All posts with more than 3000 Hits, prior to 2008

Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:59 pm

I became a fan twenty years ago and was a member of OEPFCGB for a few years until I went off it in the early 90's for crossing the line between being a fan and fanaticism. Despite being online for 10 years I never found forums until early this year. Up until then I thought I had every Elvis CD, because I thought what you got in HMV was it - I'd heard of bootlegs etc. but rather thought of them like pirate DVDs.
Since February I have discovered FTD and have now seven each of the 7" and standard releases. I would have them all now except for budgetary restraints. For a fan just discovering them they are fantastic and an unreal plus. It's corny I know but when you've been an Elvis fan for so long hearing alternate takes and concerts I never thought were recorded is fantastic. Raised on Rock is knew to us all but that experiencing of laughing with delight when I heard Elvis overcoming the "popping" problem by singing "illow" and filling up when I hear him singing a beautiful love/song or ballad without overdubs and with the purest of voices has been repeated fourteen times since February. If Ernst is responsible, as I believe he is, then thank God for him for giving fans, I'm sure, the same new experiences as I have had in recent months.
I disagree, sometimes, when his writing seems overburdened with his opinion but when it comes to what counts - the music - I am grateful. If he gets paid for it and has earned a tidy sum then fair enough - even priests don't work for nothing and "the labourer deserves his wages."
Keep it going Ernst, and if fans moan at you for a variety of different reasons on a regular basis then let it be a reassurance to you that enough people still care so much about Elvis to moan but also to be delighted at the work you do which lets us hear him more and more.

Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:38 pm

Daryl wrote:Let me set the record straight.


As for Ger Rjiff, what worthwhile project has he actually done in the last 10-15 years?



You obviously don't know the man.
Btw it's Rijff.

Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:22 pm

Daryl, I totally disagree with you. It looks like your demonstration against Erns's achievements is rather reminiscent of settling of scores or something like jealousy.
What are we talking about ? I believe the way Ernst manages and restores Elvis musical legacy has become the example to follow in the music field. Fans of other singers envy the way we are spoiled !
That mistakes have been done, probably. But nobody is perfect. Most of often praised Tunzi's books for example, contain also their share of errors.
From my point of view, and it has been underlined by several in this thread,it's a relief to know that such a passionate, competent and relentlessness person is in charge of what we all love so much.
Talking of that, I finally doubt whether you appreciate Elvis music the way you ought to. To say that disc 2 of boxset Close up is boring just fills me with consternation ! I was raised on songs, among others, from GI Blues, Flaming Star, Wild in the country or Blue Hawaii, when I discovered Elvis in the early sixties, and how I love them !
In the same way, I disagree when you say The Bad Nauheim Medley is garbage. Even with that poor sound, to hear Elvis sing for example Apron Strings is a real treat for me.
To sum up, long live Ernst, and too bad for the choir of eternal mourners...

Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:34 am

I am thankful that Ernst made the first serious efforts to officially release previously unreleased alternate takes.

The Essential Elvis series, even though they have been largely superseded by FTD releases, are still very listenable overviews of different phases of Elvis' career. They provide just enough interesting material for the casual fan and a starting point for the completists.

The completists are then free to find releases by either FTD or (ahem) other manufacturers to delve more deeply into certain periods of Elvis' career. For example, I especially enjoy the RCA Nashville recordings. I have the choice of buying a set targeted to a particular session or group of sessions.

For example, I can buy expanded issues of "Elvis Is Back" and "His Hand In Mine" while bypassing soundboards of 70's concerts. My bride is a fan of the movie soundtracks.

I find this more palatable than some of the box sets, which try to provide a little bit of everything. (Don't get me wrong, we have Platinum, TTAF, and Close-Up).

I have no complaints about the FTD concept and the efforts Ernst has made to perpetuate the legacy of Elvis' music.

Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:21 am

I think we are fortunate to have Ernst in charge of the Elvis' catalogue. I can't think of another artist who has such an enthusiastic supporter, who delivers and Ernst delivers.

Has Ernst made mistakes? Yes, but in the Elvis' world, as in many other worlds, you cannot please everyone.

I think on the positive side, we owe a lot to Ernst for his knowledge of all things Elvis and his tireless efforts to find new material. Who has the time to go from place to place to follow up every rumor about a lost show or a lost track?

On the negative side some avoidable mistakes have been made - usually related to mastering and sound. For example, the use of original tapes on "Frankie & Johnny" and "Harum Scarum" in the classic series when better mastering had already been done on the double features. I've read Ernst really isn't a "sound man" and sometimes it shows. Still, maybe these "problems" are beyond Ernst. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, let there be no mistake, as Elvis' fans we are indeed fortunate to have Ernst. I wish him health and many more years doing what he does best and that is bringing us the best of the best (Elvis)!

