|ON STAGE - LEGACY EDITION
SONY MUSIC PRESS RELEASE
It was at the International Hotel in Las Vegas where – after eight years of non-stop movie making
that left no room for live performance tours – Elvis and his manager Colonel Tom Parker finally
staged his triumphant return to public concerts in 1969. As if making up for lost time, Elvis
unleashed a torrent of pent-up energy at the International, picking up where his black-leather
NBC-TV “comeback” special of December 1968 left off.
The International Hotel premiere took place over the course of four memorable weeks in July-
August 1969; Elvis returned to the International for another four weeks in January-February
1970. A handful of the 12 songs from the 1969 shows were released in November that year as
Elvis In Person at the International Hotel, better known as disc one of the double-LP From
Memphis To Vegas – From Vegas to Memphis. The next year, ten songs from the ’70 shows were
released in June as the album On Stage (inexplicably including two songs from the previous year)
.Now four decades later, those two albums – with multiple bonus tracks on each – have been
coupled together for the first time. ON STAGE: LEGACY EDITION pays tribute to Elvis in one of
the most outstanding performance periods in his career.
The specially-designed double-CD package, encased in the distinctive Legacy Edition mylar
slipcase, will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting March 23rd through
RCA/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
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ON STAGE: LEGACY EDITION is the latest entry in a full slate of Elvis Presley catalog titles that will be released on RCA/Legacy throughout the year. On
December 8th, RCA/Legacy officially kicked off the birthday year with ELVIS 75: GOOD ROCKIN’ TONIGHT, the first four-CD deluxe box set to ever provide
the definitive overview of his entire recording career. The 100 songs – a broad collection of hit singles, deep album tracks, live performances, and rarities –
range from the first demo acetate that Elvis made at the Memphis Recording Service of Sun Records in 1953 (“My Happiness”), to a sampling of Sun
Records sides produced by Sam Phillips in 1954-55 (“That’s All Right,” “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” and more), through 21 and a half
years of RCA tracks, from 1956 to 1977. On January 5th, ELVIS 75 was released, a single CD collection of 25 tracks from 1954 to 1972, culled from the box
ON STAGE: LEGACY EDITION contains a full-color booklet with numerous photos and a new 3,000-word liner notes essay by Ken Sharp that provides the
essential backstory. Sharp’s recent book, Elvis: Vegas ’69 (Follow That Dream Books, 2009), draws on exclusive interviews with the people who were there,
including Elvis’ TCB bandmates, the Sweet Inspirations, the Imperials, celebrities in attendance, International Hotel personnel including hotel president Alex
Shoofey, international media, and many others.
“It was his first live show in eight years and it was a big challenge coming back,” master guitarist and TCB bandleader James Burton told Sharp. “He’d been
doing movies for so long and was very insecure about how his fans would accept him. Elvis came up to me right before the show and said, ‘James, I’m so
nervous, I don’t know if I can do this.’ I said, ‘Elvis, when you walk out there and the curtain goes up, after the first two or three songs it’ll be like sitting at
home in your living room.’”
The 1969 shows (represented on disc two) found Elvis asserting his dominion over the formative songs of his career, including ’50s hits “Blue Suede
Shoes,” “All Shook Up,” “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” a medley of “Jailhouse Rock/Don’t Be Cruel,” and a medley of “Mystery Train” with Rufus Thomas’
“Tiger Man.” Early ’60s hits include “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” There were covers of early rock and blues standards
from Chuck Berry (“Johnny B. Goode”), Willie Dixon (“My Babe”), Jimmy Reed (“Baby, What You Want Me To Do”), Lowell Fulsom (“Reconsider Baby”), and
Ray Charles (“I Got A Woman,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You”). Contemporary material was limited to “In The Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds” (both from the
Memphis sessions earlier that year), Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” (a year before Elvis recorded it in 1970), and a surprising cover of the
Bee Gees’ “Words” from 1968.
Six months later, the repertoire of the 1970 shows (represented on disc one) was entirely different – except for Elvis’ red hot version of the blues staple,
“See See Rider” (the opening number) and Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally,” now the material was all from the contemporary song book. This included two
songs from the ’69 Memphis sessions, “Don’t Cry Daddy” and “Kentucky Rain.” The emphasis was on ballads, including updates of the Everly Brothers’
1960 hit, “Let It Be Me,” and Ray Peterson’s 1959 “The Wonder Of You” (which Elvis chose to issue as a rare live single, and it rose to the Top 10; included
here is a bonus afternoon rehearsal version of the song).
“Eschewing the rockier edge of the ’69 shows,” Sharp writes, “Elvis broadened his artistic swath, lending evocative interpretations of contemporary material
like ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond, ‘Proud Mary’ by CCR and Joe South’s ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes.’” Elvis also applied his personal stamp to Engelbert
Humperdink’s “Release Me” and Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie.” As mentioned, two songs were brought over from the International Hotel recordings of
the year before, Del Shannon’s “Runaway” and the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” Four decades later, the impact of these live tracks confirms the fact that Elvis was
as much a part of the current pop music scene as any performer of his time.
ON STAGE: LEGACY EDITION is one element of dozens surrounding the 75th birthday anniversary year. The celebration kicked off with four days of
fanfare centered at Graceland from January 7-10th.. In addition to the annual birthday proclamation ceremony on the front lawn of Graceland, events
included exhibits, parties, dances, and panel discussions. Also, a Friday night tribute at the FedEx Forum by NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, wearing blue suede
shoes for the occasion; a Saturday night pops concert by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, with guest TCB Band members Ronnie Tutt, James Burton
and Glen D. Hardin; and a Sunday morning gospel concert by Elvis’ Imperials at Graceland Plaza.
ON STAGE: LEGACY EDITION by ELVIS PRESLEY
(RCA/Legacy 88697 63213 2)
Disc One – Selections:
01. See See Rider
02. Release Me
03. Sweet Caroline
05. The Wonder Of You
06. Polk Salad Annie
08. Proud Mary
09. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
10. Let It Be Me
11. Don’t Cry Daddy
12. Kentucky Rain
13. Long Tall Sally
14. The Wonder Of You (Hot 100 #9)
(Tracks 1-10 originally issued June 1970, as On Stage, RCA 4362.)
All tracks 1,2,3 & 5,6 & 8-13 recorded at dinner shows and midnight shows at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, February 16-19, 1970,
except tracks 4 and 7, recorded August 25, 1969. - Track 14 recorded at afternoon rehearsal, February 18, 1970.
Disc Two – Selections:
1. Blue Suede Shoes
2. Johnny B. Goode
3. All Shook Up
4. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
5. Hound Dog
6. I Can’t Stop Loving You
7. My Babe
8. Medley: Mystery Train/Tiger Man
10. In The Ghetto
11. Suspicious Minds
12. Can’t Help Falling In Love
13. I Got A Woman
14. Medley: Jailhouse Rock/Don’t Be Cruel
15. Heartbreak Hotel
16. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
17. Reconsider Baby
18. Funny How Time Slips Away.
(Tracks 1-12 originally issued November 1969, as Disc 1 of original double-LP From Memphis To Vegas – From Vegas to Memphis, RCA 6020;
Re-issued November 1970 as single-LP Elvis In Person, RCA 4428)
All tracks 1-18 recorded at dinner shows and midnight shows at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, August 23-26, 1969.
Tracks 13-16 originally issued 2003, on Elvis In Person (Follow That Dream Music, 88697 40721 2)
Track 17-18 originally issued 1991, on Collectors Gold (RCA 3114).