Album Title : Essential Elvis - The First Movies
Catalogue Number : 6738 - 1 - R
Year Release : January 1988
Side One : Love Me Tender - Let Me - Poor Boy - We're Gonna Move - Loving You (Unreleased Slow Version - Take 10) - Party (Unreleased Version) - Hot Dog - Teddy Bear - Loving You (Unreleased Fast Version - Takes 20 - 21) - Mean Woman Blues (Alternate Film Version) - Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do (Unreleased Version)
Side Two : Loving You (Unreleased Fast Version - Take 1) - Party - Lonesome Cowboy - Jailhouse Rock (Unreleased With Vocal Overdub - Take 6) Treat Me Nice (Unreleased Version - Take 10) - Young And Beautiful (Unreleased Version - Take 12) - Don't Leave Me Now (Original Version - Take 12) - I Want To Be Free (Original Version - Take 11) - Baby I Don't Care (Original Version - Take 16, Vocal Overdub - Take 6) - Jailhouse Rock (Unreleased Version - Take 5) - Got A Lot O' Living To Do - Love Me Tender (Unreleased Version)
Brief History :
The release of Essential Elvis - The First Movies marked a watershed in the ongoing release of material by Elvis Presley a decade after his death. Though RCA Victor Records had mandated a continuing stream of releases from the late rock star after his demise in 1977, they had at first been lacklustre efforts -- not unlike the hodgepodge that characterized Presley's releases during his lifetime. Then Greg Geller came in and organized a series of excellent reissues, most centring on the 50th anniversary of Presley's birth in 1985. By 1986, Geller was on his way out of RCA, and a new approach was needed. Even under Geller, the reissues tended to focus on material that had already been made public in one form or another, with only the occasional studio outtake turning up. And in truth, there wasn't much in the can as far as unreleased performances of songs the public had never heard Presley sing. But there were plenty of alternate versions, and as many record companies would realize with the dawn of the CD era and the boxed set bonanza, the public was interested in hearing them. Essential Elvis - The First Movies was assembled for RCA Europe by Roger Semon with the research help of Ernst Jørgensen and Todd Slaughter, then released in Europe in December 1986. They scoured the vaults for material from Presley's first three films, Love Me Tender (1956), Jailhouse Rock (1957), and Loving You (1957). Their work produced a 23-track album containing nine recordings originally released from those films, plus 14 alternate takes or rarities, some of which were radically different from the better-known tracks. For example, there was a version of "Jailhouse Rock" with a prominent vocal overdub that had never been used. Also, there was a fast take of "Loving You" that found Presley giving the song a comic rock treatment. The album cracked open the door to the recording studio and gave fans a glimpse of how Presley's songs came together as he was recording them. RCA U.S. had sometimes picked up ideas from its international branches (a good example being the 1976 The Sun Sessions LP, which was an American version of the 1975 British album The Elvis Presley Sun Collection), and in January 1988, the label picked up Essential Elvis - The First Movies for domestic release. Semon's liner notes unabashedly called his creation "the most exciting single album release since [Presley's] untimely death," and when you looked over what had been released so far, you couldn't disagree. (Geller's major accomplishments were multi-disc sets.) The result was a new approach to posthumous Presley releases and, in short order, Semon and Jørgensen's taking over of the job of handling the Presley catalogue for RCA, a mandate they held into the next millennium and that included a series of other Essential Elvis releases.