Mystery Train

Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:04 am

:shock: I MUST say too that Daryl seems way, WAY to negative!! for my personal view i feel that having just recieved the latest bunch of July released FTD's that excellent work has been done and i can hardly stop playing them!! :roll:

Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:49 am

Robt wrote:"what Elvis may think about Ernst and FTD soundtracks?"

That's an interesting question indeed!

Here's my views-

If Elvis was alive and recording new music since the
development of FTD's (1999), that he
was very passionate about, then he may find that he
would have to compete with his back catalogue on a
regular basis, i.e 3 FTD's per year.

Consequently his new material would have a snowballs
chance in hell of selling and that would be unfair to
any artist who was trying to evolve and move with the
times.



From a commercial point of view, Elvis would love it but
from an artistic view, the FTD's would be detrimental.

What do other fans think?

The back catalogues are what sell for legacy artists. You think the masses want to hear the new McCartney album? No, but if a Beatles Anthology 4 hits the market, it will sell millions.

However, Elvis sold the rights to his back catalogue in 73, so he most likely wouldn't see a dime from the FTD sales.

There is no way to even begin to guess what Elvis' post-77 career would have been like. Certainly the path it was on was like a train being derailed. Something would have needed to change....

Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:20 am

May I lend an objective voice? I don't like Ernst's attitude about Elvis' later career, and I do think more needs to be on vinyl, but only a half dozen of the post 77 pre 88 LP's are as good as what Ernst has done. The mixes do lack bite sometimes, but there are other's that sound pretty good to me. Here is the problem, there are too many releases. I know we all want everything we can get, but it's overwhleming and not all of it is interesting. As someone who wants the 1954-77 catalog to be given a sharper focus, I think the new deluxe editions are a fine idea. They give a much better look at Elvis' own artistic vision then any comp. I think 180 Gram vinyl editions should be made as well, but it's a step in the right direction. I think 90 percent of the comps with previously released material should be deleted, and I also think BMG screws fans with things like the Time Life releases. So yes Ernst does a good job, but there is room for improvment. The BIGGEST mistake he made (and I have said this many times) is his replacment of "Big Hunk O' Love", or the other alt. takes used on hit comps. This is NOT what Elvis' chose and should corrected asap, but still at least a real fan is in charge even if I think there are some mistakes that have been made. I don't think Ernst is perfect but he is not ill intended at all and often does a good job. So Daryl I agree with parts of what you say strongly, but I also think that at least 60-70 percent of what Ernst has done is truly worth hearing.

Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:43 pm

My Friend,

Aren't you forgetting the FTD "Unchained Melody" release earlier this year?

That shows EJ is not entirely anti-1977.

Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:57 pm

midnightx wrote:
thenexte wrote:The fact that original albums have not remained on the BMG imprint has less to do with Ernst than with the fact that the market for prerecorded music has faced unprecedented challenges over the past few years as CD sales have hit rock bottom. I don't think you have any idea what it means in this day and age to have access to rare Elvis recordings through a collector's label imprint when other labels are folding left and right in the industry and people are losing their jobs.

The state of the music industry should not give BMG a free pass. The Presley catalogue has been in shambles for years. When the 1999 reissue program began, even with its flaws, there seemed to be a real attempt to create some orginization to the catalogue only to have it derailed a couple of years later. Since then, there has been little to no attempt by BMG to support the Presley mainstream catalogue with some sort of artistic integrity. The Miles Davis catalogue certainly sells less units than the EP catalogue, yet a lot of the catalogue is available (even with shrinking cd sales). There would be nothing wrong with BMG/Sony having some of Elvis' studio achievements available and promoted. No other legacy artist of Elvis' level has their mainstream catalogues from a major label is such disarray. And while Ernst is not directly involved or to blame for the state of the EP catalogue, he certainly should not get a free pass. He is a very influential figure in the Elvis recording world and it does not seem he has tried to convince and put pressure on the executives overseeing the EP catalogue of the artistic importance behind giving EP's catalogue some artistic integrity and orginization. Ernst has become the king of compilations. At one time he looked down at how BMG/RCA had run the EP catalogue during Elvis' life and postumously, now he condones it.


I tend to agree, although I hate to give quarter to the Negativity Fest that is Pirzada / Daryl .

Avid fans may be buying everything their favorite artist puts out, but there's more than nostalgia fueling vintage sales.

"Young fans aren't excluded from catalog sales -- especially the ones who really get interested in music, there's always that sense of discovery," says Geoff Mayfield, the director of charts at Billboard Magazine.


Here's an interesting article from the Associated Press this week that gets into the subject of catalog sales, apparently one of the only (relatively) strong sectors of the dying CD market.

Unfortunately, the obviously young author in the article (see below) doesn't ask how someone like Elvis or Sinatra figures saleswise (such as with "E1"), with his main focus on '60s-80s rockers.

