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"The resurgence in interest is remarkable. I think Elvis would be the last to believe that he is as popular today, if not even more, than on he was when he died."
——Priscilla Presley
RCA FETES THE KING
Elvis May Have Kicked the Bucket 25 Years Ago, but He’s STILL the Biggest Act on RCA

By Shirley Halperin

Twenty-five years after his death, Elvis Presley has seemingly orchestrated another comeback. The release of ELV1S 30 #1 Hits, RCA's definitive compilation, marks another major milestone in The King's seemingly eternal career. Not surprisingly, the label is putting its full weight behind the album.

Tuesday night's official record release party at New York's Hard Rock Caf was just the beginning, label group Chairman Bob Jamieson announced. "This is not the last day of this project. It's our intention to continue to work Elvis around the world for the next several years."

The album is, in fact, a coordinated global effort, with a simultaneous Sept. 24 release in numerous territories—posing logistical difficulties that Jamieson was quick to point out. Moreover, the project was a massive endeavor that required the kind of manpower that bridges the departmental divide. Indeed, Jamieson was intent on thanking many members of the RCA staff, from EVP/GM Richard Sanders on down, and "luck" for pairing "A Little Less Conversation" with Nike's $100 million worldwide ad campaign.

But most vital in the Elvis success story is the manager of the Presley estate, Priscilla, who was on hand to personally acknowledge the efforts of his longtime label. "This has been an unbelievable collaboration between RCA and Elvis Presley Enterprises," she said. "The resurgence in interest is remarkable. I think Elvis would be the last to believe that he is as popular today, if not even more, than he was when he died."

Elvis fever was rampant at the Hard Rock, both inside and out. Attendees were welcomed by a mobile Graceland display parked in front and later wowed by an in-house demonstration of the album's audio challenges. Sr. VP A&R David Bendeth and engineer Ray Bardany played A/B snippets so that listeners could sample the sound before and after the original mono recordings had been laboriously converted to 24 tracks.

Naturally, a couple of spins of the compilation would not nearly suffice, so a house band took over, turning the evening into a karaoke session fit for a King. Guest performers were part of the lineup, but as badly as some of us wanted to see The Strokes belt out some good old-fashioned rock-&-roll, it was not to be. Instead, we got Travis Tritt, Tony winner Heather Headley, and two American Idol finalists, Justin Guarini and Tamyra Gray. Another contestant, the pink-haired Nikki Mckibbin, was spotted feasting on peanut butter and banana sandwiches, but winner Kelly Clarkson was a no-show, said to be ill and "a bit fried." Also found roaming were members of Eve 6 and SR-71 and actor Matthew Modine. Not quite A-list, but perhaps we'll have better luck in early December, when an NBC network special is due to air that, Jamieson promises, "will be star-studded."

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