“Suddenly, Elvis had to be taken seriously because, suddenly, Elvis was taking the music seriously again. He was expressing his soul, which was plenty deep.”
From Elvis in Memphis is the ninth studio album by American rock and roll singer Elvis Presley, released on RCA Victor. The recording took place at American Sound Studio in Memphis in January and February 1969 under the direction of producer Chips Moman and with the backing of the house band, informally known as “The Memphis Boys”. A direct consequence of the success of Presley’s 1968 Christmas television special and its soundtrack, the recording marked the definite return of Presley to non-soundtrack albums after the completion of his movie contract with Paramount Pictures.
|Released||June 17, 1969|
|Recorded||January–February 1969 at American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee|
|Genre||Blue-eyed soul, country, rhythm and blues, pop|
|Producer||Chips Moman, Felton Jarvis|
Presley’s entourage convinced the singer to leave RCA studios and record this album at American Sound, a new Memphis studio that was in the midst of a successful hit-producing streak. In making the record, Moman and his arrangers made the creative decision to shift from Presley’s pop sound aimed at established audiences to a new sound that could refresh his image. They worked to blend his early influences in country, rhythm and blues, and gospel with soul, which was trending in Memphis. The arrangements on the album used the Memphis soul inspired emphasis on the rhythm section with a reduced reliance on the string, brass and woodwind sections.
From Elvis in Memphis was released in June 1969 to favorable reviews. The album peaked at number 13 on the Billboard 200, number two on the country charts, and number one in the United Kingdom. The single “In the Ghetto” reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1970 and it was ranked number 190 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time released in 2003.
After a 14-year absence from Memphis, Elvis Presley returned to cut what was certainly his greatest album. .. The result was one of the greatest white soul albums (and one of the greatest soul albums) ever cut, with brief but considerable forays into country, pop, and blues as well. Presley sounds rejuvenated artistically throughout the dozen cuts off the original album, and he’s supported by the best playing and backup singing of his entire recording history.
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)
- “Wearin’ That Loved On Look” (Dallas Frazier, A.L. Owens) – January 13, 1969
- “Only the Strong Survive” (Jerry Butler, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff) – February 19, 1969
- “I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)” (Eddy Arnold, Thomas Dilbeck, Vaughan Horton) – January 22, 1969
- “Long Black Limousine” (Bobby George, Vern Stovall) – January 13, 1969
- “It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'” (Johnny Tillotson) – February 20, 1969
- “I’m Movin’ On” (Hank Snow) – January 14, 1969
- “Power of My Love” (Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye) – February 18, 1969
- “Gentle on My Mind” (John Hartford) – January 14, 1969
- “After Loving You” (Janet Lantz, Eddie Miller) – February 18, 1969
- “True Love Travels on a Gravel Road” (Dallas Frazier, A.L. Owens) – February 17, 1969
- “Any Day Now” (Burt Bacharach, Bob Hilliard) – February 20, 1969
- “In the Ghetto” (Mac Davis) – January 20, 1969
- Elvis Presley – vocals, guitar, piano
- String and Horn Arrangements – Glen Spreen
- Ed Kollis – harmonica
- John Hughey – pedal steel guitar (on “In the Ghetto”)
- Reggie Young, Dan Penn – electric guitar
- Bobby Wood – piano
- Bobby Emmons – organ
- Tommy Cogbill, Mike Leech – bass
- Gene Chrisman – drums