|AMERICA - ELVIS
By Kevin of Stevenage
On the 22nd of April 1976 Elvis performed his second concert of his second tour of the year.
The venue was the City Auditorium In Omaha, Nebraska. Doors opened at 8pm. The warm up
acts were comedian Jackie Kahane and the Sweet Inspirations – Myrna Smith, Sylvia Shemwell
and Estelle Brown.
In front 10,546 fans were Marty Harrell and the Joe Guercio Orchestra, James Burton on Lead,
John Wilkinson on Rhythm, Jerry Scheff on bass, Ronnie Tutt on drums, Tony Brown on piano,
David Briggs on Electric piano Charlie Hodge on Acoustic. Apart from the Inspirations, the
back up vocalists were JD Sumner and the Stamps – Bill Baize, Ed Enoch, Ed Hill and Larry
Strickland and High voice singer Kathy Westmoreland. And lead vocalist and star of the show
was one Elvis Presley.
The recording of the show is a soundboard, which means it was recorded with the professional equipment used for mixing the vocals and
instruments before it is sent out for the audience to hear over the P.A. system. So the audio you hear does not pick up the true volume of
the audience reaction. The sound, although mono, is very good quality.
Elvis wore the Bicentennial jumpsuit. I am assuming there are no songs in the introductions section of the show as there is none listed. It is
possible that Elvis may have done part songs of “What Id Say” “Hail Hail Rock N Roll” and “Love Letters”. There has never been an official
or bootleg cd or cdr of this concert available up to now. I have the wording from a newspaper article, which many of you would have read
but I attach it as it relates to this concert. I think the author was an Elvis Fan.
If you would like to comment on this article please email "AMERICA" to us at email@example.com
I don’t know why FTD don’t start at the first concert they have and then release them all in order, one per season, per year.
Once you have heard one from a season you heard them all, Elvis was lazy and didn’t like changing his set…….its harsh but true!
There’s a few diamonds over the years but not all that many and most have been released on bootleg/import or FTD.
I have not heard the show at the time or writing this so I am unable to comment on the
actual show and the performances of these songs.I think there are one or two surprises in
the background to the songs – see what you think.
Also Sprach Zarathustra (theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey)
Composed by Richard Strauss in 1896. The introduction of the works, called “Sunrise”,
which Elvis used, is one of the most recognisable pieces of music used at concerts, boxing
and athletic meetings. German born Strauss, a composer and conductor of good repute,
specialized in operas and tone poems, of which this is the most famous. It was Joe Guercio that
suggested to Elvis that he used this to open his show after he and his wife saw the Stanley Kubrick
movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” at the theatre and she whispered to him
“you’d think Elvis was about to enter”
(Let me be your) Teddy Bear – The term teddy bear comes from the story concerning Theodore
Roosevelt’s failure to shoot a trapped bear on a hunting trip. A cartoon of the incident appeared in a
newspaper with a tag Teddy’s bear. A stuffed bear was created as a toy and
became a huge commercial success. In 1957 Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe wrote (Let me be your)
Teddy Bear. Flipped with “Loving You” it was a US number one. Kal Mann went on to write “Lets Twist
Again” and Bernie Lowe was famous in the Rock n Roll history books having suggested to Freddie
Bell that he write new lyrics to “Hound Dog” for his Vegas show.
Don’t Be Cruel – Written by Otis Blackwell and listed in Rolling stone’s 500 greatest songs of all time at number 197. In the UK, Don’t Be
Cruel was not an A side until 1978. Elvis performed it frequently at his concerts although it was a noticeable absentee from the Hawaii
worldwide broadcast set list. Used as a throwaway song at later concerts whilst giving out scarves to fans. Covered by Neil Diamond, Jackie
Wilson, Ringo Starr, John Lennon Jerry Lee Lewis and Billy Swann after Elvis had recorded his “I can Help”
Heartbreak Hotel – The song that for most started it all. This was the first record “the world” heard Elvis Presley sing. Paul McCartney’s
favourite Elvis record is number 45 on Rollin stones 500 greatest songs of all time. Mae Boren Axton and Thomas Durden wrote it with
apparently some input from Elvis. Mae Axton is mother to Hoyt Axton and was also Hank Snow’s publicist whilst one Colonel Parker was
managing him. The song is based on a suicide note left by a man who stated he walked a lonely street. McCartney recorded the song at
Abbey Studios using Bill Black’s bass, which he now owns. Elvis fan Jimi Hendrix who saw Elvis in concert in 1957 recorded “Heartbreak
Hotel” along with “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Trouble”.
