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Music Review: Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley: Legacy Edition

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The Elvis Presley releases just keep on coming. The latest two are the five-CD box set titled Young Man With The Big Beat and Elvis Presley: Legacy Edition.

Young Man With The Big Beat concentrates on just one year (1956) in the career of Elvis. It features all his 1956 studio recordings, a disc of live performances including a number which have never been released, a disc of outtakes, and a disc of interviews. The booklet includes a timeline that tells what Elvis was doing just about every day of 1956. It all adds up to just about everything you ever wanted to hear and know about the 1956 Elvis.

A more modest release is Elvis Presley: Legacy Edition. Let it be said that all the music contained on this two-disc collection is also included on the box set and in the same order. If you only want the music, and can do without the live tracks, outtakes, and interviews, then this release is a good and economical choice. If you want everything then the big one is for you.

The Legacy Edition contains what can be considered the most important music of Elvis’ career. Both of his first two RCA albums, his debut Elvis Presley and its follow-up, Elvis, are included as are 12 of his hit single sides, which are added as bonus tracks.

Elvis’ debut album spent ten weeks at the top of the Billboard Magazine Pop Album Chart. It made Elvis a star and helped to change the face of not only rock ‘n’ roll but of American culture as well. When you add on such songs as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “I Was The One,” “My Baby Left Me,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” you have some of the best music of the 1950s.

The second disc is just as good. Elvis’ second album may have been a shade below the first, but the bonus tracks more than make up for it. “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You,” “Anyway You Want Me,” “Too Much,” ”Playing For Keeps,” and “Love Me Tender” sold millions of singles and dominated AM radio during the latter half of 1956.

The music has been remastered and the sound has an unprecedented clarity. There is a booklet that presents a history of Elvis’ career up until the recording of these two albums plus information about each track.

If you do not own these two albums or the included music, then Elvis Presley: Legacy Edition is a wise purchase. 1950s rock ‘n’ roll does not get any better than the 36 songs contained here.

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About David Bowling

  • Sansfoy

    I like this article. It’s straight-up an info piece.

  • I couldn’t do better with one page, Costello, I mean it.

  • Costello

    Roger, I don’t disagree that it has all those properties. But the author comes off souless, like the music made no impression on him. This isn’t a review of Elvis’ work. It’s a dry sales pitch. Might as well be about aluminum siding

  • I think it short, informative and to the point. Sorry to disagree.

  • Costello

    Quite remarkable the lack of passion in your writing about some of the most important recording in rock ‘n’ roll