As one of the people lucky enough to have pre-ordered Elvis 77: The Final Curtain, I have come to rely on bootleggers for Elvis.
Bootleggers are far more in tune with the core Elvis fans and they’ve been delivering better product as far back as when RCA was pumping out hits collections in the 80’s.
To my mind, Elvis accomplished his career goals despite his manager, his label and the Hollywood Studios.
Elvis changed everything so much that even today, we have not yet understood his impact – largely because Elvis has never been given his due.
The movie and music establishment considered Elvis a cash machine to underwrite their real artists and artistic efforts.
Elvis himself portrayed himself as a young man trying to take care of his family – while other artists of the day and later talked about themselves as artists.
Elvis seemed to view the music and movies more as a means to an end – supporting family and friends, charitable works, and whatever else the artistic work would support.
Parker who focused on maximizing dollars so convinced Elvis to never share his views so as to not offend anyone. But every now and then, a message song did come along and Elvis embraced it heart and soul – If I Can Dream and In The Ghetto.
Perhaps if he’d taken more stands and released more song like these, he would have been considered an artist years ago.
Perhaps that is the essence of the problem – the word artist includes the concept artist statement.
Artists often use their works to make a point, influence thinking and push the boundaries.
Elvis pushed the boundaries and since that actually was his point, he used his artistic work to underwrite his life, friends and family.
Elvis made his statement by example, not blatant mission statements.
EPE sadly, in their role as the managers of Elvis’ legacy, have continued Col Tom Parker’s legacy of treating Elvis like a cash cow and the Elvis fans as dimwits who will sell out cash for whatever crumbs they care to release.