An American Trilogy - The Live Comparison Series Volume 3

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Walter Hale 4
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An American Trilogy - The Live Comparison Series Volume 3

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Version One – The First Live Rendition
This, the very first time Elvis performed the song, is a wonderful rendition and the intimacy of the Hilton showroom only adds to the feel of the song. Having never recorded the song in the studio the RCA single master was instead recorded three weeks later at the same venue on 16 February.

Version Two – The “Elvis On Tour” Rendition
As most, if not all, Elvis fans know, this is the version of An American Trilogy featured in the 1972 documentary "Elvis - On Tour". It highlights how, despite only being in the show for a few months, it’s arrangement had already evolved

Version Three – The Ultimate Rendition
Probably the most powerful, emotional and heartfelt rendition that Elvis ever performed during his “Aloha” satellite show in Hawaii on 14 January 1973.

Version Four - The Memphis Rendition
From 1974 onwards, the song was not treated with the same level of seriousness by Elvis and often he would make jocular comments during the Stamps solo part. The song's arrangement would also be altered replacing the poignant flute solo with brass which was only detrimental to the song overall.
However, there are examples, in 1974 in particular, where there are exceptions and Elvis' rendition during his tour closing show in Memphis' Mid-South Coliseum is one such example. This example, despite it being on tour and therefore without a full orchestra is still one of his finest renditions of the song an there are many contributing factors as to why this is the case.
In no particular order, these factors include, the fact that Elvis is performing in the south where audiences always had a particular appreciation for Elvis' rendition of the song and the fact that he was performing it in his home town and at the final show of the tour. In addition, the double cry of "Elvis" from a young female member of the audience during the songs most delicate and poignant part of the song only adds to the tension and atmosphere built up in the song just moments before the orchestral crescendo begins.

Version Five – The 1975 Tour Rendition
Well received by the southern audiences during Spring 1975 it nonetheless lacked the seriousness and emotion of the earlier versions.

Version Six – The Bicentennial Rendition
In Tulsa on 4 July 1976, Bicentennial Day, and during the only show where Elvis performed both Trilogy and “America – The Beautiful”.

Version Seven – The Final Live Rendition
After dropping 'America' during his final Las Vegas season in December 1976 he chose not to reinstate 'Trilogy', and the only time it was sung again was this version in Mobile on 2 June 1977, at the closing show of Elvis' penultimate tour. Sung only as a result of a fan's request, it contained none of the fooling around that accompanied many of the 1975 versions. It does however contain a major error by Elvis where he either seems to lose his place or forget about the orchestral section forcing him to stop and restart which blotches an otherwise nice version.

Written, researched and upload is by Leon Smith.

As with all of these videos, to get the most out of the re-edited audio, Leon recommends you use ear /headphones and turn the volume up as much as you dare!
1971 - an awesome year of music and films !