Of all the live concert recordings released by RCA during Elvis Presley’s lifetime, none carried the historic significance of his long-awaited New York City shows at Madison Square Garden in June 1972. Now, a pair of hour-long performances have finally been coupled in one package for the first time as "PRINCE FROM ANOTHER PLANET: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION." This deluxe 2-CD+DVD box set will be available everywhere October 30th through RCA/Legacy, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
"PRINCE FROM ANOTHER PLANET" takes its title from a New York Times headline that accompanied its rave review of the King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden (80,000 tickets sold), the weekend of Friday through Sunday, June 9 - 11, 1972. CD two reprises the Saturday night show in its entirety, some 20 songs (plus introductions) originally issued on LP on June 18, 1972, just eight days after the concert took place. CD one reprises the (slightly longer) Saturday afternoon show, some 23 songs (plus introductions), archived and issued for the first time 25 years later in 1997, on CD.
The Madison Square Garden recordings have been newly mixed for the first time by respected New York engineer Michael Brauer.
Adding to the historic weight of "PRINCE FROM ANOTHER PLANET" is an evocative 5,000-word essay written by Lenny Kaye, longtime guitarist for Patti Smith. Kaye actually covered the press conference and the concerts for his gig as music editor of Cavalier magazine in the ’70s. In addition to his roles as a musician and a producer of numerous reissues and compilations, Kaye has been annotating albums for more than four decades.
Accompanying the two CDs is a bonus DVD that presents unseen footage of the Saturday afternoon show, captured on hand-held camera by a fan, and now acquired by Legacy from that fan decades later for this package. The film is a revealing portrait of a physically commanding Elvis and his power-house TCB Band, background vocalists, and orchestra. Precious little visual documentation exists of Elvis in concert, so this footage is an historically important discovery.
The recently discovered footage is set to make its world premiere during Elvis Week in Memphis on Friday, August 17th, at 4:30 p.m. at a free event in the Elvis Week Entertainment Pavilion.
Along with the concert film on the DVD is another video document, the press conference that took place on Friday afternoon before the big weekend. Attended by Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley, Elvis disarms and wins over the New York press corps with his good-natured demeanor.
For example, When asked, for example, “Which kind of song do you like doing the best?” Elvis answers, “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 and roll, some of the hard rock stuff. I'm not the least bit ashamed of ‘Hound Dog’ or ‘Heartbreak Hotel’…”
A closer look at the concert repertoire confirms his answer. The set lists for the afternoon and evening shows are an eclectic mix, something for everyone. After the bombastic “Also Sprach Zarathustra” theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey," both shows are book ended at the start by “That's All Right” (from 1956), Creedence’s “Proud Mary” (via Ike & Tina Turner), Hoyt Axton’s “Never Been To Spain” (via Three Dog Night), and Dusty Springfield’s “You Don't Have To Say You Love Me.” Both shows end with “Suspicious Minds,” Kristofferson’s “For The Good Times,” Mickey Newbury’s “American Trilogy,” Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away,” Don Gibson’s “I Can't Stop Loving You” (via Ray Charles), and of course, “Can't Help Falling In Love.”
The set lists are virtually identical, though four songs from the afternoon show were not performed at the evening show: Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Until It’s Time For You To Go,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” Lowell Fulsom’s “Reconsider Baby,” and Don Ho’s “I’ll Remember You.” And one song from the evening show was not performed at the afternoon show: Man Of La Mancha’s “The Impossible Dream.”
With those exceptions, the central portion of each show is very nearly the same something-for-everyone program, starting with the Righteous Brothers’ “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'” and Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie,” then straight back to 1956-57 for “Love Me,” “All Shook Up,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” the medley of “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” c/w “Don't Be Cruel,” “Love Me Tender,” and “Hound Dog.”
After being roundly excoriated by New York critics after his televised visits of 1956 (on Jackie Gleason’s Stage Show, in January, February and March), and 1957 (Ed Sullivan’s Toast Of the Town in January; and The Steve Allen Show in July), Elvis and his manager Tom Parker did not schedule another New York performance for some 15 years. Even after Elvis triumphed on his black leather NBC-TV “comeback” special of December 1968, and returned to public concert touring fulltime in August 1969 (at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, chronicled in 2010 on RCA/Legacy’s On Stage: Legacy Edition), they still waited three years to play New York.
When asked at the press conference why it took so long, Elvis answers with a straight face,: “I think it was a matter of not getting the building, the proper building. We had to wait our turn in order to get the building. Couldn't get a good building in fifteen years. No, all kidding aside, we had to wait our turn to get in... into the Garden, you know. I just hope we put on a good show for everybody. Oh, I like it. I enjoy it.”