1977 Elvis live Unchained Melody

In 1977 I had been an Elvis Presley fan for (approximately) two decades. When I learned, through the “must have” tv viewing essential guide called TV guide which let you know in advance what programs were playing on each tv station time and date, that Elvis’ concert entitled “Elvis in Concert” (i.e. this concert footage was taken on June 19 and June 21 1977) was airing on October 3, 1977 it was a bittersweet reality that this would be the last (known) footage of Elvis onstage…forever.

I, and the nation and much of the world, was still in shock about Elvis dying on August 16, 1977 even though we knew Elvis had been enduring great, and in some cases debilitating, health issues (i.e. mental, physcial, and emotional).

Watching, on a now unthinkably small tv screen that was approximately 24 x 24, Elvis perform on “Elvis in concert” I was shocked to see the adverse effects his medial issues were having. But, I was amazed at his vocal abilities.

If you listened, as I did, to every song on the “Elvis in Concert” album you would be left with the impression that this was a man with incredible vocal range – inflections – feelings – and who was (wholly) unique. Man, he could sing.

Watching “Elvis in concert” it was clear that Elvis gave his heart and soul to his audience as he always had. I believed, and do to this day, that instead of performing (and I knew the incredible financial pressures he was under along with other personal/professional pressures) he should have been under the care of the world’s greatest doctors/hospitals with the never ending mantra from those he loved/trusted being “no amount of money is worth your health Elvis so please please stay committed to these treatments” (note: there is no doubt that many tried, time and again, but Elvis had the desire and ability to obtain medical care and medications…or not. A man cannot be kept from himself and decisions, whether made under duress of not, have consequences). Also, unlike today there were no state of the art treatment facilities where stars and/or those with means could recover without any adverse effect on their careers. The stigma of being labeled “a drug addict” was (in most cases) a kiss of death for one’s career and though I know that Elvis did not consider himself one AND I greatly dislike this connotation associated with Elvis his dependency on medications for very real medical diagnoses were something Elvis dealt with 24/7 and 1977 it had gotten..worse.

Bravely Elvis went before his audience knowing the cameras would be capturing Elvis in ill health but in spite of these hardships he went forth, as he had for decades, and gave the best performance possible.

Via YouTube is the very moving rendition of “Unchained Melody” a song that was previously a national hit for the Everly Brothers among others.

Take care and may God bless you.

 

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

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Elvis Presley & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. January 2017

68 special in white odd angle.jpg

The upcoming weeks mark the well deserved federal holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr. “day”. In my opinion Dr. King, Jr. was an incredible leader who put his own well being in jeopardy standing up for not only what was right but to obtain justice for the masses.

I have, on several occasions, read the writings of Dr. King, Jr. and those he wrote while he was in jail (like so many of his writings) were powerful and stirred my emotions. What an incredible leader.

Decades ago I was honored, by marriage, to have stayed in the suite in Washington DC at the Willard Hotel. This was the same suite that Dr. King, Jr. wrote his “I have a dream speech”. Though the wedding took every moment the significance of Dr. King, Jr. being in the same suite was very…humbling. I have great memories of that time, and that love, I (in far too many ways) I took for granted. But, this post is about the connection(s) between Elvis and Dr. King, Jr.

Elvis grew up poor. Elvis never saw one’s color nor did he tolerate those who treated others with anything but respect.

Elvis grew up in the church moved by preachings, the choir, and the church filled. Elvis grew up a southerner and endured everything that being a southern man, at the period in history, entails. Elvis loved the church and was a deeply spiritual man. The same can be said of Dr. King, Jr.

Several firsthand accounts confirm that Elvis had respect, and admiration, for Dr. King, Jr. and his non-violent approach.

On April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered by a coward. And he was murdered in Elvis’ beloved city of Memphis in Tennessee which upset Elvis greatly. One would think that living in the 1960’s, which I did and all the turmoil and the decade had earlier brought the murder of America’s President John F. Kennedy and months after Dr. Kings’ death came the murder of Robert Kennedy, that “nothing would be shocking” as the country was “numb” by back to back killings bringing anger and uncertainty. But, when it came to the death of Dr. King, Jr. millions of people then and now mourn and that includes this writer.

During the 1960’s Elvis was locked into movie contracts which played out to be approximately three per year. Not many people know that Elvis had to star in movies regardless of the quality, or lack of, the scripts. Elvis had no say over the movies he starred in and the 1960’s were, in many instances, frustrating for Elvis.

Elvis was presented with an opportunity to have a TV special that would air around the Christmas season in 1968. I have written about aspects concerning this special in great detail so what I will say now is that Elvis, with the guidance of the talented producer/director, realized that this was the chance for him to return to a live audience (which he was kept from for approximately 8 years) as well as showcase his first love in entertainment and that was singing/performing.

When the time came, after great momentum, for Elvis to decide how to end the TV Special, which would be sponsored by the Singer sewing company and titled “Elvis”, Elvis wanted to express his feelings. His pulse. His sensitivity. His release from years of pent up anger/frustration. Elvis shared this with Walter Earl Brown, a great song writer, and together they used direct quotes of Dr. Kings, they came up with one of the greatest songs in the world…”if I can dream”.

