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The King Is Dead! Long Live The King!

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These days, there’s a lot more conversation and action surrounding Elvis Presley. He’s still dead, as far as we know, and this summer marked the 25th anniversary. Now, it’s all Elvis all the time, as Elv1s, a compilation of 30 of his #1 hits, including the JXL remix featured in Nike’s then-omnipresent World Cup ads, has shot to #1 on the Billboard charts (as Variety put it, 500,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong). Recently, there has also been a “remastering” of one of Elvis’ first live performances, Roots Revolution: Louisiana Hayride, which offers the interesting notion of having the backing instruments (including Scotty Moore’s guitar) rerecorded note-for-note by studio musicians under Presley’s remastered vocal and acoustic strum.

And now, in a move of epic media conglomerate synergy, NBC is taking care of business in a flash by announcing that it will broadcast a made-for-tv concert titled Elvis Lives that will, of course, feature current artists performing some of the hits from Elv1s:

    U2 frontman Bono, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, No Doubt, and Britney Spears are among the music superstars that will pay tribute to Elvis Presley during an NBC prime-time television special titled Elvis Lives, which will air in late November or early December. The concert special is a collaboration between NBC and BMG’s RCA Records.

    The hour-long special will honor the enduring musical legacy of “The King” as well as celebrate the immensely successful worldwide debut of the definitive Presley collection, Elvis 30 #1 Hits, on RCA Records. The show will also be interspersed with stories, opinions, and observations from renowned individuals about Presley’s importance. Historic footage of Presley’s performances and interviews, as well as recent footage of the worldwide events marking the 25th anniversary of his death, will also be included. In addition, the special will feature contemporary artists’ performances of four tracks culled from Elvis 30 #1 Hits.
    Other celebrities including rapper Chuck D, Denis Leary, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and Dennis Hopper have also signed on for Elvis Lives. More stars participating in the special will be announced shortly, according to NBC.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed the Elv1s album and the associated Elvis revival. My only complaint about the compilation is that it doesn’t include 1964’s Viva Las Vegas one of my favorite Elvis tunes from the King’s best movie (which also starred the incomparably gorgeous Ann-Margret). It probably wasn’t a #1 hit for him, what with the Lads from Liverpool around and all, but, to me, that song is the perfect representation of the West Coast Elvis.

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