A series of summer Elvis Presley reissues will be released this summer, as the King’s label, RCA, marks the fiftieth anniversary of rock & roll’s move to the mainstream.
Though the King wandered into Sam Phillips Memphis Recording Service in 1953, it was the trio of songs — “That’s All Right,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “I Love You Because” — that Elvis recorded at Phillips’ Sun Studios in July 1954 that launched a career of rock royalty. Among the releases slated for reissue is Elvis at Sun, which collects Elvis’ recordings from 1954 and 1955 before Phillips sold his contract to RCA for $35,000.
A new compilation, Memphis Celebrates 50 Years of Rock & Roll, also includes “That’s All Right,” along with other Memphis-recorded hits by the likes of Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King and others.
In the video department, two of Elvis’ best-known television appearances will be reissued in deluxe DVD formats. The three-DVD Elvis: The ’68 Comeback Special. The concert, which put Presley in front of an audience for the first time in seven years, found a leather-clad Presley tearing through his hits after years of work on middling Hollywood films. The DVD includes all four concerts that were filmed for the special; the first time they have been released in a single set. More than half of the seven hours of material is previously unreleased.
The two-DVD Elvis, Aloha From Hawaii doesn’t catch the King in quite the same period of vitality, but when it aired in 1973, more than 1 billion people tuned in worldwide. The DVD includes the original television special and a rehearsal concert. The soundtrack from that special would go on to be Elvis’ last Number One album.