Harum Scarum (soundtrack)

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Harum Scarum
Harum Scarum.jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedNovember 3, 1965
RecordedFebruary 1965
LabelRCA Victor
ProducerGene Nelson, Fred Karger
Elvis Presley chronology
Elvis for Everyone!
Harum Scarum
Frankie and Johnny
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic[1]1/5 stars

Harum Scarum is the eleventh soundtrack album by American singer and musician 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 starring Presley. 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 ominous 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.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Harem Holiday"Peter Andreoli and Vince PonciaFebruary 26, 19652:18
2."My Desert Serenade"Stanley J. GelberFebruary 25, 19651:47
3."Go East - Young Man"Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence KayeFebruary 26, 19652:16
4."Mirage"Joy ByersFebruary 26, 19652:25
5."Kismet"Sid Tepper and Roy C. BennettFebruary 25, 19652:08
6."Shake That Tambourine"Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence KayeFebruary 24, 19652:02
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Hey Little Girl"Joy ByersFebruary 25, 19652:15
2."Golden Coins"Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence KayeFebruary 26, 19651:54
3."So Close, Yet So Far (From Paradise)"Joy ByersFebruary 25, 19653:01
4."Animal Instinct" (bonus track)Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence KayeFebruary 26, 19652:13
5."Wisdom of the Ages" (bonus track)Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence KayeFebruary 25, 19651:55

2003 Follow That Dream reissue[edit]




Year Chart Position
1965 Billboard Pop Albums 8


  1. ^ "Harum Scarum - Elvis Presley". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  2. ^ "Pop Albums". Elvis Presley: Official Site of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. 2013. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  3. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 201.
  4. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 198.
  5. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 417.
  6. ^ Worth, Fred L.; Tamerius, Steve D. (23 March 1992). Elvis: his life from A to Z. Wings Books. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  7. ^ McLafferty, Gerry (1989). Elvis Presley in Hollywood: celluloid sell-out. Hale. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  8. ^ Matthew-Walker, Robert (1995). Heartbreak hotel: the life and music of Elvis Presley. Castle Communications. ISBN 978-1-86074-055-8. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  9. ^ American Film Institute; Munden, Kenneth White (1971). The American Film Institute catalog of motion pictures produced in the United States. University of California Press. p. 457. ISBN 978-0-520-20970-1. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  10. ^ Cotten, Lee (21 July 1987). The Elvis catalog: memorabilia, icons, and collectibles celebrating the king of rock 'n' roll. Doubleday. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-385-23705-5. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  11. ^ Sources:

External links[edit]