All of the existing audio and video from the show, including the original album, both “sit-down” and “stand-up” performances, rehearsals and sessions recorded with the Wrecking Crew in June 1968, including outtakes. The video content is only available on Blu-ray. Original show, unedited music performances from 27th & 29th June, all takes of If I Can Dream show closer and other outtakes plus more.
Elvis Presley – ‘68 Comeback Special (50th Anniversary Edition) is the definitive chronicle of one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll performances ever televised: Elvis Presley at the peak of his powers. For the first time ever, all previously-released audio and newly-restored video from the taping of the special will be available in one package – including unused performances and studio outtakes that spotlight the real Elvis. The package contains an entire disc showcasing the legendary sessions for the special recorded with Elvis and the Wrecking Crew.
The ‘68 Comeback Special (at the time titled “Singer Presents…ELVIS”) aired on December 3, 1968 and was a pivotal broadcast event that upped-the-ante on Elvis’ career, the evolution of pop culture and the history of television. By 1968, prior to the broadcast, Elvis was no longer seen by the mainstream as the atomic-powered rock and roll pioneer. Since his discharge from the United States Army in 1960, Elvis’ career path careened through a string of low-budget (though often successful) formulaic films while the rock music scene was exploding with innovation, experimentation, and an urgency to complement the turbulent era. Elvis hadn’t performed in public since 1961 and hadn’t appeared on television since 1960.
The special, recorded over several sessions in June 1968, presented Elvis in a variety of settings, from spectacular production numbers (“Nothingville,” “Saved,” “Guitar Man,” “Little Egypt,” “Big Boss Man,”“Let Yourself Go”) to the intimate “sit-down” performances of classic Elvis hits, reuniting the artist with Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana, the guitarist and drummer who’d played alongside Elvis on his earliest records and shows. The black leather “sit-down” and “stand-up” sequences provided a retrospective of Elvis’ career to that point, highlighted with the new song “Memories,” written by Mac Davis specifically for the show. The special’s transcendent closing number was Presley’s now-classic, emotionally fueled performance of “If I Can Dream,” an anthemic new song penned especially for Elvis and the special byW. Earl Brown.
The special was the most-viewed television program in America the week it aired and firmly re-established Elvis as a major musical and cultural force. “I think the ‘68 Special gave him the confidence to get on the road again, knowing that people accepted him,” said Priscilla Presley. “That show was so successful that he just knew this is what he wanted to do, go back and be with an audience.”