Category Archives: CONCERTS

Graceland Introduces Elvis Unplugged

It’s hard to believe that Elvis Week starts next Friday. Festivities kick off on August 9 and continue until Sunday, August 18. That’s a long 10-day week, and I’m always interested to see what EPE comes up with to lure fans to come to that early first weekend.

 

The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest semis and finals in the Graceland Soundstage now seem to be a permanent early fixture of Elvis Week. And last year, Graceland made them even better with the addition of After-Parties on the streets of Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

So, this year, the challenge apparently was to schedule something new and appealing during those afternoons. I think they have come up with a winner… ELVIS UNPLUGGED. I saw a long-haired hippy-looking guy named Julio at Elvis Week 2002 do this, and it was a nice change from the full band treatment.

 

2002 was the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ death, so Graceland planned some big-time stuff for the celebration. Including an incredible concert experience in the Pyramid.

 

The first Elvis in Concert was amazing and a fitting end to the week. I have no idea what they had at the beginning because I came for all the late stuff.

But now EPE has made it worthwhile for the fans to come earlier, which brings us back to:

ELVIS UNPLUGGED

 

In 2002, Graceland had little use for Elvis Impersonators. This year, there is hardly a day that doesn’t have one or two events starring ETA’s. And Graceland presents only the best of them during Elvis Week.

Here is the list of winners of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

2007 Shaun Klush
2008 Brandon Bennett
2009 Bill Cherry
2010 Justin Shandor
2011 Cody Ray Slaughter
2012 Ben Portsmouth
2013 Dean Z
2014 Jay Dupuis
2015 David Lee
2016 Dwight Icenhower
2017 Gordon Hendricks
2018 Ben Thompson

The names in bold are the six champions who will participate in the Elvis Unplugged shows this year. Both nights will be hosted by Dean Z, who has been called “the best entertainer in our business,” by Jeff Lewis, originator of the After-Parties and a man who has seen them all.

Dean Z in Jailhouse Rock Prison Uniform

 

Dean Z working out on stage

 

Dean Z will be joined on Saturday night by Jay Dupuis and Shawn Klush.

Four shots of Jay Dupuis as Elvis

 

Shawn Klush off stage

I have written about Shawn Klush a few times in ElvisBlog. I saw his act at Elvis Week 2002 in the funky New Daisy Theater. It was the last event of a long day and it was called the Elvis Midnight Blues Jam. It is where I saw that fellow Julio do the Elvis unplugged act I mentioned earlier. I don’t know where his career went, but Shawn Klush certainly moved on to better things. Five years later he was crowned the first Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist winner, and his career has been on a roll ever since.

For the Sunday night Elvis Unplugged concert there will be four Ultimate ETAs on stage. Dean Z will be joined by Ben Thompson, Cody Ray Slaughter and Dwight Icenhower.

Dwight Icenhower

 

Cody ray Slaughter also has his own show on the first night, Friday August 9. He will be backed by the David Fontana Band.

 

David Fontana is DJ’s son, and of course, that’s him on the drums.

 

Ben Thompson

 

Here is Ben Thompson on stage with Jeff Lewis (right), the MC of the After-Parties. Jeff expressed this sentiment about the After-Parties being moved to the Graceland Exhibition Center this year, “Thank God we’ll have air conditioning!” Other benefits may be a lot more table seating for the party-goers, and a better dance floor surface. It sounds like it will be a wonderful night-club set-up to me.

The Elvis Unplugged shows will also have air conditioned comfort inside the Guest House Theater. This seems the perfect small venue for a show billed as:

Live Elvis music and personal stories. An intimate acoustic experience among friends sharing music, laughter and fun.

 

The price of these unplugged concerts is just $25, which seems a bargain for Elvis Tribute Artists of this caliber. The Saturday, August 10 show sold out early, and the Sunday, August 11 will probably be by the time you read this.

If I could pull it off, I would love to be in Memphis on that Saturday night, and go to the Elvis Unplugged concert at 2:00 at the Guest House Theater, The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist finals at 7:00 at the Graceland Soundstage, and the After-Party at 9:00 in the Exhibition Center. What a nice dream, but for some lucky Elvis fans, it will be a reality.

 

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Postscripts to Earlier ElvisBlog Articles

Vegas Meowvis Pawsley-T-shirt

Do you remember the t-shirt I panned because the cat Elvis looked like he had a broken neck? Well, it turns out you get something good if you crop the picture just right.

Incredible Cat Elvis

How difficult is the challenge to draw recognizable elements of both a cat and Elvis in one picture? To me, the artist totally pulled it off. Over the years, I have posted concert pictures showing the intensity of Elvis’ eyes while performing. These eyes here are more subtle, but they are good, half-looking over the iconic Elvis shades. Please note the lip snarl on the cat. I don’t know why anyone would want to create a Cat Elvis, but I am impressed by the results.

 

Memphis Grizzlie Blocking Elvis Taking a Basketball Shot

Just last week, I posted this picture of a Memphis Grizzlie blocking an Elvis’ shot. That bear would have a lot tougher time against this Elvis.

Dunking Elvises

Notice the angled trampoline and the double landing pads. I guess these guys do flips before dunking the basketball. Anybody know who they are?

 

2012 ElvisBlog post about Jailhouse Rock Image

It’s been seven years since I did this post showing a lot of variations folks had created from the most favored pose on the right.

Elvis and Rock & Roll

This is pretty cool. It connects Elvis with early Rock ‘n Roll. You’ve got the 50s diner floor tile and the old album on the wall. Well done.

 

Chubby Checker

Do you remember the post about Chubby Checker performing on the Graceland Soundstage on June 22? Well, check out what that has morphed to:

Fabulous 50s Weekend at Graceland

Fabulous 50s Weekend sounds great to somebody like me who actually lived through the 50s. My four years of high school ran from 1956 to 1960, so I was a teenager during those most wonderful years of early rock and roll. I would love to go to this weekend if I could.

Here is more detail on all the good stuff they’ve planned for the Fabulous 50s Weekend:

Fabulous 50's Weekend Events at Graceland.

Note where I’ve marked the Graceland Exhibition Center. Last week I was searching for this venue, and now it shows up here. Those are three good-sounding exhibits.

I told you I’ve been  searching for it on Graceland.com/news since February, and still no pictures of the Graceland Exhibition Center have showed up. Can’t be long now.

