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Thread: Fascination With '77 Elvis

  1. #1
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    I've noticed on these boards that some fans have a strong attachment to Elvis in 1977. I wonder what is the reason for this fascination. While I admit that Elvis still had the voice and occasionally could give up in 1977 as on "How Great Thou Art" and "My Way", in general I find this to be one of Elvis' least interesting period. He did no recording sessions and his live shows were fall below the standards of even 1974.

    Why is this time in Elvis' life such a strong pull for Elvis' fans. Is it because of the tragedy? Is it because we are always fascinated by endings? Or is it because many younger fans remember Elvis' death so deeply that its kind of a weird form of nostalgia. I'm 34 and I remember Elvis being all over the culture after his death in 1977 so, I can understand the nostalgia angle.

  2. #2
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    I often ponder our and my obsession with '77. Sometimes it's an inspiration (in that I don't want to get hooked on these things or let myself go and die at 42), sometimes it's an inspiration in another way to see him still singing so well.
    I agree, he seems more 'down to earth' someway in these final few months.
    rick
    rick

  3. #3
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    When I was a young kiddie (around 8 years) I couldn't see if a picture of Elvis was from '72 or '77. My father was an Elvisfan, but mostlt from the 50's and 60s. So the albums with material from the 70s was very rare in our home. But he did have the 'In Concert' 2LP, TTWII LP and Moody Blue on tape.

    Besides the albums he had only one book, written by members of the dutch fanclub who were invited to be part of the "In Concert" special. That book was released shortly after his death, so there was no part in it for heavy criticism. They were in awe about the concerts that they visited (Omaha, Rapid City, Indianapolis).

    During a vacation I saw On Tour on television. And that special made me a huge fan from the 70s Elvis. For a boy seeing Elvis in those clothes, with the cape, he was like a living Superman, a man that ruled the world and would defeat any other artist or band in a fight (yep, young boys always fantasize about battles and fights).

    During musiclessons our class was shown an Elvisspecial that used footage from "This Is Elvis". It was a special made by Veronice TV, named "The Story Of Elvis Presley". They used the entrance scene of "In Concert", Elvis walking with his bodyguards, with the big Sundial Suit, all in slow-motion, with Also Sprach Zarathustra on the background. That image was griffed on my memory from that point. It was clear for me from that very moment: Elvis was the coolest guy that has ever lived on this planet.

    Imagine that it was the 1977 Elvis that made this huge impact!? Besides that cool footage, it was also the powerfull voice that he had on the "In Concert" LP: full, raw, opera style, dynamic, soulfull, etc. The music was great, Elvis was great. And the talking between the tracks also showed a guy that was not only an unbelievable performer, but also a nice and funny guy.

    Also the idea that he died only a few weeks later made me -as a boy- like him more. You could almost see the pain that he had during Are You Lonesome Tonight and My Way, but he was still going strong... for us... Amazing....

    So, I think that even 20 years later, that moment is still with me when I hear the '77 Elvis...
    ‎"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today"

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  4. #4
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    BRAVO, ...... Albert, ............. BRAVO!!

    That about sums it up.

    ---------------------------

    1977 EP is probably the year that means the most to me as an Elvis fan on many levels.

    76-77 -----> EP's voice was incredible.

    A big part of it for me was, ........... after that year (1977), .......... things were never the same. Not really an ending, but rather, ........... a new beginning in some ways (for all fans, old & new alike).


    - Capt. "EL."

  5. #5
    From Elvis Presley Blvd Lonniebealestreet's Avatar
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    Great question. (BTW you are a huge asset to any board you contribute to, LTB.)

    I am just about to turn 30 myself, so my fascination with Elvis's final year does not have roots in any personal memories from that time. Had I been of age then, I can only imagine how much stronger the fascination would be for me...if that's possible.

