G.I. Blues was the first Elvis movie released after his discharge from the army in 1960. It is not among my favorite three Elvis films but might make the top five or six. It sneaks up on you and provides some light and ultimately enjoyable entertainment. This romantic comedy co-starred Juliet Prowse of whom Elvis stated, “She has a body that would make a bishop stomp his foot through a stained glass window.” Can you say attraction?
This movie and its resulting soundtrack album found Elvis leaving his rebel image behind and moving toward the mainstream. The soundtrack album, also entitled G.I. Blues, would spend two months at number one and remain on the charts for over two years. It resolved, once and for all, questions about Elvis’ post military popularity.
As with many of Elvis’ soundtrack albums, you really need to watch the movie to understand many of the songs. G.I. Blues is a good example of this fact as many of the tracks are regulated to the category of filler when listened to out of context. Songs such as “Shoppin’ Around,” “Didja’ Ever,” “What’s She Really Like,” and “Big Boots” really need to be placed within the context of the film’s story.
The performances from this album continued the trend toward a pure pop sound for Elvis. The title song, “G.I. Blues” is a toe taper so to speak and finds a mature Elvis just giving a joyful performance. “Pocketful Of Rainbows” is an upbeat song with a smooth vocal that shows off Elvis’ new maturity. “Wooden Heart” was a number one song in just about every country in the world except the United States where it was not released as a single at this time. “Doin’ The Best I Can” is a nice ballad that provides a good counterpoint to many of the up-tempo songs. Elvis records a new version of “Blue Suede Shoes.” While I prefer the original, Elvis could not really give a bad performance of this classic rocker and it would remain a part of his live act until his death.
Elvis looks good in G.I. Blues. He is now an adult and has served his country. He had, for better or worse, become an accepted part of the musical landscape and one of the most recognizable people in the country. G.I. Blues, the album and the film, were both solid performances by Elvis and helped him regain and continue his status as an American musical icon.