 

One more thought on the Fabulous 50s Weekend. Chubby Checker was not a 50s rocker. His song “The Twist” entered the Billboard Top 40 in August 1960. One month later I started college at Penn State. We did an incredible amount of twisting my freshman year. “The Twist” reached #1 and stayed on the charts for 15 weeks.

However, “The Twist” had a second life. According to Billboard:

“’The Twist’ was the only single to be No. 1 twice on the Hot 100, in two different chart runs. After topping the chart in 1960, the dance caught on with the older generation. Checker was invited to perform “The Twist” on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Oct. 22, 1961, prompting a re-release of the single and a full-page ad in Billboard that proclaimed, “‘The Twist’ dance rage explodes into the adult world!” The grown-ups bought enough copies to send the song back to No. 1 in early 1962.”

But, who cares if Chubby Checker is really a 60s rocker. He’s going to put on a great show at Graceland.

 

Mount Rockmore

The first Eye Candy post featured this design called Mt. Rockmore. From left to right, we have Elvis, John Lennon, Bob Marley, and Jimi Hendrix.

Tiki Gods of Rock

Some fool tried to do a different version on Tiki poles. And they did a horrible job on Elvis. Makes him look like a criminal.

Mount Hollywood by Renato Casaro

Elvis looks way better on this, called Mt. Hollywood. Actually, they all look pretty good.

 

Alternate Kid Galahad (Pugno Proibito) posters from Italy

Two weeks ago, I noted how this Italian poster for Kid Galahad made it seem like Charles Bronson, not Elvis, was the star of the movie. I said he must have been really popular in Italy in 1962 for them to manipulate things like they did on this poster.

Then I heard from regular reader cc rider who said, “The Italian poster is a release made in the 70s. Bronson was very famous in Italy after he made Sergio Leone‘s “Once Upon a Time in the West”, in 68.”

So, it seems they re-released Kid Galahad in Italy in the 70s to capitalize on his fame.

Kid Galahad Italian Poster Forbidden Fist

This is also an Italian poster for Kid Galahad, but it must be from 1962 because Elvis is clearly the lead character, and Charles Bronson has fifth billing. The movie’s title translates to Forbidden Fist.

Kid Galahad Spanish Poster - Floor of Canvas

Charles Bronson must have been hot in Spain, too, in the 70s. He still gets fifth billing, but his two pictures are much more the focus than the two of Elvis. The title translates to Floor of Canvas, which refers to a boxing ring, but that seems like a stupid title to me.

 

A screaming crowd of teenage girls are restrained by police outside an Elvis concert in 1956.

I posted this shot of a mob of Elvis fans two weeks ago. Regular reader Sandra Van Horne advised that the photo was on Scotty Moore’s website with this caption: “Stage Door Glimpse of Elvis Starts Riot – Aug. 3, 1956 Miami.” Sandra also sent the text of a Miami Daily News article that read:

“After the first Olympia Theater appearance of the shouting shake-dancer, known to teenagers as “The Pelvis,” a crowd estimated at 2,000 became hysterical, tried to break a police line in rush for the SE 2nd Avenue stage entrance when Presley was seen briefly at an upstairs fire escape door. Police, losing to waving fans later regained ground in a big push back to the sidewalk line at the barber pole (top right in photo). The street was blocked off. What’s all the fuss about? Fans wanted just a signature or sign from the vaudeville Valentino.”

I’m not crazy about the lame snake-dancer or vaudeville Valentino references. But the fan hysteria mentioned in the press report had another result as shown in this photo.

Elvis with Ripped Pants after 1956 Miami Concert

That’s right — the fans ripped off one leg of Elvis’ pants. Miami has been the home to another rock star and pants episode. It’s where Jim Morrison dropped his pants on stage and got in all kinds of trouble.

 

Thanks to cc rider and Sandra Van Horne for their help in making this post.

 

 

©  2019    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before – Part 11

I haven’t done this in three months, and my files are full of stuff to show you.

Elvis Performing on a Flat-bed Truck

This is obviously from the very early days. Elvis and the guys are performing on a flat-bed truck. I especially like the picnic table right in front. Elvis definitely paid his dues. Can anybody identify this show?

 

Elvis and the Teen Town Singers

I can’t say that I ever heard of the Teen Town Singers. But how could they miss with those cool hats?

 

Elvis and 7 Chicks

Here’s some nice artwork. I think it’s a Italian poster for an Elvis movie. Let’s see, there’s Elvis and seven girls in bikinis. Could it be Clambake or Spinout? No, Bagnino means lifeguard in Italian, so the movie had to be Fun in Acapulco.

 

Elvis on location in Florida with co-star Anne Helm from Follow That Dream.

This is Elvis with Anne Helm, his costar in Follow That Dream. You’ve probably read the same stuff I have that says there was some serious kissing between these two off screen.

 

Well It's 1 for the Money

Well It's 1 for the Money - Copy

This is clever.

 

Speaking of Blue Suede Shoes, how do you like this picture?

Elvis Presley Autographed Facsimile Signed Blue Suede Shoes Poster 24 x36

This is a 24 x36 poster with a wonderful shot of Elvis. That is a fabricated signature at the bottom.

 

Elvis Taking A Break - Flaming Star

Here is Elvis taking a break from filming Flaming Star. He’s got the Indian make-up on his face and neck, but the rest of his body looks pretty white.

 

Elvis with Fans in Las vegas

This is Elvis with fans in Las Vegas. How do you like that coat? How do you like that hairdo?

 

Elvis Disco

The Elvis Disco was alive and well in 2018.

All Visual – All Night – Elvis Presley – Done Right…. OK!!

 

1960-04-20 train to California - Elvis with Joe, Charlie and Sonny

This was taken on April 4, 1960 during a train ride to California. With Elvis are Joe, Charlie, and Sonny. Don’t they all look young?

 

Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore between shows in the UD Fieldhouse in Dayton - May 27, 1956.

If you’ve been reading ElvisBlog for a while, you know I’m a big fan of Scotty Moore. This is a nice candid shot of Elvis and Scotty working on a song backstage before a performance at the UD Fieldhouse in Dayton on May 27, 1956.

 

Elvis Performing on May 27, 1956

Here is another photo from that show. But check out this.

