Elvis Presley

Girls! Girls! Girls!

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Blue Hawaii was such a big hit that it only made sense to bring Elvis back to the islands for 1962's Girls! Girls! Girls! Thankfully, everybody involved with the production of the film decided that its soundtrack didn't need to be loaded up with Hawaiian-themed exotica -- they couldn't, however, resist the nautical-themed "Thanks to the Rolling Sea" and "Song of the Shrimp" -- but that is also an indication of how Col. Tom Parker and RCA chose to channel all their recording energy into soundtracks and singles. Blue Hawaii sold considerably more than Pot Luck, the Presley album from the summer of 1962, so everybody chose to pour all their efforts into the soundtracks, a move that made Girls! Girls! Girls! slightly more musically diverse than either G.I. Blues or Blue Hawaii, but the album still found plenty of space for trifle -- not just the aforementioned songs of the sea but the Eastern-tinged "Earth Boy" and flamenco-flavored "Walls Have Ears." That said, there was also room for two Otis Blackwell numbers -- the standard "Return to Sender" overshadowing the quite excellent "We're Coming In Loaded" -- and there are other inspired bits of pizzazz, ranging from Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller's rampaging title track to the swinging defiance of "I Don't Wanna Be Tied," numbers that lack the rawness of rock & roll but play off Presley's swagger. He also gets plenty of space to indulge in his softer side: "Where Do You Come From" attempts to rewrite "Can't Help Falling in Love" to no avail, but "I Don't Want To" isn't a bad slow dance number and "Because of Love" floats on an appealing shuffle. It all adds up to a pretty enjoyable record, one that perhaps doesn't capture Presley at his best but nevertheless finds an effective way to package and polish his charm for the silver screen.

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