The King of Rock & Roll backed by strings and brass? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Elvis had diverse musical tastes and was a big fan of opera singer Mario Lanza. “This is the album he always would have wanted to do,” says Priscilla Presley, the singer’s former wife. Added Priscilla, who approved the pairing of Elvis’ vocals with brand-new accompaniment by London’s Royal Philharmonic: “He would have loved to play with such a prestigious symphony orchestra.” Released for his 80th birthday, the collection is a reminder of Elvis’ emotive power, whether on familiar songs like “Love Me Tender” or the inspirational title track. Italian operatic pop trio Il Volo joins Elvis on a robust “It’s Now or Never,” while Michael Bublé performs a thrilling virtual duet with the King on a bristling “Fever.” With unobtrusive backing by the Philharmonic, the legend gets the tasteful, if unexpected, symphonic treatment he ultimately deserves.
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