What would have been Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday on Thursday is being recognized on multiple fronts, many of them spotlighting the recordings that built his legacy.
Presley’s label, RCA Records, now part of Sony Music, is reissuing his ‘60s albums in a new edition mastered for iTunes. “The Complete ‘60s Album Collection, Vol. 1,” encompasses the albums Presley put out from 1960 to 1965, starting with one cited as a favorite of numerous Presley aficionados, “Elvis is Back,” the album that marked his return to the studio following his two-year stint in the Army.
It also includes “G.I. Blues,” the gospel collection “His Hand in Mine” and several of his movie soundtracks.
Popmarket.com, Sony’s direct-marketing arm, also is featuring discounts on several Presley recording sets, and the label is helping promote the launch Thursday of a new website dedicated to his music, www.ElvistheMusic.com.
Meanwhile, Spotify is getting in on the act in a number of ways, including a playlist called “#Elvis80: The Fan Favorites Playlist” which was unveiled Thursday and compiles the tracks most popular among Spotify listeners.
Spotify also has created a new Web app called “The Elvis Influence,” which purports to show Presley’s influence on any artist a user wishes to enter at the site. There’s also a feature called the “Elvisualization,” an audiographic mapping his influence on today’s musicians.
But Spotify is also offering its uniquely skewed view of the world through three Presley-related lists based on streaming of his music.
According to the global ranking of most streamed Presley tracks, the recording that’s most popular in the world is “Suspicious Minds.” Not terribly surprising, but then look at the list of the most streamed track in the U.S.: The No. 1 spot is held by “Blue Christmas,” and at No. 10 is “Here Comes Santa Claus,” leading to the conclusion that Spotify’s survey period likely covered all of December 2014.
Then there’s Spotify’s list of “Countries with the biggest Elvis fans” -- with no indication of whether that’s a measure of enthusiasm, height and/or weight.
Does the U.S. rank in the top 10? No.
How about Britain, where fans historically have shown extraordinary dedication to Presley? No. Japan? No. Germany? No.
El Salvador is ranked No. 10, and Iceland turns up at No. 5.
And the country at No. 1? Chile.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., Hollywood-area roots musicians are set to take part Thursday in the 28th Elvis Birthday Bash, being held this year at the Avalon Hollywood, the same site where Presley appeared on Milton Berle's TV show in 1956.
Finally, SiriusXM satellite radio is saluting the King all day Thursday on its Elvis Radio channel 19.
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