Elvis Presley Albums


Whatever social and cultural effect Elvis may have had, it was his music that made the most profound impact. From the beginning of his musical career, Elvis had a unique sound and a way of reeling his audience in. His unstoppable charisma, coupled with a sound that was unlike anything America had heard before, made him a driving force in music for decades, even after his death.

Elvis Presley Image Gallery

In Jailhouse Rock, Elvis kept the spirit of his early rock style and the quality that marked his early soundtracks.
In Jailhouse Rock, Elvis managed to keep the spirit of his early rock 'n' roll style along with the quality that marked his early movie soundtracks. See more Elvis pictures

A mixture of indigenous American styles and sounds, Elvis' innovative rockabilly remains as fresh now as it was in 1954. Elvis managed to strike just the right balance between blues, rhythm-and-blues, and country -- along with a sound that was purely his own -- to form the core sounds of rock 'n' roll. His music captured the imagination of a young generation eager to strike a different tone than their parents had done.

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Throughout the 1960s, Elvis focused his music mainly on making movie soundtrack albums. Though much of the material was not of superior quality, there were still enough gems to keep Elvis' sound alive and thriving on the charts.

By the 1970s, Elvis had left the movie business behind and returned to his first love, making great music. His later pop stylings may have become grandiose and exaggerated, but they still echo the sounds of the South...gospel, country, and rhythm and blues.

The many faces of Elvis -- rock 'n' roll rebel, Hollywood star, concert hero -- are reflected in the dozens of albums he made. The pages of this article explore a few of the best Elvis Presley albums in depth, and the final page offers a chronological list of Elvis albums. From rock to country, blues, gospel, and even Christmas music, there's an album here for everyone to love.

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

Elvis Presley

In November 1955, Sam Phillips sold Elvis Presley's contract to RCA Victor for $35,000, plus $5,000 in back royalties he owed Elvis. It was the largest amount paid for a single performer up to that time. Steve Sholes, RCA's premier A&R (artist and repertoire) man, had helped sign Elvis to the label. Sholes oversaw the company's specialty singles, which included country western, gospel, and R&B, so he served as the producer of Elvis' first recordings for RCA.

A mix of rock 'n' roll and ballads, Elvis Presley reveals a talented young singer with a unique style.
A mix of rock 'n' roll and ballads, Elvis Presley reveals a talented
young singer with a unique style exploring his musical tastes.

Moving to RCA was a major step in Elvis' career and a major investment for the company; at the very least, it meant going national and international in promotion and distribution. Sholes was aware that the execs at RCA were closely watching their unusual new artist, who didn't fit into any of the company's existing categories of music.

RCA rereleased Elvis' Sun singles in December 1955 and then arranged for Elvis to begin recording new material in Nashville the next month. Chet Atkins, RCA's head man in Nashville, organized the sessions, which started on January10-11, 1956. Scotty Moore and Bill Black, who had worked with Elvis on the road and at Sun from the beginning, accompanied Elvis as usual. D.J. Fontana, who played with Elvis on tour, checked in as Elvis' drummer, though he had never recorded with the trio before. Atkins played rhythm guitar, Floyd Cramer was added at the piano, and gospel singers Ben and Brock Speer of the Speer Family and Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires provided backing vocals.

The detached, professional air at the RCA sessions was intimidating to Moore and Black, who were used to the down-home atmosphere of Sun, while Sholes was unsure of how to duplicate Elvis' Sun sound. Stoker was unhappy because the rest of the Jordanaires had not been asked to join the session. In fact, everyone was nervous or unsettled except Elvis, who attacked his first number, Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman," with everything he had.

In effect, Elvis performed the song while he recorded it, which so impressed the typically cool Atkins that he called his wife to come down to the studio because "it was just so damn exciting." Elvis went on to record "Heartbreak Hotel” and "Money Honey" that day. The RCA engineers approximated the Sun Studio's echo effect for "Heartbreak Hotel" by the creative placement of a speaker and a mike. The following day, Elvis recorded two ballads that Sholes had found for him, "I'm Counting on You" and "I Was the One."

Sholes was disconcerted by Elvis' off-handed, instinctual approach to recording, in which he sang a take, played it back, discarded it, and then sang another, repeating the process until he felt he had captured the tune. Elvis did not read music, nor did he have any professional experience at arranging it. He just instinctively knew what to do and when. RCA executives in New York were also troubled with the Nashville session. The recordings did not sound as much like Elvis' Sun records as they had wanted, and the two ballads were unlike anything Elvis had released before.

