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50 Years, 50 Albums: Cutting The Catalogue

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:02 am

Hey Elvis fans!

I wrote an article for Elvis-Today a few weeks ago, but Todd Slaughter seemed to show little interest in receiving it [EDIT: He ended up publishing it a few weeks after this post was made back in 2003]. Seeing as I put a lot of effort into it, and because I didn't want it to be wasted, I decided to post it here. Please let me know what you think.

50 Years, 50 Albums: Cutting The Catalogue

Four-hundred-and-fourty-seven. Do a search on Amazon.com for “Elvis Presley,” and that’s the astonishingly high number of results you’ll get under ‘Popular Music.’ It should come as a relief to find out that BMG has finally realized what many fans have known for a long time: there are simply too many Elvis CDs available on the market. Can you imagine someone wishing to give Elvis a chance, and trying to pick a few random albums to begin with? One would have to choose between everything from the classic “From Elvis In Memphis” to random, relatively poor CDs like “Elvis Sings For Kids.” Clearly the Elvis catalogue was a mess, and with the renewed interest in Elvis that came with the arrival of “Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits” last September, BMG had to dramatically decrease the size of the catalogue to make sure it could last another 25 years.

BMG actually started as early as January of 2002, when over fifty titles were deleted from the catalogue. The deletions continued throughout the year, and at the end of 2002 it was made clear that many CDs would no longer be available as of January of 2003, among them the “Golden Records” series, “Tiger Man,” and such (classic) albums as “Elvis Is Back” and “King Creole.”

The Bad

At the time of this writing it is April [of 2003], and BMG has recently released its final list of fifty albums that shall remain available from now on. Essentially, the same fifty titles shall be available worldwide, with certain extra CDs being released only in certain countries. Also, BMG aims to delete a CD from the catalogue whenever it releases a new album, effectively keeping the number of available albums around fifty. However, as was to be expected by now from BMG, the list does not contain what you might expect:

Original Albums:

Elvis Presley
Elvis
Elvis' Golden Records
Elvis' Gold Records, Volume 2 - 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong
G.I. Blues
His Hand In Mine
Something For Everybody
Blue Hawaii
Elvis' Golden Records, Volume 3
How Great Thou Art
Elvis' Gold Records, Volume 4
Elvis’ NBC - TV Special
From Elvis In Memphis
Elvis In Person
On Stage
Elvis - That's The Way It Is
Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old)
Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas
An Afternoon in the Garden
As Recorded At Madison Square Garden
Aloha From Hawaii
Promised Land
Moody Blue
Elvis in Concert

Compilations:

White Christmas
Burning Love
Elvis' Gold Records - Volume 5
Amazing Grace - His Greatest Sacred Performances [2CD]
Sunrise [2CD]
Suspicious Minds [2CD]
Elvis '56
Great Country Songs
The Home Recordings
The Top Ten Hits
The 50 Greatest Love Songs [2CD]
Memories [2CD]
Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits

Box Sets:

Artist of the Century [3CD]
Artist of the Century (Int’l Version – 5 Extra Songs) [3CD]
Elvis - The King of Rock 'N' Roll - The Essential 50s Masters [5CD]
From Nashville to Memphis - The Essential 60s Masters I [5CD]
Walk a Mile in My Shoes - The Essential 70s Masters [5CD]
Live In Las Vegas [4CD]
Peace in the Valley - The Complete Gospel Recordings [3CD]
Platinum - A Life in Music [4CD]
That's The Way It Is [3CD]
Today, Tomorrow and Forever [4CD]

Budget Albums:

