Stop where you are….
And think about the poor Beatles fan. Since the “fab four” split up in 1970 there has been very little unheard material released from the vaults. In fact the majority of the alternate takes and previously unreleased live performances etc can be found on just one series of three double discs (the Anthology series) and the double CD “Live at the BBC”. Not even the bootlegs cough up a great deal of interesting material in comparison to other groups or performers of the same magnitude.
And now think about the poor Sinatra fan. Since Frank finally sang his last notes, there has been just a trickle of unreleased material from the Capitol and Reprise archives – basically a series of about five concerts (some good, some not) and some pretty uninteresting alternate takes from early in his career. On the bootleg front, there is about ten concerts floating around in good sound and a couple on DVD but, considering how many concerts he actually performed, the number is surprisingly small.
Now think about the poor Elvis fan. Since Elvis died in 1977 there has been more material released than when he was alive. There have been 51 CDs in the FTD range; the Silver, Gold, Platinum, Collectors Gold, Today Tomorrow and Forever, Live In Las Vegas, Close Up and TTWII boxed sets, the Essential Elvis series and more. That’s 87 CDs of mainly unreleased material. Oh, and how about The Home Recordings, The Alternate Aloha, An Afternoon In The Garden, Tiger Man, Memories, Suspicious Minds, the Double Features series, The Million Dollar Quartet and Peace In The Valley? All of those had unreleased material as well. Considering that we know what the next few FTD releases will be, we can basically round up the amount to 100 CDs approximately of alternate takes, live performances, jam sessions, rehearsals, home recordings and more.
And yet, time and again on here, there is moaning about the latest FTD release (either the cover or the content), or the fact that so-and-so hasn’t been released or that not all of the films are out on DVD, or that there was a song missed out of the 68 Comeback DVD set, etc etc. Isn’t it about time we actually stopped to think for a while about the situation twenty years ago, when the material we have now was bordering on fantasy? Or how about thinking that the material we want just doesn’t exist? On the track listing of the new FTD release people were writing “why don’t we have an alternate take of X” from Memphis 69 etc. Perhaps the alternates are so similar to the master take, it’s not essential for us to have them? Perhaps there is a flaw on the tape. Perhaps Elvis swore like a trooper on the take and so it won’t be released.
In the end, does it matter why certain things aren’t released? The material we have had thrown at us over the last ten years or so should be more than enough to keep everyone happy. Not every release will suit everyone, but what does the Elvis fan REALLY want? Yes, Elvis on Tour should be on DVD – but so should many things, but they aren’t. The Godfather only appeared on region 2 DVD about 2 or 3 years ago – and that was a milestone in movie history. So, Elvis On Tour is probably not the biggest priority to anyone except Elvis fans. And it will happen, but just be patient. You can’t have everything at once.
So, go over to your CD racks, your DVD shelves and your bookshelves and then Stop Where You Are and think about what you really are complaining about! But that is just my opinion.