Elvis Presley shown during his 1972 engagement at Madison Square Garden. (Associated Press / July 31, 2012)
By Randy Lewis
July 31, 2012, 4:48 p.m.
An hour’s worth of film shot by a fan during Elvis Presley’s 1972 performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City will be included in a new 40th anniversary deluxe reissue of the live recording from that show. The package also includes two of Presley’s complete performances among four he gave over the course of three days in June 1972.
The film will get its world premiere Aug. 17 in Memphis, Tenn., a free event that’s part of Elvis Week activities commemorating the 35th anniversary of the singer’s death in 1977. The box set, titled "Prince From Another Planet” from the headline on a New York Times review of the engagement, is slated for an Oct. 30 release. It was originally released as a single LP titled “Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden,” and it reached No. 11 on the Billboard album chart.
Using a hand-held camera, a fan filmed virtually the entire Saturday afternoon performance. The fan has requested anonymity and few other details about how his footage surfaced are available, according to a spokesman for Sony Legacy, which is releasing the package. “Rarely is unseen footage of Elvis in concert discovered, so this footage lends historical importance to the package,” said a statement issued Tuesday by the label.
After making his national breakthrough from 1956 and 1957 appearances on New York-based television shows including Jackie Gleason’s “Stage Show,” Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” and “The Steve Allen Show,” Presley didn’t perform in New York again for 15 years until the Madison Square Garden shows.
The “Prince From Another Planet” CDs include Presley’s Saturday afternoon performance of 20 songs, and the evening show at which he sang 23 songs. The set lists were similar at both shows. His TCB Band included such respected musicians as guitarist James Burton, pianist Glen D. Hardin and bassist Jerry Scheff.
Presley also gave a 20-minute press conference on the day his Madison Square Garden stint began, accompanied by his father, Vernon, and his manager, Col. Tom Parker. That press conference also is part of the DVD portion of the three-disc set.
The Sony Legacy statement includes one exchange between a reporter and Presley: “Which kind of song do you like doing the best?” he was asked. Presley responded: “I like to mix 'em up. In other words, I like to do a song like ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ or ‘American Trilogy’ or something. Then mix it up and do some rock 'n’ roll, some of the hard rock stuff. I'm not the least bit ashamed of ‘Hound Dog’ or ‘Heartbreak Hotel’…”
The two-CD, one-DVD box also includes extensive notes written by Patti Smith’s longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye, who covered Presley’s ’72 performance for Cavalier magazine.