Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley (1956)

Album no. 2/1001

It’s the King! As a small teeny bopper! But don’t go expecting much from his first record.

His self-titled debut is a shambolic collection of pretty average covers and country-esque rambles. Let this not detract from his significantly better music.

Also, fun fact – ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, the track that shot him to teenage rock heroism – isn’t actually on the original version of this record, which is why we don’t mention it here.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: I mean, has anyone? Really? No I haven’t. I’ve heard his classic tracks, probably like everyone else. But I have seen Clambake so I’m basically an Elvis aficionado, thank you.  

NK: I’ve heard bits and pieces, but I haven’t listened from start to finish.

Standout track

CL: I can tell you right now that Mr Presley’s interpretation of ‘Tutti Fruitti’ is bloody rubbish compared to Little Richard. TYPICAL WHITEWASHING GUYS. Don’t fall for it. In truth though, the best track is probably his cover of ‘Blue Moon’. It’s a tasty version, particularly if the only version you’ve ever heard is the one from Grease.   

NK: ‘Blue Suede Shoes’! In a landslide. It’s a great track. I like ‘I’ve Got a Woman’ as well, I think the faster rock’n’roll numbers are my go. ‘Blue Moon’ bounced right off me sorry mate.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: I think there are two main scenarios where this album would fit really well. One would be at an American themed diner-type restaurant where these sorts of nostalgic Americana soundtracks are on repeat. (But even then, I’d probably ask them to put something else on instead.) The second would be at a square dance.  

NK: When you want to confuse people. ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘I’ve Got a Woman’ and ‘Tutti Frutti’ are bangers, all the others are weirdo crooner ballads. It’s pretty bluesey in places as well, probably not what you’d expect from the pelvis.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: Well, obviously because old mate was the original rock star. And let’s be fair, he did make better, more “rocking and rolling” music after this album. But this album isn’t either of those. There is some classic lyricism at work here though. For example:

“Well I’m telling you, baby I’m through with you, because, well well, just because.” – ‘Just Because’

“If you want to be hugged, well you gotta hug me too.” – ‘One Sided Love Affair’

Inspiring.

NK: He’s sort of making it up as he goes I guess. There are a few songs that are pretty much rock’n’roll already, but a lot of it is still school dancehall standards. I had to keep reminding myself that this was groundbreaking at the time. Also old mate Scotty Moore is having a whale of a time on the guitar in the background of almost every track, and that’s pretty fun.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: Look, I think his hits are hits for a reason. But there’s a lot of chaff here – chaff that I’m not really interested in hearing again. I mean, I certainly understand and appreciate that this was seminal in terms of propelling music forward – and if you’d literally never heard anyone play a guitar before, it would probably blow your mind – but yeah nah. Sorry.

NK: I’ll probably just listen to the Elvis best of that’s got an American trilogy on it. I do prefer this early Elvis, especially when he does weird stuff with his voice and you can’t quite tell it’s him (like in ‘I’m Counting on You’, what the hell is going on there?), but he hasn’t quite figured it out at this point.

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Out of context youtube comment

02 - Elvis Presley

Listen to Elvis Presley on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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