An American Trilogy

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"An American Trilogy"
Elvis Presley An American Trilogy PS.jpg
Single by Elvis Presley
B-side"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
ReleasedApril 4, 1972
RecordedFebruary 16, 1972
StudioLas Vegas Hilton
GenrePopular, country
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)Mickey Newbury
Producer(s)Felton Jarvis
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"He Touched Me" / "Bosom of Abraham"
(1972)
"An American Trilogy" / "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
(1972)
"Burning Love" / "It's a Matter of Time"
(1972)

"An American Trilogy" is a 1971 song medley arranged by country composer Mickey Newbury and popularized by Elvis Presley, who included it as a showstopper in his concert routines. The medley uses three 19th-century songs:

First performances[edit]

Newbury first recorded "An American Trilogy" for his 1971 album Frisco Mabel Joy, and the medley featured prominently on his first concert album, Live at Montezuma Hall, released in 1973. The studio recording reached No. 26 on the charts in 1972, and No. 9 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart. Newbury’s version was used for nightly TV sign offs for KTBS, KLFY & WRBT in the mid to late 1970s.

Presley began singing "An American Trilogy" in concert in January 1972; a live recording made the following month was released as a single by RCA Records. Presley modifies Newbury's sequence by reprising after "All My Trials" both "Dixie" (in the solo flute) and with a bigger ending on "Battle Hymn". He performs the medley in the 1972 filmed documentary Elvis on Tour. Elvis's version didn't equal the US chart success of Newbury's single, reaching No. 66 late in 1972 and peaking at No. 31 on the Easy Listening chart. However, it was included in both versions of the widely-seen 1973 satellite telecast Aloha from Hawaii. Elvis's recording was more successful in the UK, where it reached No. 8.

Recent versions[edit]

In 2002 the medley was covered by heavy metal band Manowar, appearing as the sixth track on the album Warriors of the World. It was also featured on country singer Billy "Crash" Craddock's live album Live -N- Kickin' in 2009. Alwyn Humphreys' arrangement for male choir is popular and features on albums by the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir and Morriston Orpheus Choir. "An American Trilogy" is referenced and partially sung in the Manic Street Preachers' "Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier" on the Everything Must Go album. It was also arranged for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the 2015 compilation album, If I Can Dream. In all, over 465 versions have been recorded by various artists.[2]

Charts[edit]

Mickey Newbury

Chart (1971–72, 1975) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[3] 30
Canadian RPM Top Singles 76
French Singles Chart 53
UK Singles Chart 42
US Billboard Hot Country Singles 93
US Billboard Hot 100 26
US Billboard Easy Listening 9

Elvis Presley

Chart (1972) Peak
position
Sweden 11
U.K. Singles Chart 8
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 66
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 31
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 73

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[4]
Elvis Presley version
Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ponce de Leon, Charles L. Fortunate Son, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007, p. 172, ISBN 978-080901641-9
  2. ^ "Mickey Newbury : 50 Years, 50 Genres, 1,500+ Covers" (PDF). Mickeynewbury.com. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  4. ^ "British single certifications – Elvis Presley – An American Trilogy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 28, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Collins, Ace. Songs Sung, Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs. HarperResource, 2003. ISBN 0060513047