Unlike most other 1960's soundtrack
there is no subjective decision to make whether
the 'Viva Las Vegas'
masters should be remastered from 3-track for release
or not, simply because there were no (final) original
stereo masters produced for 'Viva Las Vegas' in
the first place. It is not an easy task because
of dry sound and unrational use of the 3 tracks
available. How a mix should be done is usually too
subjective to even argue about, but perhaps not
in this case.
The Lady Loves Me, You're The Boss,
and Santa Lucia were recorded with backup
vocals only on the third, "empty" channel.
No effort at creating a stereo or even mono image
can improve this situation and it is considered
necessary to keep the instruments on one stereo
channel, the vocals centered, and the backup vocals
on the other 2-track stereo channel. This will
leave an almost empty right channel, and a certain
amount of leakage from the instrumental channel
may be necessary. It is exactly this approach
has been taken on the 2003 FTD 'Viva Las Vegas'
soundtrack, which is an ambitious attempt at remastering
the entire 'Viva Las Vegas' soundtrack.
M.G.M. soundtracks were recorded dry and the
typical 60's approach would be to apply dynamic
processing for record release, especially utilizing
dynamic compression and only light reverb of the
vocal channel. Using just a little compression
and hardly any reverb makes this modern attempt
a success overall and so much better than previous
efforts. The result does not sound alien beside
the original 'Girl Happy' LP masters, which were
recorded in the same manner as 'Viva Las Vegas'
and also by George Stoll and Dave Weichman.
Sadly, the amplitude level has been pushed up
about 3-4 dB over the 0 dB limit on the FTD 'Viva
Las Vegas' soundtrack and this distracts from
what otherwise would have been an excellent release
all the way. The title song Viva Las Vegas
(master) is for instance first clipped from amplitude
overload and then limited to -3 dB, just to make
sure that all reasons for the initial compromise
were eliminated as well - and leaving us with
"the worst of both worlds".
It has been rumoured that You're The Boss
was originally intended to be used on RCA's 'A
Golden Celebration' box set in 1984, but the tape
was lost (or stolen) while the set was being compiled.
The Master intended for 'A Golden Celebration'
was finally issued in 1990 on the CD 'Elvis Sings
Leiber & Stoller' and 'Collectors Gold' set,
and it was spliced from Take 16 and the ending
of Take 3. The "Original" Master as
cut on acetate during the sessions is just Take
16 alone, and was first released on 'Double Features'.
Take 3, alone, was also issued on FTD's 'Silver
Screen Stereo' but has added echo.
The duet version of Today, Tomorrow &
Forever (2011) was also intended to be issued
on 'A Golden Celebration' in 1984 but the tape
was lost (or stolen) while the set was being complied.
It was finally issued on BMG's 'Today, Tomorrow
& Forever' box set in 2002.
Today Tomorrow & Forever (2012) is
an unused medium tempo instrumental track that
includes backing vocals. The arrangement is similar
to the duet version, and was probably considered
to be used for the movie version.
The unused Take 4 of Today, Tomorrow &
Forever (2014) is a dubdown to instrumental
track of 2013 Take 4, and was probably considered
to be used for the movie version of Today,
Tomorrow & Forever (2016). Take 6 of Today,
Tomorrow & Forever (2014) is a dubdown
to instrumental track of 2013 Take 6 but has the
second bridge and third verse edited out, and
was used for the movie version of Today, Tomorrow
& Forever (2016).
The movie version of Today, Tomorrow &
Forever (2016) is a vocal overdub of 2014-06,
but has the Jordanaires big ending edited out
of the track before Elvis' vocal overdub. The
version used in the movie 'Viva Las Vegas' has
the second verse edited out too, after Elvis'
According to "Sessions III" the movie
version of C'mon Everybody is primarily
take 7, take 3 ('hand clapping' and 'finger snapping')
and the ending of take 1.
The master of Santa Lucia is spliced on
the FTD soundtrack with the first part being from
the 1965 2-track album master, so there is reason
to believe the master tape is damaged.
The correct 1965 'Elvis for Everyone' LP master
matrix number is SPA3 5518, rather than the unused
SPA1 6893, SPA1 6898 or SPA3 7091 assigned in
'A Life In Music' and 'Sessions III'
both incorrectly list the matrix number for Santa
Lucia as being SPA1 6898.
In March of 2007, Sony decided to go through
all of Elvis' masters. They retransferred everything
and remastered all tracks including repairing
as many clicks, pops, bad edits and dropouts as
they could. They have used these newly mastered
recordings on their new releases since 2007 including
budget soundtracks, 'Legacy' releases, the 30
disc 'Complete Elvis Presley Masters' collection
and the Franklin Mint package.
Thanks to Ernst Jørgensen and Erik Rasmussen
for providing information on the unused 1965 overdubs
and edits of Santa Lucia.
Thanks to Juan Luis Gonzales Brugal for identifying the different mix of Take 9 of The Lady Loves Me on the Ann Margret CD 'The Very Best Of Ann Margret'.