I would guess Elvis is surely in the legend class of Miles Davis as you suggest and likewise, Dean Martin and Rick Nelson compilations recently did quite well for older artists. These, alas were "new" compilations, something we often complain about.

Read on:

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Mus ... .ap/?imw=Y

Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:04 am

Just because cd versions of the old albums are not in the mainstream catalogue anymore does not mean Elvis' back catalogue is in "shambles." I don't think it makes sense to put out all of his old albums as cd's as a lot were not assembled with much thought in the first place. I think the good ones are out there (first 2 albums, Loving You, gold records series) with the exception of Elvis Is Back, From Elvis In Memphis, & Elvis Country. The compilations make sense in the context of the current marketplace. A lot of the older cd's are still in the racks even though they have been deleted for a while. The Miles Davis point is well taken but he was an album artist so it makes sense to configure his albums. Elvis was more of a singles artist. I don't see albums like Pot Luck in the same league in terms of thematic cohesiveness and consistency as something like Miles Ahead.

Also, under Ernst's watch (although he didn't do it alone), an Elvis album and single got to number 1. I seem to remember the condition of the catalogue when Ernst came on board...Rocker, Return of the Rocker (25 minute cd's - no rare tracks), A Valentine Gift For You, Gold Records 5. The only worthwhile releases from the silver box to Ernst was Golden Celebration and Reconsider Baby.

Ernst has done a good job and sensibly helped target Elvis' catalogue into 2 areas...mainstream and collector. Unfortunately, some of the collector's keep trying the inject the collector mentality into the mainstream market.

Apparently a lot of people want to hear the new McCartney album...it charted at #3 and continues to sell strong.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:40 am

ronnyg wrote:I don't think it makes sense to put out all of his old albums as cd's as a lot were not assembled with much thought in the first place.


This is a very good point. Even classics like "Elvis Presley" were thrown together. Whilst its fantastic to see this album on the racks in reality packages such as "Elvis at Sun" and "Elvis '56" better represent this period (they'd make a great pair wouldn't they?).

ronnyg wrote:Unfortunately, some of the collector's keep trying the inject the collector mentality into the mainstream market.


Another good point. As an Elvis collector I can sit down and appreciate Elvis' original albums despite their flaws - when listening I know a fair bit about the recordings themselves, the sessions, Elvis' mood, what went down during the recordings etc. "Something For Everybody" is a nice listen for me - but in the general market it doesn't fly.

Elvis made singles - not necessarily for single release but he made single recordings none-the-less. For him it was always about the individual song.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:32 am

Even though Ernst deserves admiration and respect, I have to agree with Daryl on the state of the catalogue. Maybe it's not the catalogue itself, but the volume and availability of certain releases. All I know is that I can go into a big retailer like HMV and see Beatles compilations and original albums sitting side-by-side, but when I go over to the Elvis section, I'm only ever greeted with "best of" and "ultimate" collections. Not only is this a major practical inconvenience, but it's aesthetically damaging -- I think seeing Elvis' face slapped on a dozen different compilation albums contributes to the public's idea of him as a market-driven idol and not much else (i.e. an "entertainer" of limited talent and means who needs to keep being re-packaged to stay afloat). Of course, fantastic works like "Elv1s" and, say, gospel anthologies, have their place, and something like "Elvis at SUN" is the best way to present such material, but these need to be balanced out by full albums like "Elvis is Back" and "From Elvis in Memphis", which is EXACTLY the case with The Beatles -- so why not Elvis?

Of course, there is a case for The Beatles being album-oriented and Elvis being single-oriented, but that shouldn't be an obstacle when there's such a rich tapestry of material available for both. If The Beatles can be properly presented, then so can Elvis. Any fan that knows about FTD is fine, but FTDs aren't cheap -- and what about the average member of the public whose interest could be piqued with the right releases? No, an endless cacophony of compilations keeps Elvis at bay and continually denies him the respect so freely given to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Queen and whoever else you wish to name. It is hard to just visually present the case for Elvis in a shop when so many of his original works are missing or disseminated into the routine highlights packages. Again, there is a place for some of them, but they seem to dominate at the expense of the meat and potatoes. Elvis is like some weird inversion of an open secret. Everyone sees him and thinks they've heard it all, but they really haven't, and this circumstance is at least partially to blame. On the other hand, his DVD releases seem to be better spread -- perhaps because there's less live material than recorded music? Something to think about, perhaps.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:05 am

Cryogenic wrote:Even though Ernst deserves admiration and respect, I have to agree with Daryl on the state of the catalogue. Maybe it's not the catalogue itself, but the volume and availability of certain releases. All I know is that I can go into a big retailer like HMV and see Beatles compilations and original albums sitting side-by-side, but when I go over to the Elvis section, I'm only ever greeted with "best of" and "ultimate" collections. Not only is this a major practical inconvenience, but it's aesthetically damaging -- I think seeing Elvis' face slapped on a dozen different compilation albums contributes to the public's idea of him as a market-driven idol and not much else (i.e. an "entertainer" of limited talent and means who needs to keep being re-packaged to stay afloat). Of course, fantastic works like "Elv1s" and, say, gospel anthologies, have their place, and something like "Elvis at SUN" is the best way to present such material, but these need to be balanced out by full albums like "Elvis is Back" and "From Elvis in Memphis", which is EXACTLY the case with The Beatles -- so why not Elvis?

