My friend Dustin Hostetler emailed me the video above with the subject line of "Do you like Elvis?"
No, I don't like Elvis.
I really don't even like Elvis ironically or as kitsch. But this performance of "Unchained Melody" from June 1977, just two months before he died, is absolutely sublime.
From Rolling Stone:
He was only 42, but years of prescription drug abuse and horrifying dietary habits had left him bloated, depressed and near death. He had an enlarged heart, an enlarged intestine, hypertension and incredibly painful bowel problems. He was barely sleeping and should have probably been in the hospital, but he was still a huge draw on the concert circuit and the money was too good to turn down.
It had been over a year since Elvis last released a studio album, and manager Colonel Tom Parker was determined to get more product into the stores. Despite Elvis’ horrid shape, Parker arranged for a camera crew to film the June 19th show in Omaha for a planned TV special and live album.
While the story behind this video is sad, I'm glad it happened.
Below is a different version of the video where the singing appears to be overdubbed but it's also worth watching for the opening:
Listen to the wonderful outsider musician Daniel Johnston, who died last week, cover The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.” The cover was included on the 2006 compilation “Do It Again: A Tribute to Pet Sounds.” (via r/ObscureMedia)
Johnny Cash died September 12, 2003, age 71.
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