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Viva Elvis

by Mike Singleton - Mikeydred 15 days ago in 60s music
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An Elvis Presley Album That Is Not Really An Elvis Presley Album

Viva Elvis Presley by Cirque Du Soleil

Introduction To Viva Elvis

I bought this album when it was released. On listening to it I think a lot of Elvis Presley fans will be shocked and appalled, I thought this was an Elvis album, the cover features The King prominently displayed against his name in gold block letters against a purple background,

The red label on the card cover states “Elvis as you’ve never heard him before. His greatest songs transformed for the 21st Century” so you think this is an Elvis Presley album, but it’s actually an album that samples Elvis’s music and vocals plus related soundbites into the songs on the album.

Vival Elvis - The Band

Viva Elvis is actually a band for the eponymous Cirque Du Soleil show which was their seventh on the Las Vegas Strip and premiered in 2010 and ran til 2012.

The music reminds me of the JXL (Junkie XL shortened to make it acceptable to consumers) treatment of “A Little Less Conversation” as used in the film “Shark Tale” and was used for Nike's 2002 FIFA World Cup advertising campaign, titled "Secret Tournament". In fact the JXL take on “A Little Less Conversation” would slot into “Viva Elvis” without causing a ripple.

Viva Elvis - The Album

I am going to pick one or two highlights from this. As I have said it is not an Elvis album, but the rearrangements and sample work for me. It’s not Stars on 45 , and I actually find it absolutely great fun. Forty Two minutes of Elvis Presley themed fun.

I must have played this about ten times this week, and am amazed what can be done with the original master tapes combined with modern technology and ingenuity.

Viva Elvis - Opening / Blue Suede Shoes

Though the album is quite noisy generally it does sneak in before hitting you over the head and dragging you in to have some rock and rolling fun. It is quite then “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss comes in (someone once shouted me down saying this was by Gustav Holst and I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about, quite hilarious) , the standard Elvis live introduction, followed by some kettle drums before some impressive heavy guitars replace the backing to “Blue Suede Shoes” making you think what the hell is this, and it is an impressive opening to the album and you know several tongues and in several cheeks and I am sure Elvis would have loved this revamp. There’s even an impressive harmonica in there as well.

Viva Elvis - That’s Alright

Throughout the album there are interviews and radio introductions , and this backing is replaced with a “Lust For Life” style beat. I am amazed how producer Erich van Tourneau oversaw this album, creating great fun while not being disrespectful to Elvis’ memory.

Viva Elvis - Heartbreak Hotel

The music here is big and brash , guitars and brass, with lots of Elvis live small talk, completely running away from the original take on the Mae Baren Axton song, although Presley is also given a credit. I think this was a symptom of the payola racism in the nineteen fifties.

Viva Elvis - Love Me Tender

This is a gentle duet with one of the Viva Elvis female vocalists although the album notes say nothing about who sings with Elvis. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is done in a similar fashion with a lovely backing choir.

Viva Elvis - Bossa Nova Baby

This reminds me of the drum sequence that opens the album, keeps the vague dynamics of the original but is again another fun interlude on this album.

Viva Elvis - A Conclusion

Interviewer: "Elvis what's your idea of the ideal girl?"

Elvis: "Female, Sir"

This is an unexpectedly fun and enjoyable album. It’s not an Elvis album, but it is a great listen.

60s music

About the author

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

Mike Singleton writes,blogs,makes music,loves,explores,and helps

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Comments (10)

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  • Steve Lance12 days ago

    Love your take on music. It's never a disappointment.

  • C. H. Richard14 days ago

    Informative, sounds fun, but I'm glad I found out it is not Elvis before purchasing as I would have been disappointed. Congratulations on top story.

  • Omg congrats on the top story spot! And this is well deserving! Very engaging and entertaining while also being informative :)

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  • Had fun reading this and loved the joke at the end. A very well deserved Top Story! Congrats!

  • Sleepy Drafts15 days ago

    Wonderful piece!! Congratulations on top story!

  • Lena Borondia15 days ago

    Beautifully done, Mike! Well deserved!! My husband loves Elvis. He'd love this piece! :)

  • Call Me Les15 days ago

    Excellent Mike! Well done <3 And congrats on the top story. Well deserved. <3

  • Babs Iverson15 days ago

    It's Friday morning here. This was my first and very enjoyable read. Yes! You got me with Elvis' name. 😊💖💕

  • Gerald Holmes15 days ago

    Well done Mike. Congrats on the Top Story.

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