Classic Elvis
Love Songs
Elvis: Christmas Album
Gospel Favourites

Looking at this list, several flaws immediately jump off the page. First of all, there are many, many songs that are only available on the 3 ‘decade box sets.’ This means that to both new Elvis fans and the average music consumer, many fine selections will only be available on three $80 sets, and would therefore be much less likely to be heard. But this is only one flaw of many. For example, there are three different Christmas CDs, when one would easily suffice. There are three gospel CDs, as well as both the “Amazing Grace” 2-CD set and the “Peace in the Valley” 3-CD set. This is stunningly redundant. Then consider the number of ‘greatest hits’ packages: “Classic Elvis,” two “Artist of the Century” sets, “Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits,” “The Top Ten Hits,” as well as the entire “Golden Records” series. This is especially poor planning considering BMG is expected to release a follow-up to “30 #1 Hits” later this year. Another observation is that there are fifteen multi-disc sets; way too many. It may also be noted that, because of the poor selection of albums chosen by BMG, there is a considerable amount of overlap: many songs appear on several CDs. This overlap is only emphasized by the fact that both the original “That’s The Way It Is” album and the 3-CD set from 2000 are on the list. The same goes for “Elvis’ NBC-TV Special” and the “Memories” 2-CD set. Clearly, if this list were to be adopted, everyone loses. Elvis’ legacy is in serious danger not only because mostly newly compiled CDs are available (and Elvis’ history won’t be remembered), but many songs simply won’t be available. The average consumer wishing to randomly pick up an Elvis CD is not as likely to pick up a classic album, would hear only the same familiar songs, and might therefore be discouraged from buying more. And in the end, BMG itself loses. Because after all, if interest in Elvis goes downhill, BMG loses its biggest selling artist.

(Still coming: Part II and III)
Last edited by Peter Franks on Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Part II

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:06 am

The Good

Hoping to rectify the matter, I looked at Elvis’ entire selection of studio masters and the albums that they (originally) appeared on. I decided to make a new list of albums that I think should be available. What I tried to do was make a list of albums that contained every studio master that Elvis recorded between 1953 and 1976, with as little overlap as possible, using only (original) albums that have already been released. That way, Elvis’ entire catalogue could be acquired through individual albums one by one, or through the purchase of retrospective packages like the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s box sets. Using my list of available albums, a person new to Elvis could look at the (original) albums, notice a few songs that they like or might know, and purchase albums accordingly. Naturally, this will lead to the discovery of material they will have never heard (rather than buying the same greatest hits again), stimulating the purchase of further Elvis albums. The following is a list of 48 albums that I would release worldwide:

Upgraded Albums:

Elvis Presley
Elvis
Loving You
Elvis’ Golden Records
King Creole
Elvis' Gold Records, Volume 2 - 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong
Elvis Is Back!
G.I. Blues
Blue Hawaii
Something For Everybody
Pot Luck
Elvis’ Gold Records, Volume 3
Elvis’ Gold Records, Volume 4
From Elvis In Memphis
Back In Memphis [2003]
Elvis In Person [2003]
That’s The Way It Is [3CD]
On Stage
Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old)
As Recorded At Madison Square Garden [2003]
Aloha From Hawaii
Promised Land
Moody Blue

Compilations:

White Christmas
Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits
Peace in the Valley [3CD]
The King Of Rock And Roll – The Complete 50’s Masters [5CD]
From Nashville To Memphis – The Essential 60’s Masters [5CD]
Walk A Mile In My Shoes – The Essential 70’s Masters [5CD]

Focus Packages:

Sunrise [2 CD Set]
Jailhouse Rock/Love Me Tender
For The Asking (The Lost Album) [2003]
Tomorrow Is A Long Time
Tiger Man
Memories [2 CD Set]
Burning Love
An Afternoon In The Garden
Essential Elvis: The First Movies
Essential Elvis, Volume 2: Stereo ‘57
Essential Elvis, Volume 3: Hits Like Never Before
Essential Elvis, Volume 4: A Hundred Years From Now
Essential Elvis, Volume 5: Rhythm and Country
Essential Elvis, Volume 6: Such A Night

Budget:

Great Country Songs
Heart & Soul
Can’t Help Falling In Love: The Hollywood Hits
A Rock ‘n Roll CD
A Gospel CD

There are many reasons why the list I made is superior to the one BMG released. First of all, every master recording from the 1950’s is available; the entire sun sessions are available on “Sunrise,” and all other masters are available on the original (now upgraded) albums. The use of original albums means that there is relatively very little overlap, and history is somewhat preserved. Secondly, every non-soundtrack, non-gospel master is available from the 1960’s on separate albums. In addition to that, all the released ‘Comeback’ music (save for the stuff on FTD’s “Burbank ‘68”) is available on two strong packages. An entire decade of Elvis’ (non-soundtrack, studio) music is available on eleven CDs! The four upgraded albums from the ‘70’s are also available, along with several strong live packages.