A second recording session was arranged in New York, in which Elvis covered Cad Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" and Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti." This time only piano player Shorty Long was used in addition to Scotty, Bill, and D.J., and the focus was on explosive rock 'n' roll numbers. Seven tracks from the Nashville and New York sessions were chosen for Elvis' first long-playing album, Elvis Presley. These were combined with five songs previously recorded at Sun but never released. Interestingly, "Heartbreak Hotel" was not included on the first album.

Sholes and RCA need not have worried about their new charge. Released on March 13, 1956, Elvis Presley sold over 360,000 copies by the end of April. At $3.98 per album, this made it RCA's first million-dollar album by a single artist. Elvis Presley also became the first album in music history to sell over a million copies. It reached number one on Billboard's Top LPs chart, remaining there for ten weeks, and it launched a record five extended-play albums.

Critics have long struggled over whether Elvis' music began to go downhill after he left the innovative guidance of Sam Phillips for the mainstream glory of RCA. Detractors point to the ballads on his first album as evidence of his move toward pop music and away from the groundbreaking rockabilly of Sun. However, Elvis had just turned 21 when he began recording for RCA, and as a young artist, he was still developing his style.

Elvis did not write music or compose lyrics. Rather, his talent was the uncanny ability to fuse diverse influences, ranging from the pop ballads of Dean Martin to the R&B of Arthur Crudup, into a unique sound that became polished rock 'n' roll at RCA. Elvis Presley, with its combination of ballads, rock 'n' roll covers, and unreleased Sun recordings, reveals a young singer developing his musical expression. Likewise, Elvis' second album reflected his variety of musical interests. To learn more about Elvis, see the next section.

Elvis Presley

  • "Blue Suede Shoes"
  • "I'm Counting on You"
  • "I Got a Woman"
  • "One-Sided Love Affair"
  • "I Love You Because"
  • "Just Because"
  • "Tutti Frutti"
  • "Tryin' to Get to You"
  • "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)"
  • "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')"
  • "Blue Moon"
  • "Money Honey”

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

Elvis

Elvis Presley's second album, simply titled Elvis, was recorded on September 1-3, 1956, and released on October 19. It did not include "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel," his monumental single releases of that summer. Singles represented a large part of the record-buying scene during that period and were treated as releases unto themselves rather than as a means to promote albums. So, it was not unusual that these two major singles did not end up on Elvis' next album.

David B. Hecht photographed Elvis Presley for the cover of Elvis.
David B. Hecht photographed Elvis Presley for the cover of Elvis.

While Steve Sholes and Chet Atkins had guided Elvis' earlier sessions for RCA, Elvis was in the saddle this time around, and he thoughtfully mulled over each take of each song until he understood what he wanted. The result is an eclectic blend of songs that truly reflects the singer's personal taste in music as well the components of his style, and that is the album's strength and significance.

The Jordanaires
Formed In 1948, the gospel quartet the Jordanaires have backed many diverse performers, including Kitty Wells, Hank Snow, and Ricky Nelson. The members have changed several times over the years. The four who backed Elvis Presley were Gordon Stoker (first tenor), Neal Matthews (second tenor), Hoyt Hawkins (baritone),and Hugh Jarrett (bass). In January 1956, Stoker was included as a backup singer on Elvis' first RCA recording session In a makeshift group with Ben and Brock Speer of the gospel-singing Speer Family. On another session later that year, Stoker was again hired to back Elvis without the rest of his quartet. When Elvis asked the tenor where the rest of the Jordanaires were, Stoker replied that he had been the only one asked. Elvis told him, "If anything comes of this, I want the Jordanaires to work all my sessions from now on, and my personal appearances, too." With that verbal agreement, the Jordanaires became "the Sound Behind the King" for over a decade.

The album included everything from rock 'n' roll tunes such as "Long Tall Sally" to old country weepies such as "Old Shep." The heart-stopping ballad "Love Me" proved a popular hit despite not being released as single. It was included on the extended-play record Elvis, Volume 1, which was a scaled-down version of Elvis. It became the first EP in history to sell a million copies.

Except for "So Glad You're Mine," all tracks were recorded at Radio Recorders in Los Angeles because Elvis was in Hollywood making his first film. For the rest of the 1950s and for much of the 1960s, Elvis recorded at this studio.

