Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley’s Top Hits

Elvis Presley is an icon in the music industry, known as the “King of Rock and Roll”. Throughout his career, he had numerous hit songs that dominated the charts and continue to be popular even decades after his passing. One of his most memorable performances is his 1968 Comeback Special, which marked his return to live performances after focusing on movies for several years. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at some of Elvis Presley’s top hits from his 1968 Comeback Special.

Elvis Presley's Top Hits

The 1968 Comeback Special: songs list from elvis 68 comeback special

In the late 1960s, Elvis Presley was facing a decline in his music career. He had not performed live since 1961 and his last number one hit was in 1963. To revive his career, Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s manager, secured a deal with NBC for a television special to be aired in December 1968. The special would include both a live performance and a documentary-style segment.

The 1968 Comeback Special was a turning point for Elvis Presley’s career. It showcased his raw talent and proved that he was still the King of Rock and Roll. The special also gave him a chance to experiment with different genres, such as country, gospel, and blues. However, it was his rock and roll numbers that stole the show and reminded the world why he was considered a musical legend.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the top hits from Elvis Presley’s 1968 Comeback Special.

Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special: The Leather Suit, Steve Binder, and Cultural Impact

Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special: The Leather Suit, Steve Binder, and Cultural Impact

Elvis Presley's Top Hits

Jailhouse Rock: A Crowd Favorite

“Jailhouse Rock” is a classic rock and roll song that was featured in Elvis Presley’s 1957 film of the same name. However, it gained renewed popularity after his performance of the song in his 1968 Comeback Special. The performance was energetic and showcased Presley’s signature dance moves, making it a crowd favorite.

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Remembering Elvis: 50 Years Since the Comeback Special

The Making of “Jailhouse Rock”

“Jailhouse Rock” was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller specifically for the film. The song tells the story of a man who is thrown in jail and learns to play guitar from a fellow inmate. Presley’s character in the film, Vince Everett, performs the song with his prison band, causing a riot among the inmates.

The song was recorded in April 1957 and was released as a single in September of the same year. It quickly became a hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Top 100 chart. The iconic dance sequence from the film also became a popular part of Presley’s live performances.

The Performance That Stole the Show

In his 1968 Comeback Special, Elvis Presley performed “Jailhouse Rock” in a black leather suit, showcasing his sex appeal and charisma. He was accompanied by his original band members Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana, as well as a group of backup singers and dancers.

The performance was high energy and included Presley’s signature hip-shaking moves. It was one of the most memorable moments of the special and solidified “Jailhouse Rock” as one of Elvis Presley’s top hits.

Elvis Presley's Top Hits

If I Can Dream: A Powerful Message

“If I Can Dream” is a song that was specially written for Elvis Presley’s 1968 Comeback Special by Walter Earl Brown. The song was meant to be a powerful message of hope and unity during a time of political and social turmoil in the United States.

The Story Behind “If I Can Dream”

Walter Earl Brown wrote “If I Can Dream” after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968. He wanted to write a song that would bring people together and spread a message of love and understanding. He presented the song to Elvis Presley, who loved it and agreed to perform it in his 1968 Comeback Special.

The lyrics of the song reference several historical figures and events, such as Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Vietnam War. The overall message of the song is that if we all come together with love and hope, we can make the world a better place.

A Powerful Performance

Elvis Presley’s performance of “If I Can Dream” was one of the highlights of his 1968 Comeback Special. It was the final number of the show, and Presley sang it with passion and emotion, accompanied by his band and a choir. The performance received a standing ovation from the audience and became an instant hit.

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The message of “If I Can Dream” still resonates today and continues to be one of Elvis Presley’s most powerful songs.

Elvis Presley's Top Hits

Hound Dog: A Classic Rock and Roll Tune

Another classic rock and roll tune that Elvis Presley performed in his 1968 Comeback Special is “Hound Dog”. This song was originally recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton in 1952 but became a massive hit when Presley released his version in 1956.

