This album represented the culmination of the January and February Memphis sessions at Chips Moman’s American studio, which was in the midst of a 120-record, three-year chart-making run when Elvis arrived. Perhaps not surprisingly, the sessions upended much of the established protocol of a typical Elvis record date, not least by the introduction of another creative voice (Chips Moman’s). In addition, it re-established some long-abandoned hallmarks of the Elvis style. Most of all, the quest for “perfect imperfection” he had first learned in Sam Phillips’ Sun studio – that is, the determination to sing a song as many times as you needed to get a good take but not so many times that you lost the feeling, whether it took two days or two takes (or in some cases just one). You can hear the unerring result of both approaches on the album, from the meticulously produced (and deeply felt) version of Jerry Butler’s “Only The Strong Survive” to Elvis’ impromptu sit-down at the piano for Eddy Arnold’s “I’ll Hold You In My Heart,” where Elvis keeps going long after the band is ready to quit, pouring out his soul in an impassioned reading of verse after repeated verse. Chips had little use for what he considered such uncontrolled self-indulgence, but both approaches were of equal value in Elvis’ more generous aesthetic. The album was almost immediately acknowledged as a masterpiece, particularly in a Rolling Stone lead review that declared it to be “flatly and unequivocally the equal of anything he has ever done.” It sold well (500,000), if not spectacularly – but sadly it marked not just the beginning but the end of Elvis’ collaboration with Chips Moman, which dissolved in a welter of politics and the usual song-publishing disputes.