Scotty Moore and Elvis Floating in Space

I love this version for the way Scotty and Elvis are lifted off the background, and they just seem to be hovering in space while Scotty is playing guitar and Elvis is dancing. I think this is the best picture there is of the two of them together.

 

Elvis and Bobby Dick

The small print in parentheses says, “Bobby’s the short one.” He’s also the one with the worst last name. The kids back in high school must have given him a lot of grief about that.

 

Elvis Presley and Carolyn Jones . She holds a cup of tea.

It looks like Carolyn Jones was drinking a cup of tea when Elvis moved in on her. Do you think she spilled any? If that had been you Elvis was smooching, could you have kept from spilling the tea?

 

Elvis is the air - Blue hawaii

So what do you think? Is this Photoshopped or could Elvis actually jump that high?

 

May 26, 1955 - Elvis Presley with Jimmie Rodgers Snow on Elvis´ pink Cadillac Fleetwood in Meridian, Mississippi - Jimmie Rodgers Festival parade....

The website where I found this shot had this tagline:

May 26, 1955 – Elvis Presley with Jimmie Rodgers Snow on Elvis´ pink Cadillac Fleetwood in Meridian, Mississippi – Jimmie Rodgers Festival parade.

Jimmy Rodgers Snow was Hank Snow’s son. Elvis said he bought this pink Caddy for his mom, but she didn’t drive, so he obviously had other motivations. This looks like a pretty good use for the car to me.

 

A screaming crowd of teenage girls are restrained by police outside an Elvis concert in 1956.

The tagline for this photo said: “A screaming crowd of teenage girls are restrained by police outside an Elvis concert in 1956.” I wish there had been more information. It is a legit photo because you can see one girl holding up a picture of Elvis and a couple of folks are wearing those Elvis hats the Colonel sold at every concert. Can anybody identify where it occurred?

The photo certainly paints a graphic picture of the impact Elvis had with teenagers early in his career. Pretty impressive.

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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What Do Chubby Checker and George Thorogood Have in Common?

They’re coming to Graceland.

More precisely, they’re coming to the Graceland Soundstage in Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

SoundStage A ( Now Graceland Soundstage)

Since renamed Graceland Soundstage

Perhaps EPE’s plan in the beginning was to show Elvis movies at the Soundstage, and to have events there during Elvis Week and the Elvis Birthday Celebration.

But now they are going after more than just Elvis fans to fill the seats. After all, they do have a concert venue holding up to 1,500 people, and there are a lot of good touring acts out there who perfume in front of crowds like that.

 

I’m not sure about this, but I think the only Memphis concert venue of similar size is the New Daisy Theater on Beale Street.

New Daisy Theater

I went to a midnight concert at the New Daisy Theater during Elvis Week 2002. It featured two young tribute artists named Shawn Klush and Ryan Pelton. Klush went on to win the first Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition in 2007, but he still came back to the New Daisy years after that.

 

Shawn Klush at the New Daisy Theater

 

So, the Memphis roster of concert venues has improved with the addition of the Graceland Soundstage. It’s got state-of-the art sound and graphics, lots of parking, and a bonus perk that’s pretty cool. Concert ticket holders get free admission to Elvis Presley’s Memphis from 3pm on, so they can spend 4 or 5 hours in there before going into the concert.

A dozen artists are lined up so far to perform at the Soundstage this spring and summer. But Chubby Checker.is the one I want to write about.

Young Chubby Checker

I have always liked Chubby Checker. He is originally from Philadelphia, and so am I. I saw him once back in 1959 before he became a huge star with his hit, “The Twist.” He was one of several local singers that performed in an open pavilion at Willow Grove Park. At that time he had a minor novelty hit called “The Class.” In it, the students were supposedly Elvis, Fats Domino, the Coasters, and the Chipmunks, and Chubby sang a few lines in each of their voices.

He is 78 years old and still performing. Here he is in 2014.

Chubby Checker in 2014

 

While searching for a current photo of him, I found something that made me laugh.

Chubby Checker Penis Measuring App

Chubby Checker had sued the makers of an app that estimated the size of a man’s penis, called The Chubby Checker, for $500 million over “irreversible damage and harm”. He claimed that the app tarnished his name.

I wonder how much he got in the settlement. Not so much for him to finally hang up those twisting shoes for good. No, he’s coming to Graceland on June 22. The top tickets go for $99.50.

Chubby Checker’s act has always included lots of dancing with the fans, not just on the stage, but also down in the aisles sometimes. I’ll bet he puts on a great show at Graceland.

 

 

And I like the new option we fans now have. Elvis wasn’t the only music we liked. We had other favorite singers and bands over the years. If one of these gets booked at the Soundstage, it could spark a trip to Graceland for a connection with two of your favorites. A Chubby Checker/Elvis Presley weekend at Graceland sounds like a fine idea to this old fan.

 

Here’s the rest of the lineup coming to this concert series now named Graceland Live.

Graceland Live

These artists are listed without comment for now. Click here to see a wonderful website that tells you everything about them.

Bret Michaels – Saturday March 23 – All tickets are Standing $49.50

George Thorogood  – Saturday, April 13  – Top ticket is $101.50

Buckcherry –  Friday, April 19 – All tickets are Standing $25

Frank Turner – Saturday, April 27 – All tickets are Standing $27.50

Allman Betts Band – Friday, May 3                 ditto

Violent Femmes and X – Thursday May 16 – All tickets are Standing $39.50

Stryper  – Sunday, June 2 – All tickets are Standing $25

Boz Scaggs – Sunday, June 16 – Top ticket is $124.50

Chubby Checker – Saturday, June 22 – Top ticket is $99.50

Pat Benetar,  Saturday July 26 – Top ticket is $124.50

Brian Setzer,  Wednesday, Aug 21 – Top ticket is $99.50

Hot Tuna – Sunday, Sept 1                        ditto

 

That’s an interesting variety of performers. And there’s lots of room for more additions.

Here’s some stuff off that website I told you about

Graceland Soundstage State of the Art

Premium Bars

 

I also want to write about another performer that I’d love to combine with Elvis on a weekend at Graceland: George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

George Thorogood

 

George Thorogood’s current tour is named the “Good To Be Bad Tour – 45 Years of Rock”

He started his career in 1974, back when music was on records. I bought four of his albums, and I picked up a couple of his cassettes at garage sales. Now I’ve got 16 George Thorogood songs on my playlist.

