27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1986's All Time Greatest Hits,
This review is from: All Time Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
It can be a daunting experience picking up a Elvis best of compilation. Due to RCA exploiting his back catalogue the 1st time buyer is faced with a plethora of Hits sets, Themed-albums (Rocker, Gospel, movie soundtracks) and various other Tat ranging from single CDs with LOADS missing, right away up to The Artist of The Century 3 CD box set. It's a hard decision if you want value for money: a set that covers the absolute essentials while sounding decent enough.
Firstly it's simply impossible to cover Presley's career on one single CD, he had so many hits, 3 very different decades: each with its own fan base, and covered so many styles (RaR, Crooner ballads, soul, country, gospel), so get that idea out of the way. With 2 CD's however you can 'Just' about do it, I do emphasise 'Just' because there is always going to be tracks missing and a few personal favorites which perhaps are not considered well known enough.
This is probably the 2nd best Greatest Hits album released on Presley, the best being 2000's 'The 50 Greatest Hits' (Forgot 30 No #1's). It makes a very good Introduction as well as satisfying those who want the bare essentials without a larger investment.
Omissions? The most glaring one is Don't Be Cruel, a song that would rank amongst his most well known and well loved of his classic 50s period. Also this collection makes the same mistake many others do and omits the Sun Sessions: Elvis very finest material; meaning no That's All Right, no Mystery Train. These are mistakes '50 Greatest Hits' doesn't repeat making that the slightly better complation.
Despite those approx. 4 glaring omissions this is near perfect. The first 2/3's of disc one represent the finest body of recorded Music ever (alongside the Beatles perhaps). Heartbreak Hotel sounds still strangely ahead of its time with its driving bass line courtesy of Bill Black, Garlands's guitar runs on 'Fool Such As I' and 'King Creole', the ragged rockerbilly of 'One Night' and it even finds room for a underrated gem like 'Paralysed'. These tracks incorperate all the sexual tension, rawness, attitude and shear entertaiment that defined Elvis in the 50s.
The period 61-67, was a patchy period for him, which saw him branching out into the mainstream. This thankfully serves the creme de la creme of this period dismissing most of the soundtrack filler. I Can't Help Falling In Love is perhaps his most endearing ballad; The Vocal operatics of Suspicion and It's Now Or Never; The light-hearted but smile enticing frivolity of She's Not You.
The infamous Memphis 69 sessions get a good airing with Don't Cry Daddy, In The Ghetto and his first No 1 in 7 years the mighty Suspicious Minds but No Kentucky Rain!. The 1970s was another patchy period for Elvis but thankfully more constant then the 60s. This collection again offers the Choicest picks: Moody Blue, Burning Love and Always On My Mind etc. All first rate.
The thing that strikes me about Presleys music is just how fun it is; his music makes a great cure for depression. This collection always has a place in my heart as it got me into Elvis. All in all nicely packaged, sounds great (not amazing though) and offers the essentials. If you can't find 50 Greatest Hits (shouldn't be hard) this collection is a close runner up and should serve most needs. Alternatively you could splash out more for the 3cd Artist for the Century and be much more assured your not missing any of the essentials. Either way no collection should be devoid of some Elvis.