Tag Archives: Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Elvis – The ’68 Comeback Special

Elvis, starring Elvis Presley, was the title of a 1968 United States television special. Sponsored by The Singer Sewing Machine Company, it aired on December 3, 1968 on the NBC television network. The special is commonly referred to as the ’68 Comeback Special, because of subsequent developments in Presley’s career, but the soundtrack album was released simply as NBC-TV Special. It was directed by Steve Binder and produced by Binder and Bones Howe.

Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, wanted the show, which was scheduled as a Christmas season broadcast, to be little more than Presley singing Christmas carols. He believed the special could simply be a TV-version of the Christmas radio show Presley had contributed to the year before. Binder argued that the special was an opportunity to re-establish the singer’s reputation after years of formulaic movies and recordings of variable quality. He and Howe hired writers to script a show with specific themes: they envisaged large set designs, dance sequences and big productions of Presley’s hits. However, Binder was open to any variations on this that would showcase the singer’s talent, and Presley was apparently very happy to go along with this flexible approach. Binder has also said that as the special production progressed, and there was no sign of any Christmas material, Parker constantly moaned to Binder: “Where’s my Christmas music?”

The special eventually included an extravagant musical sequence featuring Gospel-style numbers, a semi-autobiographical “mini-movie” centered around the song “Guitar Man” and other re-recordings given lavish set designs. Network censors wanted to remove one segment set in a bordello which featured the song “Let Yourself Go,” but it was aired. The special ends with Presley appealing for world peace with the song “If I Can Dream.”

Studio recordings for these segments were made at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California between June 20 and 23 and featured an orchestra and the The Blossoms as background vocalists: Fanita James, Jean King and Darlene Love. Other musicians included drummer Hal Blaine, pianist Don Randi, guitarist Tommy Tedesco and harmonica player Tommy Morgan.

Elvis #1 Hit Performances

This collection of wonderful performances by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll showcases 15 of his #1 US and UK hits. Culled from his TV guest appearances, movies, concert films and television specials – from 1956, the year his star ascended, to the 1970s when he reached the pinnacle of his career – this is Elvis at his best.

See Elvis perform “Heartbreak Hotel,” his first gold record award winner, shortly after the single’s release. Marvel at his Ed Sullivan Show performances of “Hound Dog” and (from the waist up only) “Don’t Be Cruel.” See the matinee idol croon one of his greatest love ballads, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and sing and dance in one of rock music’s all-time greatest production numbers, “Jailhouse Rock.” Experience Elvis in Las Vegas with an energetic delivery of “Suspicious Minds” and in Hawaii performing a version of “Burning Love” for a global television audience and many more from film and TV.

TRACKLISTING:
1.Heartbreak Hotel(filmed March 24, 1956, in the last of his six appearances on Stage Show)
2.Don’t Be Cruel (filmed September 9, 1956 on The Ed Sullivan Show)
3.Love Me Tender (filmed September 9, 1956 on The Ed Sullivan Show)
4.Hound Dog (filmed October 28, 1956 during his 3rd appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show)
5.(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear (from the 1957 movie Loving You)
6.Jailhouse Rock (from 1957’s Jailhouse Rock)
7.Stuck On You (from the “Welcome Home, Elvis” edition of Frank Sinatra’s series of TV specials in 1960)
8.Can’t Help Falling In Love (From the hit 1961 film Blue Hawaii)
9.Return to Sender (From the 1962 film Girls! Girls! Girls!)
10.All Shook Up (filmed during the taping of what became known as the ’68 Comeback television special)
11.Are You Lonesome Tonight? (From the taping of his ’68 Comeback television special)
12.In The Ghetto (Filmed during the 1970 engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas during production of the concert documentary film Elvis, That’s the Way It Is)
13.Suspicious Minds (Shot during production of the 1970 concert documentary film Elvis, That’s the Way It Is)
14.The Wonder of You (Shot during production of the concert film Elvis, That’s the Way It Is in 1970)
15.Burning Love (January 14, 1973, from the concert in Honolulu)