Here’s what the Graceland Live website says about him.

George Thorogood Gut-busting Music

That’s quite a list of adjectives they used to describe George Thorogood’s music. To me, It’s just really good blues-rock. Nothing like Chubby Checker or Elvis music, but I like all three.

 

Here’s another connection I have with George Thorogood. One of his songs is the ringtone on my cel phone, and it’s not any of those listed above. It’s called “If You Don’t Start Drinkin’ (I’m Gonna Leave)”. I picked it because it starts with a very loud repetitive guitar lick. I need it loud if I’m going to hear the phone ring in my pocket with my crummy hearing.

 

Graceland Live Alt Logo

This is a nice image, but unfortunately, Elvis won’t be performing at Graceland Live.

 

Remember when Dorothy said to Toto, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Well, “Graceland isn’t just Elvis anymore.”

 

Two Giant Screens at Graceland Soundstage

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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My Picks for Best and Worst at the Elvis All-Star Tribute

Elvis All-Star Tribute

I thought three performances shined above the others Sunday night on the tribute to Elvis’ 68 Special.

Keith Urban and Post Malone — “Baby, What You Want Me to Do

Keith Urban and Post Malone

Urban nailed this song with a little help from Post Malone. I had no idea Keith Urban was such a great guitar slinger. Just a wonderful job on one of my favorite Elvis songs.

 

JENNIFER LOPEZ — “HEARTBREAK HOTEL

Jennifer Lopez

Wow, what a performance. Jennifer Lopez had that skin tight body suite, the wind machine blowing her hair, and just the right amount of attitude. I loved the lip curls, and I could have watched a whole lot more of her shaking her booty. Very hot.

 

Darius Rucker — “One Night”

Darius Rucker

This man started out in rock ‘n roll with Hootie and the Blowfish, now he is a country star, and if he wanted to, he could be a blues master. He did just a perfect amount of howlin’ on “One Night.”

 

I also like the production they put together for the opening number TROUBLE/Guitar Man. The way they started with the original footage of Elvis, then seamlessly switched to Blake Shelton, and back again several times. Very well done.

Blake Shelton

 

And I like the Elvis photo montage they showed while Mac Davis sang “Memories.”

I did not like Shawn Mendes’ version of “Hound Dog.”

And I was disappointed with the version of “Love Me” done by Miranda Lambert and the other two ladies introduced as the Pistol Annies.

Pistol Annies

“Love Me” is another of my favorite Elvis songs, and he set a high standard. I’m sorry, but they just didn’t measure up.

 

Elvis All-Star Tribute Sign

All in all, I enjoyed the concert and look forward to watching it again when it shows up on YouTube.

If you have different favorites, please put them on comments.

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Deeper Look at a Recent Elvis Auction Item

I started out to do my usual Elvis auction review on the November 3 Heritage Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction. However, I got stuck on the very first Elvis item – a handbill for his’ March 25, 1961, Pearl Harbor concert.

Pearl Harbor Concert Handbill - Front

 

[Just real quick for you newer Elvis fans that might know about the concert, it was to raise money toward the proposed memorial for the USS Arizona that was sunk by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 1102 American seamen perished that day.]

 

I’ve looked at this handbill picture several times before, and one time I wished I knew how to Photoshop, so I could do an upgrade on it. Elvis did not wear those baggy gold pants at the Pearl Harbor concert. Just the gold coat.

Elvis at Pearl Harbor Concert

I wanted to take the handbill picture and Photoshop some black pants on Elvis – get him to look like he did when he performed. Then, I realized that the black pants wouldn’t show against the handbill’s black background. So, I gave up on the idea.

 

There were other things about this playbill I found interesting. It was obvious that Bill Black was no longer part of the Elvis band. DJ Fontana and Scotty Moore are listed in the marquee sign along with the Jordanaires.

All Star Cast on Pearl Harbor Concert Handbill -

 

By March 1961, Bill Black was into the third year of his career with Bill Black’s Combo. They were touring around the country playing hits like “Smokie – Part 2” and “White Silver Sands.”

Bill Black Combo 1962
Note that Bill Black has traded his stand-up bass for an electric one.

 

The man who replaced Bill Black in Elvis’ band for the Pearl Harbor show was Nashville session musician Bob Moore. The rest of the All-Star Cast referred to above was Floyd Cramer on piano, Hank Garland on rhythm guitar, and Boots Randolph on sax. All Stars indeed.

 

The back of the playbill featured three photos and lots of text.

Pearl Harbor Concert Handbill - Back

 

Here’s a better look at the three pictures.

USS Arizona War Memorial Rendering

This is the architect’s rendering of what the planned USS Arizona Memorial would look like.

 

USS Arizona Memorial Construction Sign

And here we have a picture of the sign on the site where the memorial would be built.

 

Col. Parker and Bigwigs Before Pearl Harbor concert

Col. Parker with the chairman of the memorial commission and the head Navy guy.

 

Another thing that struck me was the very brief narrative Heritage Auction’s website gave to this handbill, a significant collectible.

Elvis Presley Bloch Arena, Pearl Harbor Concert Handbill (The Pacific War Memorial Commission Proudly Presents, 1961). Very Rare. Double-sided, for a benefit show in Hawaii on Saturday March 25th. One side is printed in gold and black, showing a full-length image of Elvis wearing a gold suit, listing the support act as Minnie Pearl. Measures 9.25″ x 12.25″. In Very Good condition.

When I first read it, my thought was, “I wonder what Jeff Marren and Laura at Graceland Auctions would have to say, because they do such a great job on the narratives.” I inquired them, and found out they did have two tickets for the Pearl Harbor concert at auction last year. This is what they said then.

“Perhaps what endears Elvis Presley to his fans so much is the fact that it seemed like there was no end to his willingness to give. In December 1960 an editorial ran in an L.A. paper about the stalled efforts to complete the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. This article was spotted by the Colonel, and Elvis answered the call to duty.

“A benefit concert was organized to raise $50,000 towards the completion of the memorial. On January 11, 1961, a press conference was held and it was announced that Elvis would perform this benefit concert on the condition that every penny from the concert must go to the fund.

“Having honorably served his country in the Armed Forces, Elvis held this memorial and the soldiers that perished near to his heart.