    It is hard to explain. I like what has been said before about Elvis seeming especially friendly or down to earth during that period. There is something to that, and I think that latter description goes beyond the mere fact that he did not look perfect as he once did. Some review from '77 said that the show had more of a feeling of an informal gathering of friends than of a hard-edged rock concert. I think that is true and not necessarily a dig on the quality of the performance or Elvis's dedication, but reflective of how Elvis's personality was projected into the show.

    There's so much more to it than that though.

    Part of it for me is unquestionably that 1977 was Elvis's final year. That is not to say, however, that if Elvis had died later that I would find the 1977 shows less appealing. I don't think that's true at all. As Unchained said, as a rule Elvis was in much better condition vocally in '77 than in '76. I think he for the most part looked better then too. But I derive a great deal of satisfaction out of hearing or watching a great performance from '77, partly because it affirms for me that the public at large is just way off in their general idea of Elvis towards the end.

    Why is that? Graceland/EPE/BMG's usual stance is to address as little of Elvis's final year as they can get away with, thinking that people will think so much less of Elvis, and that everything you hear about Elvis will be the fat jokes all over again, etc. However, not promoting Elvis in '77 has an even worse effect. The impression given is that all the rumors and all the bad things that have been said about the man during that period are in fact true, that things were so bad that they don't even want to talk about it. I've said this before, but Elvis in '77 is EPE's crazy uncle they keep tied up in the basement.

    It is funny because they, the powers that be, have even themselves been influenced by that. When Spring Tours '77 was released (thank you, Ernst), I remember reading that "the producers were pleasantly surprised" by the quality of the material they had reviewed when assembling that album. Hello! :bash:

    Although the setlist had become rather predictable by this time, I really like a lot of the material Elvis was singing in this period. And he did throw in some nice surprises here and there. Back to his voice...I think that it is true that in some ways his voice was not what it once was, but on the same taken I think he could also do other things with it that he could not do before, or not as well. So overall perhaps it was not better or worse, but just different. Granted there were some not so good shows, but when he was in top form vocally, those performances really knock my socks off. I still get chills every time I hear certain things. The really demanding songs were the ones in which he really shined.

    I think that in his final performance, Elvis went out on such a nigh note. The Indianapolis show, like the entire year, would not amaze me any less it had turned out not to be his last. Release Me, I Can't Stop Loving You, and Bridge Over Troubled Water were all songs not in the usual repertoire at the time and were sung very well. Hurt never sounded better, and the crowd could not have been more amazed at the finale. He had that crowd in the palm of his hand, just like he had from the beginning. Fairytale was also fantastic and sounded to my ears a lot like the superb performance heard on ST77 (5/2 Chicago) but without the microphone problems at the end. If you've heard me say this before too, forgive me, but if that soundboard ever comes out, I would love for that release to be named You Won't Forget Me When I Go, which I think fits that show to a T.

    I guess it is apparent from the things I have written that 1977 being Elvis's last year certainly does contribute to the fascination for me, but there is a lot more to the equation.

    One reason I really love this board is that everyone here is very accepting and appreciative of everyone else's varying tastes and preferences. A lot of purists think Elvis did his best work at Sun, and then it was all downhill from there. That's fine if that's your opinion, but don't try to convince the rest of the people that their opinions are wrong and they shouldn't like what they like. I am not going to say that this person is a fan and that person is not one because of the things they say, but to me, as a fan (yes, I think I qualify ), I can't imagine being a fan of Elvis and yet so quick to completely dismiss any aspect of his life or career. But that's just me and I don't want to pass judgement.

    I could keep yammering on here and still not totally nail down what it is...I could tell you that generally speaking I would rather watch the CBS tapes than the Aloha special, but I really can't explain exactly why that is. That's why it's a great question, LTB!
    ...you won't forget me when I go.

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by lonniebealestreet@Apr 21 2004, 04:21 PM
    A lot of purists think Elvis did his best work at Sun, and then it was all downhill from there.  That's fine if that's your opinion, but don't try to convince the rest of the people that their opinions are wrong and they shouldn't like what they like

    I can't imagine being a fan of Elvis and yet so quick to completely dismiss any aspect of his life or career ....
    I, too, have grown very weary of constantly hearing the negative about 1977 ... and how that year is unworthy of admiring / liking / enjoying.

