The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters

The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters

by Elvis Presley


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Prior to the 1992 release of the five-disc box set The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50's Masters, RCA's approach to reissuing Elvis Presley on CD -- or on LP, for that matter -- was rather scatter-shot, seeming to follow the dictates of the market more than the demands of history. There were some excellent releases of archival material and in 1987, on the tenth anniversary of the King's death, there was a stellar series of compilations, but most of what was released was a constant stream of recycled hits, which this box most certainly is not. This set is sharply and expertly assembled, presenting Elvis' peak as a creative and cultural force in staggering detail. Despite the subtitle of this box, this does not contain everything Presley recorded in the '50s; there are alternate takes not present on this set, including second takes for Sun that were included on the subsequent collection Sunrise, and after this release, more acetates recorded around the same time as his privately recorded "My Happiness" (unveiled here for the first time) were found and released. That said, those alternate takes are the province of collectors, particularly since the best of those are chronicled on the fifth and final disc of this set. That means, anything a real serious fan or listener needs is on this exhaustive set, since it chronicles the rise of the greatest figure of American music in the 20th century. The first disc is largely devoted to the released Sun singles, both the As and Bs, and this remains the rawest, liveliest, nerviest music Presley ever cut, retaining its power over the years; decades later, it still sounds alive and unpredictable -- it still is possible to hear rock & roll being created in its very grooves and it's just as thrilling to hear the kinetic energy of this lean combo create an entirely new music; anybody who doubts Elvis as an innovator need only hear this to be proven wrong. Toward the end of the first disc, Elvis leaves Sun for RCA, and the production is a little cleaner and the material a little more streamlined, but that's just a relative judgment. This is still the birth of rock & roll, and when "I Got a Woman" and "Heartbreak Hotel" inaugurate the RCA years, that wild energy is still palpable, even now. As this set illustrates, partially through its sheer scope, that energy could be dissipated by an inclination to move toward the pop mainstream, which could result in beautiful, heartbreaking ballads, but also the safe pop crooning that debilitated his career in the '60s. Fortunately, at no time in the '50s did he sink into the murk that enveloped him for a period in the '60s. He may have recorded forgettable ballads and trifle (including, ironically, one of his few compositions, the corny "We're Gonna Move"), sometimes succumbing to either his trite side or the demands of the marketplace, but the remarkable thing about this box is how consistently compelling, even thrilling, this music is. The overly familiar hits, and they're all here, are given new life in this context, which has the feeling of history unraveling in front of your ears. That's what makes this box set transcendent -- the music and annotation alone would make it necessary for libraries, but this is better because it is thoroughly listenable, while presenting history in a compelling narrative context. Yes, some of these tunes sound like light pop tied to their time, but they make for very few cuts on this 140-track box. Most of this is dynamic, thrilling music that presents Elvis at his very best. Historically, this is surely essential, but what makes the box so great is that it's so entertaining, providing ample proof that Elvis' music is indeed every bit as influential and timeless as the history books state.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/23/1992
Label: Bmg / Elvis
UPC: 0078636605029
catalogNumber: 66050


Disc 1

  1. My Happiness
  2. That's All Right
  3. I Love You Because
  4. Harbor Lights
  5. Blue Moon of Kentucky
  6. Blue Moon
  7. Tomorrow Night
  8. I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')
  9. I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine
  10. Just Because
  11. Good Rockin' Tonight
  12. Milk Cow Blues
  13. You're a Heartbreaker
  14. Baby Let's Play House
  15. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
  16. Mystery Train
  17. I Forgot to Remember to Forget
  18. Trying to Get to You
  19. When It Rains, It Really Pours
  20. I Got a Woman
  21. Heartbreak Hotel
  22. Money Honey
  23. I'm Counting on You
  24. I Was the One
  25. Blue Suede Shoes
  26. My Baby Left Me
  27. One-Sided Love Affair
  28. So Glad You're Mine
  29. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)
  30. Tutti Frutti

