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Viva Las Vegas - 2007 Re-issue

By ElvisNews.com / Kees, November 02, 2007 | Music
Reissued in October 2007 in the U.K. and several other European countries is the classic Las Vegas theme song "Viva Las Vegas".


The cover of this single contains a standard publicity picture and a standard design. I always wondered why nobody told The Colonel he shouldn’t design covers like he created posters for a carnival. Looking at some of the great covers designed by foreign departments of RCA. With a nice movie like that and Ann-Margret as co-star there were some great opportunities. Not only for the design, but also for the music.

The numbered CD comes as a ‘mini-vinyl’ replica card sleeves with an outer and inner bag. The outer bag features the original U.S. picture sleeve artwork, while the inner bag replicates a generic U.K. RCA single from the time of the original U.K. release. Rather than have the standard silver finish on the ‘playing’ side of the disc, each CD rear comes with a black finish, again to replicate a miniaturized version and the look of the original vinyl release.


The single is one of the few movie soundtrack songs, which became a real classic; not only with the Elvis fans or people living in the Las Vegas area, but also with "Joe Public". When it comes by on a compilation I always turn up the volume, it is so catchy. The same goes for the ZZ Top cover, that took this song to a new era.

The reproduction single contains the wrong version of "What 'd I Say". The original B-side contained the 1964 version of "What'd I Say" and not the 1970 version from the Platinum box set as featured on this set. Amazing that the catalogue is not documented to perfection so the right versions are used.

The out-takes of the title track, "Viva Las Vegas" really sho they were still working on the song trying to lay down the first take. Always fun.

This is what Wikipedia says about the song and soundtrack recording:

The song "Viva Las Vegas" was written in 1964 by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and recorded by Elvis Presley for his Viva Las Vegas film vehicle of that year. It has since become widely known and often performed by others.

Released as a double-sided single along with "What'd I Say" from the same film, "Viva Las Vegas" was a modest hit at best at the time, reaching number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and number 17 on the UK Singles Chart.

However in years since, it has become one of Presley's most recognized numbers. In the 1990s and 2000s, the song has been contained in countless movies, TV sitcoms, either as a reference to the city of Las Vegas, or simply as an expression of joy, or bewilderement in related comedic situations. Somewhat amusingly, it is said that Doc Pomus wrote the words to "Viva Las Vegas" some thirty years before ever venturing west of Newark, New Jersey.

In 2002, the city of Las Vegas requested Elvis Presley Enterprises, the company who handles a portion of Elvis's musical legacy, and all Elvis-related music rights, to allow it to be the official song of the city but negotiations, to this date, have been stalled over the price requested by EPE. Notwithstanding, EPE has not owned the copyright to the song "Viva Las Vegas" since 1993, when it became the property of the families of the long under credited and (believed by many) almost criminally under compensated songwriters Doc Pomus (Halberstadt, Alex "Lonely Avenue The Unlikely Life & Times of DocPomus". 2007 DaCapo Press) and Mort Shuman. That EPE no longer owns the copyright essentially means that EPE does not have the authority or right to negotiate the use of the song "Viva Las Vegas" in Las Vegas or anywhere else within the United States, its territories and possessions. Although, EPE may be able to negotiate the use of the actual Elvis recording of the song.

The soundtrack

The soundtrack songs were recorded in July of 1963 at Radio Recorders Studios in Hollywood, California and are regarded by some as among Presley's best. In addition to Presley's vocals, Ann-Margret performs two solos in the film. Three songs, "Night Life", "Do The Vega" and "You're The Boss", were recorded for the film but never used. "You're The Boss" is a duet by Elvis and Ann-Margret.

RCA Records has been heavily criticized (in Elvis: The Illustrated Record and other retrospectives) for mishandling what was considered by critics to be the best set of songs recorded for an Elvis film for years. None of the vocals involving Ann-Margret was released at the time, although she was a successful RCA recording artist in her own right and had performed two solo numbers in the film ("Appreciation" and "My Rival"). The only recordings released simultaneously with the film were the theme song plus a cover version of "What'd I Say?" on a single; and a few additional songs on an EP. Additional songs recorded for the film would appear scattered about later album compilations, while the Ann-Margret duets with Presley - "The Lady Loves Me" and the deleted "You're the Boss" - would not be officially released until after Presley's death. The version of "C’mon Everybody" released on record is a different version than the one used in the film, lacking Ann-Margaret’s backing vocals, a whistling interlude, and the closing bars.

Although bootleg LP's began to appear in the 1970s, purporting to contain the complete soundtrack, RCA did not officially release anything approaching a full soundtrack until 1993, when it began to reissue Presley's film soundtracks on a series of "Double Features" CDs, the pairing of Viva Las Vegas soundtrack with that of Roustabout being in the first batch. These CDs do not include the solo Ann-Margret performances or "The Climb" by the The Forte' Four. An almost complete soundtrack from the film was released on Follow That Dream Records (the Danish division of BMG) in 2003. It includes all master takes plus alternate versions. "The Climb" is also included, but the Ann-Margret solo tracks are not. At present, the Ann-Margret solos are available only on the 5-CD box set: Ann Margret 1961-1966 from Bear Family Records in Germany, but her "You're the Boss" duet with Elvis is on her otherwise solo CD album, "Lovely Ann-Margret: Hits and Rarities," digitally remastered and released 1995 by Marginal Records MA 022, Brussels, Belgium.
According to Elvis historian Steve Pond, in an interview for Kingdom : Elvis in Vegas, a featurette included with the 2007 DVD release of the film, only the lead singer of the Forte Four was actually recorded singing "The Climb", not the rest of his group. Instead, the backing vocals were provided by the Jordanaires and by Elvis Presley himself.

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glynalone wrote on November 03, 2007
Seems like far more effort went into replicating the original artwork and making the CD look like black vinyl than actually bothering about the music. Using a live version of "What'd I Say" is surely a new level of incompetence even for BMG? Well. maybe not...but it never ceases to amaze me!
circleG wrote on November 03, 2007
yeah that has to be one of the biggest goofs ever. inexcusable. Really spoilt the whole point of what could have been a nice single. Oh and by the way i just bought the 2008 calender which has '30th anniversary' on it. Pardon me but didn't Elvis pass away in 1977 making 2007 the 30th anniversary ? Are EPE/BMG promoting another Elvis ??
Jerome wrote on November 03, 2007
sorry sorry I've got to say this (I can look like shit myself sometimes) but E his eyes on this picture session., I don't know, maybe the lighting or the form..
Brian Quinn wrote on November 12, 2007
The latest single release of VLV sold 9001 copies in its first week of sale.