“Elvis wasn’t just rock and roll. He was not. A lot of his frustration was that people put him in just that category and genre of music.” – Priscilla Presley in October 2015 discussing the new If I Can Dream album
In its first week of release, Elvis Presley’s new collaboration with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, If I Can Dream, debuted at #1 on the official UK and Australia album charts and #2 in Ireland. On the Billboard U.S. music charts, the album debuted at #1 on Top Classical Crossover, #9 on Top Current Albums and #21 on the Top 200. The King of Rock and Roll and a full-blown orchestra may seem like an unlikely pairing, but in fact, this style of music couldn’t be better-suited for Elvis.
As discussed in the new book, Elvis: Behind The Legend, Presley had a diverse range of musical tastes, which contributed to his ability to masterfully combine different genres and, as a result, be hailed as The King of Rock and Roll. However, Presley did not grow up wanting to be a rock and roller, but rather a crooner in the vein of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and even Bing Crosby.
Presley’s unique rock and roll sound was something he admittedly “stumbled upon” along with the help of Sun Studio founder and music producer Sam Phillips. It was only after Elvis became successful did his true musical passions start emerging.
While many rock and roll loyalists like John Lennon blamed Presley’s abandonment of his rebellious musical image on his two-year stint in the army, this period seemed to offer Elvis a welcomed opportunity to shift his style. A few months after his return from Germany in 1960, Elvis told a reporter: “In the two years I was in the army, I think the music got better. There wasn’t so much of the wild stuff.”
Moving away from the “wild stuff,” Elvis turned to an old Italian song recorded by opera star, Mario Lanza, for his next big hit. “It’s Now or Never,” based on the song “O Sole Mio,” came out in the summer of 1960 and became Presley’s biggest single with more than 20 million records sold worldwide. This song is included on If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and features a more Italian sound with the help of the trio Il Volo as backup singers.
As Elvis matured, he would record many slower ballad-type songs that any crooner like Sinatra or Martin would have sang. In the 1970s, Presley’s live shows featured a variety of songs ranging from gospel to R&B to pop ballads.
The idea for the project… READ FULL REVIEW