The “Essential Elvis” series is also available. I did this for two reasons. The first is that these are in fact pretty strong albums and, on my list anyway, only one of few packages that contain alternate takes. The second reason is actually one that I think should span the entire catalogue: self-promotion. I would include an advertising sheet (in a similar style to the one for Elvis-Today that was included with “Essential Elvis, Volume 6: Such A Night”), promoting the Follow That Dream label. After all, the people that are interested in buying these alternate takes will probably also like releases like “Out In Hollywood” and “Fame And Fortune.” For the other albums, I would include advertising for other (similar) albums on the above list. For example, with “That’s The Way It Is” include a sheet that says: “Like this album? Try Elvis Country.” Or alternatively, put a sticker on the case with such ads. After all, no one outside of the Elvis world can even name a single original Elvis album. Everyone knows the Beatles’ “White Album” and “Sgt. Pepper’s” (even if they haven’t actually heard them), yet no one can name “Elvis Is Back!” or “From Elvis In Memphis.” With this mini-advertising on the albums, hopefully that can change over time.

One might notice that I included 1991’s “For The Asking (The Lost Album),” which featured all non-soundtrack songs Elvis recorded in 1963. They were originally released as bonus songs on soundtracks at the time, but – as was recently announced by FTD – these albums won’t be available in stores. If “For The Asking” were to be released again, this time with re-mastered sound, a nice eight-page booklet, and added artwork, it can be considered a strong fifteen-track prequel to “Tomorrow Is A Long Time.”

In reference to BMG’s list, there are several other improvements. There is only one Christmas package, as opposed to three. There is one greatest hits package, as opposed to four. There are two gospel packages (“Peace In The Valley” and a budget CD), as opposed to five. There are seven multi-disc packages, as opposed to fifteen. Clearly, my new list is leaner, cleaner, and tighter. It includes more music on fewer albums, for less money. It contains most of Elvis’ original albums, a key part in keeping Elvis’ legacy going. This is what BMG should have done a long time ago.
Last edited by Peter Franks on Mon Apr 28, 2003 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:10 am

The Ugly

As was to be expected there are several problems, even with my new list - some minor, some major. Let’s look at my list. First off, the lack of soundtrack albums is painfully apparent: of the thirty-one movies Elvis starred in, only five soundtrack albums would be available (plus the “Can’t Help Falling In Love” CD). With the recent news that Follow That Dream is to release all (?) movie-soundtracks, what does that leave for the average consumer? I chose to keep all the ‘50’s soundtracks, as well as the two that got a deluxe treatment: “GI Blues” and “Blue Hawaii.” I would only keep the deluxe versions, though, and remove the regular jewel-case versions. But is this enough? It’s true that some of Elvis’ weakest music came from the soundtracks, but there were plenty of gems, too. When sticking strictly to the revised catalogue as above, the average consumer would never get to hear “I Need Somebody To Lean On” or “Change of Habit,” for example. It’s a real shame, but it’s a problem that is nearly impossible to solve when keeping the catalogue to fewer than fifty titles. Hopefully, with the aforementioned advertising (especially in “Can’t Help Falling In Love” for the FTD soundtracks), this problem can be corrected over time with further exposure to the FTD label.

You may also notice that I included “Elvis In Person” under ‘Upgraded Albums.’ Unfortunately, “Elvis In Person” hasn’t been upgraded yet, but I think it should be. “Elvis In Person” was a very strong album, and could easily be upgraded with a few live cuts, even if they’ve been released before. What about “Rubberneckin’” from “Collector’s Gold”? What about “What’d I Say”? The original album had twelve songs, upgrading it to eighteen would be easy. (I included “Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden” there because a simple sound-upgrade is easily justified).

While we’re on the subject of 1969, the thirty-two studio masters need to be handled differently as well. BMG should delete the “Suspicious Minds” 2-CD set, keep the upgraded “From Elvis In Memphis,” and upgrade “Back In Memphis” with the remaining six 1969 songs (“My Little Friend,” “Rubberneckin’,” “Hey Jude,” “I’ll Be There,” “Who Am I?” and “If I’m A Fool For Loving You”), making for a total of sixteen tracks (compared to eighteen on “From Elvis In Memphis”). As much as I love “Suspicious Minds,” I think it needs to go. Priority should be given to preserving the original albums. One should understand the fact that the general public is not that interested in the alternate takes found on “Suspicious Minds,” and its deletion would therefore be easily justified.

