CD replicas of original singles and EPs from the '50s and '60s have been a hot item in collectors' circles since the latter half of the '90s, yet they remain a rather bewildering item to a wider audience. After all, for listeners who don't fetishize original packaging – the photo sleeves, the shifting logos on the label – it's hard to grasp the purpose of a set that contains 40 songs spread out over 20 discs, as they are on Elvis #1 Singles, a set that rounds up 20 of the King's chart-topping hits and serves them up as two-track CDs, complete with original B-sides and artwork.
This collection of wonderful performances by the King of Rock'n'Roll showcases 30 of his #1 US and UK hits. Culled from his TV guest appearance, movies, concert films and television specials - from 1956, the year his star ascended, to the 1970s when he reached the pinnacle of his career - this is Elvis at his Best. "Elvis: #1 Hit Performances" - video version of compilation "Elvis: 30 #1 Hits", released in 2002 on CD.
Another installment in Collectables' The Ultimate Christmas Album series, volume four gathers a mix of well-known and offbeat holiday tunes, including Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas," the Platters' "Winter Wonderland," and Perry Como's "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." Brook Benton's "You're All I Want for Christmas," Percy Faith's "Christmas Is," and Otis Redding's "Merry Christmas Baby" are some of the collection's soulful highlights, while Santo & Johnny's "Twistin' Bells" and Stan Freberg's "Christmas Dragnet" add some novelty to the festivities. Though it's a somewhat uneven collection, The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 4: WCBS 101.1 has enough interesting and classic moments to make it worthwhile for anyone looking to go beyond the season's basic music.
Last Train to Memphis, the first part of Guralnick's two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, was called a “masterpiece” by the New York Times. This concluding volume recounts the second half of Elvis's life in rich and previously untoldf detail. Beginning with Presley's army service in Germany in 1958 and ending with his death in Memphis in 1977, Careless Love chronicles the unraveling of the dream that once shone so brightly, homing in on the complex relationship between Elvis and his Machiavellian manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It's a breathtaking drama of the American dream, encompassing race, class, wealth, sex, music, religion, and personal transformation. Written with grace, sensitivity, and passion, Careless Love is a fascinating look into one of the most misunderstood people of our time, and into the very nature of success.