The Original Version

Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton recorded “Hound Dog” in 1952 for Peacock Records. The song was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and was intended to be a blues song. However, when Thornton recorded it, she added a more upbeat rhythm and incorporated her signature growls into the vocals.

Unfortunately, Thornton did not receive much recognition for her version of the song, and it was not until Elvis Presley released his cover that “Hound Dog” gained widespread popularity.

Elvis Presley’s Iconic Performance

Elvis Presley’s performance of “Hound Dog” in his 1968 Comeback Special was one of the most iconic moments of the show. It showcased his playful and rebellious side, with him teasing the audience and poking fun at his own image as a heartthrob.

Presley’s version of the song also differed from Thornton’s, with a faster pace and a more rock and roll feel. The performance was electric, and Presley’s charisma and stage presence shone through, making “Hound Dog” one of the top hits from his 1968 Comeback Special.

Elvis Presley's Top Hits

Heartbreak Hotel: A Song That Launched Elvis Presley’s Career

“Heartbreak Hotel” is the debut single of Elvis Presley, released in 1956. It was also the first song to be recorded by RCA Victor after purchasing Presley’s contract from Sun Records. The song became an immediate hit and launched Presley’s career as a music superstar.

The Inspiration Behind the Song

“Heartbreak Hotel” was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton, inspired by a newspaper article about a man who committed suicide and left a note saying, “I walk a lonely street”. Axton wrote the first draft of the song, and Durden added the famous opening line, “Well, since my baby left me”.

The song tells the story of a man who is heartbroken after his lover leaves him and decides to stay at the Heartbreak Hotel, a place where others who have lost their love go to drown their sorrows.

Elvis Presley’s Impactful Performance

In his 1968 Comeback Special, Elvis Presley performed “Heartbreak Hotel” in a black leather suit with his original band members. The performance was stripped-down and raw, showcasing Presley’s powerful vocals and emotional delivery of the lyrics.

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It was a nostalgic moment for Presley and the audience, as “Heartbreak Hotel” was the song that started it all. It solidified its place as one of Elvis Presley’s top hits and continues to be a fan favorite.

Elvis Presley's Top Hits

Suspicious Minds: A Comeback Hit

Elvis Presley’s 1968 Comeback Special not only marked his return to live performances but also gave him a chance to release new music. One of the most successful songs from this special was “Suspicious Minds”, which became his first number one hit in seven years.

The Making of “Suspicious Minds”

“Suspicious Minds” was written by Mark James and recorded by various artists before Elvis Presley released his version in 1969. However, it was Presley’s version that became the most successful, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming his biggest hit in years.

The song tells the story of a rocky relationship and the suspicions and doubts that come with it. The lyrics are emotional and relatable, making it a song that resonated with audiences.

A Memorable Performance

In his 1968 Comeback Special, Elvis Presley performed “Suspicious Minds” in a blue suit with his band and a group of backup singers. The performance was intense and full of emotion, with Presley’s powerful vocals and dramatic gestures capturing the audience’s attention.

Presley’s rendition of “Suspicious Minds” became an instant hit and remains one of his most popular songs. It was also a turning point for his career, marking his comeback to the top of the charts.

Elvis Presley's Top Hits

Conclusion

Elvis Presley’s 1968 Comeback Special not only revived his music career, but also solidified his position as the King of Rock and Roll. His performances of classic hits such as “Jailhouse Rock”, “If I Can Dream”, and “Hound Dog” were electrifying, showcasing his raw talent and stage presence. The special also gave him the opportunity to release new music, such as “Suspicious Minds”, which became one of his biggest hits in years.

Even decades after his passing, Elvis Presley’s top hits from his 1968 Comeback Special continue to be popular and are a testament to his lasting impact on the music industry. His powerful vocals, charismatic performances, and iconic dance moves will always be remembered, making him a true musical legend.

Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special: The Leather Suit, Steve Binder, and Cultural Impact

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