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When do you think Elvis should have stopped touring?

Thu May 22, 2003 4:10 pm

I'm probably talking a load of rubbish but, what the hell, here goes...

We all know that as the years fast did roll and Elvis' health worsened, particularily in those last two years, his concert appearances suffered and he gave some truly terrible shows (eg 1/6/76, 29/5/77(think that's the date), 19/6/77 etc).

Following the initial excitement in, 1969 and 70, of performing regularily in front of an audience for the first time in over 10 years, Elvis' enthusiasm seemed to wane (Jan-Feb 71). However, this can probably be put down to boredom with the , by now, all too familiar International Hotel setting and illness more than anything else. This is clearly highlighted (so I'm told) in recordings from the new environment of Lake Tahoe in the early summer of 1971, where different suroundings appeared to inspire Elvis and he gave great performances.

With the break-up of Elvis' marriage, late 1971 early 1972, the upcoming Vegas engagements allowed Elvis to express his feelings through his songs, for example You Gave Me A Mountain or What Now My Love. Furthermore, the increase in tour dates helped take Elvis' mind off his problems or even share them with his fans during certain songs.

Also, the adulation each concert garnered would have told him that even if it appeared his wife no longer loved him, his fans did - more than ever. In addition, Elvis' own performance level was still extremely high and critically acclaimed. Therfore, the concerts themselves were a tonic for him (although not the travel and the boredom of when not on stage).

It's after the triumph of Aloha From Hawaii that the Colonel should have cut back Elvis' Vegas dates and continued criss- crossing of the country, in my opinion. As has often been said, following the "greatest show on Earth" how the hell was Elvis supposed to motivate himself for another month at the Hilton?(his 8th season in just 3 and a half years).

Just as with the movies the good ol' Colonel was flogging that horse. What Elvis should have done was try to keep in shape, clean out his system and record a classic album to capitalise on his success. If only he'd stood up to Parker instead of backing down (as in Sept. 73). Of course, Elvis is to blame for some of this but don't forget the hold Parker had over him and the belief that without the Colonel, Elvis would not have been a success.

Instead, Elvis ended up in Vegas (twice) and Tahoe, in addition to a further two tours. He was also putting on a lot of weight and was often uninspired on stage.

Saying that, his March 74 tour showed Elvis to be in great spirits and, once more, his shows were excellent. Unfortunately, thia was rather shortlived as his May, June and July performances, although good and with Elvis in a far better physical shape, represent a step backwards that continued into Vegas that August, culminating in his bizarre closing show (2/9/74) and an awful tour that followed it.

If Parker can be forgiven for continuing with the same old Vegas-Tahoe-Tour routine after Aloha, he cannot be for allowing Elvis to do more of the same from 1975. Yes, although there were some fabulous shows (22/3/75, 10/6/75, part of the Juiy tour and the December mini-tour in 1976) for the most part you can't miss Elvis' fast deteriorating condition, his even greater boredom with most of his repetoire and the missing sense of fun on his part that was so prevalent before - he's just going through the motions, occasionally not even managing that. Sometimes he's purely in it for the money.

Although Elvis clearly didn't enjoy singing many of the songs in his repetoire at this point, friends and associates point out that he was only truly happy when on stage surrounded by his adoring fans. True, but that's no way to live, is it? I'm sure if you had asked him whether or not he still wanted to perform he would have answered "No". Furthermore, these concerts contributed a great deal to his bad health and took more out of him than he got out of them.

To sum up, I believe that Elvis should have stopped Vegas, Tahoe and touring following Aloha or, at the latest, the end 0f 1974. He should have took some time out, got himself back into shape and then concentrated on some other projects (movies, karate etc). Certainly, by 1976 the man was in no fit state to walk onto a stage.

So, what do you people think?

Thu May 22, 2003 4:23 pm

I don't think he should have stopped touring as in NO MORE TOURS.
He should have had some time outs to rethink about where he was at and going. I have heard there was a world tour on the table when he died. Now if he could have got in shape for that. What an event that would have been.

Last edited by sam on Thu May 22, 2003 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thu May 22, 2003 4:30 pm

I think that a lot of problems would be out of the air, when Elvis would have done only 1 show a night, and two weeks in a row.... Stopping Las Vegas would be a bad thing, because that was the place to find Elvis when you lived outside the US...

