When RCA Records purchased Elvis Presley’s contract and a back catalog that numbered only five singles and a handful of outtakes from Sun Records owner Sam Phillips for $35,000, few involved could have dreamed that the modest deal would change American music forever.
This 1956 collection was Presley’s first proper album (and arguably rock’s first great LP), a release that both broke him to a national audience and became an enduring piece of pop-cultural iconography.
Anchored by take-no-prisoners covers of fellow Sun rockabilly pioneer Carl Perkins’ ˝Blue Suede Shoes,˝ Ray Charles’s ˝I Got a Woman,˝ and Little Richard’s ˝Tutti Frutti,˝ it’s an album where Presley forcefully hammers nascent rock ’n’ roll into his own sultry image.
But, as the bonus track of the breakout single ˝Heartbreak Hotel˝ and performances of Sun’s ˝Blue Moon,˝ the country ballad ˝I’m Counting on You,˝ and ˝I Want You, I Need You, I Love You˝ ably attest, the 21-year-old Elvis possessed a mature, remarkable vocal range far beyond the hip-swiveling, sexually-charged hillbilly cat that was too often his caricature.
A classic rock album a decade before there was such a thing--and one of Presley’s most consistent and rewarding releases