    I happen to love EP's '77 output just as much as The Sun Years. So, shoot me.

    Liking 1977 is almost sacrilegious to some. I find this way of thinking just plain snobbery.

    I, for one, don't care, ...... don't agree, .......... and will always love it.

    Like-minded fans is one just one of the reasons that I joined this board.

    1977 ....... RAH, RAH!!


    - Capt. "EL."

  7. #7
    Cadillac King peter's Avatar
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    I?m 18 and I love Elvis 70s! I don?t like his movie years from 60s. And his last year is fascinating (quality of his performance was lower than his 69 - 74 concerts, but still better than concerts of other bands - EXCLUDE Deep Purple - they made BEST LIVE album EVER for me&#33!
    (Blackmore - Gillan - Glover - Lord - Paice)
    Sweet child in time
    you?ll see the line
    line that?s drawn between
    good and bad
    see the blind man
    shooting at the world
    bullets flying taking toll
    If you?ve been a bad
    oh Lord I bet you have
    and you?ve not been hit
    by flying led
    you?d better close your eyes
    you?d better bow your head and
    wait for the ricochet

    - Lyrics of most beautiful song in rock music ever!!!

  8. #8
    Cadillac King peter's Avatar
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    To Unchained:

    Do you have these web adress: http://www.tcb-world.com/unchained/EP.htm?

    If yes, I want to correct one error on your photogallery from 77...

    Second picture from your 26th June is in fact from 2nd June 1977 (it was last show when he sung Trilogy - my favourite song&#33.
    (Blackmore - Gillan - Glover - Lord - Paice)
    Sweet child in time
    you?ll see the line
    line that?s drawn between
    good and bad
    see the blind man
    shooting at the world
    bullets flying taking toll
    If you?ve been a bad
    oh Lord I bet you have
    and you?ve not been hit
    by flying led
    you?d better close your eyes
    you?d better bow your head and
    wait for the ricochet

    - Lyrics of most beautiful song in rock music ever!!!

  9. #9
    kennyelvis
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    Peter is right, the pix are taken by Georg Hill
    And the second pix from the right in the "unknown section" are Vegas 76
    The pix in the midle are march 28th 1977
    The first i am almost 100% sure it is feb 20th 77, but i could be wrong.

  10. #10
    Cadillac King peter's Avatar
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    Completely agree with you Kenny!!!

    (Blackmore - Gillan - Glover - Lord - Paice)
    Sweet child in time
    you?ll see the line
    line that?s drawn between
    good and bad
    see the blind man
    shooting at the world
    bullets flying taking toll
    If you?ve been a bad
    oh Lord I bet you have
    and you?ve not been hit
    by flying led
    you?d better close your eyes
    you?d better bow your head and
    wait for the ricochet

    - Lyrics of most beautiful song in rock music ever!!!

  11. #11
    Cadillac King peter's Avatar
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    I have to agree that Elvis was better in 77 than on lot of shows in 76. But few concerts in 76 were one of best he ever did (his December tour and Vegas engagement&#33 and few shows on start of 76 are amazing. And few concerts from 77 are lowest points in his career! Omaha, Baltimore and few concerts on February tour! And last thing. In 1977 he didn?t get any really great show (as in early 70s)! Yes, Indianapolis is definately best concert of this year, but it?s still FAR worse than December 76 tour and Vegas 76! It?s my point of view!

    (Blackmore - Gillan - Glover - Lord - Paice)
    Sweet child in time
    you?ll see the line
    line that?s drawn between
    good and bad
    see the blind man
    shooting at the world
    bullets flying taking toll
    If you?ve been a bad
    oh Lord I bet you have
    and you?ve not been hit
    by flying led
    you?d better close your eyes
    you?d better bow your head and
    wait for the ricochet

    - Lyrics of most beautiful song in rock music ever!!!

