Review | Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight, First Definitive 4-CD Overview of Entire Recording Career

By: David Bowling
Source: BC
December 19, 2009

Elvis Presley would have turned 75 on January 8, 2010. 

In celebration of that event the RCA label, through their Legacy Series, has issued a four-CD, 100-track box set.

Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight may not contain any huge surprises nor has it unearthed any new material that had been hidden away, but what it does do it does well. It gathers all of his number one hits, some other well known material, live performances, and a few cuts that do not surface very often, assembling them in chronological order to present a nice history of his music. Everything has been digitally remastered which has given it a crystal-clear sound. In addition there is an 80-page booklet which includes a 7,000-word essay by Billy Altman, rare photos, and copious information on every track. In the mid-fifties Elvis combined country rockabilly with black southern rhythm & blues, which coalesced into rock 'n' roll. When you add in his personal charisma you have an artist who emerged as a cultural phenomenon and changed the course of American music. From 1955-1977 he would record over 700 tracks and solidify his reputation as The King of Rock 'N' Roll.

Disc one covers his rise to fame; 1953-1957. The set begins with his 1953 recording of 'My Happiness' which was a present for his mother and well worth its $4.00 investment. His mid-fifties Sun material quickly follows as songs such as 'That's All Right', 'Baby Let's Play House', 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky', and 'Mystery Train' would jump start his career in the south and pave his way to being signed by the RCA label. By 1957 'Heartbreak Hotel', 'Jailhouse Rock', 'All Shook Up', 'Hound Dog', '(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear', 'Too Much', 'I Want You, I Need You, I Love You', and 'Don't' had all topped the singles charts in the United States and made him a star.

Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight, First Definitive 4-CD Overview of Entire Recording CareerDisc two is the strongest from beginning to end as it culls the best of his 1958-1962 material. Tracks such as 'Stuck On You', 'It's Now Or Never', 'Are You Lonesome Tonight', 'Can't Help Falling In Love', and 'Return To Sender' are interspersed with some lesser known material including 'Thrill Of Your Love', 'Doin' The Best I Can', 'I Feel So Bad', and 'Pocketful Of Rainbows'.

Disc three, 1963-1969, wisely avoids most of his soundtrack material and concentrates on the series of strong singles that he issued during this period of his career. 'Guitar Man', 'U.S. Male', 'Don't Cry Daddy', and 'Kentucky Rain' may not have reached the top of the charts but they remain some of the best songs in his catalogue. 'Viva Las Vegas', 'How Great Thou Art' and perennial favorites 'In The Ghetto' and 'Suspicious Minds' serve to enhance this disc.

The fourth disc, 1970-1977, is the weakest as it presents material from the last part of his career, which is hit or miss. The live material just does not measure up and while 'Way Down', 'Burning Love', and 'Promised Land' may be listenable, overall this is the disc I will return too least often.

Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight may not be for everyone but it is a fine addition to the Elvis Presley legacy. If you have avoided his box sets in the past or are a fan who must have everything then this is a must purchase.

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Review - Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight
By Patrick Slevin - Aquarian

To be completely unprofessional, Elvis 75 is the best Elvis box set you can buy. I say that because I don't have any of the 50 other box sets in existence that span his career of over 800 recorded songs. But when I visited Graceland (in my imagination, obviously, since I've never been there), this is what was in regular rotation through the loudspeakers. One hundred songs. Four hours, 35 minutes and 47 seconds of Elvis hits, deep cuts, live takes, and even the JXL remix of 'A Little Less Conversation' you couldn't avoid seven years ago.

Elvis 75 is an amazing release sound quality wise.

With very noticeable sound improvements on many of the songs.

It's a comprehensive collection of Elvis' recorded career, with all of his U.S. number one hits and most of his U.K. number one hits, with the exception of 'Wooden Heart' and 'The Wonder Of You', But then their on the 2 CD set, Elvis Presley: 50 Australian Top Ten Hits 1956-1977 and less heard material.

The box set opens with an unexpected but fitting 'My Happiness,' his first recording at Sun Studios, but unfailingly recognizable cuts follow as the four-disc collection moves chronologically through Elvis' career, ending gracefully with 'Way Down', 'Unchained Melody' and the aforementioned remix.

Sadly, there are many Elvis songs that even completists don't want to hear, making this collection of 100 songs as close as we'll probably ever get to a complete retrospective of Elvis material. And with its elaborate packaging and liner notes, its worth plunking down the clams for these hundred classics, as there's plenty here that you'd like to hear that isn't on the #1 hit compilations, the decade compilations, the live compilations.

