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March 19, 2016  -  Billboard  /  Elvis Express Radio
Elvis Express Radio News
March 23 marks the 60th anniversary of the self-titled debut RCA album from Elvis Presley. To commemorate that occasion, Legacy Recordings has released the most
comprehensive Presley collection yet.

Elvis Presley - The Album Collection, the 60-disc set spans the entire run of his 21 years with the label. Legacy senior vice president, A&R John Jackson talked to
Billboard concerning the thought process of assembling the set.

Elvis Presley Posts 53rd Top 40 Album on Billboard 200 Chart

“The way we decided to approach this package -- because we have done similar things for other artists, such as Johnny Cash and Ronnie Milsap -- was to recreate the original
albums. Now, the definition of what an original album is on Elvis becomes tricky because there’s been so many collections and compilations of things that were released during his
lifetime, and of course, a gazillion since then. What we decided to do was hone it down to what would be considered a new album with some new material on it that was released
during his lifetime -- the first place that a song appeared on a long playing record while he was alive,” Jackson said, also allowing that the set contains three discs of rarities. “There’
s also a few discs of stray material that either were never on LPs or was discovered after he passed away. In essence, it’s the complete masters collection that we did about 10
years ago, but arranged in the order that the fans would have first experienced the music.”

Jackson says that the chronological timeline of the set shows how different the business was six decades ago. For example, “Heartbreak Hotel,” his first hit for the label, was not on
the first album -- or the second. (In fact, it wasn’t until the release of Elvis’s Golden Records in 1958 that his first hit was included on an album.) The song that became his final
chart-topper on the Hot 100, 1969’s “Suspicious Minds” has a similar story. The first actual album it was included on was 1984’s Elvis’s Golden Records, Volume 5, though the
studio version is included on the set as a bonus cut from 1969’s From Elvis In Memphis. And, then, there was the Sun material -- which wasn’t covered comprehensively until late in
Presley’s career. RCA acquired the Sun masters when they bought his contract in November 1955, but took their time releasing the music, says Jackson.

“One of my favorite examples is ‘That’s All Right,’ which people have accepted as book one, page one, of Elvis’s career. But, unless you were living in Memphis or the south, you
wouldn’t have heard that song until it came out on LP in 1959 after he had gone into the Army. It came out on For LP Fans Only, and was considered somewhat of a leftover from
the Sun period. It’s an interesting way to look at his career, not really as academic like we do now. The Sun recordings was scattered on a lot of collections that came later. It wasn’t
until 1976 that it was collected on one record,” he noted.

One of the highlights of the set, according to Jackson, is the 1970s work Presley recorded -- in particular, his 1973 sessions at Stax Studios. “I think the '70s stuff, which is
something we’ve been trying to get people to reassess. The tracks he did at Stax -- when you hear them on the original albums -- were so important. The music that was on Raised
on Rock or Promised Land like “It’s Midnight” or “You Asked Me To.” At that point, he was trying to do songs that spoke to him and not just ones that were pitched to him by his
publisher. During that time, he was getting into some deep stuff, though the albums were so unfortunately packaged.”

In the book that accompanies the package, it is mentioned that the label failed to really distinguish between many of his '70s albums. “There were 22 or 23 albums during his
lifetime that showed him simply in a white jumpsuit against a black background. People wondered how to tell the difference. There were studio album and live albums, and all of
them looked like the same record, though they were different. It’s an interesting to look back on how it was positioned at the time,” Jackson confessed.

Each of Presley’s soundtracks are in the package as well. Though fans, critics, and Presley himself chafed at some of the inane material such as “Do The Clam” (from Girl Happy)
and “Barefoot Ballad” (from Kissin’ Cousins), there is some historical significance to the tracks, says Jackson. “Even the silly stuff had some of the most amazing musicians, like the
Wrecking Crew. On some of the worst songs he recorded, they sounded great. That’s where he met James Burton.”

In addition to the music, much attention was paid to the packaging of every Presley album in the collection. “We went through every single record -- down to the original pressing --
and recreated everything from the inserts. There’s a sheet of all the original stickers that came on the albums that you can put on if you want, there’s pictures inside the inserts. It
gives people an idea of what you would have bought when the record first came out.” On the 1967 Clambake soundtrack release, for example, included is a wedding picture of Elvis
and Priscilla, who were married in May of that year. Jackson said the most unique offering in this vein was on Presley’s 1959 release A Date With Elvis.

“We included the calendar on the back -- with the date of March 24, 1960 circled when he was supposed to come back from the Army. Little things like that are something I feel that
people will find fascinating.”

Though Elvis Presley - The Albums Collection will never be equaled in scope, Jackson says Legacy is already planning some releases for 2017, the 40th anniversary of Presley’s
death. “We’ve got some interesting ideas,” he admits. “The 40th anniversary of some of the last recordings he made is coming up, so we’re toying with the idea of how to best
present those. It’s my argument that he never lost it -- that he was never anything less than amazing. He was the greatest singer of all time, as far as I’m concerned, and was always
trying to do his thing. Despite all the troubles he had in the '70s, including fights with the label, how they were promoting him and how they made him feel, he was still cutting great
stuff. That’s a lot of what we’re talking about now.”

Elvis Presley - The Album Collection
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 (2 discs, 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)

Extra CDs
‘50s Rarities (new collection)
’60s Rarities (new collection)
‘70s Rarities (new collection)