Monday, December 24, 2007

Blue Christmas - my very first Elvis record

I'm not big on traditions but I have a few. One is playing, every Christmas, the first record I ever bought with Elvis, and this year is no exception. Right now Blue Christmas, a RCA LP manufactured in Sweden in 1976, is spinning on the turntable of my record-player.

Unfortunately I can't recall what year I purchased it, but it must have been in the late 70's. A couple of months before one of my brothers had bought the double album Elvis Forever, and after that I had borrowed a few Elvis records from a class-mate, amongst others Elvis In Concert and Mahalo From Elvis.

A few days before Christmas that year I tagged along with my family to a department store. As my parents kept themselves busy shopping Christmas dinner I visited the record department. And there, on a rack, was a whole bunch of Elvis Camden (or Pickwick, can't remember) records on display.

I didn't know a thing about these records or the songs on them at the time, but after some serious thinking I picked one of them where I thought Elvis looked cool on the cover. It could have been Elvis Sings Flaming Star, but I'm not sure.

What I do remember is that just as I was going to look for my parents and show them my find I spotted another Elvis LP amongst a bunch of Christmas records. I don't know why, maybe I was caught up in the Christmas spirit, but I exchanged the Camden record for Blue Christmas.

Home again I played it over and over through the Holidays. I especially liked the title track, as well as "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Santa Claus Is Back In Town." As I listen to it now, I still think it has a pretty good mix of songs from Elvis two Christmas albums.

As you can see the cover was taken from Elvis' Christmas Album from 1957, not a very imaginative move. And speaking of the cover, on all the CD releases (as well as on the latest LP release from 1985) of the first Christmas album the cover is not the original one. You can spot this by comparing the parcels.

I was first made aware of this in an article in the Swedish fan magazine Tidskriften Elvis back in 1987. Entitled "The Christmas When Elvis Gave Us New Christmas presents" it described in extreme detail every parcel and how it differed from the original one in wrapping, size and so on.

At the time I thought the article was pretty corny, and I still do. But the fact remains that it was a new cover made to look like the old one. Why this was the case I have no idea. Anyone?

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