Elvis Aaron Presley is a man who needs no introduction. One of the most successful singers in history, he’s an American cultural icon and has more than earned his nickname of “The King.”
With three Grammys, a lifetime achievement award (which he received at the age of 36), over 600 MILLION albums sold worldwide, and a discography that other artists would kill to have, the man’s body of work practically speaks for itself.
Who could forget some of monumental successes with albums like Love Me Tender?
Or moments like Aloha From Hawaii, the first concert broadcast live via satellite!
Or even his pretty extensive acting career?
All pretty great stuff right? Well, what if I told you that Elvis once released an album that wasn’t just bad. It was even just really bad. It’s considered one of the worst albums of all time.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Having Fun With Elvis on Stage.
Seriously, this album is pretty crazy…
Released in 1974 and initially just sold outside of Elvis concerts, Having Fun With Elvis on Stage is, I kid you not, an entire album of just clips of Elvis “The King” Presley talking to the audience at concerts. That’s it. There is literally NO music on this thing.
Seriously. What makes it even crazier is that a bunch of the things he talks about are songs he’s either about to play, or has just finished playing. But you don’t get those, no sir. You just get The King’s rambles and quips.
Of course, there’s a bigger story behind why this album exists. Elvis had a pretty infamous manager named Colonel Tom Parker (he wasn’t a real Colonel) who exploited his client’s fame and basically pocketed the results, so of course Having Fun With Elvis on Stage was entirely his idea.
Specifically, he discovered a loophole in Elvis’s contract with RCA records; if Parker produced an album of Elvis’s that technically didn’t contain any of the singer’s material that was contractually obligated to RCA, he could theoretically pocket all of the profits. Thus, Having Fun With Elvis on Stage was released on Parker’s own label, Boxcar Records.
The album was critically panned after release. Critics felt that without the context of Presley’s live shows, the banter made no sense whatsoever (go figure), and their 1991 book, critics Jimmy Guterman and Owen O’Donnell named it the worst rock and roll album of all time, duly noting its lack of actual “rock and roll.” Elvis would die of a heart attack only three years later.