A fresh survey of rock royalty
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s 75th birthday (which RCA Legacy plans to celebrate all year long) starts modestly with this four-disc box set. But don’t let the humble, sepia-toned cover design fool you: The 100 tracks within fully showcase Presley’s meteoric rise from the Lauderdale Courts housing projects to the gilded gates of Graceland.
Elvis 75 opens with the tremendous “My Happiness” (Elvis’ introduction to Sam Phillips, Sun Studio’s resident genius) and later segues into the familiar salvos of “That’s All Right” and “Suspicious Minds.” Think of Presley as the ancestral American Idol, and Phillips a sa gentler—yet no less maniacal—Simon Cowell. It was Phillips who paired that quavering voice with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, and diverted the course of history. Elvis 75 charts every high point, from Memphis to Nashville to Hollywood and back again, with originality and vitality flowing from every note.