This book is quite remarkable, going past the front cover, which is stunning, and the obvious scores of beautiful colour photos - after having it now for two days and trying to take it all in, comparing it literally side by side to Boxcars previous book 'Elvis Presley's Graceland through the Years', in the end what stands out and frankly amazes me most are the well represented black and white photographs. I have never been one to be interested in black and white anything be it photos, with the exception of Elvis in the 1950s, or movies, but these photos show us an Elvis that we don't see when watching the DVD of the concert. I think due to the nature of the technology they have an advantage at times of not being so affected by the bright lights needed for the TV broadcast. Elvis just looks stunning and so in shape whereas some of the colour shots tend not to show him in such a nice 'light'. Although there are still plenty of equally good colour photos somehow I have seen these before, on the TV screen. While not every photo in this book is a 'perfect' shot unlike so many concert books released this book contains quality not out of focus and or out of shape Elvis, this is Elvis at arguably the last time he will look his best covered by hundreds of photographs, many previously unpublished. While this correctly should be described as mainly a photo book it is not just about photos ...
The format is the same as the Graceland and 'Final Curtain' books from Boxcar; a very solid hardcover book enclosed in an equally solid cardboard box/slip case that holds the book itself. However it goes one giant leap for mankind further with a cut-out 'displaying' Elvis on earth in line with the original Aloha USA LP release.
This is achieved by having the appropriate photo on the back cover of the book and inserting the book in so the back is 'on top'. The stunning nature of this is what I referred to in my first words above but I did not want to highlight it there as if it was a reason to buy the book, it sure could be said to be 'the icing on the cake' as they say, and it did cause me to stare at the visual in front of me for a minute or two before starting to remove the plastic wrapping, but there is just so much more to this release. It shows the producers dedication to quality!
The photo below is from page 254 and shows one of the 'Elvis style robots' that Colonel Parker dreamed up as a promotion. You can see a young boy interacting with it, and others looking on, it gives you a sense of 'atmosphere' that makes the book just that little bit more special. As they say, 'a picture paints ...'
One of Colonel Parkers 'Elvis style robots', especially made for the event.
From the Introduction : Text by Steve Barile
It has been forty years since he made television history with the 'Aloha from Hawaii' triumph and to quote Elvis himself (ironically from the press conference to promote the television special), 'It's hard to comprehend it'. If I may digress and rewind briefly, I shall like us to recall and remind ourselves of television's love affair with Elvis from his very first appearances on The Dorsey Brother's Stage Show, The Steve Allen Show and the classic Ed Sullivan Show stints of 1956 and 1957. In hindsight and with viewing these performances today, it is clear that with each appearance Elvis' audience grew exponentially as did his confidence.
Therefore, one could safely suggest that it was television alone that catapulted Elvis' rise to superstardom, the likes of which few, if any, have achieved before or since.
For fear of overexposing Elvis, it was in 1960 that his management decided to eliminate any further television work focusing solely on the motion pictures that eventually became detrimental to Elvis' art and career. Ironically, after eight long years it would be a television event that would rescue his rapidly fading popularity and artistic significance. In 1968 the stage was set for Elvis to do or die starring in his first TV special ...
As the reader well knows, Elvis exceeded all expectations including his own, launching commercial success of iconic status. Deservingly so, the special ultimately became known as the '68 Comeback'. Through the following year and early '70s, Elvis enjoyed enormous commercial success with million-selling records, won a Grammy for best gospel album in 1972 [He Touched Me], was honored by the American Jaycees, served as the subject of a Golden Globe award-winning documentary film [On Tour] and sold out concerts throughout the continental United States. Hot off the heels of his now legendary and highly-acclaimed 1972 Madison Square Garden concerts and number one single (Cashbox) 'Burning Love', another television special was planned.
As of 1973, live, one-man concerts on television were virtually unheard of. Most, if not all celebrities of the day hosting TV specials were obliged to invite 'guest stars' to their shows in order to provide a consistent level of interesting entertainment and support. Who on earth could possibly, let alone single-handedly, sustain and captivate the broad audience that television was capable of reaching?
