Harum Scarum (album)

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Harum Scarum
Harum Scarum.jpg
Studio album / Soundtrack by Elvis Presley
Released November 3, 1965
Recorded February 1965
Genre Soundtrack, pop
Length 24:14
Label RCA Victor
Producer Gene Nelson, Fred Karger
Elvis Presley chronology
Elvis for Everyone!
Harum Scarum
Frankie and Johnny
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic[1] 1/5 stars

Harum Scarum is the twenty-fourth album by Elvis Presley, released by RCA Victor in mono and stereo, LPM/LSP 3468, in November 1965. It is the soundtrack to the 1965 film of the same name. Recording sessions took place at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, on February 24, 25, and 26, 1965. It peaked at number eight on the Top LP's chart.[2]


Although 1965 had seen the release of Elvis for Everyone, a studio album which was actually recorded over a ten-year period dating back to Presley's first recordings from Sun Studios in Memphis, and a surprising worldwide hit with a five-year-old Gospel track, "Crying In The Chapel", it was back to the grind of making soundtracks. Elvis continued to grumble about the material and the continued pressure put on the stable of songwriters corraled by Freddy Bienstock — the writing team of Giant, Baum, and Kaye alone had provided 17 of 47 songs on the past four soundtracks in an eighteen-month period — but he soldiered on with as much grace as possible.[3] In reality, almost any song could have been squeezed into the story lines, including old classics. But as long as sales continued, the formula required guaranteed control of publishing and new songs by the same songwriters.[4] However, Presley's sales were plunging in music stores as well as ticket sales at the box office.

Eleven songs were recorded for Harum Scarum, and all were used and issued on the soundtrack with two of the tracks omitted in the film. As with Roustabout, no singles were issued in conjunction with the album. A single was issued a month later, using the leftover 1957 track "Tell Me Why" backed with "Blue River" from the aborted May 1963 "album" sessions. In an onimous sign of things to come, it only made it to number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100, the lowest charting single of Presley's career to date.[5]

Elvis recorded "Wisdom of the Ages" on February 24, 1965 at RCA studios.[6] It featured as a bonus track on the soundtrack album, along with "Animal Instinct", but did not feature in the film itself.[7][8] The Jordanaires sang backing vocals.[9] The film and its soundtrack are widely considered one of the lowest points of Presley's career.[10] The song progresses from F major to B flat major, to D minor to E flat major to F major.

In 2003 Harum Scarum was reissued on the Follow That Dream label in a special edition that contained the original album tracks along with numerous alternate takes.[11]


Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Recording date Length
1. "Harem Holiday"   Peter Andreoli and Vince Poncia February 26, 1965 2:18
2. "My Desert Serenade"   Stanley J. Gelber February 25, 1965 1:47
3. "Go East - Young Man"   Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye February 26, 1965 2:16
4. "Mirage"   Joy Byers February 26, 1965 2:25
5. "Kismet"   Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett February 25, 1965 2:08
6. "Shake That Tambourine"   Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye February 24, 1965 2:02
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Recording date Length
1. "Hey Little Girl"   Joy Byers February 25, 1965 2:15
2. "Golden Coins"   Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye February 26, 1965 1:54
3. "So Close, Yet So Far (From Paradise)"   Joy Byers February 25, 1965 3:01
4. "Animal Instinct" (bonus track) Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye February 26, 1965 2:13
5. "Wisdom of the Ages" (bonus track) Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye February 25, 1965 1:55

2003 Follow That Dream reissue[edit]

Original album
No. Title Length
1. "Harem Holiday"   2:18
2. "My Desert Serenade"   1:47
3. "Go East - Young Man"   2:16
4. "Mirage"   2:25
5. "Kismet"   2:08
6. "Shake That Tambourine"   2:02
7. "Hey Little Girl"   2:15
8. "Golden Coins"   1:54
9. "So Close, Yet So Far (From Paradise)"   3:01
10. "Animal Instinct"   2:13
11. "Wisdom of the Ages"   1:55
Original bonus songs
No. Title Length
12. "Animal Instinct"   2:11
13. "Wisdom Of The Ages"   1:52
New bonus songs
No. Title Length
14. "My Desert Serenade" (take 7 [2052]) 2:15
15. "Hey Little Girl" (takes1,2 [2068,69]) 2:56
16. "Shake That Tambourine" (takes 7-8 [2010-11]) 2:38
17. "Golden Coins takes" (3&4 [2075-76]) 2:18
18. "Kismet" (takes 1&2 [2063-64]) 2:42
19. "Animal Instinct" (takes 1,3,4 [2089,91-92]) 5:17
20. "So Close, Yet So Far (From Paradise)" (take 1 [2042]) 3:26
21. "Shake That Tambourine" (takes 10, 16 [2013,19]) 3:04
22. "Hey Little Girl" (take 3 [2070]) 2:40
23. "My Desert Serenade" (takes 2,3 [2047,48]) 2:13
24. "Golden Coins" (takes 7,8 [2079,80]) 2:23
25. "Harem Holiday" (takes 1,2 [2095,96]) 3:18
26. "Wisdom Of The Ages" (take 3 [2060]) 2:04
27. "Shake That Tambourine" (takes 18-21 [2021-24]) 3:11