Go to main content

Adios Lincoln

August 18, 2014 | Music

Monday, June 20th 1977,8:30 pm, Lincoln, NE, Pershing Municipal Auditorium

Most of Elvis’ musicians prefer not to talk about Elvis’ final tours, but whenever they do, they usually agree that it was one that should have never been undertaken. It was simply one tour too many. At this stage it was impossible to hide the fact that Elvis was in serious problems.

In any case, the Lincoln concert is one of the least bad shows from that last tour. Elvis sounds less worse than he did in Omaha the day before. Surprises include a well-sung ‘Help Me’ and arguably the best ever version of ‘Unchained Melody’, which for the first and only time was performed before the band introductions. Interestingly, and completely unknown until now, is that Elvis asks J.D. Sumner and the Stamps to perform 'Walk That Lonesome Road' during the band intros, which is very unusual for the time frame.

The June 20th 1977 show was first issued on CD in 2004 (Elvis Rocks Lincoln). This sloppy edition was taken from an incomplete source, missing 17 minutes. For the first time Straight Arrow offer this concert complete. Using two independent original audience recored tapes, Straight Arrow's sound engineer was able to restore all 73 minutes of of this concert.

This new CD edition is limited to 500 copies. 

Source:Essential Elvis
Ronaldv wrote on August 18, 2014
Wow, the complete concert this time. I have the 2004 incomplete bootleg cd Elvis rocks Lincoln. A couple of years ago during a USA vacation I visited the auditorium in Lincoln, Nebraska where Elvis gave this concert. Nice experience. Only the missing version of I really don't want to know makes this new straight arrow release worthwhile for me.
Ciscoking wrote on August 18, 2014
For collectors a must-have...finally we have the show complete..and the sound is not bad..I have heard.
Lex wrote on August 18, 2014
I bet it will make a nice coaster :D
RobIreland wrote on August 18, 2014
It really is such a pity that some people who appreciate the talent of Elvis Presley just cannot see how talented he still was at this stage of his life, even tho obviously very ill. This release is very much welcomed by myself as I just love Elvis" rich voice in this period of his career. Think I will use my "Elvis Impersonators" coasters for my glass while listening to this enjoyable release ! ; )
RobIreland wrote on August 18, 2014
Limited to 500 copies tho !!!?? ... Just ridiculous !!
Deano1 wrote on August 18, 2014
"should have never been undertaken"??? I agree he had some very rough moments in Omaha, but he also had some good performances in that show too. On this tour he gave great shows in Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Madison (short, but in fine voice) and solid shows in Rapid City and Kansas City. If this show has great performances of "Help Me" and "Unchained Melody" then at least six of the 10 shows were good to great. Was he the same performer he was in 1973? No, but he was still an outstanding entertainer.
NONE000000 wrote on August 18, 2014
I think, and hope, that we all know that Elvis remained great until the end, and that his voice never EVER gave out. But instead of touring non-stop (which we know he loved), if he would have taken a year off and maybe rested and gotten back into shape, we might have had many more years--that is to say, Elvis might have had many more years of life and creativity. I am as defensive as anyone about Elvis, including 1977 Elvis, but how could anybody really argue that he should not have taken time off and gotten himself healthy? OF COURSE these final, sad and often sub-par tours should NOT have been undertaken. I guess even hindsight isn't 20/20 for everyone.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on August 19, 2014
From most accounts,he was bi polar,and probally had clinical depression,it would have taken so much more than some time away from touring and rest. Sad but true. As for straight arrow,they are the best,quality ,top notch!
Deano1 wrote on August 19, 2014
Bi-polar??? From most accounts??? Not from Ginger Alden or the Alden family, not from Charlie Hodge. Maybe from people who weren't around the last year of his life??? Having a temper does not make you bi-polar and since he was never diagnosed by a doctor with these ailments it is not fair to speculate on them. KingKreole, you contradict yourself. "Elvis remained great until the end", but then call the tours sub-par. I won't pretend to know what was going on in his mind, but it is possible the shows were therapeutic for him. If you had taken those away from him, maybe he dies sooner instead of later. By many accounts that I have read he had begun a new vegan diet after his last tour and was trying hard to get himself back in shape. He liked touring and it was not like the tours were grueling. His next scheduled show on 8/17/77, would have been his 56th of the year. Heck he use to do that many shows in Vegas in a months time. He flew on a private jet, rehearsed very little and sang for 60 to 70 minutes. He had many health conditions, ate poorly at time and of course abused prescription medication. Those are the things that killed him, not working/touring.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on August 19, 2014
Its not a put down,its truely what i believe,many of his habits are signs of being bi polar,again not a put down.
Deano1 wrote on August 19, 2014
mature_elvis_fan75...I understand and I did not mean to attack your opinion, but I had a fiancé who was bipolar and I just don't see it in Elvis. He was moody, but from many who were close to him that last year, he was less moody in '77 and generally happy on stage and away from stage. I guess my point is that if Elvis had taken '77 off and still died on 8/16/77, fans would speculate he died because he wasn't performing. I truly don't think 55 shows over a span of 200+ days killed Elvis or that he would have been better off (personally, physically or emotionally) to not tour. I realize many fans would have been spared his "subpar" performances and the jokes about a "fat" Elvis from non-Elvis fans, but the man himself was working and doing something he enjoyed. If he was already fragile emotionally and physically I fail to see how he would be better off to give up something he enjoyed.
benny scott wrote on August 19, 2014
Deano1, amen to that ! Always El.
