I Am An Elvis Fan (So Why Can’t I Choose My Own Songs?)

In case you haven’t noticed, I am an Elvis fan. Maybe you are, too.

Of late, marketing campaigns by Elvis Presley Enterprises and Sony Music Entertainment have centered around the phrase “I Am An Elvis Fan.” You can buy an “I Am An Elvis Fan” t-shirt or even an “I Am An Elvis Fan” poster – an image of Elvis formed by a mosaic of fan photos.

The centerpiece of this campaign, though, is a new CD that Sony will release on July 31. As you have probably guessed, the title of the album is I Am An Elvis Fan.I Am An Elvis Fan

This one is different than most albums because an online vote last month determined the contents. Next week, Sony unveils the winning tracks.

Elvis released over 700 different recordings in his lifetime. Since then, thousands more have escaped the vaults. Rather than being able to vote for any Elvis song, fans were unfortunately constrained to choosing from pre-determined lists of songs in seven different categories. For each category, a fan had to choose three out of thirteen songs. Some of the songs even showed up in multiple categories.

While a few rarities made the process, most songs were of the typical “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” and “All Shook Up” variety. I’m sure those will be the types of songs to make the CD as well. In any event, it was still fun to choose songs. For the record, here is how I voted (bold), given the available choices:

’50s
1. That’s All Right
2. Good Rockin’ Tonight
3. Baby Let’s Play House
4. I Got A Woman
5. Hound Dog
6. Don’t Be Cruel
7. Mystery Train [naturally!]
8. Blue Suede Shoes
9. Money Honey
10. Heartbreak Hotel
11. Shake, Rattle & Roll
12. All Shook Up
13. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy

’60s
1. In The Ghetto
2. Suspicious Minds
3. Gentle On My Mind
4. Don’t Cry Daddy
5. Surrender
6. Good Luck Charm
7. Devil In Disguise
8. She’s Not You
9. Suspicion
10. The Girl Of My Best Friend
11. His Latest Flame
12. Love Letters
13. Memories

GOSPEL
1. Peace in the Valley
2. Crying in the Chapel
3. How Great Thou Art
4. If I Can Dream [gospel?]
5. Amazing Grace
6. Swing Down Sweet Chariot
7. Joshua Fit The Battle
8. Take My Hand Precious Lord
9. Lead Me, Guide Me
10. He Touched Me
11. Milky White Way
12. You’ll Never Walk Alone
13. Where Could I Go But To The Lord

LOVE SONGS
1. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
2. Any Way You Want Me
3. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
4. One Night
5. Can’t Help Falling In Love
6. Love Me Tender
7. Always On My Mind [actually, a love lost song]
8. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
9. Unchained Melody
10. Loving You
11. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling [again, a love lost song]
12. It’s Now Or Never
13. The Wonder Of You

MOVIES
1. King Creole
2. Jailhouse Rock
3. Trouble
4. Return To Sender
5. A Little Less Conversation
6. Viva Las Vegas
7. G.I Blues
8. Follow That Dream
9. Bossa Nova Baby
10. Rubberneckin’
11. Blue Hawaii
12. Loving You
13. Teddy Bear

COUNTRY
1. I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
2. Kentucky Rain
3. For The Good Times
4. Guitar Man
5. Blue Moon of Kentucky
6. Just Because
7. Long Black Limousine
8. I’ll Hold You In My Heart (Until I Can Hold You in My Arms)
9. She Thinks I Still Care
10. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
11. Welcome to My World
12. Funny How Time Slips Away
13. There Goes My Everything

IN CONCERT
1. Polk Salad Annie
2. Suspicious Minds
3. Just Pretend
4. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling [to help ease the split vote, since it is in two categories]
5. Bridge Over Troubled Water
6. See See Rider
7. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
8. I Can’t Stop Loving You
9. You Gave Me A Mountain
10. An American Trilogy
11. Burning Love
12. My Way
13. A Big Hunk of Love

You will notice that even I chose some “typical” songs. Certain Elvis songs have personal, sentimental associations for me, and I just couldn’t skip them when they were on the list.

Even if you buy into this whole select by category business, they left out a couple of important categories. Where is the ’70s category for songs like “Promised Land,” “Stranger In The Crowd,” and “I’ve Lost You”? Where is the Blues category for songs like “Reconsider Baby” and “Baby, What You Want Me To Do”?

In a sense, Sony loaded the deck. The opportunity to present a truly unique Elvis CD will probably just devolve into releasing yet another typical compilation. Even casual Elvis fans will already have the majority of the winning songs. Is the intent of this disc to attract new fans, then? If so, maybe they should have called it I Might Be An Elvis Fan instead.

Elvis By Request

Concept cover for Elvis By Request. Original image courtesy of Elvis Australia. Used with permission.

