Elvis Presley's Today was released 45 years ago, a rock'n'roll lighthouse in a world dominated by disco
News author: Deborah Ross / 2020-05-10 20:15:38Today by Elvis Presley was that mediocre record which, however, in the historical context of that 1975, came to bring everyone back to the roots of rock'n'roll while the world of disco music was becoming increasingly popular. The King was increasingly naked and tired, but he still had much to do and say. Two years later he would have left this world, but not before having put on a disc in which he combined his passion for rock with the most classic of ballads.
By the 70s the decline of The King had taken hold: Elvis was increasingly pursued by that glaucoma that got worse with the stage lights. In 1973 his marriage to his wife Priscilla was over and his body was increasingly demanding drugs, tranquilizers and amphetamines. The perfect, statuesque and divine container had swelled up, seldom smiled and ate a lot in what had all the aspects of a self-destructive process.
The Memphis Mafia, or the elements of his entourage, published a book entitled Elvis, what happened? with the result of a portrait of The King as a man abandoned to himself and projected towards an unworthy end. Elvis 'world escaped from Elvis' own hands.
That Memphis Mafia herself, in 1967, received a phone call from Elvis Presley while the King was returning to Memphis aboard his bus after acting in a movie. Jailhouse Rock's voice that night was listening to the radio and came across Tom Jones' hit Green Green Grass Of Home. He liked that song so much that he telephoned his crew to ask to contact that radio station and ask her to broadcast the song many times.
8 years later Tom Jones' Green Green Grass Home was chosen by Elvis as the closing song for Today, the third-to-last album of The King as well as one of the last examples of the mood of a revolutionary artist. Many years had passed since Elvis left to conquer the world becoming a legend from a young age. He loved the blues, he loved rock and he loved gospel and his merit was to have united these three worlds in a post-war period in which the whole world wanted to daydream.
It was March 10 when Elvis Presley's Today began recording at RCA Studios in Hollywood, and work ended on day 12. Two days of work for ten tracks that became a record that started with rock'n'roll and ended with that memory of that 1967 in which he discovered the hit of Tom Jones.
He started with rock'n'roll because TROUBLE was a song that echoed the canons of Elvis: adrenaline, movement and panache, and for this reason it gave the King a prestigious place in the top 40 of the US, but it was with his cover of Tom Jones' Green Green Grass Home that Elvis Presley took back the top of the UK charts.
Other covers dotted the tracklist: there were Don McLean's beautiful And I Love You So, Troy Seals' Piece Of My Life and Greg Gordon's Bringing It Back, personal choices that Elvis Presley personally chose to pay tribute to the music he loved. Strong, therefore, was the melodic presence in the mood of the album and just as had happened for the previous The Promised Land you could breathe all the inner torment of an artist who was struggling to see the light.
This is why Elvis Presley's Today is remembered as the last record recorded in a studio: The King accepted to sing only on stage and he was increasingly intolerant of recording studios, so much so that after Today he moved the works directly to his held in Memphis, more precisely in the jungle room.
Even today we talk about Today by Elvis Presley with some embarrassment: it is not admissible, in fact, to speak of mediocrity when it comes to The King and yet the disc is meticulous in the quality of the audio, the arrangements and in the choice of tracks.
The most passionate say that Elvis Presley's Today is an underestimated record, and they are not wrong: perhaps it is not the masterpiece that was Elvis Presley (1956) that even inspired the cover of London Calling of the Clash, but it certainly showed how important it was an art master like the King in a world that was diverted to the more commercial dimension of music.