The biggest problems come when looking at the ‘70’s recordings. It has long been known that this material hasn’t been given a lot of respect, and it becomes painfully obvious when making this list. Of the 118 secular masters that Elvis recorded between 1970 and 1976, only 66 have been released on original albums in upgraded form (“That’s The Way It Is,” “Elvis Country,” “Promised Land,” and “Moody Blue”). Another nine songs were released on 1999’s “Burning Love” CD (which is on the list as well), leaving a whopping 43 songs that were not remixed, and were not released on any CDs other than their original CD issues (“Love Letters From Elvis [1992],” “Elvis Now [1993],” “Elvis (The Fool Album)[1994],” “Raised On Rock [1994],” “Good Times [1994],” and “Elvis Today [1992]”). The problem here is that these albums are too short to keep in the catalogue as full price albums, but to delete them without replacing them would leave almost four-dozen songs unavailable – many that aren’t even on the “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” set. There are three possible solutions that I can think of. One would be to release some sort of 2-CD package that only consists of these 43 songs. This would be an odd list of songs, however, considering it would consist of selections from 1970 through 1975 that are basically unrelated. The second option would be to release a new ‘70’s box with these additional songs on them. But as has become apparent over the years, this is not an idea that BMG is likely to go for. The third option would be to combine some of these albums into one CD (much like was done with “From Elvis Presley Boulevard” and “Moody Blue,” and “Good Times” and “Promised Land” respectively). There are two problems with above approaches, however. First of all, new fans wouldn’t be able to experience the original albums as they were released originally – releasing these songs on new albums is really changing history. Secondly, these options would require releasing even more CD’s – a solution that is the exact opposite of what this lean set of 48 is supposed to accomplish.

Who Needs Money?

Despite what we may wish to be the case, not everyone is willing to pay full price for an artist they have heard so many negative things about. I agree with BMG that there should be budget CDs, but not too many. There have been so many budget releases over the years (that are all the same), that BMG needs to delete them all and stick to about four or five. We need only one ‘Love Songs’ collection (the recently re-released “Heart And Soul”), only one country compilation (the recently re-released “Great Country Songs”), only one rock and roll album (perhaps the recent “Elvis ’56,” although it obviously doesn’t contain any rock and roll beyond 1956), and one gospel CD. As a brief overview of Elvis’ movie soundtracks, I’d also include the recently re-released “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

What Now, What Next, Where To?

As is obvious by now, the poor catalogue organization that has been apparent over the last 25 years has finally taken its toll. It is certainly a great step forward to see what BMG is doing, but it’s clearly a flawed one. If an improvement like this is to take place successfully, BMG needs to make a list like I did (with ‘only’ 48 albums), or something very similar to it. We need to preserve history by keeping the original albums as much as we can, while adding value, and increasing the availability of Elvis’ music. This includes NOT releasing a sequel to “30 #1 Hits.” I am not a business man by any means, but it is my strong belief that BMG would be better off either promoting “Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits” again this holiday season, or giving some promotion to the other releases (that are relatively unknown). I hope someone at BMG reads this, and decides to alter their plans. If the plans they made are to be followed, Elvis’ legacy is in serious trouble. And so is everyone willing to buy his music in the years to come.
Last edited by Peter Franks on Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:11 am

why would you delete Platinum, TT&F, and Live In Las Vegas?

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:21 am

Kylan wrote:why would you delete Platinum, TT&F, and Live In Las Vegas?


In my opinion, the average consumer isn't that interested in alternate takes, so I would delete Platinum and T, T, & F. This is what the FTD label is for, after all. I don't work at BMG (unfortunately), but I would have never released a set like LILV. It's fantastic music for sure, but CD3 is a waste, for example. I would love to keep it on the list, but unfortunately there's no room, considering there's 48 albums already, and BMG plans on releasing Close Up and "2nd To None" (for lack of a better title).

That having been said, you replied before reading the whole article... :roll:

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:28 am

I dont see what the 3 releases i mentioned do that hurts Elvis' legacy or whatever the point is. They obviously sell and go over well otherwise we wouldnt get one every year, sometimes two. right?

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:32 am

Kylan wrote:I dont see what the 3 releases i mentioned do that hurts Elvis' legacy or whatever the point is. They obviously sell and go over well otherwise we wouldnt get one every year, sometimes two. right?