NONE000000 wrote on August 19, 2014
No Deano1, I have NOT contradicted myself at all. To say Elvis was great until the end does not contradict the fact that his final year was not on the same level as 1969 - 1973. I assume you are just trying to be argumentative since what I said is not only clear but obvious. "Sub-par" meaning not on the same level as earlier tours. From the dictionary: adjective below an average, usual, or normal level, quality, or the like; below par: Can something be great, but not on the same level of greatness as earlier? Yes, of course it can. When Elvis was on the road, the adrenaline from the shows made it hard for him to sleep, and he took prescription pills to help, and he took other pills to make sure he was up for the next show. The night he died, with a new tour starting up the following day, he knew he had to get to sleep the night before and took more than his usual dosage to get to sleep. And that specifically is what killed him. I can't imagine how any fan of Elvis Presley could not have wished he would have taken time away from the road and tried to become healthier and in better shape and hopefully lived longer and been happier. Nobody said he should retire and give up performing forever, only that it would have benefited him to focus a little attention on himself instead of running himself into the ground and into death at only 42 years old. Lots of ailments have been claimed about Elvis since his death. Glaucoma, Twisted/spastic colon, depression...I have even read cancer a few times. I have no idea, but he was clearly not healthy and, though he was never really "fat" in my opinion, he certainly could have and should have been in better shape and had to experience some depression over what was happening to him from 1975 on. After Aloha, it seemed there was little left to conquer. It's all just conjecture and fantasy now, but if the man could have stopped and refocused and set a new goal, personally and professionally, who knows what a difference it might have made. People like to talk about addiction regarding Elvis, and I think he was addicted to the live performances and to those audiences by 1977, and the pills were simply what he took to get him up and out to his real addiction--those concerts and that crowd. Nobody said his final 55 shows killed him. But maybe the 1000+ shows before it and what he physically was doing to himself to perform those 1000+ shows didn't help. Just because he was doing what he loved, doesn't mean it was good for him. People doing crack or heroin are also doing what they love, but it doesn't make it healthy.
Jamie wrote on August 19, 2014
Hello, it's so hard to discuss Elvis's final year. It's obvious that fans have different ways of understanding his situation and of assessing his professional level. There also seems to be a tendency to assess Elvis's output in 1977 in something of a bubble such that his better work then benefits from a contrast effect: performances that are relatively good within that final year are leant exaggerated credibility. This distorts some painful realities. I can't agree with Deano that Rapid City was a solid show. Wasn't that the one forming the majority of 'Elvis In Concert', Deano? Ok, it was better than Omaha, but you have to adopt a very compassionate mindset to say it's a solid show. He was static, breathless and ailing. (Incidentally, I think it's a myth too that Elvis's voice never failed him [to quote 'This Is Elvis']. I won't push that agenda here, because I think it stokes up a lot of raw feelings). Ernst Jorgensen's 'Recording Sessions' book gives a moving account of Elvis's backing singers watching the CBS broadcast and becoming distressed by it. That doesn't sound like a solid show. The bipolar disorder debate is one I hadn't heard before. It had occurred to me before that Elvis may have had BD, but it's very difficult to get at his underlying state because of his excessive medication regime. Elvis does seem to have gone through bouts of depression in his last few years. (In my view, the crisis that brought him down was triggered because he knew his womanising had ended his marriage. If it had anything to do with working in Hollywood or Las Vegas, Elvis should have tried working in a steelworks or a hospital and taken a reality check). Some of his behaviour - such as buying luxury cars for strangers, jetting off impulsively to meet President Nixon, his rambling monologues on stage, his disruptive behaviour at recording sessions - do seem consistent with the manic end of the BD spectrum to me. I wouldn't be remotely surprised if his medication damaged the mood centre in his brain and triggered BD. But I don't know. Either way, it was an awfully traumatic denouement for all of us to deal with.
benny scott wrote on August 19, 2014
After reading and re-reading the reactions of Deano1, King Creole and Jamie I can come to just one conclusion : they all 3 love our man, and all 3 o are defending him in their own way, so that's just great, and the small disagreements her are no big deal ! True and loyal fans having only the best in mind discussing the healthproblems of our hero. Stay friends !... and from me :hats off ! Always El.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on August 20, 2014
Well just leave me out lol,if i didnt like him,id not be here. Mental issues are something this world needs to learn about.
benny scott wrote on August 20, 2014
Mature, don't feel left out, and i'm sure that 99,99 % of the members of this site love Elvis, can't mention them all !!. A very short posting of +/- 2 lines stating "he was probably bi-polar and probably had clinical depression "...and that's it. What do you want me to answer to that ? As for the "it would have taken so much more than some time away from touring and rest." : some explanation what you mean by that would be welcome ! Nothing personal ! Always El.
Lex wrote on August 20, 2014
Jamie, good to see there are more realistic, down to earth people over here!
Gorse wrote on August 20, 2014
A very interesting board. Outside of this forum I do not buy books on Elvis, other than factual as knowing and reading too much theory of this nature damages my overall enjoyment. My angle is to indulge the voice 1953-1977, the films and DVD's. If I am personally am not at ease with something like Omaha 1977 then I avoid it.. We all know he went downhill fast in 1977, but there were still some magnificent moments and they are the ones I concentrate on and feel better for it. Examining the downside of any entertainer brings no creditable return, as seen by the acrimony here, and is totally pointless in my view. Head in the sand yes but this should be a pleasant diversion from our challenging lives.
