BECAUSE I AM MORE FOCUSED OF LATE and therefore spending wildly better quality time with my blogs, I haven’t spent much time reading questions on Quora—either those of a musical or a political bent—and absorbing the wealth of informative data that can be found there. (I say—that’s a joke, son‚ a joke.)
But last night in the middle of the night, this question popped up on my screen: Why was Elvis Presley so wildly better in the one and only ’68 comeback TV show than he ever was in almost anything else before or after? What follows is my answer.
It’s not one of my better thought out or better-composed answers as I was still hours away from my Café Bustelo. But Elvis fans and appreciators should get it and dig it!
On March 21, 1961, Elvis gave a super-hot performance in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Had he toured with this show, his reputation as a performance artist would have remained intact. Of course, that would have made the remarkable ’68 Comeback unnecessary.
Other wildly better moments
“You ask, Why was Elvis Presley so wildly better in the one and only ’68 comeback TV show than he ever was in almost anything else before or after? First, I’m glad that you appreciate Elvis’s performances in June 1968. They were great but your statement that he was “wildly better than he ever was in almost anything else before or after” requires that I point out a few things:
• Many historians would argue that he was as great—and many would say even greater—in 1954 and ’55, when he recorded with Sam Phillips for Sun Records.
• Still others would tell you that he was as great—and many would say even greater—in 1956–1958 with the best sides he recorded for RCA Victor. You know—all the big hits that help define ’50s rock & roll.
• I know some people who would argue that he was as great—and many would say even greater—in 1960 with the best sides he recorded during the Elvis Is Back and the His Hand in Mine album sessions.
• Then there are those who will gladly let you in on a secret most non-Elvis fans don’t know: he was as great—and many would say even greater—in 1966 when he recorded the transcendent How Great Thou Art album.
• I myself would disagree with your statement and claim that he was as great—and maybe even greater—in 1969 with the best sides he recorded with Chips Moman at American Sound Studio.
• Hell’s Belles, there are even folks that think he was as great—and many would say even greater—during the peak moments of the 1970 Nashville sessions.
After that, I agree with you that those peak moments are fewer and farther apart and he was, in fact, wildly better in 1968.
FEATURED IMAGE: A content and amused-looking Elvis Presley playing electric guitar (Scotty Moore’s 1963 Gibson Super 400 CES) during one of the so-called “sit-down sessions” at NBC-TV’s studio in Burbank, California, on June 27, 1968.
If you want to see the original entry on Quora and follow and comments that might be added, click here.
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)