Audio CD (November 9, 2010)
Original Release Date: 2010
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Sony Legacy
The Elvis revolution continues with Viva ELVIS - The Album
Legacy Recordings Celebrates Elvis’ 75th Birthday Year with an Epic New Studio Work Inspired by "Viva ELVIS" by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas
From the studio: Legacy Recordings, in cooperation with Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil at ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, proudly announces the release of Viva ELVIS - The Album, a 21st century celebration of Elvis and his music, featuring the voice of the king in a whole new context.
Produced and arranged by Erich van Tourneau, with assistant producer and assistant arranger Hugo "Wedge Montecristo" Bombardier, Viva ELVIS - The Album is a multi-faceted audio extravaganza creating a larger-than-life musical portrait of Elvis through newly re-imagined versions of "Blue Suede Shoes," "That's Alright," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Love Me Tender," "King Creole," "Bossa Nova Baby," "Burning Love," "Can't Help Falling In Love" and "Suspicious Minds" as well as interludes based on "Memories" and "You'll Never Walk Alone (Piano Interlude).”
Three of the tracks on Viva ELVIS including "Suspicious Minds," the album's first single, were mixed by Grammy Award winning producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen). Four of the album's tracks were mixed by Serban Ghenea with the remaining five mixed by Robert Meunier and Erich van Tourneau.
Musicians on Viva ELVIS include Elvis Presley (vocals); Erich van Tourneau (bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano and keyboards); Dea Norberg, Jennlee Shallow, Sherry St-Germain, Stacie Tabb (guest singers); Patrick Lavergne and JS "The Flash" Chouinard (basses); Mike Plant, Steve Nadeau, Martin Bachand and Paul Deslauriers (electric guitars); Olivier Goulet (acoustic guitar); Guy Bélanger (harmonica); DJ Pocket (scratch). The album's horn section includes Jean-Francois Thibeault (trombone), Bruno Dumont (saxophone), David Perrico (trumpet), Jean-Francois Gagnon (flugel horn).
When working on the music for Viva ELVIS, van Tourneau -- aided by Hugo Bombardier, Assistant Producer and Assistant Arranger on Viva ELVIS - The Album -- spent more than 3,000 hours reviewing countless albums, films, concert recordings, interviews and home recordings of Elvis. More than 17,000 samples of Elvis’ songs – the raw material for the show – were made during the process.
Working with tens of thousands of samples of Elvis’ voice, van Tourneau and Bombardier often wove several sequences and sounds into the same songs, sometimes changing details such as the key and tempo. In creating Viva ELVIS - The Album, van Tourneau was looking to accentuate and boost the emotional charge of the songs with the incorporation of ragga, punk or hip-hop elements into classic recordings. In all cases, however, the goal was to respect and understand the essence of the original recordings.
"I would like to acknowledge all of the incredible composers, musicians and technicians responsible for making this music with Elvis originally," said van Tourneau. "The album Viva ELVIS would not be what it is today if not for their remarkable contributions."
The postmodern studio masterwork invokes the spirit and essence of Elvis from a contemporary perspective while furthering the revolutionary impulses of Elvis' sound. Viva ELVIS - The Album re-imagines the king’s own vocal performances in a broad variety of new musical settings. This new sound echoes Elvis' own versatility and ability to master all music genres, from Delta blues to rockabilly, from raw soul to gospel, from Southern folk to Vegas pop, while incorporating elements of garage rock, punk, urban and hip-hop.
In celebration of all eras of Elvis' musical genius, Viva ELVIS - The Album includes songs from Elvis’ rise to fame in the ‘50s, his movie soundtracks, his triumphant return to the stage in the “’68 Special,” and his ground-breaking appearances in Las Vegas.
Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil, a harmonious fusion of dance, acrobatics and live music, opened earlier this year in a specially designed 1,800 seat theater at ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. A tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley, Viva ELVIS focuses on the essential humanity of the one superstar whose name will forever be linked with the history of Las Vegas: Elvis Presley. Significant moments in his life – intimate, playful and grandiose – blend with timeless songs that remain as relevant today as when they first hit the top of the charts.
