I bet I’m not the only one to think so – but maybe I’m the first to speak out… I’m wondering in all sincerity: aren’t we getting an OD lately? Don’t get me wrong: a day without Elvis is a day not lived. Elvis is literally everywhere in my life: in my car, on my tv, against the wall – hell, even on my desk. But what I mean is: isn’t BMG/Sony overdoing it? Aren’t the Powers that Be releasing Too Much for the average fan? And if so, is there a risk of loosing fans along the way? The answer, I’m afraid, is plain and simple: yes.
Let’s take a minute to see what we need to buy the first few months of the year, only to keep track with the Elvis world. Or differently put: what kind of money do we have to spend to stay a happy, up-to-date fan?
First off, we have the wonderful FTD series. Just out are the movie FTDs “Kid Galahad” and “Follow That Dream”. Up next are the book and 2CD “Rockin’ Across Texas”, the live concert “Big Boss Man” and the 2CD “Elvis Is Back”, followed by the 2CD “Elvis Today” – a total of, roughly, 175 euro, maybe more.
Then, there’s the BMG releases “Love, Elvis” (one unreleased track!) and the 2CD “Elvis By The Presley’s”, another 45 to 50 euro. And while we’re at it, let’s include Lisa’s 2nd CD as well – just the ‘clean’ version please: 20 euro. Now, which fan hasn’t bought the CD and vinyl sets of the “UK N° One Hits”? Didn’t we all wanted Elvis to conquer the charts again? I did, for one. I bought both sets (250 euro), didn’t you?
Perhaps even more interesting, are the new DVDs: “It Happened At The World’s Fair” (15 euro) and “Elvis By The Presley’s” (30 euro). Books… how many do you need? Let’s stick to the must-haves only, such as “A Date With Elvis” (50 euro), “Elvis In Munich” (40 euro) “Elvis Talk” (20 euro) and “Like A Prince From Another Planet” (20 euro).
Without even mentioning the countless import CDs (including true gems such as “Bilko’s Gold Cuts” and “Hampton Roads”), eBay treasures, or rare promo records, we come to a total of 700+ euro. In addition to that, there’s “Elvis The Concert” (60 euro) and a bunch of new souvenirs that yell out our names. Or differently put: we need at least 125 to 150 euro a month to continue our hobby. If we can’t afford it, we’ll regret it later on – after all interesting titles have gone.
I’m old enough – 38 – to have known the times when all the fans got was another Best Off-album and a lousy bootleg-LP (remember “Oh Happy Day” or “The On Tour Soundtrack”? Weren’t we excited as kids in a toy store?). I’m not saying that things were better back then – far on the contrary. It is wonderful to be an Elvis fan in the new millennium. But being president of a fanclub with close to 900 members, I know by experience that not everybody is able to make ends meet anymore – especially when BMG is flooding the market as they have been doing these past couple of months. Oddly enough, it seems that, in a way, BMG/Sony wants to compensate the lack of releases in the eighties and early nineties by continuously releasing new titles. The UK 18#1 box sets aren’t even complete yet, and already we know that Autumn brings us more of the same: a 20 piece US box in at least two different formats…
Who are we to complain, as long as the BMG Bosses don’t forget to look back and assure themselves that everybody is still on board. We all know that first class bullet trains are for the rich only – and in Elvis’s case that’s just not right: everybody’s entitle to enjoy his legacy and the new releases. I would hate it if the constant flood of (expensive) new releases divides the fans in two parts; those who can afford their hobby, and those who have to settle for less - or worse: for copied CDRs. In that case, ironically, BMG/Sony will have maneuvered the fans exactly to where they don’t want them to have them. Fans who stop buying the original product, are of no interest to the record company. Let’s hope BMG is smarter than that. But that is just my opinion.