Priscilla Presley Helped Realize Elvis Presley’s Musical Vision With the Album ‘If I Can Dream’

Priscilla Presley highlighted Elvis Presley’s love of orchestral music through the album ‘If I Can Dream’ and its follow-up, ‘The Wonder of You’.

Though she’s not known as a musician, Priscilla Presley served as an executive producer on Elvis Presley‘s album If I Can Dream. The record came out in 2015, decades after the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll‘s death in 1977. Priscilla said If I Can Dream reflected Elvis’ unfulfilled desires for his career.

Priscilla Presley said Elvis Presley’s ‘If I Can Dream’ album reflected his passions

Elvis gave us music in so many styles. His discography includes rock ‘n’ roll, pop, country, bossa nova, rockabilly, gospel, rhythm and blues, and so much more. In 2015, Priscilla highlighted his versatility by producing an orchestral album for him. The record, If I Can Dream, features Elvis’ vocals and the backing of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

During a 2016 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Priscilla discussed Elvis’ tastes and her artistic intentions. “His taste was so diverse,” she said. “Yes, he had country. Yes, he had rhythm and blues. Yes, he had Black music. But he also loved opera and Bach and Brahms.”

Priscilla said the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll would have wanted to release orchestral music. “I wanted to expose him in a way that he never had the opportunity to — wanted to, but never was able to,” she said. Priscilla discussed how others got in the way of Elvis’ artistic vision. “He was stifled by his label, even his management,” she recalled. “Records were altered after he left the studio.”

The album’s success led to an Elvis Presley remix album called ‘The Wonder of You’

Priscilla revealed Elvis’ bandleader, Joe Guercio, had an idea for something similar to If I Can Dream. “He told me, ‘Priscilla, I want to get a full orchestra and put Elvis’s music to it,’” said Presley. “I said, ‘Oh, my God, Joe, we’re already doing it!’”

If I Can Dream went on to sell over 1.5 million copies. “That was a surprise,” Priscilla said. “Afterwards, people were writing in: ‘Are you going to do more?’” she said. “So we jumped right on it. We didn’t want to lose the momentum.” Priscilla and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra released a follow-up to If I Can Dream in 2016 called The Wonder of You.

“I’m very protective of his reputation,” she said. “People can’t get enough of Elvis. You give them a little, and they want more.”

How ‘If I Can Dream’ and ‘The Wonder of You’ performed

If I Can Dream became a hit in the United States. The record reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for eight weeks. The record produced an orchestral version of its title track which did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Wonder of You was far less popular. The Wonder of You climbed to No. 47 and remained on the chart for two weeks. The orchestral version of “The Wonder of You” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

If I Can Dream and The Wonder of You came out decades after Elvis’ death but Priscilla felt they captured his musical spirit.

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