America the beautiful – is the American national hymn and typically Elvis misses out a few verses in his version. Written as a poem by an
American English Professor, Katherine Lee Bates, whilst travelling through Colorado. The music was added in 1910 although the composer
did not know much about that collaboration as he had died in 1903. Samuel A Ward had written the music in 1882. The first known
recording was in 1924 by Louise Homer. Elvis sang the song throughout 1976, America’s Bicentennial, showing once again how proud he
was to an American.
Polk Salad Annie – Written by Tony Joe White who recorded it in 1968 and had a hit with it in 1969. Elvis’ version in 1970 was an exact
copy of White’s recording, with the exception of the army reference. Described as swamp rock Elvis’ “On stage” version was eventually
released as a single in 1973. Elvis had the song re-arranged in 1972 and again in 1975.
Hurt – Originally recorded for the album “From Elvis Presley Boulevard” it became a fast favourite of
the fans who saw him perform it as he would stretch his voice and usually pull off a powerful rendition.
Elvis’ studio cut was a major hit on the Country charts and the host album from which it was lifted
along with “For the Heart”, was number one on the Country album charts. Written by Jimmy Crane
and Al Jacobs it was a hit for Roy Hamilton and Marty Robbins.
Elvis also recorded “You’ll Never Walk Alone” which was Roy Hamilton’s first and major hit. He can be
seen with Elvis at the American Sound Studios in January 1969. He died in July of that year after
suffering a stroke. He was 40.
See See Rider – RCA got a bit confused with this old blues number on some of their releases. On its
See See Rider – RCA got a bit confused with this old blues number on some of their releases. On its first appearance in “On Stage” it was
shown as See See Rider (arranged by Elvis Presley). It’s third appearance in 1973 as the B-side to the “Polk Salad Annie” single now
showed it as C.C.Rider (Ma Rainey). Aloha From Hawaii and Recorded live on stage in Memphis showed it as See See Rider (Arr E
Presley) Finally In Concert showed it as See See Rider (Rainey). Written by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey in 1924 the song underwent some lyric
changes by subsequent artists who recorded this popular 12 bar blues. It is also known as See See Rider Blues, Easy Rider and of course
C.C.Rider. The C.C. is not a motoring term but rather from the term “Country Circuit” referring to the country circuit riding preachers who
travelled from town to town without chapels and had a reputation for doing more than blessing the local women. Big Bill Broonzy, Jerry Lee
Lewis and LaVern Baker famously covered it. Many fans find the lyrics confusing but typically Elvis’ arrangement missed out several original
and revised verses. The original song tells a story with a prostitute, a pimp and a punter. I wont elaborate or bother printing the original
I Got A Woman – Written by Ray Charles and Renald Richard whilst listening to gospel music, on which the song is based, whilst on the
road. This was the song that made Ray Charles famous. Elvis sang it as a medley with Amen therefore combining two gospels based
songs. Woody Herman originally recorded Amen in 1942. Elvis recorded “I Got a Woman” in 1956 and first sang “Amen” in Boston,
November 1971. If you don’t know the words to Amen they are available on more than one Website.
Hound Dog – Originally recorded by Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton which itself sold 2 million copies. This 12 bar blues number was
penned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and Elvis’ version is listed number 19 in Rollin stones greatest 500 songs of all time. When Elvis
appeared in Vegas in 1956 he took in a show at the Sands Hotel and saw Freddie Bell and the Bellboys. Freddie had re-worked the song
with some new lyrics and Elvis recorded his version based on this re-written work. John Lennon sang Hound dog at Madison Square
Garden in 1972 during which he shouts out” Elvis I luv ya !”
Love Me – Originally recorded by Willie and Ruth in 1954 an eternal favourite with Elvis. Check out every major event in Elvis’ career and
“Love me” is there. Originally set up as a parody on country songs this Leiber and Stoller number became a million seller on the Elvis E.P.
Elvis vol 1.
If You Love Me Let Me Know – Written by John Rostill and made famous by Olivia Newton John. Rostill toured with Tom Jones before
becoming a member of The Shadows. Born in Birmingham England, he also wrote, “Let Me Be There” another hit for OLJ and covered
brilliantly by Elvis in concert. John Rostill died in 1973 at the age of 31. Elvis loved this song and sang it often 1974 to 1977. “If you love me
let me know and if you don’t then move it!”
You Gave Me a Mountain – Written by Martin David Robinson better known as Marty Robbins who was famous for “A White Sports
Coat” and the first country song to win a Grammy award, “El Paso”. Elvis used “Mountain” frequently in his 70’s concerts and incredibly
some people pondered over whether is was a personal message song from him. He explained on stage that it was not, it was just a
beautiful song. The fact Elvis never had a son should have been sufficient.
