Elvis Presley “Elvis Golden Records Volume Three” Reviewed
I was watching “The Beatles Anthology” and John Lennon was explaining how the Beatles were the only band that didn’t put their hit singles on their long playing records. He is right, if his competition was Gerry And The Pacemakers, but Elvis Presley didn’t put his hits on his albums either. He collected them into multi-million selling greatests like this, his eighteenth album, Elvis Golden Records Volume Three(11 million and counting), a record of such stupendous quality it would’ve stopped the world on its axis at any time in his career. But following, to be frank, disappointments like Potluck and Girls Girls Girls and It Happened At The World’s Fair, it is astounding that, apparently, he had, in fact, lost nothing at all. It was solely the lousy songs that were derailing his singing career.
A compilation of hit singles released in 1960, 1961, and 1962, no this isn’t Elvis the rocker returned. But even so, it might be one thing to have a “(Marie’s The Name Of) His Latest Flame” -a country rockabilly slow beat beauty that can stand with his greatest songs ever, with a bridge that hurls you through a window and leaves you gasping in pain at the betrayal. Yeah, that’s one thing. But the song before it is “Are You Lonesome Tonight” -which includes the suicidal monologue he’d laugh at on stage, changing the words, but is really touching spoken straight, and and the song after it is “Little Sister” -a full blast of sexual energy.
This isn’t Golden Records, this is pop genocide for the rest of the world’s popstars combined. Eight years in and he is the incomparable King of everything before him. For God’s sake the recording begins with “It’s Now Or Never” and continues with “Stuck On You” and “Fame And Fortune”. You listen to it with your mouth open in bewilderment. Hell, it is better than the posthumous # 1 album: it sounds of a piece, it sounds like the same Presley working his way through moonlit ballads, through low impact rockabilly, through smart little rave ups.
According to Wikipedia: “Golden Records Volume 3 comprises eight Top Five A-sides along with four b-sides which also made the Top 40, “Fame and Fortune”, “I Gotta Know”, “Little Sister”, and “Anything That’s Part of You”. Five A-Sides, “Stuck on You”, “It’s Now or Never”, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, “Surrender”, and “Good Luck Charm” went to #1. “It’s Now or Never” had been adapted from the 1898 Neapolitan song “O Sole Mio,” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight”, a ballad from 1926, had been a rare request from Parker to Presley for Parker’s wife.”
One complaint, the Jordanaires shouldn’t have been on “I Gotta Know” -I’ve wondered why Cliff Richard’s cover improved on it, and that is why.
But otherwise, one of his greatest albums. A flawless masterstroke, words fail me. A joy for all time, and, he didn’t even include “Can’t Help Falling In Love” -which went gold and fits into the time period. Unreal.