Thursday, January 8, 2015

ELVIS / 80

Can you believe that The King Of Rock And Roll, had he lived, would have been 80 years old today???   

(By the same token ... and maybe even harder to imagine ... is the fact that he's now been GONE for nearly as long as he was with us!!!)   

RCA (now Sony), never one to miss an opportunity to re-release Elvis material,  has a new 3-CD set out commemorating Elvis' birthday ...

Why this special "birthday box set" wouldn't include 80 tracks is beyond me.  (Doesn't that seem like it would have kept the whole symmetry going?)  Instead, it stops at 54, which includes a complete disc of Elvis "updated" remixes and alternate takes ... pretty familiar material overall.  (RCA / then BMG / and now Sony have always seemed to take this position with The King:  "For The Elvis Fan Who Has EVERYTHING ... Here It Is Again!!!")

Personally, I'd have a hard time narrowing down a "complete" Elvis collection to just 80 tracks.  Think about that for a second ... how many artists can you think of where, if you tried to compile a list of 80 all-time favorites, you'd still have to leave out at least another hundred great songs, just to get the count down that low? 

Elvis hit The Billboard Pop Singles Chart an incredible 165 times between 1956 and 2007 ... that's already TWICE as many hits as you'd have to allow yourself just to compile The Top 80!!! 

There was a time when Elvis music played regularly on oldies radio ... 

Yet today he seems to have been reduced down to a relatively minor artist ... 

Even Billboard Magazine, who tracked the entire reign of The King, has eliminated close to thirty of Elvis' biggest early hits with their new "Hot 100" philosophy, tracking only the music charted AFTER their Hot 100 Chart was launched in 1958.

And I'm not talking about just "any" hits here ... I'm talking MAJOR chart achievements and accomplishments that helped launch The Rock And Roll Era ... "Heartbreak Hotel", "Blue Suede Shoes", "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel", "Love Me Tender", "Jailhouse Rock", "Teddy Bear", "All Shook Up" and nearly two dozen others ... music that help shape and inspire all that came after it. (Without Elvis, there would have been no Beatles ... and on and on and on.)

Radio seems to have adopted the same philosophy ... heck, listening to the radio today, you'd think Elvis' career started (and ended) in 1969.

Sure, you'll still hear "Suspicious Minds" several times a day ... and "Burnin' Love" half a dozen times a week ... and (don't ask me why) that God-Awful Remix of "A Little Less Conversation" (which barely even qualifies as Elvis) ... and, on some of the better stations, you might even hear "Return To Sender", "Can't Help Falling In Love" ... and maybe an occasional spin of "Kentucky Rain", "Viva Las Vegas" or "In The Ghetto" ... and then, of course, at Christmas time they'll play "Blue Christmas" enough times to make you sick of it ... but what about all of these OTHER great hits that helped define Elvis' career?  

SO many favorite and timeless tunes ... I couldn't possibly rank them all ... 

In fact, I couldn't even narrow it down to 80 of my favorites ... and (for the purpose of this article) I tried!!!  

After about an hour and a half, I got it down to about 180 and then finally gave up ... 'cause let's face it, I couldn't really feature all of them anyway!!!      

So instead I decided to just go with just eight ... EIGHT INDISPENSABLE Elvis tunes that you probably won't hear anywhere else today.  (Now granted, these are NOT your "everyday" Elvis tunes ... but each still strikes a nerve in me today ... and shows just how versatile his style really was ... the guy really could sing just about anything!)  

Now, with all of that being said, hopefully some of the jocks on the list will feel a little bit inspired stray from the usual play list a few times today and treat their listeners to some other great, long ignored Elvis classics ... and give their listeners a chance to remember just how incredible and revolutionary he really was. 

Scott Shannon will be featuring an Elvis song every hour today on The True Oldies Channel ... you can tune in and listen here:
A big Elvis fan himself, Scott is likely to play a few of these "off the beaten path" tracks I'm talking about. 

Kent ... 
Last night Wild Wayne did his Elvis 80th Birthday Tribute.  You can check it out here ---  Archive Section.  
If you listen, let me know what you think.  Notice he doesn't give the title for each song, in order to squeeze in more music.
Frank B.   

This week on The Pop Shoppe (all times Eastern):
7:00 / 8:00      Music from the 50's and 60's!!!!          
8:00 / 12:00    Remembering  Elvis!
                       He would have been 80 years old on Thursday.
My tribute consists of the greatest songs by Elvis as well as many others who loved him. I'll have tribute songs as well as answer songs. Just wait till you hear the many sound alikes!! This is definately for Elvis fans. Those who aren't Elvis fans will be by the end of my program.
So don't miss this special evening!!!    
Stu's program goes on until 3 am (Eastern Time) ... and you can listen live here:
OldiesYour Way    (When you go to this site you will be directed to select the player of your choice.)