Elvis Presley Nervously Took Matters Into His Own Hands Before ‘68 Comeback Special’ Live Taping

by Matthew Wilson

Believe it or not even Elvis Presley dealt with stage fright. The singer often struggled with his nerves throughout his long career. But the King of Rock ‘n Roll was especially nervous before his live ’68 Comeback Television Special in, well, 1968. In fact, he took matters into his own hands.

This was Presley’s first live performance in nearly a decade. The singer had been busy in Hollywood, producing a number of musicals and films. After all, who can forget “Jailhouse Rock” or “Blue Hawaii” or his number of westerns? Presley was anxious about the performance, and he didn’t know if he had the same draw as he once had.

His worst fear was for only a few people to show up at his special or for the audience to give a cold reception to his performance. The performance was going to be televised live across the nation. And a bad performance could have been potentially a career killer, even for someone like Presley. Public perception has a way of shifting at a moment’s notice.

To make sure he packed the house, Presley personally decided to personally hand out tickets himself. Fans often flocked to both his Graceland mansion and other estates. They stood outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the King. Likewise, Presley often engaged with fans and even began to know some of them personally. With the concert looming, Presley gave away tickets to some of his biggest supporters.

The concert ended up being a first stop to Presley’s big musical comeback.

Elvis Presley and His Nerves

But Presley has long battled his nerves throughout his career. It’s something he never really got over even as his fame and legend grew. After all, behind his stage persona, Presley was just a man like any other. In fact, his iconic dance moves formed in part due to his nerves.

Presley used to have shaky legs when he performed, a detriment to him as a performer. But Presley soon turned it into his electrifying stage performance. The singer allowed himself to dance along with the music, following the rhythm of the song. Stepping back away from the mic, he gave himself over the power of the music and allowed his nerves to flutter away.

Presley was proof that bravery isn’t the absence of fear, but the ability to overcome it. The singer became crafty in his career with dealing with his stage fright.