“Ticket prices ranged from $3 to $10 for reserved section seats, and $100 for the 100 reserved “ringside” seats—and Elvis was the first to buy a ticket.

“The concert was set for March 25, 1961, and 4,000 screaming fans, 15 songs and $54,000 later, Elvis left the building. As a result of the concert and the huge amount of media attention it garnered, public and private donations flooded in from all over the country. On May 30, 1962 (Memorial Day) the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial was dedicated.”

Perhaps it doesn’t matter, but I’d like to think wonderful background text like this might bring some higher bidding.  In fairness, the concert playbill went for $1,125 as presented, which is pretty impressive.

And I love this line about Elvis, “it seemed like there was no end to his willingness to give.” Elvis’ generosity is well documented, but this is the best description of it I have ever read.

 

$100 Ticket for Elvis Presley Pearl Harbor Concert

Here’s one of those $100 tickets. That’s almost $900 in today’s money. Note there were no assigned seats. It must have been like a special private party area where you just socialized until it was time to find a seat and settle down for the show.

 

There are three interesting things in the text on the back of the handbill.

Under the heading Symbol of Freedom, it said, “The benefit performance by Presley… is symbolic of a new generation of Americans who have not forgotten the price of freedom or how dearly it has been maintained.” That sounds like Elvis to me.

Congress had authorized construction of the memorial three years earlier, but fund raising had slowed down to a crawl. Prior to the concert, only $300,000 of the needed $500,000 had been raised. One of the commissioners worried that “today the Arizona is but a rusting tomb.” The Colonel and Elvis jumped in to turn that situation around.

Two days after the concert, Elvis started the filming for Blue Hawaii.

 

The USS Arizona's anchor

My wife went to Hawaii twenty years ago with girlfriends, and of course, they went to the USS Arizona Memorial.

 

USS Arizona War Memorial Finished

So she’s seen it, and I haven’t

 

People Entering the USS Arizona War Memorial.

My wife said it was a moving experience. I’m happy for her, but I’m a little jealous.

 

Photos and text used by permission, copyright 2018 GracelandAuctions.com

 

© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before — Part 6

Young Elvis is Cool jacket

This is a shot of young Elvis that’s new to me. I was tickled with the caption for it on Pinterest describing what Elvis is wearing:

A jacket given to John W. Heath by one of hiHumes High Scteachers who was the son of a man who got the jacket from a girlfriend who got it from Elvis after a concert.

I’ve complained before about incorrect tags on some Elvis photos, but this one is just plain confusing. Here’s another look at the jacket.

a jacket given to John W. Heath by a Humes High School teacher who was the son of a man who got the jacket from a girlfriend who got it from Elvis after a concert.

 

How about a little quiz? This picture was tagged “Only photo that shows the entire wedding party at the Presley Wedding in Las Vegas, May 1, 1967.” I had fun trying to figure out who everybody is.

Only photo that supposedly shows the entire wedding party at the Presley Wedding in Las Vegas, May 1, 1967

I missed the first guy on the left. He is Harry Levitch, Elvis’ jeweler. Then, Richard Davis. Jerry Schilling, and Joe Esposito’s wife Joan. I needed help on the next two: Jerry Schilling’s girlfriend Sandy Kawelo, and Priscilla’s sister Michelle Beaulieu. Next, Vernon’s wife Dee, Priscilla’s mother Ann, Priscilla, Elvis, and Vernon. I needed help on the two fellows on the bottom left: Priscilla’s brother Donny and her father Paul. Then Joe Esposito and Charlie Hodge.

However, the caption on this picture is wrong. Although the reception had a lot of folks, only four Elvis buddies were in the very limited wedding party at the actual ceremony.

Marty Lacker, Elvis, George Kline at Elvis' Wedding

Marty Lacker and George Kline made the cut, but they are not part of the above group picture, so it shouldn’t be labeled the “entire Elvis wedding party.”

Billy Smith

Elvis’ cousin Billy Smith was also at the exclusive wedding ceremony, and he is missing from the group picture.

 

Elvis at June 5 1955 Watermelon Party, Hope Arkansas

I’m pretty confident the caption on this one is correct: “June 5 1955 Watermelon Party, Hope Arkansas.” See the watermelons back there?

 

Priscilla Sticking Out her Tongue

How do you like this shot of Priscilla sticking out her tongue? I cropped it from a photo of her at the top of the stairs leading to her and Elvis’s bedroom at Graceland.

Priscilla at top of stairs leading to Elvis's bedroom at Graceland

To be completely honest, when I first found this picture, I never even noticed the stair railings until I read the caption. Cropping was an improvement

 

casual Hair Elvis

I really like this picture of young Elvis. Apparently, he was doing the low open-shirt thing way back in his teens. But the casual hair style is so different from what we think of as typically Elvis. Does anybody have any idea when and where this was taken? If you do, please put it into Comments.

 

Elvis - Interesting Outfit

Here we have a totally different spectrum of style on older Elvis. That’s not just a regular white shirt. It’s got ruffles on the sleeve cuff, elastic bands around the upper arm, and a big fancy collar. How about the blue scarf with the neckerchief slide half – way down. You don’t see scarves in many Elvis photos. The big attraction for me is the humongous belt. This is like a jumpsuit belt worn over regular pants, not a jumpsuit. It even has chains on the side. Nice wardrobe, Elvis.

 

Elvis Presley AND THE GIRL THAT FAINTS - Copy

I may have seen this one before, but it is nice to look at it again. The tag on the photo said “Elvis Presley AND THE GIRL THAT FAINTS.” Elvis was holding her hand with his. How lucky she was. She’s gonna come out of it with Elvis’ face just inches away from hers.

 

Elvis Presley and Eric Clapton

The caption said, “Backstage with Clapton before his opening night performance in Las Vegas. January 26th 1974.” I can kind of see this as Eric Clapton.

Elvis backstage with Eric Clapton before his opening night performance in Las Vegas. January 26th 1974

Then there’s this profile, and I don’t know. Looks more like another Eric — Eric Burdon (lead singer of The Animals and War).

Eric Burdon

What do you think?

