Elvis Presley and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

RIVERSIDE, CA.   I received my sheet of Elvis Presley Forever Stamps and CD courtesy of the United States Postal Service.  The stamps are awesome!  Equally awesome is the CD.  More awesome than all of that are the two, previously unreleased versions of If I Can Dream and What Now My Love accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).

Both songs are breathtaking and provoke a surprisingly emotional response.  The orchestral arrangement draws you in making you believe Elvis is singing the songs for the first time.  Close your eyes and focus on the RPO music and listen to it; put on some headphones and really listen to it.  Hear every note, every string, every horn as it all blends perfectly with Elvis’ voice and enriches it to make the song brand new.  You’ll soon believe you are hearing the songs for the first time.  If you don’t mist up the first time you hear the new, powerful version of If I  Can Dream with the RPO you ain’t a real Elvis fan!  (Just kidding, of course.)

The orchestral arrangements are exactly the direction Elvis’ music would have evolved into had he lived.  His voice was meant to be accompanied by an orchestra with the caliber of the RPO.  After listening to the songs over a dozen times I am led to believe orchestra may be the purest, authentic form of music.  Perhaps, this is the motivation for Ms. Presley, an executive producer, to partner with RCA and the RPO to produce this distinctive album.

“I’m confused about where the music industry is,” Priscilla says. “We are losing our labels. Social media has come in, YouTube, iTunes; it’s all very confusing. Years ago, you didn’t mess with an artist’s music. You didn’t touch it. You left it alone. But now DJs are blending music, blending artists, blending songs. We have to keep Elvis current.”  http://www.rollingstone.com Hear Elvis Presley’s Powerful, Newly Orchestrated ‘If I Can Dream’.  08/12/15

I believe she is moving in the right direction in her efforts to keep Elvis’ music relevant and authentic.   Keeping Elvis authentically relevant is not by adapting his music to trendy, popular music genres, but through his phenomenal voice.  The orchestral album demonstrates his unique vocal power which enhances his voice instead of it being forcefully adapted to the music; like pounding a round peg into a square hole.  Ms. Presley and the RPO are letting the music, and his voice, speak for itself.  The orchestral arrangements reminds us Elvis transcends eras and his relevant influence is as significant today as it was on January 27th, 1956 when Heartbreak Hotel was released.

I’m not saying we’d change his voice. It will always be him singing. But it will be a new take on it. He would have been the first to jump in. We’re just carrying out, really, the DNA of Elvis Presley and keeping him authentic.  ~ Priscilla Presley

I like what Ms. Presley says in the Rolling Stone interview, “We’re just carrying out…the DNA of Elvis Presley and keeping him authentic.”  That concisely sums up the future direction Ms. Presley and Elvis Presley Enterprises are taking to keep Elvis authentic, relevant, and fresh for new generations of fans and musicians.

As an Elvis fan, I could be hearing more and wanting more than there really is to hear in the orchestral album.  You’ll have to judge it on your own.  I am just happy there is finally a new Elvis album that is different than previous reproductions and really lets the listener hear the authentic power and beauty of his voice.  I can’t stop listening to the songs and I can’t believe we have to wait until October 30th to hear the rest of the songs.  I haven’t been this excited for a CD release since Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion I & II  (1991) CD set.

Be patient Elvis fans.  Until then, you can read the track list over and over again and imagine how each song will sound.

Track List:

  1. Burning Love
  2. It’s Now Or Never
  3. Love Me Tender
  4. Fever (feat. Michael Bublé)
  5. Bridge Over Troubled Water
  6. And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind
  7. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
  8. There’s Always Me
  9. Can’t Help Falling In Love
  10. In The Ghetto
  11. How Great Thou Art
  12. Steamroller Blues
  13. An American Trilogy
  14. If I Can Dream

Elvis and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


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