I think the Colonel should have put much more energy into trying to create one big event a year, and one huge thing every two years. Between those events you'd have the (shortened) Las Vegas season, a short -1 week- Lake Tahoe season, and a couple of tours....

This way Elvis could focus towards the bigger events.... it's very easy to see that there weren't going to be any important events coming up after The Aloha From Hawaii.... So after that, what could be Elvis main focus? Nothing!

The colonel couldn't improve Elvis' personal live. But what he could have done was to plan big events, challenge Elvis recording abilities (like Chip did in 1969), and keep the amounts of tours low to keep Elvis health good.

The worst thing The Colonel has done was to do nothing against the routine. He did nothing to prevent a routine during the movieyears, nothing to prevent a routine in Vegas, nothing to prevent a routine of tours, and he did noting to prevent routine during recordingsessions (always Velton)....

Thu May 22, 2003 5:35 pm

I think that what happened in 1973 post-Aloha constituted a colossal missed opportunity for Elvis! The Aloha project should have been a springboard for an overseas tour, or at the very least, a tour of Japan, Australia, and the U.K. Instead, it was back to the month-long semi-annual Vegas grind, more U.S. tour dates, and a Tahoe engagement thrown in for good measure (and money!). The Aloha Special had displayed/reaffirmed his massive international popularity, the MSG album and the Burning Love single had given his recording career a badly needed boost. The time was ripe for an overseas tour (strike while the iron is hot!), and the release of an Elvis' Gold Records Vol. 5. to capitalize on it. Again, a missed opportunity! This, in my opinion, is when he should have parted company with the Col.
As for the later tours, I firmly believe that July 75 was his best since 73 (or arguably even 72!). Everybody goes apes#*t over Dec. 76, and relative to 76-77 those are great shows. But vocally they pale in comparison to July 75!
Regarding the often-stated idea that with more time off Elvis would have gotten back in shape, been healthier ect., that assumes he would have taken advantage of the time off in a positive manner. Sorry, but I don't buy it. I truly wish that this would've been the case, unfortunately the pattern had already been established (binge eating between tours, the substance abuse). During this time period Elvis had several extended breaks (4-1/2 months: Sept.73-Jan. 74; 5 months: Oct. 74-March 75; 3-1/2 months: mid Aug. 75-to early Dec. 75; 2-1/2 months: Jan. 76-to mid March 76). He did not come back from any of these breaks slimmed-down & healthy!

Thu May 22, 2003 5:46 pm

I agree with you Pete, that's why I put, "IF" he could get in shape.

But what you write is spot on. He could have capitalised so much more on the Aloha show. He wasn't being guided very well there.


Thu May 22, 2003 6:36 pm

Pete Dube wrote:During this time period Elvis had several extended breaks (4-1/2 months: Sept.73-Jan. 74; 5 months: Oct. 74-March 75; 3-1/2 months: mid Aug. 75-to early Dec. 75; 2-1/2 months: Jan. 76-to mid March 76). He did not come back from any of these breaks slimmed-down & healthy!

You call three/four months breaks "extended"? Well, for you and me breaks like this probably look "extended". For an artists who wants and has to be creative it's almost nothing. Except for his time in the Army and another short break after his 1969 engagement when he literally had nothing to do until rehearsing began in Jan. 1970, Elvis worked for about 23 years in a row. Now please don't tell me he had vacations on Hawaii in March 1977 or something like that ...

I think Elvis should have stopped not for a few months but for several years by autumn 1974. That would have been the right time IMO. Unfortunately I'm afraid he simply couldn't afford it.

Thu May 22, 2003 6:41 pm

This is like saying Ali should have stopped with the last Frazier fight. Would've, should've. It is their choice. Like Don King said, "how are you gonna tell GOD he isn't GOD anymore!" Now Ali and Elvis weren't gods, but do you guys see my point. Joe Louis should have quit earlier as well, he should not have fought Rocky Marciano. But then again, how would they ever have known. With great rise...unfortunately there are also great falls!

Thu May 22, 2003 7:02 pm

Elvis shoulda stopped touring in 2015 on his 80th birthday. How old was Frank Sinatra when he stopped performing?

Thu May 22, 2003 7:58 pm

G what happened to your picture?

Thu May 22, 2003 8:02 pm

I Think Elvis Should At Least Stop Touring for A little Bit
And Making More Studio Album's We Would Have More
New Tune's From Elvis In The 70's.

