Vintage Durango: Elvis and the gospel

by Patty Templeton

Elvis may have brought rock ’n’ roll to the masses with his wigglin’ hips and self-titled album in 1956, but 11 years later, he was passé. 1967 brought “Cool Hand Luke,” “The Graduate,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” the Summer of Love, Vietnam, pot, hippies, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and the Grateful Dead’s debut, self-titled album. Ain’t no way a 30-something Elvis was going to be able to connect to the counter-culture. So he didn’t try.

How Great Thou Art” was Elvis Presley’s 28th album. It went to number 18 on the pop charts and the title song grabbed a Grammy. Elvis was grown up and earnest. He’d just married Priscilla and calm Christianity with occasional rock-n-roll piano suited him instead of the loud, wild life of the swingin’ ’60s.

… until the next year. When he would dress in a black leather jumpsuit and perform the televised “’68 Comeback Special.”

Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer


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