Of course, there is a case for The Beatles being album-oriented and Elvis being single-oriented, but that shouldn't be an obstacle when there's such a rich tapestry of material available for both. If The Beatles can be properly presented, then so can Elvis. Any fan that knows about FTD is fine, but FTDs aren't cheap -- and what about the average member of the public whose interest could be piqued with the right releases? No, an endless cacophony of compilations keeps Elvis at bay and continually denies him the respect so freely given to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Queen and whoever else you wish to name. It is hard to just visually present the case for Elvis in a shop when so many of his original works are missing or disseminated into the routine highlights packages. Again, there is a place for some of them, but they seem to dominate at the expense of the meat and potatoes. Elvis is like some weird inversion of an open secret. Everyone sees him and thinks they've heard it all, but they really haven't, and this circumstance is at least partially to blame. On the other hand, his DVD releases seem to be better spread -- perhaps because there's less live material than recorded music? Something to think about, perhaps.


Havent read all messages in this thread but I agree that going to a record store can be a bad experience regarding finding original Elvis albums but for me as a fan I have never had any better times as I have now.(become a fan early 80s)
I agree that finding original beatles albums in shop is much easier but considering the small catalogue The beatles have it is no wonder.
Im just glad that im not a Beatles fan........not because they were bad but simply because nothing happens in the beatles world regarding new cd releases,at least as far as I know.
Can only think of a handfull official releases last 20 years with unreleased stuff....quite depressing.
I love what Ernst and Roger has done for the last 15 years.....for me it all started with collectors gold box in 1991.
And now we have the wonderfull FTD label.......sure I dont like all the releases (read most soundboards) but I`m not complaining......I just dont buy all of them.
I only wish FTD could give multi-tracks shows a little higher priority though :roll:

Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:18 am

Cryogenic wrote:Of course, there is a case for The Beatles being album-oriented and Elvis being single-oriented, but that shouldn't be an obstacle when there's such a rich tapestry of material available for both. If The Beatles can be properly presented, then so can Elvis. Any fan that knows about FTD is fine, but FTDs aren't cheap -- and what about the average member of the public whose interest could be piqued with the right releases? No, an endless cacophony of compilations keeps Elvis at bay and continually denies him the respect so freely given to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Queen and whoever else you wish to name.


I have one word for this: reputation. Many of The Beatles albums have legacies that almost transcend the band itself. “The White Album”, “St. Pepper”, “Revolver” are only three in their cannon that are world renowned and essentially sell themselves. I think the average Joe would struggle to name an original Elvis Presley album (well, they may fluke “Elvis Presley” and “Elvis”!). Elvis’ artistic reputation is based on individually songs. Place “Elvis Is Back” and “From Elvis In Memphis” in the current CD racks in their original forms and they may garner a raised eyebrow. Indeed, save for “In The Ghetto” what other songs off “From Elvis In Memphis” are attractive to the average buyer by title? I have no doubt about the marketing motives behind naming the 1969 Memphis Anthology “Suspicious Minds”. People know the song, they relate it to Elvis (well save for the hiccup that was Gareth Gate’s single). The same goes for “Elvis Is Back”. Add the singles from around their respective periods and suddenly you have the titles that people know. Still, they need to have some underlying reason to be even looking for an Elvis CD titled “Elvis Is Back”. The Beatles top runners have 40 years of sustained praise and history behind them, Elvis’ vintage albums don’t.

Another factor weighing in on The Beatles’ product availability are people like Paul McCartney. I expect if the record company had their own way there would be a lot more releases out there. The same can be argued for the other bands and artists you mention. Their original albums are all world renowned in their own right and many of these catalogues have heavy input from original band members when it comes to re-issues and new releases: Brian May for “Queen”, Page & Plant for “Zeppelin”, Gilmore/Waters for “Pink Floyd” etc. Indeed new compilations aren’t even necessary when the original albums are so well known and popular.

Elvis doesn’t have this luxury.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:34 am

Very valid points, guys.

And I don't wish to sound ungrateful -- which, I'll concede, was probably the tone of my last post.

