The '68 Special
Usually referred to as "The '68 Special" or "The '68 Comeback", the actual name of this landmark television special was "Elvis". Taped in June 1968, it first aired the following December 3rd on NBC-TV. It stands as one of the great television moments in rock music history and a stunningly brilliant milestone in Elvis Presley's career.
Elvis rocked the world in the 1950's, a leader among musicians who brought about a revolution in music and pop culture. Through most of the 1960's he concentrated mainly on his movie career, which was very successful, but had become a grind and had not given him many opportunities to prove himself as a serious actor. By 1968, it had been more than seven years since Elvis had appeared on stage in front of a live audience. In this television special Elvis plays his greatest role - simply being himself - his magnificent, incomparable self.
Appearing on stage alone and in jam sessions reuniting him with early bandmates Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana, Elvis performs his classic rock and pop hits, introduces new material and reminisces about his career. There's a rousing gospel segment, a semi-autobiographical production number, and, as the finale, Elvis's passionate performance of "If I Can Dream".
The voice. The energy. The moves. The look. The charisma. The attitude. To many, this show represents Elvis Presley at his very best. After this triumph Elvis poured renewed creative vigor into his recording work, wrapped up his movie contract obligations and returned full-time to the concert stage, beginning a new and exciting era of his career.
Aloha from Hawaii - Via Satellite
Less than five years later, Elvis made television and entertainment history with his "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii - Via Satellite" concert special. Performed at the Honolulu International Center Arena on January 14, 1973 at 12:30 AM Hawaiian time, it was beamed live via Globecam Satellite to Australia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, South Vietnam and other countries, and was seen on a delayed basis in approximately thirty European countries. The first American airing was April 4, 1973 on NBC-TV. It was a worldwide ratings smash and the soundtrack album went to number one on the "Billboard" album chart. The American broadcast attracted 51% of the television viewing audience and was seen in more American households than man's first walk on the moon. In all, it was initially seen in approximately forty countries by 1-to-1.5 billion people.