Trying to Get to You - Superb Sun song resurrected by Elvis from about 74. Written by Rose Marie McCoy and Margie Singleton and
originally recorded by the Eagles in 1954. Margie was the wife of record producer Shelby Singleton who bought Sun Records from Sam
Phillips in 1969.
All Shook Up – Written by Otis Blackwell and with some compositional additions by Elvis this song will forever be an Elvis song. Originally
sang by David Hill Elvis took it to number one in the US and his first UK number one. Concert versions by 1976 tended to be throwaway
versions put in for old times sake with little regard for quality
Help Me – Written by and originally recorded by Larry Gatlin as a duet with Kris Kristofferson. Larry, one of the Gatlin Brothers became
one of Country music biggest acts. Elvis added this song into his concert repertoire around 74 having recorded it at Stax in December 73
when it found itself on the Promised Land LP.
My Way – The Elvis in Concert version is majestic. I believe he recorded a genuine hit that night. Written by Paul Anka after he heard
Sinatra muse over the possibility of an early retirement. It had been recorded by every major star of the time. It started life as a French
song Comme d’habitude by Claude Francois and Jacques Revaux . Elvis often read the words on stage and he was heard to say that he
did not like doing songs of that nature. But then again he did sing it quite often so maybe that was not a definitive comment.
How Great Thou Art – Elvis received his first Grammy Award for the Album How Great Thou Art and Also his third and
Final Grammy Award was for the live performance of the song in Memphis in 1974. There was an article or possibly
even a book recounting all the various connections between Elvis and Sweden.
I hope How Great thou art was included as it started life as a poem written in 1886 by Pastor Carl Boberg called “ O
Store Gud”. It underwent many changes and Reverend Stuart Hine added English lyrics. There are versions still
existing today indicating the differences between a Hymn and a Gospel song. The first recording was in 1955 by
Little Darlin – Written by Maurice Williams of the Gladiolas, who recorded it in 1956. A year later The Diamonds had a number 2 hit with it.
Also recorded by the Chevrons. Elvis always seemed to have fun with this song. Perhaps he saw it as a nostalgic look back to the fifties.
Certainly I cant remember him ever singing it without a lyric change or laughing.
Its Now or Never – It seems possible to write a book about the history of this song. The first connection to Elvis is hearing him sing “There’
s no Tomorrow”, which carries the same tune, in Germany. It was written by Al Hoffman, Leo Cordey and Leon Carr and based on “O Sole
Mio”. Tony Martin had a hit with it in 1950, which is where Elvis probably heard it. “O sole Mio” is what you have heard Sherrill Nielsen
singing in concert before Elvis went into “Its Now or Never”. The portion Nielsen sings translates into “But another sun that’s brighter still it’s
my own sun that’s in your face. The Sun, my own sun it’s in your face, it’s in your face”. In 1960 Elvis asked for, and Aaron Schroeder and
Wally Gold duly penned, new lyrics. Still using the Eduardo di Capua music the result gave Elvis his only million selling single in the UK.
Before Elvis could get out of his army uniform David Hill had recorded “Its Now or Never”. Hill, real name David Hess had previously written,
with Schroeder, “I Got Stung” and was the same David Hill who had recorded “All Shook Up” before Elvis. He also went on to write “Come
Along” and “Sand Castles”.
Funny How Time Slips Away – written by Willie Nelson (pictured with Kris Kristofferson and
Waylon Jennings) this was one of the stellar recordings that were put onto “Elvis Country”. He
had previously sung it in Vegas in 1969 and used it throughout the 70’s. Originally recorded by
Billy Walker in 1961 and the writer covered it in 1962.
Written by Loner Dennis Linde, A Texan, first recorded by Arthur Alexander of “Detroit City”
and “Lover Please” recognition and made famous by Elvis – The King. Burning Love despite
recent unsubstantiated claims did only reach number 2 in the US and 7 in the UK. Elvis can be
seen rehearsing this rocker in the “On Tour” outtakes and on stage in the Golden Globe
winning movie itself. Also seen in “Aloha from Hawaii”.
Cant Help Falling in Love – No lines in a song send shivers down my spine with the one exception “but
darling so it goes some things are meant to be”. An excellent song written by three New Yorkers George Weiss,
Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore. It was based on Plaisir d’amour (“Pleasure of Love”) by Jean Paul Egide
Martini and dates back to 1785.
Elvis scored a number two in the US and a number one in the UK with this song from the Movie “Blue Hawaii”.
Elvis was a long time admirer of Bob Dylan covering his songs “Blowing in the Wind”, “I Shall be Released”,
“Tomorrow is a Long Time” and “Don’t Think Twice it’s All Right”. Bob Dylan was and is a major fan of Elvis. He
wrote and sang a song about Elvis “The Gypsy”.