Curtis Simpkins

Thu May 22, 2003 8:42 pm

My opinion would have been to have him Stop Touring Right after the Aloha,..Leave the general public wanting more..

Huge mistake to go right back to Vegas and then back on the road after something as big as the Aloha event...

Touring Europe along with other Countries would have been a possibility...........

Nevertheless this Man needed a well deserve re group and think things through...........going back to a Good movie of some kind would have also been the way to go..........

An a "Star is Born" is not what I'm talking about far as I'm concern this would have been a mistake for Elvis as well.....however a challenge of a good movie role would have added to Elvis' self esteem especially if the movie would have been an success!

PEP 8)

Thu May 22, 2003 8:55 pm

Touring is not the question.

The real question is "when should Elvis have stopped taking drugs"

Without the drugs he may have led a more out-going life and met people who could have given him advice.

Without the drugs he may have concentrated on his profession rather than sleep walk through the 70's.

Without the drugs he may have mixed in the real world rather than the Graceland prison.

Without the drugs he may still be around putting down rockig tracks.

Thu May 22, 2003 9:39 pm

KiwiAlan -

Surely it's chicken & egg.

The gruelling tour schedule either led to or exacerbated the drug problem.

He got in a downward spiral and couldn't break out.

Colin B

Thu May 22, 2003 9:50 pm

See See Rider -
Relative to Elvis' hectic live performance schedule 72-77 3 or 4 months off is an extended break. Take 1976 for example. The longest stretch he had off this year was the first 10 weeks. After this he had 5 weeks off in Sept./Oct. In my view this was the year that did him in. Col. Parker absolutely ran Elvis into the ground that year, and 77 was more of the same! But you're 100% right as to the reason: M-O-N-E-Y. Had Elvis stopped touring for 6 months or more during the last 18 months of his life the whole organization would have been in financial dire straights!
Kiwialan - you're almost there, but not quite. We should not just stop at the drug abuse, but look beyond the drug abuse into the deeper question of why did he stop caring about himself to such an appallingly self-destructive extant? In my opinion I think Elvis' mental health problems (depression combined with emotional immaturity, inferiority and perhaps even ego - a truly fatal mix if ever there was one) is what caused him to increasingly turn to drugs. This is a point that seems to always be lost in discussions of Elvis' drug abuse. So much of the Elvis/drug discussions focus on what kind, the amounts, and most particularly their tragic effect that the all-important question of "why?" is virtually ignored, or when not ignored usually results in finger-pointing (it was Dr. Nick's fault; the Mafia should have tried harder to save him; the Col. drove him to it; Priscilla broke his heart). This last approach completely misses the mark by externalizing the problem, when in fact the heart of the problem was internal within Elvis himself.

Fri May 23, 2003 9:03 am

I think Elvis should have took a private break- three, four months etc- after Aloha and then done something different. Maybe a challenging movie would have fit the bill. Maybe the Col. should have taken up Arthur Fiedler's invitation for Elvis to perform with the Boston Pops. Then maybe a world tour or maybe he could have done some traveling on his own. The proper strategy would have been to keep mixing things up and challenging Elvis. From 1954 until his almost his death, this man responded most to novelty and challenge. Usually, he responded spectacularly.

Think about it look at Elvis' best work. In 1954 and 1955 he challenged by making a name for himself and finding a place outside of his seemingly predestined dead end future. In 1956 he had to conquer the national audience. In 1957 he really dived into movies, movie music and met Leiber and Stoller. In 1960 he had to regain his pop audience plus had to fill a two year backlog of musical ideas. Once those challenges were easily met he began to slip. Then in 1968 there was the TV show. Then Chips Moman and reestablishing his recording career. Then Vegas and the road. In June 1970 he had to prove he could make hits again without Chips Moman. In August of that year he was faced with the Vegas movie. (He never seemed in a better mood than in these days.) Once this was behind him, he began to slip again.

Then in 1972 it was onto New York another resurgence and finally Aloha. Challenge the man and he'd come through. Unfortunately, Col. Parker had a singular lack of imagination.

Fri May 23, 2003 6:35 pm

I don't think there was anything wrong with Elvis touring.
All entertainers tour.
The problem was with himself and his management.

