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Thread: Hidden Symbolism in "Unchained Melody" 1977 CBS Special "Elvis in Concert"

  1. #21
    Coming On Strong tjs's Avatar
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    I've been watching these concerts for the last few days and Elvis was great...hurting...impaired...it doesn't matter he was great through it all.

    I think his versions of CC Rider, and I Got a Woman and That's All Right were very strong as well....had he lived I got the feeling he was leaning towards playing the guitar more--almost more of an "unplugged" feel as we call it now.

    BTW...I blieve what he says to himself at the end of Unchained is ..."Not bad"
    Tom Schreck
    The Duffy Mysteries
    Where the hero is an Elvis fan

  2. #22
    International Level thehillbillycat's Avatar
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    I agree with the comment of Unchained Medley. I feel that this is Elvis saying goodbye to the fans. But I also feel that he got into the bounds of other music with that song. It feels more like Opera. Hitting high notes during that song and playing the piano. It feels that this isn't just Elvis that we have seen before. My opinion that version was the best. The others are great too but this version seem to be more powerful and meaning to it.

  3. #23
    TCB Mafia Joe Car's Avatar
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    It really was an incredible performance. Anybody who doesn't appreciate that clip, has ice in their veins.

  4. #24
    International Level srj1967's Avatar
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    Unchained

    Yes, Unchained Melody was the best thing about Elvis In Concert. I am an athiest, but even I can see he is clearly singing from his very soul.

    I always thought this should've been included in the ELVIS PRESLEY IN CONCERT tour with the TCB Band. Sure, EPE tends to gloss over the last couple of years of Elvis' life, but there is something about that performance.

    Yes, he was fat, stoned out of his mind and weeks from death ... but the voice!! That's what the world remembers about Elvis: his singing voice. And that performance transcends everything else I think.

    Magnificent!

  5. #25
    TCB Mafia poormansgold's Avatar
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    I watch the my DVD I got of this show, It's hard to watch it, Elvis was end of that Tour, You been tried do 7 nights in row Doing Singing, That's hard on A person, One Is ill He was, we never know that He had cancer.. I know one thing, he loves to sing for this Fans.
    He was A normal human Being, that's Alot us forget He was. THe Unchained
    Melody wasn't his best that night , He didn't give up on the song, I give Him A for Trying.
    I see strong and big Men In my life, falling From Been ill one for 10 years and another few years, they die few months part.
    I cry liked A baby , I never Cried since like that.
    WE needed to remember Him He was not He did That Night,
    Tom
    Take a look at you and me,,Are we too blind to see, Do we Simply turn our heads and look the other way.....(Line From "in The Ghetto")

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by howardrobardhughes View Post
    In a previous thread..I discussed the perfection of ALOHA...
    Now I would like to open for discussion the impact of Elvis' performance of "Unchained Melody" in the CBS Special..1977
    *I believe that for a brief moment,starting right after Elvis says to Charlie "Help me with it...." we see the true Elvis Presley..
    maybe the ONLY time ever captured on film with such clarity..
    Charlie tries to hide his concern...you can see his nervous facial expressions..
    yet....
    As the camera zooms in on Elvis' swollen face,sweat pouring off him into the microphone...he manages to reach down in the depths of his being..totally engulfed in the song..and the performance...
    beating the odds...one last time...pulling off a BRILLIANT rendition of the song..
    I have watched this clip 100's of times..and I'm speechless every time I see it..
    and the look on his face after the last note says it all...just like the fist punch in ALOHA..
    "I did it"
    to me...Aloha was Elvis in perfection..
    "Unchained Melody" CBS SPECIAL was the crowning jewel for a dying man.
    Excellent post Mr Hughes.

    I agree with every word.....only wish I could have articulated that well.

    What about the quip to Charlie at the end, "not bad, hey?".....so modest and such an understatement.
    "Mr Dickman certainly can take care of himself."

  7. #27
    Elvis Presley Blvd Unchained Melody's Avatar
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    It's definitley the best performance from EIC and probably my favorite version of the song. Got it in great pic qaulity on the Elvis The Great Performances Vol 2 I think...I always get emotional when watching it...espcially at the end "...I neeed youur loove...'' so amazing to watch !!!!
    "How do I get placed in situations like this? Ah hell, I guess it's all part of showbusiness "~ Elvis in his limo on his way to perform in Omaha, NE on June 19th 1977


  8. #28
    Backstage Pass moody_ blue's Avatar
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    normal?

    he was more than normal
    he was/ is special
    a normal human bein have not
    so many fans all over the world
    and everytime when i see unchained
    melody feel in tear in my eyes
    beautiul performances

  9. #29
    Cadillac King T_J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvislennon2004 View Post
    I agree with the comment of Unchained Medley. I feel that this is Elvis saying goodbye to the fans. But I also feel that he got into the bounds of other music with that song. It feels more like Opera. Hitting high notes during that song and playing the piano. It feels that this isn't just Elvis that we have seen before. My opinion that version was the best. The others are great too but this version seem to be more powerful and meaning to it.
    I think that's more because we have the visuals for that performance. Vocally, it's not his strongest version of the song. There are versions where his breath control is a lot better and he is more vocally daring, eg going up on "long, lonely time" towards the end. I'd love to have the Ann Arbor version on film from two months before.

  10. #30
    Roustabouts Elvis'Darlin's Avatar
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    After I read this thread, I went to YouTube to watch the performance again. Unfortunately, the beginning conversation was not included, but you can kind of read his lips to Charlie at the end. I had a very hard time remembering where this thread was, and it took me all day to find it again... but I was persistent and did find it for comment.

    I searched for the thread because I had never really watched the piece with your comments in mind. It seemed to me that Elvis did give a glorious performance on this song. I?ve heard it on CD before and didn?t realize how close to the end it was because his voice came through so powerfully.

    Perhaps he was saying good bye to his fans in giving his all. It occurred to me while I was listening to it that he was singing this to his mother. I listened to it several times, and it really seemed that he was singing to his mom... he was coming home to her and to the Lord. He was missing her touch and her kiss. And he was asking her to ?wait for him? because he was coming home. What a heartbreaking song. What a magnificent song!

    <a href=http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff20/thymex/1elvis22.jpg target=_blank>http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/f...x/1elvis22.jpg</a>

  11. #31
    EP BOULEVARD 77 goodelvisgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardrobardhughes View Post
    In a previous thread..I discussed the perfection of ALOHA...
    Now I would like to open for discussion the impact of Elvis' performance of "Unchained Melody" in the CBS Special..1977
    *I believe that for a brief moment,starting right after Elvis says to Charlie "Help me with it...." we see the true Elvis Presley..
    maybe the ONLY time ever captured on film with such clarity..
    Charlie tries to hide his concern...you can see his nervous facial expressions..
    yet....
    As the camera zooms in on Elvis' swollen face,sweat pouring off him into the microphone...he manages to reach down in the depths of his being..totally engulfed in the song..and the performance...
    beating the odds...one last time...pulling off a BRILLIANT rendition of the song..
    I have watched this clip 100's of times..and I'm speechless every time I see it..
    and the look on his face after the last note says it all...just like the fist punch in ALOHA..
    "I did it"
    to me...Aloha was Elvis in perfection..
    "Unchained Melody" CBS SPECIAL was the crowning jewel for a dying man.
    waw thats a great way of saying it you are totally right there its like elvis saying yes i am the man i can still do it it always makes me cry and i cheer for him to go for it

  12. #32
    Too Much Monkey Business Jumpsuit Junkie's Avatar
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    Unchained Melody is a song that has taken many years to reach me, I just didn't get it. I played it over and over on the Moody Blue album. It just didn't click with me I always wanted to hear other songs from 1969 to 1973 or anything prior.

    Then one day I was watching the CBS tapes and it just clicked, not just the passion or the emotion although they are not lost on me but the achievement, the fact that even though Elvis was one of the most versatile singers of all time, he still strived to bring his whole being into a song. Elvis could have just gone through the motions, this is a man who is barring his soul, his modesty completely laid bare. You get the chill running down you spine when you hear it. How did I not get it?
    Perhaps having reached the magic age of 38 I can relate, who knows, all I know is that there are few live performances that achieve this feeling.... Take note Sillerman, the fans want this available in deluxe Quality

  13. #33
    TCB Mafia KPM's Avatar
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    He obviously loved the song. I think Elvis's best work was when he loved the song. I recall listening to it on the night he died, and it was so haunting. I had only got Moody Blue album a few days before. I had listened to it and enjoyed it-but listening to it that night I realized the heartfelt emotion it contained. And the depth Elvis went to when he sang it. Seeing the video and the condition of Elvis made it even more amazing, because the voice sounds so strong and vibrant. I can't watch the video and not get a lump in my throat.

  14. #34
    International Level rickb's Avatar
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    not bad, Elvis, not bad indeed.
    Rick

  15. #35
    TCB Mafia Miss Clawdy's Avatar
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    What great and beautiful comments you all made. You voiced my feelings.

  16. #36
    TCB Mafia The King's Queen's Avatar
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    I too think that Elvis perhaps had a deep feeling that he may never do that song again, live and before an audience. The intensity with which he sang was proof of that for me. As for the part where he mumbles something like "Help me with it"...I just wonder exactly who he is calling on for help. Someone once told me that just before taking the stage for a performance, Elvis would pray and ask God to help him. If this is true, I am wondering if perhaps he could have been asking for help from higher-up....? Maybe, maybe not...guess we will never know for sure. But one thing is for sure...He was physically ill, and yet he was still "TCB" for his fans!!!

    No other performer could be loved and adored as much, for as long....
    Last edited by The King's Queen; 08-11-2007 at 08:53 AM. Reason: left out a word

    Daddy, I miss you more every day. You will always be my hero..

  17. #37
    Mad Tigers Circle G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvis'Darlin View Post
    After I read this thread, I went to YouTube to watch the performance again. Unfortunately, the beginning conversation was not included, but you can kind of read his lips to Charlie at the end. I had a very hard time remembering where this thread was, and it took me all day to find it again... but I was persistent and did find it for comment.

    I searched for the thread because I had never really watched the piece with your comments in mind. It seemed to me that Elvis did give a glorious performance on this song. I?ve heard it on CD before and didn?t realize how close to the end it was because his voice came through so powerfully.

    You know you can download clips from youtube to save on your hard drive, there are loads of sites which provide this facility. If you do this you will never have to search for them again. Try this link : http://javimoya.com/blog/youtube_en.php
    Last edited by Circle G; 08-11-2007 at 11:45 AM. Reason: add extra info

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardrobardhughes View Post
    "Unchained Melody" CBS SPECIAL was the crowning jewel for a dying man.
    So perfectly said.

    I think this performance is one of the most beautiful, most poignant, most soul-reaching performances Elvis ever gave. Such power and strength against all the odds, and you can't believe he can deliver because you can see the fragility - you can see he is fading before our eyes. I think what keeps him going is love - love for the song, love for the fans.

    Every time I watch this performance, it kills me. I just wish we could have saved him, if that makes sense.

  19. #39
    Cadillac King TLC67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retroprincess View Post
    So perfectly said.

    I think this performance is one of the most beautiful, most poignant, most soul-reaching performances Elvis ever gave. Such power and strength against all the odds, and you can't believe he can deliver because you can see the fragility - you can see he is fading before our eyes. I think what keeps him going is love - love for the song, love for the fans.

    Every time I watch this performance, it kills me. I just wish we could have saved him, if that makes sense.
    Ditto! I wish someone could have helped.
    ...you're moving on the back roads, by the rivers of my memory and for hours you're just gentle on my mind.

  20. #40
    Coming On Strong
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    Interesting thread, this, on one of my favourite songs. I could never get on with the Righteous Brothers' version, this is Elvis' song all the way as far as I'm concerned.

    Regarding the "help me with it" comment from Elvis during the song, I realised something that only became apparent to me on viewing the CDS 1977 Special out-takes, and hearing other versions performed during 1976-77.

    The version as officially released on the Great Performances cd/dvd features only piano & vocals. However, the version on the CBS tapes has a totally different piano track, AND the band & singers join in as the song progresses. THe band join in as the song progresses on every other live version I have heard performed by Elvis.
    The officially released version has Elvis' piano track replaced by a session musician's. Every other instrument from the live version has been muted. Basically it is un-dubbed, as opposed to overdubbed

    On the out-takes video, the bass tentatively starts to pick out some notes towards the end of the 1st verse. Elvis reaches a more definite rhythm on the piano with the repeat of the 1st verse, and when he says "help me with it", I think he is referring to the band who were holding back more than usual. Maybe they were as mesmerised as we are when watching this performance.
    Immediately afterwards, we hear some of the band playing more confidently in accompaniment, including the brass section, and the song finishes with full accompaniment from the band in the final moments of the song.

    So, I personally think that Elvis was just encouraging the band to support him on the song as they usually did, & not leave him him un-accompanied as he reaches for the big notes at the end.

    Just my thoughts after hearing the differences between the officially released version, and the version featuring the untouched audio from Rapid City.
    Last edited by Davey; 04-13-2008 at 01:36 AM.

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