Happy 75, Elvis!

It's hard to believe Elvis Presley would have been 75 years old had he been alive today. To me he'll always been the epitomy of youth, energy and charm (I prefer to think of Elvis during his hunky Jailhouse Rock Days, not the bloated caricature he eventually became) -- thank goodness his legacy lives on in his songs. When we came home from vacation last month we were delighted to find a review copy of Legacy Recordings' Elvis 75 - Good Rockin' Tonight, a 4-cd, 100-song collection of Elvis famous and not-so-famous recordings throughout his long and illustrious career.

From Legacy Recordings: Elvis 75 - Good Rockin' Tonight presents 100 songs, a broad collection of hit singles, deep album tracks, live performances, and rarities. The tracks appear in strict chronological order of recording dates over the course of Disc 1 (1953-1957), Disc 2 (1958-1962), Disc 3 (1963-1969), and Disc 4 (1970-1977). They range from the first demo acetate that Elvis made at the Memphis Recording Service of Sun Records as a gift for his mother in 1953 ("My Happiness"), to a sampling of Sun Records sides produced by Sam Phillips in 1954-55 ("That's All Right," "Blue Moon Of Kentucky," "Good Rockin' Tonight," and more), through 21 and a half years of RCA tracks, from 1956 to 1977

The sheer number of great songs that Elvis recorded is mind-boggling, and Elvis 75 is the perfect reminder of that. It includes not just his most famous songs, like Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, Are You Lonesome Tonight and other number one hits -- it also contains some of his lesser known songs like My Happiness or Polk Salad Annie (Alfie was so happy to see the collection included this song, because despite his extensive Elvis collection, he hasn't owned a recording of Polk Salad Annie since recordings were done on cassette tapes). I really am impressed by the wide range of styles he can sing in. If you've never heard Elvis sing gospel before, you're in for a treat. His renditions of Crying in the Chapel and How Great Thou Art send shivers down my spine! Of course, I was also happy to see my favorite Elvis songs -- Burning Love, Viva Las Vegas, Suspicious Minds and In the Ghetto -- had a place in the collection. My kids love listening to the cd's and I suspect we are breeding a whole new generation of Elvis fans here.

I won't bother with my usual Basics/Bongga/Blah format for this review, mainly because Alfie would disown me if I dared say anything negative about any Elvis songs. Not that I have anything against Elvis; on the contrary, I think he deserves his place in rock and roll history, and he's probably one of the most the talented musicians and performers of the 20th century. There really isn't anything bad to say about this collection -- it's beautifully boxed, the recording is great, and it would make a perfect present to celebrate The King's 75th year. And speaking of celebrations, 2010 is going to be one long party to celebrate Elvis' life and music -- the release of Elvis 75 is only the start! Check out www.elvis.com to see where the party's at!

Disclaimer: I received a sample in order to review this product, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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