Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll to His Throne

In the annals of music history, few moments shine as brightly as Elvis Presley’s legendary ’68 Comeback Special. This groundbreaking television event, aired on NBC on December 3, 1968, marked a triumphant return for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, who had been sidelined by years of Hollywood movies and lackluster recordings. With his electrifying performance, Presley not only rekindled his career but also captivated a generation of new fans.

A Triumphant Return to Form

After a string of mediocre films and uninspired studio albums, Elvis Presley’s career had hit a low point in the mid-1960s. His relevance was waning, and critics had begun to dismiss him as a relic of the past. However, Presley was determined to reclaim his rightful place at the top of the music world. He teamed up with producer Steve Binder and director Bob Abel to create a television special that would showcase his immense talent and undeniable charisma.

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

The ’68 Comeback Special was a masterstroke of television production. It featured Presley performing in a variety of settings, including a live concert, an intimate acoustic set, and a rehearsal session. The show was interspersed with candid interviews, revealing a more personal side of the enigmatic rock star. This format allowed Presley to showcase his versatility as a performer and reminded audiences of his unparalleled stage presence.

Unforgettable Performances and Iconic Moments

The ’68 Comeback Special is remembered for its many unforgettable performances, including Presley’s energetic rendition of “Jailhouse Rock” and his emotional delivery of “If I Can Dream.” But perhaps the most iconic moment of the show was when Presley sat down with his guitar and performed an intimate acoustic set, showcasing his raw talent and proving that he was more than just a flashy entertainer.

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

Another memorable moment from the special was when Presley reunited with his original bandmates, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana, for a jam session that brought back the sound of his early rock ‘n’ roll days. This nostalgic performance not only delighted longtime fans but also introduced a new generation to the roots of rock music.

The ’68 Comeback Special also featured Presley’s first live performance in seven years, which was met with thunderous applause and screams from the audience. This electrifying concert proved that Presley still had what it takes to captivate a crowd and solidified his status as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The Legacy of the ’68 Comeback Special

The impact of the ’68 Comeback Special cannot be overstated. It not only revived Presley’s career but also cemented his place in music history. The show was a ratings success, drawing in over 42% of the television audience and earning rave reviews from critics.

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But beyond its immediate success, the ’68 Comeback Special has had a lasting impact on popular culture. It inspired countless musicians and performers, from Bruce Springsteen to BeyoncĂ©, and has been referenced and parodied in movies, TV shows, and commercials. The iconic black leather outfit that Presley wore during the show has become synonymous with his image and is still replicated by fans and tribute artists today.

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

In addition, the ’68 Comeback Special has been released in various formats over the years, including vinyl, DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming services. It has also been reissued multiple times, most recently in a 50th-anniversary edition that includes never-before-seen footage and interviews with those involved in the making of the special.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Songs

One of the most significant aspects of the ’68 Comeback Special was the music. Presley performed a mix of his classic hits and new songs, showcasing his versatility as an artist. Here are some of the standout songs from the special:

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

  • “Jailhouse Rock”: This iconic song from Presley’s 1957 film of the same name was given a new energy in the ’68 Comeback Special. With Presley’s signature dance moves and electrifying vocals, it became one of the most memorable performances of the show.
  • “If I Can Dream”: Written specifically for the ’68 Comeback Special, this powerful ballad became an instant hit and has since become one of Presley’s most beloved songs. Its message of hope and unity resonated with audiences then and continues to do so today.
  • “Heartbreak Hotel”: Another classic hit that was given new life in the ’68 Comeback Special, “Heartbreak Hotel” showcased Presley’s vocal range and emotional depth. It also featured a memorable guitar solo by Scotty Moore.
  • “Blue Christmas”: Presley’s rendition of this holiday favorite during the acoustic set was a highlight of the show. His soulful delivery and intimate performance made it a fan favorite.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Vinyl

The ’68 Comeback Special was originally released on vinyl in 1968, and it has since been reissued multiple times. The latest edition, released in 2018 for the 50th anniversary, includes a double LP with the original album tracks and bonus material, such as rehearsals and alternate takes. It also comes with a booklet featuring rare photos and behind-the-scenes stories from those involved in the making of the special.

For fans and collectors, owning the ’68 Comeback Special on vinyl is a must. Not only does it offer a high-quality listening experience, but it also serves as a piece of music history and a reminder of Presley’s triumphant return to form.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special DVD

The ’68 Comeback Special was released on DVD in 2004, and it quickly became one of the best-selling music DVDs of all time. It includes the full show, as well as bonus material such as interviews and rehearsal footage. The DVD also features commentary from director Steve Binder and others involved in the production, giving viewers an inside look at the making of the special.