I'm glad you cited the "Suspicious Minds" compilation, Matthew. Name recognition -- of Elvis and his songs -- is a double-edged sword. I think it was also very wise to title that album so . . . and to present Elvis as a serious artist on a stool, guitar in hand. Extremely clever subversion of the dominant Presley "boy rocker" and "rhinestone balladeer" images.

But I still don't even see those sorts of albums out there very often. Maybe it's more down to the retailers than anybody else; maybe they're too into the "greatest hits" mentality where Elvis and CDs are concerned. It's not a cut and dry case, but I still think a bit more variety would go a long way. For example, I'd love to see his 1957 Christmas and 1971 country albums out there, as well as good live stuff like 1969 and MSG. Very often, these sorts of things are absent. One can't help but feel that BMG should be more pro-active in some areas and less so in others.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:15 am

Good points raised. However, with bands like The Beatles and particularly The Eagles, there aren't constant compilations being released. The Eagles' "Greatest Hits Volume 1" is the biggest selling album ever in the U.S. and The Beatles' "1" continues to move big units. The labels for those artists can bank on consistent sales of one well-known hits compilation that gains a long-term reputation. Long term, BMG/Sony could move a lot of units of "ELV1S" and "2nd To None" if they cut out most of the other compilations sitting on the shelves. No reason to consistenly add more comps to the market place; with time and promotion one title can generate more sales than new annual releases with the same tracks.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:21 am

Mike Eder wrote:So yes Ernst does a good job, but there is room for improvment. The BIGGEST mistake he made (and I have said this many times) is his replacment of "Big Hunk O' Love", or the other alt. takes used on hit comps. This is NOT what Elvis' chose and should corrected asap, but still at least a real fan is in charge even if I think there are some mistakes that have been made. I don't think Ernst is perfect but he is not ill intended at all and often does a good job.

I believe selecting the correct digital masters in these compilations is a constant problem in the industry and that's probably something that needs to be enforced as a policy, especially with a catalog as extensive as this one. I remarked earlier this year when I reviewed "The Essential Elvis" that it was slapped together from different sources, some of them recent DSD masters, and some of them older, compressed-to-the-max 30#1 era mixes, which made for a very uneven listening experience (sometimes they even sneak in masters prepared for FTD releases for these types of collections, e.g. on the #1 U.S. singles box set). I believe it should be one set of mixes (and that is the original mixes) that are all mastered in the same fashion instead of a patchwork of digital masters that don't work together well as a cohesive package. Coincidentally, I just had a chance to check out the new "Elvis The King" compilation and it repeats the exact same mistake! A number of tracks are still sourced from 30#1 Hits/2nd to None when better and more recent DSD transfers of these tracks would have been available.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:00 am

While Ernst definitely deserves at least footnote status in Elvis' legacy it's not guaranteed as down the line no one knows what will happen to the Elvis catalogue 30-40-50 years down the line. Our appreciation of Elvis could take twists we don't anticipate.

Although Ernst does deserve some criticism for the current state of the catalogue, the cannibaliaztion of rarities and the rare misstep, he has been by and large, along with Peter Guralnick, the most positive force in the Elvis world in the past 25 years. A lot of the complaints here miss what Ernst most contributed and that was vision. This vision was expressed in the for their time extremely daring boxed set compilations. The King of Rock N' Roll set broke from the then blooming box set tradition which was to chronicle an entire artist using their best songs and best known songs with some rarities sprinkled in. The King set gave us Elvis' complete recordings from an entire decade- complete with no apologies. Even the title, coming less than five years after the infamous disses from Public Enemy and Living Colour, made a statement. Another statement came with the notice that there more boxes coming from the previously dismissed '60s and '70s. Not only was everything in the '50s worth hearing but he made enough quality music in the 1960s and 1970s to fill TEN CDs!!!! Prior to this there were niche' CDs in doo wop and jazz that captured a performer's complete recordings but nothing like this.

Another example of Ernst's vision was the fact that Ernst spotted the facts that not only would Elvis' fans buy outtakes but also that those outtakes could be used to provide a light on Elvis' artistry. Legend has it, that in the Joan Deary days, someone offered RCA a box of Elvis' outtakes for sale and was told that Elvis fans didn't want to hear that kind of stuff. And in 1990 with Collector's Gold Ernst may have put out the first, very cautious, CD collection composed entirely of outtakes.

Then you have to consider Ernst responsiveness to fans' wishes. For more than years the '68 special recordings, the afternoon MSG shows sat rotting in the vaults released only in dribs and drabs. Ernst deserves credit for recognizing that this stuff should be out in the stores on official release. This was the kind of stuff that got me buying again and out of the used record bins.

Then there is the fact that at one point in the late 1990s every single Elvis master was out in the stores. This was mostly Ernst doing and is better than the current situation and way better than the 1980s. On top of that these tracks weren't just dumped on the market. Most of them were made available in extremely intelligent packaging. This didn't just go for classics like From Elvis in Memphis but stuff like Blue Hawaii which received a splendid repackaging.