While the rest of us cannot be trusted to choose our own songs, Australian Elvis fans, on the other hand, will get to do an Elvis CD up right. The content for Sony Music Australia’s Elvis By Request album will also be determined by online fan voting (still in progress through July 13). Except this time, there is just one vote, and it is from the full list of recordings released during his lifetime, as well as many tracks released since then.

Australian fans who pre-order the CD by July 13 will even have their names included on a poster. While you have to live in Australia to get your name on the poster, you don’t have to live there to vote or buy the CD. In fact, I’ve already cast my ballot for my favorite song.

As you might expect, David Troedson’s Elvis Australia mega-site is at the forefront of coverage of this album. You can even order one there. And check out that poster of Graceland. Pretty cool! Elvis By Request is due out on August 16.

Both concepts are reminiscent of the 1976 album Elvis In Demand, a project where members of the Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain mailed in lists of five songs to vote for the content. The resulting record album made it to number 12 on the UK charts.

My main complaint about Elvis compilations tends to be that the same fifty or so songs are used in various combinations over and over. While I Am An Elvis Fan may end up looking like yet another similar compilation, Elvis By Request has the potential to be something special. It may very well turn out to be this generation’s Elvis In Demand.

* * *

While writing this post, I started thinking about what kind of Elvis compilation I would put together if Sony knocked on my door looking for help (someday, right?). Limiting myself to only masters released during his lifetime, it would probably look something like this.

Strangers No More

  • Money Honey
  • Like A Baby
  • For The Heart
  • How The Web Was Woven
  • Indescribably Blue
  • Clean Up Your Own Backyard
  • Early Morning Rain
  • Power Of My Love
  • Blue Moon
  • Stranger In The Crowd
  • Thinking About You
  • Baby, I Don’t Care
  • I Was The One
  • My Babe (Live)
  • Wearin’ That Loved-On Look
  • Witchcraft
  • I’ve Lost You
  • Make The World Go Away
  • Let Yourself Go
  • As Long As I Have You
  • Run On
  • Bringing It Back

11 thoughts on “I Am An Elvis Fan (So Why Can’t I Choose My Own Songs?)

  1. You’re so right, Troy. The concept of I’m An Elvis Fan is not thought through by those who came up with it. The choice of songs is far too limited. Elvis by Request is a far better concept and most likely will result in a far more interesting release.

    I already voted for songs on David’s great Australian website. And we sure have some favorites in common.

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    • Thanks for commenting, patricia. I’m not against I Am An Elvis Fan, and I applaud what they are trying to do, but I do wish it had been executed more like Elvis By Request.

      It’ll be fun to compare the resulting track lists of the two albums. Now, there is also a Japanese edition of Elvis By Request in the works. Presumably, other localities may follow. I wonder which will have the best Elvis selection?

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  2. As always my friend, your post is spot on! Once again, another country (Australia) has beaten us to the punch in terms of putting together a compilation CD!! What could have been an amazing set here in the U.S. (if the fans had been allowed to truly vote for ANY Elvis song) will simply turn out to be just another GREATEST HITS package. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the voting for the U.S. version was somehow fixed so that only the songs Sony wanted to be on the package wound up receiving the most “votes”! Just a theory on my part but still some food for thought…

    I do have to give the I AM AN ELVIS FAN campaign a thumbs-up for the mosaic idea. Something quite original and unique for each Elvis fan to be a part of, so the entire I AM AN ELVIS FAN campaign isn’t a complete loss.

    It will be most interesting to see what the Australian set looks like when voting wraps up and the final tracklisting is announced for their set. I also give kudos to the Australian team for letting fans from all over the world vote!! I will be submitting my vote immediately after posting here!!!

    Finally, I truly enjoyed your STRANGERS NO MORE concept Troy!! Sony should be knocking on your door any time now offering you a job!! (-:

    TCB my friend!!
    Mike

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    • Thanks, Mike, and welcome back to the train. The mosaic is definitely a unique approach, a chance for fans to become a part of Elvis history, so to speak.

      No knocks yet, but a man can dream, can’t he?

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  3. Once again Troy a great piece. Being “An Elvis Fan” in Australia, I did get to choose “any song”, I will have my name on the great looking poster. I am excited to see and hear the final product chosen and selected by the fans. I have to say a huge thanks to Elvis Australia for given us fans the option to receive the poster in a mailing tube rather than receiving a poster that has been folded several times, some people do think when it comes to Elvis’ material and his fans.

    I shall be compiling your suggested list “Strangers No More”, looks great can’t wait to give it a spin.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    • Thanks, Ray. That’s awesome that your name is going to be on that poster. Yes, it looks like Elvis Australia is doing things right – but that’s to be expected. It’s run by a fan for the fans!

      Let me know what you think of “Strangers No More” once you play it a couple of times.

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    • Terrific job on your “bossypants” compilation, Sheila. It really is hard to get in enough favorites on a single disc. He left us such a variety of incredible performances. Be sure to click over to her post, folks.

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