“I’m planning a lot of changes. You can’t go on doing the same thing year after year”
-Elvis Presley, 1968
With the success of the ’68 Comeback Special, Elvis was ready to head back to live performances. When he headed into the studiol, he would be recording in Memphis, TN. Elvis had not recorded music in Memphis since 1955 and he was ready to be back home. Not wanting to lose this opportunity, he heads into the studio with a fever. They are forced to postpone to sessions anyway. The sessions consisted of four all-nighters. Many of the songs produced were: A Little Bit Of Green, Gentle On My Mind, Inherit The Wind, Long Black Limousine, This Is The Story, Mama Like The Roses, Wearin’ That Loved On Look, and almost a dozen more. He returned to the studio almost a week later to add more songs including Hey Jude, In The Ghetto, Rubberneckin’, and Suspicious Minds.
Wearin’ That Loved On Look
After the grueling recording sessions, Elvis and the gang travel to Aspen for some skiing. They have a 1st birthday for Lisa Marie in Aspen. They return to Memphis February 15th so Elvis can be back in the studio by the 17th for six more days of recording. From that sessions, After Loving You, And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind, Any Day Now, Only The Strong Survive, Power Of My Love. These songs and the ones above produced three singles and sold over a million copies. Elvis even received two gold albums.
Power Of My Love
After the recording sessions had been completed, Elvis and the gang headed back to Aspen. While in Aspen, Colonel Tom Parker is in Las Vegas meeting with the manager of the International Hotel. The agreement that was made had Elvis performing for a month in the hotel beginning July 1969. This is the beginning of the touring Elvis had dreamt about for over a decade. Elvis heads to Hollywood to begin recording songs for Change of Habit. Filming began March 7th. During the filming, Charro! had opened on March 13th to not the best reviews. Elvis was upset since the film did not include him singing, but was so excited about Las Vegas that he did not dwell on the reviews.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything professional, except make movies and cut albums.”
– Elvis Presley, 1968
April 13th In The Ghetto and Any Day Now hit the charts. In The Ghetto reaches top ten. Change Of Habit completed filming on May 2nd. This would be the last feature film Elvis would star in, making it his 29th film. After the filming, Elvis and Priscilla travel with their entourage to Hawaii where they see Tom Jones’ show. After two weeks, they had back to Los Angeles. Not using the Circle G Ranch as often as he would like, Elvis ends up selling it on May 21st and has the horses moved back to Graceland.
Any Day Now
On June 10th, Elvis begins his Las Vegas journey. He travels to Las Vegas where he inspects the hotel and then heads to Los Angeles for a costume fitting. June 14th, Elvis In Memphis (My favorite Elvis album) makes its way onto the chart and remains there for 34 weeks. By June 21st, Elvis is happy with the status of his Las Vegas beginnings and heads to Memphis to relax before his performances begin. After almost two weeks of rest, Elvis goes to Los Angeles to begin rehearsals. July 12th, Elvis makes it onto the cover of Rolling Stones in order to increase the hype of his show.
“I want to see some places I’ve never seen before. I miss the personal contact with audiences.”
– Elvis Presley, 1968
Elvis opens at the International Hotel on July 26th,1969. He had two dress rehearsals before he had a special performance at 10 PM for press and invited celebrities. Though nerves are flying, Elvis gives an incredible performance. The public shows begin August 1st. His schedule consisted of two shows a night, seven nights a week. The first show would be at 8:15 PM for a dinner show and the other would be at midnight consisting of only drinks. Selling out shows and doing extremely well, Elvis is back and is shining brighter than ever. RCA makes their way to the International Hotel in order to record Elvis’s performance. They recorded each night and put the best songs on an LP for release. This album was called From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis.
Elvis is on a high. His shows are successful and his Elvis TV special album goes gold. The shows in Vegas break records having a total estimated attendance of 101,509 and grossing over $1,530,000. The Presley’s remain in Las Vegas at the conclusion of the performances and watch Nancy Sinatra’s new show. They make it to opening night and are later invited to a party hosted by her father, Frank Sinatra. Elvis and Priscilla need a rest and head to Palm Springs August 30th. The Trouble With Girls opens September 30th. Suspicious Minds makes it to the charts shortly after and makes it all the way to #1 where it stayed for 13 weeks, became his 48th gold record, and was Elvis’ last Hot 100 #1 single. The family returned to Memphis September 23rd in order to get the house prepared for the Christmas season.
Suspicious Minds – Live
Elvis, Priscilla, along with some others, travel to Hawaii for a three-week vacation beginning October 5th. The couple escaped and make their way to the Bahamas October 12th. They finally return to Los Angeles on October 29th. Change Of Habit opens November 10th and the critics give Elvis good reviews. This role is unlike any other role. With the relief Elvis was feeling, having this be his last picture really made an impact on his performance. RCA released From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis on November 16th and already had amazing reviews. The album remains on the chart for 24 weeks.
The family returns to Memphis on December 18th just in time for Christmas. They share a nice holiday with Lisa Marie being the center of attention. Vernon even dresses as Santa again. Elvis hosted his annual New Years’ party at a local hangout.
1969 was the ignition Elvis needed for his career. He had just about given up on himself when he found an answer. The ’68 Comeback Special put Elvis back in the spotlight, but 1969 proved that Elvis was and always would be The King.