Elvis' 50 Worldwide Gold Award Hits, Vol. 1

by: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was first on a lot of fronts -- not just in terms of chart action, but also the range and nature of his releases; he was the first rock & roller to generate a second volume of hits, and then a third, and a fourth, and a fifth. And in 1970, he was the first rock artist to earn a classical-style box set reissue of his hits. Worldwide 50 Gold Award Hits, Vol. 1 was four full LPs packaged in a handsome set of a kind never before seen in rock music, much less rock & roll. What's more, the set actually showed some care in the production area as well, with all of the early single sides mastered in real mono, as opposed to the rechanneled stereo that had become standard on previous Elvis Presley compilations. The set was a revelation at the time for those who associated Presley with his weaker singles of recent years, or his lackluster movies of the '60s -- Rolling Stone, no less, raved about it, and it did remind older rock listeners, as well as inform their younger compatriots, of what Elvis had meant across the first 14 years of his career at RCA. One can either trace the obvious decline of the artist into entertainer, or marvel at how good the bad stuff sounds in context. Million-selling B-sides and EPs that most assuredly had topped the seven-digit figure but were routinely ignored by most compilations are also included. If all you want in your collection from Elvis are the most obvious hits, this set is the one to go with. ~ Bruce Eder & Neal Umphred

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