The Love Me Tender 45rpm single release sold over 1 million, and Elvis' acting debut in the movie was his first foray into Hollywood in 1956, becoming a starting post for a successful movie career on the silver screen. Deservedly, critical plaudits eluded him with a tired movie formula by the mid-sixties ... However, the 20th Century-Fox movie 'Love Me Tender', and the string of great Celluloid classics that followed showcased a great raw talent. Influenced by movie giants, Marlon Brando, James Dean and Tony Curtis, his performance as Clint Reno in the Civil War themed western is sincere, and more than justifies the studios faith and backing in the Tupelo born rock & roll sensation.
A promotional poster reads: 'The great adventure of the notorious Reno Brothers -- and the girl they fought for!'
The soundtrack containing only four original songs plus bonuses includes catchy pop songs that compliment the movie -- and FTD present the material in the best possible light.
The soundtrack (Disc one) includes: The Original EP - Bonus Tracks - Outtakes - Stereo Masters - and a compelling interview in two parts - THE TRUTH ABOUT ME, recorded August 22 - on the set of 'Love Me Tender' - and previously available on the Elvis Answers Back! (78rpm), and Teen Parade (45rpm) magazines -- Elvis mentions his Cadillac which set-fire and burnt out while driving near Texarkana (see 'A boy From Tupelo' Book/ 3-CD for the amazing photo).
The sound here is warm, detailed and full on the soundtracks original EP recordings.
-- BONUS TRACKS: Love Me Tender, end of movie version, and 'The Truth About Me' (2.12) are followed by - THE OUTTAKES: Were Gonna Move is a first-rate tune. Note: The song is a favourite of Beatles legend and long-time Elvis fan, Sir Paul McCartney (Click to listen).
Furthermore, a particular highlight is Poor Boy 3rd verse (take 6) -- which includes a gorgeous A Cappella vocal performance. Side one finishes with the stereo masters, and 'The Truth About Me' interview which caps a superb listening experience.
The Live Shows - (Disc two -- AFTERNOON - Mississippi- Alabama State Fair -- & EVENING - Dairy Show-Fairgrounds, Tupelo Sept. 26, 1956) -- are scintillatingly full of vim and vigour -- a captivating snapshot of the era and a time-capsule to Elvis Presley mania -- blowing like an UNSTOPPABLE whirlwind through 1950s conservative America.
Highlights: The whole shebang! I really can't enthuse enough about these historic shows - Scotty Moore is on fire throughout and you can feel the electricity in the air from the first announcement: 'Ladies and gentleman, boys-and girls, and everybody else. The great moment you've all waited for - the one and only - ELVIS PRESLEY'. Elvis sings: 'Well, well, well, well -- well, since my baby left me' -- on a fantastic Heartbreak Hotel. Then teases the audience before launching full-throttle into the Little Richard classic - Long Tall Sally and you can imagine the pelvic gyrations and dynamic presence of the man known as - THE ATOMIC POWERED SINGER! The shows were performed just a few weeks after the LOVE ME TENDER soundtrack recording sessions, and include the title track single.
The only downside for possible audiophiles is the glorious delight and enthusiasm of the excited crowds of screaming girls hungry for their hero, which tends to slightly overpower the music, that said, a new remaster of the live shows is not evident here, and besides, it's questionably whether anything new could be brought to the table (the historical live recordings were originally released on, 'A Golden Celebration' Box Set
However the live recordings do sound fabulous considering their obvious vintage status, and perfectly capture the bands hot dynamic in 1956, and the crowds wild hysteria (screaming fans notwithstanding).
The first 2-3 songs are missing from the afternoon show because they are not in RCAs possession, and that's a shame (see booklet). However there's additional interviews mid-disc with Vernon and Gladys - actor, Nick Adams - dizzy fan, Judy Hopper, and polite as ever wearing his heart on his sleeve, Elvis.
More standouts: Scotty Moore's delicious R&B soaked chunky riff on a sparkling Don't Be Cruel - an extended Blue Suede Shoes with mini drum solo - a full-on rockin' - Baby Let's Play House, with cutting guitar solos, and the, 'a famous philosopher once said' intro on a brilliant extended version of Hound Dog, -- that without doubt would've guaranteed original singer Big Mama Thornton was bopping with endless delight.
Note: The 'Love Me Tender' Blu-ray DVD is a fine companion to the FTD 2-CD version and is recommended viewing. It features stunning detailed picture and audio elements. The movie is a solid western tale about the Reno brothers in a Civil War tale, and it boasts a fine supporting cast including the beautiful actress Debra Paget. Richard Egan (Vance Reno) plays the central character, a fine actor with considerable acting smarts which help elevate the story. Elvis was learning his trade and delivers a fine debut performance as Clint Reno, duly noted by movie critics in 1956.
