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Feature Article - by Douglas

RCA’s decision to release a collection of Elvis’ number one hits was a no brainer, but why did they wait so long? I first heard about the album on August 16, while attending Elvis- The Concert at the Pyramid in Memphis. The entire place went wild when the RCA representative told the audience that although the initial release was scheduled to include only 30 songs a bonus track of A Little Less Conversation(JXL –remix) was going to be added due to the popularity of the remix.

I, like most of you, eagerly awaited the day that I could listen to the latest collection of some of my most loved Elvis songs. I went by my local music store to reserve a copy, and made sure that I purchased it on September 24. Hoping I would be part of the group that helped to push this to the number one selling album of the week. I frantically searched entertainment website and television programs the next day to see the overwhelming appeal and draw “The King” maintained twenty-five years later. I was disappointed to see that the release seemed to pass with little notice from the entertainment industry. But as time has born out Elvis captured the top spot for three weeks in a row (at the time of this writing), maintaining the title in the face of the Rolling Stones “Forty Licks” album which released Oct. 1.

I did see that MTV made a futile attempt to hype the release, talking to some of today’s biggest names in entertainment about the release. The scenario painted Elvis as a new artist with his first big release. All seemed to indicate this relative newcomer in today’s music scene had a promising future. While entertaining and cute, I think it missed the mark and did not have a strong enough rotation to really create a buzz about the new album.

I did however enjoy and find clever the ad campaign that preceded the release. I happened to be on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles prior to the release when I saw my first billboard that simply stated: “Before anyone did anything Elvis did everything”. Later I saw television advertisements that credited Elvis with creation of television censors, the tradition of women throwing their undergarments on stage, and lure of Vegas for today’s artist. (Which was echoed last year when Brittney Spears did a show in Vegas and used a photo of herself in an Elvis-esque jumpsuit to promote the event.) At least this ad campaign was worthy of the man, music, and the legend that it promoted.

Although I wanted to be a part of history by making Elvis 30 # 1’s a friend of mine was even more eager than I to help push the album over the top. He was lured in by the flash of the television and actually called the 1-800-# because he could not wait to get a copy of the album, and was hoping that by some miracle that he would receive his copy prior to the street date, and be able to taunt those of us who were waiting patiently for the actual release. At the time of this writing the album had been out for weeks, and my friend is still waiting to get his “hot off the press” copy in the mail. Not only is he still waiting , he paid $24.99 for the album, when upon release the price ranged in the stores from $10.99 (at one nationwide retailer) to $18.99 -not on sale- at another nationwide music chain.

The price points themselves were even somewhat disheartening. I would have easily paid the $24.99 my friend paid to have this classic album in my library (fortunately I paid only $14.99). At $10.99 it is almost an insult to ELVIS and his music. I mean I have seen old Anne Murray albums that are on the discount table for more. (Not that I have anything against Anne Murray, but let’s be realistic here.)

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying your CD, and next month we will look at the website that is a true compliment to the CD.

If you have not been to, you are missing a real treat. This website contains a lot of information that any real Elvis fan would be interested to see. So do yourself a favor and click on over to the site. It is best viewed with a high-speed connection, but there are low bandwidth alternatives.

Until next time - That’s my rant.

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved.