This Elvis Presley Album Has No Songs on It For 1 Reason
Elvis Presley gave us some of the most popular classic rock music of all time, however, not all of his albums feature music. For example, his album Having Fun with Elvis on Stage includes no music at all. Here’s why his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, thought this was a good idea.
Why Colonel Tom Parker decided Elvis Presley should release an album with no songs
Part of the reason Elvis is so revered is because of his live performances. He had lots of charisma on stage and would make a lot of funny jokes. Two famous television films — the ‘68 Comeback Special and Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite — capture his prowess as a live performer. One album tried to do the same thing in an extremely unconventional way.
According to the book 100 Things Elvis Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Parker decided the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll should release a spoken word album. This was because he realized Elvis’ label, RCA, would not own the rights to any spoken word recordings by Elvis. However, the resulting record, Having Fun with Elvis on Stage, was not much like your average spoken word album.
Spoken word albums generally include monologues and/or poetry. On the other hand, Having Fun with Elvis on Stage includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s onstage banter without any songs. Many of his jokes are devoid of context so listening to the album is an unusual and disorienting experience.
How Elvis Presley’s fans reacted to the album
The public’s reaction to Having Fun with Elvis on Stage is notable. The album did not chart on the Billboard 200 at all. Given that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll released multiple No. 1 albums, it’s clear the public rejected Having Fun with Elvis on Stage. In addition, 100 Things Elvis Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die reports that, as of 2014, the album has never been reissued on CD.
How critics reacted to the album
The critical reception of the album was not much better. Portable Press lists the album as one of the worst of all time, alongside such infamous records as Kevin Federline’s Playing with Fire, the Bee Gee’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (not to be confused with The Beatles’ album of the same name), and Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. In addition, the book The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time lists the album as the worst rock ‘n’ roll record of all time, in spite of the lack of rock ‘n’ roll on it.
Whereas other Elvis records continue to influence new artists to this day, Having Fun with Elvis on Stage seems remembered mostly by dedicated fans and those interested in infamous music. While Elvis was the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Having Fun with Elvis on Stage proves not all of his albums went over well.