material because of the publishing deal. After all he was Elvis Presley. But you have to wonder what Parker was there for as well.

It's a mistake to say that he didn't stick up for himself. He did several times. The 1960 movies, the '68 TV show, "Suspicious Minds", the big 1974 argument with Parker. With the exception of the TV show and the single, Elvis was convinced, rightly or wrongly, that accepting Parker's word was the most practical thing to do.

But I think if you look at Elvis' overall recorded legacy it bears his mark. And even in the darkest career, Elvis continually made singular, personal music that met most of the challenges of his era. Although his contract contained no agreement about gospel songs, they were there anyway. He picked his singles even when he had to burn with them. "American Trilogy". I tell you nobody at RCA wanted to release a four minute patriotic record with no hook less than six months after a competing version had been in the Top 40. In the early 60s, he tried to write a song. When artists like Lennon used their music to express autobiographical sentiments, Elvis followed up on that ground. He followed up to a such a point that it hurt his '70s commercial prospects. In 1967 when recording "Guitar Man", Elvis was so determined to get the same guitar sound on Jerry Reed's original record, he stopped the session so Felton Jarvis could find Reed and bring him in. When concept albums became the vogue, Elvis picked up the mantle and recorded Elvis Country one of the great country rock albums and a damn moving concept album.

Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:15 am

Youre right about that.The FTD's are great but it also means they are lost to many people because of it.
Jak

Jak, the real problem with FTD's current direction is the issue that a great majority of Elvis' finest albums will be unavailable to the general and casual consumer. The bulk of the Elvis Presley catalogue available for mainstream release and purchase is in the form of recycled themed compilations and hits compilations. A handful of albums released in the Classic Album series should be availabe as mainstream releases to compliment a few specific compilations. Many great albums by legacy artists are now getting deluxe treatment at the retail level by various labels, certainly "Elvis Presley" and "Elvis Is Back!" are worthy of a mainstream release (in regular jewel case or digipak form). Elvis has a massive back catalogue and it may not make artistic and financial sense for BMG to reissue ALL titles, but a handful should be available, especially the vital ones. BMG continues to lack vision and why should anyone be surprised, it has been going on since the 60's.

Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:23 am

LTB, you are brilliant. I need to work on my patience with people, and not react so quickly or take comments so personal as suggested by midnightx. Shane, no hard feelings my friend, I do enjoy your posts and reviews, sometimes I get carried away that's all.