  12. #12
    kennyelvis
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    unchained,
    The Vegas picture are from Elvis last vegas show december 12th 1976, the photo are taken by John Herman

  13. #13
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    Imagine the way the world (and EPE) would look upon Elvis when "In Concert" wouldn't have been recorded? At first, I think it would have been better. But thinking again, the whole tragedy that has been registrated by CBS only strongers the whole image about Elvis....

    But it's a **** shame that they had to film Elvis on the few dates from that tour where he actually sounded and looked worse. Just look at pictures, or hear to recordings from the Cincinatti and Indianapolis shows. He looked and sounded some much better....

    But they policy of pretending Elvis died after The Aloha is just a slap in the face for the fans and Elvis. I mean, isn't it the job of EPE to maintain the history of Elvis and to to change it themselves? The press is a bad influence on peoples own ability to make up their own opinions. And EPE's policy only enforces the judgement of the press that Elvis had been washed out after the Aloha (what else would be the purpose from the EPE?).

    Elvis did great show in '77 that should be remembered AND treasured. And the bad ones are just as (if not more) as the good shows.
    ‎"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today"

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  14. #14
    From Elvis Presley Blvd Lonniebealestreet's Avatar
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    In fact, I know the good outweigh the bad...
    ...you won't forget me when I go.

  15. #15
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    Originally posted by lonniebealestreet@Apr 21 2004, 06:51 PM
    In fact, I know the good outweigh the bad...
    tell that to EPE

    In fact, I think they don't even know where that line comes from
    ‎"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today"

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  16. #16
    Originally posted by lonniebealestreet@Apr 21 2004, 07:51 PM
    In fact, I know the good outweigh the bad...
    I agree. And what a great, underrated song that line is from. "For Ol' Times Sake" is one of my favourites.

    There were some good shows in 1977. I do enjoy his voice in that year. And I agree he seemed more friendly - certainly than the fall of '74!

    Perhaps the appeal of him in 1977 is that he seems 'human'. As opposed to the 'superhuman' we saw in previous years.
    Too much monkey business for me to be involved in

  17. #17
    From Elvis Presley Blvd Lonniebealestreet's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Albert+Apr 21 2004, 01:53 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Albert &#064; Apr 21 2004, 01:53 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteBegin-lonniebealestreet@Apr 21 2004, 06:51 PM
    In fact, I know the good outweigh the bad...
    tell that to EPE

    In fact, I think they don&#39;t even know where that line comes from [/b][/quote]
    LOL&#33; Actually, I shouldn&#39;t be laughing... So true though.


    Scatter, FOTS is a favorite of mine as well. Another from those sessions (with Elvis&#39;s vocal laid down 2 months later in Palm Springs) in that same vein, which I&#39;m also very fond of is Sweet Angeline. They are both so heartfelt.

    Speaking of studio recordings, and getting back to 1977, what a pity it is that Elvis&#39;s voice was not captured in the studio during his final 8 and a half months--particularly if you believe as I do that he was in better vocal condition than the year before. It&#39;s interesting; the Jungle Room recordings all sound great to my ears, without any real discernable difference (to my ears anyway) in his voice between the February and October &#39;76 sessions. Then consider how vocally worn out he sounded during some of those concerts in between, especially in the summer. This would seem to indicate that his voice benefitted tremendously from having a little time off to recoup. So I&#39;d like to think that any studio performances from 1977 would probably have sounded as good if not better than the best shows from that year. If only...but sadly, he had no interest in recording then.

    I know it doesn&#39;t accomplish anything to explore all the "what if&#39;s", but I spend some time doing that anyway.
    ...you won't forget me when I go.

  18. #18
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    I love many of the &#39;77 concerts. But studiorecordings of &#39;76 makes me kinda sad. Almost every song is about depressing subjects. There are only a few nice uptempo songs (like Moody Blue). But also the stories about his private life during the last full year shows us just a little bit of happiness and much about being lonely and depressed.

