So what does a young, charismatic, and good looking singer, who is the most successful musical artist in the country do for an encore? He heads to Hollywood to star in a movie of course.
Loving You was a pieced together affair which included songs from the movie, previously released tracks from an EP, plus a couple more from the studio. It all added up to a very good album but ultimately not of the quality of his first two ground breaking LPs. Nevertheless, released in July of 1957, Loving You would remain the number one album in the country for ten weeks. Even my mother had a copy of this album.
The cover does Elvis justice. Even at seven years old, I am quite sure I sensed that I was not that good looking. My wife would probably agree today. All right eliminate the word probably.
Elvis would make a seemingly unending string of mostly forgettable movies. They would contain some excellent songs and a lot of what can best be described as filler. Elvis would never have a song nominated for an academy award, even though there were certainly songs from many of his films that should have been so honored.
The album starts out on a strong note. “Mean Woman Blues” is an all out rocker in the classic Presley tradition. “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” is the first of what would become an Elvis performance that would be halfway between rock and pop. It featured a catchy melody with a great smooth vocal and would hit number one on the singles charts. “Loving You” was an effective ballad, both in the movie and on its own. “Got A Lot Of Living To Do” was another driving up-tempo song.
Elvis does as well as he can with “Lonesome Cowboy” and “Hot Dog.” The songs are weak and would be forerunners of his future film material. Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, hired writers to churn out material for Elvis’ movies. He would retain some of the rights and make millions.
The second half of the album finds Elvis experimenting with material from different styles of music. “Blueberry Hill” is a cover of the great Fats Domino song and while Elvis give a good performance, I miss Fats. “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” had been recorded by The Sons Of The Pioneers and Bing Crosby among others. Here Elvis takes this old warhorse in a country direction and gives a wonderful performance. “I Need You So” by Ivory Joe Hunter and Cole Porter’s “True Love” are average performances for Elvis.
Loving You will be forever associated with Elvis’ movie material. Taken on its own, however, it does have some excellent moments and is still worth a listen now and then.