Friday, August 14, 2015

The Comeback

In 1968, Elvis hadn't performed live for an audience since 1961. He had been concentrating on his acting career. He hadn't had a number 1 single on the charts since 1962 and the music scene had dramatically changed since then. Elvis had grown tired of making films and his films were starting to decline in popularity. In an effort to rejuvenate his career, his manager Col. Tom Parker approached NBC about a television special. It would be a Christmas special but instead of having Elvis just sing Christmas carols, they would showcase his talents by using large sets, incorporate dance and a live audience.

On June 27, 1968 Elvis stepped on an intimate stage on a Burbank studio lot to film 4 one hour segments that would be used for the special. He was clad in head to toe black leather. These sessions were jam sessions where Elvis could get comfortable in front of a live audience again. He had minimal band around him and he would sit and play guitar along with them. As the shows went on, Elvis became more comfortable with the audience.

Elvis recorded several different large scale numbers that would be incorporated into the final product. These numbers were some of his largely popular songs. Elvis ended the show with a powerful vocal number, If I Can Dream. It was as if he was telling the world that his hopes were all pined to the special and his comeback.

On December 3, 1968 the Elvis NBC TV Special aired. Elvis was extremely nervous and concerned with how the public and the critics would receive it. He had worked so hard on creating something he was proud about and had put a lot of heart into the performances. If the special wasn't welcomed by the public then Elvis would be at a standstill on his career. Fortunately for Elvis, the critics and fans loved it. The critics noted that Elvis sounded and looked better than ever. Younger audiences tuned in and were immediately captivated by his charm, music and charisma. Coincidently, the only Christmas song that Elvis sang during the special was Blue Christmas.

The 1968 special put Elvis back on the music map. The special led to Elvis touring and his Las Vegas residency shows.


elle jo said...

So glad he had a great comeback. Honestly, Elvis was way before my time, but it's still awesome to hear about him.

liz @ sundays with sophie

Betsy @ Happily Ever After, Etc. said...

I loved reading a little bit about Elvis... my grandma adores him and has so much Elvis memorabilia in her home! Haha! I love him and his music (of course) but don't know much about his life!

Penny @ Penny's Passion said...

You just got to love Elvis. We've been in Memphis a few times this summer so we've thought about Elvis more than normal lately.

Domicile 37 said...

He was a great artist. I was born in a different time than when he was famous but I am happy I had parents who jammed out to him!

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD be still my beating heart, the BEST ELVIS EVER!!!! Black leather, swept back hair, Greek God tan, Elvis WAS GOD!