Disc 2

  1. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
  2. Shake, Rattle & Roll
  3. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
  4. Hound Dog
  5. Don't Be Cruel
  6. Any Way You Want Me (That's How I Will Be)
  7. We're Gonna Move
  8. Love Me Tender
  9. Poor Boy
  10. Let Me
  11. Playing for Keeps
  12. Love Me
  13. Paralyzed
  14. How Do You Think I Feel
  15. How's the World Treating You
  16. When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again
  17. Long Tall Sally
  18. Old Shep
  19. Too Much
  20. Anyplace Is Paradise
  21. Ready Teddy
  22. First in Line
  23. Rip It Up
  24. I Believe
  25. Tell Me Why
  26. Got a Lot O' Livin' to Do!
  27. All Shook Up
  28. Mean Woman Blues
  29. Peace in the Valley

Disc 3

  1. That's When Your Heartaches Begin
  2. Take My Hand, Precious Lord
  3. It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)
  4. Blueberry Hill
  5. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
  6. Is It So Strange
  7. Party
  8. Lonesome Cowboy
  9. Hot Dog
  10. One Night of Sin
  11. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
  12. Don't Leave Me Now
  13. I Beg Of You
  14. One Night
  15. True Love
  16. I Need You So
  17. Loving You
  18. When It Rains, It Really Pours
  19. Jailhouse Rock
  20. Young and Beautiful
  21. I Want to Be Free
  22. (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care
  23. Don't Leave Me Now
  24. Blue Christmas
  25. White Christmas
  26. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
  27. Silent Night
  28. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  29. Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)
  30. Santa Claus Is Back in Town
  31. I'll Be Home for Christmas

Disc 4

  1. Treat Me Nice
  2. My Wish Came True
  3. Don't
  4. Danny
  5. Hard Headed Woman
  6. Trouble
  7. New Orleans
  8. Crawfish
  9. Dixieland Rock
  10. Lover Doll
  11. Don't Ask Me Why
  12. As Long as I Have You
  13. King Creole
  14. Young Dreams
  15. Steadfast, Loyal and True
  16. Doncha' Think It's Time
  17. Your Cheatin' Heart
  18. Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
  19. I Need Your Love Tonight
  20. A Big Hunk O' Love
  21. Ain't That Loving You Baby
  22. (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I
  23. I Got Stung
  24. Interview With Elvis

Disc 5

  1. That's When Your Heartaches Begin
  2. Fool, Fool, Fool
  3. Tweedle Dee
  4. Maybellene
  5. Shake, Rattle & Roll
  6. Blue Moon of Kentucky
  7. Blue Moon
  8. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
  9. Reconsider Baby
  10. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
  11. Shake, Rattle & Roll
  12. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
  13. Heartbreak Hotel
  14. Long Tall Sally
  15. Blue Suede Shoes
  16. Money Honey
  17. We're Gonna Move
  18. Old Shep
  19. I Beg Of You
  20. Loving You
  21. Loving You
  22. Young and Beautiful
  23. I Want to Be Free
  24. King Creole
  25. As Long as I Have You
  26. Ain't That Loving You Baby

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elvis Presley   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Chet Atkins   Guitar
Floyd Cramer   Piano
Hank Garland   Guitar
Jordanaires   Vocals
Jerry Lee Lewis   Piano
Carl Perkins   Guitar
Dominic Frontiere   Accordion
Justin Gordon   Saxophone
Freddy Martin   Track Performer
Kitty White   Vocals
Bill Black   Bass
Scotty Moore   Guitar
Jimmy Day   Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar
Shorty Long   Piano
Johnny Bernero   Piano,Drums
Dudley Brooks   Piano
John Buckner   Trumpet
Mahlon Clark   Clarinet
George Fields   Harmonica
D.J. Fontana   Drums
Carl Fortina   Accordion
Buddy Harman   Bongos
Hoyt Hawkins   Piano,Cymbals
Millie Kirkham   Vocals
Neal Matthews   Bass Guitar
Bernie Mattinson   Drums
Clayton Perkins   Bass
Mike Rubin   Bass
Ray Siegel   Bass,Tuba
Ben Speer   Vocals
Brock Speer   Vocals
Gordon Stoker   Piano,Bongos,Vocals
Mike Stoller   Piano
Tiny Timbrell   Guitar
W.S. Holland   Drums
Marvin Hughes   Piano
Vito Mumolo   Guitar
Bob Moore   Bass
Jon Dodson   Vocals
Jimmy Lott   Drums
Luther Rountree   Banjo
Rad Robinson   Vocals
Charles Prescott   Vocals
Richard Cornell   Drums

