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Classic Albums - Elvis Presley: Elvis Presley


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This film tells the unusual story that lies behind the making of Elvis Presley's first album for RCA Records, in 1956, and his meteoric rise to Superstardom. In Memphis, Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records, gives the inside story of those groundbreaking days when he auditioned, produced and befriended Elvis. Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana describe recording the album in Nashville and New York. They recall, with rare home movie footage, touring with Elvis's Pink Cadillac. The film is filled with performances from '55 and '56, interview with Elvis and rare home movie footage of him at play and work, offering fresh insights into his life and his recordings. Featured songs include Blue Suede Shoes, Shake Rattle and Roll, Tutti Frutti, Money Honey and Elvis' first million seller Heartbreak Hotel. Also songs from his early Sun sessions: Mystery Train, Baby Let's Play House and That's Alright.

Track Listing:
1. Blue Suede Shoes
2. Trying to Get to You
3. Shake Rattle and Roll
4. Tribute to Elmore James
5. That's All Right
6. Mystery Train
7. Baby Let's Play House
8. Tutti Frutii
9. Heartbreak Hotel
10. Money Honey
11. I Was The One

Amazon.com

"It was like the world went from black & white to Technicolor," says Keith Richards of the emergence of Elvis Presley in the mid-'50s, and this look at the King's first official album (the legendary Sun Sessions weren't issued in album form until well after the fact) backs up that claim. The one-hour program (plus 40 minutes of bonus interview material on the DVD) combines performance footage (the early TV shows are not to be missed), photos, and more to limn Presley's early days, when he combined country, blues, and R&B to forge a unique, galvanizing style. Sun producer Sam Phillips, author Peter Guralnick, Presley's musicians, and others are on hand to provide insight and background. But in the end, of course, it comes down to the music--and when you're talking about the likes of "Blue Suede Shoes," "Tutti Frutti," "Money Honey," and "Heartbreak Hotel" (a single that actually wasn't on the album), "classic" hardly begins to cover it. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Bonus interviews: For the Record, The Early Years, The Sun Recordings, On the Road, RCA Buys Elvis's Contract

Product Details

  • Actors: Elvis Presley
  • Directors: Jeremy Marre
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eagle Eye/Pioneer
  • DVD Release Date: February 12, 2002
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UBKE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,092 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By plsilverman on March 17, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Maybe somewhere along the way they filmed somebody explaining to the viewer that they are *apparently* discussing the *reissue* of Elvis Presley's first album - it contained five additional songs. With that explanation, the viewer used to the original twelve track edition isn't confused. Whatever hit the editing room floor, the results are still top notch: the interviews are expertly conducted and provide fascinating details for diehards and casual fans.
Ofcourse many have wondered why the first album for RCA's biggest star would contain leftovers from his C & W past, in fact, cuts which on their own could not have supported Presley's global success. Unfortunately, this tape does not really address that question, the answer to which is rather obvious - before Rock and Roll, albums were not, as in later decades, the primary money makers for the company, so perhaps it was felt that if a teenager could afford the album and the single (and the Extended Play?) then the tentative Country ballad "I Love You Because and the innocuous uptempo "Just Because" would loom as worth-hearing but not essential material. To put it simply, hit singles (i.e. "Heartbreak Hotel") and contemporaneous hit albums ("Elvis Presley") were essentially two separate entities.
There are some amazing segments here, most notably *previously unreleased* 1956 television footage and recording studio outtakes on "Shake, Rattle, and Roll". The tape closes with a rare 1956 narrative beautifully delivered by the star.
One "missing" piece: a reported audio interview with Elvis conducted in New York around 04-56 in which he is asked if he actually likes his first album and he responds that he is pleased with about half of it and thinks "One-Sided Love Affair" is a standout.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on September 2, 2008
Format: DVD
Over the past several months I have spend more than my fair of time investigating the effect of the career of Elvis Presley on my generation of '68, and on me personally. That has entailed listening to some CDs and looking at old footage provided in various DVD compilations. One such documentary, hosted by Jack Scott, traced Elvis's rise in the key year of 1954, the `dog days'. The present documentary breaks down a classic Elvis Presley album of 1956 (that is the title, and really all that is necessary as a title), his breakout year. The year he moved from Sam Phillips Sun Records to the big time- RCA Records.

This DVD is part of a series on classic American albums. I am not familiar with the others in the series yet but based on this introduction these efforts seem to be labors of love. Here we have the expected `talking heads' dissecting the meaning of each song, some anecdotes from various and sundry performers and music historians interspersed with very illuminating footage of Elvis's progress from Southern regional phenomena to national (and international) rock star at a time when the youth of my generation were desperately in need of a jailhouse breakout figure.

The highlight here is a very interesting discussion about Heartbreak Hotel, a song whose depressive lyrics would seem to be out of sync with what Elvis was trying to project (including various takes on Elvis's performance of the song on television). This segment makes a very strong case for Elvis's emergence as `king of the hill' in 1956. Whether he continued that role later is a separate question but 1956 was his year, and his alone. This little album also contained a very well thought out and performed mix of ballads, black bluesy numbers (Shake, Rattle and Roll), a little country, a little gospel.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Sarti on June 16, 2002
Format: DVD
The one-hour program (plus 40 minutes of bonus interview material on the DVD) combines performance footage (the early TV shows are not to be missed), photos, and more to limn Presley's early days, when he combined country, blues, and R&B to forge a unique, galvanizing style.1956 was the year of Elvis in my opinion, all the rockstar make history in rock and roll but "The King" is elevated the rules of rock in 50's.This dvd provides this
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sparky on July 25, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD gives an in-depth look into the recording of some of Elvis' first and most popular hits. I had to wonder why certain individuals were included in the interviews but all-in-all it is a great documentary. I particularly found the DVD extras to be the most interesting.
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Format: DVD
These days it seems most people overlook the fact the Elvis was a musician, and a talented one at that. He had a real passion for music, and yes you could say it was in his blood. This documentary gives you a nice look behind the scenes of Elvis at the very beginning, and the raw talent that turned him into the phenomenon that be became.
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