Elvis Presley - So many albums - like an insane amount of albums!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Aug 10, 2018 at 3:42 PM.

  1. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    No, it was an easy way to fulfill the recording contracts, much like the movie soundtracks did. Most of his live albums went gold or platinum. So, they were successful. As with the 60s, when soundtracks generally outsold his studio albums (until the late 60s) the live albums also outsold his studio albums after 1971 or so.
     
  2. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Not really THAT many live albums. Strictly speaking only 5:
    In Person At The International Hotel (1/2 of From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis)
    On Stage February 1970
    That's The Way It Is had only 4 live songs on it (and one simulated as such) (could be categorized as a soundtrack album)
    As Recorded At The Madison Square Garden
    Aloha From Hawaii
    As Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis

    Moody Blue has 4 lives songs and I have never heard of anyone categorizing it as a live album.

    Elvis In Concert came out after he died.
     
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  3. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Now FTD puts out a LOAD of live albums, that is for sure. They are the bootleg killers!
     
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  4. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    What surprised me the most was just how many songs he recorded. Yes, I know there were plently of compilations with previously released material. Even with RCA not including those that repeated songs on numerous albums in the 60 CD set, it's still impressive
     
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  5. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    No, as @SKATTERBRANE pointed out, it was simply to get product on the shelves.
     
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  6. MaestroDavros

    MaestroDavros Forum Resident

    Location:
    D.C. Metro Area
    Yeah I think you're on the right track (and no, I don't think it's ever "uncool" to like something so long as you yourself like it).

    There's a few key questions you ask that I would like to address in particular:

    1. His management. Elvis' manager, "Colonel" Tom Parker, was largely responsible for both making Elvis explode in popularity and for sabotaging it, although I concede Elvis deserves some of the blame himself. In the earlier days, Parker's bullish tactics succeeded in garnering Elvis national and international fame and great wealth at a level almost unseen at that time. However, Parker's greatest financial interest was in himself, not Elvis. Once you realize his methods, he becomes tirelessly predictable where all decisions from song publishing deals to film contracts to tour deals all share a common factor: quantity over quality, and always about what makes the most money, not what was artistically best for his client. And when in the 1970's Parker acquired a gambling addiction, Elvis was both forced to keep touring but play ever diminishing sized venues. Elvis' greatest work was in spite of and at The Colonel, not because of him.

    2. Elvis' acting career: Elvis' dream was not to be a rock and roll star, but a ballad singer and a movie star like his idol James Dean. Not all of Elvis' movies or soundtracks are actually that bad, and his 50's movies are his best. Even before coming out of the Army Elvis' future acting was already set in favor of cheap to produce musicals that over the course of the decade became increasingly formulaic, both in script and in song writing. This was at odds with Elvis' desire for more dramatic roles, and I think he didn't mind making less money in those films so long as he was given something challenging to do (Elvis didn't mind being challenged, but he needed to be approached to be challenged; he rarely sought it out). The worst of the films was from between 1964-1966 where not even Elvis' golden voice, working with some of the best actors and musicians in the business could salvage some of the material. If anything, working on those movies taught Elvis he didn't have to put in much effort into anything for it to be passable, a philosophy that marred much of his 70's live work, compounded by a drug addiction and poor health.

    3. Yeah I'd agree the gluttony of material in the 60's diminished the impact of his soundtracks. This wasn't immediate, for instance his soundtrack album for "Roustabout" went to #1 at the height of the British Invasion. But once it became clear that quality was falling by the wayside casual viewers began to move onto new acts. In addition, the new rock press was hostile to Elvis and declared him a has-been and began tarnishing his reputation in that respect.

    Generally with the soundtracks there are redeeming factors to them, but you have to really dig for the gold. They still tend to be fun listens though.
     
  7. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    I haven't listened to all the soundtracks yet, but I have mostly enjoyed them.
     
  8. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    well he is the KING after all...
     
  9. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    I disagree. There was nothing shrewd about keeping Elvis off of television during the 1960's, the networks simply could not meet Parker's fee and demands. Same thing with live work during the 1960's, Parker wanted RCA to underwrite a tour and balked at the figure and number of dates RCA could commit to. It was all about money, not scarcity. And the bottom line is that as time went on, Parker entered into a number of bad deals and ultimately left a lot of money on the table. Yes, he got money out of RCA with semi-frequent advances on future royalties, but at the expense of placing unrealistic demands on his client whereby Elvis had to deliver excessive amounts of product on an annual basis. Furthermore, the 1973 RCA buyout was one of the worst deals ever made in the music industry by an artist manager.

