“It’s been one hill after another. I’ve climbed them all one by one. But this time, Lord you gave me a mountain.”
– Lyrics to You Gave Me A Mountain, 1976
After the success of Elvis, Aloha From Hawaii, Elvis opens at the Hilton in Las Vegas once again on January 26th. Linda Thompson travels along with him. Elvis continues to have throat problems, as he had in the past and is forced to cancel two shows on January 31st. Returning to the stage February 1st, Elvis is still not doing well and only manages to complete one show. Elvis is not doing well and managers are considering canceling another show. The announcement is made, but Elvis decides to go on with the show as planned. The audience gives him a standing ovation for the decision.
You Gave Me A Mountain – Live
Valentine’s day, Elvis’s laryngitis is so severe that he can only perform one show. Fearing he is letting down his fans, Elvis goes on with the show the next day. During one of the performances, he leaves the stage for nearly 20 minutes and returns to pick up where he left off. February 18th, four men jump on stage and the Memphis Mafia flock to the stage to defend Elvis. One man even finds himself flying into the audience. After the incident, Elvis said he would, “Shake the guy’s hand or whup his ass”. The crowd loves this and applauds Elvis before he continues on with the show.
Elvis is not doing well. February 19th, he is completely distraught over Priscilla refusing to let Lisa Marie visit. In a fit of rage, he attempts to put a contract out on Mike Stone (Priscilla’s current love interest whom she had an affair with while married to Elvis). He even requested that Red and Sonny West kill the “S.O.B.” They try not to take him seriously, but with his current condition, Elvis requires heavy sedation. It takes more than a few days for him to eventually calm down.
Take Good Care Of Her
The Vegas winter shows end, but Elvis stays until the end of March. On February 24th, Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite makes its way onto the charts and will stay there for 35 weeks peaking at #1. This would be Elvis’s last album to top the charts. On March 1st, Elvis signs a seven-year contract with RCA which was good for Elvis, but apparently even better for The Colonel. Elvis continues to be the highest taxpayer in the country.
Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii is broadcasted again in the beginning of April and fans are still loving it. The gang and Elvis fly to San Francisco for a karate competition. Elvis was supposed to participate, but The Colonel brings up his current contract with Sahara which prevents him from appearing anywhere within a 300-mile radius within 30 days of his concert. He is forced to watch instead. Elvis is back on the road by the end of April doing another tour.
- 22nd: Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix – 15,000
- 23rd: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim – 8,500 (sold out)
- 24th: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim – 8,500 (sold out)
- 25th: Selland Arena, Fresno – 15,000 (two shows)
- 26th: International Sports Arena, San Diego – 15,000
- 27th: Portland Coliseum, Portland – 14,000
- 28th: Spokane Coliseum, Spokane – 13,000
- 29th: Center Arena, Seattle – 16,000
- 30th: Denver Coliseum, Denver – 13,000 (Final show of the tour)
Elvis takes a very short break before starting a new tour. He is not doing well. Forgetting lyrics to songs, profusely sweating during performances, overweight, not remembering show order. He begins his tour May 4th at Lake Tahoe, but after a late show during the tour on the 16th, he decides it’s best to cancel the rest of the tour as he is very ill. Returning to Los Angeles, Elvis goes into seclusion. The Memphis Mafia is becoming more and more concerned over his dependency on prescription drugs. After much-needed rest, Elvis begins his next tour in June.
- 20th: Moblie Municipal Auditorium, Mobile – 11,000
- 21st: Omni, Atlanta – 17,200
- 22nd: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, Long Island – 66,000 (four shows in three days) This series grossed over $600,000
- 25th: Civic Arena, Pittsburgh – 28,000 (two shows)
- 27th: The Gardens, Cincinnati – 13.060
- 28th: Keil Auditorium, St. Louis – 12,000
- 30th: Omni, Atlanta – 34,400 (two shows)
- The tour continues in July:
- 1st: Municipal Auditorium, Nashville – 20,000 (two shows)
- 2nd: Myriad Center Arena – Oklahoma City – 15,400 (sold out)
- 3rd: Omni, Atlanta – 17,000. (Final show of the tour)
Immediately following the end of the show, Elvis heads to Memphis to prepare for Lisa Marie’s month-long visit. During her visit, Elvis receives his seventh-degree black belt in karate. Elvis makes his way to Stax Studios in Memphis to record songs, but runs into some trouble. The studio is booked for three days. With multiple conflicts, the session fell apart. Elvis did not even bother to show up for the last session. He managed to get some songs in. Find Out What’s Happening, For ‘Ol Times Sake, I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby, If You Don’t Come Back, Raised On Rock, Take Good Care Of Her, and Three Corn Patches.
For ‘Ol Times Sake
Elvis makes his was to Los Angeles to get ready for Vegas and opens in Vegas on August 6th. During a party in his penthouse, Elvis and a young woman get into a wrestling match in which he accidentally breaks her ankle. The woman later filed charges but dropped them when Elvis apologized and paid for hospital bills. A late show was added, but Elvis had a difficult time completing the show as he would break out laughter and was unable to control it.
His Vegas shows conclude September 3rd and Elvis will remain in Vegas another week. He was breaking boards in his Vegas hotel room and hurts his wrist. After a trip to the hospital, he returns to Memphis and then boards the plane to head to Los Angeles where he spends his time in seclusion. On September 30th the Hilton makes an announcement that Elvis will remain in there until at least 1975 and will perform two weeks instead of the usual four in a row.
It’s Midnight – Live
October 9th Elvis and Priscilla’s divorce is finalized. They walk out together and will share custody of Lisa Marie. With Elvis’s contract with RCA, it requires him to record a certain amount of songs and produce a certain amount of records a year. Though his health was a concern, he is doing much better now and a trip to the recording studio is in the works. During a December 10th recording session Elvis produces almost 2 dozen songs including Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues, Help Me, I Got A Feeling In My Body, It’s Midnight, Loving Arms, My Boy, Promised Land, Your Love’s Been A Long Time Coming. This session would be Elvis’s last recording session held in a studio for almost a year and a half.
Your Love’s Been A Long Time Coming
Lisa Marie arrived in Memphis December 16th to spend time with her father over the holidays. Christmas this year is quite different than the other years. Elvis had loved the holidays, but with his depression as bad as it was, the day goes by without opening a single gift. The usual New Year’s party is held, Elvis and Lindo Thompson make a short appearance and then return to their room.
Elvis’s health is continuing to go downhill. 1973 held such promise. But with losing Priscilla and the dependency on prescription pills, Elvis was headed down a dark path that would be too difficult to return from.