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Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

For those who want to relive the magic of the ’68 Comeback Special or experience it for the first time, the DVD is a must-have. It offers a front-row seat to one of the most iconic moments in music history.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Guitar

One of the most recognizable aspects of the ’68 Comeback Special is Presley’s black leather outfit, complete with his guitar. This iconic guitar has become synonymous with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and is often replicated by tribute artists and fans alike.

In 2019, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the special, Gibson released a limited edition replica of Presley’s guitar. The Gibson ’68 Comeback Special guitar features the same black finish, gold hardware, and custom headstock as the original. It also comes with a certificate of authenticity and a vintage-style hardshell case.

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Photos

The ’68 Comeback Special was a visual feast, and many iconic photos were captured during the show. From Presley’s energetic performances to candid shots of him backstage, these photos offer a glimpse into the making of the special and the man behind the music.

For fans and collectors, owning these photos is a way to preserve the memory of the ’68 Comeback Special and the impact it had on popular culture. They can be found in various formats, including posters, prints, and books.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special (50th Anniversary Edition)

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ’68 Comeback Special, a special edition was released in 2018. This deluxe box set includes five CDs, two Blu-ray discs, and a book featuring rare photos and behind-the-scenes stories. It also includes a replica of the original script and a poster from the show.

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

This edition is a must-have for die-hard fans and offers a comprehensive look at the making of the ’68 Comeback Special and its lasting impact on music history.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Action Figure

In recent years, action figures have become a popular way to pay tribute to iconic figures in pop culture. In 2019, Funko released an Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special action figure as part of their Pop! Rocks collection. This figure features Presley in his black leather outfit, complete with his guitar and microphone. It’s a fun and unique way to commemorate the ’68 Comeback Special and add a touch of nostalgia to any collection.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Streaming

For those who want to watch the ’68 Comeback Special anytime, anywhere, it’s available for streaming on various platforms. It can be found on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Google Play, among others. This allows fans to relive the magic of the show or introduce it to new audiences.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Doll

Another unique way to pay homage to the ’68 Comeback Special is through a collectible doll. In 2019, Mattel released an Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special doll as part of their Barbie Signature collection. This doll features Presley in his iconic black leather outfit, complete with his guitar and microphone. It’s a fun and creative way to celebrate the legacy of the ’68 Comeback Special and add a touch of nostalgia to any collection.

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Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special If I Can Dream

As mentioned earlier, “If I Can Dream” was written specifically for the ’68 Comeback Special and has since become one of Presley’s most beloved songs. In 2015, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the special, a new version of the song was released featuring a duet between Presley and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This reimagined version stayed true to the original while adding a new dimension to the iconic song.

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Blu-ray

For those who want to experience the ’68 Comeback Special in high definition, the Blu-ray edition is a must-have. It includes the full show, as well as bonus material such as interviews and rehearsal footage. The Blu-ray also features commentary from director Steve Binder and others involved in the production, giving viewers an inside look at the making of the special.

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special PBS

In 2018, PBS aired a special program called “Elvis Presley: The Searcher,” which explored Presley’s life and career through the lens of his music. As part of this program, they also aired the ’68 Comeback Special in its entirety, allowing viewers to experience the magic of the show once again. This broadcast was a reminder of the lasting impact of the ’68 Comeback Special and its place in music history.

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special Setlist

The setlist for the ’68 Comeback Special included a mix of Presley’s classic hits and new songs. Here is the full setlist:

  1. “Trouble”/”Guitar Man”
  2. “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”
  3. “Baby, What You Want Me to Do”
  4. “Heartbreak Hotel”
  5. “Hound Dog”
  6. “All Shook Up”
  7. “Can’t Help Falling in Love”
  8. “Jailhouse Rock”
  9. “Don’t Be Cruel”
  10. “Blue Suede Shoes”
  11. “Love Me Tender”
  12. “Trouble” (reprise)
  13. “Where Could I Go But to the Lord”/”Up Above My Head”/”Saved”
  14. “Baby, What You Want Me to Do” (reprise)
  15. “That’s All Right”
  16. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
  17. “One Night”
  18. “Memories”
  19. “Nothingville”/”Big Boss Man”/”Guitar Man”/”Little Egypt”/”Trouble” (reprise)
  20. “If I Can Dream”

Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special CD

For those who prefer to listen to music on CD, the ’68 Comeback Special is available in this format as well. It includes the full show, as well as bonus material such as rehearsals and alternate takes. It also comes with a booklet featuring rare photos and behind-the-scenes stories from those involved in the making of the special.

Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special A Cultural Phenomenon That Restored the King of Rock 'n' Roll to His Throne

Conclusion

The ’68 Comeback Special was a cultural phenomenon that not only restored Elvis Presley to his throne but also solidified his place in music history. Its impact can still be felt today, 50 years later, through its enduring popularity and influence on popular culture. From the unforgettable performances to the iconic black leather outfit, the ’68 Comeback Special will always hold a special place in the hearts of fans and continue to captivate new audiences for generations to come.

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