Elvis Presley Live – ’68 Comeback Special (1968)
Elvis, starring Elvis Presley, was the title of a 1968 United States television special. Sponsored by The Singer Sewing Machine Company, it aired on December 3, 1968 on the NBC television network. The special is commonly referred to as the ’68 Comeback Special, because of subsequent developments in Presley’s career, but the soundtrack album was released simply as NBC-TV Special. It was directed by Steve Binder and produced by Binder and Bones Howe.
Elvis Presley ‘s career had been in slow decline for several years. His last #1 single was in 1962 and bands such as The Beatles were redefining the music scene. His movies were becoming less and less popular and his manager Colonel Parker had found it increasingly difficult to secure the usual $1,000,000 fee for a Presley film, so Parker decided to take a different approach. Parker negotiated a deal with NBC for $1,250,000 to finance both a television special and a film (1969’s Change of Habit). The edited broadcast of December 3, 1968, combining big, choreographed numbers, lavish sets and some informal live sessions, was an enormous success. The ’68 Special is widely credited with revitalizing Elvis Presley career: chart statistics for the summer of 1968 suggest that Presley’s recording career was becoming all but non-existent. After the special, he began his stint in Las Vegas and toured, achieving a string of record-breaking sell-out performances across America.