“The ’59” 2018 #005: 180105
A date with Elvis Presley (1959)
After Presley’s induction into the army on March 24, 1958, RCA Victor and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, were faced with the prospect of keeping his name before the public for two years with no possibility of live performances, no movies, and with few unissued marketable recordings in the vault. A recording session was arranged for two days in June, which yielded enough items for five more single sides, singles being the commercial focus for rock and roll in the 1950s. Four of those tracks would be issued on 45s in 1958 and 1959 during his absence while doing military service.
Presley, however, also did well in the albums market, all but one of his previous seven LPs charting no lower than No.3, and RCA Victor wished to continue issuing albums by Presley given his sales record. Much of Presley’s material had not been released on LP, and for this album RCA Victor collected material previously unavailable. Like its predecessor For LP Fans Only, this album featured tracks that had been issued on Sun Records with limited release, and were almost impossible to locate beyond certain parts of the south. However all 5 Sun singles were reissued by RCA Victor in November 1955 and remained in print through the 1970s. The remaining five tracks came from three different EPs issued in 1956 and 1957.
Even by the standards of the late 1950s and early 1960s, where long-playing albums often ran to only about 35 minutes, this was a very short album at twenty-three minutes, and as such became the lowest charting Presley LP of the decade. RCA Victor would squeeze one more album in 1959 out of previously issued material, the second singles collection, but it too would be a lower seller by previous standard. Presley would return from overseas in 1960 to commence proper recording again.
The original album sleeve folds and became a calendar for the year 1960.
A different version of the album, duplicating six tracks from the American release, but expanding the track list to a healthy fourteen, was issued in Australia on vinyl in September 1959.
Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #277: 161003
[A 1950’s song (10)]
Unplugged before the term was really invented with Elvis reinventing his hit from 12 years previously and admirably demonstrating in 1968 why he was most definitely ‘The King’. If this doesn’t bring goosebumps, you’ve probably joined him and hadn’t realised!
Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #200: 160718
[No.1 on 18 July 2002]
Following the song’s use in the 2001 film Ocean’s Eleven, “A Little Less Conversation” was remixed by Dutch musician Tom Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL (or JXL). The electronic remix featured Elvis with a lower voice, and added emphasis to the 1968 guitars, horns and a funk drum beat. Holkenborg was the first artist outside the Presley organization to receive authorization from the Elvis Presley estate to remix an Elvis Presley song.
Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #45: 160214
[A song about an animal (2)]
Written in 1952 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller,”Hound Dog” was first recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton and released by Peacock Records in March 1953. It was Thornton’s only hit record, spending 14 weeks in the R&B charts, including seven weeks at #1.
“Hound Dog” has been recorded more than 250 times and by far the best-known is the July 1956 recording by Elvis Presley, which is ranked No. 19 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Presley’s version, which sold about 10 million copies globally, was his best-selling and one of the best-selling singles of all time. It was simultaneously No. 1 on the US pop, country, and R&B charts in 1956, and topped the charts for 11 weeks — a record that stood for 36 years. Presley’s 1956 RCA recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1988, and it is listed as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.
One of my treasured possessions is this rather battered wind-up gramophone. It’s never worked very well but, on the odd occasion I’ve used it over the years, it still brings a smile. I’ve a handful of 78’s to play on it as well. One of them – that on the platter in this pic – is Elvis Presley’s ‘Teddy Bear’ released on RCA in 1957.
Years ago, when I also had an old Dansette, I made up a couple of compilation tapes from my 78s. Sometime soon I really must digitise those tunes before they’re lost only to memory.