Only Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana accompanied him on this album, while the Jordanaires provided background vocals. Elvis played piano on "Old Shep," marking the first time he played piano on a record. The LP entered Billboard's chart at number seven. A month later, it reached the top of the chart, where it remained for five weeks.

By this time, Elvis was well-known enough that he could indulge his personal interests in his music. Having loved Christmas his whole life, he was inspired in 1957 to record Elvis' Christmas Album, the first in a series of Christmas albums he would put out over the span of his career. To learn more about Elvis' Christmas Album, see the next section.

Elvis

  • "Rip It Up"
  • "Love Me"
  • "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again"
  • "Long Tall Sally"
  • "First In Line"
  • "Paralyzed"
  • "So Glad You're Mine"
  • "Old Shep"
  • "Ready Teddy"
  • "Anyplace Is Paradise"
  • "How's the World Treating You"
  • "How Do You Think I Feel”

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

Elvis' Christmas Album

"It really is the best season of the year. The Christmas carols, trees and lights just grab you. There is something about Christmas and being home that I just can't explain. Maybe it's being with the family and with friends, time to read and to study. And, of course, there are the snowball fights and sleigh rides and, yes -- just home:" Elvis' heartfelt words about the holidays were revealed to his hometown newspaper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar, in 1966, though Christmas had been a special time for him since his childhood in Tupelo.

Elvis Presley unintentionally fanned the flames of controversy with the release of Elvis' Christmas Album.
Elvis Presley unintentionally fanned the flames of controversy with the release
of Elvis' Christmas Album, because many felt that the rebellious rocker was
unsuited to such sacred material.

His love for the season prompted Elvis to put out several Christmas albums during his career, beginning with the November 19, 1957, release of Elvis’ Christmas Album. In addition to such Christmas standards as "White Christmas," "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and "Silent Night," this album featured a couple of contemporary holiday tunes.

During the recording sessions for the album, material ran short so Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller retired to the mixing room for a while and came up with a clever piece called "Santa Claus Is Back in Town." Elvis' bluesy rendition of "Blue Christmas" made it a classic that would always be associated with him.

Elvis' Christmas Album hit the top of Billboard's best-selling albums chart and eventually achieved sales of over $1 million. The next year, the album was released with a new cover and a new number, LPM-1951. This release made Billboard's top-selling albums chart on three occasions -- January 1961, January 1962, and December 1967 -- which attests to its timeless popularity.

At the time of the album's initial release, Elvis was still generating controversy with his live performances, and many in the press and industry felt that it was in bad taste for a notorious rock 'n' roller to cut a Christmas album. Several disc jockeys refused to play any cuts from the album.

At station KEX in Portland, Oregon, deejay AI Priddy was fired for playing Elvis' rendition of "White Christmas." Some radio stations banned the album outright, while WCFL of Chicago got carried away and banned all records by Elvis. Fortunately, the excitement over the Christmas album faded quickly, having been replaced by news that Elvis had received his draft notice.

Elvis left the music scene for two years while he served his tour of duty, and when he returned in 1960, it was with a new, more mature image and mellower sound. To learn more about his first post-army album, Elvis Is Back, see the next section.

Elvis' Christmas Album

  • "Santa Claus Is Back In Town"
  • "White Christmas"
  • "Here Comes Santa Claus"
  • "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
  • "Blue Christmas"
  • "Santa, Bring My Baby Back (to Me)"
  • "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem"
  • "Silent Night"
  • "Peace In the Valley"
  • "I Believe"
  • "Take My Hand, Precious Lord"
  • “It Is No Secret"

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

Elvis Is Back

Speculation ran rampant about Elvis' future as the publicity surrounding his return from the army reached mammoth proportions. Among the many questions pondered by the press and public: What would Elvis' first recordings be like after two years away from the music scene? Would he still maintain his position as popular music's premier recording artist? Fans found the answer in his next album, Elvis Is Back, released in April 1960.

The album Elvis Is Back opened up like a book. Bonus photos were included on the inside.
The album Elvis Is Back opened up like a book.
Bonus photos were included on the inside.

Elvis returned to a music scene very different than the one he had left. Smooth-sounding teen angels such as Bobby Vee, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon. And Connie Francis caught the ears of young listeners, while a dance craze called the Twist propelled them across the dance floor.

