The Legends of Laurel Canyon
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best
Transfiguration of Vincent
Christmas in the Heart
Glitter and Doom Live
Let It Roll: The Best of George Harrison
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Playing for Change
Not many critics would state that Elvis’ Las Vegas years were the highlight of his career, yet there are quite a few fans that see things this way. There are a number of reasons for this dichotomy, but usually, it’s because many fans of the young Elvis grew up with his music and never relented in their firm belief that he was “The King.” Rock and roll music changed so drastically in Elvis’ wake that it alienated a great number of people, particularly those on the older side of the equation. Many fans of ’57-era Elvis could not begin to relate to hard rock, or folk rock, or psychedelic rock, but Elvis stood above that fray, and his longtime fans loved him for it. Elvis made his fan base feel relevant, even when Elvis’ relevance was placed in doubt by the tastemakers of the music industry who observed the physical changes in Elvis with grim fascination. This is one reason his performances in Las Vegas held a nearly universal appeal. Many stared as though observing a train wreck, while many others stood in awe at the regal magnificence of America’s biggest star.
“Viva Las Vegas” celebrates the later years of Elvis Presley’s career by providing a sampling of songs that best represent this part of his career. Few artists can claim to have done more for the rise to prominence experienced by Las Vegas than Elvis Presley. Even Frank Sinatra and his rat-pack pals couldn’t claim the crowds that Elvis attracted. Elvis adapted to Vegas and became the town’s prime attraction, selling out virtually every one of his nearly 900 performances. At one early show in 1970, he recorded a live version of “The Wonder of You,” and released it as a single. The song represented the shift in Elvis’ own taste toward anthemic ballads, and it became a hit, signaling a stylistic change that would define his remaining years.
“Viva Las Vegas” is arranged chronologically, with all recordings (except the title track) dating from 1970-1972. Although Elvis continued to perform in Las Vegas until 1976, shows from the early part of the ‘Me’ decade represent some of his strongest, most lucid moments. Standouts include “Polk Salad Annie,” “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” and “I Just Can’t Help Believin’,” while latter-day recordings feature the histrionics of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “American Trilogy” and “The Impossible Dream.” As an American icon, nobody can compete with Elvis. “Viva Las Vegas” captures him while he was still capable of delivering on the promise of his reputation.
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