In the first ever concert to be broadcast worldwide live via satellite, Elvis rises to the occasion in all his glory! Fit tanned and self reinvented once more, his awe inspiring appearance suggests yet another physical peak.
The photographs collected herein provide evidence for the bold statement above ...
Elvis Presley : September 4, 1972
More from Steve Barile ... [Page 59]
... 'By Most Accounts Elvis was as happy and exhilarated as anyone around him had ever seen'. Once more presented with an artistic challenge, he embraced each day that brought the live show date nearer. He incessantly pondered his intended presentation, emphatically compiling and revising the set-list on a daily basis. Among the musical gems being considered were songs like 'The Wonder Of You', 'My Babe', 'The Impossible Dream', 'Suzy Q', and 'The Twelfth Of Never'. These selections were eventually omitted in favor of 'What Now My Love', 'Steamroller Blues', 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry', 'It's Over' and 'My Way'. Clearly, Elvis was leaning towards the big, powerful ballads as he set out on his mission to showcase his unique vocal prowess and versatility. 'Love Me Tender', the 'Teddy Bear'/'Don't Be Cruel' medley in addition to 'One Night' and 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' were also considered and eventually dropped apparently for the above reason as well as fear of repetition of the last television outing. Replication of the 'Elvis on Tour' documentary is also a factor as 'Proud Mary', 'Polk Salad Annie', and 'Never Been to Spain' are discarded. 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', 'Until It's Time For You To Go' and 'How Great Thou Art' all of which were included in each of the three November gigs were also omitted'. Considering the platform with which he is about to illustrate his unique vocal proficiency, one may find it more than a tad baffling as to why 'The Impossible Dream' and 'How Great They Art' all of which were included in the three November gigs are also sadly omitted. In hindsight, it is duly noted that Elvis' final title choices were for reasons of familiarity, [Barile then goes on to make absurd statements about how tragic it was that this song was omitted and that song etc, clearly ignoring his on previous words acknowledging the importance of familiarity, and seemingly falling for the old trap of valuing what one can't have] : but this is his opinion, just as this is ours, 'Elvis had a very strong 'history' of rehearsing songs that did not end up being performed, and to all of us at Elvis Australia feel that the repertoire was well chosen'. The full text is on page 59, read it and form your own opinion. Apart from this Barile's commentary is strong and spaced appropriately through the book, to the point not filling pages with text you won't want to read.
Elvis Presley : January 12, 1973
'In the end what stands out and frankly amazes me most are the well represented black and white photographs. I have never been one to be interested in black and white anything be it photos or movies, but these photos show us an Elvis that we don't see when watching the DVD of the concert'. David Troedson.
[Due to limitations of our scanner the top of the above image has been cropped.]
Another really great photograph is the one displayed over pages 108 and 109. It reminds me of watching Elvis, Scotty and Bill on the Dorsey Bros. Stage show, 'go wild'. [No I have not forgotten D.J. Fontana].
One you will be familiar with ....
Elvis Presley : January 14, 1973
'Much to Colonel Parker's surprise, there was absolutely no apprehension on the part of Elvis who, on the contrary, was ecstatic with enthusiasm over the prospect. The idea of being 'the first' to participate in such an event very much appealed to his ego which caused him to become excited about the challenge and actually propelled him out of depression. Providing just enough distraction and allowing him to tap into the raw energy that lay just beneath the surface of his psyche, Elvis was motivated once more'.
Yes there are plenty of colour photographs!!!
[Again due to limitations of our scanner the photo is not scanned in full, with producer Marty Pasetta partly cut out.]
Just wanted to let you know that I received the book yesterday and I could not be more thrilled. What a gorgeous book, the cover alone is absolutely stunning, out of all the books I have received from you guys, including the Las Vegas, Fashion and Graceland books, I think that this is my favorite. I love the pictures and the additional text. The pictures and quality of both the black and white and color are breathtaking.
Thanks again for providing such great service,
Wise men say only fools rush in but I can't help falling in love with you ...
'A good show book which is pure entertainment' ... no lot's of messages and no this and that'.
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