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Elvis' Record Collection To Be Released

By David Troedson
Source: Yahoo News
June 11, 2003 - 10:47:00 AM

From Chuck Berry to Bobbie Gentry, the King liked them all.

Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises have cataloged Presley's record collection with 1,000 albums and singles filling up a 24-page list.

Elvis Presley Enterprises, which owns the rights to all things Elvis in the United States, allowed only a cursory look at the list.

A partial copy of the list will be released this month as a perk for members of the Elvis Presley Collector's Club, formed by Graceland as an insider's view of the King's things.

He used to say, 'I can appreciate the best of everything', says Elvis friend and disk jockey George Klein, who once asked Elvis why he liked opera stars Mario Lanza and Enrico Caruso.

There is only one opera recording (by Lanza) in the Elvis collection, which Graceland spokesman Todd Morgan says "leans heavily to black rhythm and blues and to black and white gospel."

Graceland archivists cataloged the recordings by title and last names of artists, so exact numbers in each category aren't readily available. That's because many of the groups and solo artists who began as gospel singers crossed over into pop and rhythm and blues and later returned to their gospel roots.

But Elvis' friends said they did not need to see a list to know that gospel recordings were his favorites and the music he most often played for friends.

"He loved close harmony," says Red West, a former member of the Memphis Mafia, the nickname given to Presley's closest group of friends.

He says Elvis' favorite groups were the Harmonizing Four and Golden Gate and his favorite gospel singers included Jimmy Jones, Jake Hess (who sang with the Statesmen and later formed the Imperials) and Mahalia Jackson.

It was that close harmony that also made him a big fan of the Ink Spots and The Platters, especially love songs, says West.

Rock bands are a rarity in the collection. There were four Beatles albums and albums by Chicago and the Turtles, but West says Elvis preferred soloists.

West, a songwriter, once tried to turn Elvis on to the song "Green, Green Grass of Home," but Elvis wasn't interested. When Tom Jones recorded it, Elvis was returning to Memphis on a tour bus.

"When we got within range of Memphis, he kept stopping every few minutes to call George Klein (at WHBQ radio) and got him to play it every few minutes from Little Rock to Memphis," West recalled.

Jones and Presley later became good friends, often visiting each other backstage after their Las Vegas shows.

There are relatively few female singers in the record collection, but Elvis' friends say his favorites included Anne Murray (for her "clear and distinctive voice"), Vicki Carr ("It Must Be Him"), Jackson, Della Reese, Dionne Warwick, Bobbie Gentry, Leslie Uggams, Timi Yuro, the Andrews Sisters, the McGuire Sisters and his former backup group, The Sweet Inspirations.

His record collection includes a duet album between Memphis father and daughter Rufus and Carla Thomas.

Elvis, the rocker and balladeer, was not a fan of jazz, but he had an album by Duke Ellington, "Newport 1958," in the collection. There was also only a small sampling of classical music ? Brahms' "Symphony No. 1," Beethoven's "Konzert Fur Klavier Und Orchestra No. 5" and Mozart's "Requiem Mass in D Minor."

Here are a few details. There is only one opera recording (by Lanza) in the Elvis collection and rock bands are a rarity in the collection. There were four Beatles albums and albums by Chicago and the Turtles, but West says Elvis preferred soloists. There are relatively few female singers in the record collection, but Elvis' friends say his favorites included Anne Murray, Vicki Carr, Jackson, Della Reese, Dionne Warwick, Bobbie Gentry, Leslie Uggams, Timi Yuro, the Andrews Sisters, the McGuire Sisters and his former backup group, The Sweet Inspirations. Elvis, the rocker and balladeer, was not a fan of jazz, but he had an album by Duke Ellington, "Newport 1958," in the collection. There was also only a small sampling of classical music Brahms' "Symphony No. 1," Beethoven's "Konzert Fur Klavier Und Orchestra No. 5" and Mozart's "Requiem Mass in D Minor."


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