Elvis 68 comeback concert – History

 Elvis 68 comeback concert, also known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” rose to fame in the 1950s with his iconic voice, captivating stage performances, and unique style.The ’68 Comeback Special, officially titled Singer Presents… Elvis, was an American television special starring Elvis Presley that aired on the NBC television network on December 3, 1968. The special marked Presley’s return to live performance after a seven-year hiatus from television, and it is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in his career

The special was directed by Steve Binder, who had previously worked with Presley on several films. Binder’s vision for the special was to create a “youthful” and “contemporary” showcase for Presley’s talent. To achieve this, Binder employed a number of innovative techniques, including the use of multiple cameras, close-ups, and split-screens. He also encouraged Presley to perform a more diverse range of material than he had in his recent films.

History of Elvis' 68 Comeback Concert

Significance of Elvis 68 Comeback Concert

The special was a critical and commercial success. It was the most-watched television show of the season, and it earned Presley four Grammy Awards. The special is also credited with revitalizing Presley’s career, leading to a resurgence of his popularity in the 1970s.

The ’68 Comeback Special is considered to be one of the most important moments in rock and roll history. It helped to redefine Presley’s image and solidify his status as the “King of Rock and Roll.”

Impact of Elvis 68′ Comeback Concert on his career

The impact of the Elvis’ 68 Comeback Concert on his career cannot be overstated. Not only did it revitalize his popularity, but it also helped him reconnect with his fans and regain their trust. The intimate setting of the concert allowed for a more personal and authentic performance, which resonated deeply with viewers.

History of Elvis' 68 Comeback Concert

The concert also marked a change in Elvis’ image and style. Gone were the flashy costumes and choreographed dance moves, replaced by a simple black leather outfit and raw, powerful vocals. This transformation showed Elvis’ versatility as an artist and solidified his status as an icon.

Apart from the immediate success of the concert, it also had a lasting impact on Elvis’ career. It paved the way for his successful Las Vegas residencies, where he performed to sold-out crowds for several years. The Elvis 68 Comeback Concert served as a reminder to both Elvis and his fans that he was still at the top of his game and capable of delivering unforgettable performances.

Setlist of Elvis 68′ Comeback Concert

One of the most memorable aspects of the Elvis’ 68 Comeback Concert was its diverse setlist. The concert was divided into four segments, each showcasing different styles and genres of music. The setlist included songs from Elvis’ early years, gospel numbers, and even a tribute to his film career.

The first segment opened with a high-energy performance of “Trouble” and “Guitar Man,” followed by a medley of classic hits such as “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog.” The second segment featured slower ballads and gospel songs, including “Love Me Tender” and “How Great Thou Art.”

History of Elvis' 68 Comeback Concert

In the third segment, Elvis paid homage to his film career with a medley of songs from his movies. He also performed a new song, “Memories,” which would go on to become one of his most beloved tracks. The final segment brought back the energy with a rock and roll medley, including “Jailhouse Rock” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

The diverse setlist and Elvis’ dynamic performance kept viewers captivated throughout the concert, showcasing his versatility as an artist.

Behind the scenes of Elvis’ 68 Comeback Concert

Behind the scenes, there was a lot of preparation and hard work that went into making the Elvis 68 Comeback Concert a success. Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker worked closely with director Steve Binder to create a unique and groundbreaking TV special.

Binder wanted to capture the essence of Elvis’ live performances and make it feel like an intimate experience for the viewers. He also convinced Elvis to ditch his scripted lines and have a more natural and spontaneous approach to his performance.

History of Elvis' 68 Comeback Concert

The rehearsals leading up to the concert were intense, with Elvis and his band practicing for hours to perfect each song and segment. It was during these rehearsals that Elvis came up with the iconic unplugged performance of “If I Can Dream,” where he sang from the heart about unity and peace.


Reception and reviews of Elvis’ 68 Comeback Concert

The Elvis 68 Comeback Concert was met with critical acclaim and positive reviews from both fans and critics. The concert received one of the highest ratings for a TV special at the time, cementing Elvis’ popularity and influence. Many praised the raw and authentic performance of Elvis and how he managed to connect with the audience on a personal level.

The New York Times wrote, “Elvis Presley’s comeback last night…wasn’t just good television; it was extraordinarily good television.” The Washington Post called it “the show of the year,” and Time magazine declared it as “a brilliant performance.”

The concert’s success was not just limited to the United States, as it aired in over 30 countries worldwide and received similar praise. The Elvis 68 Comeback Concert was a global event, with people from all corners of the world tuning in to witness Elvis’ triumphant return to the stage.

Memorable moments from Elvis’ 68 Comeback Concert

The Elvis’ 68 Comeback Concert was filled with memorable moments that have stayed ingrained in the minds of viewers even after decades. From Elvis’ powerful vocals to his charismatic stage presence, there were countless unforgettable moments from the concert. Here are just a few highlights:

  • The iconic unplugged performance of “If I Can Dream.”
  • The raw and emotional rendition of “Memories.”
  • Elvis reuniting with his original guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana for the first time in years.
  • The energetic and dynamic dance moves in “Jailhouse Rock.”

These moments captured the essence of Elvis as an artist and showcased his versatility and talent.

History of Elvis' 68 Comeback Concert

Comparison to other Elvis concerts

While Elvis had many successful concerts throughout his career, the Elvis 68 Comeback Concert holds a special place in the hearts of fans and critics alike. It showcased a different side of Elvis and marked a significant transformation in his performance style. The concert’s intimate setting also allowed for a more personal and authentic experience, making it stand out amongst his other shows.

The Elvis 68 Comeback Concert was also unique as it combined elements of a live concert and a TV special, creating a one-of-a-kind event. It set a precedent for future TV specials and concerts, with many artists following in Elvis’ footsteps and incorporating similar elements into their performances.

History of Elvis' 68 Comeback Concert

Legacy of Elvis 68′ Comeback Concert

The legacy of the Elvis 68 Comeback Concert continues to live on even after over 50 years since its airing. It is considered a defining moment in Elvis’ career and a pivotal moment in music history. The concert not only revived Elvis’ career but also changed the trajectory of popular music.

The stripped-down and authentic performance style of the Elvis 68 Comeback Concert influenced many artists in the years to come. It also set a standard for music television, paving the way for future concerts and specials that were not just about the music but also about creating an experience for viewers.

Influence of Elvis 68 Comeback Concert on the music industry

The Elvis 68 Comeback Concert’s impact on the music industry cannot be overlooked. It showcased the power of television in promoting and shaping an artist’s image and popularity. The concert also introduced new elements to live performances, such as the use of multiple camera angles and incorporating storytelling into the show.

The success of the Elvis 68 Comeback Concert also had a significant influence on the music industry’s marketing strategies. It showed the potential of TV specials and concerts in promoting an artist and creating a buzz around their work.


In conclusion, the Elvis 68 Comeback Concert was a groundbreaking event that left a lasting impact on music history. It marked a significant turning point in Elvis’ career, reviving his popularity and reaffirming his status as a legendary performer. The concert’s unique format and intimate setting allowed for a more personal and authentic performance, showcasing Elvis’ versatility as an artist.

History of Elvis' 68 Comeback Concert

The legacy of the Elvis 68 Comeback Concert continues to live on, influencing future generations of musicians and shaping the music industry’s landscape. It will forever be remembered as one of the most iconic and influential performances of all time, solidifying Elvis’ status as the King of Rock and Roll.


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