Ernst's skill as a detective should also not be underestimated. In his tenure we've heard tracks only rumored about like "I'm A Roustabout" and "Fool, Fool, Fool" and some like "A Hundred Years from Now" that weren't even that.

Finally, Ernst deserves a break on some of this stuff. The Las Vegas boxed set and others were assigned the difficult task of pleasing the super hardcore fan and the casual simultaneously. FTD stuff is even tougher because various fans have had different access to the import world. So a release like "Closing night" gets out there because very few people have it or have heard it.

As for the current state of the catalogue, the mistake in comparing Elvis to the Beatles is not album artist versus singles artist but the fact that the Beatles had 14 proper albums and Elvis had more than 60. His catalogue by definition is going to be more difficult to manage.

As for album name recognition, RCA and then BMG largely have themselves to blame for that. If they had spent a nickel promoting Elvis' album length statements then maybe it wouldn't be so much of a problem.

As for song recognition, I don't think that should be so much of a problem because A) the types of fans buying an original release album like Elvis is Back already have the greatest hits and would want to pick up something they don't own and B) Most of the record guides have high praise for stuff like "Long Black Limousine" or "Reconsider Baby" which would make the more educated fan want to buy the albums. Why do you think there's a demand for stuff like the Sun sessions? It's because their quality has been highly praised in the music press as has stuff like Elvis is Back. What's more wouldn't a casual fan be interested to hear Elvis take on Dylan than have another version of "Viva Las Vegas? I mean if I'm investing in Elvis, I'm going to think twice before forking over $15 for a CD that might give me 8 of 20 new songs. And the soundtrack songs do have their own little niche because of their exposure on TV. That the Viva Las Vegas reissue is not available in stores is befuddling as the movie is frequently shown on TV and the songs are good. If you want to get those songs though you normally can't find them at your local record store. Asking folks to pay $35 as an entry fee to Elvis is wrong and ultimately self-destructive.
Last edited by likethebike on Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:17 am

likethebike wrote:...
As for the current state of the catalogue, the mistake in comparing Elvis to the Beatles is not album artist versus singles artist but the fact that the Beatles had 14 proper albums and Elvis had more than 60. His catalogue by definition is going to be more difficult to manage.

As for album name recognition, RCA and then BMG largely has themselves to blame for that. If they had spent nickel promoting Elvis' album length statements then maybe it wouldn't be so much of a problem.

As for song recognition, I don't think that should be so much of a problem because A) the types of fans buying an original release album like Elvis is Back already have the greatest hits and would want to pick up something they don't own and B) Most of the record guides have high praise for stuff like "Long Black Limousine" or "Reconsider Baby" which would make the more educated fan want to buy the albums. Why do you think there's a demand for stuff like the Sun sessions? It's because their quality has been highly praised in the music press as has stuff like Elvis is Back. What's more wouldn't a casual fan be interested to hear Elvis take on Dylan than have another version of Viva Las Vegas? I mean if I'm investing in Elvis, I'm going to think twice before forking over $15 for a CD that might give me 8-20 new songs. And the soundtrack songs do have their own little niche because of their exposure on TV. That the Viva Las Vegas reissue is not available in stores is befuddling as the movie is frequently shown on TV and the songs are good. If you want to get those songs though you normally can't find them at your local record store. Asking folks to pay $35 as an entry fee to Elvis is wrong and ultimately self-destructive.

LTB, I completely agree with most of this part of your post. However, the part of managing EP's catalogue is certainly debatable. It isn't that hard to keep titles in print. It can be done. Yes, Elvis had a lot of titles, and certainly some of them could be deleted and not be missed, but RCA/BMG/Sony have mismanaged the cataloge so badly and for so long that the damage will not be repaired for a very long time if ever. Elvis' recording legacy is locked up in a bunch of themed compilations and record store bins (whether physically in some surviving store or as part of an online store inventory) full of various titles with no semblance of orginization or creativity. BMG/Sony could pull all the crap from the shelves and reintroduce a new release campaign with vision and artistic integrity. But with the uncertain state of the music retail business and the end of the CD era looming ahead, it seems as though their main concern is how to milk sales of the hits and singles as long as they can before the possible end comes crashing down. It is very sad that such an important and amazing catalogue of music has been so badly mismanaged for so many years.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:23 am

That's the only thing that gives me pause from my years of criticising BMG or Ernst's duplicative titles and lack of respect for the original albums: the fact that the CD era is said to be winding down, with stores closing and the download (sadly, in my view) taking over. So the duplication in the compilations at this point is, some might say, like complaining about the arrangement of the deckchairs on the titanic. And yet even there, is not the legacy even as we "go down" important at all? Apparently not.