I never said they hurt Elvis' image, did I? Besides, BMG made a list of 50 albums, so I tried to keep my list to (under) 50 albums - that's how you play the game. So if you want to keep "Close Up" and "2nd To None," AND T, T, & F, LILV, and Platinum, something's got to give. Any suggestions?

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:35 am

First off, let me say I realize alot of work went into your articles, and you bring up many good points. As a suscriber of Elvis Today I am saddened that they did not at least work with you to include this or a similar article in the monthy.

I'll focus on the Christmas and Gospel releases. I agree that BMG's list included too many Christmas compilations. I personally would have chosen If Everyday Was Like Christmas and a budget compilation that included only the 50's material, but I'll take the point you made with the Suspicious Minds set about alternate takes and agree with your pick of White Christmas.

On an Amazon.com search of Elvis' bestselling CDs three out of the top 5 were Gospel(Amazing Grace, Peace In The Valley and How Great Thou Art), so I understand why BMG would not want to eliminate those top-selling sets from the catalog.

The 70's is a difficult dilema, and although not perfect, I would rather they combine the remaining albums as they did with Moody Blue and EP Blvd. than to not have the material available at all.

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:43 am

how bout deleting the 50's and 60's box? dont u get alot of repitition with the original albums reissued and upgraded?

Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:49 am

Scotch,

Thanks for you response. I too am dissapointed that Todd didn't seem more interested in receiving it, considering there are fewer and fewer original articles in his magazine.

You reminded me of another thing I should have stated in the beginning. The points I made are not ones that I would have preferred as a fan. I tried to look at the releases from someone else's perspective - someone who is not a fan. This means keeping as many masters available on as few CDs as possible, preferably on non-multidisc sets.

For example, I only have a copy of "If Every Day Was Like Christmas," NOT "White Christmas." And although you bring up a very good point about gospel releases, you must see the extreme redundancy in keeping both "Amazing Grace" and "Peace in the Valley." And I also enjoyed the new "Moody Blue" CD (with "Elvis Presley Blvd.") and thought it was a perfectly justified release. The same would be harder to justify for the other albums I mentioned. Personally I would have preferred a new 70's box, but that's a separate article!

Mon Apr 28, 2003 2:04 am

I think you make a very valid point. Your list seemes like a big improvement and a good effort to present Elvis' recorded legacy in a more coherent and logical matter. I wonder who makes these kinds of decisions at BMG to make up that list that they've come up with. Is there someone out here who can explain its logic to me? Anyone? :)

I can't even see the business logic in it: keeping both the Peace in the Valley 3cd set as well as the Amazing Grace 2cd set is only one example of what seems like a hasty and sloppy job in compiling their "definitive" list. As far as offering Elvis fans the most bang for the buck (the most and best music for the lowest possible price) it's even more painful. Of course BMG is a business and all they really care about is making as much money as possible, but here I feel they act like amateurs.

I'm sure if Ernst had any input in this, he would have protested (maybe I'm naive). I do hope your proposition somehow grabs the attention of someone who might have an influence. But you know how it will probably go: highly-paid decision-makers that are far too self-involved, arrogant and convinced-of-their-own-right to change anything that is already planned. They probably don't even like Elvis...oh well... :(

Mon Apr 28, 2003 2:34 am

Kylan wrote:how bout deleting the 50's and 60's box? dont u get alot of repitition with the original albums reissued and upgraded?


Yes, like I said in the article (although not in so many words), there is almost 100% overlap with the 50's and 60's material and the albums I decided to keep. But I never considered deleting the sets. I think they're very strong and comprehensive sets, and should never be deleted. And I don't mean to sound, well, mean, but I can't believe you would choose to keep a boxset of alternates over one of masters.

James27 wrote:I think you make a very valid point. Your list seemes like a big improvement and a good effort to present Elvis' recorded legacy in a more coherent and logical matter. I wonder who makes these kinds of decisions at BMG to make up that list that they've come up with. Is there someone out here who can explain its logic to me? Anyone? :)

I can't even see the business logic in it: keeping both the Peace in the Valley 3cd set as well as the Amazing Grace 2cd set is only one example of what seems like a hasty and sloppy job in compiling their "definitive" list. As far as offering Elvis fans the most bang for the buck (the most and best music for the lowest possible price) it's even more painful. Of course BMG is a business and all they really care about is making as much money as possible, but here I feel they act like amateurs.