Deano1 wrote on August 20, 2014
Jamie, KingKreole, Mature Elvis Fan75 and others; we are not disagreeing on many points. I agree completely that Elvis was not the same performer in 1976-77 as he had been earlier in the decade (my apologies KingKreole as subpar is technically the right word, but It has taken on the definition in many circles as poor or bad instead of its true definition. It is not normally used when trying to state something is still great, but not as great as it had been - semantics). I have stated several times on several posts on this websites and others that Elvis needed a challenge after the "Aloha" special and that perhaps the lack of any real career challenges helped lead to his drug dependency and premature death. Of course I wished he had taken better care of himself, lived longer (for his daughter's sake more than anything), but as you even stated KingKreole "Nobody said his final 55 shows killed him" and just taking 1977 off would have probably been more destructive than beneficial to him. I don't know if he was addicted to performing (the crowds and adulation), but even Ginger Alden has said he loved being on stage. That is why I stand by what I said concerning 1977. If he was depressed or bipolar (no way to prove or disprove at this point and not worth discussing IMO), taking away the one thing that brought him joy would not have been a positive thing IMO (comparisons to heroin are inappropriate IMO)...Just a couple of things...I have watched the Rapid City show in it entirety on several occasions and I really enjoy it. He does fumble through the introductions and I just wish he had gone back to the simplistic ones from earlier. The Omaha show has some fine musical moments, but Elvis is definitely off (the crowd doesn't seem to notice). He walks very heavily and appears to be in some discomfort (not necessarily life threatening, but could have been constipation from his colon or anything else, Lord knows the aches and pains we get in our 40's!). He doesn't look great, but that had more to do with his outfit and whoever did his make-up (horrible!). It is funny to see other pictures from this tour like the one above and see how much better he looked. My fiancé (present one, not the one who was bipolar) watched the Rapid City show and commented that she thought he looked very good and sounded great. Many times we Elvis fans are so hell-bent on comparing him to "what he was" that we lose sight of how good of a performer he was even on his bad days. That speaks to your point Jamie, but puts the onerous on us fans who judge him, rather than enjoy him (I am guilty of this).
Deano1 wrote on August 20, 2014
Indulge me one more time as I have developed a theory concerning Elvis and 1977. I am very much looking forward to Ginger's book since she was the one with him for the last 10 months of his life. I developed it based on comments by her, her family (and others) and observations of Elvis. I think many positive things started to happen to Elvis in 1977 that we don't see when listening or watching his shows from that year. 1) Elvis had seemed to come to terms with his weight, being middle aged and the fact he wasn't the matinee idol he once was. This was a big improvement on his state of mine. Many people (Ed Parker is an example) have stated that in 1974, Elvis was terrified of being 40 and out of shape and went through horrible diets (being put in a coma state and sleeping for two weeks!) to try and lose weight. As his 40th birthday approached, Elvis' drug use escalated and on stage in Vegas and on the road (summer and fall of '74) he started having angry rants and appeared emotionally unstable (at times). Was his impending middle age weighing on his mind and causing his drug use and erratic behavior? Elvis continued in both '75 and '76 to swell in stature and then miraculously he would be back in shape (June 75, Oct 76). By most accounts he was not doing this by healthy means. 2) By 1977, Elvis had no desire to record, but that may not be a bad thing. He needed a new direction musically and he may have well been unwilling to continue the country trend of his post 1973 LPs. He could have returned to rock and roll, but he had earlier lamented the lack of new, good rock and roll songs. He didn't see the reason to record another 10 track LP of songs he was not inspired to sing. Don't we all wish he had never showed up for a couple of the soundtrack recordings that he obviously was uninspired to sing? There was inclinations he was wanting to become a gospel singer, but was unsure of what that would do to his career. 2) Elvis' life had been purged of many of his mafia "pals". The West boys (against his will at the time, but the right thing for his Dad to do), Hebler and Lacker (even though he claims the money was not to go away, he admits he never saw Elvis again after he left and talked to him only once in an awkward phone call) were gone and Elvis seemed to distance himself from everyone from the old group with the exception of Hodge and Esposito. 3) Elvis really did seem to love Ginger Alden and he even made statements that he wanted to have more children with her. He for the first time seemed to be enamored with a woman. After a long string of affairs and unusual relationships, he may have been willing to love again and felt mature enough to truly love. He looked happy if not particularly healthy in Hawaii with her and her family in March of 1977 and almost seemed to gush when he introduced her at his shows. 4) Elvis was seeing a lot more of Lisa in 1977. With five tours and only 55 shows, Elvis had a lot of down time and from private pictures we see what appears to be a happy Elvis with his daughter, his new lady and her family. 5) People around him in 1977 say he loved to teach from the Bible and had seemed to be trying to get his closer in his walk with the Lord. Whether you are a believer or not, this is a positive sign of a man returning to his roots. Shortly before his death, Elvis gave Rick Stanley so truly inspired advice. On the day before he died, Stanley told Elvis that a friend of his was telling him about Jesus and how she was praying for him. Elvis looked at him and said, 'Ricky, she's telling you the truth.' Then he said, 'People who talk to you about Jesus really care.' Elvis was at peace with his God. 6) His relationship with his Father had improved. After Dee left and Vernon had his heart attack, Elvis and his Dad seemed to grow close. His Dad moved into the apartment at Graceland and Elvis seemed genuinely glad to have his Dad back on tour with him in June of '77. His Dad had also saw the danger signs for Elvis and really showed tough love in hiring a private investigator and firing people he felt were not positive influences on Elvis. 7) In July of 77, Elvis had began a vegan diet. Not a new pill, not some crazy diet, but a healthy non-meat diet. His health was becoming a priority and he was dieting for his health and not vanity. It is not to far fetched to believe he was weaning himself off of some pills too and when I read what KingKreole wrote below I became sad. What if Elvis had gotten by for almost two months without taking uppers and downers or greatly reduced the amount of them he took but because of the upcoming tour returned too or took his old quantity of sleeping aids and they caused his cardiac arrhythmia? 