Also, incidentally, the above A.P. article points out, "catalog artists" (AC/DC, Zeppelin, Beatles, and others) still sell remarkably, with key albums putting to shame some current albums in annual sales.

I don't agree with Ronny G's dismissal of Elvis' albums, either. To essentially dismiss him as a singles artist, intentional or not, is to cede way too much ground to the "Rolling Stone" '60s rock school that treats '50s rockers as mere "founding fathers" and anyone who delves outside of the rock canon (into pop, gospel, etc.) as did Elvis, as some kind of non-entity. There's kind of "self-hatred" if you will in how we allow people to talk us into dismissing Elvis' albums.

There's generational bias as well. "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper's" are supposed to evoke some sort of cooing from us and awe, but in reality, one could make a case that they are somewhat over-rated. I'll take any number of Elvis albums alongside of either and I consider myself a wide-ranging music lover. Besides, "singles artist" itself should not be word of contempt, as LTB has long argued, in making the case for genius moments that that last 2-3 minutes..

Even the author in the AP article can't be bothered with telling us how Sinatra or Dean Martin and others are doing....

We've covered this subject very often. For those who missed it, there's an evergreen thread strarted by Peter Franks that still sums up the dynamics of this discussion - and it was once much longer before the server crashed! -

"50 Years, 50 Albums: Cutting The Catalogue"
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/v ... +catalogue

Jeanno: nice work, and your post reminded me of Peter's thread, thank you.

jeanno wrote:A 100 RELEASES CATALOGUE

ELVIS PRESLEY CLASSIC CATALOGUE
1- Elvis Presley (1956)
2- Elvis (1956)
3- Loving You (1957)
4- Elvis´ Christmas Album (1957)
5- Elvis´ Golden Records (1958)
6- King Creole (1958)
7- For LP Fans Only (1959)
8- A Date with Elvis (1959)
9- Elvis´ Golden Records vol.2 (1959)
10- Elvis is Back! (1960)
11- G.I. Blues (1960)
12- His Hand in Mine
13- Flamng Star / Wild In The Country / Follow That Dream
14- Something for Everybody (1961)
15- Blue Hawai (1961)
16- Kid Galahad / Girls! Girls! Girls!
17- Pot Luck (1962)
18- Elvis´ Golden Records vol.3 (1963)
19- It Happened at the World´s Fair / Fun in Acapulco
20- Viva Las Vegas / Roustabout
21- Elvis for Everyone (1965)
22- Girl Happy / Harum Scarum
23- Frankie and Johnny / Paradise, Hawaiian Style
24- Spinout / Double Trouble
25- How Great Thou Art (1967)
26- Kissin´ Cousins / Clambake / Stay Away Joe
27- Elvis´ Golden Records vol.4 (1968)
28- Easy Come, Easy Go / Speedway
29- Elvis (1968)
30- Live a Little / Charro / Change of Habits
31- From Elvis in Memphis (1969)
32- From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis (1969)
33- On Stage (1970)
34- That´s the Way it is (1970)
35- Elvis Country (1971)
36- Love Letters from Elvis (1971)
37- Elvis sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (1971)
38- Elvis Now (1972)
39- He Touched Me (1972)
40- As Recorded at MSG (1972)
41- Aloha from Hawaii (1973)
42- Elvis (1973)
43- Raised On Rock (1973)
44- Good Times (1974)
45- As Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis (1974)
46- Promised Land (1975)
47- Today (1975)
48- The Sun Sessions (1975)
49- From Elvis Presley Boulevard (1976)
50- Moody Blue (1977)
51- Elvis in Concert (1977)

POST 1977 (CDs / BOXSETS)
52- The 50´s Masters – The King of Rock´n´Roll (boxset)
53- The 60´s Masters – From Nashville to Memphis (boxset)
54- The 70´s Masters – Walk a Mile in my Shoes (boxset)
55- Sunrise (2 CDs)
56- Elvis at Sun
57- The Million Dollar Quartet
58- Jailhouse Rock (and Love Me Tender)
59- The Home Recordings
60- Elvis chante Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller (2 CDs)
61- Elvis chante Mort Shuman & Doc Pomus (2 CDs)
62- Elvis chante Sid Tepper & Roy C. Bennett (2 CDs)
63- The Lost Album
64- Tomorrow is a Long Time
65- Memories (2 CDs)
66- Tiger Man
67- The Memphis Record
68- Suspicious Minds – 1969 Anthology (2 CDs)
69- That´s the Way it is (3 CDs)
70- If Everyday was like Christmas (2 CDs)
71- An Afternoon in the Garden
72- Burning Love
73- Alternate Aloha
74- Elvis´ Golden Records vol.5
75- Elv1s
76- Second to none
77- The Great Performances
78- Elvis – la Voix du Rock (2 CDs)
79- Reconsider Baby
80- Elvis Christmas Peace
81- Elvis – Ultimate Gospel
82- Amazing Grace (2 CDs)
83- Elvis Latino
84- Romantique Elvis
85- Essential vol.1
86- Essential vol.2 – Stereo 1957
87- Essential vol.3 – Hits like Never before
88- Essential vol.4 – A Hundred Years from Now
89- Essential vol.5 – Rhythm And Country
90- Essential vol.6 – Such a Night!
91- A Golden Celebration (boxset)
92- The Silver BoxSet (boxset)
93- Collector´s Gold (boxset)
94- Platinum – A Life in Music (boxset)
95- Today, Tomorrow and Forever (boxset)
96- Close Up (boxset)
97- Live in Vegas (boxset)
98- Elvis #1 singles (boxset)
99- 18 UK #1 Hits (boxset)
100- Artist of the Century (boxset)


