Top 10 Elvis Presley CDs

By Robert Fontenot, About.comAug 24, 2004
Top 10 Elvis Presley CDs
King of Rock and Roll or not, Elvis Presley's CD output is, thanks to RCA, a frustrating mess. Although Elvis recorded several great LPs in his lifetime, his output became so overwhelmed by bad artistic choices, greed, and outright neglect that finding the best Elvis music usually means picking through thousands of compilations. Fortunately, I’ve just done that for you. While this is far from a complete list of worthwhile Elvis recordings, it does represent the cream of the crop. 1) Sunrise (1999) The first records Elvis made at the Sun label - recordings that changed the history of the world in a very real way - have been repackaged endless times by RCA, but this 2-CD set remains the best of the lot, divided into one disc for his legendary masters and a second for rarities. The first CD will help neophytes understand why he gained such staggering popularity, but the second will help veteran fans track his progress as an entertainer. 2) The Top Ten Hits (1987) Yes, 2002's "30 #1 hits" was a great collection. But it was also a bit brief, curtailing the breadth of both Elvis' popularity and his amazing talent. If you or someone you love knows of the King but doesn't know much about him, this is the place to start; yes, the remastering quality isn't as good as later technology would allow, but neophytes likely won't notice, and much of Elvis' best work was produced rather simply, anyway. 3) From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential 60's Masters (1993) There's a reason that the first box set in this reissue series featured the complete Fifties masters, while this one contains only the "essential" Sixties masters - to say that Elvis' music became erratic in his second decade is an understatement. However, there's still a great deal of classic music here, which is why even five CDs aren't too many. The remastering is exquisite, and there are plenty of pleasant surprises, even if the no-soundtrack rule means some of his bigger hits are missing. 4) Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential 70's Masters (1995) If Elvis' Sixties output was wobbly, his Seventies recordings are off the track entirely - or so goes the conventional wisdom. Fact is, this is also the decade of "Burning Love" and "Kentucky Rain," and while you may have to be a hardcore fan of the King to want 120 of his ‘70s recordings, spread out over five CDs, the man did record a LOT, even in the midst of his dissolution. Meaning you may be pleasantly surprised at what's here, including an entire disc of live highlights! 5) From Elvis In Memphis (1969) As mentioned earlier, Elvis cut some great albums in his original heyday. But those were cobbled from different sessions with different musicians - this, his post-comeback statement of intent, is perhaps the only Elvis album that establishes a consistant mood and sound throughout. The quality is excellent, as well, with Elvis moving away from pop and back to rock, blues, and soul: if you love the Elvis of "In The Ghetto," this is the one for you. A triumphant homecoming in many ways. 6) Tiger Man (1998) The King's 1968 "comeback" TV special was a miracle to behold for Elvis fans, but it also found him hampered by overdone pop arrangements on many of his classic hits. The real revelation was the semi-unplugged set he did with his classic early touring band, but only three songs from that session made it to the special, and the complete set was never released officially on CD. Until 1998, that is. This is some of the best work of Elvis' career, even if he does goof off a lot between songs. 7) Elvis: That's The Way It Is (1970) Some folks really do prefer Fat Elvis to Thin Elvis, and not just in a camp way, either. This remains the best document of the King's Seventies live recordings, a time when glitter and bombast ruled, but the music here, if you give it half a chance, is quite excellent (and much better than in his later, declining years). This is Elvis the Showman at the peak of his power. 8) Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old) (1970) A companion piece of sorts to "From Elvis In Memphis," this remains the King's only original straight country album, and it's a revelation - although Elvis incorporated the style into most of what he recorded, he was never reverent enough to tackle C&W head on. He does that here, displaying his usual interpretive skills as well as an archivist's taste that not many of his fans give him credit for. It's only a dozen tracks, but that's all the space he needs. 9) Amazing Grace: His Greatest Sacred Songs (1994) Most folks don't know much about Elvis' gospel music oeuvre, although (or perhaps because) it was the music he played most often when NOT in front of an audience. However, the gospel sides he did cut are some of Elvis' most personal and intimate moments, and they give an insight to the man that much of his pop hits do not. There are several gospel compilations out there for Elvis fans, but this one does the best job of balancing affordability and thoroughness. 10) If Every Day Was Like Christmas (1994) The King cut one classic Christmas album in 1957 ("A Christmas Album"), as all artists attempted to do in those days. This CD, however, also adds several other Yuletide tracks to those LP tracks, resulting in the ultimate holiday compilation for Presley fans. "Blus Christmas" is only the beginning.

