Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special: A Night of Music and Politics

Elvis comeback special bobby kennedy was a pioneer in the world of music, his unique sound and charismatic stage presence captivated audiences all over the world. In 1968, after a seven-year hiatus from live performances, Elvis made his much-anticipated comeback in a television special simply titled “Elvis”.

This comeback special not only marked a return to the stage for the King of Rock and Roll but also served as a platform for him to express his political views. One particular moment during the show involved Elvis singing a powerful tribute to the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In this article, we will delve into the significance of Elvis’ comeback special, and how it tied into the political climate of the late 1960s.

Elvis Presley's Comeback Special: A Night of Music and Politics

The Making Elvis comeback special bobby kennedy

The idea for the comeback special stemmed from Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who wanted to revive Elvis’ career which had taken a dive due to his focus on making movies rather than performing live. Colonel Parker pitched the idea of a Christmas special to NBC, but Elvis had other plans. He wanted to do something different, something that would remind people of his roots and showcase his talent as a performer rather than just a movie star.

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Rehearsals and Preparations

To prepare for the special, Elvis and his team set up rehearsals at the Burbank Studios in California, where they transformed the studio into a mini-concert venue. The setlist was carefully curated, featuring a mix of old hits and new songs, and also included various segments such as gospel music, acoustic sets, and a section dedicated to Elvis’ movie soundtrack songs.

Elvis also brought in an ensemble of renowned musicians including guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana, both of whom had played with Elvis in the early days of his career. These musicians added depth and authenticity to the performances, making it clear that Elvis was returning to his roots, both musically and personally.

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The Comeback Special Aired

On December 3rd, 1968, the much-awaited special aired on NBC. The show was a huge success, garnering high ratings and reaffirming Elvis’ status as an iconic performer. The highlight of the show was undoubtedly the sit-down jam session with Elvis and his bandmates, which showcased the raw talent and chemistry between them.

Apart from the musical performances, the show also featured comedy skits, dance numbers, and interviews with Elvis, giving the audience a well-rounded experience. However, amidst all the entertainment, there was one moment during the show that captured the attention of not just the audience but also the media – Elvis’ tribute to Bobby Kennedy.

Elvis Presley's Comeback Special: A Night of Music and Politics

Elvis’ Tribute to Bobby Kennedy

During the acoustic segment of the show, Elvis sat on a stool with his guitar and sang a heartfelt rendition of “If I Can Dream”, a song written specifically for him by Walter Earl Brown. This powerful song expresses a message of hope and unity, urging people to come together and put an end to the turmoil plaguing the country at the time.

The Impact of Robert F. Kennedy’s Death

The late 1960s were a tumultuous time in America, with the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and several assassinations causing widespread unrest and division among the people. One such assassination was that of Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 5th, 1968. His death shook the nation, and many saw it as a symbol of the loss of hope and unity.

Elvis, like many others, was deeply affected by RFK’s death. He had followed the Kennedy family’s political journey closely and had even met JFK before he became president. So when the opportunity arose to pay tribute to the late senator during his comeback special, Elvis took it with open arms.

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Elvis’ Emotional Performance

As Elvis sang “If I Can Dream” with emotion and passion, the audience and those watching at home were moved to tears. The song’s message resonated with people in a way that only music can, giving hope and reminding them of the potential for peace and unity in a time of turmoil.

But it wasn’t just the lyrics that made this performance powerful; it was also Elvis’ delivery and stage presence. He poured his heart and soul into every word, making it clear that this tribute was more than just a song, it was a statement.

Elvis Presley's Comeback Special: A Night of Music and Politics

The Political Relevance of Elvis’ Comeback Special

Elvis’ comeback special served as a platform for him to express his political beliefs and make a statement about the state of the nation. This was not the first time Elvis had used his music to voice his opinions; he had previously recorded songs such as “In the Ghetto” and “If I Can Dream”, which addressed issues of poverty, inequality, and war.

A New Side of Elvis

The world was used to seeing Elvis as a charming, good-looking entertainer, but with his comeback special, he showed a different side of himself. He was no longer just a singer; he was an artist who used his platform to address important issues and make a difference. This shift in public perception helped solidify Elvis’ status as a cultural icon and set him apart from other musicians of the time.

Bringing People Together

Apart from paying tribute to Bobby Kennedy, Elvis’ comeback special also brought people together. In a time of social unrest and division, the show provided a sense of unity and hope, even if it was just for one night. Music has always been a powerful tool for bringing people together, and Elvis’ performance on that fateful night was no exception.

Elvis Presley's Comeback Special: A Night of Music and Politics

Spreading a Message of Unity

Elvis’ tribute to Bobby Kennedy was a subtle yet significant political statement. By singing “If I Can Dream”, he was not only honoring the late senator but also spreading a message of unity and hope for the future. This message resonated with people, and the performance continues to be relevant even today.

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The Legacy of Elvis’ Comeback Special

The comeback special marked a turning point in Elvis’ career, both musically and personally. It reminded people of his talent as a performer and solidified his status as a cultural icon. But more than that, it served as a platform for him to make a statement about the current political climate and spread a message of hope and unity.

Inspiring Future Generations

Elvis’ comeback special has inspired many artists and musicians since its airing. It showed that music can be used as a form of expression and can have a powerful impact on people’s lives. Many artists have cited Elvis’ performance of “If I Can Dream” as a source of inspiration for their own political commentary in their music.

A Timeless Performance

Even over 50 years later, Elvis’ tribute to Bobby Kennedy remains one of the most iconic and emotional performances in his career. The song’s message is still relevant, and the impact it had on viewers then continues to resonate with audiences today. It serves as a reminder of the power of music and how one artist’s voice can make a difference.

Keeping the Memory Alive

Elvis’ performance of “If I Can Dream” has become an integral part of his legacy. It keeps the memory of Robert F. Kennedy alive and serves as a reminder of the turbulent times in America during the late 1960s. It also highlights the role that music played in bringing people together during a time of great division.

Elvis Presley's Comeback Special: A Night of Music and Politics

Conclusion

Elvis Presley’s comeback special was a night of music and politics, bringing two worlds together in a powerful and emotional manner. The show marked a turning point in Elvis’ career and solidified his status as a cultural icon. But more than that, it served as a platform for him to make a statement about the state of the nation and spread a message of unity and hope. Even today, Elvis’ performance continues to inspire and remind us of the power of music to bring people together and make a difference.

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