Not only was the song beautiful but Elvis poured his heart and soul into the song. There are two versions of this song from the 68 special and one was Elvis in front of the audience in black leather and he never looked, or sounded, better. The other was Elvis, dressed in a white 1960’s fashionable suit, singing in front of large red lit letters that spelled out “E L V I S”. The version of Elvis in white is my personal favorite version of this song. I encourage everyone to watch Elvis performing this song and affirm that, with every pore and vocal inflection, Elvis shared a soulful message with the viewing audience all the while paying respect and love to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The TV ratings were a success and catapulted Elvis back into superstardom as a singer/performer. Out of the thousands of songs Elvis knew, and he had a photographic memory, he could not of picked a better song than “if I can dream”. I believe it is one of Elvis’ greatest performances and certainly was a meaningful song for him as a man and as an entertainer.

It is hard, at times, for me to believe that it has been 49 years since Dr. King, Jr. took breath upon this earth. And it has been, as of August 16th of this year (i.e. 2017), 40 years since Elvis took his last breath. Both of these men had failures, shortcomings, and regrets but they were both wholly unique and they rose to infamy for what they stood for – what they believed – and how they chose to live their lives. I miss them both and my prayers are always with the family, and loved ones, of these great men.

Take care and God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

 

 

 

January 8, 2017 Elvis Presleys’ 82nd birthday

I don’t know why but as the years pass by I find myself often reflecting and, in between having a permanent broken heart and missing/loving/wanting the best for/etc my children, yearning for days gone by when Elvis was filling stadiums and his songs fluttered on the airways.

Now it is January 8, 2017 and the 82nd anniversary of the day he was born. Man, in a few years it will be MORE YEARS PAST THAN ELVIS PRESLEY EVER LIVED. The math on this is that Elvis was 42 years old when he died. As of today it has been 39 years since he (sadly) passed away (August 16, 1977). So, in the next few years it will 43 years since Elvis died versus the 42 years he lived. What a loss. What a…loss.

Graceland, and Priscilla and Lisa Marie, will (in all probability) have a week of acknowledgement filled with events as fans gather from around the world. His beloved home, Graceland, will be open and there will be candle light vigils in remembrance. The tree, whose branch expectantly broke while the members of the “Memphis mafia” were in a car during his funeral/mourning, will still be there as is the wall that fans have been writing on since the 1950’s.

I have Elvis’ music, and other eclectic singers, in every “listening device” including the albums and 45’s (which I have two record players but I don’t want to damage the records which was not the case when I was a child/young man/younger/etc. as I played the grooves off each Elvis record I could get my hands on. Man, what a…loss.

As 2017 rolled around I was heavy hearted thinking about all of the people who (sadly) passed away that were; related to, loved by, trusted by, worked with, etc. Elvis. The same is true with others in the entertainment industry whose passing were worldwide news. But, Elvis had an uncanny ability to surround himself, individually and collectively, with people of quality. Of great intellect and personality. Of being grounded and unique. With sadness, yet respect, I have put their names in memorandum on http://www.ElvisCollector.info. I hope to add much more content to these special people.

While I created http://www.ElvisCollector.info with hesitation and with nothing other than a positive distraction for me far removed from my cancer treatment(s) and my divorce but most of all from the nightmare that is custody/visitation issues. My heart goes out to the children of divorce as well as their parents and loved ones. Back to http://www.ElvisCollector.info.

I have been amazed at how many people visit http://www.ElvisCollector.info each day. Each month. Each year. At one point I put “digital pins” on a “digital map of the world” on my laptop(s). The pins were red and the map was white outlined in black. Before the month was out the red pins were in (literally) every corner of the world. To make things even more joyous the site was ranked, in about 70 different categories, number 1 in many search engines.

I added site content and decided to put “never seen before” photographs along with cool and unique; videos, audio files, photographs, documents, handwriting, personal possessions, etc. pertaining to Elvis. But, I had a few “non-negotiable s” such as; I would not allow anything about Lisa Marie (out of respect as she has her own forums to do so if she wants), I would not allow anything about anyone Elvis dated other than Priscilla (this was a hard decision for me as so many of those Elvis dated are INCREDIBLE people including ┬áLinda Thompson, Sandie Kaye Stevens, Kathy Westmoreland, etc.) for the same reason pertaining to Lisa Marie, I would not allow anything to be sold/offered for sale, I would not allow any ads, I would not allow any pop-ups, I would put things on the site that were interesting to me, I would write original stories/articles about Elvis onstage and off, I would put an emphasis on the visual (photographs, videos, etc.), I would put Elvis’ life onstage and off told by FACTS and in context, and I would keep the format simple yet compelling.

I also wanted fans to know about other sites, and person(s) (including but not limited to Russ Howe, Paul Litcher, Phil Arnold, Sandie Kaye Stevens, Sandi Pichon, Marty Lacker, Alanna Nash, etc.), about Elvis. Now, I have very high standards, as has been the case since the late 60’s, but these sites/people are truly deserving to be recognized. I hope people check out every site/person listed as they are worth the “click” and the “time”.

Well, I’m off to knock out a few chores/errands but here are a few cool things that I hope your enjoy.

Please visit, and share via social media and verbally, http://www.ElvisCollector.info and http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org (please BOOKMARK as the name is sooooo long and typing it over and over will give you carpal tunnel) the Elvis Presley forum that is 100% free to join. Please note that the forum is still in the “beta testing” realm and hopefully 2017 will be the year it is up to par with my expectations.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Take care and may God bless you and yours always.

Jeff Schrembs