8) Elvis wasn't completely healthy, but I always shudder when I hear people say how sick he was. His colon could be corrected by getting off the pills and eating healthy. His glaucoma was not going to kill him and his high blood pressure was controllable and the cancer rumor may have well been an excuse Dr. Nick gave Vernon and Charlie when they asked about the suitcase full of drugs (or it could be completely untrue). When he did appear ill in Baltimore or Omaha, fans and non-fans are quick to say he was destined to die or he was just too sick to perform. The illnesses could have been something as simple as the flu, an intestinal problem caused by his colon or even attributed to high blood pressure (I suffer from it and it can make you short-winded). Many of his band mates and fellow performers were sick throughout his last tour and it is possible that in Omaha Elvis was sick and unable to concentrate because of it. The point is, he wasn't as unhealthy as portrayed and he showed that in many concerts. Perhaps 1977 was a process for Elvis and while it ended tragically and prematurely on 8/16/77, it is very possible he was a much more stable person than he had been the previous four or five years. I appreciate Elvis in 1977 and find myself listening to more of his concerts from that year than from many other years. I think Elvis was happy to know his fans still accepted him even though he wasn't the dynamic performer of 1973. His concerts from that year really seem to be a love fest. Elvis loving his fans and his fans loving him. Elvis was more than a voice, more than a handsome face, more than a pelvis and more than a performer. He was a person that through those things and his God-given charisma seemed to invite you into his world. It wasn't always pretty, but it was always entertaining and for reasons I still can't truly explain I love the man
Natha wrote on August 20, 2014
Deano1, your analytic view on Elvis' last year is very insightful. More than anything you are right on two things: Elvis needed a new challenge and he had a new approach to become healthy. It is obvious that his health had a lot to suffer. He paid the price of fame. Maybe not so much that he was overworked, but not being able just to live a life. To be lived for so many years was like being caged. Yet he had more 'enjoyable things' than we had, but he missed the common things and that is what keeps life in balance. Moreover the thing he loved most (apart from his daughter of course) was the contact with the fans. As I have stated some years back: it is interesting to observe that the fans even enjoyed to be introduced to his father, his daughter and girlfriends. It shows that he was more than a performer, he was kind of a close friend with whom one wanted to share more than just the music. My wife always refers to him as being my big friend. I had a very streneous life and also suffered in my forties with serious health problems. In a way it was comparable. There were also moments that I thought I would die! Luckily I had the inner strength to cope with the vicissitudes of life and restored my health. So in a way I understand his situation. Sometimes I wish I had met him personally at the time. Besides all that he suffered from diseases, information which have surfaced in recent years. That must have caused him a lot of discomfort, apart from all the above, driving him to drug abuse. I heard the Elvis In Concert LP first and much later I saw the documentary. While listening to that I realised that he was no more the super voice as before, yet there was something in his voice that was still so enticing! The power, the warmth and depth of his voice struck me, only to be shocked when over a year later I saw the TV show! Still I have to admit I rather listen to that LP/cd than listening to the music on the radio during the last decades. Even at that point his voice had that extra that other performers lack.
wildfishie wrote on August 20, 2014
I disagree that he was not the super voice in June 77'. In my opinion, (and I have lots of concerts in my collection), the most powerful singing moment of Elvis' entire career was when he sang Unchained Melody in Rapid City. It's not where he reached his highest note ever (I think high notes show skill rather than power), it's more about the amount of feeling he poured into it along with an unbreakable stability of his voice. It was really a flawless moment.
Jamie wrote on August 20, 2014
Hello again everyone. I hope that trying to understand Elvis’s decline is different thing to judging him in the unkind sense of the term. I think that those last few years can be analysed in such microscopic detail that the overarching themes and dynamics become lost. He seems to have fallen to pieces more-or-less on cue with the separation from Priscilla. One shouldn’t be surprised: he was steeped in Christian values yet lost his immediate family because he had been serially unfaithful almost from the moment Priscilla moved in with him as a teenager. When it all caught up with him and he realised too late that he had thrown away those things that really mattered to him, he lapsed into self-incrimination and abused medication to ease his feelings. He was a global superstar, enormously wealthy and influential, and the people closest to him were compromised because they were dependent on his largesse – lose Elvis’s favour, you lose your social standing, possibly your livelihood, and the ride of a lifetime comes to an end. Consequently, there were too few brakes on his behaviour. Disaster was inevitable from as early as 1971. One can reflect on the finer detail – Elvis’s colon, Ginger, an acting role in ‘A Star Is Born’ falling through, karate, Linda, and all the other 1970s motifs and regrets that recur. None of these have the potential to significantly impact on the decision-making of an addict that doesn’t want help. That’s how I see it. It’s fine to put a heavier weighting on someone’s good points than their bad ones, particularly after they’ve gone. But it demeans people to remember them falsely in an idealised version. Elvis put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces and deserves to be valued for who he was. I was thinking last night how much good Elvis could have done today with a remit, for instance, as a Children’s Ambassador for the UN. Bl**dy heartbreaking.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on August 20, 2014
I have been a fan for over 20 years,in my view elvis was deeply troubled,its not a put down,his spending habits,mood swings,etc,are signs of being bi polar. Mental health is something that needs to be taken more serios,its hell to deal with.
Ciscoking wrote on August 20, 2014
then I am bi polar, too..easy..
Jamie wrote on August 20, 2014
Hello Mature Fan. We don't know that Elvis had Bipolar Disorder, but there's no doubt some of his extravagant, wilful and impulsive behaviour brings BD to mind. It's interesting that you see him as having been "troubled". I strongly agree with you. I think his nocturnal, superstar existence was surreal and lacked the borders and markers that keep most of us more-or-less sane. I won't repeat my earlier offering in detail, but I think I think he hated himself for wrecking his family unit through his bachelor behaviour. I don't think Priscilla's departure upset him: I think it devastated him, and his spiralling substance abuse brought about an appalling disaster. So shattering to dwell on it all.
