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Having Fun with Elvis on Stage

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Having Fun with Elvis on Stage
Havingfun.jpeg
Live album by
Released1974
Recorded1969–1972
GenreSpoken word
Length37:06
LabelBoxcar, RCA
ProducerElvis Presley
Elvis Presley chronology
Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis
(1974)
Having Fun with Elvis on Stage
(1974)
Promised Land
(1975)

Having Fun with Elvis on Stage is a 1974 spoken word concert album by American singer and musician Elvis Presley consisting entirely of dialogue and banter, mostly jokes, by Presley between songs during his live concerts, with the songs themselves removed from the recordings. The album was created as a ploy by Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, to self-release an Elvis Presley album through his own label, Boxcar Records, without using content that contractually belonged to RCA Records, so Parker could earn 100% of the profits. Having Fun with Elvis on Stage was first sold at Elvis Presley concerts, but RCA would later claim rights to the recordings and began to package and distribute it.

Having Fun with Elvis on Stage has been considered to be Presley's worst album; critics felt that the compilation of banter was incoherent, and lacked context due to the removal of the songs that many of his remarks relate to. In their 1991 book, Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell named Having Fun with Elvis on Stage the worst rock and roll album of all time, duly noting its lack of actual "rock and roll". Though Presley himself hated the album and insisted that it be withdrawn, RCA reissued it shortly after his death in 1977. Having Fun with Elvis on Stage reached number 130 on the Billboard 200, and peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot Country LPs.

Content and release[edit]

The record is unique in Elvis Presley's discography as it does not contain any actual music or songs; the album consists entirely of Presley talking between numbers, recorded during live concerts.[1] Presley is frequently heard humming or singing "Well ...", which during the actual performances led into songs that have been edited out of the recording.[1] Much of the album consists of Presley making jokes, although the recording is devoid of any context. Despite the randomness of the audio, from 8:01–11:55 on side A, Presley is captured speaking autobiographically about his early life and his career aspirations before becoming a singer, and his early appearance on The Steve Allen Show.[1]

The album was the idea of Colonel Tom Parker, Presley's manager. Parker wished to release an Elvis Presley album through Boxcar Records—a company that he formed to manage Presley's commercial rights,[2] so that he could profit directly from it.[1] However, since Presley was signed to RCA Records, any recordings made would legally belong to RCA.[1][3] In an attempt to circumvent this restriction, Parker compiled audio of Presley talking, not singing—material over which he erroneously believed RCA could not claim rights.[1]

Initially, the album was sold only at Presley's concerts.[4] Parker was soon informed that any sound recording Presley made while under contract to RCA Records legally belonged to the label. RCA soon claimed legal rights to the recordings and the album was later packaged and reissued on the RCA Victor label, with the same cover art as the Boxcar release and a "warning" for the buyer, "A Talking Album Only" on the front cover.[5][6] Presley is credited on the back cover as the album's executive producer.[6]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[3]
MusicHound[7]
Daily VaultC-[8]

Having Fun with Elvis on Stage has been described as the worst album of Elvis Presley's career.[5] Critics felt that the album's material was spliced in a manner lacking any continuity and nearly devoid of comprehensibility, let alone humor.[1][3] Mark Deming of AllMusic states that "some have called Having Fun with Elvis on Stage thoroughly unlistenable, but actually it's worse than that; hearing it is like witnessing an auto wreck that somehow plowed into a carnival freak show, leaving onlookers at once too horrified and too baffled to turn away."[3] Nick Greene, a writer for Mental Floss, felt that the material presented on the record is "so incoherent, you don't really get an idea of his stage presence, despite the fact that all the audio comes from his shows."[1] Rock critics Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell, writing in their 1991 book The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time, named it the worst rock album ever.[5]

The album peaked at number 130 on the main Billboard album chart,[5] and peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot Country LPs chart.[9] The album was eventually deleted.[6] RCA has never reissued the original album on compact disc, although unofficial pirated CD editions have been available, as well as a series of three 10" records released in the United Kingdom.[6]

Track listing[edit]

  1. Side A  – 18:06
  2. Side B  – 19:00

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
position[5][9]
Billboard Top Selling LP's 130
Billboard Hot Country LPs 9

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Greene, Nick (October 7, 2014). "Listening to Elvis Presley's Bizarre Album of Stage Banter". Mental Floss. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  2. ^ Nash, Alanna (2002). The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley. Aurum Press Ltd. p. 285. ISBN 978-1-85410-948-4.
  3. ^ a b c d Deming, Mark. "Elvis Presley Having Fun with Elvis on Stage". AllMusic. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  4. ^ Roy Carr and Mick Farren, Elvis: The Illustrated Record (Harmony Books, 1982), p. 156.
  5. ^ a b c d e Guterman, Jimmy and O'Donnell, Owen. The Worst Rock n' Roll Records Of All Time (Citadel Press, 1991).
  6. ^ a b c d "Having Fun with Elvis". Hymies Vintage Records. October 29, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  7. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 892. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  8. ^ Thelen, Christopher. "Having Fun With Elvis On Stage". Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Hot Country LPs". Billboard. 86 (52): 36. December 26, 1974. Retrieved January 10, 2015.

External links[edit]