Elvis – TV Special
The show was shot in June, and, after a great deal more drama than can be gone into here, was transformed from the Colonel’s vision of yet another holiday special (this one with pictures) into what producers Steve Binder and Bones Howe envisioned as a portrait of the real Elvis. At the center of that portrait was a free-form ad-lib performance in front of a live audience, Elvis’ first live show in seven years. The album was shipped two weeks prior to the December 3 air date, and a scan of its mostly familiar titles could have given little clue as to the fire and passion of the performance. It was in many ways the logical outgrowth of the artistic renaissance that had been fitfully emerging over the last two years. The show itself, as many of the reviews pointed out, was as inspiring as it was unlikely, recapturing as it did not just a familiar mine of defiance and wounded alienation but delivering all the rough edges that had so long been absent from the public image. The opening three-and-a-half minutes alone, which intertwined “Guitar Man” with a swaggering blues-driven version of “Trouble,” would alone have been worth the price of admission, with Elvis making a signature statement (“If you’re looking for trouble/You’ve come to the right place”) while clad in fashionably retro black leather. The album quickly sold half a million copies and put Elvis back in the Top 10 of album sales for the first time since 1965.
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