NONE000000 wrote on August 20, 2014
Before I say anything else, I would agree that we all love Elvis, otherwise we wouldn't be here or care. I even love 1977 Elvis--his version of My Way from 77 blows the 73 version away totally (except maybe the arrangement--I liked the violins on the 1973 version, but Elvis' voice was better for this song toward the end. And the same goes for "You Gave Me A Mountain".). It definitely would be good to think Elvis was on the road to improving toward the end. And maybe a new marriage would have been just what he needed. I'm sure the book "Elvis:What Happened" had to have really hurt him, and he died so soon after it came out that none of us know if it could have actually been beneficial in the long run and could have caused a change for the better. As I passed the age of 42 myself a few short years ago, I've found myself a little more critical of Elvis at the end. As a kid I thought "42 is old! Of course he was out of shape at that advanced age." I realize now that 42 is not old at all and it seems all the sadder that 42 is where it ended for him. To think that 21 was middle-aged for Elvis is awfully sad. In re-reading all the posts here, I hope I wasn't in "attack mode" earlier. Current events in the 2014 world have me on edge, and so I apologize if I sounded like I was looking for a fight. The fantasy that Elvis might have gotten remarried, had another child and maybe taken a year or two off to be with a new wife and child, while also getting away from the drugs, the road and the Memphis Mafia is a potent dream. It isn't what happened, unfortunately. I want to clarify specifically what I meant about the concerts at the end. Overall, I think Elvis still sounded great, in concert and in the Jungle Room. But, in concert, he did seem out of breath sometimes and it is hard to watch him at times, because he really did seem as though he couldn't move very easily (though in some of his last photographs, he is playing football and certainly seems plenty mobile, so maybe things were getting better.). The concerts themselves had become routine, and while I love the way he sang "My Way", "Hurt", "You Gave Me a Mountain" and several others, I personally hated the long "I Got A Woman/Amen" medley that he dragged out with JD, the way he ran through "Jailhouse Rock" as if it were on the wrong speed, the band intros.... Gosh, the poor guy is dead and I don't want to sit here listing things I "hate" about his final year. I love Elvis and wish it would have gone a different way; I wish someone could have sat down with him and really worked out a new career direction for him, told him the Sundial Jumpsuit didn't look good and that he didn't need to accept his current appearance because he could change it and get control over his life. As Deano1 mentioned, it is especially sad if he was doing better with diet, exercise and dropping some of the more useless hangers-on in 1977, but because he knew he couldn't sacrifice sleep the night before a big tour started, had to resort back to sleeping pills to knock him out. And of course, that was how it ended. And I didn't mean to make a direct comparison of heroin to live performing; it was only an example to point out that just because something makes you happy, does not mean it is healthy. I think the only point we are in true disagreement on, Deano1, is your feeling that "taking 1977 off would have probably been more destructive than beneficial to him". On this one point, I cannot agree. I am not convinced of the "destructive" power of time off. In my experience of time off, it is restorative. No one can say for sure if Elvis Presley ever would have entered rehab or something similar (after the book "Elvis:What Happened" it certainly must have been spoken of at least), but a retreat of that sort---a month or two in a spa, on a diet, no fans or pills or unhealthy food---certainly, IMO, would have been better for him than another 50 shows in another 50 cities, playing "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)" and the "Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel" medley another 50 times.
Jamie wrote on August 20, 2014
Hi KingKreole. I liked the honesty and balance in your posting. I think you enjoy some parts of the CBS broadcast more than I do, but that's fine. I thought I was the only one who loved the violin in verse 2 of the 'My Way' arrangement in 1973, so good to hear you enjoy it too. The idea of Elvis taking time in 1977 presents a dilemma. Had he spent the time recuperating in rehab, great. All the signs are however that he was medicinally and psychologically lost in a maze in 1977. I can't imagine touring was good for him, but it may have been his best option in terms of giving him a focus and an income. Hard to equate the man we're trying to fathom with that young guy singing 'Hound Dog' on the Berle Show in '56.
Natha wrote on August 21, 2014
Wildfishie, what I meant by super voice is that in earlier years he could keep up the level much longer all through the shows. At times in 1977 he could not. Yet, as I refered to in my posting, when listening to the LP 'Elvis in Concert' I enjoyed it extremely and did not realise his physical condition. In those days it was not easy to get information like now-a-days. He still sounds like canon on that LP, though he seemed fatigued at some points. As he grew older his voice matured, and with that fantastic charisma and sense of putting feeling into s song I agree that some songs were unheard of! Maturing and life experiences combined with such a voice is a hit anyway! Again, I take the weakest musical moments of Elvis in 1977 also as a wonderful listen. I am not a fanatic or one who denies the obvious. I also have my serious doubts about the cause of his death. I never thought he died of drug abuse. It may have been a factor, but not THE cause. But actually, for me I let that be and enjoy his music.
Jamie wrote on August 21, 2014
Hello. The cause of Elvis's death in 1977 is debatable. In the narrow sense, he died of a heart attack. However, he had dabbled in uppers when out on the road in 1950s, had turned to them again on US Army night duty 1958-60, and became addicted to an horrendous cocktail of medication c. 1971. Elvis's over-eating can be attributed to simple avarice, but one wonders if he would have been so impulsive if he'd had a clear mind. The idea that Elvis's heart was unaffected by all this is far-fetched. Even if I accepted that Elvis was a recovering addict, that wouldn't repair years of damage wrought on his vital organs. (And 'recovering addict' has a very fluid meaning). People are entitled to an opinion about a link between his lifestyle - particularly substance abuse, binge-eating, and their attendant health problems - and that fatal coronary event. I don't know about the longevity of males in Elvis's family. We do know Elvis had been raised in poverty, so I would think the better nutritional and medical expertise Elvis could afford should have given him a good chance of living longer than his forebears. Elvis didn't die of drugs? In my view, he did. His example could play a positive role in confronting present-day users, and so become one of the key aspects of his legacy. Elvis's death at 42 will have been in vain if nothing is learnt from it.
