Elvis Presley

The Ultimate Guide to Elvis’ Comeback Special Blue Christmas

Elvis Presley is known as the King of Rock and Roll, but it was his groundbreaking comeback special that solidified his place in music history. The special aired on December 3, 1968, and featured an iconic performance of “Blue Christmas” by Elvis himself. This performance not only showcased his musical talent but also marked a significant turning point in his career.

In this ultimate guide, we will delve into the history of Elvis Presley’s comeback special, explore the behind-the-scenes moments, and analyze the impact of his blue Christmas performance. We will also take a closer look at Elvis’ memorable moments, fashion choices, and musical guests in the special. Finally, we’ll discuss the legacy of this special and how it continues to influence the music industry today.

The Ultimate Guide to Elvis' Comeback Special Blue Christmas

The History of Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special

In the early 1960s, Elvis Presley’s career seemed to be on a downward spiral. His success in Hollywood didn’t translate into musical hits, and he was struggling to find his place in the rapidly changing music scene. In 1967, Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, negotiated a deal with NBC for a TV special to revive his career.

The special was initially planned as a Christmas show, but the format was later changed to a variety show. It would feature Elvis performing live on stage, surrounded by a small audience of fans. Dubbed as the ‘comeback special,’ it was an opportunity for Elvis to prove that he was still relevant in the world of music.

On June 27, 1968, Elvis began rehearsals for the special at Burbank Studios in California. He was joined by some of the biggest names in the industry, including producer Steve Binder, director Marty Pasetta, and choreographer Bones Howe. Together, they created a landmark television event that would go down in history as one of the most significant moments in Elvis’ career.

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The Ultimate Guide to Elvis' Comeback Special Blue Christmas

Elvis comeback special blue christmas

One of the most memorable moments from Elvis’ comeback special was his performance of “Blue Christmas.” The song, written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson, was first recorded by Elvis in 1957 and became a holiday classic. In the special, Elvis performed an updated version of the song, showcasing his powerful vocals and trademark dance moves.

Dressed in a black leather suit, Elvis commanded the stage with his raw energy and charisma. He was joined by a group of back-up singers called the Blossoms, who harmonized with him beautifully. The performance was so electrifying that it quickly became the highlight of the special, and even today, it remains one of the most iconic moments in music history.

The Ultimate Guide to Elvis' Comeback Special Blue Christmas

Behind the Scenes of Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special

The behind-the-scenes moments of the comeback special are just as fascinating as the show itself. The rehearsals were intense and grueling, with Elvis pushing himself to perfect his performance. Director Marty Pasetta recalls how Elvis would often get frustrated and walk off the set, only to come back after taking a break.

Despite the challenges, everyone involved in the production had nothing but admiration for Elvis. They were impressed by his dedication, work ethic, and genuine love for music. It was clear that Elvis was determined to make this special a success, and his efforts paid off when it aired on NBC and received critical acclaim.

The Ultimate Guide to Elvis' Comeback Special Blue Christmas

The Impact of Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special on His Career

The comeback special marked a significant turning point in Elvis’ career. It not only solidified his place in the music industry but also brought him back into the spotlight after years of struggling to find his niche. The special reminded the world of Elvis’ talent as a musician and performer, and it paved the way for a successful comeback.

Following the special’s airing, Elvis’ career took off once again. He released numerous hit songs, including “Suspicious Minds,” “In the Ghetto,” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” He also went on to perform sold-out shows in Las Vegas and around the world. This resurgence in his career allowed him to leave behind the constraints of Hollywood and focus solely on music.

Elvis Presley’s Memorable Moments in the Comeback Special

Apart from his iconic performance of “Blue Christmas,” Elvis had several other memorable moments in the comeback special. One of them was his emotional rendition of “If I Can Dream.” The powerful and inspirational song was written specifically for the special and became a symbol of hope during the turbulent times of the 1960s.

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Another highlight was the informal jam session with Elvis and his friends in the dressing room. This unscripted moment gave fans a glimpse into the man behind the music and showed a playful and relaxed side of Elvis that many had never seen before.

The Ultimate Guide to Elvis' Comeback Special Blue Christmas

The Significance of Blue Christmas in Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special

As mentioned earlier, “Blue Christmas” holds a special place in the comeback special. It was the song that put Elvis back on the map and reminded people of his musical prowess. However, the significance of this song goes beyond just its impact on Elvis’ career.

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“Blue Christmas” was originally meant to be sung by a woman, but Elvis made it his own with his unique vocals. His version of the song appealed to a wider audience, transcending age, gender, and race. In a time when racial tensions were high, Elvis’ performance of this song served as a bridge between different communities and brought people together through the power of music.

Elvis Presley’s Fashion Choices in the Comeback Special

One of the most iconic aspects of the comeback special was Elvis’ fashion choices. He ditched his famous jumpsuits and opted for a more casual yet stylish look. The black leather suit he wore for his performance of “Blue Christmas” has since become synonymous with the King of Rock and Roll.

The suit was custom-made by famous designer Sy Devore and featured intricate details like silver studs and red lining. It perfectly encapsulated Elvis’ rebellious and edgy style, which was a far cry from the clean-cut image he had in the past. This change in fashion not only reflected Elvis’ growth as an artist but also set a new trend in men’s fashion.

The Ultimate Guide to Elvis' Comeback Special Blue Christmas

The Musical Guests in Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special

Apart from Elvis’ performances, the comeback special also featured several musical guests. One of them was legendary singer and actor Frank Sinatra, who joined Elvis for a duet of “Love Me Tender.” This collaboration between two of the biggest names in music was a rare and unforgettable moment for fans.

Other notable guests included Nancy Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and comedian Joan Blondell. However, it was Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley, who stole the show with his emotional rendition of “That’s All Right.” This surprise appearance by Elvis’ father added a personal touch to the special and showed the strong bond between father and son.

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Elvis Presley’s Return to the Spotlight with the Comeback Special

The comeback special marked Elvis’ return to the spotlight after years of struggling to find his place in the music industry. For many fans, it felt like he was back where he belonged, and the special served as a reminder of his greatness. The positive response to the special gave Elvis the confidence he needed to continue making music and performing live.

After the success of the comeback special, Elvis continued to perform sold-out shows in Las Vegas and around the world. He also released numerous hit songs and albums, solidifying his comeback and cementing his status as the King of Rock and Roll.

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The Legacy of Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special and Blue Christmas Performance

The comeback special continues to live on in the hearts of fans and has become a significant part of Elvis’ legacy. It inspired a new generation of musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, who once said, “I still think it might be the best musical performance I’ve ever seen on television.”

The blue Christmas performance, in particular, has become an iconic moment in music history. It has been featured in numerous TV shows, movies, and commercials, and has been covered by countless artists. Even today, it remains one of the most beloved and recognizable holiday songs.

The Ultimate Guide to Elvis' Comeback Special Blue Christmas

Conclusion

Elvis Presley’s comeback special and his iconic performance of “Blue Christmas” will forever hold a special place in music history. It marked a significant turning point in his career and reminded the world of his talent as a musician and performer. The behind-the-scenes moments, fashion choices, and musical guests all added to the magic of this special and continue to fascinate fans to this day.

The legacy of the comeback special and blue Christmas performance lives on, inspiring new generations of artists and bringing joy to millions of people every year. It serves as a reminder of Elvis’ greatness and the impact he had on the music industry. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the special, we can appreciate its significance and the lasting influence it continues to have on the world of music.

The Ultimate Guide to Elvis' Comeback Special Blue Christmas

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