From Elvis Presley to Moody Blue in 21 Days

The covers of Elvis Presley's first and last albums

The covers of Elvis Presley’s first and last albums

Though I’m a huge Elvis fan, I don’t listen to my favorite singer exclusively. Variety is the spice of life, and I enjoy all kinds of music. Back on Saint Patrick’s Day, though, before I even created The Mystery Train, I began a marathon of sorts where I’ve been spending all of my music time listening to Elvis.

Starting with 1956’s Elvis Presley, I listened in order to every album that Elvis released during his lifetime. I skipped previously released tracks on compilation albums, meaning I only listened to each individual recording once. Between albums, I sprinkled in the few unique singles that never appeared on albums while he was alive (e.g., “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”).

My Elvis odyssey ended earlier this week when I reached the conclusion of 1977’s Moody Blue. In 21 days, I had listened to just about every Elvis track released during his lifetime, over 700 in all (more than 30 hours of music). It turns out I am missing five song variants, which I have started tracking down.

Going from beginning to end with Elvis was quite an experience. Other than the doldrums of the worst of his 1960s movie soundtracks, the quality of his album output was actually a lot better than some folks would have you believe.

Starting with two or three tracks on 1966’s Spinout, though, you can feel the approaching storm and revitalization of his 1968 comeback. Finally, when “Tiger Man” closes out the surprisingly great Singer Presents Elvis Singing Flaming Star And Others, the anticipation for the very next album, the milestone ELVIS-TV Special, reaches its height.

From that point on, everything is different, and Elvis begins releasing the best music of his life. Despite what people will try to tell you, that holds true all the way to the end – with the stunning and heartfelt From Elvis Presley Boulevard and Moody Blue albums, both recorded at Graceland.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever listen to Elvis’ album output in sequence again, but it was an amazing experience.

5 thoughts on “From Elvis Presley to Moody Blue in 21 Days

  1. I’ve always really dug “Singer Presents Elvis Singing Flaming Star And Others” too, it really feels like a genuine album rather than a Col. dreamed up cash in.

    Some of the later Hollywood material really holds up here; “Wonderful World,” “All I Needed Was The Rain,” “She’s A Machine.” That’s a cool concept on its own right there.

    From Elvis Presley to Moody Blue in 21 days=fascinating article. Really glad to have found your blog, dear fellow Elvis obsessive.

    Bravo

    p.s Hope FTD does “Live A Little Love A Little” soon!

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    • Though it’s been in my collection for years, Stay Away, Joe’s “All I Needed Was The Rain” was an Elvis song that I only “discovered” a couple of years ago. What an incredible hidden gem!

      A “Live A Little, Love A Little” album from FTD would indeed be a must-buy. If there were not enough tracks and outtakes to fill two CDs, I wouldn’t even mind if they combined it with some of the other later movies – a la the Double Features series, but with a ton more outtakes.

      Thanks for the nice comments about The Mystery Train. I checked out your blog and enjoyed your review style.

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