Elvis and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, embarked on a campaign to mold his image around current trends and away from the controversy that had followed him before the army. The rebellious persona was cast aside for maturity; in his music, the innovation of his Sun Studio roots was replaced by the calculation of mainstream ambitions.

While many have criticized this change, it did not represent a decline in the quality of Elvis' music. On the contrary, Elvis Is Back represents a peak in the singer's career, when his maturity and confidence led to a control and focus in his music.

Like the pre-army Elvis, this album offered an eclectic collection of musical genres, from a sentimental duet with Charlie Hodge called "I Will Be Home Again" to the gritty "Reconsider Baby" with a bluesy sax solo by Boots Randolph. Once again, Elvis' talent of unifying disparate styles of music resulted in an innovative and successful album, and it reached number two on the charts.

Many of the songs chosen for this album had been provided through publishing companies owned by Elvis. In the future, this practice, combined with the Colonel's insistence that Elvis concentrate on soundtrack material, resulted in less-satisfying albums containing conventional songs with a homogenous sound.

Around this time, Elvis also returned to movie acting, starring in a series of musical comedies known as the "Presley travelogues." Each movie was released in conjunction with a soundtrack. To learn more about the first in this line of movie soundtracks, Blue Hawaii, see the next page.

Elvis Is Back

  • "Make Me Know It"
  • "Fever"
  • "The Girl Of My Best Friend"
  • “I WIII Be Home Again"
  • "Dirty, Dirty Feeling"
  • "Thrill of Your Love"
  • “Soldier Boy”
  • “Such a Night”
  • “It Feels So Right”
  • “The Girl Next Door”
  • “Like a Baby”
  • “Reconsider Baby”

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

Blue Hawaii

The soundtrack to Blue Hawaii may have been miles away from rock ’n’ roll or rhythm and blues, but it gave Elvis the song that he would close most of his 1970s concerts with -- "Can't Help Falling in Love." Recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood in 1961, Blue Hawaii featured 14 songs, which was more than any other Elvis soundtrack.

Deejays picked Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii as a favorite album of 1961.
Deejays picked Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii as a favorite album of 1961.

The material was not particularly creative, nor did it have the mix of sounds found on Elvis Is Back, but it is a solid example of that blend of pop and rock that defined Elvis' movie music. Blue Hawaii -- the album and the movie -- was aimed at a far wider audience than his studio recordings.

Elvis' management was interested in appealing to the mainstream audience and generating spectacular sales. They were less concerned with the impact of his music or with his role as a musical innovator. This and other soundtrack albums were meant to serve a different purpose and appeal to different audiences. Unfortunately, as the decade wore on, the movie material declined in quality, reflecting poorly on all of the soundtracks.

Of the 14 songs on the album, most are pop-style tunes. Some of these were not written for the film but had been recorded and released previously, including "Moonlight Swim," "Blue Hawaii" and "Hawaiian Wedding Song." "Aloha Oe" was composed by Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii in 1878. The title tune and "Aloha Oe" had been recorded in the 1930s by Bing Crosby during a craze for the allure of the tropical isles.

The songs that were composed for the film were not rock 'n' roll, either, though "Rock-a-Hula Baby" is a playful pastiche of rock 'n' roll dance crazes. To capture a Hawaiian-style sound, special musicians were employed for the recording sessions. Percussionist Hat Blaine, whose expertise involved Hawaiian instruments, joined drummers D.J. Fontana and Bernie Martinson. Steel guitar and ukelele players were also added.

Blue Hawaii became Elvis' biggest-selling movie soundtrack. It topped Billboard's albums chart two months after its October 1961 release. It was the number-one album in the country for 20 weeks, which set a record for a rock performer or group that lasted until 1977 when Fleetwood Mac's Rumors broke it. Blue Hawaii remained on the albums chart for 79 weeks and was awarded double platinum status by the RIAA in March 1992.

Though Elvis' movie soundtracks were all successful, they were often uninspired. Through much of the 1960s, this was the only material Elvis recorded, but after leaving the movie business in the late 1960s, Elvis made a creative comeback with a gospel album. See the next section to learn more about How Great Thou Art.

