Written/Copyright 2014 – Eric Reports
The Estate of Elvis Presley refuses to allow an official DVD release of his final 1977 T.V. special. Why? CBS has already aired “Elvis in Concert” twice. (Oct. 1977 and Feb. 1978.) It’s been seen by millions. What is there to hide?
June 1977. It’s well known that Elvis was near the end. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a shock. There really is no official filmed record of the final version of Elvis, except for this one. His prior T.V. special had been four and a half years earlier: “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite” – 1/14/73. During this three year interim, Elvis divorced and nearly died on several occasions from drug overdoses.
His main girlfriend, Linda Thompson, managed to keep him alive, until she feared for her own safety when Elvis nearly shot her, accidently.
In 1977, Elvis found new girlfriend Ginger Alden, who was basically a Priscilla Presley lookalike. Ginger was too immature and didn’t know how to care for an out-of-control rock star.
Elvis’ current album at the time, “Moody Blue” had been pieced together by RCA, containing random cuts from a few ’76 studio sessions, early ’77 concert recordings and one 1974 song. His voice is strong through most of it, especially during “Way Down”, in comparison to what would follow.
Col. Tom Parker (Elvis’ manager/agent) accepted the CBS special only because he didn’t believe they’d pay all the money they did.
“Elvis in Concert” contains two videotaped performances, edited together. (Omaha, Nebraska 6/19/77 and Rapid City, South Dakota 6/21/77.) The first ends with “My Way” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”, the second ends with “Unchained Melody”, cut from the original broadcast, but shown later during “Elvis – The Great Performances”. CBS intercuts comments by fans and other footage, similar to the 1970 documentary “Elvis – That’s the Way It Is”. This would eat into his actual show time and songs, some of them not broadcast by CBS.
Although Elvis is only 42, he appears older. His weight makes it difficult for him to move. Even walking shows effort and there are times when he appears to be in pain.
Much has been made of him forgetting the words to “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”‘; however, this is what I would call a throwaway song. You could divide this program into two sections – one half for the songs he cares about and the other half for those he didn’t. When Elvis put his heart into it, as he does in “How Great thou Art”, there is still the power that made him a star.
It has been theorized that Elvis knew he was going to die and put this last effort out as a way to say goodbye to his fans. Maybe.
A single was released, “My Way” (originally recorded by Frank Sinatra), which seems to sum up the tragedy of the situation.
Also, “Unchained Melody” is another reminder of how great Elvis could be. He accompanies himself on the piano and invests every last bit of energy left.
On August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley would be found dead by his girlfriend Ginger Alden. Official cause of death: Heart attack. There can be no doubt that drugs played a major role in his premature demise. RCA would release a double LP album posthumously.
It’s unknown whether Elvis’ estate will ever give an official release to an authorized, uncut version of “Elvis in Concert”. It remains on YouTube. All the more reason to release it, since those who are interested are already aware of the condition he was in.
In conclusion, in 2002, an unreleased version of “A Little Less Conservation” was released and became another #1 hit. After all the years, the King still had it.