I'm sure if Ernst had any input in this, he would have protested (maybe I'm naive). I do hope your proposition somehow grabs the attention of someone who might have an influence. But you know how it will probably go: highly-paid decision-makers that are far too self-involved, arrogant and convinced-of-their-own-right to change anything that is already planned. They probably don't even like Elvis...oh well... :(


Thank you very much, I'm glad you like my work and feel the same way I do. If only I could have a chat with Ernst, see what he (or whoever) was thinking (and maybe if we can't change his mind :D)!

Mon Apr 28, 2003 2:44 am

Well I would theoretically have all the masters in the 50's and 60's single albums upgrades. but i was just suggesting. In fact, I have the box sets, and dont have the single album upgrades. I tho in hindsight suggested the deletions because the upgrade albums have superior sound than the boxes.

Mon Apr 28, 2003 2:55 am

Kylan wrote:Well I would theoretically have all the masters in the 50's and 60's single albums upgrades. but i was just suggesting. In fact, I have the box sets, and dont have the single album upgrades. I tho in hindsight suggested the deletions because the upgrade albums have superior sound than the boxes.


You can see on my list that I have both the upgraded albums and the box sets. I don't have the upgraded CDs in my collection either, so I can't judge on the sound. The thing is, though, that I would have kept the CDs on my list and then one by one re-release them with upgraded sound (like was done with Elv1s). This would of course include the box sets.

Mon Apr 28, 2003 3:24 am

to me i dont think any elvis albums should be delete at all
imo there's room for the new cds and the old

and they can keep must of them in graceland gift shops
and mail order.

so i do believe there room for all elvis cds.

Good article Peter!

Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:32 am

I follow your opinion here! The way BMG is handling Elvis' albums one may wonder!
I feel that all the original albums with upgrades should be kept, along with the later additions of THE LOST ALBUM, TOMORROW IS A LONG TIME and BURNING LOVE.
To close the gap, with the 70's studio tracks that didn't make it onto the boxed set, I think a few compilations, sort of THE 70'S MASTERS VOL 2,
would do. We are missing some tracks
from LOVE LETTERS FROM ELVIS, ELVIS ('73), NOW and RAISED ON ROCK.
As for the Christmas release, I was hoping IF EVERY DAY WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS would have become the definite one, but...
As for the gospel albums, I fell that AMAZING GRACE or THE COMPLETE GOSPEL SESSIONS would do the trick!
For the Golden Records series, an upgrade of volume 5, or adding a volume 6 would also be a nice addition. Then leave the TOP 10 HITS out.
As for the soundtracks, the list Peter gave is fine. Then let FTD handle the rest!
Regarding the boxed sets, I'd like to keep them in circulation!

Mon Apr 28, 2003 4:56 pm

Well I bought a couple of the upgraded 60s cds,and no,they are not better sound quality then the 60s box-set..

Mon Apr 28, 2003 6:49 pm

Great post, I appreciate the time you took in compiling your thoughts. I do got to disagree on TTAF and LILV and Platinum. These are essential in my opinion. I am just glad I bought the stuff when I could. The original albums should stay in print and I guess if the box sets had to go, then I would stay with those.

Still if the 70's are done right(you HEAR THIS BMG, release every NON SECULAR MASTER!!!), then this would be a excellent way for new fans to collect Elvis masters. The 50's could be upgraded with the newly found original demos put on SUNRISE and that would be it. 15 cd's for the average fan to buy. Hell they already went Platinum and gold and gold respectively. Lets build on this!! Keep Peace and the Valley and White Christmas in print and watch them sell year after year. New compilations suck. We need new stickers on the cd's that is all!

Tue Apr 29, 2003 12:37 am

So that's it, then? FECC has 364 members, and only 7 people care enough to read and realize BMG is doing its same old bs again?! No one else cares that

- EMI releases the Beatles "1" and it goes to #1 worldwide because they haven't released a greatest hits style package since "1967 - 1970 [The Blue Album]," but BMG wants to release ANOTHER greatest hits CD WITHIN A YEAR of its other one, that didn't nearly do as well as the Beatles' one? (And yes, I know there are a ton of other factors to consider, but facts are facts).

