Released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the world's most famous man whose middle name was Aaron shuffling off this mortal coil; we are faced once more with the legacy of the King. Jokes about peanut butter sandwiches and fat sweaty guys in white high-collar jumpsuits aside, this is still, despite all that came after (including The Beatles) a collection that sets a benchmark that few will ever approach. The only question is: doesn't everyone already own them? And if not, why not?
Like a tin of quick-drying varnish, 30 #1 Hits does exactly what it says on the cover. Starting with his big label debut, ''Heartbreak Hotel'' and ending with his posthumous chart-topper ''Way Down'', you get all the memorable moments, mapping the bequiffed-one's progress from parent-baiting hip-swiveller (''Hound Dog''), through sixties lost-in-hollywood schmaltz merchant (''Wooden Heart'') and comeback kid renaissance man (''In The Ghetto'') to the final Vegas karate surrealism (''The Wonder Of You''). You all know the story, here's the soundtrack.
One is struck by the awesome way in which this material has seeped into every part of our lives. Play this album and everybody within hearing range is guaranteed to gasp at some point ''ooh, I love this one''. The fun is in comparing notes on which model's your favourite. If there's any criticism to be levelled, it's that the strict chart-based formula precludes any sign of the glorious Sun sessions that unleashed the Tenessee truck driver upon Western civilisation. Also sadly lacking is any material recorded during his electric '68 comeback special and the inclusion of the pointless ''Little Less Conversation'' remix smacks of heartless opportunism. But hey, that's the way it is...
To not have these nuggets of purest pop within reach (in case of emergency) should be considered a crime. From the dirtiest R 'n' B to the weepiest ballads, the Pelvis did it all, and before he hit 43. Icon, avatar, hillbilly and oaf; Elvis may have been all of the above. But musically speaking; he's still taking care of business. --Chris Jones
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