But did you know Dylan covered “Cant Help Falling in Love” for his 1973 album “Dylan”? Covered also by UB40,
Andy Williams and Stylistics. With few exceptions Elvis closed his concerts with it. Sadly, near the end he is
heard singing “Wise men know when its time to go”.
CONCERT DATE: April 22, 1976. Omaha, NE.
King Elvis Still Classy
April 23, 1976
Most stars are two cylinder jobs performing with their throttles wide open. Elvis Presley is a super-charged, fuel-injected V-12 who idles
beautifully along, occasionally racing the engine to give just a hint of his great power. Thursday night in Omaha, the 41-year-old singer was
as classy, though maybe not as sleek, as all of those Cadillacs he's been handing out since he was last here in the summer of 1974. The
King is still the King, despite of reports that he has been depressed, debilitated and overweight. Indeed, Presley is maybe 30 or 40 pounds
over his playing weight. The long time sex symbol has the start of double chin.
But the pounds only make Elvis more imposing, if slightly less mobile. The charisma may be off a notch but the gestures are grand and
Olympian. Omaha is the second stop on Presley's current seven-city tour. As in hoping to catch sight of the singer. A Hilton employee said
phone calls poured in and visitors asked to see the register. Presley had stayed at the Hilton in 1974 and had planned to stop again
Thursday night until a change of plants. He cancelled his reservation for 60 rooms three weeks ago. Actually, Presley was still in the air
between Kansas City, MO., and Omaha when the sold-out crowd of 10,546 had settled into the seats of the City Auditorium more than an
Presley dresses in his plane so he can go from limousine to stage in just a few minutes. He sang for about 80 minutes and then was
scheduled to go to Eppley Airfield for a flight in his private jetliner to Denver, the next tour stop. The Presleys formula hasn't changed much
since his three 1974 performances here. Some pleasing but decidedly minor entertainers opened the show. These included J.D. Sumner
and the Stamps, comic Jackie Kahane and the Sweet Inspirations.
An intermission, the 25 sellers (all Elvis employees) who pitched to fans streaming into the arena, pitched to them again inside, selling Elvis
buttons for one dollar, binoculars for five dollars, and posters and other mementos.
Then the loudspeakers warned everybody to return to their seats and the Presley troupe began blaring "2001", a grand tune reserved only
for prophets, superstars and antacid tablets. Presley's arrival triggered an unearthly mass scream distinctive from the squeals other big
stars occasion. It's a high, building, inhuman rush of noise that might be compared to the music of the spheres on doomsday. The
thousands of flashbulbs turned the midnight of the arena into high noon and then back. The process is rapidly repeated, giving the 20,000
irises of the fans a workout. Though Presley started with a routine version of "C.C. Rider" the crowd was already his.
During the next 80 minutes Presley mixed patriotism, religion, sex and self-parody in a way that's as seductive as ever. Finished with his
guitar he had over his shoulder, he flung it carelessly behind him where it, of course, was caught by a sideman. He wore a white jump suit
cut nearly to the navel in front and with rhinestone studded sleeves. On one finger was a gigantic, bright diamond ring. A diamond cross
hung from his neck. His black curly hair had an intentionally tousled look, the only thing about him that recalls the 1950s, from sprung.
His body still speaks a universal language, said with a twitch of shoulders and rocking of the hips. His handsome face flickered with
self-mocking arrogance at times, his lip pulled up into a showy sneer. Presley has one of the great voices around and he turned on the
power, he was overwhelming. It's a deep rich enveloping tone that is commandingly masculine. Though Presley works hard for his fans, he
gives them little of himself. His comments between songs were brief and sometimes puzzling. He got a laugh when he said, "I woke up the
other morning and I was married to some chick," a reference to news reports about a woman who claimed Presley had proposed.
The big guy rolled through his best-loved hits with an easy, playful style.
These included, "I'm all shook up," "Don't Be Cruel," "Heartbreak Hotel," and "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog." But Elvis seemed to
really get passionate about some others, belting out, "Help Me," a sing-and-talk version of America The Beautiful," "How Great Thou Art"
and "It's Now Or Never." He had lots of fun with that ancient rock parody "Little Darling." The singer again handed out dozens of scarves to
fans gathered in a frenetic band in front of the stage. A sideman hangs them around Elvis' neck and then he tosses them out into the
crowd, only occasionally teasing the outstretched arms. He wiped one scarf over his perspiring, heaving chest and held it out. "That's the
one I want," shouted a fan, as Presley strutted like Conrad Birdie, a fictional rock star who exaggerated the Presley image.