The International Hotel Of Las Vegas, NV.
Located at 3000 S. Paradise Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89109. The hotel is now known at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Having failed in Vegas 13 years prior his return to Vegas, Elvis was understandability nervous. But he has no reason for concern. He sang great, and the fan response was overwhelming. The series of concerts broke house records, drawing more than 100,000 people and grossing 1.5 dollars. He earned a reported $100,000 per week.
Elvis returned to Las Vegas in the late 1969, playing July to August then returning in 1970 in January. Elvis would play all over the country in the ‘70s, but it was Las Vegas that would forever become associated with this period oh his life. The common pattern was to play Vegas for a series of concerts every January, often returning later in the year for another engagement, and visit other cities all over the country in between
The Scheduled Tours
- July 31 – August 28, 1969
- January 26 – February 23, 1970
- August 10 – September 8, 1970
- January 26 – February 23, 1971
By the time the August 9 – September 6, 1971 engagement was set, the International Hotel was bought by the Hilton Franchise.
The Contract Renegotiation
The historic idea for Elvis’ return to Las Vegas was negotiated by Colonel Tom Parker and Alex Shoofey, president of the International Hotel, owned by Kirk Kerorian. The Colonel took notes on the tablecloth as they hammered out the deal, including a proviso that if Shoofey left the hotel, the contract, could be renegotiated. In 1971, Kerkorian sold the hotel to Baron Hilton, whereupon Shoofrey retired, and veteran hotel executive Henry Lewin took over. Soon after, Lewin – a legendarily tough negotiator himself – was visited by the Colonel, toting the old tablecloth with, among other things, the scribbled contract renegotiation clause. Suffice it to say, Lewin made a new deal.
Glittered Up for the Shows
The new live shows were not just about the music or the Hillbilly cat we new before. They were about the King himself. In other words, they were about glitter and glitz as well as musicianship. They were choregraphed around his image- his arrival on the stage was dramatized, as was his departure. Elvis worked each crowd as if it would be his last. No longer the supercharged Hillbilly Cat, Elvis was now consummate professional: smooth, powerful and passionate, already seeming more myth than man.
Elvis had an intutitive feeling for what his audience wanted to hear. The order of the songs was strictly Elvis’ choice, though he welcomed suggestions from his musicians. There was surprisingly few special effects, and little emphasis on production values. Elvis was the show.
Elvis’ Vegas shows presented the full range of his singing talents – pop ballads, country standards, gospel hyms, and rocking R&B. His touring band, organized at the beginning of 1969/1970 – the TCB Band – was powerful and polished.
- James Burton on lead guitar
- John Wilkenson and Jerry Scheff on rhythm gutar
- Glen Harding on piano
- Joe Osbourne on bass
- Ronnie Tutt and Hal Blaine on drums
- Pat Houston on trumpet
- Marty Harrell on trombone
In addition to his band, he also had backup female vocal group, The Sweet Inspirations, who played with Elvis on both concert and studio sessions. The Grammy award winning four-some backed up Aretha Franklin before moving over to Elvis.
- Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney Houston)
- Estelle Brown
- Sylvia Shenwell
- Myrna Smith
“The Complete Idiots Guide to Elvis” by, Frank Coffery © 1997 Alpha Books. Simon & Shuster Macmillion Co. NY.
“Elvis Live On Tour 1954 to 1977” by, Robert Gordon © 1996 St. Martin’s Griffen. NY
“Elvis And You” by, Laura Victoria and John O’Hara © 2000 Perigee Press. NY
“Elvis Presley: A Life in Music, The Complete Recording Sessions” by, Ernst Jorgensn © 1998 St. Martin’s Press. NY.