Unchained Melody : Elvis' Last Great Moment

 October 2nd 1948, Elvis made his first public appearance

October 2nd 1948, Elvis made his first public appearance

"In one of his final performances before his tragic death, Elvis Presley delivered an incredible rendition of ‘Unchained Melody’ during a concert in Rapid City, South Dakota on June 21, 1977.

The performance, described as 'the last great moment of his career', was recorded for his last television special two months before his death in August 1977" (via). 

The Rolling Stone writes:

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.
 

As guitarist Charlie Hodge held a microphone, Elvis dug deep and poured his heart into the song. His body was falling apart, but his voice remained almost as powerful as ever. Without any doubt, it’s the last great moment of his career.

I've never been a huge Elvis fan (although my son and I both enjoy In the Ghetto), but after listening to Malcolm Gladwell describe the sad and lonely life he must have lived, I at least see him differently. Watching this moment, as the camera zooms in on an overweight and dying man, I cannot help but wonder if the reason why he dug so deep and poured out his heart was because it suddenly became the song of his life.

Then, at the 2:34 mark, there's a look, then a smile, almost like he's remembering who and what he was. It's almost like he's saying, "I still got it." And then he gets after it. Because time goes by, "so slowly", and when it's at the end, it can suddenly seem too fast. "And time can do so much." 

 

His youth is gone, his fame dwindling, the end is near. Perhaps, as he sings this song, he knows it's his last, that life is leaving him. And so he sings, "Wait for me" with all that he has, harkening back to what he was, hoping. But in less then three months later, his body and mind will succumb to the brokenness and fatigue, leaving us, and Elvis, with this last great moment. Which, befittingly, doesn't seem to be enough.

Oh, my love, my darling
I've hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
Time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
God speed your love to me

Lonely rivers flow
To the sea, to the sea
To the open arms of the sea
Lonely rivers sigh
"Wait for me, wait for me"
I'll be coming home, wait for me

Oh, my love, my darling
I've hungered, for your touch
A long, lonely time
Time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
God speed your love to me

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-N- Stuff  :  On Living :  Music  Elvis