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Music Review: Elvis Presley – Loving You

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So what does a young, charismatic, and good looking singer, who is the most successful musical artist in the country do for an encore? He heads to Hollywood to star in a movie of course.

Loving You was a pieced together affair which included songs from the movie, previously released tracks from an EP, plus a couple more from the studio. It all added up to a very good album but ultimately not of the quality of his first two ground breaking LPs. Nevertheless, released in July of 1957, Loving You would remain the number one album in the country for ten weeks. Even my mother had a copy of this album.

The cover does Elvis justice.  Even at seven years old, I am quite sure I sensed that I was not that good looking. My wife would probably agree today. All right eliminate the word probably.

Elvis would make a seemingly unending string of mostly forgettable movies. They would contain some excellent songs and a lot of what can best be described as filler. Elvis would never have a song nominated for an academy award, even though there were certainly songs from many of his films that should have been so honored.

The album starts out on a strong note. “Mean Woman Blues” is an all out rocker in the classic Presley tradition. “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” is the first of what would become an Elvis performance that would be halfway between rock and pop. It featured a catchy melody with a great smooth vocal and would hit number one on the singles charts. “Loving You” was an effective ballad, both in the movie and on its own. “Got A Lot Of Living To Do” was another driving up-tempo song.

Elvis does as well as he can with “Lonesome Cowboy” and “Hot Dog.” The songs are weak and would be forerunners of his future film material. Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, hired writers to churn out material for Elvis’ movies. He would retain some of the rights and make millions.

The second half of the album finds Elvis experimenting with material from different styles of music. “Blueberry Hill” is a cover of the great Fats Domino song and while Elvis give a good performance, I miss Fats. “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” had been recorded by The Sons Of The Pioneers and Bing Crosby among others. Here Elvis takes this old warhorse in a country direction and gives a wonderful performance. “I Need You So” by Ivory Joe Hunter and Cole Porter’s “True Love” are average performances for Elvis.

Loving You will be forever associated with Elvis’ movie material. Taken on its own, however, it does have some excellent moments and is still worth a listen now and then.

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About David Bowling

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Elvis idolized James Dean & Marlon Brando. It was unfortunate that they(the Colonel,etc)made him sing because that’s not what he wanted to do in the movies. BUT, that’s what any cheap ass record execs do… They worry about the money & not the quality!

    F*ck You Tom Parker!!

  • Brian Quinn

    My favourite Elvis film is ‘Loving You’. Elvis is so dynamic in the film and he performs the songs as only he can.

    As my wife used to say “Elvis was the best looking man who ever lived”.

    Elvis could sing in any musical genre and did. Today’s entertainers stick with one and that’s it.

    Elvis will forever be THE KING.

  • The queues to see the movie in 1957 stretched all around the block.
    We teenagers then were not so critical and thoroughly enjoyed the movie clapping and stamping our feet to the beat of the songs. It was like an Elvis Concert!

    I still have the original 10inch album with just the 8 songs.

    Elvis’ co-star Dolores Hart was also seen singing but was it her voice we heard?

    She will be 70 later this year and lives as a nun in the Abbeyofreginalaudis.com

    She kindly replies to letters from yours truly.

    The song “I Need You So” by Elvis actually does grow on you given a chance. He sings it beautifully.

    Unfair criticism of Elvis’ movies tends to follow other unfair critics sheepishly, without actually judging them next to the movies of the time. We also saw Brando make some turkeys!

    Bottom line is MILLIONS of people were entertained by those early Elvis movies and it is fruitless attempting to change that now. They help Elvis wonderful voice reach audiences across the world. That is why he remains the Iconic figure he is to this day

    Singer Dean Martin had to cope with Jerry Lewis 😉

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    It was not an unfair criticism of his movies that I was making but a recollection of his sentiment towards these types of movies that he was forced to make. It is recorded in history that he did not enjoy making those movies and only did it because of contractual & financial reasons. I never said they were bad or not worth seeing.

    Though, Brando(& quite possibly,Dean) made some movies that weren’t great, Elvis made it quite clear that he was influenced by them & wanted to perform in a similar fashion.

    BUT, I agree…It didn’t matter what Elvis was doing in front of the camera he would always be a brilliant entertainer!

  • “Elvis would make a seemingly unending string of mostly forgettable movies.”
    Did I misinterpret this line of yours David?

    The casual reader methinks may be misled. Without qualification it’s difficult to differentiate between those movies of Elvis that were well worth viewing and those that were not.

    That’s the problem of lumping them all together.

    There may be 7 Elvis movies that would stand up well to dissection.

    After all James Dean made less movies and is well and rightly remembered because of them. Although some criticise his role in “Giant”. Not me I enjoyed the movie on the big screen in 1957.

    Maybe I’m oversensitive David, I have been reading disparaging stuff about Elvis for many decades without having a chance to respond. The PC has given some of us oldies (I’m 66) A voice! 🙂
    Overall your piece attempts to be fair.