    From a personal appearance standpoint, Elvis' initial deal in Las Vegas was severely undervalued, with Elvis earning roughly $9,000.00 per show, twice a night, for an entire month. That was a lot of work for $500,000.00 -- and Elvis still paid Parker's commission, band salaries, and his own expenses out of that fee. The reality is that Parker underbid Elvis' services right from the start of that engagement. Elvis could have earned substantially more through traditional touring circa 1969, but Parker was out of touch and incapable of overseeing a touring operation during that era without a collaborator (something he was unwilling to consider in 1969), so he made a deal for Elvis to appear in a Las Vegas showroom, a decision that sadly laid the foundation for Elvis' live work for the rest of his career. And throughout the 1970's, Elvis continued to make less than other Las Vegas performers. It is difficult to imagine any other mainstream music manager booking Elvis into a casino showroom in 1969. Furthermore, while Elvis' tours generated strong revenues, Parker again left a lot of money on the table, turning down lucrative international touring opportunities.
     
  10. shanebrown

    shanebrown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    This was perfectly normal at the time. Compare it to, say, Sinatra, who released approx 22 albums between 1963 and early 1970. And two of those were double albums. Three or even four albums a year were the norm. As another comparison, Bobby Darin was averaging four albums a year in the early 1960s. In 1963, he recorded six albums, although some were not released at the time.
     
  11. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    That's something I find interesting when comparing how releases were handled then as opposed to now. One thing I have to remember is material was usually written for the acts then. So multiple singles and albums could be done in a year.
     
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  12. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    During the 1960's, yes. During the 1970's, the model had been superseded with a less demanding release schedule for many artists, something Parker could have negotiated.
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Cool. Thanks. I wasnt aware of that.
    I assume that this is predominantly because they don't write their own material, so their A&R guys actually were back then.
     
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  14. shanebrown

    shanebrown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    I dont think that had a huge effect. Many jazz artists wrote their own material and still came up with the same number.

    I think the old system was better. Today, if you create an album that isn't good, you're stuck with it. You have to tour it, and it can be your downfall if you are saddled with an album like that. Now, every album has to sell well or you're dropped. Back in the 1960s, that wasn't the case. Forget about it, and move on to something else in three months time and the crap one is forgotten. It gave much more room for experimentation and ambition, trying out new things etc. Not in Elvis's case for the most part, but in many cases - including the aforementioned Darin and Sinatra. Mistakes could be made without immediate risk by an artist.
     
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  15. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    That's why I said usually. I knew there were exceptions.
     
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  16. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    @mark winstanley It has never been uncool to be a big fan of Presley's music!!! :)

    Lots of great Presley threads here on these forums. To answer your questions...

    You have the 50s and 60s boxes. You are more than three quarters of the way there. Just get the rest! :)

    Seriously - you need Elvis Country, That's The Way It Is right off the bat if you want to immerse in the 70s. It never really got better than this. Come back and tell use how you liked those and we will go from there.

    JQ
     
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  17. shanebrown

    shanebrown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    My point was that who wrote the material probably didn't change anything. Those that did write their own normally didn't produce less albums, but the same amount.

    Conversely, those that didn't write their own material in the 1970s mostly went along with the one album a year scenario of those that were singer-songwriters. There were exceptions, such as the elder statesmen of jazz recording for Pablo, who just seemed to record whenever they wanted - and they seemed to like doing so given the numbers of albums them produced.
     
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  18. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    Ok, thanks for teaching me something I didn't know. I knew just by looking at release dates the output slowed down overall in the industry. I will say I kind of miss the artists being allowed to find their voice and audience instead of the "you didn't sell X number of units your last album so that's your last album" mentality that permeates today.
     
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    i ordered the big box... :oops:;)
     
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  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    mum and dad have a reel to reel tape of me singing heartbreak hotel when i was five ... i've been a fan :)
    fifty and still a fan, but just have those first two boxes
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018 at 10:06 PM
  21. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Of course when you record live in the studio like Elvis and so many other pre-Beatles artists did, you don't have to spend a whole year mixing Rumours like Buckingham did.
     
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  22. shanebrown

    shanebrown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    And that has much to do with the situation, that's for sure. Elvis was recording two or three albums in the space of a week in the 1970s. And a single album in a night or two in the 1960s.
     
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  23. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    I've always thought that that was a bit overstated. I mean, he recorded songs like Hey Jude, Don't Think Twice, It's Alright, and Help Me Make It Through The Night. There's no way he (or Parker) was able to get publishing on those songs. If Elvis had REALLY wanted to record a song, he could have.
     
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  24. Jimmy B.

    Jimmy B. Forum Resident

    If you're rich and money doesn't matter! :rolleyes:
     
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  25. shanebrown

    shanebrown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    I totally agree. If you look at the publishers listed for each song in Jorgensen's book through the 1970s, they came from all kinds of sources. The publishing issue really only affected the movie soundtracks in the way people have been led to believe.
     
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