Education, Elvis Style – Part 1

At this time of year in the United States, high school and university graduations are taking place. It is customary to send friends and family members gifts once they reach this milestone. Particularly for high school grads, these gifts often come in the form of money – intended for use in further education.

I graduated from high school in the early 1990s and sure enough, in the last few months of my senior year, checks from various friends and family members arrived in the mail. At the time, I was still working on obtaining my first summer job. When it came to money, I basically had none.

That had never stopped me from spending time browsing record stores, though. I can remember drooling over two Elvis CD releases in particular that had been out for about a year by that time: ELVIS: The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – The Complete 50s Masters and Elvis Today.

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, of course, was the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed 5-CD boxed set that collected his 1950s material together in a coherent fashion for the first time. I can remember just staring at the track listings on the back of the box, marveling over the song titles.

Cover of 1992 Elvis Today CD

Elvis Today was the CD debut of a 1975 album previously available only on vinyl. Since RCA had inexplicably deleted the original album from its catalog, I had been trying to track it down for years before the CD release. I only had three of the songs on it and wanted desperately to hear the others.

Both releases were part of RCA/BMG’s “Elvis In The 90s” series, which had the mission of bringing all of his master recordings to the CD format.

As I dutifully wrote out thank you notes for the gracious graduation gifts people had sent me, a plan began formulating in my head. Sure, I was starting university classes in a few months, but what did I need for that right now? I had a better idea.

Soon enough, I was at the record store and spent most of my graduation money on The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Elvis Today. I had just enough left over to buy a reference book I had also been eyeing up for some time: ELVIS: His Life From A to Z by Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius.

People had sent money for me to further my education, and that was exactly what I intended to do.

To be continued. . . .