As early as next week, BMG Entertainment and RCA Records are expected to unveil plans for a massive global marketing and promotional campaign to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's dea

As early as next week, BMG Entertainment and RCA Records are expected to unveil plans for a massive global marketing and promotional campaign to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, Billboard exclusively reveals in the March 30 issue. Presley died of heart failure on Aug. 16, 1977, at the age of 42.

The initiative will center on a one-disc retrospective of the artist's top hits -- akin to Capitol's Beatles retrospective, "1." The album, "ELV1S 30 Number One Hits," is set for a late-October release on RCA. It will be the first time Presley's 30 No. 1 singles have been assembled on one CD. In addition, BMG Heritage will release a four-CD boxed set in July with more than 100 previously unreleased versions of Presley classics.

In support of the effort, BMG is teaming with Bertelsmann Content Network (BCN), the media giant's internal synergies unit, to create cross-promotional opportunities between the label group and its sister companies. BMG and RCA are also working on promotions with the likes of AOL, Lycos, NASCAR, and Elvis Presley Enterprises. In the works, too, are strategic alliances with leading automotive, sports, credit card, apparel, retail, and food-and-beverage companies.

Meanwhile, the battle over Presley's enduring ability to attract tourists to Memphis, where his Graceland mansion is located, is very much alive. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Presley's official estate is fighting a rival project -- an Elvis theme park that would be just eight miles from Graceland.

Elvis Presley Enterprises owns the Elvis trademark. But a property magnate from Atlanta plans to build a $500 million Elvis-themed resort on a ranch once owned by the singer, where Elvis and Priscilla Presley honeymooned in 1967. A Graceland spokesperson said the proposed theme park could go forward as long as it has a name that doesn't involve trademarked words such as "Elvis," "Presley," and "Graceland."


-- Brian Garrity, N.Y. & AP



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