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Lowri (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 23, 2004report abuse
my top 5: 1) From Elvis in Memphis 2) Promised land 3) Elvis '56 4) That's the way it is , 3 disc special
5)Aloha from hawaii Elvis rocks forever in our hearts
Elvisa (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 10, 2004report abuse
Here are my top 10 Elvis Presley CD's
1.Something For Everybody
2.Moody Blue
3.Elvis Is Back!
4.Elvis Presley
5.Aloha From Hawaii
6.That's The Way It Is
7.68 Comeback Special
8.Pot Luck
9.Elvis' Christmas Album
10.Kid Galahad
'TCB' Elvis! Your Music Will Live On & On
justpretend2001 (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 3, 2004report abuse
How "An Afternoon in the Garden"' did not make this list
is just wrong. In my opinion much better than Aloha. 1972 was Elvis greatest tour year in my opinon, the Garden shows were unique, Elvis at his best and the shows displayed raw excitement and he was hungry to perform. This CD should be on the list! Top 5... This CD & the video I've seen on Elvis at puts everything into perspective....
E.L.V.I.S (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 29, 2004report abuse
quoting Robert Fontenot:
7) Elvis: That's The Way It Is (1970)Some folks really do prefer Fat Elvis to Thin Elvis, and not just in a camp way, either. This remains the best document of the King's Seventies live recordings, a time when glitter and bombast ruled, but the music here, if you give it half a chance, is quite excellent (and much better than in his later, declining years). This is Elvis the Showman at the peak of his power.
Is this guy for real??? elvis didnt decline in his later years ,phisically maybe but vocally his vocal range and ability rised.
This list is total wrong,but putting such a list together is very hard.Thers just too much stuff you could include in the top 10 elvis cds... to name but a few:
moody blue: elvis in vocally as strong as ever
jungle room sessions: nothing but pure class
thats the way it is (3 cd): each cd is pure class
today, tomorrow and forever (4 cd): doesnt get any better
thats just a handful,each cd in its own way is relevant and deserves recognition in my view...
W.C. (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 28, 2004report abuse
In regards to #7: I've watched "That's The Way It Is" at least 20 times and I've yet to see a "Fat Elvis" in the film. Perhaps I (or Robert Fontenot) should watch more closely next time... God love the ignorant...
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 26, 2004report abuse
What the the best Elvis original studio albums? BMG should do what EMI did with The beatles catalgue and release the original Elvis studio albums. These are my top 10 Elvis studio albums:
1. Elvis (1956)
2. Elvis Presley (1956)
3. Loving You (1957)
4. King Creole (1958)
5. Elvis is Back (1960)
6. G.I. Blues (1960)
7. Pot Luck (1962)
8. Roustabout (1964)
9. Elvis from Memphis (1969)
10. Blue Hawaii (1961)
These are pretty solid studio albums from Elvis but some have been deleted from the catalogue and others are hard to find in all the compilation releases. Why can't BMG get wise and release the original studio albums as a permanent part of the Elvis catalgue? The alternative is to be inundated with compilation upon compilation that gets old after a while. BMG is just re-releasing the same product after a while under a different name. I, for one, prefer the original studio albums. Compilations are like a spice. They are good only when in small amounts.
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 26, 2004report abuse
This is a good list but any selection of the best Elvis albums and compilations is bound to be subjective and arbitrary. My top 10 list would be:
1. The 50s Box
2. The 60s Box
3. The 70s Box
4. The Complete Sun Sessions
5. Blue Hawaii (1961)
6. Elvis is Back (1960)
7. How Great Thou Art (1967) or the Peace in the Valley Gospel Box
8. Elvis (1956)
9. The Christmas Album (1957)
10. Aloha from Hawaii (1973)
This list gives you a pretty comprehensive selection of compilation and studio albums that capture all of Elvis' different musical styles and facets. I would also add the Pot Luck album (1962), the Commemorative blue cover album that came out as a TV order item in the mid 1970s, the I Was the One album of the 1980s and even the budget Camden album Flaming Star (1968). My complaint with BMG is that they are deleting original studio albums like Pot Luck from the catalogue. When they do this, they cut up the recordings and lose the sequence and context of the originals.
Bill (BW) (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 25, 2004report abuse
"Sunrise" can't compare with "Elvis At Sun," which has been in my CD player nearly non-stop since its release in June. The sound quality on "Elvis At Sun" is a quantum leap from "Sunrise." BMG should delete "Sunrise" from its catalog ASAP so that it doesn't fall into the hands of unsuspecting consumers mistaking it for "Elvis At Sun."
I agree with the comments on "Top 10 Hits" -- it was good in its time, but now a pale comparison to the much better mastered "#1 Hits" and "Second to None." I don't have a problem with most of the rest of the CDs on his list.
joemin (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 25, 2004report abuse
I would not agree with this list. While I don't rate the Sun recordings as highly as much of the later stuff, if you have to have a Sun cd for completeness the Elvis At Sun has to be it. Among the Best Elvis albums:
Essential Elvis vol 2: Stereo 57, Platinum a Life in Music, Golden Records Vol 2, Golden Records Vol 3, Blue Hawaii, Live in Las Vegas and the free cd given by the Daily Mail last year!!!
lray (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 25, 2004report abuse
I'm with you Steve. Elvis At Sun is much better than Sunrise. The sound quality of The 30 No. 1's and 2nd to None is way ahead of the Top Ten Hits. Listen to Heartbreak Hotel on the Top Ten Hits and then listen to it on The 30 No. 1's.
Abidaslam1 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 25, 2004report abuse
And why are these so called critics surprised about people liking his seventies output. Its his best selling period of music for a reason. It strikes a chord in people because it conveys everyday emotions we all feel.
Steve4elvis (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 25, 2004report abuse
This guy is an idiot! 'Sunrise' is just appalling compared to 'Elvis At Sun' - He also doesn't include the 50's box set nor the essential Elvis 56, and by choosing the 'greatest hits' he has doubled up on most singles.
and everything on "From Elvis In Memphis" happens to be on the sixties box set. I hope no one pays any attention to him he has no idea!

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