"We want to take you back now to September 2, 1974. It was closing night for Elvis Presley at the Las Vegas Hilton. But on this particular night, a disoriented Elvis said things to his audience that shocked and surprised many. Now a bootleg tape of that evening has surfaced and it will air for the first time.
It's an audio recording, made by someone inside the Hilton showroom, now being sold on the Internet along with homemade videos and other Elvis oddities. According to Elvis historians, this particular night was remarkable for its candor, and may have marked the beginning of the end for the king of rock and roll.
Few performers in history have been as well known, as well loved as Elvis Presley. His life was under constant scrutiny from legions of devoted fans, yet there was plenty even the diehards didn't know about the man. His death from an overdose proved that. His manager and record company were careful to protect Presley's public persona, which is why recordings like this one have never been broadcast before.
In his Las Vegas performances, Elvis never played to an empty seat. His shows were major events, but Hilton executives became concerned when in the early 70's, Elvis began drifting into rambling, even unintelligible monologues during his engagements here.
On this memorable night, Elvis confronted stories about his drug use:
Elvis: "I hear rumors flying around--I got sick in the hospital. In this day and time you can't even get sick. You are strung out. By god I'll tell you something, I have never been strung out in my life, except on music. I got sick that one night, I had a hundred and two temperature, and they wouldn't let me perform, from 3 different sources I heard I was strung out on heroin. I swear to god, hotel employees, jack, bellboys, freaks who carry that luggage up to your room, people, you know maids. And I was sick. But all across town, strung out."
Getting really worked up, Elvis then issued threats against the rumormongers, in very direct terms.
Elvis: "Don't you get offended ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking to someone else, if I find or hear an individual that has said that about me, I'm going to break their god-damn neck your son of a bitch ... that is dangerous....I will pull your god-damn tongue out by the roots."
Without so much as a pause, he then switched the subject.
Elvis: "Thank you very much anyway. How many of you saw the movie Blue Hawaii?"
Elvis: "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Bill Cosby. Elvis closed last night. I'm lighter skinned than he is."
We want to mention again, the recording is audio only.
Stories about this audio tape have been floating around for years, but until now, its never been broadcast. It was recorded September 2nd, 1974 during an Elvis performance at the Hilton. Elvis is noticeably under the influence of something, but what really comes across is the pain he was going through over the breakup of his marriage.
Las Vegas was a special place for Elvis Presley. It's where he married Priscilla. After his 8-year hiatus from performing, Las Vegas became his second home. He played at the Hilton at least twice a year, for a reported million dollars per stand, and he never played to an empty seat. Former Hilton executives said that Elvis was a huge draw.
Bruce Banke, a former Hilton executive, "It was like booking CES or a major convention because he would draw in 4 weeks, 100,000 people would come to town."
But in the early 70's the relationship began to sour, as Elvis' personal habits led to strange rambling monologues on stage, the most jarring example of which is found on this bootleg audio recording of a Hilton concert from 1974. Authorities on Elvis say the handwriting was on the wall.
And on the night Elvis opened up on stage, Priscilla was there.
A recording of the live event revealed Elvis speaking about his ex-wife. This is what we heard!
Elvis: "...my ex-wife Priscilla. She's right here. Honey, stand up...turn around, let them see you...boy she's a beautiful chick, you know, god-damn. Now my little daughter Lisa Marie, she's six years old, look at her jump up. Pull your dress down Lisa, pull your dress down before you jump up like that. And at the same booth is my girlfriend Sheila. Stand up Sheila, turn completely around...."
Elvis is heard on the recording saying, "No the thing I'm trying to get across, we're the best of friends, always has been. Our divorce came about not because of another man or another woman but because of circumstances involving my career. I was traveling too much . . .after the settlement, it came out about two million dollars . . . after that I got her a mink coat. She got me, listen to this, tonight, a $42,000 Rolls Royce. That's the type of relationship we have...."
Then Elvis referred to Priscilla's new boyfriend Mike Stone.
Elvis continued, "She likes this Stutz that I have. It's not a car it's a Stutz, no it's called a stud. A Stutz, and she likes the stud...Mike Stone ain't no stud, so forget it..."
The question has been asked of us, why bring this up now? Let Elvis be.
"I put it to the Elvis fans interviewed and they all said the same thing --- any information that helps them learn more about their all time favorite is welcome, even if it might be painful to hear. In this case, they are learning about Elvis, not from some book, but from Elvis himself, in his own words...." (excerpt from the Channel 8 TV website).