Blue Hawaii

  • "Blue Hawaii"
  • "Almost Always True"
  • “Aloha Oe”
  • "No More"
  • "Can't Help Falling In Love"
  • “Rock-a-Hula Baby”
  • "Moonlight Swim"
  • "Ku-u-I-po"
  • "Ito Eats"
  • "Slicin' Sand"
  • "Hawaiian Sunset"
  • "Beach Boy Blues"
  • "Island of Love (Kauai)"
  • "Hawaiian Wedding Song"

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

How Great Thou Art

From January 1964 to May 1966, Elvis recorded nothing but movie soundtracks, mostly in Hollywood. Unsatisfied with his life for complex professional and personal reasons, he did not venture into the Nashville studios to cut any album material. When he did finally decide to record new material, he returned to the studio with new musicians and a new producer, Felton Jarvis.

How Great Thou Art used several studio musicians new to Elvis Presley's recording sessions, including Charlie McCoy and Ray Stevens.
How Great Thou Art used several studio musicians new to Elvis Presley's
recording sessions, including Charlie McCoy and Ray Stevens.

Elvis went to the RCA studios in Nashville in the spring of 1966 to make a gospel album, How Great Thou Art. As a child of the South, he was steeped in gospel music. Memphis was the center of white gospel music during the 1950s, and Elvis frequently attended all-night gospel sings at Ellis Auditorium as a teenager. Early in his recording career, he developed the lifelong habit of warming up before each session by singing gospel harmonies with the Jordanaires or with his companions.

Felton Jarvis
Producer Chet Atkins introduced RCA staff producer Felton Jarvis to Elvis when the singer was scheduled to record How Great Thou Art, and Jarvis became EMS' primary producer. Born in Atlanta, Charles Felton Jarvis had been something of an Elvis imitator in his youth, recording "Don't Knock Elvis" in 1959. Jarvis became a producer in 1963 with a Presley soundalike named Marvin Benefield, whom Jarvis renamed Vince Everett after Elvis' character in Jailhouse Rock.

Jarvis helped steer Elvis toward better material than the soundtrack albums he had been releasing for the last several years, though his hands were often tied by RCA's strict publishing policies. He left RCA in 1970 to devote his full attention to Elvis' recordings. After Elvis died, Jarvis produced sessions for Carl Perkins and coproduced the songs sung by Ronnie McDowell for the 1979 biopic Elvis. He died in 1981 at the age of 46.

Though Elvis loved all gospel, he particularly liked the four-part harmony style sung by male gospel quartets associated with the shapenote singing schools from the early part of the century. A quartet usually included first and second tenors, a baritone, and a bass.

As a teenager, Elvis' favorite gospel quartets included the Blackwood Brothers, whom he knew personally, and the Statesmen, whose lead singer was the colorful Jake Hess. The Statesmen were known for their emotional, highly stylized delivery, and Hess had a reputation as a flamboyant dresser.

Elvis was delighted when Hess and his latest quartet, the Imperials, joined him in the studio to record How Great Thou Art, along with a few secular songs that were released later. Also on board were the Jordanaires and a female backup group.

The arrangements for the gospel numbers consisted of Statesmen and Blackwood Brothers material. For most numbers, Elvis sang as the solo artist while one of the quartets backed him up. A high point of the sessions occurred when Elvis and Hess sang a duet on the Statesmen's famous "If the Lord Wasn't Walking by My Side."

How Great Thou Art proved to be a milestone in Elvis' career, winning him the first of his three Grammys, this one in the Best Sacred Performance category. He won Best Inspirational Performance for He Touched Me in 1972 and again in that category for the song "How Great Thou Art" from the album Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis in 1974.

Elvis created this album during a time of personal and professional struggle. He had been frustrated creatively by the formulaic movies and the conventional soundtrack music he recorded for them. It is altogether fitting that Elvis should record a gospel album at a time when he was at a creative and spiritual low. Gospel had inspired his interest in music, it had always calmed his nerves before a session or a performance, and now, as they say in the South, it called him back home.

After leaving soundtrack music behind, Elvis entered into a period of professional creativity and rebirth. His next album, From Elvis in Memphis, captured the spirit of a re-energized Elvis. To learn more about From Elvis in Memphis, see the next section.

