'68 Elvis comeback remembered on death anniversary

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's 1968 TV special is getting attention as fans gather in Memphis this week to mark the anniversary of the singer's death on Aug. 16, 1977.

Presley's Graceland mansion has opened an exhibit dedicated to the program, and Steve Binder, the TV show's producer-director, has published a book on it.

Binder told The Associated Press in an interview that Elvis was afraid of doing television because he had not had great success with it.

At the time, he was coming off a string of forgettable films and a long dry spell on the charts, and the rock 'n' roll music he'd helped pioneer had given way to the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.

It was a tough time for a comeback, but Presley pulled it off with 1 of his best performances ever.

Binder attributes the show's success to the fact that Presley wasn't reading prepared lines.

He says the performance was "raw" and "powerful" and showed who Presley really was.

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