 

Editor’s note:  Alert reader Paul made a convincing argument about why the person with Elvis is neither Eric Clapton nor Eric Burdon.  Alert reader Sandy said it was Sean Shaver, a photographer.  Here’s a different photo of him with Elvis

Elvis and Sean Shaver

I think Sandy is right.  Sean Shaver has published numerous photo books about Elvis:

1979 – The Life Of Elvis Presley
1981 – Photographing The King
1983 – Portrait Portfolio
1984 – Our Memories Of Elvis
1987 – The Elvis Book, vol II
1987 – The Elvis Book, vol III
1991 – The Elvis Book, vol IV : The Candid Elvis
1992 – Elvis In focus

 

Elvis with Badge on

There was no information with this one. Elvis almost looks like a real law officer with the badge and the jacket passants (shoulder-straps). How do you like that huge TCB ring?  I wish the photographer had snapped Elvis with his head up and smiling.

 

Elvis Gtrating on Stage Floor, New Orleans 1956

No wonder Elvis’ early concerts drove the teenage girls bananas. The tag said this photo was taken at a New Orleans concert in 1956. Just for kicks I cropped and blew up the crowd watching Elvis.

Fan Close-up at Elvis Concert ,New Orleans 1956

Not many guys in attendance, and I think I see a couple of dads.  See the two kids on the front left that are leaning?  Scroll back and you will see why.

 

Elvis and Priscilla Caricature

I have a file with 124 caricatures of Elvis in it, but this is the first time I’ve seen an artist do Priscilla, too.  I think he did a good job. Maybe someday I should do a post of my winners and losers in the Elvis Caricatures file.

 

Gladys, Dodger, and Barbara Hearn at Elvis concert, Russwood Park Memphis, TN July 4, 1956

There are many photos out there of Elvis’ July 4, 1956 concert at Russwood Park in Memphis. Al Wertheimer had his camera clicking all night, but I don’t know if this one of his. It’s interesting because of the three women in it. I’m sure you recognize Gladys. Next to her is Elvis’ paternal grandmother Minnie Mae, whom Elvis called Dodger. Do you think she was freaked out when she saw what her grandson did for a living?

And the young lady is Barbara Hearn who was Elvis’ girlfriend at the time.

Barbara Hearn and Elvis' Grandmother Dodger

Here are Barbara and Dodger at Elvis’ home on Audubon Drive prior to the concert.

 

I believe this was taken on the day he graduated high school....1953. Gladys looked so young & pretty here.

Let’s do one more family picture. I like this one especially because of the sentiment of the person who posted it

“I believe this was taken on the day he graduated high school….1953. Gladys looked so young & pretty here.”

 

 

©  2018    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis’ Original Graceland Piano Returns to the Music Room

Elvis' Knabe Grand Piano

 

Ten days ago, Graceland.com/news made this announcement:

Most Significant Musical Artifact

“Elvis Presley’s Graceland has announced the acquisition of one of the most significant pieces of Elvis’ musical history, which will be returned to Graceland 60 years after it was first purchased by Elvis for the home in 1957 – a white, baby grand piano with gold accents and a custom-made, gold, metal bench designed by Elvis with a white, leather cushion. For the first time ever, the public will be able to see this legendary Knabe branded piano on display in its Graceland home.”

 

Knabe Piano Logo and Keys

 

This is a special piano, as we will report in detail, and its acquisition seems to be the catalyst for a complete restoration of the Graceland music room to its original 1960s-era appearance. The white piano will be complemented by the original white and blue draperies, and the gold couch that was part of the room’s décor in 1964. Doesn’t it sometimes seem like nothing at Graceland was ever thrown out? I guess it was all put into storage in the attic, basement, outbuildings and elsewhere.

Elvis Standing in front of Knabe Piano

 

History of Knabe Pianos:

William Knabe, a German immigrant, started his piano-manufacturing company in Baltimore in 1837. His instruments were of high quality and well regarded, especially in the antebellum South. Owners and players of Knabe pianos through the years include Albert Einstein, Brigham Young, Rutherford B. Hayes, Francis Scott Key, and Hans von Bülow. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky played a Knabe at the opening concert of Carnegie Hall in 1891, and Knabe pianos were used by the New York Metropolitan Opera for forty years. Based on the serial number, this particular instrument was manufactured in 1912.

 

Owners Before Elvis:

It’s a mystery who may have owned this piano from 1912 until the 1930s when it was installed as a stage instrument at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, Tennessee. For the next three decades, the Knabe piano at Ellis was played by the finest local and national touring musical acts of the period, including W. C. Handy, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, and many others.

In early 1957, this Knabe grand piano was sold during a remodeling project at Ellis Auditorium. The purchaser was Jack Marshall, owner of Marshall Music at 3627 Park Avenue in Memphis. Marshall knew of the quality and history of this piano; he had played it onstage at the Ellis numerous times as the accompanist for the legendary Southern Gospel group, the Blackwood Brothers.

As soon as Elvis heard of the availability of this instrument, he wanted it as part of the original furnishings for his new home called Graceland. On May 28, 1957, Elvis purchased the piano from Jack Marshall s for $818.85.

 

Elvis and Ellis Auditorium:

What possessed Elvis in 1957 to choose this particular “used” piano for his grand new home? There were certainly plenty of other pianos, both new and used, to choose from. A new one could probably have been ordered in white, avoiding the lengthy refinishing process. A look at the history of Elvis Presley and the Ellis Auditorium may answer that question.

Ellis Autorium, Memphis Tennessee

As a poor teenager, Elvis often attended the Gospel “Sings” that took place at Ellis Auditorium. He and his mother both loved that type of music; they attended the First Assembly of God Church where the Blackwood Brothers were based. On the nights that Elvis couldn’t get a job selling sodas at Ellis to earn admittance and didn’t have the pocket change, he could usually count on the Blackwoods to let him sneak in through the back door. He would sit in the audience, watch Jack Marshall play this Knabe piano with the members of the beloved quartet he called friends. Elvis also dreamed of the day he might perform on that very stage.

Of the many memories Elvis held of Ellis Auditorium, one of the proudest must have been the night that he walked across that stage for the first time. The date was June 3, 1953, and the occasion was his graduation from Humes High School. His parents were likely in the audience beaming with pride at their son.

 

The very first time Elvis performed on that hallowed Ellis stage was on February 6, 1955. He was fourth-billed, behind Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, and Martha Carson.

