Elvis is the singer who made rock'n'roll popular, although even in his early years he did not limit his music to that genre. This compilation containing (supposedly) every song that Elvis recorded during the fifties, plus alternate versions of some of them, shows just how good Elvis was at several different styles.
Here you get all his famous rockers including Heartbreak hotel, Don't be cruel, Blue suede shoes, Hound dog, Mystery train, Paralyzed, Party, All shook up, Jailhouse rock, Teddy bear and One night, together with great covers of Tutti fruiti, Shake rattle and roll and other classics. Of course, you also get his recording of That's alright Mama, the song that secured his recording contract.
Elvis also recorded a number of country songs, though not as many as he did later in his career. Sometimes (as with Blue moon of Kentucky), he re-interpreted them very differently from the originals, but most of his covers were more faithful, albeit adapted to his own style. I forgot to remember to forget, Old Shep, Have I told you lately that I love you, Your cheating heart and Fool such as I are among the country songs to be found here.
Elvis also recorded some brilliant pop ballads in the fifties. Love me tender is the most famous but there are plenty of others. Among the lesser known ones, I particularly like As long as I have you. Gospel music was important to Elvis and here you can find Peace in the valley, Take my hand precious lord, It is no secret and I believe. You also get the eight Christmas songs that Elvis recorded in the fifties including Blue Christmas and Santa bring my baby back.
This is the first of three boxed sets covering the music of Elvis. While the boxes for the sixties and seventies (which I reviewed a long time ago) are by no means complete, the music he recorded in the fits easily fits on five CD's. Indeed, there is enough room left for a long interview at the end of CD 4 (which I could have done without) and an entire CD of rarities.
This box illustrates just why Elvis was such a powerful influence on popular music in the fifties.