Go to main content

So What Next BMG?

By Todd Slaughter, November 13, 2003 | Other
BMG International have proved what BMG UK has known for years – and that is the fact that Greatest Hits packages sell and sell well. "ELV1S #1s", and "2nd To None" will be followed up by E3 in the summer of next year – a collection of lesser known hits, but hits all the same. This year we have another Christmas release, and there’s more gospel and country compilations in the pipeline, but all of this only means more of the same.

"A Little Less Conversation" was a massive hit. But a year in the music business is a long time, and the promotional component parts were not in place for "Rubberneckin’" to duplicate the Conversation success. And to be fair the Oakenfold mix wasn’t that exciting. That said, it did make the Top 5, and that was all down to you lot.

So what of the future? Personally I don’t want to see an attempt at another dance mix. BMG have opened up a new interest in Elvis through the teen and pre-teen markets, and that’s been done. Unlike many fans I’m not against re-working Elvis music.
Elvis Presley’s voice was the finest in the world. He could bring out the best in most styles of music, but he never had the opportunity to perform with a world class orchestra, and please don’t say the Joe Guercio Orchestra because that was just a band.

The RCA Record label has great connections with some of the finest classical, and contemporary orchestras in the world. I would like to hear, say, the London Symphony Orchestra backing Elvis Presley’s more melodic repertoire. I think if you do this, then you can cross over into another market, which like the present day dance culture may not have previously appreciated Elvis’ vocal abilities. If you have an opinion on this proposal, then do let me know. I think we have to experiment more with Elvis’ recordings not just rely on more of the same.

Todd Slaughter is interested in your opinion too, you can email him (follow the link to the magazinepage) or use the reactionform.

