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Elvis #1 Singles Box

By Robert Fontenot - About.com, January 30, 2006 | Music
England welcomed the King's 50th anniversary in recording -- pushed hard by an all-out Sony media blitz -- by placing no less than 21 resurrected Elvis singles in the UK Top 10, four at Number One and the rest not far behind. So his longtime label, never one to shy away from old wine in new bottles, decided to release those same CD singles -- authentic replications of Elvis' 20 US Number Ones, right down to the original artwork on the sleeves. The only difference now is, you don't have to get up and flip these babies over to hear the b-sides.

These singles are as clear and clean as modern remastering can get them.
The packaging is faithful, if not lavish.
All of Elvis' biggest hits are here, along with their original b-sides, in order.

Twenty individual CDs is a lot to wade through to get at forty songs.
These songs have been reiussed many, many times, although not in this specific order.

Believe it or not, Elvis fans love the format, and you might too, if you're so into the King's original singles that you want to hear them remastered one at a time. Problem is, his b-sides weren't always the equal of the a's, so you may be put off by the dropoff in quality between, say, "Hard Headed Woman" and "Don't Ask Me Why" or "Stuck and You" versus "Fame and Fortune." Of course, if you care that much, odds are you aren't a hardcore collector, but as conversation pieces, they work pretty well; they come with individual cardboard sleeves featuring faithful-as-possible reproductions of the original covers, not to mention chart info, a nice CD booklet, and a poster of all twenty original sleeves.

Original singles
CD reproductions
50s, 60s, 70s
Number Ones
Sleeve reproductions
Poster and booklet

And these songs, of whatever quality they may be, do benefit from the very latest advances in digital remastering. Those of you in it for the music, however -- including an uncomplicated listening format -- may wonder what the fuss is about.

If you really treasure the original US Elvis 45s but want to enjoy them with the benefit of modern remastering, this collectors box set may be for you. However, more casual listeners (and even some hardcore fans) may be left scratching their heads.

The singles:

Heartbreak Hotel / I Was The One
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You / My Baby Left Me
Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog
Love Me Tender / Any Way You Want Me
Too Much / Playing For Keeps
All Shook Up / That's When Your Heartaches Begin
Teddy Bear / Loving You
Jailhouse Rock / Treat Me Nice
Don't / I Beg Of You
Hard Headed Woman / Don't Ask Me Why
A Big Hunk O'Love / My Wish Came True
Stuck On You / Fame And Fortune
It's Now Or Never / A Mess Of Blues
Are You Lonesome Tonight / I Gotta Know
Surrender / Lonely Man
Good Luck Charm / Anything That's Part Of You
Return To Sender / Where Do You Come From
In The Ghetto / Any Day Now
Suspicious Minds / You'll Think Of Me
Burning Love / It's A Matter Of Time

By Robert Fontenot - About.com.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk