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I apologize that several of the original videos, for which I provided links on this page, have been removed from YouTube. However, I have left the text regarding these missing videos because it does provide some meaningful information about Elvis’ performance of these songs.11-11-2013
My friend, Susan, wrote me today with a suggestion for a new page…and while I haven’t put together a lot of material for this page, I have decided to begin constructing the page. Then I will add more as time goes by and as I refresh my memory from days long ago. Needless to say, since I became friends with Jesse, I haven’t gone back looking over the clues, etc. the way I did back when I was publishing my newsletter. Phew!! That was 22 years ago! (as of 2013)
Susan’s suggestion was that we show examples of the times that Elvis left clues for us in his music near the end of his career. Sometimes, he changed the words of a song, sometimes he chose songs of a particular genre or with a special title, sometimes he called attention to a certain song by announcing, before singing it, something about the song to get people to focus their attention upon his “message” song, and he chose the songs for his last recording session to relate to last farewells, tears at a grave, etc.
And so, I will begin with a very favorite clue/message song which he sang live during one of his 1977 concerts…February 16, 1977. The song is “Where No One Stands Alone“. He called special attention to this song and placed much emphasis on the fact that he hadneversung this song on stage before in his life. He sprang this song on the backup singers, saying they had never rehearsed it as he called out those who he wished to accompany him. Then, best of all, he said he was going to play the piano because he knew the chord changes. He then sang it with so much feeling. Just magnificent!!
When we hear him sing these lyrics, knowing what we do now, it is so clear that he was singing about the unhappy and lonely times in his own life. Remember also that he was telling many people around him prior to August, 1977 that he was “…so tired of being Elvis Presley“.
“Like a king I may live in a palace so tall, with great riches to call my own. But I don’t know a thing in this whole wide world that’s worse than being alone.“
While still seated at the piano after finishing Where No One Stands Alone, he announced that he was going to do another song at the piano. At the end of the above song, you will hear him announce Unchained Melody. He does such a magnificent performance of this song…a song which is very haunting and sad. “…such a long and lonely time. I’ll be coming home, wait for me.”
I don’t have a YouTube video of this myself and so I will be inserting links below to videos belonging to someone else. I don’t know these people, but I hope they will not mind my linking to their wonderful videos.
footnote: I am so sorry that the two videos which I originally displayed here have been removed from YouTube. Below are two equally good videos. August 1, 2020
Where No One Stands Alone (Live ’77) – Elvis Presley (Sottotitolato)
This musical clue which Elvis gave and left for us is regarding the song My Way.Elvisactually did record this song on June 10, 1971 in Nashville. However, it was never released before he “retired” in 1977. It was finally released in 1995 in the AnthologyWalk A Mile In My Shoes. After 1971, he did perform it in concert a number of times. These live versions were included in a number of official releases. Probably the most notable live performance before June 26, 1977 was in the Aloha show…which was released on The Alternate Aloha. So, contrary to some reports, Elvis was performing this song long before his planned retirement date. In 1970, he said “That’s a very good song, ladies and gentlemen, but I wouldn’t want it associated with my own personal life“. However, I believe that he had changed his mind when he sang this song one last time.
The performance to which I want to call your attention now is the version which he did during his last tour. The compelling evidence that he was including this song as a farewell lies in the way in which he presented this song. As I wrote above about the song Where No One Stands Alone, Elvis called attention to the words in this song very deliberately. I will post a link below to a YouTube video of this performance of My Way. As you will see, he said that he did not know the words and would have to read them, if the audience didn’t mind. Again, he called attention to the words in particular so that the audience would be really listening to the words. You will also see that he very soon stopped using the piece of paper and did sing it from memory.”…and now the end is near and so I face the final curtain.” The following is the link to the video of this performance. Again this is not my personal You Tube video and so you will see credit shown for the owner of this video. I Thank the person who presented this fantastic video.
In the following video you will see Elvis perform (while accompanying himself on the piano) during one of his very last concerts…just 5 days before his final show in Indianapolis on the 26th. This concert took place on June 21, 1977 during his “farewell tour“. As I have pointed out before, Elvis took measures to draw the fans’ attention to the words of certain songs…songs with a message. In this instance, he accompanied himself on the piano while singing the hauntingly sad “goodbye” song “Unchained Melody“…as I pointed out above.
Elvis Presley : Unchained Melody Rapid City June 21, 1977
Elvis left us with so many, many “clues” before he left us and he continued to do so afterward. One of the reasons that I became such a crusader for the fact that he did not die was and is because I loved Elvis and do love Jesse and it broke my heart to think that he did so much for all of us thinking that we all knew him well enough to recognize all he had done to let us know that he only “retired”. I could not bear the thought of him being disappointed that the fans did not recognize and appreciate his messages to us.
What a sweet wonderful man we have all loved for so very long….and always will love.
Thank you from the bottom of my soul and my heart, Dearest Jesse.
MONDAY, JULY 15, 2013
Here is another of those musical clues which Elvis gave to his audiences during his last tour. This song was performed on June 18, 1977…he knew he would not be here at Christmastime and that he would be alone for Christmas. This was eight days before his very last concert on June 26.
Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas (Kansas City June 18, 1977)
Our good friend, Joan, contributed a link on our blog page recently which regards one of the songs which I have covered on this page above. I want to add some more information about the song WHERE NO ONE STANDS ALONE. I will insert the link which Joan shared below so you may hear the significance which Elvis placed upon this song when he performed it only ONCE on stage in Feb. 1977. This song held a lot of meaning for him and he made it a prominent part of that concert by stating that he had never sung it on stage before and that he would play the piano because he knew the chord changes, etc. He placed the emphasis upon this song because it was so relevant to where he was in his life at that time. He already knew he would be leaving on August 16.
I very, very much appreciate the commentary which the owner of this video placed in their video description. This person did not know fully how true what they wrote actually was.
Here is the video which Joan shared:
Where No One Stands Alone (Rare Live) – Elvis Presley
A live recording with vocals and piano from Elvis Presley at his concert in Montgomery, Alabama – February 16th 1977…”Where No On Stands Alone” is a beautiful gospel song that Elvis recorded at the legendary RCA Studio B, Nashville, Tennessee in May 1966 for his Grammy award winning album “How Great Thou Art”, released in 1967.This live recording, exactly 6 months before his death aged just 42, is one of the most poignant moments on stage in Elvis’ career. From nowhere, Elvis decided to sit at the piano, and perform this old gospel number for the one and only time on stage. Totally unrehearsed, it appears that his band and backing singers either couldn’t remember the song or didn’t know it at all.Elvis launches into an impassioned effort, despite his failing health and delivers a performance and lyric that struck a resonance with his current situation that is impossible to ignore. With his life and career seemingly slipping away from him, Elvis seemed a broken and lost man, a victim of his own unprecedented success. The only place he knew to turn to was God, and that night, on that stage, he sung his heart out, in a cry for help.Listen to Elvis, listen to those lyrics. Never before has a performer’s soul lay bare on stage in this manner…
Once I stood in the night With my head bowed low In the darkness as black as could be And my heart felt alone and I cried oh Lord Don’t hide your face from me
Like a king I may live in a palace so tall
With great riches to call my own
But I don’t know a thing
In this whole wide world
That’s worse than being alone
Hold my hand all the way, every hour every day
From here to the great unknown
Take my hand, let me stand Where no one stands alone
Take my hand, let me stand Where no one stands alone
Here is a bonus to the above. My dearest friend, M J, taped a comment from The Elvis Only Show with Chuck O’Brien which consisted of an interview with Ray Walker. Ray was a backup singer with the Jordanaires in 1966 when Elvis recorded the above song for his Grammy award winning album How Great Thou Art. Ray tells a very poignant account of Elvis during the recording of the song. Please click on the link below to listen to Ray’s statement.
A very good friend, Joan posted on our blog page a link to the following song which Elvis performed in 1977 during the Spring tour. Joan felt (and I agree) that this song was another of the musical messages which Elvis sang, with so much feeling, leading up to August, 1977. The lyrics express some of the helplessness and misery which he was feeling. I am sure that one of the things that got him through that bad time was the knowledge that the end was in sight…the end of Elvis the image. And certainly, his faith that God would show him the way.
I thank Joan so very much for bringing this song to our attention.