How Great Thou Art

  • "How Great Thou Art"
  • "In the Garden"
  • "Somebody Bigger Than You and I"
  • "Farther Along"
  • "Stand by Me"
  • "Without Him"
  • "So High"
  • "Where Could I Go But to the Lord"
  • "By and By"
  • "If the Lord Wasn't Walking by My Side"
  • "Run On"
  • "Where No One Stands Alone"
  • "Crying In the Chapel"

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

From Elvis in Memphis

After years of starring in movie vehicles and recording mainly soundtrack material, Elvis fell into a rut, devoid of creativity and vitality. The decision to turn Elvis into a big-screen leading man via a series of musical comedies was arguably a good career move in the early 1960s, but by 1968, the movie formula was clearly a dead end. The television special Elvis, which aired in December 1968, turned his career around by introducing him to hipper recording material and new directions.

Thanks in part to From Elvis in Memphis, 1969 proved to be a successful year for Elvis Presley.
Thanks in part to From Elvis in Memphis, 1969 proved to be the most
successful year for Elvis Presley's recording career since 1962.

Inspired and invigorated by the success of his television special, Elvis walked through the door of tiny American Sound Studios in Memphis in January 1969 to make quality music that would garner him hit records. Elvis had not recorded in his hometown since he left Sun in 1955, but the musical atmosphere at RCA's Nashville studios had become stale. His friends and associates encouraged him to record at American Sound because Nashville would yield nothing for him at this time.

Chips Moman
Born in 1936 in LaGrange, Georgia, Chips Moman made his name as one of the architects of the Memphis Sound, an edgier style of soul music descended from Memphis' blues and rhythm and blues. Settling in Memphis in the late 1950s, he helped establish soulful Stax Records in 1958. Six years later, Moman and fellow producer Bob Crewe founded American Sound Studios. Stax and American Sound became the premier champions of the Memphis Sound.

As a songwriter, Moman composed the gritty R&B tune "Dark End of the Street," which was recorded by Percy Sledge, Linda Ronstadt, and Roy Hamilton, as well as "Luckenback Texas," made famous by country outlaw Waylon Jennings. As a hands-on producer, Moman became an expert at finding the right material for the right performer. Moman produced a three-year string of hits for such diverse artists as Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, B.J. Thomas, Neil Diamond, and the Box Tops. His work with Elvis In 1969 garnered the singer his first hit singles in years.

During the 1970s, Moman produced in Nashville but returned to Memphis in 1985 to open Three Alarm Studios. Partly because of his work with Elvis, Moman gained a reputation for reviving stagnating careers.

American Sound Studios, a small studio in a rundown neighborhood, was operated by Chips Moman. With Moman as producer, Elvis worked hard to record his first significant mainstream album in years. In retrospect, From Elvis in Memphis may be his most important album because it brought his recording career back from soundtrack purgatory and set a creative standard for the next few years.

The material that Moman brought to Elvis represented all styles of music. Some songs were from the pens of new country songwriters who had been influenced by the innovative music scene of the 1960s. From Mac Davis came a song with socially conscious lyrics called "In the Ghetto," which was light-years away from the benign tunes Elvis had been recording. It became a top-ten hit for Elvis in the spring of 1969. Also recorded was Jerry Butler's rhythm-and-blues hit "Only the Strong Survive."

Though Elvis recorded 32 songs from a variety of genres, the 12 cuts on From Elvis in Memphis seem weighted toward modern country music. Elvis' intensely performed version of "Long Black Limousine," about a poor country girl who moves to the big city, turned a sentimental country song into a bitter social comment. Other passionately rendered country tunes on the album include Eddy Arnold's "I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)" and "After Loving You."

Also among the 32 tracks produced at American Sound Studios were the rock-flavored hits "Suspicious Minds" and "Kentucky Rain," which were not included on From Elvis in Memphis. "Suspicious Minds" was included on the follow-up release, From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis.

The house band at American Sound Studios included musicians who were steeped in all forms of Southern music. Both black and white artists recorded at American Sound, and the house band was generally the same no matter who recorded there. Many of these musicians, including guitarist Reggie Young (who played Scotty Moore's old guitar on "Suspicious Minds"), bassist Tommy Cogbill, and pianist Bobby Wood, had grown up on Elvis' music. No more fitting group of musicians could have backed Elvis on his return to Memphis.

Released in May 1969, From Elvis in Memphis landed on Billboard's Top LPs chart, where it peaked at number 13, and its Country LPs chart, where it reached the number-two position. A gold record was certified for the album in January 1970. Most importantly, From Elvis in Memphis helped alter Elvis' image. No longer the crooning movie star, he had returned to the music scene to reclaim his crown as the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

While From Elvis in Memphis had a country flavor, Reconsider Baby was decidedly a blues album. To learn more about Reconsider Baby and Elvis' versatility as an artist, see the next section.