1. Opening (mixed by Robert Meunier and Erich van Tourneau)
2. Blue Suede Shoes (mixed by Serban Ghenea)
3. That's Alright (mixed by Brendan O'Brien)
4. Heartbreak Hotel (mixed by Brendan O'Brien)
5. Love Me Tender (mixed by Robert Meunier and Erich van Tourneau)
6. King Creole (mixed by Robert Meunier and Erich van Tourneau)
7. Bossa Nova Baby (mixed by Serban Ghenea)
8. Burning Love (mixed by Serban Ghenea)
9. Memories (mixed by Robert Meunier and Erich van Tourneau)
10. Can't Help Falling In Love (mixed by Serban Ghenea)
11. You'll Never Walk Alone (Piano Interlude) (mixed by Robert Meunier and Erich van Tourneau)
12. Suspicious Minds (mixed by Brendan O'Brien)
* * * * *My take: If you are an Elvis purist looking to add to your Elvis music collection, look elsewhere. Viva Elvis is an entirely new way to listen to Elvis. The classic tunes we know and love have been "updated" with an "incorporation of ragga, punk or hip-hop elements." Did I like it? Well, let me tell you first, I am of the opinion that there are NO bad Elvis songs, so long as he is singing (not an imitator), so yes, I really loved this album. Viva Elvis also includes small pieces of dialogue from the recording studio or concerts that's pretty neat to listen to as well. Some of the "updated" stuff enhances the musical arrangements, some does not. In particular, I am NOT a fan of "Can't Help Falling in Love" because of the "duet" with a woman - the whole song sounded off to me. The rest of the album though I will be sure to listen to again and again - if you have an Elvis fan in your life, be sure to pick up this perfect stocking stuffer this Christmas. ♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪ Note: You do not have to have seen or know anything about Cirque du Soleil to appreciate this album - I've never seen any of their shows myself.
Bonus: Check out the new video for "Suspicious Minds"! The dazzling video for "Suspicious Minds," the first single from Viva ELVIS - The Album, debuts today on Elvis.com. Much like the album the song comes from, as well as the "every way fantastic" (Time magazine) Cirque de Soleil Vegas show the song is featured in, the sparkling video depicts what a Presley show would look and sound like today. The track was recently hailed by USA Today as "a cross between a gospel hymn and 'Everlasting Love' before transforming into something like a U2 anthem."
Bonus 2: Check out the new VivaELVIS.com for multi-media content surrounding Viva ELVIS - The Album and for a chance to get your Elvis memorabilia featured!
About Elvis Presley Enterprises: Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. is based in Memphis, with additional offices in Los Angeles. In addition to Graceland and its related attractions in Memphis, including the Heartbreak Hotel, EPE is aggressively involved in a worldwide licensing program, merchandising, music publishing, and television, film, video and Internet projects. For more information on EPE and Graceland, visit www.elvis.com. EPE is a subsidiary of CKX, Inc. (www.ckx.com), a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ Global Market® under the ticker symbol CKXE. Visit http://www.elvis.com/ for all things Elvis!
About Cirque du Soleil: From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a major international organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. Since its founding, Cirque du Soleil has thrilled over 100 million spectators in close to 300 cities on five continents. In Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil has a privileged partnership with MGM Resorts International to create and present unique and innovative productions. In addition to Viva ELVIS, these productions include Mystère™ at Treasure Island, “O™” at Bellagio, Zumanity™ the Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil at New York-New York Hotel & Casino™, KÀ™ at MGM Grand, The Beatles™ LOVE™ at The Mirage and CRISS ANGEL Believe™ at Luxor. For more information, visit the Cirque du Soleil website at www.cirquedusoleil.com/lasvegas.
About Legacy Recordings: The multiple Grammy-winning Legacy Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment's catalog division, produces and maintains the world's foremost catalog of historic reissues, an unparalleled compendium of thousands of digitally re-mastered archival titles representing virtually every musical genre including popular, rock, jazz, blues, R&B, folk, country, gospel, Broadway musicals, movie soundtracks, ethnic, world music, classical, comedy and more.
This post was written for Sony Music who provided the CD for review. I was not compensated in any way except for the complimentary CD.