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Elvis Presley: The Memphis Flash - Elvis Presley, Sun Records and How it All Began
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On the 5th of July, rock n' roll is invented the day that Elvis Aaron Presley walks into the Sun recording studio and cuts a record that changes the world forever. But there's a lot more to the legend than is suggested in that story. This film looks behind the facts and between the lines and attempts to discover why rock 'n' roll was invented in Memphis by a quiet, respectable and religious young man with a passion for all types of music. How did the events that led up to that fateful session conspire to create a brand new music and a brand new way of life for all those who came along in its wake? With contributions from those who were there at the time and from others who have studied the subject in depth, and with rare footage, photographs, and music from those pivotal sessions, this documentary goes some way to discovering the why and the how. Songs featured include: 'That's All Right Mama', 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky', 'I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine', 'Good Rockin' Tonight', 'Milkcow Blues Boogie', 'You're A Heartbreaker', 'Blue Moon', 'Shake Rattle and Roll', 'I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone', 'My Happiness' and many more.
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This documentary attempts to go back to Elvis' early years and determine the various elements that came together to produce the phenomenon that hit the world in 1956. There are visits to his homes and schools in Tupelo and Memphis, interviews with his friends and classmates, an overview of the Memphis music scene in the early 50s, and some remarkably intelligent commentary by several music historians who actually know quite a bit about him. All the while, excerpts from his early hits play in the backgroud.
Unfortunately, there are no full performances of those early hits on this dvd, but they are available on Elvis '56 - In the Beginning.
Because "Colonel" Tom Parker (the "Colonel" is an honorific the Bilious Bag of Gas bestowed upon himself) kept pushing Elvis to turn out a lot of music that is mediocre at best, there are relatively few disks available that fully reflect Elvis' remarkable range of talents. The general consensus is that the best of those that do is Elvis - The '68 Comeback Special (Deluxe Edition DVD), although I found it to be scripted and forced.
For those who are interested in learning more about Elvis, Bobbie Ann Mason's brief biography Elvis Presley (Penguin Lives) is excellent.