Written by General Jabbo
Throughout Elvis Presley’s remarkable career and in the 35 years since his untimely passing, one thing has remained constant – his worldwide fan base is among the greatest ever seen for any artist. While there have been numerous Presley compilations over the years, there hasn’t been a U.S. fan-voted best of – until now. I Am An Elvis Fan compiled more than 250,000 votes from fans in over 20 countries to create a unique listening experience for the fans, by the fans.
The songs were divided up by categories, such as ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, movies, and in concert, and fans voted for their favorites via the Internet. Fans who preordered the album were able to get their names printed in the final packaging and were able to upload photos of themselves to be used in an Elvis photo mosaic. That photo became the album cover for I Am An Elvis Fan. But what of the music?
The CD starts out strong, with four tracks from the 1950s. It’s hard to beat an intro that starts with the bass-driven pop of “Don’t Be Cruel” to the blues of “Heartbreak Hotel” back to classic pop with “All Shook Up” and the driving rock ‘n’ roll of “Jailhouse Rock.” This is Presley at his most vital. A pair of movie classics follow, with the dreamy “Blue Hawaii” proceeded by the exciting “Viva Las Vegas.” While some of Presley’s ’60s movie songs were less than A material, the soundtrack songs presented here are all killer, no filler.
Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special is represented by two songs here – the longing ballad “Memories” and the gospel-tinged “If I Can Dream.” It was the latter that prompted the King to vow he’d never sing another song he didn’t believe in. Presley’s post-comeback period is represented by some of his strongest singles, including “Kentucky Rain” and “Suspicious Minds.” Curiously, “Suspicious Minds” is on the album twice, once as a studio version and once as a live version from Presley’s Aloha From Hawaii TV special. Other seemingly strange moves include showcasing a live version of “Burning Love” from that same show, rather than the arguably superior studio version and the addition of “Guitar Man,” a fine song, but not at the expense of countless other Presley classics.
Most Presley fans will already have the majority, if not all, of these songs. The novelty is having one’s name and/or picture included in the packaging in addition to the fact that the fans played a part in the track selection. A single-disc best of cannot possibly do Presley’s music justice. Still, I Am An Elvis Fan features a killer track list and is a fun reminder of Presley’s legacy.