Elvis '75 is the first major Elvis Presley retrospective to cover the full spectrum of the artist's world-changing career, Elvis 75 runs from 'My Happiness', the acetate Elvis himself paid nearly four dollars to record at the Memphis Recording Service on July 18, 1953, a year before signing with Sun Records, to 'A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Remix Edit)', a posthumous #1 hit for Elvis in the UK, Australia and more than 20 other countries in 2002. In the U.S., the CD single rose to #1 on the new Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. Offering fans an unprecedented range of essential material, Elvis 75 provides a generous selection of the electrifying earth-shattering primal rock & roll of young Elvis; the swinging good vibes of Elvis' soundtrack recordings; the heartfelt humility of his gospel performances and the intimacy of his ballads; the pure pop power and show biz magic of Elvis in Vegas; and a record-setting number of #1 and Top 10 international smashes.

Elvis 75 presents 100 digitally restored songs, a broad collection of hit singles, deep album tracks, live performances, and rarities. The tracks appear in strict chronological order of recording dates over the course of Disc 1 (1953-1957), Disc 2 (1958-1962), Disc 3 (1963-1969), and Disc 4 (1970-1977). They range from the first demo acetate that Elvis made at the Memphis Recording Service of Sun Records as a gift for his mother in 1953 ('My Happiness'), to a sampling of Sun Records sides produced by Sam Phillips in 1954-55 ('That's All Right', 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky', 'Good Rockin' Tonight', and more), through 21 and a half years of RCA tracks, from 1956 to 1977. The phenomenal chart statistics accumulated by Elvis come alive on this box set.

As compiled by Joel Whitburn, Elvis is the top-ranked Hot 100 male artist (by far!) of the 1950s and '60s – and the only act (male, female, or group) ever to be top-ranked #1 for two separate decades.

Elvis holds unassailable records for the Most Chart Hits (151), Most Top 40 Hits (104), Most RIAA Platinum Hits (28), Most RIAA Gold Hits (24), and Most Weeks Charted (1,598).

The lavish Elvis 75 box set includes an 80-page booklet featuring many rare photographs and a new essay by musical and cultural critic Billy Altman. Sony Music's, Legacy's label release of Elvis 75 kicks off a year-long celebration of the life and music of Elvis Presley, the world's first rock & roll star.

Elvis Presley Review Elvis 75 is the best box set

Elvis 75 - tracklisting

Disc 1 (1953-1957)

01 My Happiness
02 That's All Right
03 Blue Moon Of Kentucky
04 Good Rockin' Tonight
05 Baby Let's Play House
06 Mystery Train
07 I Forgot To Remember To Forget
08 I Got A Woman
09 Heartbreak Hotel
10 I Was The One
11 Blue Suede Shoes
12 My Baby Left Me
13 One-Sided Love Affair
14 I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)
15 Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
16 I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
17 Hound Dog
18 Don't Be Cruel
19 Love Me Tender
20 Love Me
21 Paralyzed
22 Too Much
23 All Shook Up
24 Mean Woman Blues
25 (There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)
26 (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
27 One Night
28 Jailhouse Rock
29 Treat Me Nice
30 Blue Christmas
31 Don't

Disc 2 (1958-1962)

01 Hard Headed Woman
02 Trouble
03 King Creole
04 Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
05 I Need Your Love Tonight
06 A Big Hunk O' Love
07 (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I
08 Stuck On You
09 A Mess Of Blues
10 It's Now Or Never
11 Thrill Of Your Love
12 Such A Night
13 Are You Lonesome Tonight?
14 Reconsider Baby
15 Doin' The Best I Can
16 Pocketful Of Rainbows
17 Surrender
18 Crying In The Chapel
19 I Feel So Bad
20 There's Always Me
21 Judy
22 Can't Help Falling In Love
23 (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame
24 Little Sister
25 Good Luck Charm
26 Suspicion
27 She's Not You
28 Return To Sender

Disc 3 (1963-1969)

01 Bossa Nova Baby
02 (You're The) Devil In Disguise
03 (It's A) Long Lonely Highway
04 I Need Somebody To Lean On
05 Viva Las Vegas
06 It Hurts Me
07 This Is My Heaven
08 Adam And Evil
09 How Great Thou Art
10 Tomorrow Is A Long Time
11 Guitar Man
12 Big Boss Man
13 Too Much Monkey Business
14 U.S. Male
15 If I Can Dream
16 Memories
17 Don't Cry Daddy
18 In The Ghetto
19 Suspicious Minds
20 Stranger In My Own Home Town
21 Kentucky Rain
22 Only The Strong Survive

Disc 4 (1970-1977)

01 Polk Salad Annie
02 The Fool
03 Funny How Time Slips Away
04 I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
05 I Just Can't Help Believin'
06 I'm Leavin'
07 An American Trilogy
08 Burning Love
09 Always On My Mind
10 Steamroller Blues
11 Loving Arms
12 Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues
13 Promised Land
14 T-R-O-U-B-L-E
15 For The Heart
16 Hurt
17 Way Down
18 Unchained Melody
19 A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Remix Edit)

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Elvis Presley Article Ernst Jorgenson Talks About Elvis 75 Release

Elvis 75

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Elvis Presley Video Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.

This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.

The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.