Following is a long-form version of the press release being issued tomorrow by Elvis Presley Enterprises with preliminary details about its plans for 2004, the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley's career:
THAT’S ALL RIGHT - PRESLEY ESTATE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF ELVIS
Special television programming, milestone DVD releases, a City of Memphis rock ‘n’ roll initiative and other special projects slated for 2004 - the 50th anniversary year of the release of Presley’s first record.
Fifty years since Elvis Presley’s career began and more than 26 years since his death the Elvis phenomenon has never been more powerful. In 2002, Elvis reached new audiences and his legacy rose to a new level with intense and particularly incisive media coverage of the 25th anniversary year of his passing, with the global smash dance remix single A Little Less Conversation, with the inclusion of his music and references to him in the new Disney animated classic Lilo and Stitch, and with the album ELV1S 30 #1 HITS, which went to the top of the album charts in 26 territories of the world, including the USA, and has sold over 9 million copies. This year’s follow-up album ELVIS 2ND TO NONE has also enjoyed strong sales and chart action worldwide. Now, comes 2004, the 50th anniversary year of Elvis Presley’s career, which began in earnest on July 5, 1954, when he recorded his first single release, That’s All Right, for the Sun Records label in Memphis. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) and its collaborators have a schedule of several major projects throughout this very special 50th Anniversary year.
EPE’s year of commemoration officially kicks off with the annual Elvis Presley Birthday Celebration at the singer’s beloved Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, with a four-day slate of traditional events running from his birthday anniversary on January 8 through January 11. Included will be sneak preview screenings of important DVD releases coming later in the year and launch activities for the newly published book Elvis Fashion From Memphis to Vegas, which documents Elvis Presley’s personal style through the years and his influence on fashion. Also, gold and platinum record awards for the new ELVIS 2ND TO NONE album will be presented.
In January, the city of Memphis, led by the Memphis Mayor’s office and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, will officially kick off a yearlong celebration to mark the 50th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll and pay homage to the many streams of music that converged in Memphis to create a truly American sound known throughout the world. To most, that convergence is best represented in Presley’s first single, That’s All Right, which started a career that had a monumental impact on bringing rock ‘n’ roll to prominence. World-renowned musicians with ties to the city and its music - Justin Timberlake, B.B. King, Isaac Hayes and Scotty Moore - will serve as musical ambassadors for this initiative. Among the many special events is this: On July 5, fifty years to the day when Elvis’s That’s All Right was recorded, Memphis will be the focal point for a Global Moment in Time a moment at which radio stations across the world will be encouraged to simultaneously play That’s All Right. This could mark the largest playing of a single song at the same moment in history. Naturally, EPE is thrilled and honored by the city’s homage to Elvis in its celebration of 50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll and is offering its fullest cooperation and support. The official Web site for this Memphis initiative is www.50yearsrocknroll.com . The Memphis program has its own special official artwork and logo, which can be seen on that site.
On March 23, BMG/RCA will release Elvis Ultimate Gospel. This single disc CD will contain the greatest hits from Elvis’ extensive gospel recordings.
Throughout the year, all Graceland tourism marketing initiatives and other promotions and special merchandising will feature EPE’s own official 50th Anniversary logo and artwork. It’s comprised of a mid-1950s image of Elvis, the Sun Records label, and the text He Dared to Rock July 5, 1954 - That’s All Right. Beginning in the spring of 2004 and remaining in place the rest of the year, all the Elvis exhibit areas of Graceland Mansion and its related attractions on the Graceland complex will be enhanced with 50th Anniversary acknowledgements and expanded with additional Elvis career and personal items from massive EPE archives. Many of the additional items are categorized as rarely exhibited or never before exhibited. Throughout 2004, Sweet Magnolia Tours, in collaboration with EPE, will offer multi-night 50th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll packages for individuals and groups that include Graceland tickets, hotel accommodations, other optional local attractions and/or meals and a commemorative gift. (Link to details about this special tour package to be posted soon.)
In the summer, likely late June, EPE will release its highly anticipated, new comprehensive DVD collections of the material from Elvis Presley’s 1968 television special Elvis (generally known as the ’68 Comeback Special) and his 1973 television special Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite. Both sets are to be distributed globally by BMG. Content details will be announced soon here on Elvis.com. Both DVD sets will contain all the previously released material plus previously unreleased material all specially presented in newly re-edited and re-mastered form. In the case of the 1968 special, so much footage was shot from which to assemble the original TV show that the previously unreleased component of the ’68 TV special DVD will be particularly significant. Both specials were major career milestones for Elvis and are considered classic performances. The 1968 special marked his triumphant return to live concert performing after years of focusing on his Hollywood film career, and it is considered by many to be the finest moment of his career and one of the great moments in rock history. The 1973 Aloha special was a ground-breaking event when it initially aired, seen live via Globecam satellite and by tape-delay in 40 countries by 1-to-1.5 billion people. To many this event represents Elvis at the pinnacle of his superstardom.
Also in June, shortly before the 50th anniversary of That’s All Right, BMG/RCA will release Elvis at Sun, a new, comprehensive collection of Elvis Presley’s Sun Records recordings.
The 2004 edition of Elvis Week, the annual August festival of dozens of events at Graceland and throughout Memphis in recognition of the anniversary of the entertainer’s passing, will take on a 50 Years of Elvis/50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll theme. Event details will be posted here on Elvis.com early in the new year. Elvis Week 2004 runs August 7-16.
All Shook Up, a new musical inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley, is making its way toward Broadway. Commissioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, the show features more than 20 songs made popular by Elvis. Neither a revue of Elvis' music nor an Elvis biography, All Shook Up is an original musical comedy in which a magical jukebox and a leather-jacketed stranger transform a loveless town. Written by Joe DiPietro, who wrote the long-running musical hit I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, and directed by Christopher Ashley, who was Tony nominated for Rocky Horror, All Shook Up will receive its first regional production in May 2004 in Connecticut, followed by a commercial out-of-town engagement in December 2004. It will open on Broadway in the spring of 2005. All Shook Up is being produced by Jonathan Pollard, Bernie Kukoff, Clear Channel Entertainment, Miramax Films, Stanley Buchthal, Harbor Entertainment, and Harvey Weinstein.
The 50th Anniversary year will crescendo with an as yet untitled, new Elvis network special in development for airing in the fourth quarter. EPE is the owner and executive producer of this project, which will be produced by t