Elvis Presley's Legacy Edition CDs Showcase the Artist Before the Excess

These early recordings may be simple but they're among the purest and most heartfelt the artist ever made.

By , Columnist
Before the spandex and glitter, before going Hollywood and shooting out TV screens, there was Elvis, a blue jean clad kid from Memphis, strumming his guitar and making girls swoon.

He swiveled his hips when he performed for the simple reason that his music moved him. “My pelvis had nothin’ to do with what I do,” Elvis said in 1956. “I just get kinda in rhythm with the music. I jump around to it because I enjoy what I’m doin’. I’m not tryin’ to be vulgar. I’m not tryin’ to sell any sex. I’m not tryin’ to look vulgar and nasty. I just enjoy what I’m doin’ and tryin’ to make the best of it...”
He took rockabilly and rhythm and blues and mixed it into a potion that was pure, heady, honest rock and roll, and if you don’t know Elvis Presley this way, you should.

RCA/Legacy is here to help the unenlightened discover who Elvis was before his name became synonymous with excess.

They’ve issued Elvis Presley: Legacy Edition, which contains Elvis Presley and Elvis, the first two Presley CDs, available in one package for the first time. These remastered recordings, culled from the more comprehensive Young Man With the Big Beat set, include songs like “Blue Suede Shoes” and “I Got a Woman.”

This is the Elvis welvis56.jpgho influenced generations of rockers such as Buddy Holly, John Lennon, and Bruce Springsteen.

To make the set more of a document of the era, Legacy has thrown in twelve bonus tracks as well as a booklet with comprehensive liner notes and rare photos. The tracks will not thrill collectors; they’re well-known hits of the day such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Hound Dog.”

Still, for those who don’t own any Elvis music, this set is an essential addition to your CD collection. Keep in mind, young ‘uns, no other popular music artist was making records like these at the time. Consider this as you listen and you’ll understand why Elvis Presley is still deemed a groundbreaking artist over half a century after he exploded onto the scene.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning Blogcritics.org website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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