Remembering Elvis Presley on His 81st Birthday


BY LORIE LIEBIG Wide Open Country

Few artists have left a legacy as monumental as Elvis Presley. As an artist, he managed to bridge the gap between country music and rock and roll like no one before. Although he’s known as the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis’ musical roots stem from the traditional country that he grew up listening to as a child.

Presley’s first public performance was at the 1945 Mississippi-Alabama Fair, where he performed Red Foley’s country song “Old Shep,” clad in cowboy attire. This seemingly small moment would mark the start of a career filled with incredible accomplishments within the music industry.

Everything changed in 1954, when Presley met Sam Phillips while recording at Sun Records in Memphis. The two tracked a single which featured the songs “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” which helped him gain traction on the radio.

Soon after, Presley was booked to play a year’s worth of Saturday-night performances on the popular radio program Louisiana Hayride. The exposure from these performances, along with touring and a constant stream of solid singles landed him a recording contract with RCA Records. He quickly earned number one hits with “Heartbreak Hotel“, “Don’t Be Cruel”, and “Hound Dog”.

The release of his self-titled debut album, along with a stream of notable television appearances, skyrocketed him to the top of the charts and made him a pop culture sensation. At the close of the 1950s, Presley racked up more number one hits, including “Stuck on You”, “Are You Lonesome Tonight”, and “It’s Now or Never.”

In the 1960s, Presley became focused on his film career and began recording softer, more pop-influenced tracks. Over the years, the quality of his output began to lessen and many believed that his career was all but over.

Presley managed to bring his career back to life in the 1970s by revisiting the sound that originally made him famous. By mixing rock and roll with his beloved classic country influences, he once again crafted a sound that won over listeners across the globe.

The release of Elvis Country, a concept record that focused on country standards, brought acclaim from critics and fans alike. From Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” to Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away”, Presley brought his trademark soulful sound back to the forefront.

One of the world’s greatest voices was silenced on Aug. 16, 1977, when Presley died of a heart attack at the age of 42. Although his last few years were filled with personal struggle, Presley left behind an immense catalog of music that will influence artists for decades to come.

Elvis Presley's Albums to Comprise 60-Disc New Box Set

'Elvis Presley – The Album Collection' contains 57 albums and three discs of rarities, along with 300-page hardcover book

BY KORY GROW - Rolling Stone Country -January 6, 2016

A massive new, 60-disc box set of Elvis Presley's recordings will come out in the spring. The limited-edition set, Elvis Presley – The Album Collection, compiles 57 albums released between 1956 and 1977, as well as three discs of rarities. It will be available on March 18th, a few days before the 60th anniversary of the release of the King's debut LP, Elvis Presley.

Meet Man Who Discovered Elvis in Essential Sam Phillips Book »

The box set includes Presley's initial recordings for Sun Records, his early albums, compilations of his singles, all 17 of his film soundtracks and his many live albums. Each of the records features artwork resembling the original releases, including gatefold and die-cut sleeves, original inserts, stickers and other archival material as it appeared. It also includes a 300-page, hardcover book with liner notes by Elvis expert John Jackson and recording notes.

Although details of the rarities discs have not yet been revealed, each installment is dedicated to a decade – the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies – and contains what the set's producers consider the essentials.

The last year has seen a lot of Elvis-related activity. A new "forever" stamp was issued by the U.S. Postal Service with his face on it. His first recording, "My Happiness," sold at auction for $300,000, with Jack White later revealed as the buyer. (White subsequently reissued the track.) And Presley's estate commissioned a new compilation album, If I Can Dream, which added orchestral arrangements to many Elvis songs; versions of the title song and "American Trilogy" are available to stream.

Priscilla Presley, who was married to Elvis and is the caretaker of his estate, told Rolling Stone last year that, as with the orchestral album, she hoped to explore other ways to keep his music in the public consciousness in the future. "Our culture and music has changed so drastically, I think that we have to keep [Elvis] right in line and do whatever we can to keep him current," she said. "I'm not saying we'd change his voice. It will always be him singing. But it will be a new take on it. He would have been the first to jump in. We're just carrying out, really, the DNA of Elvis Presley and keeping him authentic."

Elvis Presley - The Album Collection contents:

Elvis Presley (1956)
Elvis (1956)
Loving You (1957)
Elvis Christmas Album (1957)
Elvis' Golden Records (1958)
King Creole (1958)
For LP Fans Only (1959)
A Date With Elvis (1959)
Elvis' Gold Records Volume 2 – 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong (1959)
Elvis Is Back! (1960)
G.I. Blues (1960)
His Hand in Mine (1960)
Something for Everybody (1961)
Blue Hawaii (1961)
Pot Luck (1962)
Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)
It Happened at the World's Fair (1963)
Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3 (1963)
Fun in Acapulco (1963)
Kissin' Cousins (1964)
Roustabout (1964)
Girl Happy (1965)
Elvis for Everyone (1965)
Harum Scarum (1965)
Frankie and Johnny (1966)
Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)
Spinout (1966)
How Great Thou Art (1967)
Double Trouble (1967)
Clambake (1967)
Elvis' Gold Records Volume 4 (1968)
Speedway (1968)
Elvis Sings Flaming Star (1968)
Elvis (NBC-TV Special) (1968)
From Elvis in Memphis (1969)
From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis (1969)
Let's Be Friends (1970)
On Stage (1970)
Almost in Love (1970)
That's the Way It Is (1970)
Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old) (1971)
Love Letters From Elvis (1971)
C'mon Everybody (1971)
I Got Lucky (1971)
Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (1971)
Elvis Now (1972)
He Touched Me (1972)
Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972)
Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite (2 discs, 1973)
Elvis (Fool) (1973)
Raised on Rock (1973)
Good Times (1974)
Elvis: As Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis (1974)
Promised Land (1975)
Elvis Today (1975)
From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee (1976)
Moody Blue (1977)
'50s Rarities (2016)
'60s Rarities (2016)
'70s Rarities (2016)

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