From Elvis in Memphis

  • "Wearin' That Loved On Look"
  • "Only the Strong Survive"
  • "I'll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)"
  • "Long Black Limousine"
  • "It Keeps Right on a-Hurtin'"
  • 'I'm Movin' On"
  • 'Power of My Love"
  • "Gentle on My Mind"
  • "After Loving You"
  • "True Love Travels on a Gravel Road"
  • "Any Day Now"
  • "In the Ghetto"

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

Reconsider Baby

Throughout his career, Elvis Presley recorded occasional blues songs or tunes that were at least reminiscent of the blues. Even during the 1960s when his music had the homogenous pop style typified by his soundtrack recordings, he managed to record "I Feel So Bad" and "Hi-Heel Sneakers." Released in 1985, Reconsider Baby offers a selection of the bluesier sounds Elvis recorded between 1955 and 1971, reminding us that the roots of his personal sound, even at its most mainstream, came from the indigenous musical styles of the South -- in this case blues and rhythm and blues.

The songs featured on Reconsider Baby reflect the bluesy, soulful edge of Elvis Presley's eclectic music.
The songs featured on Reconsider Baby reflect the bluesy,
soulful edge of Elvis Presley's eclectic music.

Some of the songs on this album are not the versions that were originally released, which adds a freshness to the collection. The version of "One Night" included here, for example, was an alternate take, and it features the original lyrics as sung by Smiley Lewis ("One night of sin..."). "Ain't That Loving You Baby" was also an alternate take, while "Merry Christmas Baby" was an alternate edit, and "Stranger in My Own Home Town" represented an alternate mix. The 1955 original Sun recording of "Tomorrow Night" is the version included here.

In 1960, Elvis recorded the insipid lullaby "Big Boots" for G.I. Blues but he also recorded Lowell Fulson's nasty "Reconsider Baby," accompanied by Boots Randolph's sexy-sounding sax. In 1966, he released "Yoga Is as Yoga Does," but he also cut a raw-sounding "Down in the Alley." Elvis' critics and detractors often quote John Lenon, who once quipped, "Elvis died when he went into the army." Reconsider Baby proves that there was a still an edge to Elvis' music long after he returned from the army.

Another compilation, The Top Ten Hits, gathers together the most-loved of Elvis Presley's musical collection. To read more about The Top Ten Hits, see the next section.

Reconsider Baby

  • "Reconsider Baby"
  • "Tomorrow Night"
  • "So Glad You're Mine”
  • "One Night"
  • "When It Rains, It Really Pours"
  • "My Baby Left Me"
  • "Ain't That Loving You Baby"
  • "I Feel So Bad"
  • "Down in the Alley"
  • "Hi-Heel Sneakers"
  • "Stranger In My Own Home Town"
  • "Merry Christmas Baby"

For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

Elvis Top Ten Hits

In the years after Elvis died, RCA continued to release Presley albums, but there was little attempt to treat the music as his legacy. Each executive who handled the Presley account treated it differently, but most viewed it as commercial output rather than as music history.

The Top Ten Hits includes Elvis Presley's biggest hit tracks.
The Top Ten Hits includes Elvis Presley's biggest hit tracks.

Albums and songs were reissued, and original tapes were overdubbed. Sometimes the instrumentation was overdubbed; sometimes a fake stereo effect was added; sometimes the background vocals were enhanced. This changed in 1986, when the German publishing group Bertlesmann Music Group purchased RCA. The company now issues Elvis' music without vocal and instrumental enhancement, and it tends to package the material in contents that acknowledge the significance of Elvis' music.

Presented as an "Elvis Presley Commemorative Issue," The Top Ten Hits is a two-record set originally released in June 1987. A poster was included in the packaging, and the set came with special commemorative inner sleeves. In 1995, a compact-disc version of The Top Ten Hits was released (RCA 6383-2-R). Chart information, including the recording date, chart debut, and peak position, was included for the record set and the CD set.

Elvis' top-ten hits spanned the three decades of his career, and 38 of them are included here. The packaging of over three dozen top-ten singles into one set focuses on Elvis' career-long ability to chart hit records and indicates the diversity of his singles output.

