Released by BMG in September 2004. Liner notes.
Almost three decades after his untimely death in August 1977, it is hard not to think of Elvis Presley as the greatest vocalist of our time and the biggest selling artist in the history of popular music. It is also amazing to think of how, by walking into a recording studio when he was just eighteen years old to make a personal recording for his mother, he would single-handedly change the sound of popular music forever.
Today he is not only regarded as the ultimate rock’n’roll icon, but also the embodiment of American popular music in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Perhaps, looking back on his career, it is not that surprising. He was, after all, only twenty years old when RCA Records signed him to a recording contract for a then unheard of $35,000, and who would go on to sell over 500,000,000 records during his lifetime, would star in his first Hollywood movie before his twenty-first birthday, make another thirty-two films over the next fifteen years, and end up as one of the world’s biggest box-office draws.
Neither could anyone have foreseen in those early days how, from shocking a nation so much television censors insisted he be filmed only from the waist up, and how patriotically he would serve out his national army service to return to a career more successful than before, and how he would become the original pioneer and explorer of live satellite broadcast to reach his billions of fans around the globe, and how, after a disastrous debut in Las Vegas at the start of his career, he would end up as the highest paid and most popular performer in the city’s history. And who, back in 1956, would have thought that he would become the only man whose recorded voice would be heard by more people in the world than any other performing artist.