1. Had no idea how to manage his finances
2. Had no interest in his taking his career to another level (ie. acting in movies with a little more substance and story or touring worldwide)
3. Showed no interest in learning how to handle his own affairs
4. Had a serious problem with prescription drugs that by late 1972 was beyond his own control

1. Touring schedule was aimless - targeted to small towns that would guarantee sell-outs with limited media coverage
2. Had a client that had become difficult to promote
3. Had a serious gambling problem

The only thing that could have saved Elvis' career was Elvis.
His management may have been part of the problem but Elvis needed to be more educated.
I think he was reading all the wrong books... all that crap that Geller was feeding him...
It's unfortunate - what an incredible waste of talent.
When you think about it he had a relatively short career and could have accomplished so much more.
I guess it comes down to something that Dave Hebler once said: "How do you save a man from himself?"

Fri May 23, 2003 6:46 pm

It’s a pity that Elvis ‘70’s tours preceded today’s stadium rock concerts. Elvis was the first real rock star to enjoy success and tour into early middle age, and his schedule would have proved difficult for performers half his age. These days rather than playing small states night after night, Elvis would surely have done two or three concerts in a large indoor or outdoor auditorium in particular city and played far less shows than he did during the ‘70’s. I think the artists that came after Elvis learned from this and enjoyed longer careers, and healthier lives because of it. It’s like Robbie Robertson says in The Band’s documentary “The Last Waltz”, “the road killed Elvis”.

Fri May 23, 2003 10:06 pm

carolynlm wrote:There are some references to the colonel (I object to using any sort of upper case letters regarding this man), ....


I loved your comment regarding Tom Parker. Oftentimes, I refer to him as "Tom Parker" or "Parker" - since he was not a real colonel!

Scotty Moore mentioned that it used to make Parker "d--n mad" when he (Scotty) addressed Parker as "Tom" instead of "Colonel" or "Colonel Parker".

Tom (from Ohio)

Elvis should of stoped touring at the end of 1975

Sat May 24, 2003 12:42 pm

if you look at some pics from 75 in that dinner suit he looks amazing really well why the hell could elvis has more time off get his self looking really well and make pontiac a really top show to work on so the following year in about march april he could of started his world tour i mean the way Elvis went to me was him saying i cant be ****** anymore the colonel is a cu** and he will only let me tour around the states and he went into self destrucked mode

but in the end Elvis could can hold his head high and you can see how his remembered today which is a credit to him and i love him him and his great music cause he was the first he was an original and
i love him very much

Elvis-Fan I agree with what you have said

Sun May 25, 2003 12:47 am

It's really so true too isn't it......Drugs certainly was the biggest factor in my opinion, prescription or not........

It really wasn't the Touring...........

Tom Jones is a pretty good example of a star that really was most if not all of his life Drug Free,'s a guy that continues to tour 6, 8 or even 10 months of the year.. and he's now 61 or 62 years old...he still continues to sing his old songs as tho he recorded them yesterday.........Elvis lost all that passion to do it for his own Hit material in the late 70's....Elvis could have continue to do the same type of thing to this day if he were Alive even at 68.....Jones certainly does not do it for the money......because I have read somewhere Jones is worth over $600 million.

Drugs I think took all the passion Elvis had for music and made him lazy, to not grow musically, Gellar didn't help in the situation either nor did the other things you mention,....but again drugs more so than anything else I believe was the determining factor of ending a career which had so many more years to grow in so many different directions...........

Sad the way I mention Jones.....because I saw him 4 years ago and last night on A&E with a show that was taped in it reminded me that Elvis could have been there too.......meaning he could have had the same type of Special and the same kind of drive Jones has had and still does to this day......

However Elvis is Still King isn't he.........

PEP 8)

Sun May 25, 2003 10:44 am

Can somebody tell me how Elvis did not grow a musician? I hear this all the time and it seems to me to have no basis in reality. He was constantly changing and experimenting, venturing into new styles and mixing others. I've often thought that he invented country rock in 1967 or at least was one of its inventors. In 1970, he even stepped up to the plate and did a concept album in "Elvis Country". Any doubts about his growth should be eliminated by listening to "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and "Suspicious Minds" back to back. They sound like two different artists.

Also how has Tom Jones grown as a musician compared to Elvis? Nearly all of his tracks are in the same style.