Jamie wrote on August 21, 2014
Hello. I just submitted "amphetamine, constipation" as a Google search. There are some articles describing how the chemicals released by the brain cause faeces to "back up". I'm unsure how one can eliminate such a side effect, and attribute Elvis's digestive problems instead to disease. If there is disease, doesn't it look like the side-effect has been causal? Obviously we will all understand this tragedy in our different way, but I know what I think.
Deano1 wrote on August 21, 2014
Jamie, I am undergoing chemo therapy right now and the four drugs give me cause horrible constipation (sorry if too much info). There is no doubt in my mind the drugs that Elvis took played a part in his health condition. Most drugs are treated by a human body as poison and the side effects can be worse than the disease it is treating. I also have high blood pressure the drug I take for that causes light headedness, dizziness, etc and it is the most common drug used to treat HBP in the U.S.A (I know I am a mess for 45 years old! LOL). It is so very hard to determine what was the final straw that caused Elvis' heart to start beating erratically and stop. Heart conditions seemed to run in his family on both sides so maybe he would have died even if he had taken great care of himself. I guess I don't like the old easy arguments of "he was so lonely" and "he was so sick" and "he worked himself to death" and that is why I presented my side of things I feel contradict those claims. I am sorry I came across a little heavy handed in the beginning, but has Benny Scott and others said on this thread there is no doubt we all have a love for this guy that goes beyond just enjoying his music (I guess we wouldn't be on this site if we didn't)....Thank you Natha for the kind words about my analysis. KingKreole, did you hate the "I Got A Woman/Amen" medley the first time you heard it? I admit after having it on dozens of releases it gets tedious, but loved it when I first heard it in 1977 on the LP EIC. I enjoyed it more than "Polk Salad Annie" from the "On Stage" LP. It is funny I commented about Elvis 1977 versions of "Jailhouse Rock" to my lady the other day and how Elvis doesn't even bother trying to sing all the words and just mumbles it together. He got the same reaction regardless of version though so I would say it has more to do with indifference than health. There was one concert in '77 where he actually enunciates the words well on the song, but that was rare for that year. Of course, he mushed lyrics even as early as Aloha From Hawaii (listen to Johnny B Goode and Blue Suede Shoes and tell me he sounds as into it as Big Hunk O Love) Not as bad, but still not the same effort. Lastly, I think the statement "Elvis died of drugs" could be considered accurate and inaccurate. There were traces of several pills found in his body at the time of his death and the determination was that in the quantities found they would not cause death in the average person. It is not inconceivable to think with his health conditions he needed a majority or at least was ethically prescribed the medication. You could however consider Elvis' death from the drugs if you say his body was not normal at the time of death (the drugs were too much for a man in his condition) or if you are saying his bad health was from the years of abuse and ultimately he took them. I guess we will never know for sure.
NONE000000 wrote on August 21, 2014
Hey Deano1, you and I are the same age! We were both 8 when Elvis died, I really didn't know who he was before that, as my parents were not really into him. So it was actually his death and subsequent TV and radio coverage that led me to discover him fro myself. To answer your question about I Got a Woman/Amen---I actually think it is a brilliant medley. Ray Charles' song had gospel roots and I loved that Elvis broke this down the way he did. What drove me crazy was the loooong JD Sumner stuff that Elvis would drag out endlessly. It was like the band intros, which were actually entertaining in the early 70s (I loved a lot of his goofy jokes, like saying he was going to introduce the members of his group and then going on to introduce them...to each other.) But by 1977, whether he loved performing or not (and he did), he was in a rut and a lot of the shows do show it. He needed a new challenge, something new to conquer, or, he needed a break, even if he didn't want one. Just my opinion.. Dr. Elvis Eyes, Dr Nick has a lot of reasons to want people not to believe drugs played a big role in Elvis' death---he prescribed the drugs. I used to get very angry at people when they called Elvis a drug addict or claimed he died of an overdose. He wasn't shooting up or snorting cocaine, afterall, he simply took what doctors prescribed for him and deemed necessary. I am still usually defensive of Elvis in this regard. From the toxicology report: "We have not detected any drug in Elvis that doesn't have a medical rationale to it - only agents prescribed for perfectly normal, rational medical reasons." But there were 11 drugs found in his system according to the autopsy and so many "cover-up" theories swirl around this issue. Like many other people, I saw the episode of 20/20 in 1979 which quoted a different report: The report showed no congestive heart failure, no blood clots or hardened arteries to indicate a heart attack, and no sign of a stroke. "He had a slightly enlarged heart," Wecht recalls," but that's not heart disease." This discussion has gotten WAY off track. No one can know and everyone here has to simply decide what they believe. My personal belief is that if Elvis had not taken three "packets of prescription drugs, that Dr.Nick would leave with Elvis's nurse Tish Henley. Each packet consisted of varying amounts of Seconal, Placidyl, Valmid, Tuinal, Demerol and an assortment of other depressants and placebos. They were made and given to Elvis so he could get hours of sleep at a time." And on the night before he died, he took 3 separate packets like this to get to sleep. In my own personal opinion, without these "packets," he would not have died that night. But I can see why other people would disagree, because there can never be a definitive answer. I guess it is awfully pointless to argue about what might have been, and what sparked all this is this comment from the original post: "Most of Elvis’ musicians prefer not to talk about Elvis’ final tours, but whenever they do, they usually agree that it was one that should have never been undertaken. It was simply one tour too many. At this stage it was impossible to hide the fact that Elvis was in serious problems." I agree with this, not everyone here does. But one thing we all have in common---no one can do anything about it. None of us can go back in time and "save" him, or ask him to change his concert setlist, or wear a more flattering jumpsuit, or whatever. To me, the concerts had become like the movie soundtracks, we might get a masterpiece scattered throughout a lot of stuff that was very far below what we used to expect of him. For every "Hurt" or "My Way" there were 10 Sheryl Nielson's "O Solo Mio" or mumbled "Jailhouse Rock"s; For every "Long Legged Girl" were 10 "Ito Eats" and "No Room To Rumba". We all have lowered expectations of 1977 Elvis. His greatness was still as great as ever, but they were fewer and farther between.