Related links

Lex wrote on November 14, 2003
I am not a fan of messing around with Elvis' music. Didn't like the "Guitar Man"-stuff, and hate both remixes of the last two years. But a big (classical) orchestra sounds as a nice idea, I loved Cliff Richard's "Dressed for the occasion" and like Robbie Williams' "Royal Albert Hall" very much. Also a kind of duet album like "Reload" sounds good to me, as long as they leave Elvis' voice as is.
Jim Semple wrote on November 13, 2003
Interesting thoughts and I do agree that could be the way forward for the future. It has to be said 2nd To None was by and large a huge flop around the world, but we all know that was down to the poorest promotional campaign in Elvis history and not the quality of the CD itself. My thoughts are, it doesnt really matter what is brought out next, if the public and inparticular new fans to Elvis music don't know its in the shops (i.e. Rubberneckin, 2nd To None), sales figures are always going to be poorer than what they should be. If I was EPE or whoever, I would concentrate purely on promoting the forthcoming 68 Special and Aloha DVD's to the public and give the remixes and compilations a break for a while.
Jim Semple wrote on November 17, 2003
Remember what the Colonel once said '' you could get monkey's to back Elvis and he'd still sell''. The only question that should be raised is - are BMG going to start and invest 110% into the next biggest release (E3 I guess). I'm talking a major marketing and promotion campaign, not the disasterous campaign of Rubberneckin and 2nd To None. If the public don't know its out there (not everybody logs onto Elvis websites), it will NEVER EVER sell regardless of orchestras, remix, rap etc. It makes no difference. We made some brilliant progress with ALLC and Elvis Number Ones, however, we have sadly lost our way a little this year I feel. Lets put it back on track again for 2004 !
JerryNodak wrote on November 17, 2003
i wish to point out to mrstats that BMG and Sony have not yet merged. They will only merge after all parties involved agree to the merger and said merger is then approved by the appropriate regulatory agencies. Many things could still derail this proposed merger.
Sirbalkan wrote on November 30, 2003
Guys, there's already a classical release called "Symphonic ELVIS" and it didn't sell well in 1997. So I think a classical Elvis edition is not a good idea. What about a rock release called "Polk Salad Annie" featuring that song from april 9 concert in 1972? I'm a 22 years old fan and many young music fans love it so much. That song is crazy and I think BMG should release it as soon as possible.
Brian Quinn wrote on November 14, 2003
My personal opinion on this subject is that Elvis' voice is timeless. However, many of the backings he received throughout the years did not do the song or Elvis justice - even Elvis himself stated this after hearing the final take on some of them. I am sure that today's general public would not go for the heavy vocal backings on a fair amount of Elvis' tracks. Also, some of the 1950's backings are now extremely dated. I am all for experiementing with new ways to enhance the legacy of Elvis. Times change and technology changes so why should Elvis fans not have first rate sound on his records? One only has to listen to any of today's class artists to see what we are missing. If BMG do not experiment with Elvis' recordings then I honestly feel that Elvis will go the way of Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. All great artists but they do not sell in today's market. I would love to hear Elvis backed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra or some other quality musicians. Dance music will always be popular in the clubs but we must look at the trends. The current trend is for RAP and R & B. Songs such as 'U.S. Male and 'Run On' could be used for a RAP Re-Mix and as regards R & B Elvis has more than enough tracks to cater for this genre. Of course, whatever is released, it must be promoted well. BMG must spend money! Finally, we will always have the original recordings to treasure so why not experiment?
mrstats wrote on November 17, 2003
Now that Sony and BMG have merged, how about Elvis on SACD (super audio compact disc)? It would be great if Vic Anesini would remaster songs from the original master tapes for high resolution digital media. From Elvis in Memphis would be a great place to start. We really need more of the care that went into the Elvis Close Up box set.
EspenK wrote on November 14, 2003
First off I agree that the Oakenfold remix was plain boring. But dont turn down the entire dance/house scene cause of that one though - the dance scene is a LOT more than what allc & Rubberneckin' were displaying. Elvis VS the London Symphony Orchestra? Why not... It sounds like a really interesting idea! I'm really excited by the fact that BMG dares considering ideas like this. And done well, it can only do Elvis, his reputation and his music good.
Big Boss Man wrote on November 18, 2003
Please stop releasing more and more all-known compilations, and just make a second TTWII, plus Aloha and 68 comeback, and give them heavy promotion, and sales will boost easily.
Crawfish wrote on November 14, 2003
Great idea Todd, I completely agree that the dance thing has been done insofar as it has woken the dance guys up to Elvis, but also I think both allc and rubberneckin didn't show his voice as it should have been, Elvis seemed to be in the background too much. I am not really keen on any more of this and the Orchestra idea seems great and I am sure is more likely to work and have more air play than these previous two. Our Man deserves so much more and I just wish BMG/RCA would consult the fans more and not think solely about the money side of things but how Elvis and his perfect voice are portrayed more. He was a man not a myth and not a money machine all these years on.
Andreas77 wrote on November 13, 2003
