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Elvis 56
Elvis Presley
Elvis 56
Genres: Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1

The organizing principle of Elvis 56 is simple: that's the year Presley recorded these 22 tracks (including an alternate take of "Heartbreak Hotel," the opening track, recorded on January 10, 1956). It's also the year that...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Elvis Presley
Title: Elvis 56
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 4/16/1996
Release Date: 4/16/1996
Album Type: Import
Genres: Pop, Rock
Styles: Oldies, Vocal Pop, Oldies & Retro
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 078636685625

The organizing principle of Elvis 56 is simple: that's the year Presley recorded these 22 tracks (including an alternate take of "Heartbreak Hotel," the opening track, recorded on January 10, 1956). It's also the year that Presley would become the biggest pop phenomenon since Frank Sinatra by kicking up a fuss as a red-hot regular on TV variety shows. In the studio, Presley's first recordings for RCA drew from the same pool of rhythm & blues tunes that he'd been interpreting at Sun Records. 1956 was the year Presley sang great songs by Otis Blackwell ("Don't Be Cruel," "Paralyzed," "Ready Teddy") and the Leiber-Stoller team ("Hound Dog," "Love Me"). He also essentially swiped Carl Perkins's "Blue Suede Shoes," and tried to do the same with such other contemporary hits as "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy" and "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." Note that on the same day he recorded the galvanizing "Heartbreak Hotel," Presley also cut a most Sun-like (and wholly appropriate) "Money Honey." The compilation chronicles a remarkable year in which every song rang true; the booklet includes exquisite period photos of Presley taken by Alfred Wertheimer. A video of the same title that chronicles the year in pictures is highly recommended. --John Milward

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CD Reviews

The REAL Elvis
GoSox-BoSox | Boston - more or less | 02/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's wonderful to hear these early Elvis recordings, when he was still raw and new and amazing, when he was still singing real music, before The Colonel turned him into a movie star singing songs like "Do The Clam". Even if you've heard all these before, and even if you already have most of them, this is still a great collection. Everything on this CD was recorded in the same year, and all I can say is that 1956 must have been amazing! (I was only 6 years old, so I can't really say much from personal experience.)

My only complaint isn't with the music, only with the liner notes, or rather the lack of liner notes. The booklet that comes with the CD is beautifully designed, with some very evocative photgraphs by Alfred Wertheimer - LordyLordy, Elvis was certainly somethin' to look at back then! But I would have enjoyed a little more discussion about the music - who wrote it, who recorded some of it before Elvis, how he took some of the repertoire of the black blues and R&B artists of the time and made it accessible to the white audiences of the time, what the rest of the popular music world was like at the time and how Elvis totally changed the landscape, and how that all really started in 1956. But unfortunately, that one run-on sentence I just wrote is more information than you'll get with this CD.

Yeah, well, liner notes would have been nice, but really it's all about the music. And the music on this CD is awesome!"
Taking Rock and Roll to the next level!
A Fan | VA | 08/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"These historic recordings are the ones that not only made Elvis THE superstar of the era, but also helped to establish Rock and Roll as the dominent pop music form for decades to come. This collection includes not only the hits from 1956, like Heartbreak Hotel, Don't Be Cruel, and Hound Dog, but also many forgotten classics like Ready Teddy and my favorite Money Honey! A must for Elvis fans and students of Rock and Roll!

A Monumental Year Indeed
Harleyhutton | 09/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's not surprising to me that RCA/BMG decided in 1996 to put out a CD simply titled Elvis 56, because that was the year R&R firmly established its roots after a stuttering start in 1954/55. And, just as The Beatles dominated 1964, the year 1956 belonged to The King.

Seventeen songs on the pop singles charts, nine of which crossed over to the Country charts and eight to the R&B charts, not to mention millions in EP/LP sales.

What makes the CD so pleasurable for me is the fact I saw him perform many of the songs live at the old Ottawa Auditorium on April 3, 1957 in one of just three concerts he performed outside the U.S. [the others were in Toronto and Vancouver].

The sound quality is fantastic, and although the insert contains no liner notes, as such, there is a neat Elvis 56 Chronology listing the locations of his various performances that year, along with other information such as the signing of a seven-year contract with Hal Wallis and Paramount Pictures on April 6.

Truly essential for any Elvis fan.