Jamie wrote on August 21, 2014
Hello. Just wanted to say a couple of things. Firstly, it's a privilege to share this website with my friends out there. I doubt I could have been as honest as I have on this thread with any other artist's fans and not been lynched. Secondly, I shouldn't speak for other people, but I'm sure everyone who shares this forum will want to pass you their very best wishes for a quick and full recovery, Deano.
benny scott wrote on August 21, 2014
Was absent today until 23 PM. Just read the recent postings. Deano : I'm sure and hope you'll be ok very soon ! All the best to you ! Keep the fighting spirit 'cause a positive state of mind is very important !!! Always El.
Jamie wrote on August 22, 2014
Hello. I would say Elvis's father endured poverty in his youth and still made it to 63. It's beyond 50 but still, I accept, young. Elvis's death must have taken a heavy toll on the poor man, of course. I understand that Elvis's heart attack may have been triggered by his straining while sat on the toilet. But I have to come back to the accumulated damage resulting from years of substance abuse. Rhetorically, would a healthier heart have given out?
Natha wrote on August 22, 2014
Deano1, sorry to read about your health problem. My warmest thoughts for a speedy recovery go your way! Some of the things in life just come to us, possibly without any apparent cause. So I wish you will find the inner strength to cope with the physical disturbances with a mental equilibrium. Be strong, my Elvis friend!
Natha wrote on August 22, 2014
We may speculate a lot about the reasons of Elvis' untimely demise. We were not there and most of the reports are contradictory and arguably accurate. So either vision or opinion could be correct. Fact is that he used prescribed drugs and that may not have been without influence on his health. Yet to state 'His example could play a positive role in confronting present-day users, and so become one of the key aspects of his legacy. Elvis's death at 42 will have been in vain if nothing is learnt from it.' is just too much for me. IF he died solely on drug abuse he is not the only one. To state that he should be an example is an abuse of his legacy. We should draw the attention of the people to his musical legacy. There are so many fantastic musical clips to be used. Already enough people ridicule Elvis by focussing on his short time of being fat, just to put him down. We should focus on the whole of his legacy and - after decades since his demise - let some things rest.Of course on this forum we can share some thoughts, but just as fans amongst each other. At least that is my view on this.
marty wrote on August 22, 2014
Deanno 1: Hope the treatment you are getting has the derired effect and you get better soon.
Lefty wrote on August 22, 2014
Deanno 1, Wishing you all the best. Here's to a speedy recovery! As far as this CD goes, the press release is sad enough to make me keep my wallet closed. Calling the performance "one of the least bad shows from the last tour," does not make me want to buy it. That may be an honest assessment, but it is not good marketing. I bought two Elvis releases this year that are amazing, Final Countdown To Midnight and the massive TTWII legacy box set. Oh...My...Gosh!!! Incredible stuff. That being said, I do love the awesome performances from 1977 (and yes, there are a few), but overall, I want to hear Elvis "knockin' 'em dead" not Elvis circling the drain.
Deano1 wrote on August 22, 2014
Thank you to everyone for the warm wishes. I have lymphoma, but I was given an 85% chance of totally beating it, nuff about me. We have gotten off track, but this discussion has been enjoyable (for lack of a better word) even though it focused a lot on his death. Lefty, I agree 100% why would they try to sell something and call it less bad? I guess they know they will sell all 500 and that is all that matters...I was only eight when he died and I remember the big build up to the airing of "Elvis In Concert" in October of that year. So many people were saying horrible things about him and even my Aunt (she saw him that year in Louisville, KY) said he couldn't remember the words to any of his songs and he was really fat (pictures from the show a hefty Elvis, but not fat). I braced for the worst that night as my family sat down to watch the show, but remember being thoroughly entertained. I was mesmerized by him just like when I was three and watched "Aloha" and never moved from the couch. He still sounded great and his charisma shined through. He was older and a little heavier, but still Elvis. I remember my Mom and I saying, "if that is the worst they have on him, then we are ok with his worst". Looking back, the show had horrible production values (didn't want to see the crowd or people talking while Elvis was singing) and horrible make-up was used on Elvis (especially around the eyes). So many good performances were not used (Unchained Melody, Fairytale, Hawaiian Wedding Song, And I Love You So, I Got A Woman/Amen, If You Love Me (love Elvis telling Charlie he can't hear him). I just wonder how different Elvis would be perceived today if they had filmed the concert in Indy on 6/26 and that would have been the last video chapter of Elvis' life.
