Elvis Presley to release new Christmas Duets album – 31 years after his death

 

Elvis Presley is to release a brand new Christmas duets album this autumn – despite being dead for over 30 years.

 

Sony BMG and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. have announced plans to release a newly-recorded album, titled Elvis Presley Christmas Duets, in October 2008.

 

The release is seen as marking yet another milestone in Elvis Presley’s legacy. It’s the first Elvis album of duets and, according to Sony BMG, the first Christmas compilation of its kind ever produced.

 

With the aid of the latest advanced audio technology, 10 leading country stars – including LeAnn Rimes, Amy Grant and Anne Murray – have been able to ‘duet’ with Elvis on some of his classic Christmas songs.

 

For older songs originally recorded on a single track, studio engineers created new musical beds to perfectly match the instrumentation and arrangements on the original recording. In the case of songs recorded in multi-track – where Elvis’s vocal was isolated on a single track – his voice was simply dropped for a given verse or chorus to make room for the duet artist.

 

To be as faithful as possible to the original recordings, the new album was recorded in the fabled RCA Studio B in Nashville where Elvis recorded his second Christmas album, Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas, in 1971.

 

Elvis’s first Christmas LP – titled Elvis’s Christmas Album – was originally released in October 1957. It consisted of eight Christmas songs plus four gospel songs taken from his EP Peace In The Valley. It has since become the biggest selling Christmas album of all time in America.

 

Elvis’s Christmas Album included Presley’s version of the perennial favourite ‘White Christmas’. When the song’s composer, Irving Berlin, heard the recording, he was so disgusted he reportedly tried to have the song – and the entire album – banned from radio airplay in the United States.

 

On the new album, though, Elvis can be heard singing ‘White Christmas’ with the far-from-controversial Amy Grant

 

“We are so pleased that these accomplished artists are collaborating with Elvis in this unique way to make exciting new versions of his Christmas songs,” said Priscilla Presley. “I am sure Elvis would be proud to have worked with them.”

 

Joe Galante, chairman of Sony BMG Nashville, added: “There has been tremendous excitement from the many artists contributing their voices to these Elvis Christmas classics. We believe Elvis fans will truly enjoy these unique collaborations while introducing Elvis’s holiday classics to the many fans of his duet partners.”

 

The album also contains another surprise for Elvis fans. The Jordanaires – Elvis’s old vocal backing group – have even been brought back to re-record their parts.

 

“It’s amazing what they can do,” said The Jordanaires’ Gordon Stoker. “Elvis sounds great. The recordings sound as if they were done yesterday.”

 

The following tracks have so far been confirmed for the album:

 

‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ – with Carrie Underwood

‘Blue Christmas’ – with Martina McBride

‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ – with LeAnn Rimes

‘Silent Night’ – with Sara Evans

‘Merry Christmas Baby’ – with Gretchen Wilson

‘Silver Bells’ – with Anne Murray

‘White Christmas’ – with Amy Grant

‘O Little Town’ – with Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town

‘Santa Claus Is Back In Town’ – with Wynonna Judd.

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