The Last Song Elvis Presley Played Live
Elvis Presley (Aloha from Hawaii) - Elvis Presley /YouTube
In the quiet hours leading to Elvis Presley’s passing, the iconic singer serenaded his close circle with songs close to his heart. Among these tunes was a cover that held particular significance for Elvis, and it became the last song he ever played live.
On the early morning of August 16, 1977, Elvis reached out to his cousin, Billy Smith, and his wife, Jo, inviting them for an impromptu racquetball game.
Despite the odd timing, the Smiths agreed and joined Elvis for a match that concluded abruptly when the singer accidentally struck himself with his racquet.
Following the racquetball session, the group gathered in the lounge area of the building. According to Peter Guralnick’s book, “Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley,” Elvis seated himself at the piano and played several songs. The final notes resonated with “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” a hauntingly fitting choice given the circumstances.
The lyrics of the song, a touching tribute to lost love, took on a poignant meaning as Elvis sang the last verse:
“Some day when we meet up yonder/We’ll stroll, hand in hand again/ In a land that knows no parting/ Blue eyes crying in the rain.”
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A year prior, in 1976, Elvis had recorded a version of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” in Graceland’s Jungle Room.
This unique space, featuring an artificial waterfall, green shag carpet, and wood furniture, served as a personal retreat for Elvis. It also doubled as a recording studio where he created some of his final tracks.
The recordings from the Jungle Room sessions, capturing the essence of Elvis’s last musical endeavors, were released in 2016 as the album “Elvis: Way Down in the Jungle Room.” The compilation not only includes the songs recorded in this intimate setting but also features a second disc with outtakes, providing a glimpse into the artist’s creative process.
Elvis’s final day before his passing was marked by a whirlwind of activities.
Rising in the late afternoon on August 15, he considered going to the theater but opted for TV instead. A dentist appointment at 10:30 a.m. with fiancee Ginger Alden, discussions about an upcoming tour, and a heated argument over whether Alden would join him on tour all unfolded throughout the day.
Before the racquetball game with Billy Smith, Elvis, experiencing tooth pain, called his doctor for pain medication. Following the match, his friends delivered the prescribed medication. Taking the pills, Elvis retired to the bathroom to read while Alden slept.
In the early hours of August 16, Alden discovered Elvis unresponsive on the bathroom floor. The King of Rock and Roll was declared dead later that day, marking the end of an era and leaving “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” as the poignant final note in his live repertoire.