Organized chronologically by release date, The Top Ten Hits begins with Elvis' first number-one single, "Heartbreak Hotel," released in 1956, and ends with the platinum-selling hit "Burning Love," released in 1972. The Top Ten Hits was awarded gold status by the RIAA in 1992.

The Top Ten Hits

"Heartbreak Hotel""I Want You, I Need You, I Love You""Hound Dog""Don't Be Cruel"
"Love Me Tender""Love Me""Too Much""All Shook Up"
"Teddy Bear""Jailhouse Rock""Don't""I Beg of You"
"Wear My Ring Around Your Neck""Hard Headed Woman""One Night""I Got Stung"
"A Fool Such As I""I Need Your Love Tonight"“A Big Hunk o' Love""Stuck on You"
"It's Now or Never""Are You Lonesome Tonight?""Surrender""I Feel So Bad"
"Little Sister""His Latest Flame""Can't Help Falling In Love"“Good Luck Charm"
"She's Not You""Return to Sender""Devil In Disguise""Bossa Nova Baby"
"Crying In the Chapel""In the Ghetto""Suspicious Minds""Don't Cry Daddy"
"The Wonder of You”“Burning Love"


For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

List of Elvis Presley Albums

Elvis Presley's albums run the gamut of musical styles, including country, rock 'n' roll, R&B, blues, and gospel. Over the course of his career, Elvis released dozens of albums, and RCA released more still after his death. In the chart below are all of Elvis Presley's full-length albums in chronological order.

Elvis Presley (1956)
Elvis (1956)
Loving You (1957)
Elvis' Christmas Album (1957)
King Creole (1958)
For LP Fans Only (1959)
A Date with Elvis (1959)
Elvis Is Back (1960)
G.I. Blues (1960)
His Hand in Mine (1960)
Something for Everybody (1961)
Blue Hawaii (1961)
Pot Luck with Elvis (1962)
It Happened at the World's Fair (1963)
Fun in Acapulco (1963)
Girls! Girls! Girls! (1963)
Kissin' Cousins (1964)
Roustabout (1964)
Girl Happy (1965)
Elvis for Everyone (1965)
Harum Scarum (1965)
Tickle Me (1965)
Frankie & Johnny (1966)
Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)
Spinout (1966)
How Great Thou Art (1967)
Double Trouble (1967)
Clambake (1967)
Special Christmas Programming (1967)
Speedway (1968)
From Elvis in Memphis (1969)
From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis (1969)
Elvis in Person at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada [live] (1970)
On Stage: February 1970 [live] (1970)
Almost in Love (1970)
Back in Memphis (1970)
That's the Way It Is [live] (1970)
Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old) (1971)
You'll Never Walk Alone (1971)
Love Letters from Elvis (1971)
Elvis Sings "The Wonderful World of Christmas" (1971)
Elvis Now (1972)
He Touched Me (1972)
Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden [live] (1972)
Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite [live] (1973)
Elvis [1973] (1973)
Raised on Rock (1973)
Good Times (1974)
Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis (1974)
Promised Land (1975)
Today (1975)
From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee (1976)
Welcome to My World (1977)
Moody Blue (1977)
Elvis in Concert [live] (1977)
Elvis Sings for Children and Grownups Too! (1978)
Dixieland Rocks (2001)
One Night in Alabama (2002)
The Definitive Collection -- 25th Anniversary (video/DVD) (2002)
Louisiana 55 [live] (2002)
Elvis at the International [live] (2003)
Live at the Louisiana Hayride (2003)
Louisiana Hayride and Interviews with Elvis (2003)
At the Louisiana Hayride [live] (2004)
Live from Las Vegas (2005)
Live in L.A. (2007)


For more fascinating information about Elvis Presley, see:

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Doll holds a Ph.D. in radio, television and film studies from Northwestern University. She is an instructor of film studies at Oakton Community College and a writer of film and popular culture. A sought-after expert on the works and life of Elvis Presley, Susan has appeared on The Joan Rivers Show and National Public Radio to discuss the King and other topics related to popular film. She is the author of numerous books on popular culture, notably Elvis: A Tribute to His Life, The Films of Elvis Presley, Marilyn: Her Life and Legend, Elvis: Rock 'n' Roll Legend, Best of Elvis, Understanding Elvis, Elvis: Forever in the Groove, Elvis: American Idol, and Florida on Film.