Tuesday marks the 39th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death at age 42 on Aug. 16, 1977, and as usual, there will be a plethora of activities in and around Graceland to celebrate his life for thousands of fans who make a pilgrimage to his final resting place.
Those who aren’t making the trek to Memphis, Tenn., can mark the occasion by listening to his final recording sessions, released recently by Sony Legacy Recordings, “Elvis Presley: Way Down in the Jungle Room,” a double album that gathers the work he and his band members recorded in Graceland’s infamous Jungle Room.
The set gathers 33 tracks, a mix of country and pop standards such as “She Thinks I Still Care,” “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Danny Boy” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” with newer songs pitched to Presley such as “Hurt,” “Moody Blue” and the title track.
The latter three were the final singles released during his lifetime, with “Way Down,” the last of the three, becoming his 157th record to appear in the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.
Presley worked during two extended sessions in February and October of 1976, marking the 20-year anniversary of his signing with RCA Records in 1956. Musicians on those sessions included guitarist James Burton, keyboardists David Briggs and Glen D. Hardin, bassists Jerry Scheff and Norbert Putnam, drummer Ronnie Tutt and singers J.D. Sumner & the Stamps.
The album, which is available on CD, vinyl and digital download, includes master recordings and outtakes newly mixed at Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, the studio that Sun Studio founder Sam Phillips built after leaving Sun when his original lease on the building that housed Sun ended.
In addition, the Elvis Presley channel on SiriusXM satellite radio is offering a full week of special programming centered on the Elvis Week events at Graceland.
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