Technical Credits

Willie Dixon   Composer
Jimmy Reed   Composer
Gene Autry   Composer
Billy Hill   Composer
Hank Snow   Composer
Ray Charles   Composer
Alan Freed   Composer
Little Richard   Composer
Elvis Presley   Composer
Joe Thomas   Composer
Buck Ram   Composer
Otis Blackwell   Composer
Jimmy Kennedy   Composer
Franz Gruber   Composer
Roy Bennett   Composer
Howard Biggs   Composer
Hal Blair   Composer
George "Funky" Brown   Composer
Bridgette Bryant   Composer
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Composer
Kim Gannon   Composer
Peter Guralnick   Liner Notes
Walter Kent   Composer
Stan Kesler   Composer
Lewis   Composer
Clyde Otis   Composer
Webb Pierce   Composer
Erik Rasmussen   Contributor,Sessionography
Vincent Rose   Composer
Aaron Schroeder   Composer
Shelby Singleton   Composer
Larry Stock   Composer
Sid Tepper   Composer
Ben Weisman   Composer
Fred Wise   Composer
Ernst Mikael Jorgensen   Producer,Sessionography
Roger Semon   Producer
Charlie McCoy   Composer
Kelly Owens   Composer
Gene Sullivan   Composer
Norman Moore   Art Direction
Mae Boren Axton   Composer
Luther Dixon   Composer
Richard Penniman   Composer
Bob Shelton   Composer
Joe Shelton   Composer
Wiley Walker   Composer
Freddy Martin & His Orchestra   Contributor
Lou Kosloff   Composer
Joseph Mohr   Composer
Robert "Bumps" Blackwell   Composer
Claude Demetrius   Composer
Tommy Durden   Composer
Fred Fisher   Composer
Enotris Johnson   Composer
John Marascalco   Composer
Sydney Robin   Composer
Dorothy LaBostrie   Composer
Renald Richard   Composer
Moody Russell   Composer
Borney Bergantine   Composer
Bert Carroll   Composer
Russell Fratto   Composer
Rose Marie McCoy   Composer
Ahmet Nugetre   Composer
Oakley Haldeman   Composer
Cliff Owens   Composer
George Mysels   Composer
Bill Peppers   Composer
Betty Peterson   Composer
Bernard Weinman   Composer
William Raskin   Composer
Charlie Singleton   Composer
Lewis Redner   Composer
Willis Arthur   Composer
Lee Rosenberg   Composer
W. R. Emerson   Composer

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The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this while doing a major study on the life of Elvis Presley last year. I never read so many books on one person before. I found him to be a very fascinating subject. Went out and bought a video player just to see his movies and documentaries on his life (we have no tv), and then I wanted a collection of his 50's music, because to me, that was the real Elvis. This is what you gotta have, if you want it all from the very beginning, all of what he did in the 50's. I listened to it from strictly an ''educational'' viewpoint, and am amazed and impressed with the vocal talent he had. To be honest, I feel the subject matter of many of the songs to be a bit silly, but I find most modern music to be lacking in values. The songs I do appreciate on here are the spirituals. And I like his songs from the film Love Me Tender, esp. ''We're Gonna Move''. I think Elvis could have done great as a folksinger too. If you like Elvis and are unsure of what exactly to get from the 100's of CD choices, just simplify the whole matter and get this set. You won't be disappointed. This IS Elvis.