Sun May 25, 2003 8:10 pm

Posted: Sun May 25, 2003 9:44 am Post subject:


Can somebody tell me how Elvis did not grow a musician? I hear this all the time and it seems to me to have no basis in reality. He was constantly changing and experimenting, venturing into new styles and mixing others. I've often thought that he invented country rock in 1967 or at least was one of its inventors. In 1970, he even stepped up to the plate and did a concept album in "Elvis Country". Any doubts about his growth should be eliminated by listening to "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and "Suspicious Minds" back to back. They sound like two different artists.

"Your absolutely right, however in my opinion during the latter part of the 70's Elvis starts to loose his ability to chose the right song and continued to go away from the Rock style he was famous for, Elvis was Elvis and in a lot of ways he could still make even the stinker songs still sound good, but the world outside was producing better material than what he himself could have gone after, an inreturn made better, however his heart or passion or whatever you call it, just wasn't there anymore and it really all came down to a lot of things like the Drugs, the Broken heart, the mangement and so on.......certainly not the touring if he would have been Drug free, that was the reason for using Tom Jones as a example.

A great talent flushed down the to speak

Also how has Tom Jones grown as a musician compared to Elvis? Nearly all of his tracks are in the same style.

"Tom Jones was mainly used as a example of an Artist that continues to this day having the drive to satisfy his fans with 8 to 10 months out of the year of continual touring,..along with that he also not just adds some new material his show with some Rockin songs, but also when singing his old songs which he has sung a million times over in concert he still sings the songs as tho they are flesh and new....and he's now 61' or 62' years of age, musically Jones did continue to change his direction a little in image and music, recording the Song "KISS" is a good example or Leave "Your Hat ON" still don't you think i know that Elvis is still KING!

An he could have blowen anybody on stage or in th recording studio away if he set his mind to it,.......but No he died way too young at the age of 42' and really when it comes down to it again using Jones as the example touring had nothing to do with it.........

Did it?

PEP 8)

Sun May 25, 2003 9:13 pm

When comparing Elvis to other artists like Tom Jones, don´t forget that Elvis was #1, The King (- as we all know of course!) - Tom Jones was and is a very famous entertainer, but there is a huuuuuge difference. The fame, the pressure, the constant fear of not being on top any more.

Another example is Elton John, who probably was the world´s biggest POP (not rock) star in the 70´s - he nearly killed himself with drugs and alcohol, and was severely depressed for several years. Look at Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix... of course they cannot be compared to Elvis, but they became very famous very fast in the late 60´s/early 70´s, a time when there were a lot of drugs around. Tom Jones seems to have both his feet on the ground. He probably has no big hang-ups. What unites Elvis with Janis, Jimi, Elton, Gram Parsons, Keith Richards... etc is that they were/are self-destructive, at least part of them. Elvis admitted himself he was self-destructive.

Also, it is now commonly accepted that Elvis suffered from clinical depression during his last years (and was prescribed medication for this). And there, I think, we have the answer: it was not about Parker, it was not about the touring. It was about Elvis wanting to get as ****** up as possible, not even being able to care about his own daughter visiting him, just lying on his bed, high as a kite, watching TV... He wanted to escape from his life, but he didn´t know where to go. If we consider this, it does not seem so strange that he stopped caring about his performances, does it? Sad but true. Maybe it was the drugs that triggered all of this, maybe it was in him from the start. Remember Gladys drinking and taking diet-pills, that might be a clue.

... Jesus, I´m getting depressed myself now! Sorry for getting so serious here, but it´s Sunday night, you know...

Sun May 25, 2003 10:00 pm

To quote Elvis "never critize another man unless you walk a mile in his shoes".

Sun May 25, 2003 10:18 pm

To my mind, the longer Elvis continued "under the thumb" of "Tom Parker", the more impossible it was for Elvis to feel comfortable expressing his own ideas-
about touring, about recording, about song choices.

"Tom Parker" was only motivated by his own greed. What Elvis desperately needed was fresh recording sessions, fresh songs and a
strong producer in the studio.

Elvis' drug use was his way of escaping the harsh reality, that perhaps
Elvis felt he had not enough control over changing.

Thus the live shows post-Aloha were seemingly uninspired,
but Elvis felt trapped in a routine. Elvis probably heard:
"Income is needed, bills gotta be paid,
Tom Parker's gotta have cash to do business to keep everybody happy..."

So, to my mind, Elvis should have fired his so-called manager, then decided when to tour, how often, and gotten back to recording songs that
Elvis himself chose and knew that mattered.

20/20 hindsight, of course.