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|46 YEARS AGO - ELVIS RETURNS LIVE
The King Returned To The Live Stage At The International Hotel, Las Vegas, July 31, 1969
July 31, 2015 / Elvis Presley Music
It was 46 years ago today, July 31, 1969 which marked a major historic milestone in Elvis' career. Bolstered by the runaway success of the '68 Comeback show and energized by
productive recording sessions at American Sound Studios, which would spawn such timeless hits as "Suspicious Minds", "In The Ghetto" and "Don't Cry Daddy," Elvis launched his
return to live performance at Las Vegas's International Hotel in the summer of 1969.
Here is a report from the time:
Return of the Pelvis : Newsweek : Published August 11, 1969
Elvis Presley In Concert : July 31, 1969.
Las Vegas, NV. Dressed in a chic black tunic and bell bottoms that matched his long but neatly combed black-tinted hair. Elvis Presley stepped on stage last week at the
International Hotel in Las Vegas and launched into the driving beat of 'Blue Suede Shoes'. The audience of 2,000+, roared and squealed in nostalgic appreciation. In spite of his
updated look, Elvis hadn't changed at all in the nearly nine years since his last personal appearance. Shaking, gyrating and quivering, he again proved himself worthy of his
nickname, The Pelvis.
Through nervousness caused him to sing 'Love my, me tender' for 'Love Me Tender', the pasty-faced enchanter quickly settled down to work his oleaginous charms, backed by a
30-piece orchestra, a five-man combo and a chorus of seven. Oozing the sullen sexuality that threw the American public into a state of shock in the 50's, he groaned and swiveled
through a medley of 'Jailhouse Rock', 'Don't Be Cruel', 'Heartbreak Hotel', 'All Shook Up' and 'Hound Dog'. It was hard to believe he was 34 and no longer 19 years old.
In fact, there are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars, Presley shot to the
top in 1956 with 'Heartbreak Hotel' and has stayed in the uppermost tax bracket ever since. Forty-seven of his singles have sold more than one million copies.
He has made 31 movies, currently turning them out at a rate of four year and raking in a cool million plus half the profits for each. Presley's income is estimated at $5 million a year
and he spends it freely. Among his purchases are an antebellum mansion called Graceland near Memphis (the house is painted luminous blue and gold and glows in the dark), and
a succession of cars including a gold Cadillac.
No ones knows how much the boy from Memphis is being paid for his four week Las Vegas stand but, according to Presley associate, 'Coming in on the heels of Barbra Streisand,
you know that it's over a million'. Credit for the successful maintenance of the Presley image goes largely to his canny manager, 'Colonel' Thomas Andrew Parker, who for almost
fifteen years has kept the price up and the live exposure down. When, during a news conference after the opening, a British entrepreneur offered Elvis a million pounds sterling for
one appearance in London, it was Parker who answered: 'Bring me a deposit tomorrow'.
Presley doesn't seem to mind letting Parker run interference, for he likes privacy and spends his free time holed up at one of his houses with his wife, his infant daughter and a
group of buddy-bodyguards sometimes called the 'Memphis Mafia'. Elvis arrived in Las Vegas a week before the show and immediately began rehearsing five hours a day-losing 10
pounds in the process. 'He's really working on this one', said a stagehand. 'He doesn't know if he can still cut it.'
Loving the Presley magic were his loyal fans, women and teen-age girls, who lined the corridor outside his suite. 'He's better than ever', claimed one girl. 'His latest songs have
been groovy'. Only celebrities and big spenders were there opening night to hear Presley sing a lot of oldies and one new song, with a new message aimed at the black rock
market. 'In The Ghetto' chronicles the evils of poverty in a Chicago slum and could signal the birth of a social conscience for Presley. Another recent record release, 'If I Can
Dream', proclaims brotherhood according to the gospel of Martin Luther King, but did not appear on the Vegas program.
When asked if these songs marked a new direction he might take, Elvis answered, 'I go by the material. When I got 'In The Ghetto', I couldn't turn it down. It was too big'. It's selling
big, too, more than a million copies to date.
Presley's plans include other personal appearances, through no dates have been specified, and more movie roles. 'I'm going after more serious material', he said. 'I'm tired of
playing a guy who gets into a fight, then starts singing to the guy he's just beat up'.
And of course, the granddaddy of rock will continue trying to catch up with the times, sensing that he can't trade on the power of nostalgia forever. 'There are a lot of new records
out now that have the same sound I started. But they're better', he admitted, 'I mean, you can't compare a song like 'Yesterday' with 'Hound Dog', can you?'