BTW, Thanks Ernst for (most of) the POST 1977 CD collection.
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:34 am

midnightx wrote:Good points raised. However, with bands like The Beatles and particularly The Eagles, there aren't constant compilations being released. The Eagles' "Greatest Hits Volume 1" is the biggest selling album ever in the U.S. and The Beatles' "1" continues to move big units. The labels for those artists can bank on consistent sales of one well-known hits compilation that gains a long-term reputation. Long term, BMG/Sony could move a lot of units of "ELV1S" and "2nd To None" if they cut out most of the other compilations sitting on the shelves. No reason to consistenly add more comps to the market place; with time and promotion one title can generate more sales than new annual releases with the same tracks.


midnightx

Well said!

Nigel
http://www.elvisinfonet.com

Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:07 am

midnightx wrote:Good points raised. However, with bands like The Beatles and particularly The Eagles, there aren't constant compilations being released. The Eagles' "Greatest Hits Volume 1" is the biggest selling album ever in the U.S. and The Beatles' "1" continues to move big units. The labels for those artists can bank on consistent sales of one well-known hits compilation that gains a long-term reputation. Long term, BMG/Sony could move a lot of units of "ELV1S" and "2nd To None" if they cut out most of the other compilations sitting on the shelves. No reason to consistenly add more comps to the market place; with time and promotion one title can generate more sales than new annual releases with the same tracks.


Sorry but I totally disagree :)

Adding new compilations creates new products for retailers to order and display. It also gives scope for printed reviews of each new CD. The more product out there the more potential shelf space.It's a lot easier to sell new product rather than stagnet.

The BEATLES have made a virtue of limited releases in the CD era...but in their day compilations were quite acceptable to them, witness red and blue albums, Rock and Roll, Ballads etc etc.

Had RCA followed the Beatles journey we would would have missed out on so much...like all of FTD most likely.

If never ending compilations are the cross we have to bear to have FTD and all the other outtake releases then I am all for it!

Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:13 am

Midnight- I don't disagree with you. I'm just pointing out that Elvis' catalogue isn't a mess simply because he preferred to record song to song.

I do think though you can't dismiss the end of the CD era. Sure some artists are keeping afloat but artists like James Brown, Ray Charles who were all subject to great repackages in the 1990s are in the same boat as Elvis.

Greg- I think it also should be remembered that unlike many of his peers, Elvis' albums stood on their own as his singles were generally released separately. Further many of Elvis' album tracks were potential singles or were made with the deepest passion like "Reconsider Baby." While something like Pot Luck may not have "thematic cohesion" but it does contain several essential or near essential or just plain good tracks like "Suspicion", "That's Someone You'll Never Forget" or "Night Rider'. This music deserves to be in print. Elvis is more than the 30-50 songs that have become common coin and understanding that is essential to understanding his legacy.
Last edited by likethebike on Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:20 am

KiwiAlan wrote:Adding new compilations creates new products for retailers to order and display. It also gives scope for printed reviews of each new CD. The more product out there the more potential shelf space.It's a lot easier to sell new product rather than stagnet.

Really? Do retailers display all the new comps that BMG/Sony churns out every year? No, the new themed comps end up on the shelves with little fanfare and little-to-no marketing. Just more clutter on the shelves adding confusion to the consumer. Keep a few long-term comps on the shelves and market the catalogue and they will all move.

The Eagles' "GH Volume 1" never has been stagnet. Casual consumers/fans looking for a taste of The Eagles have that option to purchase. The music is what sells, not endless comps. You don't have:
The Eagles - GH Hits 1
The Eagles - GH Hits 2
The Eagles - Love Songs
The Eagles - A Touch Of Country
The Eagles - The Rock Songs
The Eagles - Ballads
The Eagles - A Touch Of Gold
The Eagles - Live
The Eagles - Live In America
The Eagles - An American Band
etc etc etc

Guess there are many ways to make money selling records. RCA/BMG/Sony moves Elvis product like used car sales men.