I think this is a good strategy. Elvis was first and foremost a singer, changing the background is thus easier to accept. That said, the guidelines for doing so must be Elvis and what he would appreciate himself. That's where ALLC failed so badly; Elvis is pushed into the background and the song itself has almost nothing to do with Elvis. I think the remastering done on 30#1 and 2nd to none is essential: the sound is excellent and much more contemporary this way. The rest of the Elvis catalog must also be updated. I think BMG's biggest potential lies in Elvis performances between 1968 - 73. His music here is almost always considered the best among Elvis fans and his concert appearances and voice at this point is absolutely amazing. The irony is that Elvis in these years is virtually unknown to the public. I understand BMG's problem; they failed during these years (more precisely RCA) - not giving Elvis a #1 when you know his capabilities and drawing power during these years must be labeled as a failure - and BMG is therefore taking the easy way out - promoting Elvis music and looks from the 50's and early 60's which they know will sell. Promoting the latter part of his career will be more expensive, but I think, much more rewarding. One more thing, Elvis has the most loyal fans in the world - engage us in the marketing process BMG!
Andreas77 wrote on November 18, 2003
Several interesting suggestions... I agree with those of you that are somewhat opposed to the techno-sound on the last remixes. This is clearly not Elvis. I think future hits are possible just by adding a stronger beat, notthing more, maybe just remaster the sound (ex 30#1 and 2nd to none). The obvious example is Let Yourself Go from the NBC-special. Wakeup BMG, this is exactly the song you're looking for; sexy r&b, with Elvis in perfect voice. This is what dominates the hit-lists these days. You even have the footage for the video ready! In addition, the fact remains that Elvis between 68-77, arguably hist best peroid, at least the first 5 years, remains virtually undiscovered to the public. This is where our emphasis have to be in the comeing years.
Tupelo wrote on November 16, 2003
I completly agree with Brian, Elvis voice is timeless and unique, and as we all know he liked to experiment and was not afraid to try something else. And yes some of the backing vocals and arrangements are not for the youth of today, like my 9 year old daughter said, I love Elvis but why does he us so many other voices, his is enough!
Tupelo wrote on November 18, 2003
I've got a CD from U2 with music that inspired them a long many others there is Elvis, with Maybelline. Maybey they can do something, best band of today with the best artist from the century, I'll think that is an interisting concept.
Tupelo wrote on November 23, 2003
Why not do different things, work on many possibilitys. The youth you can catch with yes indeed remixes from artist they admire. And something else I sence when I talk to people about Elvis and how great I think he is, is that some people are almost ashamed to admit they like him to, So why not show the world more of the Elvis that changed music forever, because many people only rember the last couple of years of his career. For his real fans all of this is not necessary of course but it would be nice if his legacy would be passed on to future generations. And for that you have to attract people and make them notice his talent.
DDH wrote on July 03, 2004
E3 Elvis Presley. 50-60-70's. Three decades of Elvis songs. No singles, but songs that would have been big hits had they been released as a single. What are the fans view. Think about it. E1 was the #1's [well most of them]. E2 the second choice, but second to none. So why not E3, the three Elvis decades off great songs but NO previous singles, 1/ One sided love affair 2/ Shake rattle & roll [alt take] 3/ Reddy teddy 4/ Baby I don't care 5/ I got a woman 6/ Let me 7/ How do you think I feel 8/ Young & beautiful 9/ New Orleans 10/ So glad your mine 11/ Like a baby 12/ Soldier boy 13/ No more 14/ Fountain of love 15/ Memphis Tennessee 16/ Tomorrow is a long time 17/ Just call me lonesome 18/ Wearin'that loved on look 19/ A little bit of green 20/ And the grass won't pay no mind 21/ The fool 22/ Bridge over trouble water 23/ I washed my hands in muddy water 24/ For lovin' me 25/ I got a feelin' in my body 26/ Love coming down 27/ Walk a mile in my shoes [live] 28/ You gave me a mountain [live] 29/ Where do I go from here 30/ How great thou art
Uwe wrote on November 15, 2003
I think it is a good idea to listen to Elvis with a full orchestra. Elvis performed in Las Vegas with an orchestra and it sounded wonderful. So why can't we listen to some studio performances in another way. The only thing I mind is to "techno" Elvis. Orchestra: Yes; Techo:No!!
Doug wrote on November 18, 2003
I agree with those of you, but, please no more compilations. I would like to hear From Elvis In Memphis, Promised Land, Aloha, On Stage, TTWII, Golden Records series, The Artist Of The Century - all fully remixed, like Elv1s 30 number one hits. Why not? We dont need more compilations, we have more than suficient. Maybe one or two albuns, could be re-recorded with full orchestra, this is a good idea, since the originals will be available. This is my opinion.
Lowri wrote on August 06, 2004
I personally can't wait for the release of E3 and i will be first in line to buy it when it is released, i'll most probably buy the christmas album as well , i think it is good to see that elvis is getting in to the charths in 2004 , seeing that he died in 1977. I got the bmg releases of '68 comeback and aloha from hawaii dvds for my 13th birthday last week. even though Elvis is fantastic I am the only one in my family to like him. i can't wait to get future bmg releases
NMontyOne wrote on October 17, 2004
To all Elvis fans I think we should demand more creative thinking from EPE. Why not a new Elvis CD with all new music and arrangments.I would like to see and most of all hear a CD whiched contained the following songs Let Yourself Go, City by Night, I Can Help, Raised on Rock Combined with Johnny BGood and Hound Dog. a long version of Suspicious Minds which combines different live versions of the song. Hey little Girl, I would also like to see something done with the song Dark Moon and also new music on some of his ballads; like Only the strong Survive , I need somebody to lean on , With out love, Tomorrow Never Comes, The Sound of Your Cry. I know that a CD like this would be ground breaking and could contain afew more number one songs for Elvis.
Rob Nelson wrote on December 15, 2004
I agree with the comments regarding mixing Elvis' original recorded voice with an orchestra backing. We have some evidence of the superb potential (albeit limited sound quality) when one considers the cut, "The Wonder Of You", from On Stage February 1970. "It's Impossible" from The Fool LP. Another example that comes to mind is "Unchained Melody" from the new remastered release of Moody Blue which includes the tracks from "Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis, TN." Elvis' voice deserves this consideration. Sound quality is job 1. And Promotion. Promotion. Promotion. Thank you.