Jamie wrote on August 22, 2014
Hello. Thank you for all your responses. It's true that Elvis took an alarming amount of medication in his last few years. I think if he hadn't done so, he would have had a much longer lifespan. My view is that his substance abuse caused a deterioration in his physical state, and that that played a critical role in his death in 1977. If he hadn't died that way at that time, I think he would have died as a consequence of another drug-related event 2 weeks, 3 months or 1 year later. It happened to be a heart attack on 16/8/77. I think his demise is a salutary tale of where drug-dependency ends. Further, I think the world can celebrate his musical legacy and simultaneously be horrified by the nature of his death the more so precisely because such a great artist was lost to us. The achievements and the tragedy are part of a whole. If other people think Elvis's death was unrelated, or only peripherally related, to the 7 years of substance abuse that preceded it then we'll have to agree to disagree on the matter. If other people think it's distasteful to reflect on his self-destructive lifestyle and learn valuable lessons from it, again we'll have to agree to disagree. If he's the man I think he was, he would have wanted some good to have emerged from the ordeal he went through.
Natha wrote on August 22, 2014
Jamie, have you missed how the general public already tends to emphasize the 'fat Elvis' and the 'drug-addict Elvis'? How did that contribute to his legacy or anyone's warning etc.? It is time to focus on the essence.
NONE000000 wrote on August 23, 2014
I wasn't going to comment again on this thread because I have said plenty, too much even, but at the risk of contradicting myself, Elvis's New Year's Eve performance in Pittsburgh at the end of 1976---just 8 months before he died--is excellent. (Some generous soul has put the new Final Countdown to Midnight video on You Tube). Elvis looks good, sounds good and seems very at ease. In almost all of the CBS footage, he seemed stiff to me, very uncomfortable-looking, as if movement wasn't easy (and it very well may not have been), but a mere 8 months earlier, he was really great. I have never thought Elvis got "fat", but he did seem, in most of the 1977 footage I've seen, puffy or bloated and uncomfortable. So much so that for me it is hard to watch because I feel so much empathy for him. But it sure is great to see him looking, sounding and moving around this well so near the end. It makes me believe he really could have turned things around because he wasn't really as far gone as I sometimes have believed. The popular feeling is that from 1974 until 1977 was all decline--this is something I usually think of as true, and overall, I think it is true---but there are some great exceptions to this. I can't afford the new Final Countdown set, but everyone should get over to You Tube and watch this thing. In my opinion, he's as good as he was in Elvis On Tour in appearance. (He was in amazing shape for Aloha, so I can't say he looked THAT good, but still damned good). And vocally...well, the sound is a bit rough, but he never lost it vocally ever. I only wish this was the concert CBS filmed and recorded and was cemented into people's minds. And the jumpsuit is Soooooo much better! The one he is wearing on the cover of the Elvis In Concert LP in fact is the one he wore on that New year's Eve show.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on August 23, 2014
Jamie i agree with you,but ido wonder if he was just bound to get depressed,maybe in his dna,wasnt his mother depressed? I have heard he got bored easy,i say alot of this because i deal with some of this myself,and its not easy,depression kills. I also look at his anger issues even hearing him in the studio it seemed as time went by he was more angry over things that seemed not so bad. I of course dont know,none of us do,maybe he felt trapped in life,maybe he felt he had no oine he could really talk to,i mean theres a difference between knowing people and having real friends or those who dont feel will go tell everyone what you just told them. No doubt drugs took there toll but why does someone turn to drugs in the first place,i for one never have and never will but some are differt,sometimes those who creats alot of joy are dying on the inside,ijust think people need to learn a bit more on mental health,when that goes your pretty much done.
ribra wrote on August 24, 2014
Where are Elvis' fans? We are to suppose spoken about live recording? Not about exploitation of the individuals! I want to vomit!
ribra wrote on August 24, 2014
Where are Elvis' fans? We are supposed to share something about live recordings!? Not about exploitation of the individuals! I want to vomit!
benny scott wrote on August 24, 2014
Go ahead ! " Not about exploitation of the individuals" ????? Huh, what the heck do you mean ? Always El.
TheMemphisFan wrote on August 25, 2014
snowplow floater wrote: "The culture of those times were that uppers and downers were the norm for the majority of Americans, not just Elvis." What a foolish and ignorant statement. You don't know what you're talking about.
NONE000000 wrote on August 25, 2014
Wow. This thread took a turn for the really stupid. I'm glad most of the comments are intelligent, informed and considerate discussions of Elvis and his last few months on Earth. I have no idea what a few of you are talking about. Those needing to "vomit" should maybe do that elsewhere and not in written form.
TheMemphisFan wrote on August 25, 2014
"MAJORITY of Americans" ???
benny scott wrote on August 25, 2014
Hi friends, I agree, "the majority of Americans..." was a bit an unfortunate choise of words, and without any doubt, I'm very sure snowplow floater meant "a very large number of people from the showworld, politicians,etc..." and he probably is right as far as this category of people is talked about. So no real harm done, an just like 99,5% of all of you, snowplow floater is a real dedicated Elvis fan, so let it remain so and let's stick together , sharing our opinions without starting to dispute. Discuss : YES, dispute: NO. The best to all of you. Always El.
Steve V wrote on August 25, 2014
Seeing this topic did not interest me, but noticing 60 responses did, so I just read through it. Deano, I am sorry to hear of your situation . All the best for 100% full recovery. I hope you are feeling better everyday. As for reading through this, I see a lot of nonsense. Everyone who knows me on here, knows I dont care much for 70's Elvis, although he did have him moments. But I feel he was destined to die young. Its been said turning 40 depressed him and he didnt want to leave his bedroom. 40!! That is very young. What would turning 50 have done to him? I think he would have gone over the top being depressed , maybe even as bad as Robin Williams. You cant help the genes you are born with. Lets face it, the Presley family had some issues.