Elvis' Concerts at Ellis Auditorium 1955

Fourth Billing February 1955  — Top Billing November 1955

At Elvis’ next gig at Ellis Auditorium, on November 13, 1955, he was top-billed over Hank Thompson, Carl Smith, and Carl Perkins. During 1955 and 1956, Elvis performed at Ellis Auditorium six times.

Elvis Performing at Ellis Auditorium

Performing at Ellis Auditorium, May 15, 1956
Is that the Knabe Piano on the left?

 

Elvis had become a superstar by the time he bought this piano in 1957, but he most certainly still had a strong emotional connection to Ellis Auditorium. When the piano became available, it’s no wonder that Elvis felt he absolutely had to have it for his very own. What an amazing story — from sneaking in the back door to hear it played behind his favorite Gospel group to owning it and playing it himself in his own music room just a few short years later!

Elvis Playing Knabe Piano

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Elvis Had the White Knabe Grand Piano Refurbished:

He had a definite vision of the appearance he wanted. To that end, Elvis personally supervised the refinishing of the Knabe, a process that took place in Jack Marshall’s store, with a young high school-aged member of the singing Blackwood family named Ron Blackwood performing most of the stripping and sanding procedures.

Blackwood had a fond memory of Elvis and the piano:

“One special event involving this piano occurred when one evening while I was working on the refinishing in the warehouse at Jack Marshall’s music store, Elvis came by to check on the progress, as he often did. He and several of the Blackwood Brothers began singing and playing gospel songs together. This continued until past 4:00 a.m. I was still in high school at the time, but I stayed and participated in the sing-along jam session the entire night. I was so tired the next morning, I couldn’t go to school. My mother was so upset.”

When piano was completed to Elvis’ satisfaction, he purchased a matching bench and had them moved into a prominent place in his music room at the new mansion. That is where this piano stayed for twelve years. During that time, the piano was the musical focal point of many hours Elvis spent rehearsing and entertaining guests, and it was played constantly by Elvis as well as visiting celebrities. Elvis enjoyed playing and singing alone in private moments, but especially enjoyed gathering family and friends in the music room as they ran through a broad repertoire of favorite songs – particularly gospel and R&B.

According to Elvis’ close friend George Klein:

“One special event involving this piano occurred when one evening Sam Phillips called and asked if he and Jerry Lee Lewis could stop by Graceland. The result was that Elvis and Jerry Lee played and sang together on that piano for over two hours.”

If I was granted a special wish to go back in time to any Elvis event, I think I would pick this two-hour Elvis and Jerry Lee jam session.  That would be some experience.

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The End of the Knabe at Graceland:

As a present for Elvis’ and Priscilla’s first wedding anniversary in 1968, she gave him a new gold piano to replace the Knabe. Off to storage it went, its mellow voice sadly silenced for several years.

In 1976, Vernon Presley decided to sell the grand piano to Ted Sturges, a local recording studio owner and record producer. During the five years Sturges owned this Knabe, it was used in recording sessions for more than 50 albums by various artists. In 1981, Sturges sold the piano to a close friend of Elvis, entertainer Jimmy Velvet. He had opened an Elvis Memorabilia Museum in Memphis, and he proudly exhibited it there until 1990. At that point, it returned to private ownership where it has remained for the last 20 years.

 

Elvis Presley's Knabe Grand Piano

 

During Elvis Week in 2010, the Knabe piano was offered at Ultimate Elvis Auction held by Heritage Auctions in Memphis. The minimum bid was set at $500,000, and the pre-auction estimate was $1 million plus. The price tag was too high, and nobody met the minimum.

Presumably, EPE negotiated more favorable terms to bring this special piano back to Graceland.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Surfing the Graceland Guest House Website and Facebook Page

Soundstage Aat Elvis Presley's Graceland

Two months ago, ElvisBlog looked at the Elvis Week events scheduled at Soundstage A at Elvis Presley’s Memphis. This includes six nightly concerts. In addition, there will be musical events at the Fedex Forum and the Elvis Week Entertainment Tent.

 

Guesthouse at Graceland Theater

Three months ago, we looked at some musical acts presented at the Graceland Guest House Theater. But a few days ago, I realized that all the Graceland Insider emails made no mention of any Elvis Week shows at the theater.

I couldn’t believe they would leave that beautiful new theater unused during Elvis Week, so I did some digging on www.guesthousegraceland.com.

Graceland Guest House Website

Then I clicked on EVENTS in the upper right, which brought me to this:

What's happening at Graceland

So, I clicked on DOWNLOAD MONTHLY ACTIVITIES CALENDAR.

Ongoing Events at Graceland Guest House

This is the top half of the July calendar with two musical events highlighted in yellow. The July 1 show was T.G. Shepherd, which we covered in the April blog post. The show on July 3 was the Memphis Ukulele Band.

Memphis Ukulele Band

 

Here is the bottom half of the July events calendar along with the image that follows — a promotional graphic of other diversions happening at the hotel.

Guest House Event Schedule - bottom

You will note there are no music events highlighted on the theater calendar for the rest of July.

However, you can play these lawn games: ping pong, cornhole, shuffleboard & foosball. There’s a catch -– you need to have a valid ID and credit card to rent the stuff you need from the Guest House Gift Shop. I wonder what they charge for the beanbags you use for cornhole.

 

Guest House Live Music

Depending on when you stay at the hotel, you can listen to one of these two acts in the Lobby Lounge. Something tells me they don’t play much Elvis music.  If anyone knows, please let us know in Comments.

 

EP's Happy Hour

EP’s Bar & Grill was advertised in the graphic. So, a draft beer costs $4.00 at Happy Hour. What do you think it is the rest of the night? I hadn’t seen much about EP’s in the emails from Graceland, so I looked elsewhere for pictures.

EP's Bar & Grill

EP's Bar & Grill at Graceland Guest House

If I stayed at the hotel, I would probably eat here. Photos of the other restaurants make them look really, really pricey.

 

Then I got back to my hunt for Elvis Week concerts at the Guest House Theater. I found a little calendar icon showing July, but with an arrow to click on for the next month. Look what I got.

No Upcoming Events at Graceland Guest House Theater

I added the circle around the news that there are no events in August. This was just too hard for me to accept, so I searched elsewhere and found two daytime concerts.

Bourke Performing at Graceland

Ultimate Tribute Artist Contest Showcase

This tribute artist showcase is interesting. If you bought tickets in the $209 section of the Ultimate ETA contest, you get a bonus of free tickets to a concert by the semifinalists.