- BMG wants to keep "Elvis' TV Special" and "Memories: The 68 Comeback" AND "Amazing Grace," "Peace In The Valley," "How Great Thou Art," "Gospel Favourites," and "His Hand In Mine," but not "Elvis Is Back"?

- More than 3 dozen 70's cuts won't be available?

There are tons of other points in the article, but I digress. I guess I'm the only one (save for a few people that replied) that gives a damn what people think of Elvis in the future. It seems people don't care about Elvis music 10 years from now, only that they get more alternate takes. :roll:

Tue Apr 29, 2003 12:50 am

Peter, what about what I suggested

Complete 50 60 and 70's non secular masters. This I think is a great idea for the upcoming re-remasterd box sets. Maybe a separate set Command Perfomances style for the singles. Better yet screw um, the live stuff should be released on their respective albums in FTD series. This is to me the best approach. Most of the work is done, and this would be the best representation of the material. Chronolical Elvis as it should be!! Save the Gospel and Christmas selections, which are currently in print. The Soundtracks are being remedied on the the FTD series and the odds and ends have already been adressed!

Tue Apr 29, 2003 12:59 am

Universal Music is recently reissuing some classic albums in Deluxe double CD format, adding unreleased songs, alternative takes or alternative mixes to the original tracklist for example the Who´s My Generation or Bob Marley´s Legend.

Suspiscious Minds should be marketed as a Deluxe version of From Elvis In Memphis even receiving it´s cover. The same goes for Memories as a Deluxe edition of NBC-TV Special and Sunrise as a Deluxe edition of The Sun Collection. These double CD´s should be sold at the price of a single CD. We already have a Special Edition of That´s the Way It Is. I also believe BMG should release a 2 CD Deluxe Edition of Elvis Is Back.

King creole is a very strong album and should stay part of the catalog.

For the Asking and Tommorrow Is A Long Time are proof, that Elvis was a contemporary and versatile artist even in the mid sixties, so those should stay aswell. I would even produce another lost album containing the masters from 1971. Some of the deleted 70´s albums were quite weak, so I see no problem in deleting those.

Apart from the # 1 Hits and 2nd to None I would concentrate on theme oriented compilations: 2CD love songs as existant in 50 Greatest Love Songs, 2 CD Rock´n´Roll collection, 1 CD Blues compilation, 1 CD Country existant as Great Country Songs and 1 CD Movie compilation once existant as Hollywood Hits.

The presence of all original xmas and gospel albums with the exeption of He Touched Me plus White Xmas, Amazing Grace and Peace in the Valley is really inflationary, but I guess these are Elvis best selling catalog items and Ernst wants to make sure every nuance of this repertoire is presented so every possible angle of customer preference regarding this material is satisfied. I mean what was left to do than mix these two repertoires as being practiced in September by "Christmas Peace".

Tue Apr 29, 2003 1:21 am

genesim wrote:Peter, what about what I suggested

Complete 50 60 and 70's non secular masters. This I think is a great idea for the upcoming re-remasterd box sets. Maybe a separate set Command Perfomances style for the singles. Better yet screw um, the live stuff should be released on their respective albums in FTD series. This is to me the best approach. Most of the work is done, and this would be the best representation of the material. Chronolical Elvis as it should be!! Save the Gospel and Christmas selections, which are currently in print. The Soundtracks are being remedied on the the FTD series and the odds and ends have already been adressed!


So you mean keeping the 50's and 60's box sets, and releasing a new 70's set? Ideally, this is what I would have, too - all the original albums upgraded with masters (not alternate takes!) and the 3 decade boxes that had it all. As much as possible I tried to create this in my list.

Amajoe wrote:Suspiscious Minds should be marketed as a Deluxe version of From Elvis In Memphis even receiving it´s cover. The same goes for Memories as a Deluxe edition of NBC-TV Special and Sunrise as a Deluxe edition of The Sun Collection. These double CD´s should be sold at the price of a single CD. We already have a Special Edition of That´s the Way It Is. I also believe BMG should release a 2 CD Deluxe Edition of Elvis Is Back.


I don't agree. Elvis' original albums should be kept in the catalogue, albeit in upgraded from (with masters, not alternates). This goes for From Elvis In Memphis and Back In Memphis. BMG should get rid of Suspicious Minds.

