Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
It’s hard to believe that 40 years after Elvis’ death the King is still a worldwide fascination.
A new exhibition exploring Elvis’s touring years, between 1969 and 1977, is on display at the O2 Arena in London, England. it opened November 3.
The “Elvis on Tour Exhibition” showcases more than 200 artifacts from the Graceland archives, many of which are in the UK for the very first time.
This new exhibition covering the years 1969 – 1977 will provide an in-depth look at the world that was Elvis on Tour, offering a unique insight into exactly what drove the audiences wild in the ’70’s – the chance to see the King in concert as he toured America.
Artifacts showcased in Elvis on Tour The Exhibition and leaving Graceland include:
- Over 35 jumpsuits and costumes worn by Elvis between 1969-1977
- Guitars from tours that Elvis played during the period, including the Gretzch Country Gentlemen Guitar used by Elvis on stage in Las Vegas in 1969
- Tour trunks including one still filled with silk scarves that Elvis gave out to audiences at his concerts during 1969-1970
- Original acetate of ‘An American Trilogy’ – a song brought to Elvis by Priscilla
- Original costume sketches designed by Elvis’s designer Bill Belew who also designed outfits for Priscilla Presley
- Gold Belt given to Elvis in 1969 by the International Hotel in Las Vegas to mark his record breaking live performance attendance in the City
Here’s an example.
This week in our spotlight, Elvis on Tour!
“A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It’s my favorite part of the business, live concerts.”
We begin with The Elvis Summer Festival at the International Hotel in Las Vegas on August 10, 1970
Here’s more from the London exhibit.
That’s from his 1968 Comeback Special. Its popularity persuaded him to go out on the road again.
Elvis performed a great deal in Vegas in those early 1970’s. Then in 1972 he got a chance to add to his enormous resume: play at Madison Square Garden.
At a news conference prior to the Garden shows Elvis got this question:
Elvis, what finally made you come out of seclusion and decide to make personal appearances again?
Elvis: I just missed it. I missed the closeness of an audience, of a live audience. So just as soon as I got out of the movie contracts, I started to do live concerts again.
If you’re a true Elvis fan…prepare to scream.
Elvis wore this at the news conference mentioned above…
And yes, the suit can be seen in London.
There’s also a section devoted to Elvis’ global satellite concert that took place on January 14, 1973 in Honolulu.
He was the first solo entertainer to hold a live concert broadcast internationally via satellite. More than a billion people from more than 40 countries across Asia and Europe tuned in to watch “Aloha from Hawaii.”
Audience tickets for the January 14 concert and its January 12 pre-broadcast rehearsal show carried no price. Each audience member was asked to pay whatever he or she could afford. The performance and concert merchandise sales raised $75,000 for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund in Hawaii.
During the concert Elvis did this song, originally recorded by James Taylor in 1970. But Taylor never sang it like this.
Back to Vegas, and what I believe is a highly under-rated performance that should have received more exposure.
Another example proving Elvis could take somebody else’s song (in this case, B.J. Thomas) and make it his own.
More items you’ll see at the London exhibit:
Graceland’s director of archives Angie Marchese said this:
“He was constantly on tour, basically, and it led to his death, being always on the road in different cities. It became so routine that he became bored as an artist, by ’77 it was not the same as it was in ’69 and ’70. He was going out and doing the same thing and he wasn’t having the time to relax and renew his spirit.”
The three-month show at London’s O2 tells the story of Elvis between 1969 and 1977 – his comeback years when he toured the US almost non-stop. They were also years in which he struggled with depression, obesity and an addiction to prescription drugs.
His ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, acknowledged they were, at times, difficult years, but told the Guardian: “We all have demons. The press likes to just focus on things like that but we all have our demons, we all have our ups and downs and unfortunately for the people who are in the limelight, it is magnified so many times more.”
Elvis performed more than 1,100 concerts in his later years, which would put a strain on any relationship. “Touring is not easy for any couple,” Presley said.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
We close the way we opened, with an Elvis medley. This time Elvis is in his hometown. The year is 1974 and he sounds great.