Elvis songs get make-over for younger generation
A RE-STYLED version of the Elvis Presley hit Suspicious Minds hit radio stations last Monday, part of an album
being released later this year featuring newer, more contemporary takes on many of his hits.

Suspicious Minds is the first single off 'Viva Elvis – The Album', set for mass release on November 9. The 12-
track compilation is a companion piece to the Las Vegas show Viva Elvis by Cirque du Soleil, which began in

The new Suspicious Minds and the other reworked songs on the album could strike a dissonant chord with Elvis’
older fans. But the minds behind the new album said the new tracks would not lose the qualities that made them
hits in the 1950s and ’60s.

“The new album is a unique way to bring Presley’s music to a whole new younger audience,” said Tom Cording,
vice-president of media relations for Legacy Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment’s catalogue division.

The Elvis machine is relying on fans who never saw him in person to keep revenue pouring in. Last year, Presley
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generated more than 60million (R42m) in revenue from royalties, licensing and Graceland’s operations, according to Securities and Exchange Commission
filings by CKx Inc, which owns Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Erich van Tourneau produced and arranged the new songs, fusing thousands of samples of Presley’s music and voice with more modern styles like punk,
garage rock and hip-hop. Other tracks feature voice-overs and sound effects. For instance,
Suspicious Minds opens with Presley’s soulful, echoing voice
and prominent piano notes, then shifts into a guitar introduction that evokes memories of U2’s classic anthem Bad. The song has a strong drum and guitar
component without losing the sing-along quality of the original.

Other songs on the new album include
King Creole, Burning Love, and Love Me Tender, many sounding like they were released after Presley died in
August 1977.

The danceable and energetic
Blue Suede Shoes has elements of Kenny Loggins’ 1984 hit Footloose, and it features a blues harmonica and rhythmic,
clapping backbeat.

That’s All Right, meanwhile, possesses the more frenetic style of Jet’s 2003 rock ’n roll anthem Are You Gonna Be My Girl. Heartbreak Hotel has
traditional blues elements while incorporating rock guitar and a solid contribution from the horn section.

And Presley sounds fine on
Love Me Tender, but female singer Dea Norberg’s presence seems out of place. Still, Presley’s talents and the original material
are the foundation for the new releases, even if some of them seem overwrought or overproduced.

The album’s reception seems to be mixed. For instance, Miami oldies station WMXJ-FM plans to play the new version of
Suspicious Minds.
“That still has great legs,” WMXJ programme director Bill Stedman said of the song. “It wasn’t an accident that they chose it as their first release.”

But operations manager for Entercom Memphis’ five radio stations, Jerry Dean, said he probably would not play it. Presley lived in Memphis and is still the city
of Tupelo’s most well-known figure. “Elvis is so beloved that when you start changing his original music, then the die- hard fans don’t like it,” Dean said.
“Some things just shouldn’t be remade.” — Sapa- AP