GUITAR MAN: NBC, musical artists celebrate Elvis’ 1968 Comeback Special

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Jennifer Lopez … Ed Sheeran … Post Malone … John Legend … Carrie Underwood … Keith Urban and Shawn Mendes.

Those are just some of the artists taking part in tonight’s tribute to Elvis Presley here on KETK.

The Voice’s Blake Shelton hosts the two-hour show.

It actually salutes what was billed as Presley’s “comeback special,” which aired on NBC back in 1968.

The 1960’s saw the rise of rock-and-roll in America, with bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones topping the charts.

But one of the artists who pioneered the new music was getting left behind.

Elvis Presley was “the” original rock star in the 1950’s, but had spent several years away from music making Hollywood movies.

In 1968 he decided to get himself back on stage in what became a landmark event both for music and for television.

The stars will be re-creating Presley’s iconic performances from that night, and Shelton admits trying to do that was a daunting prospect.

“To do a tribute to that, you kind of have to rise up to that level, you know?” Shelton said. “And so, I jumped at the opportunity and then, after that, it was like, uh, what am I doing? Are you sure I’m the guy? But now that we’re in the middle of shooting it, it’s one of the more magical things I’ve ever been a part of in music.”

Shelton will recreate moments from the 1968 show to form a mashup duo of then and now. But he says the apeal of the rock legend is not just that Elvis was a guitar picker like him.

“He was a country guy. He was a rock guy. He was R&B. He was a little bit of everything, and that’s why everybody loved him.”

Country superstar Keith Urban says he is a fan of both Elvis and the old broadcast.

“To me that’s always going to be the standout moment, is everyone just sitting around playing, and Elvis just, you don’t know, it’s just loose and it’s raw and it’s real,” said Urban.

The special also will include rare footage and interviews with Priscilla Presley and Steve Binder, who directed the original special.

Presley’s original special back in 1968 was NBC’s highest rated show for that entire season – and you can watch that original show on NBC.com and the NBC app.

The tribute you can check out tonight at 8 p.m. right here on KETK.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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