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

So, there are two daytime music events at the hotel theater during Elvis Week, but nothing at night. I don’t get it. Maybe they want everyone to head over to Elvis Presley’s Memphis and spend more money.

 

Find us on Facebook

There was something at the bottom of that promotional graphic we looked at earlier. I didn’t know the Guest House had a Facebook page, but I figured it had some different pictures than the website, so I clicked on it. I was right, so here are a few.

Karaoke Night at EP's Bar at Graceland Guest House

This must be popular with the fans. I wonder if the song list on the karaoke machine is 100% Elvis hits.

 

These dramatic drapes at the Guest House at Graceland are a favorite spot for selfies

The caption under this picture is, “These dramatic drapes at the Guest House at Graceland are a favorite spot for selfies.”  It seems like there would be dozens of more interesting backgrounds for selfies to mark your trip to Graceland.

 

Inside Portico at Graceland Guest House

This is a nice shot from the front door out through the portico.

 

The deviled egg appetizer at EP’s Bar & Grill

They even show a photo of the deviled egg appetizer at EP’s Bar & Grill.

 

Above the pool table at Graceland Guest House.

The caption under this picture says, “If you’re playing billiards at The Guest House at Graceland, be sure to look up.” The pool table is located in EP’s Bar and Grill.

Guest House Pool Table at EP's Bar

 

Pool at Graceland Guesthouse

It looks like it would be cold if you tried to take a swim. Notice there are no leaves on the trees.

 

Heart-Shaped Fireplace at Graceland Guest House

Great caption: “Stop by for a little burning love by our heart-shaped fireplace.” I guess it is outside on the grounds somewhere.

 

This last photo from the Graceland Guest House Facebook page was obviously posed, but it’s very well done.

Happy National Martini Day at EP's Lounge

It promoted National Martini Day at EP’s Bar & Grill. That place is really starting to sound good to me. I wonder why they don’t give it more mention on the website.

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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A Summer of 40th Anniversaries

Elvis 40

Elvis Week 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ passing, and EPE has a great event planned for the fans. There is so much quality stuff to do and see, enhanced by the new Graceland Guest House and Elvis Presley’ Memphis. I wish I was going.

Another 40th anniversary coming up is Elvis’ last concert performance on June 26 at the Haymarket Arena in Indianapolis. I had the privilege of contributing to an upcoming special on local radio station WIBC. Programmer Chris Davis interviewed me to get soundbites for the broadcast.

Elvis' last Concert - Indianapolis 1977

Not that I had attended the concert. He had already found some Hoosiers who had been there. He asked me general stuff like the difference between Elvis’ 1950s music and his 70s music, and what was it like to be a teenager when Elvis burst on the scene and changed everything. He also asked me my opinion of Col. Parker, but I’m pretty sure he won’t use my answer. I didn’t mince words about my disdain for Parker. If you’d like to read a 2009 blog post I did on Elvis’ final concert, click here.

 

Another 40th anniversary is the Elvis in Concert TV special on CBS. It aired on Oct 3, 1967, just a few weeks after Elvis died. However, it was conceived well before his death and was supposed to join the ranks of the ’68 Comeback Special and Aloha from Hawaii to create a trio of historic Elvis TV specials. The results did not live up to expectations, and Elvis in Concert has been mostly just a historical footnote.

TV ad for Elvis in Concert Special

This is a screen grab of the commercial CBS used to promote the program.

CBS advertisement for Elvis In Concert in 1977

 

Filming for the special was done on June 19 at the Omaha Civic Center and June 21 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota.

 

Start of CBS Special Elvis in Concert.

This is the opening shot from the one-hour broadcast.

Omaha Civic Auditorium

Elvis in Concert contained fourteen songs, but only three were included form the Omaha show. According to Peter Guralnick and Earnst Jorgensen, the authors of ELVIS – Day by Day, “it is one of the poorest shows Elvis has given to date, a sad and incoherent performance for the most part.”

 

Rushmore Civic Auditorium

Elvis was in much better two nights later in Rapid City. He performed memorable versions two songs, but one was not included in the special. Again, quoting ELVIS – Day by Day,

“Perhaps the highlight of the show (although it is neither easy viewing nor listening) is Elvis’ version of “Unchained Melody,” which will not be included in the television broadcast, though Elvis performs it in bravura fashion, alone at the piano.”

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody

 

I would like to disagree. There is footage on YouTube of Elvis performing “Unchained Melody” the same manner on April 24, 1977, two months earlier. If you have seen it, you’ll never forget it. Elvis was bloated, sweating profusely, and performing through a cloud of painkillers.

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody - Close Up

And yet, he gave an utterly moving rendition of the song. Maybe it wasn’t easy viewing, but it was compelling. It gave me the chills and a lump in my throat. It was a great triumph for Elvis to pull it off. I was so proud of him.

 

Are You Lonesome Tonight Laughing Version

The other memorable song in Elvis in Concert was “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Starting in 1969, when Elvis performed it onstage, he regularly played around with the words during the talking part part of the song. Often, this caused him to break into fits of laughter. If you’ve never seen a video of this, just go to YouTube and type in Are You Lonesome Tonight Laughing Version.

However in the Elvis in Concert broadcast, just before Elvis went into the recitation part of the song, the music was faded down and a devoted female fan is shown talking about her determination to see Elvis live in concert, then it switches back to Elvis after the talking part was finished. This may have been done so that viewers would not have to see Elvis fumbling through the recitation.

 

1977 Elvis in Concert double record set

Shortly after the broadcast, RCA released a double album also called Elvis in Concert.  Although it contained all the songs from the TV special, it also contained “Fans’ Comments,” “Elvis Talks,” a “Special Message from Elvis’ Father,” and a bunch of songs recorded at other concerts in June 1977.

 

The Elvis in Concert TV Special has never been officially released on VHS or DVD, and Elvis’ estate has issued a statement saying that they have “no plans” to release the special, due to the fact that Elvis was visibly “far from his best in the way he looked and the way he performed.”

However, the bootleggers have been busy putting out unofficial DVDs. Here are just a few.

ELVIS PRESLEY IN CONCERT 1977 DVD

 

And like everything else ever filmed, Elvis in Concert has shown up on YouTube – numerous times. Click here and take your pick.

 

 

© 2014 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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