The only place where I think this doesn't apply is the comeback stuff. I think Memories is a much better package than the original album, and would keep it over the original (short) album.

I don't agree about "Elvis Is Back." If you want something like that, play the already upgraded (now deleted) Elvis Is Back, and follow it with FTD's "Fame And Fortune." Same effect, but no trouble/confusion for the general public, and no messing with Elvis' discographic history. 8)

Reconsider, Baby

Tue Apr 29, 2003 2:30 am

Peter, no need to worry: this thread, and more importantly, this issue has legs, so to speak. Your post has barely been up 24 hours and I plan to fully weigh in soon enough. (Give the crew some time!)

But thanks for your analysis, as I tend to agree with everything you said. I would like to only try to play the devil's advocate as I'm afraid intelligent handling of Elvis' catalogue is almost "Un-Elvis" like, i.e. we are facing a deeply-ingrained RCA trait of decades of neglect, over-kill and blundering, with the rare exception of Ernst and company, who see him as more than a cash cow. To be more fair, the ship has REALLY turned around under this new "regime" and yet the new catalogue seems a real disconnect from the direction we'd traveled. It DID seem really off.

Let's keep at our lobbying. Elvis' legacy deserves as much, and I dare say in the long run it could prove more profitable, at least I hope so.

Re: Reconsider, Baby

Tue Apr 29, 2003 3:48 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:Peter, no need to worry: this thread, and more importantly, this issue has legs, so to speak. Your post has barely been up 24 hours and I plan to fully weigh in soon enough. (Give the crew some time!)


I'm sorry if I came off sounding very upset, it's just that this is such an important issue (in my opinion), and BMG's list is so poor (again, my opinion), that I was surprised that not more people cared as much as I do - and that it was already halfway down the page.

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:But thanks for your analysis, as I tend to agree with everything you said. I would like to only try to play the devil's advocate as I'm afraid intelligent handling of Elvis' catalogue is almost "Un-Elvis" like, i.e. we are facing a deeply-ingrained RCA trait of decades of neglect, over-kill and blundering, with the rare exception of Ernst and company, who see him as more than a cash cow. To be more fair, the ship has REALLY turned around under this new "regime" and yet the new catalogue seems a real disconnect from the direction we'd traveled. It DID seem really off.

Let's keep at our lobbying. Elvis' legacy deserves as much, and I dare say in the long run it could prove more profitable, at least I hope so.


Yes, it's exactly because of Ernst that I'm so 'upset.' He has shown he knows what to do for the fans and general public alike, so why such a poor list? He knows the catalogue, he knows how to make fantastic CDs and it's because of him we have the fantastic FTD label, so why can't he make a proper list? All I had to do is make an Excel spreadsheet on where to find the masters and made my list of CDs that way. It's not like this is unchartered territory - look at the lean Beatles catalogue.

Call me naive if you want, but I was hoping Ernst would read the article (admittedly in Elvis-Today) and change his list. A man can dream, can't he? 8)

Tue Apr 29, 2003 6:36 am

Hi Peter and all.
This is an interesting thread. Maybe not a whole lot of people have responded could be because "what's the use?". We've been through this many times and whatever we say is not going to matter. BMG has made up their minds, albeit some bad choices. Maybe not bad choices but bad choices in the eyes of the fans.
They may have something planned down the road in a year or two. I don't think, if Ernst has anything to say about it, BMG would delete such a great album as "Elvis Is Back" unless something is planned down the line. Maybe they are planning a double cd set of this album or a much more extended set. The same goes for King Creole and others. Maybe their thinking is that if we delete certain collections or albums, then release them a few years later, there would be a demand for them. That's not a totally bad idea. All the real Elvis fans have them anyway. Go a few years and then put them out with a large publicity campaign.
Who knows what is going to happen. We are just picking and picking at something we really know little about. On the surface it sounds like an idiotic move. In the long run, it may work.
I really don't understand the Christmas and Gospel song cds that are kept in circulation. That is very strange, no matter how you look at it. If they were all big sellers, it isn't because of the sets themselves, it's because of the nature of the material. If someone wants a Gospel collection or a Christmas collection of Elvis, they will buy the one that is available. They are not going to say "gee, I will wait until they come out with a different collection".

jeff R