Never-Heard Elvis Song Set for Release Oct. 7

By | August 16, 2003 at 12:00 AM

More than a quarter-century after his death, Elvis Presley has something new to get his fans all shook up.

A never-before-released song recorded by Presley nearly 40 years ago was recently unearthed and will be issued this fall by RCA Records as part of a new collection of favorites from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the label said on Friday.

The announcement comes on the eve of the 26th anniversary of Presley’s death, on Aug. 16, 1977, at age 42.

The song, “I’m a Roustabout,” originally was written for the 1964 Presley film “Roustabout,” co-starring Barbara Stanwyck, and was even recorded by Presley, but the song was rejected by producers and never used.

A completely different tune ultimately became the title song for both the movie “Roustabout” and the No. 1 album of the same name.

Meanwhile, an acetate recording of the original “I’m a Roustabout” sat for decades, undiscovered in the private collection of songwriter Winfield Scott, who composed it with longtime partner Otis Blackwell.

Neither of the men ever met Presley. Blackwell, who died last year, also shared credits on such Presley hits as “All Shook Up” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” as well as “Great Balls of Fire” for Jerry Lee Lewis.

Scott, now in his 80s, said in a telephone interview with Reuters that he happened across the unmarked recording of “I’m a Roustabout” in the basement of his New Jersey home several years ago but didn’t think much of it.

“I know it sounds strange, but I had actually forgotten about it. It was just laying around, along with a whole slew of other demos and a couple hundred songs,” he said. “At the time, I said, ‘Well gee, I wonder why (Presley) never released it?’ And then I just put it back with the rest of the demos until later on.”

The disc remained stashed away until Scott mentioned the song years later to a reporter. That reporter in turn mentioned it in an interview with RCA producer-researcher Ernst Jorgensen, who later contacted Scott, listened to the disc and arranged for the label to obtain the recording.

The song will now be included in an upcoming RCA release, “Elvis 2nd to None,” due out on Oct. 7. It’s a follow-up to last year’s compilation album “ELV1S 30 #1 Hits,” which topped the sales charts in the United States and 26 other countries and sold 9 million copies worldwide.

Among the hits from that album was the No. 1 dance remix of the previously obscure 1968 Presley tune, “A Little Less Conversation.”

The latest Elvis set will feature additional No. 1 hits from the King and lesser-known classics such as his first recorded single, “That’s All Right,” and a remixed version of 1969 song “Rubberneckin,” given a contemporary treatment by leading DJ Paul Oakenfold.

Hoping to repeat the success of last year’s “Little Less Conversation” remix, which climbed to No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, “Rubberneckin” will be released to radio Aug. 25 and as a commercial single on Sept. 9.

RCA is a unit of Bertelsmann AG’s BMG music group.

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