Friday, July 9, 2010

A soundtrack cut in half

Last weekend me and my wife visited the family of one of my brothers. They recently had their second child, so that was the reason for us dropping by. This time we didn't bring Elvis Sings For Children And Grownups Too! as a gift to the new-born like we did last time, but that didn't stop me and my brother from talking Elvis.

Turned out he had bought one of the soundtrack albums released this year by Sony Special Products. The soundtrack in question was Viva Las Vegas, and my brother got it because "this is how it could've been."

Listening to it, we discussed how incredible it was that only six of the songs recorded were released at the time instead of all of them on a soundtrack LP. A single featuring the title song and "What'd I Say" was issued, followed by a soundtrack 7" extended play record containing "If You Think I Don't Need You," "I Need Somebody To Lean On," C'mon Everybody" and "Today, Tomorrow And Forever."

The release of the other six songs recorded for the movie would be spread over the next 27 years (36 years if you count the duet version of "Today, Tomorrow And Forever"). Today we know that Colonel Parker thought Elvis' costar Ann-Margret would steal the whole picture if he didn't put a stop to it.

And stop it he did. Only one of the three duets recorded for Viva Las Vegas stayed in the movie ("The Lady Loves Me"), while one was killed completely (the seductive "You're The Boss") and the last one transformed to a number sung by Elvis alone ("Today, Tomorrow And Forever").

Of course the Colonel's opinion about Ann-Margret's role in the movie spilled over to the soundtrack. Not even the duet used in the final print was allowed to be on a record, making a soundtrack LP more or less impossible.

As my brother so rightly observed, "on all the other soundtrack albums Elvis ever did, LP's as well as EP's, his co-stars were always mentioned on the cover, but not on the Viva Las Vegas EP." No coincidence, surely?

Viva Las Vegas soundtrack CD review (Elvis Australia)
Viva Las Vegas FTD Extended Soundtrack review (Elvis Information Network)

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