More: Booklet elements add stacks of information and photos -- RCA Victor 'Love Me Tender' 45rpm sleeves, posters; original movie lobby cards; movie synopsis; Love Me Tender RCA single label from Argentina; promo label of the original EP; plus great behind the scenes photos from the movie set (including Elvis fooling around pointing his pistol at Colonel Parker (a familiar photo but great to view in context).
Insightful interview segments in addition to the first discs interviews form a big part of the 'Love Me Tender' FTD listening experience, and add the cherry on the cake. The amount of information over the two discs and booklet is breathtaking and immersing myself in the soundtrack album has been a revelation in terms of the aforementioned high quality visual and audio elements. The upshot is with its eye-catching design the material has been presented with tremendous care and thought. Case in point: the gorgeous original HMV 'Love Me Tender' EP cover graces the front of the attractive booklet. All things considered, 'Love Me Tender's combined elements add weight and interest to a fascinating release. If you enjoyed the superb mainstream release 'Young Man With A Big Beat', and Follow That Dream's, excellent 'A Boy From Tupelo', you will indeed find lots to enjoy here.
Most highly recommended. 10/10.
Disc 1 : 'Love Me Tender' (2CD)
The Original EP : Side 1
1) Love Me Tender 2:44 (Vera Matson/Elvis Presley)
2) Let Me 2:11 (Vera Matson/Elvis Presley)
3) Poor Boy 2:16 (Vera Matson/Elvis Presley)
4) We're Gonna Move 2:31 (Vera Matson/Elvis Presley)
5) Love Me Tender - end title version 1:09
6) 20) The Truth About Me 2:09 Original spoken word 45 rpm disc included in Teen Parade magazine
07) We're Gonna Move - take 4 2:47
08) We're Gonna Move - take 9 4:39
09) Poor Boy - take 3 original 3 verse master 1:51
10) Poor Boy - remake take 1 1:00
11) Poor Boy - extended verse. Vocal overdub take 6 0:37
12) Let Me - vocal overdub take 3 2:21
13) Let Me - vocal overdub take 4 2:19
14) Love Me Tender 2:52
15) Let Me 2:11
16) Poor Boy 2:16
17) We're Gonna Move 2:32
18) The Truth About Me Interview 10:04
Recorded August 22 on the set of Love Me Tender, Hollywood, California
All songs recorded for the motion picture Love Me Tender
Recorded August 24, September 4 and 5, and October 1, 1956 at Fox Stage 1, Hollywood.
Producer / A&R: Lionel Newman / Ken Darby
Engineer: Bob Mayer & Ken Runyon
Guitar: Vito Mumolo; Bass: Mike 'Myer' Rubin; Drums: Richard Cornell; Banjo: Luther 'Red' Roundtree; Accordion: Carl Fortina, Dominic Frontieri; Vocals: Rad Robinson, Jon Dodson, Charles Prescott.
Disc 2 : Mississippi-Alabama State Fair & Dairy Show, Tupelo
1) Heartbreak Hotel 2:43 (Mae Boren Axton/Tommy Durden/Elvis Presley)
2) Long Tall Sally 2:43 (Richard Penniman/Robert Blackwell/Enotris Johnson)
3) Introductions and presentation 2:36
4) I Was The One 3:19 (Aaron Schroeder/Claude DeMetrius/Hal Blair/Bill Peppers)
5) I Want You, I Need You, I Love You 2:52 (Maurice Mysels/Ira Kosloff)
6) Elvis talks 0:34
7) I Got A Woman 2:53 (Ray Charles)
8) Don't Be Cruel 2:52 (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley)
9) Ready Teddy 2:15 (Robert Blackwell/John Marascalco)
10) Love Me Tender 2:58 (Vera Matson/Elvis Presley)
11) Hound Dog 2:48 (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
12) Vernon and Gladys Predsley 1:44
13) Nick Adams 1:42
14) A fan 2:26
15) Elvis 1:53
16) Love Me Tender 1:49 (Vera Matson/Elvis Presley)
17) I Was The One 2:47 (Aaron Schroeder/Claude DeMetrius/Hal Blair/Bill Peppers)
18) I Got A Woman 2:52 (Ray Charles)
19) Announcement 1:45
20) Don't Be Cruel 2:12 (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley)
21) Blue Suede Shoes 2:34 (Carl Perkins)
22) Announcement 1:03
23) Baby Let's Play House 2:43 (Arthur Gunter)
24) Hound Dog 3:53 (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
Amateur recording made September 26, 1956.