    I really wish that he could have left that year with a more positive note. The whole suicide story would make completely sense for a whole lot of people. In Elvis view there might have been very, very few highlights in the near future. His circle of friends became much smaller, his relation with Ginger was bad, his health was declining rapidly, the "Elvis What Happened" book would be released soon, the whole lawsuit about the chain of racketball centers was also nothing to be pleased about and there are also many stories that Elvis had problems with becoming old.

    So the knowledge of all that gives me a sad feeling when I&#39;m listening to Elvis in 1977. And we know that a happy Elvis onstage, doesn&#39;t mean that he&#39;s happy off-stage. After the fantastic Pittsburg New Year Eve concert friends of Elvis had organized a party. But what did Elvis after such a happy, upbeat concert? He went home and watched some movies in his room, all alone.............
    ‎"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today"

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  19. #19
    With Elvis On Tour!!! Jungleroom76's Avatar
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    Well Bobby....you beat me to the punch again&#33;&#33;&#33;

    Seriously, I have to agree completely with what Bobby said in terms of Elvis in 1977. 1977 was not the horrible year that EPE/Graceland would lead you to believe. Yes, Elvis may not have looked his best. Yes, Elvis had some health problems. And, yes, some of Elvis&#39; shows in 1977 were not as good as others. But based on how EPE/Graceland treats Elvis in 1977, one could easily get the impression that he was simply horrible during the final 8 months of his life. But a little research into the final 8 months of Elvis&#39; life yields a much different picture...

    Elvis&#39; shows continued to sell out all across the country. In fact, during the last week of May, 1977, Elvis was the NUMBER ONE concert draw in the U.S. for his show in Philadelphia, beating out the contemporary artists of the day&#33; NUMBER ONE CONCERT DRAW...for a man supposedly in such horrible shape that the final 8 months of his life should be kept sealed, according to EPE&#33; That certainly doesn&#39;t sound quite right, does it?

    I have seen literally hundreds of photos of Elvis taken in 1977, and yes he is heavier than his earlier days, there is no question about that. And yes, I have seen several photos where he doesn&#39;t look like he feels well. But there are so many more oustanding photos of Elvis taken during his shows in 1977 where, despite the additional weight he had put on, he looks like he is having such a good time performing for the fans&#33; Again...another myth assembled by EPE laid to rest&#33;

    And perhaps the most telling sign of just how good Elvis still was in 1977...THE VOICE&#33;&#33;&#33; Listen to the high note that Elvis hits on CAN&#39;T HELP FALLING IN LOVE from his show in Largo, MD. 5/22/77. Or some of the dramatic numbers from "Elvis In Concert" like HURT, MY WAY, UNCHAINED MELODY or HOW GREAT THOU ART&#33;&#33; Check out the FTD release "Spring Tours &#39;77" for even more examples of how powerful Elvis&#39; voice was....songs like FAIRYTALE, HELP ME, and a rockin&#39; version of POLK SALAD ANNIE&#33;&#33; While Elvis may not have looked his best in 1977, there is no doubt that THE VOICE was still there&#33;&#33;

    Elvis in 1977 is not the disaster that EPE/Graceland would like everyone to believe. And I think unraveling that mystery, and finding out just how good he still was during the final 8 months of his life is what makes Elvis in 1977 so fascinating&#33;&#33;

    TCB&#33;
    Mike


    TCB-World...OPEN for business!!!


  20. #20
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    You&#39;re so true.

    But you might change "But based on how EPE/Graceland treats Elvis in 1977, one could easily get the impression that he was simply horrible during the final 8 months of his life" into "the final 4 years".

    It seems like EPE feel emberassed about the post-Aloha Elvis and want to everything about it to forget that period. They are nothing better than the gossipmagezines that talked trash about Elvis during the 70s.
    ‎"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today"

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