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Stop Where You Are

By Shane Brown, February 26, 2006 | Other
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.

Shane Brown.
Aarons wrote on February 26, 2006
You do have a point there Shane us Elvis fans do have more unreleased material than The Beatles fans and Frank Sinatra's fans including Tom Jones fans. There is not many alternate takes of Sinatra's songs was because he was impatient and most of his songs was only with one take. I am a Beatles fan and there isn't much of there material unreleased and I've only been a fan for just six months, although recently I have seen a box set of The Beatles with about 10 hours of unreleased material most of it is footage, which is about time especially after 30 years. For Tom Jones I think there's less unreleased material than Sinatra. American company has released a 6 DVD DEVINITIVE COLLECTION which is only highlights of his US coast to coast TV Special he did in 1981 but it's been cheaply done. So I think us Elvis fans are spoiled too much, as you say we have approx 100 CD's of unreleased material which is enough for now. What I think they should do is re-release the first FTD releases again before the release anything else. I'll be honest I do want Elvis: On Tour to be released on DVD with all the material but I think it's just too soon because I think the well would be dry, the film can be released on DVD but not all the material, well not for another 10 years, then release an hour of footage a year. I'm not even 18 yet so I don't want all unreleased material to be released otherwise there'll be nothing new to buy in twenty years. I mean what are they going to release when its 100th year anniversary of Elvis's birthday, probably nothing with the rate these companies are going. Thank you for reading my long dribble.
shaneleebrown wrote on February 26, 2006
Your long dribble is good! :o) I think the younger fans such as yourself must be so frustrated that you have to pay £17 for each Elvis album via FTD when, at the moment, you would just like to be able to walk into HMV and pick up the original album for a tenner and then pick up the alternate takes as you get a bigger collection. To think that albums such as Good Times, Love Letters and the like are currently not available in their original form!
Sirbalkan wrote on February 26, 2006
WHAT A GOOD COMMENT... YeS!!! This is it folks... We had become insatiable and I am definitely sure lots of fans do no think of future as if EPE will able to release any new(!?) concert or studio album after 20 years or not.Accept guys... They do a lot for us,they listen to us and they release at least 4-5 cds per year. Look at other stars alive today!!! Ok there can be no comparison to the living but they release just one album per year. We want many many unreleased materials from a death person. And if you think, if they don't release albums as much as they do right now in the future so Elvis' legacy will decrease, you are totally wrong. In my country there are only two official fan clubs and as Elvis materials if you go to the music store next to my flat, you will only see Elvis Hitstory that's it.But although we have a few material from Elvis as cd,dvd, 3 weeks ago there was a big party for his birthday anniversary and without any advertisement the whole club was packed with people aged 18-28 and they knew maybe 50 songs of elvis but they were talking about how rich his archive is. The point is... You must be patient as Shane said and satisfied with Elvis' success.. Wait for Elvis on Tour. They will release. Maybe they release Polk Salad Annie song from hampton concert as a single(including a video shot of it) and new generation will say "Wow.. Does Elvis have those kind of dirty songs?" And Elvis will receive another number one.But it's just a matter of time... God bless you all Elvis fans and EPE. We love Elvis in Turkey and it's getting bigger. No doubt about it believe me..
Jth wrote on February 27, 2006
What about the poor Jimi Hendrix fans? I believe they also have an collector's records label - and many other artists. Sounds too me like the writer of this story doesn't want anyone to critize FTD nor BMG, even though he does so in his comment, where I actually agree with him, since BMG should have the original albums available to the public. But it is one's right to critize, even for the large amount of cd's published (oh yes, Ernst, many Elvis fans run frequently out of money); but I have seldomly critized FTD or BMG on forums, it's been mostly in my head. But here goes; what I do hate about FTD is the lack of booklets! Not all Elvis fans know every single thing about his recording sessions, or live concerts etc., if there were booklets then us fans would have to wonder about eg these questions: "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." ...but that's just my five cents
shaneleebrown wrote on February 27, 2006
Don't get me wrong, I am not a "yes" man when it comes to Elvis releases and never have been. I don't buy all the FTD or BMG releases, just the ones that appeal to me personally - and sales figures are probably what determines what gets released (or re-released) and what doesn't. I just think that there is SO much stuff being released that it really isn't going to always please all people and that the well is running dry and people have to realise this. I agree with you on the booklets - I, too, find it frustrating to have to find out info on the concert or takes from elsewhere and, since this is a collectors label, this information is generally important. To me, the new Memphis FTD sounds fine, but the comments on here were "why have we got song X when we really want song Y", "why don't we have another full CD of Memphis outtakes instead of just a few" etc etc. I think us Elvis fans are becoming more and more greedy in this respect. Ten years ago, we would have welcomed the release with unanimous praise.
JimmyCool wrote on February 28, 2006
There's a missing song on the "NBC-TV Special" DVD!!?? Which one!? Anyway... I just wanted to say that it's true, but as Elvis said "I want people to get THE BEST!" And that's the big deal here... the QUALITY of the releases... We don't want to hear the same songs on different compilations over and over again... I got the 1956 Las Vegas mini-show in about 3-4 CD's... and not to mention "Maybelline" on... too many CDs to remember. I just turned 24, so I condsider myself a young Elvis fan... I was lucky enough to get almost all CD's on RCA/BMG (except re-releases) and a few FTD and Bootleg CD's, but I hate to admit that the alternate takes are so close to the original that I got upset for buying it... They should listen to every take and then pick a different arrengement (like take 2B of "She Thinks I Still Care") Well... I do care and I preffer quality over quantity!
shaneleebrown wrote on February 28, 2006
It Hurts Me is missing on the first disc in the Nothingville section.
Shaky wrote on March 01, 2006
In the 1980's Shane I remember going to many Collector's Fairs and feeling envious of the Beatles fans because their was rack after rack of Beatles / related bootlegs and the Elvis one's were alot harder to find! It's funny how things turn around. On the subject of quantity - I do think your right about taking them for granted, I'm as guilty as most, when I receive the latest FTD I play it a few times and my next thought is great WHATS NEXT !?! Re: On Tour outtakes - After the rehearsals and live stuff leaked out last year I do feel it is a shame if the 'OLDER' fans who have collected right from the 50's never live long enough to witness some of the juicy-est footage in the quality WE all want to enjoy.