Do you know why John Lennon formed the Beatles? Why TV has censors? Why women throw their knickers up on stage at rock concerts? Why you're reading this guide? Elvis is why. . . Before anyone did anything, Elvis did everything. People tend to forget that Elvis was truly the first performer who transcended all barriers of age, race, class or religion - From the US to India to the Far East jungles of Peru - everyone knows who Elvis Presley is!
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is probably more of a cultural icon today than when he was during his lifetime. To reiterate - Presley sold over 300 million records during his lifetime and has sold 800 million more since his death in 1977 - he's now the biggest selling artist of all time!
With literaly thousands of Elvis products out there....it can get frustrating to know where to start & what to buy. Whether you've just discovered Elvis or a longtime fan... this is a list of the essentials from which one could build a fantastic collection - and will probably inspire you to start your own Elvis fan club!
- Fali R. Singara (Writer, Producer & Disc Jockey - 107.1 FM)
Elvis Records Worth Your Lunch Money... Arguably the best discs to get introduced and get an overview of the King's music - if you're on a budget or just want all the hits in a handy place, these are the ones to get! Elvis took songs from a host of different genres & elevated them with something uniquely his - so whatever your taste in music - you'll find a relevant compilation in this pile...
1.30 #1 Hits (The best selling Greatest Hits compilation - a great value deal!) 2.The 50 Greatest Love Songs (The title explains it all - Elvis at his heartachingly best! A friend gave this to a girl he was madly in love with (she was engaged to someone else) - she's now his wife!) 3.Viva ELVIS- The Album (Cirque du Soleil) (Elvis updated for the 21st Century! Features 'reimagined' versions of some of the King's biggest hits. The album was inspired by the Cirque du Soleil show of the same name.) 4.Elvis Ultimate Gospel (Elvis at his emotional and spiritual best - it's hard not to be moved by this. As a teen, Elvis and his friends would sneak into churches in the black neighborhoods to listen to the Gospel singers.) 5.Great Country Songs (Country legend Garth Brooks admits this is one of his favourite CDs of all time! Elvis influenced everybody!) 6.Elvis Christmas (Elvis recorded 20 Christmas songs during his career. 19 of them are on this CD in addition to 4 Gospel songs which were included on his 1957 Christmas album.)
Box Sets To Get.... In chronological order, remastered versions of the King's output from the 50's to the 70's, from his sessions with Sam Phillips at Sun Studios (where they arguably invented the very notion of rock & roll) to his last studio takes in 1977.
1.Elvis 75 (To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the birth of the King - there are 100 tracks (4CDs - 2010 remaster!)in this definitive retrospective, beginning with Presley's very first recording, "My Happiness," waxed on his own dime as a gift for his mother to his last single in 1977.) 2.The King Of Rock 'N' Roll: The Complete 50's Masters (5 CDs - His Complete 50's studio recordings) 3.From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60's Masters (5 CDs - 60's studio recordings) 4.Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential 70's Masters (5 CDs - 70's studio recordings) 5.Today, Tomorrow & Forever (4 CDs - Different takes, unreleased versions - very nice!) 6.Peace in the Valley: The Complete Gospel Recordings (4 CDs - The Complete Gospel output for which Elvis won his only 3 Grammy Awards!) 7.Young Man With the Big Beat (What a box! Set across 5 CDS, everything from 1956 (the King's first big year) is here in one collection, including his first two albums in their original running order. Elvis minted a lot of gold records in 1956; the chart-topping run included "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don't Be Cruel," and "Love Me Tender," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Hound Dog," and "Love Me" - all remastered here! Throw in live recordings, studio outtakes, rare interviews and a 80 page book stuffed with photos, ephemera & a thorough sessionography & you know this is a keeper.) 8.Elvis At Stax (This 2013 3 CD set collects the last 'real' studio sessions of the King. A chronicle of a dozen nights that Presley spent at Stax Recording Studios in his hometown of Memphis in July and December 1973 - the material here includes many unreleased songs and the material that became 3 Elvis albums in the 1970s! A very interesting listen for all Elvis fans!)
Great Elvis CD's You Probably Never Heard Of.... The organizing principle of these Elvis Cds is simple: each one chronicles a period or phase in Elvis's recording career and is music at its very, very best – uplifting, healing and comforting.
1.Command Performances: The Essential 60's Masters II (An ELVIS must buy!62 tracks over 2 CDs taken from 27 Elvis movies - hits include Can't Help Falling In Love, Puppet On A String, Angel, A Little Less Conversation.) 2.Elvis: On Stage (Elvis was so famous by 1957 that he would have to abandon his concerts after 15 minutes. A fantastic overview of Elvis 'live' - this is as close as being there in person!) 3.From Elvis in Memphis: Legacy Edition (One of the King's most significant yet overlooked albums, this newly remastered 2CD set contains all tracks from the sessions recorded in Memphis, between January and February of 1969. Hits over here include In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, Kentucky Rain, and Rubberneckin.) 4.Elvis Country (Legacy Edition) (This new 2012 Double CD Legacy Edition features the classic Elvis album Elvis Country and it's followup studio album "Love Letters From Elvis". Some of the best work Elvis did in his later years is here - unknown gems like "The Fool" & "The Sound Of Your Cry" are fantastic ballads - the hits include staple favourites "Love Letters" & "Make The World Go Away".Plus 6 bonus tracks as well - undoubtedly an Elvis album that deserves rediscovery.)
Elvis At The Movies... It's pretty tough to beat an Elvis movie in terms of sheer entertainment. They were first filmed in ultra-cool black and white in the 1950's (Jailhouse Rock, King Creole) before moving on to Cinemascope in the 60's. These are the flicks chock-a-block full of great moments and songs you can sing along too...
Live Concerts & Essential Documentaries... With the King's melodramatic life already a familiar subject for print biographies,these dvds fresh from the film vault vividly rekindles the look and feel of the era when Elvis was still around. If you never went to an Elvis concert, this will take you back.
Books To Start Your Elvis Library... What could one possibly write now about Elvis that hasn't been already typed out, yelled, sung about... you catch the drift? Taking pains to keep Elvis's story fresh, flowing and fun - these books refrain from being a pain to read and instead let the intimate moments & pictures speak for themselves...
Essentials To Add To The Elvis Cannon... These stand as a comprehensive documents of that heady period, the next generation of music, after the Beatles took what Elvis had started and expanded upon it exponentially. If you want the musical context in the way Elvis devotees changed the world around them from the 1960s onwards - these are just a handfull of the millions who were inspired by the King...
1.The Beatles 1 (The Definitive Beatles Disc! John Lennon used to say -'Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been the Beatles.') 2.Joshua Tree (Remastered / Expanded) (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (U2 cite The King as one of their biggest influences -drummer Larry Mullen Jr even named his son Elvis! Trivia bit - 'With Or Without' was written after Bono heard 'Always On My Mind' at 4 in the morning.) 3.The Promise ('Elvis is my religion. But for him I’d be selling encyclopedias right now' – Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen's 'unreleased' album from 1978 - includes 'Fire' - a song he wrote for the King.) 4.Best Of Chris Isaak (Like Elvis & his other idol Roy Orbison; Chris Isaak always seems to sing as if it were always 3 a.m.; languidly strumming out clever melancholy tunes about love found & lost.) 5.Street Life: 20 Greatest Hits (Definitive overview of 70's/80's rock band Roxy Music & lead singer Bryan Ferry! If Elvis had been alive in the 1980's, he would have made music like this!)